Thursday 1 June 2017

Blog Tour Spotlight & Giveaway - Night Magic by Jenna Black

Author: by Jenna Black
Series: Nightstruck (Book 2)
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (May 30, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765380064
ISBN-13: 978-0765380067

Book Description:
Jenna Black returns to the quarantined city of Philadelphia, where an unsuspecting seventeen-year-old has unknowingly unleashed a dark power that transforms the city into a monstrous hellscape in Night Magic.

Philadelphia is locked in the grip of an evil magic that transforms its streets into a nightmare landscape the minute the sun sets each night. While most of the city hunkers down and hopes to survive the long winter nights, Becket Walker is roaming the darkened streets having the time of her life.

Once, the guilt of having inadvertently let the night magic into the city―and of having killed her onetime best friend―had threatened to destroy her. But now she’s been Nightstruck, and all her grief and guilt and terror have been swept away―along with her conscience. So what if she’s lost her friends, her family, and her home? And so what if her hot new boyfriend is super-controlling and downright malevolent?

Mesmerized by the power and freedom of not having to care about anyone but herself, Becket is sinking ever deeper into the night magic’s grasp. But those who love her refuse to give up on her―even if she’s given up on them. If they can’t find a way to help Becket break the night magic’s hold, the entire city might soon find itself shrouded in perpetual night. But the last thing Becket wants is to be “rescued” from her brand new life, and she will fight tooth and claw to stay exactly where she is.

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Praise for NIGHT MAGIC
“Suspenseful and savage―Jenna Black does horror right!”―Kimberly Derting, author of the Body Finder series

"Effectively blending grisly horror, teenage dilemmas, and a touch of romance, Black has built a genuinely scary city where the night literally has teeth.”―Publishers Weekly  


Chapter Two

After about three hours of what Aleric termed shopping— otherwise known as looting—my feet were killing me.  Under my fur coat, I was wearing a brand-new pair of $350 jeans, a gorgeous cashmere sweater, and brand-new silk underwear. I’d never owned a matching bra and panty set before, much less in designer silk. I’d also picked up a Prada handbag I didn’t have much need for, as well as several other outfits that I would probably never wear. Leo continued to accompany us. He helped us get into the shops I wanted, then served as pack mule when I came out. If you’ve never seen the snakes in a metal lion’s mane carrying shopping bags, you’re missing out.

“What am I going to do with all this stuff?” I asked as we left what I declared our last stop of the night. “I’m basically homeless.”

Aleric made a tsking sound. “Do you have any idea how many empty homes there are in Philadelphia right now? You can have any one of them you want. Hell, you can have a different one for each night.”

Yet again, Aleric was saying  things that should have bothered me, reminding me how many  people had died since the madness began and how many  people had been Nightstruck and had therefore abandoned their previous lives. Instead, I just found it convenient.

“Is there somewhere close?” I asked. “I am past ready to get off my feet.”

He took me to a fashionable little old house on Delancy Street. He promised me the place was vacant, its owner dead for three days now. I was still half convinced we’d run into a  family member or someone  else who might take exception to us occupying the place, but no one came  running or yelled when Leo broke down the door for us. Even in my furs, the warm air that wafted out of the house felt inviting, and I entered eagerly, expecting Aleric to be right behind me.

But when I turned to thank him for such a wonderful night, he was still standing in the doorway, Leo hovering at his side. 

 “I can’t cross the threshold,” he reminded me. That was the second time in one night I’d forgotten he wasn’t human. I wondered how long it would take that fact to sink into my head. I looked around at the elegant home I was invading, wondering what I was supposed to do with the rest of the night. I wasn’t even remotely sleepy, and though my legs were tired and I was happy to be out of the cold, I was filled with so much energy that there was no way I was just going to sit and veg on someone’s couch. Especially not all by myself.

I pouted at Aleric. “It’s no fun without you.” I had disliked and distrusted Aleric since the first moment I’d met him, and yet tonight he’d been great company. I wasn’t interested in going our separate ways.

