Hello Lovelies and Welcome to my Blog Tour stop for In Another Life by C.C. Hunter hosted by Wednesday Books. Today, I have an EXCERPT from the book, my review, and some of my favorite quotes.
What would you do if your whole life was a lie and learning the truth could cost you your life?
From New York Times bestselling author of the Shadow Falls series comes C. C. Hunter’s new YA thriller about a girl who learns that she may have been kidnapped as a child, and must race to uncover the truth about her past before she winds up a victim.
Published: March 26th 2019
Publisher: Wedneday Books
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Thriller
Format: Hardcover 352 pages
Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her.
When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they’re kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.
As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?
Wonderfully Affecting, Quite Thrilling, and Beautifully Written
This is the second book I’ve read from this author and I must say… I’m very impressed. I don’t know how In Another Life and This Heart of Mine compare with her paranormal romances, but I am positively in love with C.C. Hunter’s writing style. I think it’s absolutely gorgeous, incredibly compelling and wonderfully emotional.
The moment I started reading In Another Life, I was immediately intrigued and excited. I had a good feeling this would be one of those books that would have me glued to the pages, holding on to my breath, clutching my heart, and preparing for the worst. Well, it surely did that and MORE. It was emotionally intense, but also filled with adorable lighthearted moments. It was heartbreaking, but also sweet and charming. It made me cry, but it also made me smile, laugh and swoon. It had all the worst and the best FEELS and I loved it.
As I’ve already said, I really loved the writing style. Not only was it easy to read, but it’s just so beautifully affecting and evocative. I felt what the characters felt and it was an excruciatingly amazing experience. I liked that there was a good balance between the heavy drama, the light mystery, the sweet intimate scenes, and the adorable heartwarming moments. The characters were interesting, likable, and realistic. I loved Cash and Chloe and rooted for them so hard… not just for them to be together and have their romantic HEA, but also to find their own happiness as individuals. The romance was swoony, sweet and relatable. I liked that there were some challenge and problems in the relationship and that made the story more interesting. I also enjoyed the mystery part and trying to guess what really happened. Even though I would have liked more build-up, anticipation, and suspense, I still found myself anxious and thrilled with the twists and turns. The ending had me in tears, but it also filled me with warmth and joy. This was truly a lovely read and I enjoyed everything about this book.
In Another Life by C.C. Hunter broke my heart over and over, but also made me feel so much love and hope. I liked the message of this story about finding yourself, forgiveness, trust, love, and learning how to move on from pain and anger. It’s absolutely a wonderful story and I cannot wait to read more from Hunter.
I received an electronic advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher, Wednesday Books, via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
“What are you doing?” I ask when Dad pulls over at a con venience store only a mile from where Mom and I are now living. My voice sounds rusty after not talking during the fivehour ride. But I was afraid that if I said anything, it would all spill out: My anger. My hurt. My disappointment in the man who used to be my superhero.
“I need gas and a bathroom,” he says.
“Bathroom? So you can’t even come in to see Mom when you drop me off?” My heart crinkles up like a used piece of aluminum foil.
He meets my eyes, ignores my questions, and says, “You want anything?”
“Yeah. My freaking life back!” I jump out of the car and slam the door so hard, the sound of the metal hitting metal cracks in the hot Texas air. I haul ass across the parking lot, watching my white sandals eat up the pavement, hiding the sheen of tears in my eyes.
“Chloe,” Dad calls out. I move faster.
Eyes still down, I yank open the door, bolt inside the store, and smack right into someone. Like, my boobs smash against someone’s chest.
“Crap,” a deep voice growls.
A Styrofoam cup hits the ground. Frozen red slushie ex plodes all over my white sandals. The cup lands on its side, bleeding red on the white tile.
I swallow the lump in my throat and jerk back, remov ing my B cup boobs from some guy’s chest.
“Sorry,” he mutters, even though it’s my fault.
I force myself to look up, seeing first his wide chest, then his eyes and the jetblack hair scattered across his brow. Great! Why couldn’t he be some old fart?
I return to his bright green eyes and watch as they shift from apologetic to shocked, then to angry.
I should say something—like, add my own apology—but the lump in my throat returns with a vengeance.
“Shit.” The word sneaks through his frown.
