Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 120 hours!
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SEVEN contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PINK TEAM–but there is also a red team, a blue team, a gold team, an orange team, a green team, and a purple team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
ZODIAC, the first book in the series, stars Rhoma Grace, a –year-old student from House Cancer.
The following is a deleted scene from WANDERING STAR, book two in the ZODIAC series:
Drowning Diamonds performs at the Aleph
“Welcome to the Aleph,” says a metallic-bodied android standing in the center of the empty space, holding a silver tray. “Would you like any Abyssthe before entering?”
“No thanks,” says Nishi. Then she turns to me in excitement. “Pick a door, Rho.”
She shrugs mysteriously, and I roll my eyes and walk forward to the one directly across from me. When I open it, the room is dark with pulsing holographic lights, and it’s packed with people dancing. But I can’t hear anything.
Curious, I cross the threshold, and as soon as I step through, the sound blasts on.
A percussion-heavy song beats through the room and once everyone else is inside, we thread through the crowd toward the stage, where a tattooed band is performing a high-energy number. I don’t know where I’m going, or why I’m still moving, until I reach the edge of the stage and realize I’m gravitating toward the drums.
It feels like ages since I last played.
When the song finishes, Nishi leaps onto the stage. She whispers something to the singer, who looks shocked by whatever she’s said, and then his face breaks into a broad smile.
He tips his pierced face down to mine and extends his arm. I take the hand he’s offering without hesitation and join him and Nishi on the stage.
“It’s an honor to meet you,” he says in a raspy voice. “We could use a break—why don’t you guys do your thing?” He winks at Nishi before turning to his band to fill them in.
“You never got to play Trust in Guardian Rho with us before,” she says, grinning.
“The singer said his bassist will perform with us.”
“But he doesn’t know—”
“Rho, wake up! Everyone knows this song!” Nishi rolls her eyes but she’s still smiling.
The drummer comes over and gives me his sticks. My heart picks up as I roll them through my fingers, and for a terrifying moment I think I might cry.
“You’re really good,” he whispers in a velvety smooth voice. “Looking forward to hearing you live.”
“Thanks,” I say, still staring at the drumsticks in my hand.
“Drowning Diamonds, baby!”
Deke’s arm slides around my waist, and suddenly I’m pulled into a bone-cracking, three-person hug with him and Nishi. Our heads huddled together, he says, “For old times.”
“For the Academy,” says Nishi.
We pull apart, and I slide my feet into the metal boots of the drum mat and brush my fingers along the cymbals and drum heads. Then I look up and spy Hysan in the semi-lit crowd, his green eyes glowing like the holograms that dance along the walls.
He looks as eager as everyone else to hear us perform, and I become suddenly aware of my nerves. The drumsticks shake in my hands.
Nishi turns and winks at me—my cue to start us off—and I stare down at the instrument, unsure I remember how to play.
As though on autopilot, my hands come together for four counts, and then I slam down on the snare and cymbal, and as the bass drum’s droning boom kicks in, I disappear into the music.
The pulsing of the drums is like a second heartbeat in my chest. Deke’s guitar explodes into the melody, and by the time Nishi comes in with the lyrics, I’m floating through the rhythm, my eyes closing as I become part of the song.
When Nishi gets to the chorus, I’m belting it out with her, and I start to laugh when I realize how strange it is for me to be singing these words:
Trust in Guardian Rho
She’s our galaxy’s best chance
She’ll make Ochus go
He’ll forget his plans
By the time it’s over, I long to play more. I never want to leave the stage or the drums or the music.
The crowd has been chanting along with us, and now they’re cheering and applauding, and the Sagittarian storm of encouragement feels so warm in this icy city that I want to bathe in its heat forever.
Nishi and Deke pull me to my feet, and the three of us take a bow from center stage. I reluctantly hand the sticks back to the drummer—“Stellar!” he shouts at me over the noise—and then I rejoin Hysan, Aryll, and the Sagittarians on the ground.
“Brilliant!” shouts Aryll, clasping my shoulder. “You killed it!”
The other Sagittarians all reach out to touch me, too, even the ones who didn’t come here with us, and soon I’m trading hand touches all around. When the band starts playing again, people gradually return to dancing, and I fall farther back into the crowd, losing sight of Nishi, Aryll, and everyone else.
“You were amazing, Rho,” says Hysan, finding me even when I don’t know where I’m standing. He pulls me aside to a back corner of the room, near the bar, where it’s quieter. Beaming, he says, “It was like you became part of the song.”
“Do you read minds?” I blurt, the excitement of tonight making me feel less reserved—or maybe it’s Starry City’s lowered inhibitions infecting me.
Hysan grins. “Not minds…faces. And not all faces.” His voice grows husky, his body leaning into mine. “Just the ones worth exploring.”
His gaze drops to my lips, and tonight I’m willing to give into his mouth here, even in front of everyone. It’s like Nishi said—if tomorrow is the end, let’s live today.
Tonight, let’s be free.
And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 16. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the pink team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!