Since her new novel is a sequel to Wild Reckless I thought it would be fun to do a Harper Boys book beginnings as both books follow the same family - the Harper's - but each book focuses on one brother. According to Ginger Scott you can read both of the books as standalones but you get a better sense of the background and everything if you read the first one.
So, now we've gone through all that, let's move on the the book beginnings!
Kensington Worth had a vision for her senior year. It involved her best friends, her posh private school in downtown Chicago and time alone with her piano until her audition was perfected, a guaranteed ticket into the best music programs in the world.
Instead, a nightmare took over.
It didn’t happen all at once, but her life unraveled quickly—a tiny thread that evil somehow kept pulling until everything precious was taken from her. She was suddenly living miles away from her old life, trapped in an existence she didn’t choose—one determined to destroy her from the inside, leaving only hate and anger behind. It didn’t help that her neighbor, the one whose eyes held danger, was enjoying every second of her fall.
Owen Harper was trouble, his heart wild and his past the kind that’s spoken about in whispers. And somehow, his path was always intertwined with Kensington’s, every interaction crushing her, ruining her hope for any future better than her now. Sometimes, though, what everyone warns is trouble, is exactly what the heart needs. Owen Harper was consumed with darkness, and it held onto his soul for years. When Kensington looked at him, she saw a boy who’d gotten good at taking others down when they threatened his carefully balanced life. But the more she looked, the more she saw other things too—good things…things to admire.
Things…to love. Things that made her want to be reckless.
And those things…they were the scariest of all.
So, I've already read and enjoyed Wild Reckless - read my review here - and I give you the prologue from the book:
The caramel aroma that scented the air was thick. The smells of the Annual Wilson Orchard Apple Fest always began to permeate the streets the night before. Thin lines of smoke trailed from windows and front porches down residential streets of Woodstock, awakening the noses and stirring hungry bellies one at a time until they found the Harper residence.I remember loving the beginning and I definitely hope you do too!
This was going to be Owen Harper’s first year at the festival. His dad took off special from his job at the warehouse just so he could take his middle son to the hometown tradition where the town’s best bakers lined up their pies made of the fruits from Old Man Wilson’s trees.
Owen liked the pies. He always ate them when his parents or grandparents brought them home. But what he really wanted to do was go on the Ferris wheel. His older brother James had been to the festival twice. James was ten, and he’d always been tall, so he could pass the height requirement easily and ride alone. But Owen was not yet five, so he would need a chaperone. His mother worked long hours at the hospital, and his father rarely got a weekend off. But today…today was an exception. And today, Owen Harper would ride the Ferris wheel and look out over the town until he could see the roof of his house.
He promised to bring his younger brother Andrew to the festival one day too. He’d be old enough to walk to the festival on his own then, and tall enough to serve as his brother’s chaperone—and together they’d both feel like they could fly.
Owen’s dad talked to himself a lot. It wasn’t anything unusual to Owen. He’d often watched his father have arguments within his own mind, his lips muttering fragments of words over his cereal. He learned to ignore the nonsensical tirades his dad would have with someone who seemed to be invisible while he drove his son to school. And the long hours on the porch at night, when his dad would stare off at nothing for hours at a time—those were routine, too. Owen loved those nights the best, because he would get to lie in the hammock, and sometimes he’d wake there in the morning.
Bill Harper was talking to himself a lot today. And everyone was staring. But Owen didn’t understand why. Nothing was unusual.His father paid their admission, and his son breathed in deeply, his lungs so full of the caramel, cinnamon, and apple fragrances that he was sure he could actually taste them.
A bit about Wicked Restless
Andrew Harper grew up in a house marked by tragedy. His older brother Owen did his best to shelter him, but you can only be protected from life’s pain for so long. Eventually, you end up just feeling numb…and isolated.
Loneliness was the one constant in Andrew’s life. Until one girl, met by chance in a high school hallway, changed everything. Emma Burke was a mystery and all that was beautiful in this world, the only air Andrew ever wanted to breathe. She took the lonely away, and filled it with hope and color, and Andrew would do anything to keep her safe, happy and whole.
But sometimes, what feels good and right is what ends up hurting us the most. And when Andrew and Emma are faced with an impossible decision, Andrew is tested to see just how far he’s willing to go for the girl who owns his heart.
Cuts are deep.
Scars are left behind.
And revenge beckons.
When Andrew finally gets his chance, in college, five years after his first love broke him completely, he finds out old feelings don’t really disappear just because you say you hate someone. The more he tries to avenge all that he believes he lost, the more he uncovers the real story of what happened years before.
