Wednesday, 27 April 2016

COVER REVEAL Lab Rat by Nephy Hart

I would like to introduce you to the amazing cover of my new release Lab Rat which will be released next Wednesday, May 4th


This was previously published by Romance First Publishing under the title of The Unfairness of Life, but it has been very much cleaned up and improved since then

BLURB

At thirteen, Gabriel was subjected to experimentation designed to awaken latent psychic abilities.

 He’s been locked in a downward spiral of self-destruction ever since.

Then one night he meets Laurie, who is the antithesis of everything Gabriel’s become: cheerful, optimistic, and comfortable in his own skin. 

Laurie pursues Gabriel. But Gabriel no longer believes in love. With a dark past and a history of disastrous relationships, he’s promised himself ‘no more’. Laurie, however, won’t let go, no matter how many obstacles Gabriel places in his way.

When Gabriel starts hearing voices in his head, he realizes they belong to the scientists who experimented on him. Worse, they’re trying to track him down. 

With the past nipping at his heels, Gabriel and Laurie flee together. 

Can they outrun the enemy? Can they save Gabriel before either his life or his sanity are forfeit?

And is Gabriel as helpless as he, or Laurie, thinks he is?


Excerpt

IT’S THE LIGHTS. I hate the lights—they’re so bright. I don’t like bright. I want to go back to my room. It’s not bright in my room. It’s dim and cool and safe. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to think. I don’t want to....

“Good morning, Gabriel. Are you going to be a good boy today? You weren’t yesterday, were you?”

“I want to go home.”

“All in good time. We have work to do today, and the sooner we get it done, the sooner you can go back to your room. One more day. Just one more day.”

“Can I go home then?”

“We’ll see. Relax now, Gabriel. You know it’s easier when you relax. I’m going to give you an injection and I want you to relax and let your mind open. Relax now, Gabriel. I’m going to start now. 

Remember to relax.”

The lights. I hate the lights.

It’s the screaming that wakes me every time. But this time I’m not alone. There’s someone here with me. My housemates never come near when I’m screaming; they know better. It scares them. It scares me.

I prise open my eyes and the shock stops the screams. It almost stops my heart. I try to push him away, but he holds on. He’s in my bed. He’s… dressed but I… I’m not. What the fuck happened last night? Was I that drunk?

“Get away from me.”

“When you stop shaking.”

“Fuck that. Get away from me.”

I manage to push him back and he stretches out like a cat, propping that head of glorious hair on one hand. He looks at me with his amazing eyes.

“What the fuck are you doing here?”

“That’s okay. I wasn’t expecting thanks. Not from you.”

“Thanks? What do I have to thank you for?”

“Well, I could have left you unconscious on your doorstep, but I thought you’d be more comfortable in bed.”

“I… what? I…. You undressed me?”

Laurie shrugs. “You threw up.”

I groan. I’m not worried about passing out or throwing up—that’s not unusual for me, especially after alcohol—but the thought someone saw it, saw me, and took off my clothes….

I’m horrified. No one sees my body. No one.

“Get the fuck out of here.”

“Just as well I wasn’t expecting thanks, isn’t it? Otherwise I might be feeling crushed right now.”

“I don’t give a shit. Get the hell out of my room.”

Laurie’s expression turns introspective. He reaches out and runs his finger over my arm. The touch sends shivers through me, and for a moment I freeze, staring at his hand. It’s been a long time since anyone has touched me, especially there.

Stunned, I raise my eyes and gaze into the deep blue orbs. “Is it because of that?” he says softly. “It’s alright. It doesn’t bother me.”

“I….” My heart pounds. I’m overwhelmed. I can’t cope with this. I shake my head. “Get out of my room. Get out. Get out!” I know I’m being unreasonable, but I can’t help it. I know I’m getting hysterical, but I can’t help that either.

Looking completely shocked, he does what I ask.



Pre Order Links

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Author Bio

Nephy Hart was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Nephy has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.

Later in life, Nephy became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.


In present times, Nephy lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son, dog, bearded dragon (called Smaug of course) and three cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. She’s never been happier since she was made redundant and is able to devote herself entirely to her twin loves of writing and art

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Draven's Gate


Leading up to the release of my new book 'Lab Rat' on the 4th May, I'm taking a look back at some of my older books. Last time we looked at The Face in the Window and Memories of Forgotten Love, two books I am wholeheartedly behind and proud of.

