The Variant Series

Revival (The Variant Series, Book 1)
 
Possessing the uncanny ability to fry a television set from twenty paces can really wreck a girl’s social life.

If you’re looking for proof, just ask sixteen-year-old Alexandra Parker. After catching her boyfriend in the arms of the prettiest girl in school, she made the journey from social elite to social pariah in a haze of electricity and exploding electronics. But finding herself at the bottom of Bay View High’s social hierarchy was nothing compared to the shock of discovering who—and what—she really is.

After being zapped out of a burning bookstore by the mysterious Declan—a hero nearly as handsome as he is infuriating—Alex finds herself under the protection of the powerful Grayson family. It’s through them that she learns the truth: that the world she’s always known is nothing like it appears to be... and that she has far more in common with them than she might want to believe.

Now, on the run from a fire-wielding hit man and a secretive government organization, Alex must navigate a strange and treacherous new world filled with superhuman mutants known as Variants. As she begins to unravel the many secrets of her family’s past, she uncovers the real reason for her parents’ death twelve years earlier—and finds out that the threat to her family, and to everyone she cares about, is still dangerously real.

  


Looking for Revival? Check this post for a list of places where you can purchase your copy! 

 

An Excerpt from Revival...


Babysitting.
Declan O’Connell had been reduced to babysitting.
This was so humiliating. He was going to have to have a talk with Grayson when he got home. Surely his punishment for last month’s misunderstanding should be nearing an end.
It wasn’t his fault they needed a new roof in the atrium. That had been entirely Nathaniel’s doing. Declan had merely supplied a little motivation. It was the Golden Boy that did the glass breaking.
So how was it that the Golden Boy kept picking up all the choice jobs, while Declan was stuck trailing around after high schoolers?
He leaned heavily against the brick wall of the alley and watched as his target disappeared into a restaurant across the street, only to reappear a few moments later on the wraparound patio, trailing after a hostess. They settled in at a table overlooking the water.
At least with this vantage point he wouldn’t have to follow them into the restaurant.
She’d spotted him twice already. Not that he was particularly trying to hide from her at this point. It made things easier when the target didn’t know he was there, sure, but there wasn’t any hard and fast rule about it.
Declan had been shadowing the pair for nearly an hour before he’d realized that something was off.
Usually, his job involved protecting innocent humans from the monsters that walked amongst them unnoticed. From the things that went bump in the night. Things a whole lot like him, just without the charm … or a functioning moral compass.
Judging from the haze of static electricity that followed the girl around like a rain cloud, however, there was something very different about this mark.
Playing a hunch, he’d broken his cover and followed the two girls into a clothing shop. Ten minutes later the store’s registers were toast and his suspicions had been confirmed.
He wondered if the girl knew what she was.
Better yet, he wondered if Grayson had known when he’d given Declan the assignment and just hadn’t said anything.
“I want you to keep an eye on the girl, Declan.”
“No other specifics?”
“Just keep her away from bookstores, if you can.”
Bookstores.
Thanks, Grayson. That helps.
Apparently whoever said, “no harm ever came from reading a book” hadn’t met this girl.
Grayson’s orders were usually pretty detailed. The fact that these weren’t could mean a couple of things. Either Grayson didn’t know the specifics of the danger the girl was facing, or he did, but for whatever reason, he felt Declan didn’t need to know.
It was the second possibility that worried him.
He didn’t think that Grayson would ever intentionally send him out on an assignment at a disadvantage—but if Grayson felt like he couldn’t trust Declan with the details, then Declan wanted to know why.
The cell phone tucked in his jacket pocket began to vibrate. He fished it out and checked the screen.
The caller ID read “GRAYSON.”
Declan narrowed his eyes at the shuddering phone. Weird. Grayson never called anyone while they were in the field. He knew better.
Returning his gaze to the restaurant patio, Declan answered the call. “Miss me already?”
“I want an update on the girl.”
Declan considered telling him what he’d learned about her, and then thought the better of it. That could wait. “She’s spending the day shopping with a friend.”
“Shopping?”
“Clothes shopping. No bookstores in sight. Not so far, anyway.”
“Hmm.”
“You going to tell me why this girl is so special you’re calling me for updates? My next check-in’s not for another two hours.”
“Just do your job, Declan. Keep her safe.”
The line went dead.
If Declan had been suspicious before, now he was outright convinced that something was up.
What was so important about this girl?

