Falling, a new young adult paranormal romance by Tori Briar, is set in a fictional city in the Sierra foothills.
“Place matters; where we are informs who we are,” Briar explained. “In Falling, I worked hard to render the setting with portrayals of the buffeting Nevada winds and the beauty and allure of the high desert foothills. I hope the reader will leave this book with a sense of place as well as an exhilarating story.”
Falling tells the story of 15-year-old Kallie, an introvert with a mean round-kick, who has survived the reoccurring violence of a family curse only by faithfully following rules she must now break to stay alive.
As Kallie struggles to discover her place in both the bewildering world of high school and the criminal-filled backstreets of a new town, the predators drawn by her curse become increasingly violent. To survive, Kallie must reevaluate her rules and the promises she’s made. Couldn’t No Weapons just mean No Guns? And maybe Never Turn Your Back, in some instances, translates to Run! Forced to confront the most dangerous enemies she has ever faced — Adlai, an alluring vampire with a taste for pain, and her estranged family, a network of witches who want her dead for their own gain — Kallie begins to question the one rule she was certain she’d never break again: No Relationships; No Friends. But if she compromises on that rule, she risks not only her own beliefs, but also the lives of everyone close to her.
Like the protagonist, the author lives at the base of the Sierra foothills. She received her English (writing emphasis) degree from Loyola Marymount University, was awarded the 2007 Nevada Arts Council fellowship for literature, and has over 60 poems published in various journals and anthologies.
Falling, her first novel, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s an excerpt from Falling:
Though thick, Kallie’s jacket didn’t fully shield her from the winter air; she walked rapidly, the motion warming her slender frame, then slowed to brisk, hands clenched in her pockets. She wondered at the easy way people interacted. She watched them enough that she should have it down by now. There ought to be a formula one could follow. Perform steps one through seven for making new friends. Repeat as necessary to keep them. She imagined herself back in the stands. Not on the top bleacher, but in the middle where the seats were so packed people almost sat on their neighbors’ laps. The cheering, the elbows and knees. The friendships. Not that she could have friends, or even wanted any –No Friends was one of her primary rules- but sometimes she wondered what it might be like.
She was yanked from her musings by a male voice. “Hey! Kallie, right? Need a ride?”
Kallie tensed, surprised to be caught off guard. A small blue pickup truck had pulled up beside her, and an attractive boy leaned out of the window, his smile gleaming against his dark skin. Devon. Geometry class. She scanned his face for signs of aggression.
His eyes matched his smile- friendly with a disarming honesty.
Kallie took a step toward the car, then caught herself. What was she thinking? She knew better than to encourage advances. If he were a predator, she’d be in trouble. And if he were a nice guy, he’d be in trouble. She stepped back.
“I promise to be a gentleman and take you straight home. I’ll even open your door if you simper a little.” His voice held a hint of laughter.
Kallie’s eyebrows rose. “Not going to happen.”
“The simpering or the ride?” he asked
His face turned serious. “You sure? It’s colder than deep space out here. I’d feel terrible if tomorrow’s paper had a picture of your frozen body on the front page.” He smiled as he said the last, but his eyes stayed somber. Definitely concerned.
Or maybe he was just a really good con-man. Even as she thought it, she knew it for a lie. But it worked. It kept her out of the truck.
“I like walking. It’s what I do. So thanks, but no thanks.” To punctuate, she marched away, didn’t look back. Colder than deep space? Who keeps track of the temperature in deep space, anyway? No one she wanted to ride with. And frozen bodies weren’t funny. She was better off walking.
But his face had been open, his eyes single-minded, helpful. And it would have been so much warmer inside the truck then in the frigid night air.
She imagined the cozy cab, imagined warming her fingers over the vent, the charred scent of heated air filling the small space. It wouldn’t even be awkward. Or at least not very. Devon was one of those laid-back, friendly types. Likable. Easy to be around. The kid who smiled effortlessly and seemed to get along with everyone. The opposite of her. Which was one more reason to congratulate herself for not being in that warm truck right now.
Not noticing how his dark brown hair curled into a messy mop on top of his head. Not watching his profile as he drove. Not being warmed on the outside from the heater and on the inside from the lilt of that persistent smile in his voice. Not putting a truly nice person in danger.