Book & Author Details:
Through the Glass (The Window Series, #2)
by Erica Kiefer
Published by: CTP Pulse | Publication date: April 3rd 2018
Genres: Romance, Suspense, Young Adult
Still reeling from the discovery of her twin sister, Olivia struggles to face her mother’s betrayal. As Olivia and her friends seek to unravel the dark mystery of how and why the twins were separated, tensions escalate when Emma runs into her sister’s ex—who assumes she’s Olivia. When honesty is abandoned for more secrets and lies, the fallout between the sisters only intensifies. As they sift between truth and deception, it becomes clear that matters of the heart are not as transparent as they may seem.
A page-turning mystery laced with romance and emotional drama, Through the Glass is the satisfying conclusion to the Window Series duology by Erica Kiefer.
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Stepping into Grey By Erica Kiefer
One of the themes explored in Through the Glass is how very grey relationships can be. Now, it’s difficult to use the phrase “shades of grey” without misleading an audience towards a discussion on the popular yet controversial romance trilogy. Let me be clear that I write contemporary YA romance—very clean romance at that—so there’ll be nothing saucy about the content of this post or overly heated between the young love interests in my book. (Did I just lose about half of you? If not, stay with me.) What I do explore, though, with different intensity is how difficult relationships can be when emotions and circumstances do not fit neatly into categorized black and white boxes.
We grow up exposed to structure. Order. We see it all over our nation in government, politics, school, religion. We judge and box things into categories all over the place. Right or wrong? Guilty or not guilty? But what about when it comes to people? How are you meant to feel about someone who is woven so deeply into your life but still hurts you—or someone you love—with a betrayal worth writing about?
The storyline in The Window Series is completely fictional, and yet, perhaps we have all felt the back and forth heart-wrenching pull that makes us question relationships and certain situations in our life. What is the right answer? What is the appropriate response? I found myself exploring these feelings in a poetic piece that inspired pages in my novel. An excerpt from A Story Unseen:
My heart will find its way into writing, a heart that is not pink nor red, nor black nor white. In truth, my heart is grey, worn into shades that blur the rigid lines of love and hate. Of loyalty and scorn. Of truth and lies and all that must be seemingly so defined.
Readers get to feel some of this conflict multiple times with Olivia Cole, the main character in the series as she faces hurt and confusion, love and betrayal. What seems so clear to outsiders remains a muddled mess of indecision, pain, and knowledge she doesn’t want to face. When there are secrets or uncomfortable truths just beyond our immediate sight, psychology refers to them as blind spots—pockets of potentially emotional trauma just waiting to peak our awareness. However, once we cross that path, consequences will ultimately follow. Decisions need to be made. Relationships permanently altered. Is that a step worth taking?
If you’re not yet ready to expose your own blind spots, walk instead beside Olivia Cole as she peers Through the Glass and grapples with her new world of grey.
EXCERPTS from Through the Glass
Excerpt 1 (from Chapter One, Olivia’s perspective)
I never cared to be an actress. Waltzing across the stage with all eyes on me wasn’t my style, nor was feigning confidence as a different character. I admired them really, the performers who could fool an audience into feeling and believing their words. The very best could pull people into their world within minutes, tugging on heart strings and wrapping the crowd around their little finger...Turns out my mother was the true actress around here.
I lifted my eyes from my bowl of stew, a fleeting glance landing on Mom as she sipped wine
from a goblet. Without even meeting my gaze, her words found me from across the table.
“I’ll take it as a compliment that you haven’t spoken since we sat down for dinner.” She
positioned her goblet beside her placemat, careful and precise. Regardless, the red liquid sloshed from side to side, taking a minute to settle.
I tried to hide how my eyes widened. Like an ostrich burying its head in the sand, I bowed mine over my dinner, slipping the spoon into my mouth and forcing myself to swallow another bite. Tasteless, it hit my empty stomach like a punch to the gut. I would never pull this off.
“Are you feeling okay?” Mom asked. She cocked her head to the side, studying me. Her eyes
bore into me like a magnifying glass, reading beyond the obvious signs of my discomfort. She could always see right through me.
