Drawn by Cecilia Gray | Excerpt + Giveaway
Publication Date: November 13, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal
Take a journey into the gritty world of political espionage through the eyes – and lies – of one extraordinary girl. A wholly original tale of friendship and betrayal from the author of The Jane Austen Academy series….Sasha has a secret – that she can make you spill your secret with nothing more than a question. Her strange gift makes her a burden to her foster family and a total freak of nature. Not that Sasha cares. Why should she when no one cares about her?Then the CIA knocks on her door. They want to give Sasha a new identity and drop her into a foreign country to infiltrate a ring of zealous graffiti terrorists. They want to give Sasha something to care about.To survive a world where no one is who they seem, Sasha needs to make people trust her. But when that trust blossoms into love, Sasha is forced to decide between duty and friendship, between her mind and her heart, and whether to tell the truth or keep her secrets.
Zaventem National Airport, Brussels, Belgium
I'm herded through a swinging door into a crowded pickup zone. Waiting families shuffle back and forth, vying for a glimpse of us past the barrier. Every searching gaze brushes over me, as dismissive as the disembodied female voice whispering from above.
Please report any suspicious activity to the nearest airport official.
S'il vous plaît signaler toute activité suspecte à la fonctionnaire le plus proche.
Meld verdachte activiteiten aan de politie.
First time out of the country. Don't know a soul. Working for the CIA, surrounded by all this foreignness—and not just the languages. What have I gotten myself into?
The surge of bodies at my back carries me toward the open lobby. Chelsea had said he would find me, but as I keep walking I'm struck with this vision of running outside to the street. Not stopping until I'm swallowed by the city. No job, no ties. I whip my head back and forth, hoping for something familiar, and I find it in the crowd of eager faces—my name, written in black marker on a piece of cardboard.
Holding the sign is Porter Jennings, fresh from Clark Kent's Smallville: salt-and-pepper hair, weathered skin, and a blue and white checkered shirt. He looks so normal that my relief at not being abandoned at the airport is tempered by a flare of disappointment. No James Bond tuxedo for this Company NOC.
At second glance, I concede he's clever. He's been assigned to Brussels for over a decade but hasn't shed his Midwestern vibe. A perfect anti-spy disguise. No one would pick him out of a lineup unless it was for a tractor driver. I'd packed and unpacked my pinstriped suits a half-dozen times before finally leaving them hanging in the closet. The decision that had at first felt petty now feels smart.
Porter spots me, folds the sign into halves, and shoves it in his back pocket. As I approach, he grabs my hand for a vigorous shake but never breaks stride, forcing me to keep up.
"Welcome aboard, Sasha."
"I'm glad to be here, sir." Simple. To the point. Pretty close to what I'd practiced on the plane.
"Quick, quick. I'm hoping we can make it home for dinner." He makes for the automatic glass doors, leaving me to break into a jog, canvas bag and all. What kind of spy cares about being home for dinner, I don't know. Maybe he's not very good at his job after all. Maybe that's why he needs a teen misfit to do his dirty work.
Cecilia Gray lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she reads, writes and breaks for food. She also pens her biographies in the third person. Like this. As if to trick you into thinking someone else wrote it because she is important. Alas, this is not the case.
Cecilia has been praised for “instilling a warmth and weight into her characters” (Romancing The Book Reviews) and her books have been praised for being “well-written, original, realistic and witty” (Quills & Zebras Reviews).
Her latest series of young-adult contemporary Jane Austen retellings was named a What’s Hot pick (RT Book Reviews magazine) and is a Best of 2012 pick (Kirkus Reviews) where it was praised for being a “unique twist on a classic” and offering “a compelling mix of action, drama and love.”
She’s rather enamored of being contacted by readers and hopes you’ll oblige.