Welcome to New Adult Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was inspired as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 96 hours!
Go to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the TEAM Orange but there is also a TEAM Green and TEAM Purple for a chance to win a whole different set of books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt page.
LET THE HUNT BEGIN!
***MEET Jen McConnel, AUTHOR OFCounting Curses: CURSE OF GOLD***
Jen McConnel is an award winning author. She writes Young Adult and New Adult fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. When she isn’t writing, she can be found on her yoga mat, teaching, or wandering off on another adventure. She grew up in mid-Michigan, attending Western Michigan University, and now lives with her family in North Carolina. She holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and she is currently working on her MA in Children’s Literature at Hollins University.
Want to learn more about Jen? Visit her website today!
Some curses aren’t meant to be broken…
When Riley moved to London to get her graduate degree, she never thought of herself as dangerous. But when a guy she loves drops dead, Riley starts to believe in the family curse. Her eccentric grandmother insists that it’s up to Riley to break the centuries-old curse that has plagued the family, but all Riley has to go on are Gran’s cryptic remarks and a little bit of mostly awful luck.
Her luck changes for the better when she meets Tom, a scholar with a treasure-hunting hobby who knows more about Riley’s curse than either of them realize. Despite the risks, Riley is drawn to Tom, but her curse prevents her from acting on the growing attraction. Will their combined love of esoteric history be enough to break the curse, or will Riley remain deadly to anyone who falls for her?
READY FOR A SNEAK PEEK AT CURSE OF GOLD?
Riley held her breath and counted to three.
When she opened her eyes, the wood-paneled hallway had stopped spinning, but her stomach was still rioting. She took another deep breath and sank down onto the strategically placed bench outside her advisor’s office. Dropping her head between her knees, Riley focused on remaining conscious. Bottle red hair brushed her face, but she didn’t bother to push it away. Riley knew what it felt like to hyperventilate, and she was dangerously close to it. She wasn’t sure any student had ever passed out while waiting to meet with her advisor, and Riley didn’t plan on going down in King’s College history as the flighty American who couldn’t handle the pressure of defending her thesis. She smiled grimly at the thought. I’ve already made enough college history.
Getting a grip on her rebellious stomach, Riley slowly stood up. She crossed the wide hallway and raised her hand to knock on Dr. Fullingham’s door. Get it together. Gritting her teeth, she forced a smile and rapped lightly on the heavy oak door.
Maybe she won’t be here. Riley crossed her fingers, but her heart sank when a rich voice called, “Enter!”
Stepping into Dr. Fullingham’s office had always reminded Riley of wandering through the wardrobe into Narnia. It was worlds away from the austere halls of King’s College, and as different as night and day from the other faculty offices. Dr. Fullingham collected oddities, and she proudly displayed her bizarre treasures on every free surface of the office. The African fertility sculpture beside the door had jabbed Riley the first time she set foot in the office, but after three years, she had learned to feint slightly to the left to avoid the ebony phallus. She kept her eyes up, but that didn’t mean she was able to avoid all of the strange odds and ends in her advisor’s office. Where had she snagged the gold reliquary? And is that skull on the bookshelf real?
Dr. Fullingham was standing on her desk chair, one foot perched precariously on the glass top of her desk. Riley had a sudden vision of the glass shattering and her instructor disappearing in a haze of crystal shards, but she shook her head. It wasn’t a good idea for her to fantasize like that, even for a moment.
“This cursed Clematis just won’t behave. Hand me that stake, will you?” She gestured with the tip of her brown suede boot, and Riley spotted a slender wooden garden stake buried under a stack of papers on the desk.
“Here,” she offered, passing the wicked looking spike to her advisor.
“That’ll do.” Dr. Fullingham stabbed the stake not into the potting soil as Riley had expected, but into the flimsy ceiling tile. She looked like an errant vampire hunter, and Riley tried not to smile at the thought. White dust rained down on them as Dr. Fullingham wrapped the unwieldy vine around quivering wood.
Riley brushed her eyes and took a hesitant seat in front of the desk as Dr. Fullingham hopped down.
“All right, what did you need to see me about?”
Riley swallowed, pressing her sticky palms against her thighs. Her stomach turned once but then was still. “My dissertation date.”
“That’s all settled. You’ll defend to the committee in a week.”
“I was hoping we could postpone it.”
Dr. Fullingham gave her a sharp look, and Riley leaned back in her chair. “You’ve already postponed it. Twice.”
“I know, but I’d just like a little more time.”
“Riley, most of our students finish in a year.” She held up her hand to forestall any protests. “Even the part-timers like you manage to complete the program in two years. You’ve been here for three.”
