EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
(Unveiled Series Book 1)
by Crystal Walton
Eyes Unveiled is the first book in Crystal Walton's new Unveiled Series. This book blitz and giveaway is brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.
Twenty-one-year-old Emma Matthews lost the song in her heart the same night she lost her dad. With an unfulfilled promise and an ultimatum shadowing her junior year of college, maybe it’s better that way. You can’t hurt if you can’t feel.
But when the reflection she sees in musician Riley Preston’s eyes borders dangerously close to the one she’s spent the last five years searching for, Emma discovers her walls can’t guard her heart from its fiercest desire. Terrified of what she’s experiencing, and even more afraid of what she might lose, Emma grapples for the courage to hold on to one dream without abandoning the promise of another.
Contemporary New Adult Romance novel Eyes Unveiled lets you relive those heartfelt moments when you don’t know how you’d survive a day without your best friend, when you’re trying to figure out who you are and what you’re supposed to do with your life, and when falling in love changes everything.
Music. Friendship. Self-discovery. Hope. Purpose. Identity. Within this inspirational love story, you’ll find you have a song of your own to share.
Riley and I stopped halfway across the footbridge leading to the other side of campus. “My dad used to tell me life’s a lot like being an artist. It has less to do with mastering technique or theory, and everything to do with risking the cost of opening your heart to the song you’re meant to share.” Amazing how he’d made that so easy to believe.
Riley set his arms next to mine on the rail. “He sounds like a wise guy.”
“He was.” The wooden plank scratched into my palms, the sense of loss cutting deeper. “A natural dreamer too. You would’ve liked him. You share a similar passion. I can tell. You’re probably connecting with more people than you realize. There’s something about music. Even if you’re not aware of what you’re missing, you walk away after hearing it, knowing—”
“You can’t live without it.”
“Exactly.” I turned and met a gaze locked on mine, as if he hadn’t looked away the entire time I was talking. He held that same expression from the first day I saw him—torn between surprise and fear of finding something he’d lost.
“The way you understand things, it’s ... refreshing,” he said.
The sincerity teeming in his eyes turned my throat dry. The bridge’s hazy blue lights lit up an exit route.
On the other side of the bridge, we stopped along the edge of the empty sports field. I slid out of my flip-flops and sank my heels into the cool earth. “When I was a kid, I practically lived in my backyard.” Blades of grass wove through my toes with each step toward the center of the field. “Do you mind if we sit for a while?” I spun around.
Riley stood back on the sidewalk, staring with enough enamor to be admiring an intricate painting.
I peered behind me and back again. “What?”
Glimpses of a hidden expression followed him toward me. “Sorry. The beauty of artistry still catches me by surprise sometimes.”
Praise for the Book
"Eyes Unveiled really tugs at your heartstrings in parts but also makes you laugh at the sarcasm that rolls out of some of the characters mouths. It's a loveable and enjoyable novel that I think most women would absolutely fall in love with because of its clean-humor (something I think is rare these days), romance, and gripping plot. It was definitely a worthwhile read, and I can't wait to read the sequels." ~ akaney
"My words really can't do this amazing book justice. This is a book that you will FEEL. I mean from your head down to your toes. [...] I found this book wildly romantic and fun and suspenseful and laugh out loud funny." ~ aaron mitchell
"I am absolutely blown away by the descriptive capability in the words that fill these pages! I believe anyone can relate to these characters." ~ Cynthia Smith
"From the moment I started reading Eyes Unveiled I was hooked, and couldn’t put it down. Crystal Walton’s descriptive language and writing style helped to transport me into the story, and create a heart-felt connection with the characters in the book. I loved being a part of the story as it unfolded, I giggled, laughed out loud, and cried along with the characters as their journey moved forward! I am anxiously awaiting the release of the next book to continue along with them. I truly enjoyed the emotion of the story and it took me back to all those formative friendships that have helped me through life’s journey. As a busy mom of two I am very selective with what I read on my down time. This was definitely time well spent! Loved it!" ~ Nora Culley
"While this is an AWESOME love story, there is definitely so much more. Friendship. Discovery. Awakenings. Forgiveness. Trust. Hope. It's about real life; about pressing through to the end, even when you want to give up and settle for second best." ~ Donna Thomas
Interview with the Author
What inspired you to write Eyes Unveiled?
When I first contemplated writing fiction, three musts came to mind. (1) It had to include romance because that’s my favorite part of any story. (2) I wanted whatever I wrote to be relatable. (3) I didn’t want to write simply for the sake of entertainment.
As soon as I opened myself up to daydream, a scene fluttered into focus. A guy and girl, college age, sitting in the middle of a secluded field. The guy was playing an acoustic guitar, as much in love with music as he obviously was with the girl across from him. Every chord stoked her love for him the same way it fanned the craving in her heart to find where she belonged. Both fighting what they felt. Both wanting to make the other see what they saw. Physical and emotional tension flared in a palpable tug-of-war between hope and doubt, caution and desire, passion and responsibilities. And right then, I knew these characters had a story to tell - one I wanted to read as much as write. From there, I couldn’t stop the scenes from coming.
What made you choose New Adult?
I didn’t intentionally set out to write NA fiction. But the truth is, college was the best season of my life. I’d relive it in a second. There's something special about it. Sharing an extended sleepover with your best friends, stepping out on your own for the first time, discovering things like who you are and what friendship really looks like. It's when we fell in love like never before, and when we fell apart like never before. It shaped our lives. One of my favorite parts about Eyes Unveiled is that you get to relive those moments all over again. The laugh-until-you-snort moments. The heart-flutters-taking-flight moments. The on-the-floor-crying-your-heart-out moments. All of it. Doubt. Faith. Friendship. Love. NA is a dynamic genre to read and write.
What made you decide to go indie?
I started off on the traditional route, but the more I studied publishing, the more passionate I became about going indie. Along with the benefit of keeping the rights to my book, it’s a joy to partner with some amazingly talented contractors. I love getting to offer my books at a low price and still receive a fair royalty, so readers and I both win. And since traditional and self-published authors have to do the same amount of marketing on their own anyway, you might as well be compensated fairly for the investment. Overall, it simply made the most sense.
Why do you write what you do?
In a word? Passion. As an artist, I leave my heart on the page. Exposed. Vulnerable. Nothing withheld. It’s risky to bear your soul to the world, but that’s the cost of art. There might always be a part of me tempted to guard my heart. But there’s a much more compelling part that’ll never allow me to. Regardless of the outcome, I write what I do because my heart is spoken for.
What do you want readers to take away from your books?
My goal as an author has always been to craft novels that are relevant and encouraging. I love compelling fiction that draws you into characters’ lives to the point of feeling what they feel. The kind that you walk away from knowing the story just impacted your life. Beyond mere entertainment, they awaken dormant dreams, stir creative visions, and remind you that you have a story of your own to live. If you walk away with an emotional connection that touches and inspires you, then I know I’ve written the kind of story I’ve always wanted to.
About the Author
Amidst multiple moves up and down the east coast, Crystal received her bachelor of arts from Messiah College in Pennsylvania, married her exact opposite in upstate New York, and earned her master of arts from Regent University in Virginia, where she currently resides with her husband. Crystal writes contemporary new adult fiction fueled by venti green teas from Starbucks.
When not working her accounting day job, she's delving into the wonder of words, supporting her Starbucks habit, or laughing over movie quotes and singing eighties songs with her husband.
Enter the giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of Eyes Unveiled by Crystal Walton. The prize will be sent out after 17 March.