Draven's Gate is slightly different. I'm totally behind the story. I have complete faith in Draven and Keiron, but I HATE the cover. This was not my idea, none of my doing and I have always spoken up against it. Nevertheless, I'm stuck with it and therefore find myself in the unenviable position of having to apologize for he cover of my own book. There is is. Great book; crappy cover.

That being said, it's definitely worth getting past the cover and into he story. The working title was Fairies At The Bottom Of The Garden and that's pretty much what it's about. 

Keiron is a dyed-in-the-wool kind of guy. Old at 23. An accountant who should be wearing carpet slippers and possibly smoking a pipe. 

Then Draven appears naked on his doorstep and life will never be the same again. Having let Keiron see him three times, Draven, the fairy from the bottom of the garden is sent to him to be his slave for three months

“I’m…Draven,” he said, with an anxious little smile. “I’m yours.”

“Mine?” Keiron shivered when he spoke the word. It seemed to ring in his head, and he rubbed his temple absently. “What the hell are you talking about? What do you mean, mine?”

“I’m your slave,” Draven said matter-of-factly, although there was something in his eyes that seemed to flinch as he spoke.

Keiron took a deep breath, and released it slowly. “I don’t know who you are or what the hell you want from me, but I’m not into that stuff - whips and handcuffs and—” He trailed off. Draven looked stricken.

“You…you’re going to…whip me? Why? What have I done?”

Keiron’s mouth dropped open, at the real fear in Draven’s face and voice. “I…. Of course I’m not going to whip you. Isn’t that what I said?”

Draven frowned deeply, then smiled. “I could probably get a whip for you, if you wanted. As long as you’re not going to use it on me.” He frowned again. “I suppose I shouldn’t make that a condition. You have the right to whip me if you want to. Of course, I’d much prefer if you didn’t. I could make one out of plaited grass if you’d like. You don’t have the right kind of grass in your garden, but I bet I could find some close by. I wouldn’t run away, I promise.”

Keiron was stunned. Draven spoke so fast, he could barely follow what he was saying. “Wait. Stop. I…I’ve already told you - I don’t want a whip.”

“Oh. But you said…. Oh. What do you want?”

“Nothing. I don’t want anything. I want you to go away and leave me alone.”

Draven blinked at him. “I can’t,” he said, sadly. “I can’t leave you. I’m your slave now.”

Keiron raised his hands and took another step back. Draven advanced over the threshold and looked around curiously.

“Look, I’ve no idea what’s going on, who you are or what you want, but you are not my slave and you are not coming into my house.

Draven looked at him, his head tilted to the side. “But I am your slave, and I am inside your house.”

“I…. Well…. Leave, then.”

“Leave?” Draven looked astonished. “But I can’t leave.”

“Why not?”

“Because,” Draven said slowly, as if explaining something obvious to a child, or an idiot, “I’m your slave.”

Draven isn't a very good slave and Keiron begins to suspect the fairy King might have had other reasons that Draven allowing Keiron to see him, for sending him into the human world. As the High Lord put it - He said he hoped you could get me to listen to authority because he’s damned if he can.

Draven has a hard time in the human world. He got himself into trouble the very first morning

He found Draven in the kitchen. Draven’s face and hands were covered with jam, and he was completely naked. He hummed to himself as he tried to smear jam on a piece of bread with his fingers. It was such a funny sight that Keiron paused in the doorway, watching.

Draven scanned the kitchen, not seeing Keiron. He thrust his fingers into his mouth, spreading jam over even more of his face, then stamped his foot angrily, and put his hands on his hips, getting even stickier.

“Where is the water?”

“Try the tap.”

Draven jumped and spun around. Keiron laughed out loud. There was jam all over Draven’s face, jam in his hair, jam on his hands and now it was smeared down his hips too, not to mention all over the kitchen table. Even the handle of the fridge seemed decidedly jammy.

“It’s not my fault,” Draven said indignantly. “I could smell strawberries, but I didn’t know it was going to be like this, and I couldn’t find where you keep the water.”