Riley’s mouth went dry. “It’s just that–” she trailed off, glancing around the room for some excuse. Her eyes landed on the reliquary that sat on the windowsill, and she shivered. Which piece of which unlucky martyr was hanging out inside?
“Stop making excuses. I know you’ve had a hard time of it, but it’s time to buck up, girl. Life goes on.”
Not for me it doesn’t. Riley dropped her gaze to her ragged fingernails. “I’m sorry.”
Dr. Fullingham sighed. “I’m sorry, too. You can’t change your defense date again. Either you’re prepared to show us what you’ve got on September 1st, or you need to think about pursuing another field.”
Riley’s eyes shot up and locked on her advisor’s steady gray gaze. “I can’t do that. I’ve put everything into this degree!”
“And you’ve got some good ideas. I’m looking forward to your defense next week.” She shuffled some papers on her desk, skimming for something. “Did you ever confirm your translations with Doctor Malcom?”
Riley shook her head. “I’ve tried, but–”
Her advisor cut her off. “No buts about it, Ms. Belmont. He’s the undisputed expert on the Woman’s Book of Hours, and I expect you to get in touch with him before your defense.”
Riley wanted to tell Dr. Fullingham that she’d tried to reach the illusive Dr. Malcom for months. Instead, she forced a smile. “Yes, m’am.”
“Good. If you don’t have any other issues, I’ll see you in a week.”
The conversation was obviously closed. Unsteadily, Riley got to her feet. “Thank you, I guess.”
Dr. Fullingham waved her hand. “Not at all. Just be prepared. I know you’ll do fine.” She turned her attention to the brass statue of an elephant on her desk, petting it and polishing it with her sleeve.
Back in the dark hallway once more, Riley fought back the urge to burst into tears. It was worth a shot. Dragging her feet, she began the walk down the long, marble-tiled corridor. Not for the first time, she wondered if the builders of King’s College had been trying to construct a structure that would make the students feel completely inferior. If they were, it worked, at least on her. Every day that she’d been a student here she’d felt unworthy. Light spilled in the frosted windows as she turned down the stairs, and as she reached the ground floor, her hand flicked out unconsciously to brush the statue of Sappho as she passed. Riley didn’t write poetry, but for some reason, the erotic writer’s marble presence always comforted her. If she could beat the odds, maybe I can, too.
As she headed out into the watery sunlight, Riley stopped to take in the view. Even after three years, the expanse of the Thames that stretched in front of the college always surprised her. She hated the river now, but when she’d first come to London, she’d adored it. Across the river, the gaudy London Eye winked at her, and Riley smiled unconsciously, remembering her tourist-driven glee when she’d seen the ugly Ferris wheel for the first time. If she looked to her right, the familiar sight of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament would greet her, but Riley didn’t look in that direction today. Instead, she turned left, heading for the Temple tube stop. She supposed that she could have spent some time wandering through the streets to clear her head, but she didn’t really see the point.
I don’t need a clear head. I need a miracle. As she walked, she thought about her upcoming dissertation. She’d been ready to defend her thesis for months now; it wasn’t laziness that prompted her to request an extension. She wasn’t worried about her material. Her research was sound, and Dr. Fullingham had often told her that she had an interesting take on the intertwining of gender bias and religious tracts in the Middle Ages. It wasn’t even the strange silence from Dr. Malcom that was slowing her down; Riley felt like her translation was good enough to stand, with or without his approval. No, it wasn’t a lack of confidence in her research that had made Riley try to postpone her dissertation again.
It was him.
Everything she’d done since she came to King’s College three years ago was overshadowed by what had happened to him. The faculty might be too polite to say anything to her face, but Riley knew they talked about it all the time. A tragic accident. So bizarre. And did you know she was the last person to see him alive? Eyes followed her all the time on campus, and Riley couldn’t bear the thought of being up on display while she defended her work. It would only be a small panel of faculty, but still, she knew that they mourned his death as much as she did, and she was sure that at least one of the members of her committee blamed her for what had happened.
It didn’t help that she thought they were right.
I hope you enjoyed the exclusive look into Curse of Gold!
I love free content, don’t you? Before moving on to the next blog, take a moment to tell me about your favorite Greek myth in the comments below. You’ll be entered to win an e-copy of any one of my published books. (Yes, that includes my latest release, LOVE AND WAR). And sign up for my newsletter for a free audiocopy of DAUGHTER OF EARTH AND SKY (Book 2 of the PERSEPHONE trilogy. I normally give away PERSEPHONE with newsletter sign up, but since it’s on sale for .99 cents at the moment, I’d rather give away the higher priced book.
To enter the NASH GIVEAWAY, you need to know that my lucky book number is 14.
Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on TEAM ORANGE and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Sharon M. Johnston!