Monsters Among Us
(Monsters Among Us #3)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: June 26th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
What if the fate of the world lies with the monster—not the hero?
The world is shifting, and Sammy has complete control. But as hidden truths surface, she starts to doubt everyone who is close to her. The Ancients and Kory have been harboring dark secrets, and it could mean war between the Dragon Fae and the Irukas. With the Defenders as her devoted soldiers, Sam must make some difficult decisions. Should she save the world… or save herself?
Blake won’t give up on Sam. He knows he can’t trust Tonbo anymore, or the web of lies he’s been thrown into. If he hopes to save Sam, he must find the real reason Kory created the bug army. Turns out there could be something far worse than bloodthirsty bugs buriedon the islands, and Blake will have to fight his own inner demons if he wants to save those he loves—including Sam.
In a world filled with mistrust and lies, Blake and Sam must unearth the truth and face their own fears and weaknesses. If they don’t, their lives—and the fate of all humanity—will hang in the balance.
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Rounding a corner, I flew right into a pair of bright aqua eyes. I knew those eyes, and the recognition felt like a slap to my face. I halted, not just to avoid collision but because of absolute shock.
Impossible. How’s he here?
“Blake,” Mack gasped.
I remained stunned, still hovering inches from his face. Where were all the Defenders? How did he just waltz in? Why wasn’t he bound? I couldn’t process what I was seeing.
Trying to recompose myself in those milliseconds we both remained in a locked gaze, it dawned on me that Jaxon had not rushed his brother. I only heard heavy breathing behind me, and I wanted desperately to turn around to see what Jaxon was doing. Was he preparing for an attack, or was he awaiting my command?
Yet, I couldn’t peel my eyes away from Blake. Those aqua pools pulled me closer, beckoned me nearer even though our faces were mere inches apart. Frustrated, I commanded myself to move. Show some strength. Straighten your back, for heaven’s sake. I’m like a freaking hunchback, practically bowing to him. What’s wrong with me? Back up… now.
I didn’t move. I couldn’t. It was like my bedroom all over again, when I’d found myself moving toward him, longing to be near him against my will. Only this time, it was worse. He was too close, the magnetic pull reinforced by his nearness. I felt helpless against it, which panicked me more.
He didn’t say anything, his eyes raking my face, searching for Sam. But I’m not Sam, I wanted to shout, though I didn’t. I just kept on gazing into his eyes like a dunce.
You’ve got to be joking, Sam. I heard and felt nothing. I know you’re here. You must be, because I’m freaking stuck in place.
Again, there was nothing to betray her presence until I did the unthinkable. I closed the gap and kissed Blake.
I kissed him like my life depended on it, like I couldn’t get enough of his mouth, like he was the only person in the room, never mind the others’ audible gasps. I wrapped my hands around the back of his neck, pulling him to me. Blake seemed just as shocked as I was by my actions. He stiffened at my touch, groaned under my lips, and then, before I could feel remorse, pulled back from me as fast as I’d come at him, untangling himself from my embrace.
There were those eyes again, probing my face, questions forming but not spoken.
Born in Dekalb, Illinois, Amanda Strong has called Utah, Arizona, Hawaii, Virginia, and now New Mexico home. She has loved to spin tales since childhood. It was not uncommon to find her hiding in some random corner, scribbling away in her spiral-bound notebook, with her bright pink glasses. You could say some things have not changed.
Amanda signed with Clean Teen Publishing in the fall of 2013. She is the author of two paranormal, YA series: The Watchers of Men and Monsters Among Us.
The first novel in The Watchers of Men series, The Awakener, debuted in October of 2013. It has been an Amazon number one best seller in three Young Adult categories. Book two, The Holy and The Fallen, released May 12th of 2015. She is currently working on book three, The Watcher’s Mark, releasing spring of 2016.
Hidden Monster released November 4th of 2014, and it finished as a Finalist in the 2014 USA Best Book Award: Young Adult Category. It is book one of a brand-new young adult, sci-fi thriller series called Monsters Among Us.
When Amanda isn’t writing, you can find her chasing her three rambunctious children around the house and spending time with her wonderful and supportive husband. On some occasions, you can still find Amanda with her not-so-pink glasses, hiding in a corner reading her favorite young adult fantasy novels or working out only to blow her diet by eating ice cream. See more at:
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Guest Post: If The Heroines Met
Hello everyone! First, I wanted to say thank you for featuring my new release, Monsters Among Us, today. It is the third and final book in the series, Monsters Among Us. (I know, I named the last book after the series name. Just to keep everyone on their toes.)
