Book excerpt: ‘Kissed’ by Kimberly Loth

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Kissed (The Thorn Chronicles #1)
by Kimberly Loth

Release Date: 05/01/14

Trapped in a dark cult, sixteen-year-old Naomi Aren has lived a quiet, albeit unhappy, life nestled deep in the hills of the Ozarks. With uncut hair, denim skirts, and only roses for friends, Naomi seldom questions why her life is different from other kids at school. Until the day her abusive father, who is also the cult’s leader, announces her wedding. Naomi must marry Dwayne Yerdin, a bully who reeks of sweat and manure and is the only one person who scares her worse than her father.

Then she meets Kai, the mysterious boy who brings her exotic new roses and stolen midnight kisses. Kisses that bring her a supernatural strength she never knew she had. As the big day approaches, Naomi unearths more secrets of about her father’s cult. She learns she has power of her own and while Kai may have awakened that power, Naomi must find a way to use it to escape Dwayne and her father—without destroying herself.

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Excerpt

KissedSeven roses contain the name of the day of rest. My favorite is Sunday Lemonade. Its pale pink blooms give off a scent of lazy summer nights visiting with friends. Just the opposite of the many Sabbaths I spend with my father. His Sundays smell like famine and pestilence.

Birds sang to announce the new day. Perhaps I could stay in bed a little longer. My eyelids fluttered and I rolled to my side, the crisp sheets scratching my skin. The cheap alarm clock glowed red in the darkness. 8:30. I had an hour until the apocalypse began. For a minute I debated staying in bed, replaying various kisses from my mystery savior, but I still needed to shower and plant myself on the couch before Father was ready to go. My stomach growled and I sighed. No food today. Sundays were days of fasting. My ankle-length nightgown twisted around my knees and I struggled to free my legs. My breath came in rapid bursts, the claustrophobia setting in. Consciously, I slowed my breath and untwisted my nightgown. If I ever escaped, I promised myself the first thing I would do is sleep naked.

I sat up and flicked on the cracked floral lamp that sat on my nightstand. My gaze settled on my dresser. Last night I left deep red Oklahoma Roses. Next to them sat a monster blueberry muffin and a banana. I was grateful, but flabbergasted that today of all days he knew to leave food with the flowers. Today, I wouldn’t be allowed to eat.

I scrambled to the dresser and inhaled the muffin and banana. Only when I was half way through did the thought occur to me that Father might notice the smell on my breath. I would have to take extra care brushing my teeth. Full and feeling that today might not be so awful after all, I set to the task of getting ready for church.

After my shower, I scrubbed my teeth and braided my hair. Guilt swam across my insides. This week, I disobeyed my parents, flipped off Dwayne, ate breakfast on the Sabbath and I was kissing a boy every night. If I confessed before the Master I would have a fingernail ripped out, my middle finger would be burned, I would have to drink a glass of scalding water, and I didn’t know what my punishment would be for kissing the boy. No one had ever committed that sin before or at least confessed to it.

Perhaps it was cowardly, but I didn’t want to bear the punishment. Perhaps given enough time, I’d just forget about it. As long as the Master never asked me, I wouldn’t have to confess. I tried once, to not confess, but one look into those evil red eyes and the words tumbled off my lips. I couldn’t help it.

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About the Author

Kimberly Loth can’t decide where she wants to settle down. She’s lived in Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Utah, California, Oregon, and South Carolina. She finally decided to make the leap and leave the U.S. behind for a few years. Currently, she lives in Cairo, Egypt with her husband and two kids.

She is a high school math teacher by day (please don’t hold that against her) and YA author by night. She loves romantic movies, chocolate, roses, and crazy adventures. Kissed is her first novel.

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