Yeah, all of this is shit! I hear Dad call my name again from outside.
My throat closes tighter and tears sting my eyes. Embar rassed to cry in front of a stranger, I snatch off my sandals and dart to a cooler.
Opening the glass door, I stick my head in needing a cooldown. I swat a few stray tears off my cheeks. Then I feel someone next to me. Dad’s not letting this go.
“Just admit you screwed up!” I look over and am swal lowed by those same angry light green eyes from a minute ago. “I thought you were . . . Sorry,” I say, knowing it’s late for an apology. His look is unsettling.
He continues to glare. An allinmyface kind of glare.
As if this is more than a spilled slushie to him.
“I’ll pay for it.” When he doesn’t even blink, I add an other, “I’m sorry.”
“Why are you here?” His question seethes out.
“What? Do I know you?” I know I was rude, but—hotness aside—this guy is freaking me out.
His eyes flash anger. “What do you want?” His tone car ries an accusation I don’t understand.
“What do you mean?” I counter.
“Whatever you’re trying to pull, don’t do it.”
He’s still staring me down. And I feel like I’m shrinking in his glare.
“I’m not . . . You must have me mixed up with someone else.” I shake my head, unsure if this guy’s as crazy as he is sexy. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. But I said I’m sorry.” I grab a canned drink and barefoot, carrying sticky sandals, hurry to the front of the store.
Dad walks in, scowling.
“Careful,” a cashier says to Dad while mopping up the slushie just inside the door.
“Sorry,” I mutter to the worker, then point to Dad. “He’s paying for my Dr Pepper! And for that slushie.”
I storm off to the car, get in, and hold the cold Diet Dr Pepper can to my forehead. The hair on the back of my neck starts dancing. I look around, and the weird hot guy is stand ing outside the store, staring at me again.
Whatever you’re trying to pull, don’t do it.
Yup, crazy. I look away to escape his gaze. Dad climbs back in the car. He doesn’t start it, just sits there, eyeball ing me. “You know this isn’t easy for me either.”
“Right.” So why did you leave?
He starts the car, but before we drive off, I look around again and see the darkhaired boy standing in the parking lot, writing on the palm of his hand.
Is he writing down Dad’s license plate number? He’s a freak. I almost say something to Dad but remember I’m pissed at him.
Dad pulls away. I focus on the rearview mirror. The hot guy stays there, eyes glued on Dad’s car, and I stay glued on him until he’s nothing but a speck in the mirror.
“I know this is hard,” Dad says. “I think about you every day.”
I nod, but don’t speak.
Minutes later, Dad pulls over in front of our mailbox. Or rather Mom’s and mine. Dad’s home isn’t with us anymore. “I’ll call you tomorrow to see how your first day of school was.”
My gut knots into a pretzel with the reminder that I’ll be starting as a senior at a new school. I stare out at the old house, in the old neighborhood. This house once belonged to my grandmother. Mom’s been renting it to an elderly couple for years. Now we live here. In a house that smells like old people . . . and sadness.
“Is she home?” Dad asks.
In the dusk of sunset, our house is dark. Gold light leaks out of next door, Lindsey’s house—she’s the one and only person I know my own age in town.
“Mom’s probably resting,” I answer. There’s a pause. “How’s she doing?”
You finally ask? I look at him gripping the wheel and star ing at the house. “Fine.” I open the car door, not wanting to draw out the goodbye. It hurts too much.
“Hey.” He smiles. “At least give me a hug?”
I don’t want to, but for some reason—because under all this anger, I still love him—I lean over the console and hug him. He doesn’t even smell like my dad. He’s wearing co logne that Darlene probably bought him. Tears sting my eyes.
“Bye.” I get one slushiedyed foot out of the car.
Before my butt’s off the seat, he says, “Is she going back to work soon?”
I swing around. “Is that why you asked about her? Be cause of money?”
“No.” But the lie is so clear in his voice, it hangs in the air.
Who is this man? He dyes the silver at his temples. He’s sporting a spiky haircut and wearing a Tshirt with the name of a band he didn’t even know existed until Darlene.
Before I can stop myself, the words trip off my tongue. “Why? Does your girlfriend need a new pair of Jimmy Choos?”