“Tell you what,” Aleric suggested. “Why don’t you raid the fridge, see if there’s anything good. The owner hasn’t been dead all that long, so it’s not like stuff should be rotting yet. Then look around, see if there’s anything you want, and come back out. I’ll be waiting for you right here.”

It still didn’t sound like much fun. Not compared to breaking into designer boutiques and trying on clothes and shoes I never could have dreamed of affording. But my stomach was rumbling, and I had to get food from somewhere. It wasn’t like we could just waltz into a restaurant and order dinner.

“All right,” I said. “I’ll be out soon.”

I found the kitchen and discovered that my late and unwilling host had been a junk food addict. The fridge contained a cornucopia of leftover Chinese food as well as what was left of some kind of gourmet pizza that had artichokes on it. The walls and the ceiling above me were making me feel claustrophobic. I didn’t feel like taking the time to heat anything up, and cold artichoke pizza sounded disgusting. Instead, I raided the pantry, where I found several unopened bags of chips as well as a box of chocolate- chip cookies that were just a little bit stale. There was also a box of S’mores Pop- Tarts. I shoved a couple packets of Pop- Tarts into my pocket for later, then grabbed a handful of cookies and a bag of chips. One more trip to the fridge netted me a can of Coke and a three- quarters- full bottle of white wine that was probably super expensive.

I  couldn’t stand being inside any longer, so with bulging pockets— and probably with smears of chocolate on my face from shoving down a  couple of the cookies— I made my way back to the front door, where Aleric was waiting just as he’d promised. He smiled at my food choices.

“I see you’re going for the gourmet dinner option,” he teased.

I gave him a haughty look. “I have a couple of the basic food groups covered. Chips and cookies are food groups, aren’t they? Besides, are you going to tell me I can’t have dessert unless I eat my veggies?”

He grinned. “Of course not. I’m also not going to tell you you can’t drink that wine until you’re twenty- one.”

I’d had much more extensive brushes with rebellion that night, but somehow the idea that I could eat chocolate- chip cookies for dinner and wash them down with wine— and not care that it wasn’t good for me or even legal— filled me with delight. I let out a little whoop and threw my arms around Aleric. I probably crushed half the chips in the bag I was holding.

“Being Nightstruck is the best thing that ever happened to me!” I declared as Aleric hugged me back and I inhaled the scent of his jacket again. “Thank you so much. And I’m sorry I was so . . .  difficult about it.”

If I’d just stopped fighting it, I could have been Nightstruck ages ago. Maybe then my father would still be alive, since the only reason Piper had killed him was to make me so miserable I’d be vulnerable to the temptations of the night.

I braced for the wave of guilt that should have followed that thought, but it didn’t come. My father had been the police commissioner. While he was hardly a patrol officer, he was very much the kind of man who would throw himself into danger if he thought someone needed saving. A hero. Which meant even if Piper hadn’t killed him to get to me, he prob ably would have gotten himself killed going out into the night to rescue  people. It was in his nature.

Don’t get me wrong. I still wished he weren’t dead. But my emotions felt strangely distant, and very safe. Nothing could devastate me now, nothing could kill my buoyant mood.

“I know you’re tired of walking,” Aleric said, still holding me. “How about we make for Rittenhouse Square and have ourselves a little picnic? If you feel you can’t make it that far, I’m sure Leo here would be happy to give you a ride.” He patted Leo’s head, heedless of the hissing snakes.

“Um, I’m good.” No way was I getting on that creature’s back and riding him like a horse. Even if it weren’t for the snakes and the scorpion tail, he was made of bronze, which would make for a very hard and very cold seat. Besides, the square was only a few blocks away.

Rittenhouse Square is a great place for a picnic on a warm and sunny day. I wasn’t sure how great it would be in the wee hours of a frigid winter’s night, but I was game to find out. Especially with Aleric and that bottle of wine keeping me company.