 

*  *  *  *  *

 

Resistance (The Variant Series, Book 2)


Alexandra Parker might be the most powerful Variant the world has ever seen—but even that won’t get her out of finishing her junior year of high school.

The challenge of keeping her abilities under wraps during class is daunting enough, but throw one surly, sandy-haired Jumper into the mix, and things can get downright complicated.

Declan’s new job? Watch over Alex while she’s at school and do everything in his power to keep her from losing control. But as sparks of every kind begin flying between Alex and her new bodyguard, she's left feeling more unstable than ever.

When avoiding her abilities results in a surprise visit from her parents’ killer, Alex’s worlds collide with a bang that nearly levels Bay View High.

With her freedom now squarely in the Agency’s crosshairs, Alex will be faced with the fight of her life... and a decision that could forever alter the course of her destiny.




 

An Excerpt from Resistance...

Alex froze just inside the doorway.
The hallway that stretched out before her was packed with bodies, filled to capacity with students milling beside lockers and meandering toward their classes.
She took a breath and held it.
Kenzie and Cassie quickly disappeared into the crowd, leaving her behind.
Why hadn’t she walked the long way around the building? Her homeroom was three hallways and a commons area away, and the entire path would be packed until the second bell.
The sounds of conversation and laughter grew louder, surpassed in volume only by the sudden thudding of her heart as it pounded frantically against her ribcage.
So many people… all it would take is one touch from the wrong one, she thought. One touch, and I could lose control.
Move. She needed to move.
Someone brushed past her, jostling Alex’s shoulder as they entered through the double doors behind her.
Alex swallowed a whimper, searching frantically for an empty space in the chaos.
Hugging her arms tightly around her middle, Alex found an opening in the crowd and made her way to a narrow wall between two classroom doors, pressing her back against it and aching for an escape.
Closing her eyes, Alex fought to steady her breathing, then sucked in another ragged breath after being startled by the sound of the first bell blasting from a loudspeaker mounted to the wall above her head.
“Never pegged you as the agoraphobic type.”
Alex opened her eyes.
A smiling face stared down at her, a few short inches from her own.
Her first instinct was to jerk away, but a warm hand on her shoulder had pinned her firmly in place.
“Hold still, Alex,” Declan ordered. With his left hand placed protectively on one shoulder and his right hand pressed against the wall on her other side, Alex was effectively boxed in.
“Declan, you can’t—” she began, shrugging her shoulder where he held it in place.
Declan inched his fingers farther away from her exposed collarbone and down her sleeve, but still didn’t pull away. “You’re fine,” he said. “Just breathe.”
Students filed past on both sides. Alex eyed them nervously.
“Look at me,” Declan said quietly. “Not at them.”
Alex did as she was told. Declan just shook his head, smiling.
“You know, it’s probably a good thing you can’t jump right now,” he said in an undertone. “I would not have wanted to explain to Grayson why you teleported in the middle of a crowded hallway with dozens of witnesses.”
Ashes.
Cinnamon.
Declan.
Alex’s head swam with the sensory overload. Having Declan standing so close was only making it more difficult to pull herself together. She’d forgotten just how easily his nearness could knock her for a loop.
He was still smiling down at her as though they were just another normal couple stealing a quiet moment alone, instead of two Variants standing in the midst of a sea of humanity, while one of them tried to keep the other from falling apart entirely.
The passing students sent them a few curious glances as they walked into their classrooms, but otherwise gave them plenty of space.
Another few minutes and the crowds began to thin.
Declan removed his hand from her shoulder and took a step backward. “You okay to move?” 
“I… Yes,” she said, her face flushed with embarrassment. “I am.”
Slipping past him, Alex marched off down the empty hallway. Declan’s long legs matched her stride easily.
“You want to talk about it?” he asked as they entered the open expanse of the commons area.
“Not particularly.”
“You sure?”
“I’m fine.”
“Right.”
The second bell rang.
Alex was officially late.