“Don’t, Chloe,” he says sternly. “You sound like your mom.”
That hurt now knots in my throat. “Pleeease. If I sounded like my mom, I’d say, ‘Does the whore bitch need a new pair of Jimmy Choos!’” I swing back to the door.
He catches my arm. “Look, young lady, I can’t ask you to love her like I do, but I expect you to respect her.”
“Respect her? You have to earn respect, Dad! If I wore the clothes she wears, you’d ground me. In fact, I don’t even respect you anymore! You screwed up my life. You screwed up Mom’s life. And now you’re screwing someone eighteen years younger than yourself.” I bolt out and get halfway to the house when I hear his car door open and slam.
“Chloe. Your stuff.” He sounds angry, but he can just join the crowd, because I’m more than mad—I’m hurt.
If I weren’t afraid he’d follow me into the house all pissed off and start an argument with Mom, I’d just keep going. But I don’t have it in me to hear them fight again. And I’m not sure Mom’s up to it either. I don’t have an option but to do the right thing. It sucks when you’re the only person in the family acting like an adult.
I swing around, swat at my tears, and head back to the curb.
He’s standing beside his car, my backpack in one hand
and a huge shopping bag with the new school clothes he bought me in the other. Great. Now I feel like an ungrate ful bitch.
When I get to him, I mutter, “Thanks for the clothes.” He says, “Why are you so mad at me?”
So many reasons. Which one do I pick? “You let Dar lene turn my room into a gym.”
He shakes his head. “We moved your stuff into the other bedroom.”
“But that was my room, Dad.”
“Is that really why you’re mad or . . . ? He pauses. “It’s not my fault that your mom got—”
“Keep thinking that,” I snap. “One of these days, you might even believe it!”
Hands full, chest heavy, I leave my onetime superhero and my broken heart scattered on the sidewalk. My tears are falling fast and hot by the time I shut the front door behind me.
Buttercup, a mediumsized yellow mutt of a dog, greets me with a wagging tail and a whimper. I ignore him. I drop my backpack, my shopping bag, and dart into the bathroom. Felix, my red tabby cat, darts in with me.
I attempt to shut the door in a normal way instead of an I’mtotallypissed way. If Mom sees me like this, it’ll upset her. Even worse, it’ll fuel her anger.
“Chloe?” Mom calls. “Is that you?”
“Yeah. I’m in the bathroom.” I hope I don’t sound as emotionally ripped as I feel.
I drop down on the toilet seat, press the backs of my hands against my forehead, and try to breathe.
Mom’s steps creak across the old wood floors. Her voice sounds behind the door. “You okay, hon?”
Felix is purring, rubbing his face on my leg. “Yeah. My stomach’s . . . I think the meat loaf I had at Dad’s was bad.”
“Did Darlene fix it?” Her tone’s rolled and deepfried in hate.
I grit my teeth. “Yeah.”
“Please tell me your dad ate a second helping.”
I close my eyes, when what I really want to do is scream, Stop it! I get why Mom’s so angry. I get that my dad’s a piece of shit. I get that he refuses to take any blame, and that makes it worse. I get what she’s been through. I get all of it. But does she have a clue how much it hurts me to listen to her take potshots at someone I still sort of love?
“I’m going to sit out on the patio,” she says. “When you’re out, join me.”
“Uhhuh,” I say.
Mom’s steps creak away.
I stay seated and try not to think about what all hurts, and instead I pet Felix. His eyes, so green, take me back to the boy in the store. Whatever you’re trying to pull, don’t do it.
What the heck did he mean?
Quotes taken from the ARC. Final publication may differ.
I wonder if that’s all life really is, just smears of color. A collage of sweeping moments in different shades and hues of emotions. Times when you’re happy, sad, angry, scared, and when you’re just faking it.
Sometimes what you didn’t know was scarier than what you knew. Even if what you knew was already pretty damn scary.
If you’re not a little bit afraid, you’re not doing something right.
C.C. HUNTER is a pseudonym for award-winning romance author Christie Craig. She is lives in Tomball, Texas, where she’s at work on her next novel.
Christie’s books include The Mortician’s Daughter series, Shadow Fall Novels and This Heart of Mine.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.
As always, thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful day!