Since Aleric couldn’t cross the thresholds of stores, he ordered another pack of Nightstruck to bring us a blanket for our picnic. I don’t know where they got it from, and I didn’t ask. He laid the blanket down on a patch of grass, and I emptied my pockets. I  wasn’t sure I would feel much like eating with Leo hovering so near— even being in his presence for hours had not yet warmed me to him—so I was relieved when he wandered off. He was still carry ing all my packages when he did, but since I didn’t know what I would do with my ill- gotten gains anyway, I decided that was no  great loss.

Aleric’s Nightstruck brought us a slew of super- soft pillows to help insulate and protect us from the frozen ground, and they also thoughtfully provided wineglasses. We tore into the chips and cookies, then split a packet of Pop Tarts. I quickly discovered that wine does not go well with cookies or Pop- Tarts. I’m sure that technically it doesn’t go all that well with chips, either, but at least it didn’t taste gross.

The wine added a lovely buzz to my already cheerful mood, and between the alcohol and the mink coat, I was pleasantly warm. Aleric’s playful flirting didn’t hurt, either.

I’d been in an odd sort of relationship with Luke, Piper’s ex- boyfriend. Well, sort of ex. The two of them were still officially going out when Piper became Nightstruck and they lost interest in each other. I’d had a crush on Luke for forever, but I’d always figured he was out of my league. We seemed to have developed some mutual attraction, though there were too many extenuating circumstances for me to consider him my boyfriend. 

Luke was out of my league, but someone like Aleric ordinarily wouldn’t even know my league existed. He was seriously the hottest guy I’d ever seen in real life. Like, if I’d seen him on TV walking down the red carpet with some supermodel on his arm, I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised. To have him flirting with me was more intoxicating than the wine.

My more sensible side was dormant, but not dead. I knew that Aleric was only interested in me because I was the one who’d opened the doorway between our worlds. He was a construct created by the alchemy of my blood mixing with magic, and that created a bond between us that had nothing to do with any true emotional connection or friendship. If it weren’t for the blood bond, there was no way he’d be spending his whole night showing me a good time. He wouldn’t even have noticed me, much less flirted with me.

Strangely, knowing all that didn’t make it any less fun. I didn’t have a whole lot of experience with flirting, myself, but I tried my best to keep up. It helped that I was no longer self- conscious or embarrassed when I said something stupid. Instead of blushing and stammering and trying to take my words back, I just zipped right on ahead.

And time zipped right on by, too. When we were finished with the wine, and I was hoping we could maybe take this flirting thing to the next level, the blackness of night was more like a deep navy blue.

“Dawn is coming,” Aleric said, taking my hand.

I remembered the previous dawn, when I’d tried so desperately to escape the Transition. I remembered watching the dawn light spread, the city changing back into its daylight self-inch by inch. And after that . . .  I remembered nothing, until I was suddenly walking down the street with Aleric.

“What happens to us at dawn?” I asked.

From all accounts, the Nightstruck were gone by the time the sun came out, but to my knowledge, no one knew where they went. You’d think becoming Nightstruck myself would have solved the mystery, but though I strained to remember where I’d been during the hours of the day, I couldn’t scrape up the tiniest hint.

“Don’t be afraid,” Aleric said, tugging me to my feet.

The city was beginning to change, the light progressing steadily toward us.

“I’m not afraid,” I told him, and it was true. It should have bothered me not to know where I’d been for hours on end, but it was more a source of curiosity than an actual fear. “I just want to know what happens to us.”

Aleric gave me an enigmatic smile. Maybe he was about to answer my question— he’d been pretty good about answering questions all night— but before he had a chance, the dawn light reached us.

About the Author 
Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she's an "experience junkie." She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.

Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like 80% of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.

Concluding that this discovery was her life's work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. Among her other experiences . . .

Ballroom dancing.
Traveling all seven continents. Yes, even Antarctica.
Becoming a Life Master in Bridge.
Singing in a barbershop chorus.

Read the true story of Jenna's first trip out of the country by herself at the age of 16: Jenna's Zaire Adventure. And remember, insanity is a good thing for a writer.

She's also a proud member of the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, and would love for her readers to support her fellow authors!

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