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Release Day: “Perfected” by Kate Jarvik Birch

Perfected
Release Date: 07/01/14
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:

Perfection comes at a price.

As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.

Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows…and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.

But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving…and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.

For fans of Keira Cass’s Selection series and Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series, Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human, and a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous—and dangerous—bow.

Praise for Perfected:
“Compelling, imaginative, and unique. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!”


— Mary Lindsey, author of Shattered Souls





Available from:


Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo Books



About the Author:

Kate Jarvik Birch is a visual artist, author, playwright, daydreamer, and professional procrastinator. As a child, she wanted to grow up to be either a unicorn or mermaid. Luckily, being a writer turned out to be just as magical. Her essays and short stories have been published in literary journals including Indiana Review and Saint Ann’s Review. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and three kids. To learn more visit www.katejarvikbirch.com

Author Links:
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Excerpt

————–

The inside of Penn’s room didn’t look
a thing like the rest of the house. Maybe at one point his mother had had a
hand in decorating it, but it was hard to tell because of the lengths he must
have gone to cover it up. The bones of the room were strong and masculine:
solid, wooden furniture stained a dark, deep cherry. But besides the furniture,
the rest of the room appeared to be one giant battle against any influence of
his mother.
The walls, which had once been painted
a soft shade of green, were plastered over with posters of people and old,
rusty road signs. The far wall above his bed was almost entirely covered with
instruments. I didn’t recognize most of them, but there were a few of them that
I could name: a couple of guitars, a mandolin.
“Do you play those?” I asked, pointing
to the wall.
“Yeah, most of them… at least a
little,” Penn said, glancing up from his speakers. “But I’m only really good at
a few. Mostly I play the guitar.”
I looked around for a place to sit,
but most of the surfaces were covered in discarded clothes and towels.
Apparently Rosa didn’t pick up the laundry in his room the way she did for
everyone else.
I stood awkwardly amidst the mess,
glancing at the photographs that covered the mirror above the gigantic set of
dresser drawers. There were pictures of Penn at the beach, and of him playing
the guitar in front of a roaring bonfire. There were pictures of him clustered
amid groups of his friends. I searched their faces, trying to recognize the
girl from the swimming pool, but none of them seemed familiar.
“Okay,” he finally said, “I’m starting
you out with Amos Lee since you liked Ray LaMontagne so much.”
He hit a button and music started
playing, sounding as if it was coming from all four corners of his room.
I closed my eyes to the soft sound of
the piano, both familiar yet totally new. It was always enchanting to hear a
new composition after hearing the same ones year after year, and this one was
no exception. The notes were lonely, full of melancholy that reminded me a bit
of one of Beethoven’s sonatas. But I wasn’t prepared for the ache I would feel
once the singing started. I took a shuddering breath.
“Are you okay?”
I nodded, afraid that if I opened my
mouth I wouldn’t be able to speak. I closed my eyes again and let myself drift
into the music. It wasn’t until the song faded out and I opened my eyes again
that I realized Penn was sitting next to me. He was staring at me again, that
same puzzled expression on his face.
“That was beautiful,” I choked out,
before he could ask me again if I was all right.
“Yeah.” He smiled. “It’s one of my
favorites. Who would have guessed I’d have the same taste in music as a pet
from Greenwich Kennels?” It was the first time he’d mentioned my past without
sounding angry.
“You can play me something else if you
want.”
Penn put on another song and flopped
down on the bed next to me, pushing a notebook and a pair of pants onto the
floor.
“Sorry about the mess,” he said.
“Here, you can scoot over if you want.”
I scooted closer to him, settling into
the music. Both of us sat perfectly still and listened to the strum of the
guitar and the beat of the drums that played underneath like a heartbeat. Next
to me, I could feel the heat of Penn’s leg seeping through the fabric of my
dress, making my thigh burn.
He leaned in. This close I could see
the bursts of gold inside his eyes, but all I could think about was that kiss,
the way his lips had felt against mine. So soft. So warm. I wanted to feel that
again. I closed my eyes.
There was a knock at the door and Penn
scooted away from me, but not fast enough. His father threw the door open.
“Thank God,” he said, striding over to
us. “I looked all over the house for you, Ella. Didn’t you hear me calling?”
“With the music playing, I must not
have heard you,” I said, “I’m terribly sorry, Master.”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Penn
cringe. I should have remembered that I wasn’t to use that word, but I was so
nervous, and the Congressman’s face was flushed and red, distracting me. I
couldn’t think straight.
The Congressman turned on Penn. “What
were you thinking, taking her up here?”
“I was just playing her some music.
It’s not like I—”
“Your music is the last thing I want
you to introduce her to. If I remember correctly, you need to be focusing on
catching up on your school work, not wasting time listening to songs.”
“Dad, I—” Penn started to say, but the
Congressman didn’t seem at all interested.
“Not now. I’ve got two campaign donors
waiting in the conservatory to meet Ella. I’ve wasted ten minutes looking for
her, so I really don’t have time for your excuses right now.”
As the Congressman took me by the
elbow and led me from the room, I chanced one last glance back at Penn.
He had already turned away.

——————-

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