My Name Is Rose by Alexa Kingaard

Excerpt – Chapter 11

We strolled together down the corridor, acclimating ourselves to the environs of dorm living. It would be loud, for sure. Freshmen, sophomores, a few juniors arrived in all shapes and sizes. Most of the girls looked fresh out of high school, and they probably felt as lost as we did. Some had already situated themselves in front of the TV set in the common area. Others took advantage of their last weekend of summer, checking out the activity board and bolting for the front door.

I marveled at the momentum and excitement that permeated the air and took a deep breath to still my thoughts. Had I been too hasty with my decision to leave the commune? Did my school girl fantasy of trying to come to grips with my parentage propel me into an environment where I didn’t belong?

I shrugged it off. I knew I had made the right decision.

Cecily and I continued to investigate our surroundings.

Almost in passing, more of a question to myself than to Cecily, I asked,” What do you think I would look like with short hair?”

I pulled at the uncombed ends, a head of hair that hadn’t been trimmed in a decade and had absolutely no style. It was just hair, lots of it, lackluster, drab, and long, in need of something different to coincide with my long-awaited sense of freedom…a more mature, post-high school appearance.

“I think you would look adorable. Open your face. People could see your eyes. They’re really pretty, Rose…so dark…very unusual.”

I startled. Nice of her to say.

I tried to imagine myself with hair that didn’t go past my waist. A short pixie – no, too drastic. Maybe a perm – not even my most rebellious self could justify a move that extreme.

The next morning I found a hairdresser close to campus, a wise choice I thought, since there was a line out the door by the time I arrived without an appointment. She convinced me that a blunt cut, shoulder length, feathered bangs, a slight undercut to create movement was what my perfect oval face needed.

I reluctantly followed her advice. I winced when she pulled all my hair away from my face, tied it loosely with a rubber band, and with one motion of her razor-sharp scissors, sheared off the entire mass of hair three inches below the knot. I could hear it sever every strand, like slicing bread, and watched it fall at my feet in a dull brown heap, ready to be swept up and thrown in the trash. Almost two decades of my identity, in five seconds, gone.

My face registered my shock and horror. I felt the chair slowly turn around, my back to the mirror, as the stylist prepared herself to take on the challenge. After what felt like hours, she finally removed the black cape, shook off the pieces of uneven, chopped waves and tendrils that clung to the plastic, and gently rotated the seat to reveal my image. Pleased with herself and waiting for my reaction, I squeezed my eyes shut. I was unsure if I might cry at the end result, a vision so unfamiliar, I was positive I would hate it. I regretted taking the plunge, and before I peered out from my new, shagged bangs brushed to the side just below my eyebrows, I held my breath and reassured myself that it was just hair. If I didn’t like it, even if I detested it or was embarrassed by it, it would always grow back. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes.

I followed my reflection in every store window all the way home. A few boys, ready to pursue conquests and casual victories, cast second glances in my direction. A totally new experience for me. I put my head down and walked quickly past, too fearful to engage in conversation or to stop to get acquainted, but by the time I reached my room, my confidence had soared.

“So cute!” shrieked Cecily when I flung open the door and presented myself to the only person who had seen both the before and after version of me.

My Name Is Rose
Alexa Kingaard
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: March 15th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Rose is unsettled, curious, and bored. Life in a hippie commune is her parent’s dream come true, not hers. She doesn’t share their passion for living off the land, nor does she enjoy the isolation that is thrust upon her. When she convinces them to send her to public school in the nearby town, a new world opens up to her.

As she pursues her education, Rose chooses a different path, leaving her parents heartbroken at her insistence they are hiding something from her. She’s convinced her father isn’t the man her mother married.

Although she finds love far away from her roots and upbringing, her wounds only deepen as she keeps her family at arm’s length. What she loses during those years can only be retrieved with her understanding that “a Rose by any other name is still a Rose.”

