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Book Spotlight: Reflections by Jena Baxter

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ReflectionsTitle: Reflections

Author: Jena Baxter

Publisher: Independent Self Publishing / Jenabaxterbooks

Publication Date: October 31, 2013

Pages: 320

ISBN: 978-0991167715

Genre: YA / Historical Fantasy

Format: Paperback, eBook (.mobi / Kindle), PDF

When Juliette has a domestic servant beaten for pursuing a young man above her station, she finds herself cursed by a witch to live in a world behind her own mirror. She is unable to leave except on the first night of a full moon.

Juliette is forced to seek what food and shelter the new world provides with the help of a unicorn, a man who is half bear, and a centaur. Together they struggle to survive against lions, wolves, and the challenges of watching their friends live and die through the back of the mirror, as their own world, family and friends moves on without them.

Reflections begins in Regency era London, and ends in Clover Springs, California, an all but abandoned Gold Rush town.

A tale of love, friendship, and facing unavoidable challenges.

Book Excerpt:

Juliette shut the front door behind her, and slowly climbed down the stairs of her home, cringing at every creek of the steps.  She walked down the paved road, back straight and chin up, until the house was out of view.  She looked around, pulled off her bonnet, and ran all the way to the beach.
Stopping to catch her breath, she scanned the riverbank until she spotted Emily, gazing into the clouds above the Thames.  It was a gray and dreary day, but a fisherman stood in the water trying to entice the fish, and a few people were scattered along the shoreline.  Sea birds flew back and forth, seeking a tasty morsel.  Juliette joined Emily, and sat in the scrub.
“It took you a long time to get here,” Emily said, smiling.
“Sorry, it’s my birthday and mother is hosting a party tonight.  I had to sneak out of the house, but no one saw me. Then I ran all the way here.”
Emily shrugged.  “Doesn’t matter.”  She held out her arm, and opened her hand.  “I made this for you.”
Juliette took the hair pin with a tattered yellow ribbon tied in a bow attached to it.
Emily’s cheeks colored.  “Sorry it’s not new.”
Juliette hugged her.  “It’s wonderful. Thank you.  I have to go back now, before they notice me gone,” she said, pushing the pin carefully into her hair.
“Okay, I’ll go with you. How old are you today?”
Juliette smiled.  “I’m six years old,” she said, as they made their way back to the road.  “How old are you?”
“Seven, since last month.”  She ran dirty hands down her tattered and stained black dress.
“Look!”  Juliette stopped, and pointed toward the water.
Emily followed the direction of her finger.  “Oh!  What a beautiful chestnut horse.”
Juliette shook her head, ringlets blowing in the wind.  “No, it’s not a horse.  It’s a unicorn sighting for my birthday.”  She continued walking toward the road.
“But unicorns aren’t real,” Emily said, looking back at the animal.
“How do you know they aren’t real?  That horse has a black horn.  Trust me, that’s a unicorn.”
They stepped onto the dirt road.
“I’ll race you there!”  Juliette yelled.
Laughing, they ran until they found Mrs. Barrows waiting at the front door of Juliette’s home.  Juliette went silent and ran to her mother.  Emily stopped in the road.
“Where have you been?  Look at your hair, it’s a mess … and what is that ugly thing sticking out of it?”
Mrs. Barrows swiped the pin off Juliette’s head.  She winced as strands of her hair fell with the ribbon to the ground.
Juliette followed her mother’s eyes as she glared at Emily, standing on the road.
“What have I told you about spending your time with people like that, Juliette?  That girl has no business talking to you, and you have no business playing with our domestic help.”
“But she’s not our domestic help, Mother.”
“The girl is as good as employed by this household with her aunt Zylphia, working here.”
“I don’t want to see you with her again.  Do you understand me?  What if someone saw you?”  Mrs. Barrows shrieked.  “You embarrass the entire family associating with people like that, Juliette.  Get in the house!”
Juliette jumped when the door slammed shut behind her.
Juliette picked up a glass of punch and sat with the children attending the party.  She watched her mother laugh and sip tea with her guests.  The children chattered beside her, she ignored them.  Her mother had made it clear that the only reason she hadn’t received a strapping was so she could sit down at the party.  Juliette struggled with the sting of tears, holding them back, but just barely.
Margaret sashayed over, and stood with her hands on her hips.  She always has something to say about everything.  Juliette frowned, waiting.  All of the children stared at her.
“I heard you were playing with a servant girl today.  Robert Beale said he saw you running and laughing on the road like it was the most normal thing in the world.  You’re liable to get a disease spending your time with something like that.”
“It’s not your business, Margaret.  I’ll spend time with whomever I want.”
“Suit yourself, but I don’t want any part of that, or you.”  Margaret lifted her chin and joined the other children.
Juliette turned to see her mother, who had been just out of view.  Her knuckles white as the dish she held.
“Go to your room, Juliette.”
Tears spilled down Juliette’s cheeks.  She tried to think of something to say, but couldn’t.  She ran to her room.
Minutes later the razor-strap slammed into her bare buttocks.  The humiliation of knowing the party heard her screams was part of her punishment.  When the governess finished, she had been instructed to return Juliette to the party where she remained until the last guest departed.
Her mother turned to her.  “Get to your room.  I don’t want to see your face again tonight.”
Juliette obeyed moving much slower than before.  Her bottom and the back of her legs stung with welts.  She crawled onto the bed, and wept into her pillow.

About the Author:

Jena BaxterBorn in Ojai, and raised in the San Fernando Valley, California, Jena always loved to read, and dreamed of writing a novel. Having the ability, but lacking the confidence to do so, she enrolled in the UCLA Writer’s Extension, and soon her first novel was in process.

Jena writes YA, historical fantasy, and paranormal romance. She is also a screenwriter, and reads for a screenwriting contest annually. She spends her free time with her husband, amazon parrot, and toy maltese. You can visit her website at www.jenabaxter.com.

Connect with Jena:

Author Website: www.jenabaxter.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jena.baxter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenaBaxterBooks

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jenabaxterbooks/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8103907.Jena_Baxter

Book Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDUm-9IDiN8

 

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