“It’s in the tap.”

“Where’s the tap? I thought it would be somewhere in the cooking room. I didn’t want to make a mess in your pretty room, and anyone in their right minds should keep water in a cooking room.”

“I do. I told you, it’s in the tap.”

Draven stamped his foot and glared. “But I don’t know where the tap is.”

But it's not all fun and games. Keiron's boyfriend, Bren, isn't too happy with the naked man who strolls down the stairs when he visits Keiron and there is something of a confrontation

“Stop being such a party pooper. I’m not hurting it.”

“Him,”

“Whatever. So. Go on. Show me what you can do.”

Draven raised his head and his metallic eyes glittered. Keiron was momentarily scared, and even Bren seemed to take a mental step back. All the things Keiron had heard about fairies being malicious, dangerous, spiteful, without morals— It all came flooding into his head and he was worried.

Draven pointed towards Bren, who cringed away. Suddenly, there was a tinkling sound, like someone had shaken a handful of tiny bells over Bren’s head, and a shower of rose petals fell onto him.

Bren looked upwards, as they continued to fall.

“Bloody hell,” he said. Then…. “Ouch. They’ve got thorns.” He scrambled to his feet, brushing off the petals, and rubbing at his face, which was bleeding from a dozen tiny puncture wounds.

“Roses have thorns,” Draven said in a soft, singsong voice that sounded light but, Keiron thought with a sinking heart, definitely contained a note of menace.

Of course, Bren gets his revenge, and it nearly kills Draven. Then the very world they live in threatens to do the same. First there's the sherbet ice

“Um…I…I, um…colours…and…wavy things. In my head…music…not there but there inside and…everything…. Have to keep my eyes closed, Keiron. Everything’s melting. Bubbles in my head. Bubbles…colours and bubbles.”

“Jesus Christ. Draven are you…?”

Draven giggled and slid to the floor, hugging his knees and moaning. “It hurts, Keiron. It hurts but it’s so…funny.” Laughing helplessly and groaning at the same time, Draven looked up at Keiron with huge eyes, swirling with colour.

“Shit….”

“I don’t…I don’t think I like the…blue…bl…ue…blue drink anymore.”
No. I don’t think I like it very much right now either.”

Then there's the smog. When Keiron tried to show Draven the beauty of the sunrise from the top of a hill, it didn't go too well

Keiron threw himself to his knees next to the sofa and stroked Draven’s forehead. “I’m here. Are you feeling better now?”

Draven looked around. “It…it’s better here,” he said, with a sigh.

“What’s better here?”

“The…the poison.”

“What? What poison? Are you delirious?”

“I…told you, Keiron. That…that place.” Draven shuddered. “The air was poisoned.”

“What? The hill? You mean…? You were being serious? When you said all the poison from the city rose to the hill? You really meant actual poison? It poisoned you?”

“Yes.”

But when Draven is taken back to fairyland neither of them copes well and Keiron is called by a frantic queen to save her son who had drifted so far into melancholy he might never come back. Keiron must make a decision. What is most important to him - his beloved city, or his beloved Draven? It's a hard choice because, as you will see Keiron and the country don't mix well. Here, they are having a picnic by the river, which turns into something like a still from a live-action Snow White movie.


“Why do you want to control everything?”

“I don’t,” Keiron responded automatically and defensively.

“Yes, you do. You want to control everything, even other people, like Bren, and you take responsibility for the things they do.”

“I…I….” He floundered. Draven didn’t understand. How could he understand? He had no idea what it was like to live in his world. He had no idea how different it was to live in the city, among people. He had no concept of the games, the expectations the…hypocrisy, the unreasonableness. “Maybe I do, but it’s the way you have to be to survive back there in the city.”

“Is it? Then why do you live there?”

“Because…because it’s where my home is. Where I feel…comfortable.”

“Are you scared of this world, Keiron? They sky and the sun and the trees and the grass and the water?”

“No…no, not scared, just….”

“Are you scared of the animals—the spiders and the snakes and the birds and beasts?”

“I…maybe a little.”

“There are dangerous things in the city too; much more dangerous things. And everything there is dark and fake and poisoned. It’s all poisoned, Keiron, and it poisons you, too. It makes you stiff and scared and…different.”

