One year ago today, SHIFT was released to the world and was no longer in the hands of just me and my closest friends. Everyone now had access to my magical, angsty baby and the world I had taken years to create, a story I had built up in my heart for as long as I could remember. As a creative soul, one that was tainted with a bad publishing experience before, there was nothing quite like holding that paperback in my hands for the first time knowing I had done it on my own, I had overcome trauma and grief and depression, pushed it into this story, and turned it into a beautiful thing that changed my life.
SHIFT is Nikolai's story, and I've always intended to tell Val's story, too. SHIFT has always intended to be a duology. A year later, and I'm still working on the sequel (though having a baby and those complications did put a wrench in some writing time), but I'm so happy to have found a great agent at Context Literary who has really put in the passion and enthusiasm for this next journey.
In writing Val, I knew what she wanted to accomplish and how she wanted to grow. I knew what she needed. SHIFT was how Nikolai recovered and moved on from his past trauma, growing and changing and being okay with that. Val is a whole different beast. Val's entire essence, her instinct, her make-up, is to change. What she desires most in all the world is to find (and keep) something constant.
So as a gift to you, dear reader, I present the official title of the second book in the SHIFT duology:
I promise to rip your heart out in all the right ways. :)
As an added anniversary gift, here's a little snippet from Everlast to tide you over until its eventual release. Please send all the good vibes, and like always - like, share, leave reviews, and support your girl. <3 A big thank you to everyone who has purchased, read, and loved SHIFT in all its forms, who supported me when I had nothing else to do BUT write, who never laughed or judged when I told myself that all I want to do when I'm asked what I do is say, with no shame, that "I am an author."
Snippet from Everlast (spoilers from SHIFT within)
Val’s eyes shot up to the door, knowing full well he was standing there. His presence was a magnet to light, but it called to every drop of blood in her body, pulling on the very fabric of her being. She visibly gulped but looked back down at the makeshift paperstack on her desk. There was too much chaos, which she normally could deal with. Now, it seemed she was drowning in recycled paper and holodisks.
Nikolai had shed his coat, the early summer air making it a bit too warm in the building for unnecessary layers, even for him. Unfortunately for Val, this resulted in Nikolai folding up his sleeves to his elbows - also a new development for him - which caused his suspenders to tighten across his shoulders and chest. The evidence of the situation was now in the threshold of her door, leaning against the frame with that clase de mierda look on his face. She wanted to throttle and ravish him all at the same time. She clenched her legs together under the desk.
Get your shit together, Edison.
“You got a minute?”
“Sure,” she responded. It left her mouth way too quick in order to hide the insecurity. Who knew one syllable could sound like a garbled mess? He walked in, and it took Val every ounce of energy to appear nonchalant. He didn’t sit, just continued to stand opposite her. From across the desk she could smell him - he had just showered before he came in, and the scent of his soap ignited her pheromones into overdrive. Perfect, just perfect. She cleared her throat and it felt all wrong, like she had stones lodged between the tissue. “What’s up?” she croaked. She managed to really look at him then; his hair was still damp, combed back as much as possible aside from the persistent cowlick that gravitated to the front of his right eye. No green coat today, but he had on a burgundy shirt and navy suspenders and it caused Val to clench her jaw to the point she thought her teeth would crack.
“We should probably talk to Allie about the antidote. Figured you would want to be present.”
Val narrowed her eyes at him, but focused on writing down an unintelligible note. “I’m in the middle of something, sorry.”
“Val,” he scoffed. The words come on didn’t leave his lips, but they may as well have.
She rolled her eyes. “Despite what you may think, I’m actually very busy.”
“This is our case, Val. We have an obligation to finish it together.”
“That was when we were partners, Brax. In case you didn’t know, you’re my superior now.”
Nikolai bent his head down towards her, his breath tickling the shell of her ear. “And when has me being on top ever stopped you from anything?”
Well. That was new. That was a level of confidence she hadn’t seen in a long time, but could definitely get used to. Unfortunately for Nikolai, she had more patience than he probably gave her credit for. Her head whipped up and she stood, meeting his gaze. Ooo boy, she thought. He brought it today. His eyes were laser focused on her. His hands were laid flat on her desk, and he was still leaning into her space. She mirrored his stance, her fingertips practically touching his. She shot him daggers of her own, shifting her bodyweight so her curves acted as their own weapon. It caught his attention for a brief moment before pinpointing her again. “Well, maybe I’d like to be on top every once in a while.”
She watched his Adam's apple wobble, and she knew she had him. “If I recall correctly, that’s your preferred position.” And he smirked. That gods awful, beautiful smirk.
“Great deduction skills you have there, Sherlock.” She felt one of his fingers lightly graze hers, sending a wave of electricity through her. She loved the feeling of it, ached for it, and for a second indulged the action before curling her hand away. “How about you use some of those to get a clue and leave me to work.”
He scoffed again, the breath leaving his nose. He was smiling, but Val could tell the tinge of hurt in his eyes. It flashed across his face briefly, but she recognized it all too well. She knew him better than anyone. The empty feeling in her chest expanded, and she wanted nothing more than to fill it with his laughter and scent and her name on his lips. “We’re not done here.”
Val sat, her whole body fighting against the action. “Yes, we are.”
From the corner of her eyes, she saw him stuff his hands in his pockets, and turn on his heel. “You can’t avoid me forever, Val,” he muttered, honestly laced in his voice now.
She looked at his body in the doorframe again, this time his back almost completely toward her. “I’m not avoiding you, Nikky. I’m just giving you what you want.”
His hand went up to the frame, absentmindedly picking at a piece of drywall texture. He smiled to himself, the corners of his lips straining from the attempt, before clenching his fist and resting it on the frame. He didn’t look at her again, though she silently wished for it. He opened his mouth to say something, then winced, as if the words were too painful to utter out loud. She could see him changing his mind, rolling around the syllables until they became something else entirely. “If you change your mind, you know where I’ll be.” With a pat of his closed fist, he walked off, leaving the room without air.