Monday, 15 August 2016

Spotlight! There Once Were Stars - Melanie McFarlane

There Once Were Stars
Melanie McFarlane
Published by: Month9Books
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?

Melanie McFarlane is a passionate writer of other-wordly adventures, a little excitable, and a little quirky. Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, she jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Though she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie focuses her powers on writing young adult stories to keep the rest of the world up reading all night.
She lives with her husband and two daughters in the Land of Living Skies.

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The kiss ends as softly as it began. I lean back and smile, and Jak smiles back.
“I’ve wanted to do that since we were twelve,” he says.
“You did!” I feel my cheeks get hot. “Why didn’t you, then?”
“We were barely teenagers,” he says, looking away as he wrings his hands together. “You weren’t interested in boys or kissing. At least I didn’t think you were until you snuck off at lunch one day at school, and kissed James Poole behind the locker rooms.”
“James Poole!” I burst into laughter, quickly covering my mouth so not to wake his parents. “Xara dared me to kiss him because I was the only girl in our grade that hadn’t. She bet me a chocolate I wouldn’t do it. You know me. I hate to lose.”
Jak’s face is red when he looks back at me. “I was so mad at James that I knocked him over on our way to class.” He reaches over and grabs my hand, covering it with his palm.
“All because I kissed him?”
He nods. “In that moment I realized I didn’t want anyone else to kiss you.”
I laugh, but it comes out strained. The uncomfortable feeling I got in the movie theater starts to creep back under my skin, and I try to pull my hand from Jak’s grip. “We were kids.”
His gaze bears down on me as his grip tightens. “That’s when I realized I was—in love with you.” He doesn’t take his eyes off mine, as if the answer he wants lies somewhere deep within me. He is dead serious.
“In love?”
“Yes,” he whispers. “I love you, Nat.”
A cold sweat breaks across my skin. The room feels like it’s closing in on me. Trapped. For the first time ever, Jak’s room is not a refuge, it’s a prison. His hand lets mine go, distracted by my silence, or his own confession. Whatever it is it allows me the chance to slip my hand out from under his, and rub it along my pant leg.
“I don’t know what to say,” I stammer. I look away, not wanting to see his face anymore. Uneasiness bubbles into my stomach.