21 comments:

  1. Hey Jena, I have been waiting with bated breath for the release of your second book in the Variant Series. Can you give me an idea of when you will be releasing it? I also have a review blog (currently malfunctioning- I am atrociously terrible with technology and new to book blogging) that I have a review for Revival, that once I actually figure out how to organize my blog I would love for you to see. Loved your first book, cannot wait for the second!

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    1. Hi Cait! It's a pleasure to meet you! I wish I could give you a better idea of when book two will be released, but it's kind of up in the air right now... I can guarantee you'll see it before the end of the year, but as for a specific date, there are a few things that need to be worked out first. As soon as I know, I'll be making a big announcement, so stay tuned! And I would love to hear your thoughts on Revival... Be sure to send me a link as soon as your site is working again so I can follow your blog! Hope you have a wonderful week!

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  2. Hi Jena! I was wondering if you could tell me if there is a general time frame in which the next book in the Variant series will be released?And if she Alex ends up with either Delcen or Nate or neither, because its killing me! I cant wait for your second book! Thanks!

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    1. Hi Katie! The second book in the Variant series is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2013... As soon as I have an exact date, I'll be making a big announcement, so stay tuned! And as for who Alex will end up with in the end... I'm afraid you'll just have to wait and see! ;) Thanks for the questions! Have a great week!

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  3. Love the book loved the characters. The only thing I think is lacking is more emotions in the beginning. Other then that and telling Connor where he can go. Can't wait till the next book. Thank you

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  4. I just bought this book from Amazon on the strength of the free sample, but more particularly on the quality of your dialogue. It's realistic, snappy, and well paced. So many writers have so many great story ideas, and then they attempt to write dialogue and it all just falls apart. So although the plot looks interesting, I don't really care that much about it at the moment. I'm just happy to read well-written conversations. :)

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  5. Finished it! A really enjoyable read. You have the makings of a good mystery writer - have you thought about writing a straight mystery novel? And your plotting and pacing are excellent. You teased just enough information at just the right times to leave me wanting more. I like how you revealed some things in this book and saved some for the sequel - like hints of romance and whatever it is Nate knows. And I like too that you kept the romance at the hint stage, regardless of what comes next.

    I hope the next book digs even deeper into who these people are. I like them all; I just want to get to know them better. And more backstory as to the larger conspiracy and its players would be welcome as well.

    You have a facility with words that makes your writing enjoyable for its own sake, unlike a certain other vastly overrated YA series cough*Divergent*cough for which I will not be spending money on the sequels. For you, on the other hand, I'm already saving up my shekels. So don't censor yourself as to length - I'd have been perfectly happy if this book had been another hundred pages and I'm hoping for a nice fat sequel to compensate. :)

    One suggestion - if you didn't do it before, you may want to get another set of eyes on your next draft to check for grammar, spelling, and usage mistakes. When I see your/you're confusion and words missing letters, like "decent" instead of "descent," it distracts me and pulls me out of a great story. I don't mean any offense by pointing this out - if you were an average writer, I wouldn't care. But you're not, so I think every aspect of your writing should reflect the credit you deserve.

    Job well done. I'll be looking for the sequel. :)

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read Revival and to provide such a thoughtful review. I'm so happy you enjoyed the book!

      I've always appreciated a good mystery and I've noticed that my favorite stories all seem to have a fair amount of intrigue and unexpected twists to the plot. I guess it was only natural that I'd try to work some of those elements into Revival! When I wrote the book, I wrote it without a proper outline—so many of those twists were just as surprising to me, as they are to readers. I'd love to try my hand at writing a proper mystery someday!