“It’s my world, Draven,” Keiron said defensively. “It’s what I know, where I feel comfortable.”

“I know,” Draven said sadly. “Do you want to go back now?”

Keiron found he was stiff and sore. The squirrel claws had scratched his back, and he was pretty sure the mouse had peed in his pocket. He squirmed uncomfortably. “Yes, I do. Do you mind?”

Draven gazed at him with such a sad expression on his face that Keiron knew he did mind, but Draven nodded and carefully sent the animals back into the forest, before he stood up and brushed himself down. Carefully, he began to pack away the picnic things, making sure there were no small animals trapped inside, occasionally chasing off a bee or ant, and rescuing a vole from the salad box.

Keiron didn’t have it so easy. The rabbit wasn’t happy to be disturbed, and scratched him fiercely with its back claws before it hopped off into the undergrowth. The mouse bit his finger as he fished it out of his pocket. Sucking his finger he threw the rest of the things into the basket and flung the blanket over his shoulder.

“Don’t, Keiron, be careful. You might—” He took one look at Keiron’s face, then dropped his eyes and meekly took the blanket from him, carefully shaking it out before folding it and putting it on top of the basket.

“The bloody mouse bit me.”

“Here, let me take a look.” Draven took his finger and examined it. He drew Keiron down to the river and thrust his hand into the running water.

“That’s not going to do any good if the bloody thing infects my finger.”

“It wasn’t the mouse’s fault. You probably hurt it when you were getting it out of your pocket.”

“I did not…. Well, I didn’t try to hurt it. It shouldn’t have gone in there in the first place.”

With a sigh Draven nodded, as if he was too tired to argue. When he took Keiron’s finger out of the water, he kissed in gently, then walked away without another word, to pick up the basket. Keiron collected the cool box, automatically checking it for stray animals, and followed Draven to the car.

To find out what he decides you'll need to read the book







Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Blast From the Past


In a blast from the past I'm going to write about two books that have taken a back burner and been out of the limelight for quite some time, which is a shame because they're two of my favourites and I'm very proud of them.

Both books are squarely Young Adult, although in a spoiler The Face in the Window has one really naughty phrase, which is shocking because Ace is generally such a nice, polite boy.

The books have a few things in common, in that all the protagonist are 16 or 17 years old and each book has a character with some kind of physical issue - I hesitate to say disability because they're both stubborn and won't see their issues as disabilities. 

In the Face in the Window, Ace is blind, but he refuses to let that hold him back. In Memories of Forgotten Love, Noah is recovering from a traumatic brain injury and struggles with physical weakness, speech problems and loss of memory. Yet he still manages to unravel a mystery even though the answers he seeks could be the death of him.

The Face in the Window was written deliberately as an examination of different kinds of love. Many are represented within the pages. The love of a mother for her son - in one case it is warm and nurturing, in the other fearful and inhibiting. The love of brothers - in one teasing but close, in the other jealous and bitter. The love of father and son - in one case supporting, in the other negating. The love of friends and family and, most importantly the love of one boy for another. It's a sweet, pure love that helps both of them overcome very different obstacles in their lives and in themselves. 

Haze - Ace's boyfriend - recognizing that although Ace is the one who is blind, he's the one who sees most clearly the path ahead and, far from being helpless, he was the one who saves Haze in so many different ways.

Haze described Ace to his parents and brothers, but days later they get a surprise

“His parents won’t let him go outside on his own, and he’s too frightened to go out with Logan and Nick now, so he’s effectively a prisoner in the house, locked in his room because he’s afraid.”
“Why won’t his parents let him go out?”
“And why doesn’t he go to our school?”
I was taken by surprise. “Because he’s blind,” I said as if it was obvious.
Everyone stared at each other and then at me. “I think that might be a little detail that slipped your mind when you were telling us about him, hun,” Mam said.
            I shrugged. “It’s not important [,,,]"

Ace is one of my favourite characters. Kept practically a prisoner by an overprotective mother, who is somewhat blind herself, albeit in a very different way, Ace begins to take tentative steps into the wide world reveling in his new freedom and showing Haze a whole new world he's never seen before. He brings the little details into sharp focus and they support each other exploring things, and lifting the mundane to a whole new level.

