Tarnished (Perfected #2)
Release Date: 2015
Freedom comes at a cost...
Ella was genetically engineered to be the perfect pet—graceful,
demure...and kept. In a daring move, she escaped her captivity and took
But while she can think and act as she pleases, the life of a liberated pet is
just as confining as the Congressman’s gilded cage. Her escape started a
revolution, but she’s trapped, unable to get back to Penn—the boy she loves—or
help the girls who need her.
Back in the
, pets are turning up dead. With help from
a very unexpected source, Ella slips deep into the dangerous black
market, posing as a tarnished pet available to buy or sell. If she's lucky,
she'll be able to rescue Penn and expose the truth about the breeding program.
If she fails, Ella will pay not only with her life, but the lives of everyone
she's tried to save...
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Book One (Perfected):Goodreads│Amazon│Barnes & Noble
Praise for Perfected:“Compelling, imaginative, and unique. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!”— Mary Lindsey, author of Shattered Souls
About the Author:
Kate Jarvik Birch is a visual artist, author, playwright, daydreamer, and professional procrastinator. As a child, she wanted to grow up to be either a unicorn or mermaid. Luckily, being a writer turned out to be just as magical. Her essays and short stories have been published in literary journals including Indiana Review and Saint Ann’s Review. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and three kids. To learn more visit www.katejarvikbirch.com
Excerpt from Tarnished:
“You came,” I said. “Of course.” He closed the distance between us in a heartbeat.
Standing before me, he reached out and stroked the blunt ends of my hair.
“As I was walking down here, I wondered if maybe I’d dreamed you. If it wasn’t real. But here you are.”
With his thumb and his forefinger, he gently lifted my chin and pressed his lips to mine. His mouth moved slowly, tenderly. Time slowed. Melted. Broke away. The moments stretched, as fluid as water, flowing forward: a drop, a river, an ocean, until I was suspended inside it. Lost.
He pulled away and the world rushed back into focus, time crashing down around us.
“Your father—” I said.
He shook his head. “Don’t worry. He won’t follow me out here. No one will.”
“But inside... He knew!”
Penn shook his head. “He has the house bugged. He lis- tens to everything: all my phone calls, all my conversations. He has a chokehold on me, but it’s safe out here.”
“What about those men?”
“His henchmen?” Penn chuckled, but it was a sad sound. “They won’t come, either. I’ve been coming out here almost every night since he hired them. They’re lazy. They got sick of following me after the first few nights. Once they realized that I was just coming out here to sit, they gave up.”
He pulled me into him again, holding me so tight against his chest I could feel the thrum of his heart against my cheek.
“I can’t believe you’re really here,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d ever see you again.” I looked up at him and he turned away, his face contorting. “I thought about trying to come to you a thousand times, but I didn’t know how. My dad is watching the borders and I think he almost expected me to go running after you. But he never could have dreamed that you’d come back.”
“I came as fast as I could,” I said. “I saw you on TV. You looked so...” What could I say? So beaten down? So empty? “But how? It’s hundreds of miles and...” His voice trailed off and he shook his head.
There was so much to tell him about: My escape from the refugee center, the train, the horrible things I’d seen in the black markets.
“There’s no time now, but I promise, I’ll tell you later.”
He sighed. “At least I got this chance to hold you one more time. To touch you. But you can’t stay. It’s too dangerous. If my dad knew you were here—”
“What has he done to you?” I ran my fingers through his cut hair. Even after he’d been sleeping on it, it looked too groomed, like his father had managed to suck the wildness right out of the top of his head.
“I’m fine,” he said. “I can handle it as long as I know you’re okay.”
“But I’m not okay without you.” He closed his eyes. He wasn’t okay either.
“Come with me,” I said.
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