I thought it might be fun to do a different kind of character interview. I got to thinking, what would happen if the heroines from both of my series met? Eden, from my Watchers of Men series and Samantha, from Monsters Among Us.
Mm, I think the conversation might go a little something like this:
Eden (Watchers of Men): Samantha, why do you let fear run your life? You need to believe in yourself more.
Samantha (Monsters Among Us): That’s easier for you to say, you weren’t abducted and tied up in a cabin. Not everything is roses, Eden. Believing in yourself won’t untie ropes.
Eden: True. I may not have been kidnapped, but I’ve had my fair share of freaky things too.
Samantha: Scarier than a monster taking you promising you’ll fall in love with him one day?
Eden: I may not have a psycho-path trying to get me to fall for him, but try having a demon crawl out from underneath your bed. I’ve been almost torn to shreds by my ‘monsters’ and if I didn’t have an angel watching out for me, I would definitely not be standing here today. Just know you’re never alone, Samantha. Remembering that helps me not be afraid and (Shrugs) leaving lights on when I sleep.
Samantha: I wish I could chase away my demons with a lamp. You’re right about one thing, Eden, I’m never alone. Just wish it were angel’s eyes following my every move.
Eden: Trust me, I know the feeling more than you know. Try having fallen angels stalking you. (Shivers).
Samantha: Fallen angels? Okay, maybe I’ll stop complaining.
Eden (smiles): The trick is, you’ve got to believe you are capable of so much more. Everyone has gifts, abilities that can help them face their fears.
Samantha: Man, I wish I had your outlook on life. So full of hope. One thing I’ve learned is you can trust no one.
Eden: Then you’ll always live in fear.
Samantha (cocks head to side): Fear is the one thing I trust.
- Why did you start writing YA books?
Funny thing is when I was sixteen I wrote about thirty year olds and now that I’m in my thirties I’m writing about sixteen year olds! I guess I don’t want to grow up anymore. I’ve always loved writing. I think why I write primarily YA now is it’s a time of your life for firsts. Things are new (first kiss, first love), feelings are deep, and inner character is built through those trying years. I love growing up with my characters all over again.
- What do you like about writing fantasy and Sci-fi?
So when I started Hidden Monster it wasn’t going to be paranormal/fantasy at all. I wanted it to be straight thriller/mystery, but then I couldn’t help myself! I love the freedom and challenge that comes with adding fantasy/Sci Fi elements to my books. I love creating a new world with the history, science, and explanations to back it. Guess I want to find some magic out there still.
- What do you consider your greatest writing achievement?
Just getting published! Haha! No for real, that’s a hard journey in and of itself. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up. For me each book that comes out is my greatest achievement. I’m still amazed I have published books and am in even more in awe that people actually read them and LIKE them!
- What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled while doing research?
Great question! For Hidden Monster series it’d have to be all the research I did on dragonflies.
Never thought I’d learn so much about a little bug, but now I’m fascinated by them. For my
Awakener series it’d have to be googling about demons. I’m such a wimp when it comes to the creepy stuff. I swear half of my research was done with me peeking through my fingers.
- Do you have any strange or fun writing habits?
I don’t know if it’s fun, but I am a creature of habit. I like to write at my desk, with my mouse (have to have a mouse), my full glass of water, and my snacks. I’m really bad, I snack when I write! Such a naughty habit! Almost always I end up wrapped up in blanket with slippers on my feet too (writing makes me cold for some reason).
- What is your most treasured series related possession?
My awesome friend Cody Candelaria’s book club read and featured Hidden Monster (first book in the Monsters Among Us series). I absolutely love all the fun things they made to go with the book. I also received a beautiful, original piece of artwork by one of my readers, Savannah Montoya.
I stared in disbelief. The Irukas surrounding the island had obviously summoned the waters in an effort to stop the oncoming soldiers. However, once on shore, the hordes of bugs jumped to their feet and then to the skies. The new ones looked more like Jaxon, liked they’d been formed from dragon fae, missing the brown skin and black hair my Defenders had. And they all wore black markings on their chests, like some kind of tattoo.
“Impossible!” I gasped. “Where did these bugs come from?” I couldn’t wrap my mind around what I was seeing.
Luckily for me, Jaxon and Kalepe went into battle mode, calling out commands and rushing to grab stashed weapons. In the distance, I heard several seashells blown, echoing along the shoreline and alerting everyone we were under siege.
Jaxon pulled me aside. “Fly from here and warn Kory. He’s in the underground bunker.”
“I don’t know where that is,” I answered, feeling completely off step.
“I’ll take her,” a Defender near us called.
“Thank you, Tomas,” Kalepe called back. “Warn Kory to stay put. Don’t leave their secure place. We’ll come get you when it’s clear.”