Love is wicked. But a restless heart is never satisfied beating on its own. Can Andrew and Emma make it right before it's too late, or will the ties that bind them now destroy their only chance at a future?
Chapter 1 Andrew Harper, Age 16 Normally, I don’t care what clothes I wear when I leave for school in the early morning. I spend my days with people I don’t really know. Most of my freshman year of high school was on a college campus—my curse for being smart.
I say curse because unlike my older brother, Owen, I don’t have normal friends. I don’t get to go to high school dances or hang out at football games. Not that Owen ever did, but the point is, he could have if he wanted to. I get to go to what’s called the Excel Program. I get to learn physics and advanced calculus. The trade-off is I’ll probably get into any college I want, get any job I want, and find the entire process to be easy.
The curse—I’m alone.My friends were Owen’s friends. Always three years older; always inviting me to things out of pity; always keeping me out of trouble but just out of its reach. Protecting me. That was the line. My life was on the periphery. I heard it from Owen since the day I started grade school, and my mother echoed those words whenever I would protest that I couldn’t go to the party with Owen or hang out in the woods with him and his friends.“He’s only protecting you,” she’d say.Protecting me.Choking me.When Owen graduated, so did his friends. And my small sliver of a social life slipped away piece by piece as people went off to college or to find jobs in some town that wasn’t small. Then my mom sold our house to help pay for my grandfather’s care, and I moved into a two bedroom apartment with neighbors in their sixties on one side and a vacant unit on the other.Sophomore year is shaping up to be more isolating. My only friend my age, a guy I barely tolerated named Matt who I met during a torturous year when both of our mothers decided putting us in Boy Scouts was a good idea, moved to Guam. Not the next town over. Not California. Not any place I could convince my mother was safe enough for me to visit—escape to. The fucker moved to Guam.
I used to go to Matt’s house and spend hours playing video games. You don’t talk when you play video games, which is what made my friendship with Matt work. Now, I go to school then come home. I study and have dinner with my mom and her boyfriend, Dwayne Chessman, a guy we’ve known for years that teaches at the high school—the one I don’t get to go to because I’m so smart.
In the evening, I walk to the rink in the middle of Old Town, to a place called the Ice Palace, and I skate until my feet have blisters. I sprint and stop enough times that I wear paths in the ice so deep they need to fill them with water when I leave. This is the only place I can go to feel something. On weekends, there are enough guys there to get a game going, but during the week, when I can come, it’s usually only me. I’ve always skated, but when my brother Owen left, I became obsessed with hockey. Seems the skills I lack at throwing a ball are made up for in my ability to move a puck. That, and I’m incredibly fast. It’s not the competition. I couldn’t give a shit about winning something. For me, it’s the rawness, the hunt. Chasing something, taking something from someone, hurting them to get it and not caring about how they look lying on the ice in my wake. I don’t operate under those morals anywhere else. But I think, maybe, there’s a dark part of me that needs it. And I need to keep it on the ice.
Usually, though, I’m alone out there. So instead I push myself until I can barely breathe, sometimes until my chest burns and I vomit. I push until Gary, the guy who cleans up the joint, is coughing under his breath, leaning on the exit as he taps on his watch, his subtle signal to me to get my ass off the ice so he can go home.
My feet are sore today, but that’s the last thing I’m going to remember. This is the day so many things are going to change, the day I start caring about what I wear when I leave my apartment in the morning. Illinois passed a law that every high school student needs to take PE, even the smart students who don’t go to a real high school. I protested at first, dreading the bus ride I’ll have to endure, the awkward blue uniform and my assured complete lack of allies for dodge ball. But those anxieties are escaping me now. I saw her the second I broke through the athletic department door, sitting against the wall of the PE office, her legs outstretched, the blue fabric of her perfect dress tucked underneath her knees. Her hair is the color of mahogany, and it twists in spirals, like a tornado rushing down her shoulders and spine, a dark storm against her cream skin.
I sit opposite her, sliding down against the wall, stretching my legs out until the soles of my shoes tap the bottom of hers. I do this on purpose. I want to see her eyes. Her gaze comes up quickly, and she pulls her feet in fast, careful to tuck the bottom of her dress underneath more tightly, hiding her modesty. Her eyes are gray, a dark gray, like charcoal.
I don’t know her name, and I’m not sure I’ll like her when she speaks. But I know I’ll never forget her. Her smile, however fast it comes and goes in this moment, coincides with the first full breath I’ve taken in years.
Remember to leave your book beginnings in the comments!