“Wow. Is that the sea? Are we close to the sea?”
“Very close.”
“What does it look like?”
“Like a very big puddle with waves.”
Ace laughed. “Seriously. Describe it to me.”
“Well…just in front of us there is a wide promenade…maybe sixty feet wide. It’s paved with pale beige sandstone. In the middle there is a compass inlaid into the floor, with gold lines and a rose coloured stone. To the right of the promenade there are rows of shops selling candyfloss, sweets that rot your teeth and are in weird, bizarre shapes and general tat, cheap knickknacks and souvenirs, stuff like that.
“To the left there is a stretch of scrub and then a mountain. And straight in front of you is the sea. We’re in a bay and so there are rocky outcrops on both sides so it’s a little like we are on one side of a large circle with the furthest edge torn away where all the water flows out into a huge body of water that stretches as far as you …um, I can see.
“The sun is high in the sky and it makes the wave crests sparkle like someone has frosted them with sugar. In the distance there is a large ship passing across the horizon and there are a couple of sailing boats within the bay.
“Is that good enough?”
Ace was staring out towards the sea with a rapt expression on his face, and he just nodded.

Ultimately, after going through some traumatic experiences during which Ace is the one who gave the support and a kick in the ass when necessary, Haze comes to realize Ace's blindness is no disability at all

As I sat in the car afterward, I realised just how much I had come to rely on Ace and how far he had led me. I let go of something else in the understanding of what a truly special person he is. It was a matter of responsibility again. I had started off feeling that I had to take care of Ace, and then I came to understand that he could take care of himself. There had been a slight blimp in the alley on that dark day, but not only did I recover the realisation that he could take care of himself but reached an entirely unexpected one that he could, would, and needed to take care of me too



 Memories of Forgotten Love is a very different book. Noah's disability is not one he's had since birth but arises from a terrible accident, neither is it permanent, but requires a lot of work to get over.

I wrote Memories after reading an article about how the media as a whole treat the issue of coma. In general the answer is badly. Coma patients do not just wake up, smile and get on with their lives. On the whole, waking up is a gradual process and very few people walk away with no after effects. I did a lot of research and set out to deliberately show what it's really like for someone waking up after a traumatic head injury.

No, my first memory kicks in about eight days later, after the drugs had worn off and they had taken the tube out of my throat…but not out of other places that were equally unpleasant. 

That first memory was one of enormous frustration. My mind was still very confused, very much under a blanket so to speak, but it was important to me that I made someone understand that I needed—I so badly needed—something. I still don’t know what it was, but at the time it was a burning need, an itch I couldn’t scratch. That was when it first hit me that, although my mind was awake—kind of—my body was taking some time to catch up. 

After all that time my muscles, which previously had been toned and primed, had become severely wasted, and I could barely manage to move my head and hand, let alone the rest of me. Not only that but, when I tried to speak, I found my throat sore and constricted, and I seemed to have forgotten how to form words. 

Words, sentences, thoughts, and ideas, which all seemed perfectly formed and sensible inside my head, came out as a jumble of incoherent grunts and sounds which, frankly, scared me. I had no idea at the time this was because of my head injury, or that I even had a head injury. I was only partially convinced I existed at all, although the pain helped with that. No one who didn’t exist could possibly be in so much pain. I hurt everywhere. 

As Noah improves he exists in a bubble. He knows he can't remember, can't recognize his family and friends...but he doesn't know, The realization comes as a shock

Something went ‘click’ inside my head and everything became very, very clear. “I…don’t remember. I…don’t…don’t remember… anything. I…don’t know who you are. I don’t know… who I…who I am.” 

“Fuck, Aiden. Now look what you’ve done.” 

I don’t know what Aiden said then; I don’t know what any of them said because I was flooded with a sense of absolute panic that blotted out everything but a single, overwhelming truth. I didn’t remember…anything. 

I have a brief recollection of there being people around, lots of them. People talking, people touching me…I have no idea what they said, what they did. I was lost in the panic, in the sea of horrified understanding. I didn’t know my own mother and father, I didn’t know my friends, I didn’t know myself. For me there was no life before I woke in the hospital, no existence other than the one I was experiencing right then and there. I was lost, completely lost.

