Kai met Avery only once–in the moment he died saving her life. Now when he’s not using his new healing powers to help people, he watches helplessly as Avery’s life is unraveled by his death. To help her, he risks everything by breaking the rules, dangerously blurring the barriers between life and death.
Praise for the Book
“Vividly imagined, this novel is the perfect mix of modern love story and literary fiction. One brimming with genuine emotion that had me re-reading passages simply because they were too beautifully written to experience just once.” –Julie N. Ford, author of With No Regrets
“This book is not only an engaging and satisfying supernatural romance, but also a beautiful story about life, death, and the gray places in between.” –E.B. Wheeler, author of The Haunting of Springett Hall
“This is one of those stories that stays with you long after the closing scene. It was beautifully imagined and vividly written and I absolutely loved it!” –Teresa Richards, author of Emerald Bound
EXCERPT 1 (Kai’s point-of-view):
I’m not sure if I have a heart, but something in my ribcage swells at the sight of Avery. Her hair shimmers like spun gold in the sunlight, falling over her shoulder and hiding her face. She’s sitting on a sheet of black rock, head bent, and the flowery skirt of her sundress ripples in the breeze.
If she turns around, she’ll see me. If I speak, she’ll hear my voice. I open my mouth to do that, but it’s parched, hit with an unexpected drought of words.
I’ve been walking for hours, and I still don’t have a solid plan. I have an end goal, but it’s like looking up at the peak of a mountain when I’m still in the valley. I want Avery to find happiness again, but I have no idea how to get her there.
EXCERPT 2 (Avery’s point-of-view):
My mind retraces the past few months, all the conversations Tyler and I have had, the words we’ve said and haven’t said, all stemming from one incident, one day. And then I’m thrown back to that afternoon, back into the ocean and the cold, roiling waves. I feel them around me, tossing me this way and that, pounding over my head like a stampede of wild horses. I feel the salt stinging my eyes and see the abyss below me in the moment I dove under to find the boy. I saw him there, motionless and suspended in the deep, just out of reach.
Just out of reach.
My face feels hot, and I can’t breathe. But I keep my panic cloaked beneath my skin. A violent earthquake rattles my insides, but I tense my muscles, holding it in, restraining it, refusing to let it show. I dig my nails into my arm, anchoring them there, anchoring me into stillness, and I focus all my attention on the present physical pain in my arm.
Kai’s hand reaches for mine. His touch stills my insides, draws out the tremors as though they’re water and he’s a sponge.
EXCERPT 3 (Kai’s point-of-view):
My chest feels heavy when I come out of the cottage in the morning, though I can’t pinpoint exactly why. Maybe it’s the mounting guilt of breaking rules and of taking something that doesn’t belong to me. Maybe it’s my looming departure from the living world, the knowledge that the sounds of the tide and the scents of the earth will soon be barred to me again. But I think it has more to do with Avery, because it’s her that I can’t get out of my mind. It’s her face I saw before I fell asleep last night. It was she who inhabited my dreams. And it was the desire to see her again that woke me up with the sun. My time with her will be over soon, and the weight of her coming absence is already threatening to crush me.
I’m dead, so I should be the one haunting. Instead, Avery haunts me. I smell her scent even when she’s not beside me. I hear her voice echoing inside my head long after she’s gone. And when I’m not looking, she moves things around inside the chambers of my still heart.
Author Sarah Beard
Sarah Beard is the author of YA novels Porcelain Keys and Beyond the Rising Tide. She earned a degree in communications from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MFA in writing from VCFA. When she’s not writing, she referees wrestling matches between her three boys and listens to audiobooks while folding self-replicating piles of laundry. She is a breast cancer survivor, a baker of sweets, a seeker of good love stories, a composer of melancholy music, and a traveler who wishes her travel budget was much bigger. She lives with her husband and children in the shadow of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains.
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