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Oct 3, 2013

YA Scavenger Hunt!

YA Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are THREE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GOLD TEAM--but there is also a red team and a blue team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to
the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.


Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the gold team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 6, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


Today, I am hosting FIONA PAUL on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Fiona Paul is a writer and registered nurse from St. Louis, Missouri. She also writes contemporary YA novels under the name Paula Stokes.

Find out more information by checking out Fiona’s website or find more about her amazing books here!

The Secrets of the Eternal Rose: BELLADONNA

When nothing is as it seems, the truth may be the deadliest poison of all.

A CHARMING BUT WILD ARTIST ran off with her heart.

HER STRONG, STEADY FIANCÉ appears to be keeping secrets.

ARRESTED IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT, her fiancé is imprisoned on false charges. To free him Cass must journey to Florence, a city haunted by rumors, secret soirees, clandestine meetings, and home to the eerily stunning leader of the Order of the Eternal Rose, the Belladonna herself. Cass can prove Luca's innocence, but can she trust her heart to lead her to the truth?

DANGEROUS, SEDUCTIVE AND ALLURING this edge-of-your-seat romantic thriller will leave readers wondering not only whom Cass will choose—Luca or Falco—but whether or not all three of them will survive


Fiona: This scene was cut for the same reason I cut most things—it was slowing down an already slow beginning. In the finished version of BELLADONNA, Cassandra’s fiancé, Luca, is arrested in the first chapter. This is a scene from an earlier draft where Luca was arrested in chapter three. In chapter one, Luca went to the Rialto for business and Cass went to a dinner party at her friend Madalena’s new palazzo. Initially, the place was packed with girls Cass didn’t know—many of them married—and she felt awkward and left out of the conversation. After everyone else left, Cass and Mada had this private chat.
Madalena reached across the table to put her gloved hand on Cass’s. “I’m really glad that you came.”
            Cass sensed something dark lingering beneath her friend’s benign expression. “What is it?” she asked. “What’s bothering you?”
            “You always did know me.” Mada lifted her hands so that the servants could finish clearing dishes from the table. She waited until both boys had disappeared into the kitchen before speaking again. “Marco wants to have a child.”
            “Already?” Cass raised her eyebrows.
            Mada shrugged. “It isn’t that. I would love to give him a child, a whole brood of children.” Her lips flattened. “But what if I can’t? My mother…”
            Madalena didn’t have to say more. Her mother had died while giving birth to her younger brother. As if that wasn’t tragic enough, he had passed away just a few weeks later from an intractable fever. Cass had been about eight at the time. She’d never even seen the baby. There were no portraits of him at Palazzo Rambaldo. It was almost as if he had never existed at all.
            “There are so many things that could go wrong…” Mada trailed off. And we’re so happy right now. I don’t want anything to ruin it.”
            The outside sun suddenly blazed through a row of windows behind the old suits of armor. The whole portego took on an ethereal glow. “Nothing will ruin it,” Cass insisted.        
“What about your happiness?” Mada asked. “Are things improving with Luca?”
            Cass pulled the lily pendant from beneath her bodice. “He gave me this.”
            Madalena reached out to touch the diamond pendant. She whistled. “I’d say he’s definitely trying.”
            Cass nodded. “It isn’t that I don’t like him. He’s very sweet.”
            “And handsome,” Mada sing-songed.
            Cass bit her lip and turned her eyes to the window. Luca was undeniably attractive. But…
            “What is it?” Madalena persisted. “What’s holding you back?”
            “Falco,” Cass blurted out. “He’s all I ever think about.”
            Mada’s dark eyes widened. “But hasn’t he left Venice?”
            Cass nodded. “But he sends me the most romantic letters. Filled with words that Luca doesn’t use. Words that Luca probably doesn’t even know.”
            “I really thought you would forget about him,” Madalena said. “Especially with Luca in the next room.” She raised her eyebrows. “Your aunt must really trust you. If Marco had been living so close to me, I would have sneaked him into my bedchamber every night.”
            “She trusts Luca,” Cass said. “He’s so unbelievably stiff that old Agnese knows he’d never do anything improper. He hasn’t even kissed me.”
            “Maybe he just needs a little encouragement,” Madalena said. “Maybe you should be sneaking into his bedchamber.”
            Cass felt her cheeks turn red. Against her will, she imagined it: slipping into Luca’s darkened bedroom late at night, crawling beneath the sheets. Maybe her fiancé would surprise her. Maybe he wouldn’t order her away. She imagined him, half-drowsy from a dream, turning to find her curled against him. He would thrust his large hands deep into Cass’s thick auburn hair and pull her face toward his. His mouth would find hers in the dark…
             “Let me give you something else to think about,” Mada said, her lips slanting into a grin. “Marco and I are heading to Florence in a few days. Father has some business dealings there he wishes Marco to be a part of.” Mada leaned forward and gripped Cass’s hand. “Come with us, Cass. We’ll be staying at my cousin’s place. There will be no romantic missives from your artist lover. And no Luca. Maybe you need to clear your head.”
Fiona: In the finished version, it’s Cass, not Madalena, who instigates the trip to Florence because she is following a trail of clues. That was another change made in edits that I think works to give Cass more control over her own story. Now, a BONUS--a sneak peek from STARLING:

Her chest tightened. “You are the only one I want,” she whispered. Immediately she felt buoyant. It was as if she had finally shared a secret that had grown too big inside her, magical words that saved her from drowning. Cass threw her arms around his neck, inhaling the scents of sweat and sea air. She realized with a start that she was still wearing the chain-mail shirt.
            He held her tight against him. “Then I am the luckiest man alive.” He pulled back so he could look into her eyes. “And I never thought I’d say this,” he said, his fingertips coming to rest at the bottom of her chain mail. “But you look lovely in armor.”

Fiona: Who is Cass professing her love to and why the heck is she wearing armor? Find out in STARLING, March 20, 2014. Enjoy the rest of the hunt!

Wow, thanks, Fiona! I can’t wait to read this—sounds so amazing, and the perfect read for me. Thanks for this awesome post!

Now, also, don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win the FIREBLOOD ebook novella, UNVEILED, and a singed FIREBLOOD ARC! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 16. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the gold team and you'll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, my girl, Victoria Scott!


  1. I enjoyed reading that cut scene from Belladonna. YASH is so fun, thanks for joining. Fireblood really sounds amazing! I can't wait for its release, but I will. ;)

  2. Thanks for participating. I can't wait to read this book!

    Kassiah from Swoony Boys Podcast