Goodreads / Amazon

Author Bio:

Alexa Kingaard was born in San Diego, CA and has lived most of her life in the area. She currently resides in Carlsbad and is the mother of an adult son and daughter who continue to be her biggest fans and cheerleaders. A realtor for fifteen years, she remains involved with her profession and praises her brokers and clients for giving her the nod to be creative.

She gives all the credit for completing her debut novel, KEEP FOREVER, to her inspiration and late ex-husband, Jeff, who battled the residual effects of the Vietnam War for decades after his return.

Her second novel, MY NAME IS ROSE, will be released through Acorn Publishing March 15, 2019.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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The Circle: Taken by Sage Sask

The Circle: Taken

by Sage Sask

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction

Release Date: February 2019


Abandoned at eleven with no memory of her family, Alexia yearns to learn her true identity. She embarks on a dangerous quest for the truth of her past. In the resulting battle between life and death, Alexia learns that sacrifice and revealing the gift she fought to keep hidden may be her only chance for survival.

A secret unearthed, a shocking betrayal, and a moment when lives hang in the balance leaves Alexia with only one choice. Will the decision determine her destiny or end her life?


I pound the pavement, feet in perfect rhythm. With every step, I yearn to outrun the hazy memories, but they hug my heels. Sweat glues my half-ripped shirt to my body. After searching for a belt, I have settled for a string to wrap around my waist in the hope of keeping the oversized shorts from falling. I remember one of the boys wearing the shorts years ago. He must have left them behind when he departed the orphanage at eighteen. With a quick flick of my fingers, I push chocolate-brown wisps of hair off my face and back over my ponytail.

As I run, my eyes automatically examine the face of every woman I pass. Searching and hoping are my ritual. At night, after everyone in the orphanage is asleep, I lie atop the mattress on the floor and daydream of finding my mother. Discovering her will mean that I will finally learn who I am.

A woman catches my stare. Her hair is the same color as mine, and her height matches mine. Excitement starts in my belly as my eyes widen and my pace automatically slows. The silver ring on my second toe suddenly feels heavier. I moved it there years ago after my fingers outgrew its size.

“Do you know me?” I whisper, glancing cautiously at the safety patrol officer nearby.

She continues to stare at me, her face shifting into awareness. I reach out to touch her bare hand with mine. With one touch, I am sure I will have my answer. She glances at my approaching hand then steps back.

“You need to leave this area,” she murmurs. “Now.”

“What?” I stop moving toward her, sure I have misheard.

“Get out of here,” she orders me quietly. “It’s not safe for you.” She glances furtively at an approaching safety patrol officer. “Excuse me.” She hurries away before I can make contact. I stare after her, anxious and wondering.

“What happened?” The safety patrol officer silently slides his hand over his gun as he watches the woman scurry away.

“Nothing,” I murmur quickly, trying and failing to make sense of our interaction. My mother would know me, not run away. “I thought I recognized her.”

His gaze searches mine. I stand completely still, ordering myself to breathe. Seeming to come to a conclusion, he jerks his head. “Keep moving. Curfew in an hour.”

I run past him. Unsure of the woman’s order, I nonetheless turn into the old downtown of the city. I quicken my pace past an abandoned building. Deserted, it stands next to a heap of burnt rubble. Where a rooftop once was is now a gaping hole. The door, hanging off its hinges, creaks with the gust of wind. A half-starved rat scurries across the empty shelves.

Pushing my legs to move faster, I take the first turn and enter what looks like a completely different city. The buildings, built after the war, glisten with bombproof material. I maneuver through small parked cars laden with dust. With limited fuel available, it is rare to see cars on the road.

I pass a balding man walking his dog. Like everyone else’s, his glance strays to my green patch. His expression hardens but I refuse to react.

My green patch arrived the day after my sixteenth birthday. It was hand delivered by a messenger who waited for me to open the package and then finger swipe a tablet that assured the powers that be that I had received mine. Along with the patch was the date of my test.

