Thursday, February 4, 2016

#BlogTour: These Vicious Masks by @KellyZekas & @tkshanker with excerpt @XpressoTours

These Vicious Masks by Kelly Zekas & Tarun Shanker
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: February 9th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult


Evelyn has no interest in marriage and even the dashing Mr. Kent can’t make her want to live up to society’s expectations. She’d much rather assist her beloved sister Rose in becoming the world’s first female doctor. But everything changes the night she meets Sebastian Braddock – not only is the reclusive lord both vexing and surprisingly attractive, he’s also quite possibly mad, and his interest in Rose is galling. So when Evelyn wakes up to discover that Rose has disappeared, she immediately suspects Sebastian.

But then she discovers that Sebastian’s strange tales of special powers are actually true, and that Rose’s kidnappers have worse in mind for her than simply ruining her reputation. Surrounded by secrets, lies, and unprecedented danger, Evelyn has no choice but to trust Sebastian, yet she can’t help but worry that Sebastian’s secrets are the most dangerous of all…

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Mr. Kent Dancing Scene

“What would you do if you could do anything at this ball?”

“I’d eat cake.”

“Unless you eat upwards of two hundred cakes, that particular activity will not occupy your entire night.”

My mind shuffled through all the possibilities—cards, suitors, copious amounts of wine—but nothing appealed. This was exactly why I avoided every ball I could.

“I don’t know,” I admitted.

“Then I present you with two choices. We stand here, observing our dull surroundings, racking our minds for ideas. Or,” he said, putting his hand out, “we do our thinking while spinning in circles and forgetting where we are.”

“As persuasive an argument as any,” I said, surrendering my hand. He clasped it for an inordinate length of time before putting it on his arm, and I didn’t mind where he led me. As we moved toward the dance floor, a new song hummed to life, and Mr. Kent, unable to restrain his smile, pulled me into a waltz.

With gentle pressure on my waist, he guided me in slow circles, weaving us through the dizzying stream of couples, our every step and turn on point with the beat. My head felt light, almost giddy with the rush of motion. His light brown eyes met mine, and they seemed to dance along with us.

“You were right, this is absolutely dismal,” he said.

“Don’t be so quick to judge,” I replied, “here comes the exciting part, where we continue to twirl in the exact same manner as before.”

“My God, you are impossible to please.”

As we bounced to the swells and dips, the room and its crowd revolved with us. Poor Rose whirled by in a flash of silks as another infatuated dance partner tried desperately to win her approval with his footwork. Mother, breaking away from her group of matchmakers, made her way along the outskirts of the room. And Mr. Braddock stood determinedly by himself, a slight space between him and a gaggle of giggling schoolgirls. He seemed to be directly in my mother’s path. Or even worse, her destination.

“I’ve changed my mind,” I told Mr. Kent. “We’re dancing forever now.”

“Ah, that’ll be a difficult life, but very well, I will let no other claim you.”

“Good, for I can see my mother getting ready to arrange a dance with Mr. Braddock.”

“I see.” Something lit behind his eyes as they landed on Mr. Braddock, and I couldn’t tell if it was amusement or jealousy. “Would that be the fellow over there? He certainly seems to have gathered a following.”

“Indeed, it is.” And Mr. Kent was right. It wasn’t just my mother and a few young women. Every mother in the county was eyeing him, fans fluttering and bosoms quivering. Simpering misses subtly pinched their cheeks and smoothed down their hair. How absurd.

A tall, plain girl bravely stepped from the pack and marched toward him. She turned and stared daggers at her companions, who had renewed their giggles. Mr. Braddock scanned the crowd closely, as though looking for someone, but his stiff posture suggested that he knew what a stir his presence had created and wanted to leave immediately.

Mr. Kent and I watched with some delight as the brave girl came up behind him and very impolitely grabbed his arm. By reflex, he wrenched his arm away, but the girl held on as she fell into a paroxysm of coughing. And though Mr. Braddock tried to step away, she managed to climax her performance with a none-too-graceful faint directly onto his person with some well-practiced gasps for breath in his arms.

For his part, Mr. Braddock seemed unequal to the task of dealing with the creature and unceremoniously let her drop to the ground, where it seemed her false swoon became a true one. He hovered above her, shock and guilt lacing his features. The ballroom lay deathly still for a brief moment until he wordlessly whirled and dashed straight out of the room, guests hopping out of his path. I looked at Mr. Kent and saw my own puzzlement mirrored on his angular face. Then a small, gloved hand grabbed my own, and Rose pulled me toward the fallen girl.

About the author

Tarun and Kelly met in a freshman year writing class at NYU and started writing These Vicious Masks a few years later.

Tarun is a writer living in Los Angeles whose idea of paradise consists of kung-fu movies, David Bowie and chai tea. Since completing his first horrible screenplay in high school, he’s written everything from one-act plays and film criticism to humor pieces and strongly-worded emails. He’s also magnetized, crushed and burned the hard drive where that first screenplay can be found.

Kelly is a writer and actor living in NYC. YA is her absolute favorite thing on earth other than cupcakes and she has spent many hours crying over fictional deaths. She also started reading Harlequin romances at a possibly too early age (12?), and still loves a good paperback romance.

Links (Tarun):

Links (Kelly):

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