Today I’m happy to be working with Diversion Books to offer you a chance to win a copy of The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare! The second book in this series comes out next Tuesday so this is your chance to catch up!
About The Untimely Deaths of Alex Wayfare:The Untimely Deaths of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen
Series: Alex Wayfare #2
Published by Diversion Books
Pub Date: April 26th 2016
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Time travel, adventure, and romance come together in the highly anticipated sequel to THE 57 LIVES OF ALEX WAYFARE.
Alex Wayfare is back in Base Life. Her 57th life. She's in Chicago searching for Blue, who travels with her whenever she goes back in time. She's never met him in Base Life, but she's hoping he'll remember her in the present, and that he'll want to be with her like he does in the past.
Their romance is put on hold when she's attacked by henchmen working for Durham Gesh, who wants to harness her abilities for his own ugly purposes. But that threat seems insignificant when she returns home to face her younger sister's deteriorating health. Researching every possible remedy, from ancient herbs to forgotten medical advancements, Alex seeks a cure for her sister's cancer in the past.
The journeys are never simple. From the countryside of eighteenth-century China to a top-secret research lab in 1970s Michigan, Alex is plagued by enemy Descenders who seem to anticipate her every move, and realizes she may have a traitor in her small band of allies.
A traitor who might bring Gesh straight to Alex's front door.
The only person Alex feels she can trust is Blue. But there are secrets Alex doesn't know secrets about Blue, about her team, and about herself. And the biggest secret of all will change her life, or her lives, forever.
She’s curled onto her side, hands fisted, clutching the threadbare quilt Gran made her when she was twelve, the well-worn satin edging pressed against her chin. Mom must’ve brought that for her too. As a kid, Audrey used to suck on the corners of her favorite blankets. I can remember how she looked as a toddler, curled up in a ball, her beautiful dark blond mop of hair swept over her sweaty forehead, her blanket tucked between her lips, her eyes squished tight so her dreams wouldn’t escape. I used to climb into her bed and curl up behind her. I always seemed to find sleep easier that way, with her breath keeping pace with mine.
I often wonder what her life might’ve been like if I hadn’t created the Variant. What if in that other reality Audrey never had leukemia, never felt this kind of pain and exhaustion, never missed out on taking the stairs two at a time? And if so, does that make her cancer my fault?
I’m too steeped in those thoughts to notice I’m crawling in behind her like I used to, wanting to curl up next to her. The mattress squeaks. I snap out of it and realize what I’m doing. I shouldn’t disrupt her sleep, I shouldn’t chance hurting her. There are tubes snaking across her arms, held on with tape. But before I can stand, she stirs and turns over.
“You’re back from your trip.” She stretches her arms over her head and coughs.
I frown at the sound, wishing I hadn’t woken her. “Go back to sleep,” I whisper, moving to leave, but her slim fingers find my wrist, and she pulls me down onto my back so I’m lying next to her.
“No, I was hoping you’d come see me.” She smiles, her soft gray eyes creased at the edges, her lids heavy with sleep. “Tell me everything.”
I shake my head before images of the last week resurface. I don’t want to think about my trip, and I especially don’t want to think about the hand she’s holding, and how it helped bury two dead bodies. “Later,” I say, staring up at the sphere of soft lamplight on the ceiling tiles. “Tell me about your week. What did you do while I was gone?”
“Besides almost dying?”
The ghostly red ambulance lights. The snow. My frozen feet. I press her hand between both of mine, holding on tight. “Besides that.”
She sends a short, low laugh floating above us. “It was fraught with drama, my dear, let me tell you.” She uses a smoky, dark voice, like an old Hollywood starlet’s. “Let’s see. Gran found raccoons sneaking into her greenhouse and declared war. Pops lost his pipe and found it in the dishwasher, of all places. It’s still a mystery how it got there, but I suspect the Anti-Tobacco League had something to do with it. Hmmmm. What else? Claire lost a tooth so she got dibs on picking the flick for movie night.”
I roll my eyes. “How fun for you.”