I scrambled for some line of truth, knowing it was the only way I’d be able to disguise my lie.
Stalling, I ran my napkin across my lips, still focusing on the carrots and potatoes inside my bowl. How could I talk to her when I could barely maintain eye contact?
“Does this have anything to do with Andre Steele?” Dad asked. Grateful for the interruption, I
found comfort responding to my ally, though he had no idea how deceived he truly was. Until just hours ago, I hadn’t either.
“Um, sort of,” I said, my fingers clenching the napkin in my lap. I couldn’t picture Andre without seeing him with Emma, harboring my twin in his backyard pool house. I’d only just met her after our entire childhood apart, and now we were separated again with more secrets and lies. There would be a time for truth, but that time was not now. Not until we solidified a plan.
Mentioning Andre seemed to fit my unsteady behavior, though. Dad cleared his throat and
exchanged a knowing look with Mom, who gave a tight-lipped smile in return. I needed to play along as truthfully as I could, which, considering Andre and I were still unsure about our relationship status, shouldn’t prove too difficult. So, out with the truth.
“Well, we did kiss the other day—” I paused with an exaggerated sigh. “Come on, Dad. Don’t
make this more awkward with that face. You’re the one who asked,” I reminded him, not actually wanting to talk about Andre and me either. However, it seemed easier than explaining, “Oh, and by the way, the woman you married separated me from my identical twin and has been using us to run a social experiment.” I wasn’t sure I’d ever be equipped to navigate that conversation about the woman he loved and the mother I trusted....Used to trust.
“So…” I continued in a hurry. “We kissed, but then I decided I didn’t want a boyfriend, so I put an end to it. Only… Dominic stopped by on the weekend and I was mad at Andre, so I kissed Dominic, too—” I stopped when Dad dropped his fork against his plate and then clamored to pick it up in a clumsy fashion. I bit my lip, wishing I were only fibbing about kissing Andre and my ex-boyfriend within twenty-four hours of each other. “It’s been a little confusing around here,” I finished, folding my arms against the table. Mom made a curt noise that sounded like judgement to me, not that she had any room for that.
“It sounds like we might need to set up a second visit with your therapist.”
“No, not Todd,” I moaned, a genuine response of humiliation and dread. The first sit-down with that uncomfortable man was enough. However, I’d have to give in. This apparent boy drama seemed to be working as the perfect detour from the truth. And the lies.
“Livvy,” Mom said, her tone softening as she used my childhood nickname. I met her eyes in
surprise. She hardly ever called me that anymore. It wasn’t like her to coddle. “One session alone is not going to help you come to terms with understanding your adoption situation… Yes, I know,” she clarified. “I mean, how I raised you without actually adopting you. We have our differences in opinion, but I’m sure we can agree you suddenly chopping your hair off and kissing a new boy every night might be symptoms of something deeper beneath the surface.”
Ugh. The psychiatrist was back in the house, which was why she’d sent me to a therapist in the first place. She hadn’t wanted to wear her mom and psychiatrist hat at the same time. Little had I known back then that Mom wore multiple hats every day....The client-focused psychiatrist.
...The devoted mother....The twisted social scientist running tests on separated identical twins.
My cheeks burned as images of facing Emma along the river leapt to the forefront of my mind, shadowed by her navy hoodie. Pale and afraid. Nervous to my touch. I’d left her tonight, seated on the edge of the bed inside Andre’s pool house, her eyes wide and uncertain. Andre would take care of her, but I hated how the sister I’d only met hours ago lay just a few miles away from my reach. We had so much to catch up on. So much to try to understand, and a plan to devise.
“Fine, I’ll go see Todd again,” I said, conceding with less fight than normal—anything to keep
this conversation at bay. On second thought, maybe I was conceding too fast, raising suspicion. That didn’t sound like me. “But don’t go pulling one of your favors again and getting me in tomorrow,” I hurried to add, crossing my arms for added effect. I slouched into the back of my seat.