He nodded, and we flew away from the oncoming fight… but not fast enough. A bug slammed into me, smashing me to the ground, sending my face skidding across the ground and filling my nostrils with sand.
I gasped and pushed back, trying to free myself from the claws pinning me down. Then, I heard a sound like something slicing through a cow’s hide, followed by a thud to my left. I turned and stared at the bloody head of my captor. His eyes rolled to the side as his tongue went slack in his mouth.
I shot up in the air, shaking and nauseated.
“Fly!” Tomas roared, obviously the one to save my life.
I didn’t need to be told twice and raced after him, both of us switching to camo and diving deeper into the jungle.
The pressure over my mouth panicked me until I realized it was a breathing mask securely fastened around my head. Aster swam above me, her hair floating around her like a shroud. At seeing my eyes open, she reached under my armpits and tugged me upright. Strange clicking filled my ears. All I could do was suck at the mask, letting the oxygen fill my body with strength.
It was then I realized Mack and Kory were next to me, masked and floating as well. We were in the middle of the Iruka council, literally placed on top of the round, stone table at which all the leaders but Seaton were seated. Seaton’s seat was a great deal higher than the rest, allowing him to peer down at us. I felt a like a turkey on Thanksgiving Day, stuck in the middle of the table with all the Irukas glaring at us with strange interest. Last I’d checked, they weren’t into eating dragon fae, I reminded myself as my adrenaline surged. The underwater lighting made everything distorted and blurry, and I blinked rapidly, trying to clear my vision.
Aster was the one addressing Seaton, although by the looks of the all-male leadership, I wasn’t so sure they’d listen to her. From what I’d seen of Irukas, they had some pretty old-fashioned notions when it came to gender roles. Glaring up at Seaton, his long brown hair floating around his body like seaweed, I growled to myself. Blast this water. How can I convince Seaton to talk to me like this?
Then, to my shock, Seaton left his lofty throne and swam down to us, stopping mere inches before me. His movements made the water roll, almost knocking me over, and I used my wings like propellers to keep myself upright.
I was shocked at how massive Seaton still was, having thought my memories were slightly exaggerated because I’d been younger the last we’d met. If anything, though, Seaton seemed bigger—if that were possible. Built like a linebacker, Seaton would have made even the Defenders feel small.
Face to face, Seaton stared me down. His piercing, pale green eyes seemed to be searching for something. I held my head up, not cowering to the massive Iruka. The moment felt like it lasted forever. I could only stare back, not wanting to break eye contact. For some reason, my gut told me this was a decisive moment. But we aren’t even talking.
Oh, but we are.
I gaped at Seaton as it hit me. Wait, can you read my mind?
We don’t just use our sounds to communicate, Blake. Dolphin channels are much more sophisticated than anyone ever thought. At this, Seaton nodded to some of his leaders, and then his gaze returned to me.
But I’m not part dolphin. How are you doing this?
I think you’ll find there’s not a lot I can’t do, Blake.
- What made you pursue writing? How old were you when you starting writing?
I’ve loved writing my entire life! I wrote my first complete novel at sixteen, which sits happily in a box, never to see the light of day. It’s just plain awful! I took a big break from pursuing my dream of being published as college, marriage, kids, and life happened. In 2011, thanks to a friend, the writing bug bit me again, and I’ve been obsessed since!
- Who were your inspirations as a writer? Favorite authors?
There are so many incredible authors who have inspired me over the years! If I had to pick a few I’d go with John Bellairs, Mary Higgins Clark, Orson Scott Card, Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Cassandra Clare, Stephenie Meyers, J.K. Rowling, Gaston Leroux (Phantom of the Opera). There are many more!
- How long does it usually take you to write a book?
I wish I could say three months, but alas, it’s more like six months to a year by the time I start to the time it’s polished and ready to be published. I need to get faster! Something I’m working on now 😉
- Do you have an interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I have to use a mouse! I can’t stand using my laptop’s touchpad. When I write, I prefer to sit at my desk, with a big glass of water and/or cup of herbal tea, a few snacks (sometimes just chocolate). The other thing about me is, when I’m writing, I get so cold. It doesn’t matter the temperature in my house, or what season it is. I end up freezing! So after a minute or two of typing, I usually end up throwing on a hoodie, wrapping up in a blanket, and cranking up the pellet stove fire behind me. I have a pair of awesome fuzzy slippers that are more like booties (they go up to my knees). One day, while cleaning out the closet, my husband was like, “What are these? Can we throw these away?” I’m like, “No way! They keep my toes so warm while I write books!”