Colleen Houck

“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

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  • YASH Fall 2015-Hosting Julie Reece

    October 1, 2015

    Welcome to the 11th YA Scavenger Hunt!

    new logo

    Hello! I am Colleen Houck (standing in for Michael Gibney)

    your hostess for this leg of the hunt.

     You are currently hunting on

    Computer generated image with clipping path - Team.

    Check out the amazing author I’m hosting.

    But, first, a few rules.


    Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on TEAM GOLD, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!)


     Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

    Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by SUNDAY, October 4th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

    On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each participating YA author, you also get a secret number. Add up the numbers, and enter it for a chance to win a major prize–one lucky winner will receive at least one signed book from each author on my team in the hunt! But play fast. This contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until noon PST on Sunday, October 4th!

    There are EIGHT contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! BLUE TEAM, RED TEAM,  GOLD TEAM, ORANGE TEAM, PINK TEAM, PURPLE TEAM, TEAL TEAM,  & GREEN TEAM! Check out each team for a chance to win eight different sets of signed books!

    If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

    Now that all the technical stuff is out of the way, I’ll introduce the author I am hosting on this hunt.


    I am super excited to be hosting…



    BIO: Julie Reece writes YA stories. Most are inspired by the southeastern states where she grew up. She’s passionate about family, friends, animals, underdogs, and writing, but bubble baths and dark chocolate make the list, too.

    The secret number for the hunt is 7!

    The book Julie is showcasing in the YA Scavenger Hunt this season is

    The Artisans

    The Artisans updated cover

    About The Book

    They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

    To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

    Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad’s drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

    But Raven’s stepdad’s drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she’s ever known out of jail, or worse.

    Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries’ clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

    Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can’t imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

    But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?



    Exclusive Content
    Deleted First Chapter


    Chapter One
    The doorbell to Harry’s Shoe and Leather Repair Shop chimes with an anemic clang. I’ve never met anyone named Harry. My stepfather leases from a slumlord named Lou who owns the joint. I ignore the bell, despite the fact it’s my job to cheerfully greet every customer. Cheerful isn’t in my vocabulary. Few visit the dilapidated strip mall anymore, and half of those aren’t here for anything printed on the sign above the door. I continue wrestling with a buttonhole in my new corset when I hear someone’s throat clear.

    “Excuse me.”

    My fingers stop moving over the fabric. The voice is deep, with a silky, distinctive tone that demands attention. When I glance up, a boy stands at the counter. Boy? Guy. He’s six feet, at least. Curly blond hair falls in an appealing way over his brow obscuring one eye. The other is blue. He’s wearing tan leather pants, a white cotton tunic, and a green, duck canvas overcoat that hangs to his knees, complete with faux fur collar. A little much for September in the south, but those who visit me often sacrifice comfort for style. His clothes are good, not as good as mine, but custom, and quite nice. I make my observations in seconds, ticking off the particulars. Noticing aesthetic details is part of my other job.

    “Can I help you?” I say, and though there are three pairs of shoes in the back, waiting to be picked up by clients, I’m pretty sure that’s not why the square-jawed G.Q. model is here.

    Blondie lifts his hand. His oversized cuff falls away as he snaps two fingers, producing a single playing card. It’s my business card. The queen of hearts, Steampunk edition, Bicycle brand, thank you very much.

    “Neat trick,” I say. Slowly extracting the card from his fingertips, I flip it, finding the initials R.R.W. in the corner.  Raven (Rae) Weathersby in red sharpie marker. That’s me all right. “Where did you get this?”

    “Dane.” His chin lifts ever so slightly, giving the impression he is unused to being questioned. “He made a delivery to my house yesterday. I admired his clothes, and asked where he bought them—which led me to you.”

    His speech is prep-school snark, or tutored, home-school formal. He might be a rich social type from Atlanta or Savannah, but no, if Dane delivers to his house, he must be local. “That’s interesting. Dane has never referred anyone to me before.”

    His lips curl to a half smile that in no way affects the wary look in his eyes. “I can be very persuasive.”

    Or threatening. I don’t even try to hide my suspicions; they protect me. When he shifts his weight, I notice his cane for the first time. I’d kill to own one like it. Well, maybe not kill, but maim? Definitely. The dark wood and gold, lion-head grip makes it the most beautiful walking stick I have ever seen.