“Give me a week or so to figure out what I want to talk with him about. Deal?” I raised my eyebrows, hoping I’d pulled off my usual stubbornness mixed with compliance.
Dad cleared his throat. “That sounds fair enough. Don’t you think, Evelyn?”
Mom smiled softly at him and took a deep breath. “I suppose so.” She looked my way to say, “I’ll call Todd in the morning and see when he is available. No rush,” she promised. She stood up, gathering dishes from the table, and then disappeared into the kitchen.
At last, the charade was over. I jumped up, taking mine and Dad’s bowl to the sink. I let the water run over them. After a quiet minute, Mom’s hand landed on my shoulder. I let her touch press into me, stifling the urge to knock her hand away.
“I hope you know you can talk to me,” she said. “No matter what’s going on.”
I swallowed. At this point, there was no use professing I was just fine. She was letting me know she saw right through me, a skill I once considered more sentimental than manipulative. I could only do my best to conceal my knowledge for a while longer and hope she chalked my uneasy behavior up to the original adoption issues. Or boy problems.
“I love you, Olivia.” She squeezed my arm.
I unclenched my teeth. “I love you, too, Mom.”
Excerpt 2 (from Chapter Eight, Emma’s Perspective)
I was out.
I eyed my surroundings, skittish and uncertain. Was this a bad idea? This was probably a bad idea. Maybe I’d ruin everything by walking around in public, but the quiet streets comforted me. Any teenagers who knew Olivia would be at school, and if an adult did happen to recognize me, I felt certain I could pull off Olivia’s character briefly enough for a friendly hello and be on my way. Nodding to myself with forced courage, I took off down the road in a brisk walk, inhaling the breeze as it skirted by. I smiled as I followed the road down the hill, tucking my hands into the zippered teal jacket Olivia had given me.
Andre’s home on the outskirts of Kingman led to a longer trek into town than I anticipated. My feet ached by the time I reached a busy commercial street, full of fast food and clothing stores. Regardless, I marveled at my freedom, enjoying being on my own while amid so much bustle. A few store employees smiled at me and I smiled back, polite and superficial. A safe move. I liked how I could be anyone right now, just a wandering, uncommitted customer with nowhere to be but— Strong hands landed on my waist, pulling me backward.
A flash of memory from not many years ago—I gasped and threw an elbow up, nailing my
assailant in the ribs.
“Ow, what the—”
I threw my other arm, slamming it into his chest as I spun around. The guy with a closely shaven head scowled, his arms raised and ready to grab me again. Backing up with rapid steps, I felt the corner of the wall against my back. That paralyzing fear returned, stealing my breath. I remembered the alley. Their hands holding me back. Their faces in my mind’s eye once more.
The phone in my back pocket dug into me, awakening me to my present fear. I slid my hand
behind me to grab it before my attacker made another move. Instead, he rubbed his ribs through his grey military-style jacket, frowning but refraining from approaching further. I paused while he studied me.
“Okay, I probably deserved that. Look, I’m sorry I didn’t text or call after last weekend.”
My mouth slipped open. “Last weekend?”
He nodded, dropping his head. “I thought you might need some space with everything going on. Since you didn’t text me either, I figured you were mad at me or regretful…”
A friend of Liv’s. But not just a friend. He’d called me baby, and the way he comfortably ran his eyes over my body didn’t feel like this was the first time. I crossed my arms over my chest. ..... Assessing..... Panicking.
He looked older than a high school student but not by much. My eyes scanned his attire.
Name-brand jeans with that high-collared jacket fitted with unnecessary zippers and pockets. A simple yet expensive-looking buzz cut with the fine blend of a razor close to his scalp. Shoes that probably cost more than my entire life’s wardrobe, though maybe that wasn’t saying much considering my limited closet. He was a rich kid, I observed, so that certainly fit Olivia’s inner circle.
“Um, what are you doing here?” I tried, glancing up at the café sign above us. It was almost noon. Maybe he’d been about to go to lunch.
He laughed. “I was about to ask you the same question. Why aren’t you in school?”
I put my hands on my hips, an extra defense when I had nothing else. I lifted my chin like I’d
seen Olivia do when teased or challenged by Andre. “I… skipped. So?”