“Wasn’t that bad. Some new Cinderella retelling with a lot of twirling and singing. The main guy was hot and made me forget the crushing agony flowing through my veins for an hour, so there’s that.”
I smile to myself, knowing full well the healing powers of Hot Guy Distraction. “What about you? What did you do?”
“Me?” Audrey looks down at her blanket, rubbing the satin edge between her fingers. “Same old. Napped. Puked. Napped some more. Oh, and I decided to quit school.”
I sit up. “What?”
She sits up too and folds her legs. Our knees touch. “I quit the homebound program. Mom said I could. I couldn’t keep up, what with all the napping and puking, so I quit.”
“But,” I say, my mind whirring as the circuits scramble to connect, “you can’t quit high school.”
“Yes I can. It’s one of the universal perks of having cancer, you know. I can do anything. Quit school. Have ice cream for breakfast. Cancel our Scotland trip.”
“Wait, what?” She hands me all this new, huge information so casually, like it’s nothing, and it feels like she jumped onto a moving train and I’m running alongside, reaching, stretching, unable to catch up. “Why would you cancel? It’s your dream to go to Scotland.”
She shrugs. “Doesn’t matter. I can’t go with this stupid clot. Too risky. I have to take it easy.”
“OK. The trip can wait. We can postpone it until you’re better. But what about school? Will you pick back up in the fall?”
She tilts her head to the side with the same expression Levi gave me when he told me Blue was a traitor. Half sympathy, half pity. Like I’m missing the huge, glaring point, but I’m not. I know the point. I just don’t want to face it yet.
Facing things makes them real.
“There’s no guarantee I’ll get a fall,” Audrey says. “I’ve got what I’ve got now, and that’s what matters. I want to make the most of my now. There may not be a later.”
And there it is. Making things real.
My throat tightens. I’m shaking my head, trying not to hear her words, trying to hold back a sudden threat of tears.
How can she say that? That she may not have a fall? Like she has an expiration date stamped across her forehead. Like, hurry up and do everything now because Audrey won’t last until August.
She takes my hands. “I’m all right, Allie. I’ve been preparing for this. Everything’s going to be all right. All right?”
I nod because I’m a liar. I pat her hands and turn away, sliding my feet to the floor, because I can’t have this conversation right now. “Get some sleep.” The words scrape against the knot in my throat. “I’ll come by and see you in the morning.” I don’t look at her because I can’t start crying.
I may never stop.
I try my best to push the sobs down, keep them silent and trembling beneath the surface. I need to disappear, go to a place where I can let all these emotions out, or else I might self-destruct.
Most people—when their worst fear comes crashing into their lives like a freight train, ripping their entire world from their hands—have to face those tragedies head on. Excruciating minute by excruciating minute.
Or die trying.
But I’m not most people.
I have an escape. I can travel to other worlds, slip into another pair of shoes. Time travel, as much hell as it’s given me, provides some relief. It gives me time to regroup, recharge, and resurface once I’ve processed things. And when I return to Base Life? The present day? No time will have passed at all. I get to disappear for a while without anyone noticing I was gone.
I’m thankful for this gift, this power, because as crazy as time travel may seem, it’s the only thing keeping me sane anymore. The only thing keeping me from falling to pieces and scattering across the floor.
I want to talk to Blue, tell him what I’m going through, have him wrap his arms around me, but I can’t risk going back in time without Porter there to make sure I don’t mess up. I’m still new at this. Still green.
But there is one thing I can do. I can disappear into the Black. I can ascend to Limbo and rest there, for as long as it takes, before I come back down and face what’s before me.
Death and more death, everywhere I turn.
In the pocket of my jeans, my fingers close around my Polygon stone, my little piece of déjà vu that helps me ascend. My soul crawls out of my skin and reaches for Limbo. The billowy, familiar ribbons of the Black slink and roll into Audrey’s room. It swirls and wraps around me, taking me as its prisoner. It pulls me into its arms, and I am gone.
For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.
But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.
It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.
Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.
And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.