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For centuries, countless adventurers have searched for the Fountain of Youth. Those who found it thought they would gain eternal life. Instead, they find themselves murdered by its guardians. There was, however, one, lone survivor—Fae Miller. As an infant, she not only survived the Fountain, she took its power.
Twenty-two years later, Fae is hiding in plain sight at a local college. She’s is determined to leave the past behind her and live a normal life. But for one dying man, the search for the Fountain of Youth continues, and he is leaving a trail of blood and mutilated bodies in his wake. Unfortunately, that trail leads directly to Fae. Her only hope is a young, new college professor, also known as Special Agent Nick Chase of the FBI. Nick is determined to do two things: keep Fae alive, and keep his relationship with his student professional. Both of these jobs prove difficult—especially when love and magic get involved.
They ate their dinner in silence. Fae realized in those quiet moments that she had a major problem.
She’d not only kissed her professor, she desperately wanted to kiss him again. No. Desperate was not a strong enough word. It took supreme effort not to jump out of her seat and throw her arms around him.
“Um,” she said and cleared her throat, “that probably shouldn’t happen again.”
Nick didn’t answer. A scowl settled on his face.
“I mean,” Fae continued, “This could complicate things. I don’t want you to feel you need to give me a good grade, just because you might…”
“Might what?” he asked when she didn’t’ continue.
“I don’t want to put words in your mouth,” she said.
“Right,” he said. He seemed want to say something, but paused to consider his words. “How about I tell you how I feel? That way you won’t be putting words into my mouth.”
He looked her directly in the eyes. “I think you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid eyes on. So it goes without saying that I’m attracted to you. And I’ve had enough experience with women to know you’ve had little experience with men. Rules aside, I’d still move slowly with you.”
Fae swallowed and gave a shaky nod.
“But the truth is I am your professor. So this relationship cannot move further than what it is now. That is until the end of the term. And no, I won’t be giving you any grade you don’t deserve.”
“But, once the term ends,” he continued, “all bets are off. I intend to pursue a relationship with you. I expect keeping my hands off you will be difficult in the meantime. I think we are both reasonable adults and have enough self-control to keep things at a professional level. Right?”
Fae nodded, feeling a bit relieved. “I do have one question,” she said.
“You said our relationship couldn’t go farther than it is.”
“Right,” he said.
“And we’ve already kissed.”
A frown settled on his face. It looked like he could guess what she was about to say. Warmth flooded her cheeks. She asked in a small voice, “So, can I kiss you again?”
He closed his eyes and shook his head as he groaned and gave a weak chuckle. “You’re going to make things difficult, aren’t you?” When he opened his eyes, he stood up, pulled her out of her seat, and wrapped his arms around her. Her eyes widened and heart pounded as her body melded against his. He looked down and gave her a smoldering look as the scent of his cologne teased her senses and made her mouth water.
“I can’t think of any alternate reality where I would ever say no when you ask me that question.” With that said, he leaned forward and kissed her so thoroughly, she could scarcely remember her own name.
I had the chance to ask Holly a few fun questions, so here goes!
Amanda: I adore the idea of 'The Unnatural States of America'; what inspired it?
Holly: It sprang from the ideas I had for a couple books. I began to write Cursed by the Fountain of Youth after the close of the last book of my latest series—The Rising Series. And then in midst of writing, I got an idea I absolutely loved about a twist for the Legend of Sleepy Hollow story too. And then I got to thinking, that there are a lot of amazing legends right here in the US. So, why don’t I write books about those legends?
A: There are several theories on the location of the Fountain of Youth; which is your favorite?
H: I love the thought, that in some cultures, it isn’t just a vague legend, they have an absolute belief that they have the fountain of youth. In my book, I actually took a couple of different legends and connect them. In Ethiopia, there is a pool that supposedly will return vitality and strength to a person. The pool is real, people use it, and my guess is it has minerals and properties that do have some benefits. Then there’s the power of belief at work there that can be a powerful thing. Then I use the Fountain of Youth that Ponce de Leon supposedly searched for in Florida (around the St. Augustine area). There are also legends about a secret society of guardians that protect the fountain. It’s so secrets that no one knows the name of it, and of course, where it is located. When I found this out, I thought, “This is so going in my book!”
A: What did you edit out of this book?
H: I really didn’t edit much out; I did change some things though. The character of Fae really changed for me as I wrote the story. I started out wanting to write a character who was strong, opinionated, and tough (kind of like Gretchen in my second Rising book), but the chemistry wasn’t working between her and Nick. So I had to rewrite some of the beginning. I seem to prefer women characters who have insecurities and fears, but rise to meet challenges and find an inner strength they didn’t know they had. I guess I can relate more to these women.
A: What was your hardest scene to write?
H; The scenes where there is action, heart break, and suffering are the easiest for me to write. What’s a little more difficult for me is the day to day scenes—the ones where you get to know the characters. Action scenes have to be balanced with character building scenes, so I do it. And if I’m doing it right, I really enjoy the low-down scenes. But, I love writing action. As for one difficult scene, I can’t think of any in this book that was hard to write.
A: What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
H: I have a friend who wrote a book I thought was brilliant. I was swallowed up in the story as I read it, and I absolutely loved it. I was sure it would be a big seller but, although it’s had okay sales, it never really caught on as big as I thought it would. It’s called Reluctant Guardian by Melissa J. Cunningham. If you want to find a gem that not many have read, pick up this book!
About the Author:Holly Kelly is a mom who writes books in her spare time: translation--she hides in the bathroom with her laptop and locks the door while the kids destroy the house and smear peanut butter on the walls. She was born in Utah but moved around a bit, living in Kansas, Texas, and Hawaii where she studied marine biology. She's now back in Utah--"happy valley". She's married to a wonderful husband, James, and they are currently raising 6 rambunctious children. Her interests are reading, writing (or course), martial arts, visual arts, creating Halloween props, and spending time with family.
Find Holly at: AuthorHollyKelly.com
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