Check out HEARTSICK, the debut novel from author Caitlin Snead, available today!
Quinn is looking forward to her senior year at Poe University. She has big plans to hang out with her best friend, flirt with a certain boy genius, party at her favorite dive bar and figure out what she's going to do after graduation with her not-so-useful art major. But that's before she meets Luke, a hot townie who's moved back home to help take care of his dying sister. And it's before a weird epidemic sweeps across campus, mysteriously turning people's eyes purple.
Is it an odd side effect from a new party drug?
Is it a rogue virus developed in a campus lab?
Is it the mark of the devil?
Soon the town starts blaming the university and the student religious group becomes frighteningly aggressive in their on-campus accusations. Quinn and Luke are caught in the middle—until a tragic accident forces Luke to reveal the one part of himself he's kept carefully hidden. That he's so much more than the happy-go-lucky boy next door Quinn had believed him to be isn't a surprise…but this truth might be too dangerous for her to handle.
Excerpt from HEARTSICK
“Did you go to college?”
His jaw is tight. “Yes.”
“Do you think I could guess your major?” I ask.
“Probably not,” he says.
I don’t like that I don’t even get a hint at what he did before or what he studied. I shrug, start on my second hotdog and then lean back, really aiming for a glint in my eye, if that’s possible to control. I’ll make this a game. “Well, do you think you can guess mine?”
He smiles. “Do I get something if I guess right?”
I hop up onto a stool and let the tip of my toe brush against his knee. When I make contact, he starts, before leaning in. “What do you want?”
“I want a lot of things…” He stares at me. “But for now, I’d settle for a second date.”
“Okay, if you can guess my major, on the first try—” I emphasize that bit with a pointed finger, “—then I’ll reluctantly agree to go out with you again.”
“I don’t like the reluctant part, but I’ll take what I can get. Now, let’s see…” He rubs his chin as though he’s an old-timey detective. He’s ready to pace back and forth across the room with a pipe and a deerstalker hat. “You like photography.”
Shit, he does know that. I start to hum the Jeopardy! theme song. Maybe if time is running out he’ll be more likely to guess quickly and get it wrong? Do I want him to get it wrong?
“Okay, I got it.” He rubs his hands together. “You’re an art major.” His cheeks swell with the weight of his smile.
“You got that just because I take pictures?” I rub my forehead.
“I know more than that.”
“Someone told you,” I say. “If this bet was rigged, it doesn’t count.”
He jerks back and shakes his head, frowning. “No, I wouldn’t do that,” he says. “I noticed you had some pottery on your coffee table, with initials on it, a Q. B.?”
I nod. He’s talking about the bowl I made last year. Initials usually go on the bottom, but I painted them big and proud in the middle. And the bowl is empty. Mandy and I haven’t decided what to put in it. We narrowed it down to fake fruit (lame), M&M’S (which we would devour) or Micro Machines. Clearly, we’re leaning toward Micro Machines.
Luke takes my hand. I think he’s trying to convey his earnestness, his respectability and seriousness of not tricking me into a bet. The pads of my fingers brush against his rough palms and I suppress a sigh. His thumb runs along my pointer finger, sliding to the fingernail. “You also have paint under your nails.” His victorious, smug smile is in full bloom.
I pull my hand away, embarrassed. “Yeah, it’s hard to get all the paint off.”
“I’m sure,” he says.
"This unique read--containing a boatload of likable characters and a few spine-tingling chills--plays out like a mystery movie on the big screen. The author really keeps readers guessing with each flip of the page--and it gets more and more exciting all the way up to the last chapter, which has the potential to make jaws drop." - RT Book Reviews
"HEARTSICK is destined to become a go-to example of great, speculative NA." - Carrie Butler, author of the award-winning Mark of Nexus series
"A snappy, suspenseful plot balanced with stellar writing, brimming with chemistry and full of unique, nuanced characters. Quinn is the sort of strong, believable heroine I want to spend hundreds of pages with, and the mix of sci-fi-tinged mystery, small-town social tensions and a sweet-and-sexy love story kept me engaged until the end. Caitlin Sinead just made my auto-buy list."--A.J. Larrieu, author of Twisted Miracles