You guys! I’m so excited today, because Bookish Temptations is one of the blogs that participates in the title and release date reveal of the Sempre Sequel! I’ve been waiting for this book forever, and I’m so happy that in a few months we’ll have it in our hands! Carmine is back and I couldn’t be more thrilled 😉
But today on Bookish Temptations we have a very special guest who’s ready to make the big announcement …Please, dear, don’t worry, we all love you here 🙂 (we also really, really love your boyfriend, actually we
dream talk about him a lot, but pretend you didn’t hear this 😉 So, have you guessed who it is yet?
Of course, it’s her! Haven Antonelli from Sempre is here with us to make the big reveal!
Let’s give her a warm welcome and get ready to celebrate, everyone!
When I was younger, I never thought people would ever know I exist, much less know my story… that they’d care enough to read it and learn about my life. I never thought I’d want to tell it, to be honest. It’s not always pretty. It’s a really ugly world I grew up in. It’s nothing to be proud of, nothing to be happy about, but I’m not ashamed.
It’s not my fault. I’ve heard Carmine tell me that so many times it’s kind of burned in my head. I didn’t cause it; I didn’t deserve what happened to me. I wish it hadn’t happened, but it did, and I just hope my story can help somebody else… somebody out there like me, who doesn’t think people will ever know their name. Because I know what it’s like to feel trapped and alone, like there’s no way out, but there is. I found my light at the end of the tunnel. I found my freedom. It’s possible. And now I have my whole life ahead of me, so many chances I never thought I’d have.
My name’s Haven, and hopefully someday we’ll know all their names, too. I know that sounds naive. Like Carmine says: I can’t save everyone. But maybe I can save someone.
After all, he saved me. Carmine doesn’t see it, and I don’t know if he ever will, but I owe him so much for what he sacrificed for me. My only hope is that someday I can repay him for it.
By J.M. Darhower
The highly anticipated sequel to ‘Sempre’
Coming December 23
Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books
Redemption… because sometimes we deserve a clean slate.
SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!! OMG I love the title! We’re getting Sempre:Redemption for Christmas! December 23rd can’t come fast enough!
But the surprises don’t end here…Thanks to JM Darhower and Simon & Schuster we have an excerpt from Sempre:Redemption to share with all of you, guys!
Are you ready? Here it is…
***Content may be altered or omitted from the final product***
The black Mazda RX-8 sped along the worn gravel road, twisting and turning as it penetrated deeper into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Haven clutched onto the passenger seat as the car haphazardly weaved through the dense forest.
“Are we lost?” she asked hesitantly as she stared at her boyfriend. Carmine was slouched in the driver’s seat, fiddling with the radio. Sunglasses shielded his eyes from her, so she couldn’t tell if he was paying any attention to the road.
Haven glanced out the windshield, squinting from the early morning sunshine. Things looked the same in every direction-nothing but endless trees surrounding them. How could he know? “Are you sure?”
Stubborn. “Where are we going?”
Shaking her head, Haven surveyed the area. At first it appeared to be nothing unusual, a small gap in the trees with a cabin set a few yards away, until she spotted the faded white sign in the distance. Landell Christmas Tree Farm, it said in green hand-painted letters.
Although it felt as if time had stopped for the two of them, the calendar told a different story. It was the 23rd of December already, a month since they’d returned to the small North Carolina town of Durante in an attempt to get back to their lives… in an attempt to regain a bit of normalcy and piece together their relationship. It had been a struggle, dealing with the fallout of her kidnapping, but they took it day-by-day.
Together, the two of them set out through the tree farm.
“How about this one?” she asked after a while, stopping in front of a tree a few inches taller than her. “Do you like it?”
Carmine hardly even looked. “It’s too bare.”
Haven’s brow furrowed, unsure as to what he was talking about. The branches appeared full to her. “So finicky.”
“Whatever,” he muttered. “Do you see any others?”
“Uh…” She glanced around, randomly motioning toward another tree a few feet away. “What about that one?”
Carmine scanned it. “Perfect.”
Letting go of her hand, Carmine studied the tree, deciding how to go about taking it down. Haven watched him for a moment and burst into laughter when he took his first swing. It barely even sliced the thick bark.
Carmine groaned. “What’s so funny?”
“This is going to take you all day,” she said. “We should’ve just picked one that was already chopped down.”
“That’s cheating,” he said. “Just because it’s the easy way doesn’t mean it’s the best way. Sometimes it’s better to put in the work.”
He whacked the trunk repeatedly, the blade eventually cutting through the wood. Despite the cold temperatures, by the time the tree tilted, Carmine was huffing and drenched with sweat. It gathered along his forehead, running down the side of his face and dripping from his chiseled jaw. Haven watched him struggle in silence, a familiar pang of guilt deep down inside of her gut as she was reminded of what he’d done.
This boy-this stubborn, selfless, stupid boy-had given himself to the Mafia. He’d handed control of his future over to the men they hated most in exchange for her life. For her safety. And he’d done it so easily, so quickly, like there wasn’t even a choice at all… like making this sacrifice for her came just as naturally as breathing.
The act had left him fractured, and Haven was still trying to come to grips with the fact that it may be a long time before he was whole again. She was grateful to be alive, picking out a Christmas tree with the boy she loved, but she was also angry. Not at him-not anymore. That anger had been unfounded. She was mad at herself now, and at the universe, because no matter what she did, she couldn’t help Carmine.
Once again in her life, Haven felt powerless.
So she stood by silently, continuing to watch, terrified of looking him in the eyes one day and seeing regret. Frightened that someday, he’d turn to her, and she’d see her worst fear playing out in his face: that she hadn’t been worth it.
AAHH I so can’t wait for this book to come out!! Thanks so much to JM Darhower and Simon & Schuster! Don’t forget that the new edition of Sempre is coming out on November 25!
I want to hear your thoughts now! What do you think of the title and the excerpt? Are you ready for Sempre: Redemption? I am…;)