    There’s something unsettling about my visitor, but money is tight this week and our monetary needs make my decision for me. “Wait here.”

    He nods curtly, lips press together in a stoic line. I guess he’s not used to waiting, either. My butt slides off the stool, and I head for our storage room. I lean over the sleeping bags rolled up on the floor and grab a black binder from the shelf. Edgar, my cat, grumbles from his spot on the bookshelf, as if taking my portfolio without his permission is a crime. Less than thirty seconds later, I’m back at the glass display counter out front.

    My new design for a corset hangs from the blond guy’s long fingers. He turns it over, examining the construction. I reach out, pluck the garment from his hands, and offer my binder in exchange. “I don’t think burgundy is your color.”

    His eyebrows twitch. “You never know.” While he’s busy thumbing through the pages of my workbook, I study him. He’s around seventeen, same as me, maybe a bit older. His brow creases as he studies my sketches which combine Goth and Steampunk fashion trends. “I’m intrigued. Your work is so unusual.” A ghost of a smile threatens as he glances up.  “What is your name?”

    “Queen of hearts, for now, and you are …”

    He sets the book on the counter. With another flick of his wrist, a new card materializes—Jack of spades. That might be cheesy on someone else. Not him. The guy oozes more electrical sex appeal than a leaky power plant.

    “A jack huh, why not the king?”

    “Gives me something to aspire to.”

    “That’s very clever, Jack.” The guy is stunning from a physical standpoint. It’s hard not to stare, but he’s cocky and evasive. In my book, arrogance plus evasive equals dangerous, and off limits. Edgar saunters out from the storage room and leaps to the countertop. My thirty-pound, black Maine Coon looks more panther than cat. His purr saws in and out of his chest as he inspects our visitor.

    Another half-smile escapes as Jack glances from my cat to me. His grin is crooked, as though the muscles are stiff from disuse. “So, will you make something for me?”

    “I don’t know you. I’ll talk to Dane, and if you check out, I’ll be in touch.” I already know I want to create for him. Despite his cagy attitude, he is tall and lean. He would wear my clothes like a runway god. “Leave your measurements, just in case.” He stands there, staring me down, making no move to comply. In fact, we eye each other like Cobra and Mongoose.

    His head tilts. “My address is on the card. Contact me when you decide.” As he glances around our shabby little store, he shakes the honeyed curls from his face. “Looks are deceiving, are they not? I’m surprised someone with your … talent is still working out of a dive like this. I hope I haven’t been misled.” He pulls a large, gold coin from his pocket and rolls it with practiced grace between his nimble fingers.

    There are two kinds of arrogance in boys. The first is when a kid is all bluff and brag without the skill to back it up. The second is a guy who knows he can deliver, there’s a quiet confidence in his eyes, a deadly grace to his movements. Jack belongs in group two. I’m not sure it’s wise to bait him, but I don’t want him thinking I’m afraid. My reputation depends on it.

    My gaze roams up and down his frame with purpose. “Do you know what the definition of spoiled is, Jack? Permanent damage—due to excess. From the looks of you, I guess you’d be used to disappointment by now.”

    His grin is hard as granite. “I just might have to make you pay for that one.”

    It’s time for him to go. I lift my portfolio from the counter, but drop it. Damn, so not cool. The guy is getting to me. I kneel, retrieving my book, and in the time it takes to stand, Jack is gone. I didn’t hear his fading footsteps, no door chime, nothing.

    The clock on the wall starts with an annoying second hand counting off time. When did it stop? The face reads eight forty five. My thumb brushes the screen on my cell phone where the numbers glow two minutes after nine. I glance around the store again. Weird. I lift Jack’s card, noting his address.

    And a chill ticks down my spine.

    Want to get your hands on this book? You can get it at B&N, on Kobo, & on Amazon.

    You can also check out her book on Goodreads, her Pinterest page, her website, her blog, and follow her on Twitter.

    Check out the other authors on the Gold Team!


    Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me and many more!

    Thank you so much for visiting my website!

    Ready to move on to the next link in the hunt? Then head on over to visit author Laurie Stolarz.


    This entry was posted in YA Scavenger Hunt.

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    Author Bio
    Colleen Houck

    New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she's not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.