This mystery guy chuckled again, putting up a hand. “It was just a question, not an interrogation. But I have to say… finally! Couldn’t get you to skip school for even half a day last year. Senioritis must be catching up with you.” Now he did move closer, one hand landing on my bicep as he pulled me toward him. The proximity shortened my breath. Made my heart race. Why was he so at ease with this lack of boundaries? He acted like it was no big deal to step into my personal space. Didn’t he know Liv was with Andre?
His other hand landed on my waist, sending a flurry of alarm and adrenaline coursing through me.
Fearful of acting contrary to the norm in… whatever this relationship was… I stood still, not
reciprocating his moves but not thwarting them either.
“What are your thoughts on what happened last Sunday, anyway?”
Last Sunday. What happened last Sunday? A kiss? Something more intimate? Maybe just an
altercation between him and Olivia, though his flirtatious gaze suggested otherwise. I made a general attempt to answer his question.
“I… it seems we have a lot to talk about.”
He smiled. Cute. Really cute.
“Seems we do.” Those brown eyes lingered on me once again, speaking to me without words in a way that made me blush. I needed a distraction. “Listen, I need to meet my mom for lunch, actually, but maybe another time—”
“Tonight,” he interrupted. “I’ve got some friends in town, a few guys I met at ASU. Told them
I’d show them around the ol’ family business.” He smiled with an arrogance that suggested I should know what he was talking about. “You should come.”
Me and a bunch of college guys? No way. “I don’t think so.” I fiddled with my phone just so I
could look anywhere but his face. Maybe I could make an excuse about a text message.
“New phone?” Mystery guy pointed at the black device in my hands.
“Oh, uh…” I fiddled with it, thinking fast. “Yeah, it’s just temporary. I dropped my other phone
and just need to get the screen replaced.” I smiled sheepishly, holding up the phone Andre had given me.
He took the phone from me and I tried not to snatch it back, though my fingers reached for it.
“Relax,” he said, punching the keys. “I’m just putting my number in here. Not that you don’t have it memorized, but… there. This will make it easier.” He returned my phone and I sighed in relief, grateful he hadn’t seen the only two contacts listed on there. “Pick you up at seven?”
“No!” I bit my lip at my over-reactive response. “I mean, I won’t be there. At home. There’s… a
party at someone’s house starting earlier, and I… told Jordyn I’d go with her.”
He rolled his eyes. “Jordyn. Of course.” I picked up on the slight animosity as he mentioned
Olivia’s best friend.
I should have left it there with my excuse. Should have waved goodbye and walked away, but for some reason, I didn’t. “You can pick me up at my friend’s house, though. I’ll just leave the party early.”
His expression brightened. “Cool. Just text me the address and I’ll pick you up out front.” A
perfectly white smile gleamed, genuinely pleased. ...And undeniably attractive.
As we went our separate ways, me entering the chiming door of the café and him jogging to the building across the street, I paused beside the window. He glanced over his shoulder once, just briefly, but enough to catch me staring at him. He waved again, and I lifted my fingers. When he disappeared, I glanced at the new name recorded in my phone, and wondered, who, exactly, this Dominic Wells could be.
Erica Kiefer’s debut novel Lingering Echoes was published by Clean Teen Publishing in November 2013. She continued the series with Rumors (A Lingering Echoes Prequel) and her newest release Vanishing Act. All of her books can be read as stand-alone contemporary YA fiction, touched with romance, emotional drama and suspense. With a degree in Recreation Therapy from Brigham Young University, Erica’s experiences working with at-risk youth have influenced the realistic and relatable nature of her writing. Her first inspirational non-fiction entitled Borrowed Angel (published in April 2014 with Currawong Press) describes the loss of her infant son and her journey towards healing.
Married since 2005, Erica resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with her four children and can often be found satisfying her sweet-tooth with chocolate-chip cookies and a glass of milk. Now and then, she dusts off her collegiate rugby skills and dives back into the game.
Author links: Website : Facebook : Twitter : Goodreads :
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