Four times a year, the government sets up centers in each town to test newly minted sixteen year olds for their disposition to harm others. With the results, the government decides whether you live or die. Tomorrow I learn my fate. Until then, I am guilty until proven innocent.

I pass a bakery where the smell of fresh bread wafts through the door. On cue, my mouth waters and my stomach growls from incessant hunger. I slow down, unable to stop staring at the baskets of fresh bread on the white linen tablecloths.

Only when I spot another safety patrol officer do I move faster. They patrol twenty-four hours a day. I have seen even small infractions lead to an arrest or public berating. I drop my head as I move past him. I take the first turn into an alley. Only when I am sure he is no longer in my vicinity do I release my held breath.

Bright lights greet me. Sitting atop the metal posts, they glare at me in the darkened alley. Nestled inside the bulbs are hidden cameras that watch my movements like a wandering eye.

I flinch against the glare as I maneuver between stacks of water-stained crates littering the narrow passage. A stray Siamese cat halts its search of torn garbage bags to eye me warily. Barely sparing the animal a glance, I head toward the broken chain-link fence swaying in the wind.

“You want some?”

Surprised, I nearly trip over myself. Halting, I stare at a young man crouched beneath the awning. His dirty-blond hair spills over his chiseled face. His shoes are more expensive than any pair I have ever seen. A green patch flutters against his expensive clothes.

“What?” I ask.

He lifts a rolled leaf to his pressed lips and inhales. “Help ease the pain of tomorrow.”

“No, thanks.” Afraid of being caught, I take two steps back. I steal a quick glance around to make sure there are no witnesses.

He inhales again before running his eyes over me. His gaze lingers over the tear in my clothes, but he barely blinks at the green patch.

“You live in the orphanage?” he asks.

Unsure who he is, I stay quiet.

He shrugs, seemingly unbothered by my silence. He drops the leaf and stomps it out. From his backpack he pulls out a bag of dark chocolates and tears it open to pop one in his mouth. “You ready for tomorrow?”

Famished, I stare at the bag. Though it has been years since I have had a piece, I can still taste the chocolate as it melted on my tongue. With barely enough money to afford food, luxuries like chocolate are unheard of in the orphanage.

“Here.” Noticing my stare, he pulls out another full bag and tosses it to me. I catch it with one hand.

“Why?” I grip the bag, fighting the urge to rip into it. Wary of the unexpected gift, I stare at him.

He smiles as if I have told the best joke. “Have a drawer full at home.” He glances at the smashed leaf. “Chances are I may not be around anyway.”

“You sure you’re going to fail?” I ask, wondering how he knows.

“Are you sure you’re not?”

The question settles over me like a blanket of death. Tomorrow the government may learn my secret. If they do, they will kill me. My chest suddenly heavy, I fight for the breath I was holding only moments before. If I die, it will be without ever having found my mother. I will never have learned her true identity, or mine. From the day they found me on the beach years ago, I have been searching. But with no memory of who I am or where I came from, I have remained lost.

“Right.” My mouth dry, I hold up the chocolate bag. “Thank you for this.”

I slip the bag into my pocket for safekeeping. Without a goodbye I resume my run. Curious, I glance back once. He’s staring at me. Unsure what to say, I turn away and start to disappear into the night when a loud blast shakes the ground.

The boy jumps up and we both run to the edge of the alley. The bakery I just ran by is on fire, obliterated by an explosion. Everyone runs screaming from the blast. I scan the area, searching, but the woman who warned me to leave is nowhere in sight.

“The Resistance,” the boy says, disgusted. “It has to be them.”

“How do you know?” They are the government’s worst enemy – a large network of people who evade capture at every turn.

He shakes his head in disgust. “Because they want to kill everyone.”

Then why did a woman I have never met before just save my life?

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About the Author
Sage Sask is a team consisting of a Washington Post, USA Today and Amazon charts bestselling author and a group of young adult writers.
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