As Noah's memories begin to return, mysteries return with it. Why is the boy who, by all accounts, was his best friend, acting so strangely? Why are certain subjects taboo? Why are people trying to divert him from asking important questions?

The answer to some of those questions comes as a huge shock

“No…I didn’t. I didn’t write the note. I couldn’t have. I…I wouldn’t have.” 

I looked up at him, at his grave face and kind eyes. I could see he didn’t believe me. Hell, I wouldn’t have believed me. How could I say that I didn’t write the note when I couldn’t remember anything? “But if…if I did…if I did write the note then…then I…Do you think that I…?” 

“It seems likely, Noah. You wrote the note and minutes later you were falling from your balcony and very nearly died. You haven’t seen the balcony. It has railings round it. It isn’t easy to fall from.” 

“So, you think I jumped.” 

“You still sound as though you don’t believe it.” 

“No, I don’t. You’re right…I don’t remember. I don’t remember anything, and I don’t know how I was feeling before…the accident. But I do know me. I do know the kind of person I am now and I can’t believe that it’s so different to who I was then. I’m not the kind of person who would kill themselves, no matter how bad things got. I’m a fighter.” 

“I know you are. That much is abundantly obvious. But even the strongest fighters sometimes get to a point where they can’t fight anymore.” 

“I didn’t.”

Determined to prove he wasn't suicidal, Noah continues to question, especially when his memories start to return and he begins to remember some startling things,

I turned to walk back inside and the figure loomed. He was big, dark, so dark, and then…I remembered the blow, the fist coming from nowhere and catching me on the side of the chin, knocking me backward. I slammed into the railings and…and suddenly, they weren’t there any more, swinging out like a gate, tipping me over the edge and I was flying. There had been no time to cry out, no time to think, no time for fear. There had been no time…and then there had been nothing. 

Gasping, I fell to my knees, holding my head in my hands. Fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck. I hadn’t jumped. I hadn’t fallen. Someone had hit me, and hit me hard. It was that… it was them. But who? This was too much…too much for me. I had to talk to someone, had to tell someone. And there was really only one person that could be. 

The truth brings a host of new problems and puts both he and Luke at risk

Suspiciously, I took the device out of his hand and pressed it to my ear. At first, I heard nothing, then something that sounded like a slap in the background, followed by a low moan, and then nothing but strange, heavy breathing. 

“What the hell are you playing at? What is this?” 

“No…ah?” The voice sounded strange, distant and breathy, but there was no mistaking who it was. 

“Luke? What’s going on? Where are you?” 

“Noah…Noah, I…I…” 

“Luke? What’s wrong?” 

A voice that I didn’t recognise spoke in the background. “Say nighty night to Noah, beautiful. Time to go beddybyes.” 

Luke groaned, and then the strange voice spoke again, closer, into the speaker. “Hello, Noah.” 

“Who the hell are you? What are you doing to Luke? Let me speak to him again.” 

“Sorry, sweetcheeks, but Luke’s not feeling too good right now. Don’t worry; we’ll take good care of him.” 

“You bastards…what the fuck!?” 

“Now, now, there’s no need for that. We won’t hurt your boyfriend—at least as long as you are a good boy [...]” 

“Fuck you! I swear to God you hurt him…you harm him in any way and I’ll take you apart.” 

“Calm down, Noah. Didn’t I tell you that we won’t hurt him? We’ll have a great time together. We’ll warm him up nicely for you. [...]"

Of course, things work out in the end, but not before Noah and Luke have to fight for their love and their lives, to find a happy ending.

Both of these books have strong themes and strong characters. The boys have to go through what sometimes seem like insurmountable obstacles to get to their happy endings. Sometimes the feel as if there's nothing to look forward to, that their problems will never go away. Sometimes they feel they just can't go on. But they do go and, and things do get better.

Remember, in life nothing is guaranteed; nothing is set in stone. Everything changes; the good and the bad, and it's often difficult to see where such changes can come from or where they can lead, but come they will. Even blind Ace can look into the future and see better things. For him the Change was Ace. For Noah the change was the accident, but they both came to the same place in the end - if not a happy ever after then at least a happy for now, and for a long time to come