Thursday, October 9, 2014
Blog Tour: Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram (Excerpt + Giveaway)
Author: Kelly Oram
Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Synopsis: It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.
Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.
“I’ll get it!” Vivian chirped, happily reaching for my backpack.
“That’s okay; I’m sure it’s just Cinder. He can leave a message.”
“Cinder? That’s the guy who’s not your boyfriend, but texts you like a twelve-year-old girl experiencing her first crush?”
I laughed. It was a fair comparison. “I’ve recommended he seek help for his phone addiction many times, but he never listens to me about anything.”
“Well, we can’t let him go to voicemail, then, because he’ll just keep calling back until you answer.”
“Vivian!” I warned, but she’d already scooped up my phone. “Relax. I’ll put it on speaker. You can cut me off at any time.” She answered the phone, doing her best imitation of a perky secretary. “Thank you for calling Ellamara’s phone. I’m afraid the priestess is currently busy lending her body to a couple of ruggedly handsome men right now, and is unable to take your call. Would you care to leave a message with her ever-so-helpful assistant slash best friend?”
I choked back a laugh, but Cinder didn’t miss a beat. “Great voice inflection and enunciation, but there were two things very wrong with that little speech. First of all, I am Ellamara’s best friend. Me. Not you, whoever you are. Me, me, me.”
Vivian glanced up at me with a questioning look, amused at the hint of the temper tantrum in Cinder’s voice. I rolled my eyes, but I was grinning like an idiot.
“And seeing as how I am Cinder, kick ass prince of the Realm,” Cinder continued on like a dork, “it is my right to discipline anyone who tries to steal her from me. I warn you now, the punishment for such a heinous crime is death by flesh-eating worms.”
I cracked up, but Cinder didn’t hear me because Vivian barked out a louder laugh. “Flesh-eating worms?”
Cinder remained one hundred percent serious. “Hell yes, flesh-eating worms. It’s a very slow, painful, and grotesque way to die. Highly undignified. I wouldn’t recommend it. If I were you, I would just stick with the assistant title, and maybe, if you prove to be worthy, you can be Ellamara’s second best friend.” He paused a second, then added, “Distant second.”
Vivian laughed again. “Gee, thanks. Are you finished?”
“Not even close. There’s still the issue of the two soon-to-be-dead men you mentioned manhandling my woman.”
Vivian’s eyebrows shot up and her smile turned wicked. “What’s the matter, Prince Cinder? Are you jealous?”
“Of course I am. Princes don’t share. But besides that, whoever they are, they aren’t good enough for Ella.”
“How do you know?” I called out, unable to hold back any longer.
“Ah, there’s my girl.”
Cinder’s voice warmed in a way that had Vivian turning on me with wide eyes. I tried my best not to blush, but I knew I’d be having a long conversation with her as soon as this phone call ended.
“How do you know they aren’t good enough for me?” I demanded again, just to get Vivian’s attention off of me.
“Because no guy is worthy of you, Ella. All men are dogs. Absolutely no sharing your body with any of them. Ever. I forbid it. Well, except for Brian Oliver. You have my permission to let him ravish you in the most ungentlemanly ways imaginable.”
Vivian gave me a strange look, and even Glen and Stefan were blinking up at me after that brilliant comment. All I could do was laugh and shake my head in shame.
“Your man crush on Hollywood’s Boy Wonder is disturbing, Cinder. It really is.”
“You know you’d like it. Admit it.”
“I know you would.”
“I certainly would,” Vivian offered.
“Me too!” Glen called out, winking over at Stefan.
“I fantasize about it regularly,” Stefan added, and we all burst into laughter.
Oddly, Cinder didn’t seem to appreciate the Brian Oliver love fest. “Wait a minute. Who was that?” he demanded. “Are there really guys manhandling you right now?”
“Of course not.” I laughed. Then, because I simply couldn’t resist, I added, “They’re being very gentle. Stefan hasn’t even poked me yet.”
His horror was so genuine that I doubled over laughing until I had both Stefan and Glen yelling at me to hold still. “I’m sorry!” I called out, still lost in giggles. “I’ll stop teasing. You know you’re the only man in my life.”
“As I should be.”
“Actually, that’s not entirely true,” Vivian said. The sudden thoughtfulness in her voice made me nervous. “You say you’re her best friend, right?”
“I am,” Cinder promised vehemently.
“Then maybe you can help me convince her to go on a date with this guy from our school. He’s really sweet and he’s crushing on her pretty hard, but she’s too scared to give him a chance.”
I felt the blood drain from my face. I didn’t want to hear his answer. It would kill me when he declared he was happy for me and encouraged me to go for it. Which was what I was sure he would do. And, of course, he did. Sort of. I think.
“Ella…” His voice softened in that way it does sometimes, as if he would be holding me tight in his arms right then if it were at all in his power to do so. “What could you possibly have to be afraid of? Any guy would have to be out of his mind not to fall head over heels for you.”
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