Most people search for decades to find their soulmate; Rachel Masterson was born with hers. Sharing her body with another soul has had its ups and downs for 15 year old Rachel, but there’s no one she’d rather share her life with than her soulmate, Rider. Fiercely devoted to him, Rachel has ostracized herself from most of her peers and gained a reputation as someone just a little too far gone on the wrong side of crazy. Her family’s sudden move, however, gives her a chance at a fresh new life, without the stigma of her “imaginary friend.” Hit with the triple-whammy stress of trying to make new friends (and her first boyfriend) in a new school, in a new town, far away from the only other person who has ever understood her, Rachel’s relationship with Rider is strained by the choices that she makes, choices that ultimately lead to their separation. When a tragic accident tears them apart, can Rachel learn to live and love again?
Targeted Age Group:: 12-20
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have always enjoyed writing – I even wrote a full length novel 20 years ago, but I never pursued it until recently when I woke up in the middle of the night with this story idea pounding through my head. I got up the next day and decided to write a book! I loved every moment of it and decided I had to keep writing. Now, I’m halfway through my next book and have plans for lots more.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The story idea dictated the characters to some degree, but some of the less important character traits came from myself and my family members. I try to make my characters unique and likable but real. I steal a lot of personality ideas from the people I interact with every day.
Jason turned back to Rachel with a grin and offered an invitation. “If I don’t screw up our first date too badly, do you think you’d want to hang some more at Hanson’s party?”
“Sounds great,” Rachel replied, a thrill racing through her. She could hardly believe how readily the kids at this school were including her. Was it really her own exclusivity that had ostracized her from her peers back home? She hated to believe she had instigated her own rejection, but unless she had somehow developed stunning good looks and an incredibly fascinating personality in the last couple of weeks, clearly she was not as much of a loser as she had assumed herself to be.
Rider, silent but thoughtful, felt the weight of her former exclusion rest solidly on his shoulders. Of course she wasn’t a loser, like she had imagined. There was absolutely nothing wrong with her, it was him who had destroyed any chance of a normal life for her by demanding such a prominent role in it. He didn’t understand how he had come to share her body with her and they had never met or heard of anyone else who claimed a similar situation. As much as he loved the intimacy of their life together, he loved her even more, and he longed to free her from the bondage of his intrusion. While he did not know how to leave her, he promised himself he would strive to alleviate the stress of his relentless presence. He would stay quiet and passive, allowing her to focus on the outside world instead of his constant presence inside her head.
When the bell rang, Jason scooped up Rachel’s tray along with his own and dropped them off at the receptacle. When his hands were free, he casually reached out to grab one of Rachel’s. Stunned, Rachel looked down at their joined hands then back up to see an impish smile spreading across Jason’s face. Her answering grin assured him she didn’t mind the physical contact. As they walked slowly towards their classroom, she refrained from swinging their arms in happy abandon like she wanted to and instead concentrated on enjoying the feel of his large, masculine hand surrounding hers. In the back of her mind she wondered briefly what Rider thought of this development, but he was quiet and instead of probing him for his opinion, her mind focused on the warm tingle radiating from their joined hands to the rest of her body. The thrill continued as they entered their algebra class and spotted two adjacent seats in the back row. Rachel marveled at how quickly she had become the girl in the back of the room, cozying up to her boyfriend. The term shocked her as she thought it. Was Jason her boyfriend? Perhaps he would be, someday, but she thought it was a little too soon to consider him that. The idea excited her, though, and she spent most of the hour daydreaming about the possibility in between whispering to Jason when Mr. Volnar’s back was turned.
When algebra ended, Jason walked with Rachel to her art class, and his hand found hers again as they ambled slowly down the hall, giggling together about Mr. Volnar’s strange set of idiosyncrasies. The distance between the two classrooms was substantial, but the walk was over way too soon, in Rachel’s opinion. As they reached the doorway, Rachel could sense the tension between them intensify, like watching a car zooming towards a cliff in an action movie. She could almost hear the background music escalate as her thoughts raced inevitably to the culmination of the scene. In a perfect movie-style ending, Jason turned to face her and his hand reached up to stroke her cheek as his lips moved in for a kiss. They hovered, inches from her mouth, as his sparkling green eyes caught hers for a moment in silent request. Overcome by his closeness and the frantic pulse racing through her body, she answered by slowly raising her lips to meet his in the softest wisp of a kiss. His mouth opened at her touch and he pulled her close as his lips took hers, firm and demanding. His hold lasted just a moment, but that was all it took to claim her heart. He pulled away quickly and whispered a husky goodbye before turning away. Rachel’s eyes followed him till he was lost in the crowd before turning to enter her own class in a lovesick daze.
She had just had her first kiss, by the cutest guy in the whole school, in front of everyone! Her cheeks burned at the thought and she felt a moment of embarrassment, but the feeling was overcome by pleasure as she relived the salty taste of his lips on hers and the heat of his body as it closed the gap between them. Her skin tingled where his hands had grasped her and her legs felt weak as she tried to walk. Her mind pulsed with the memory, blocking out all other sensations as she stumbled towards her desk.
Rider had never felt more alone than in that moment. His heart ached at the temporary isolation and he longed to pull Rachel from her reverie and demand her attention. He could hear Jason’s name pounding in her thoughts and his own heart throbbed with envy. He felt a rush of hate flood through him, but it was overcome by a wave of love and the two churned in his veins, creating a vortex of guilt and pain. He tried desperately to keep his thoughts hidden from Rachel as she slowly descended from her lofty exhilaration to a more maintainable level of giddy exuberance.
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