      As for finding another set of eyes to look over the manuscript... I'm embarrassed to admit that I broke the cardinal rule of self-publishing—I didn't hire an editor before I published. I had a group of beta readers who helped me out with the plot (and the occasional typo), but for the most part, I had to rely on my own eyes to catch the mistakes. At the time, I was convinced it was going to be lost amidst the sea of self-pubs, anyway, and so what would be the point in paying for it to be edited? *facepalm*

      ...I know. If I had a time machine, I'd love a chance to go back and kick my own butt for that bad decision. (Then I'd probably slip back to the '60s and check out Woodstock or something because, you know, time machine.)

      The good news is, I've finally reached a point where I can afford a wonderful editor. Revival is with her for edits as I write this and I hope to update the book file with these edits at some point in the near future. If all goes well, she'll also be the lucky duck that will help me whip book two into shape! I have no intention of ever publishing a book without taking it through edits, ever again. Thank God for great editors. They're worth every penny!

      Thank you again for the feedback and I hope that you enjoy the sequel! Take care!

      ~Jena

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  6. Just wondering what the sequel to the series is and when its coming out? I really liked it and am going to be adding it to my blog with a review.

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    1. Hi Jonniedee! The working title for book two in the Variant Series is Resistance, but that might change again before the book is released. As for a release date—it's yet to be decided, but I can guarantee that it will be available before the end of this year! So at the most, you should only have a few more months to wait... Thanks so much for reading! I'm looking forward to your review! :)

      ~Jena

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  7. I really like your book. It's a great read. Plenty of great writers have the occasional typo or spelling error. Can't wait for the sequel. You told others it would be done in the timeframe of 2013. Just wondering if I could get a heads up for when it's actually coming out. Again, a really good book. Going to read all of them!

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    1. Hi Aradia! Thanks so much for reading!! The release date for Resistance (book two in the Variant series) is February 11, 2014.

      You can read the announcement on the blog here: http://blog.jenaleighbooks.com/2013/10/of-release-dates-and-tempting-fate.html

      Can't wait for you to read it! :)

      ~Jena

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  8. Hi, Jena! I have been so pleased to hear that you were writing a second book to the Variant series since Revival was placed in my hands. I am so excited now that it's finally out. Now I just have to get my hands on that one...


    Thanks

    ~Samantha

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    1. Hi, Samantha! I'm so sorry for the slow reply—I just now saw your message! I'm so glad you enjoyed Revival!! Were you able to find a copy of Resistance? Take care and thank you so much for dropping by the blog! :)

      ~Jena

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  9. Hi jena,
    I must say I was not expecting to be addicted to your book as I was I finished both I a weeks time please tell me book 3 comes out soon :)

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    1. Hi, Hanna! My apologies for the slow reply! Book three is currently scheduled for release in late fall of this year—but between you and me, there's a good chance for an earlier, summer release! It all depends on how long the editing process takes. As soon as the edits are under way, I'll be making a big announcement with an exact release date! If you'd like to keep up to date with those types of announcements, you can either keep tabs on my blog, or sign up for the mailing list! Thanks so much for stopping by! I can't wait for you to read what happens next! :)

      ~Jena

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  10. I'm sure there will be a book 3... how long do u think it will be before it releases. Both book were really great reads. I highly enjoyed them.

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  11. Never mind.....I seen a post with it response. Can't wait to read it and see what's next.

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    1. Ack... I completely missed your comments somehow! Sorry for being so slow to reply! There will definitely be a book three and I'm still hoping to have it out before the end of the year. I'll be making a big announcement once the date is set, so be sure to check back later, or sign up for the mailing list if you'd like to get the announcement in your inbox. :)

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  12. I love this series so much! I can't wait for the third book!

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    1. So glad you're enjoying it! Thanks for dropping by the blog! :)

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