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The Coupling (The Letting #2)
Release Date: February 15th 2016
In Ronnie Billings’ dystopian world, surviving the Letting and breaking free of a corrupt government is less of a surprise than falling in love with Phoenix Day, the leader of the Peaceful Revolution…
When the government sentences Ronnie to a Coupling under the guise of producing a coveted blood type, Ronnie discovers the one she’s slated to Couple with expects even more.
Prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to save those she loves most, Ronnie devastates Phoenix with her impossible decision. Whisked away from her rebel life to another world ravaged by despair, Ronnie meets her greatest nemesis…her biological father.
Steeling her nerves against the dangers of escape, she embarks on the perilous journey back. She is convinced she belongs with Phoenix and his revolution, but will her friends, and especially Phoenix, be ready to accept her when she returns? Because this time, evil is in her blood…
Phoenix walks into our interview wearing perfectly fitted jeans and an army green t-shirt that pulls tightly across his chest and wide shoulders. He sits on a stool opposite my folding chair.
Phoenix, I want to thank you for letting me interview you once again.
He nods, staring at me. I know he’s not being rude, he’s simply waiting for me to begin.
In THE COUPLING, you and Ronnie are separated for a bit. Want to elaborate?
Phoenix exhales audibly and leans forward, resting his elbows on his thighs. He clasps his hands together, shaking his head. Then he sits up straight and leans back in his chair. When he does, he suddenly seems to have control of everyone and everything in the world.
(He nods at me, his blue eyes fixed on me.) That’s not something I’m proud of. I—I… (He runs his hand through his tousled hair and then comes to stillness again.) I let passion and pride and jealousy and…anger rule me. (He shakes his head) I shouldn’t have.
How did these emotions rule you?
I have always protected Ronnie. Always. And when she sacrificed herself to save us—me and Brooke and those girls she loves so much—damn. (He sits back again) I was lost. I didn’t know what to do.
Didn’t you tell her, and I quote, “You have done the one thing I cannot save you from—and may not be able to forgive you for…”?
(Phoenix nods, swallowing a lump in his throat.) Yeah.
And what did she do in response to that statement?
This is Ronnie. She did it anyway, because she thought it was the right thing to do. The only thing to do. She did it to save me.
And you hate that?
Yeah, I hate that. (His voice is louder and his body language more aggressive. He relaxes with his next answer) It’s my job to protect her.
But you two were able to reconcile?
As far as the reconciliation, was there anything in particular you said to her you can share with us?
I said, “The stupidest thing I have ever done in my life, Veronica Billings, was to let you go.”
Last time we spoke, you kept your feelings for her private and in check. Has that changed?
What Ronnie and I do is between us. And only us. But how I feel about her—that’s no secret.
How do you feel?
Like she is my reason for living.
Love is not a great enough word for how I feel about her. I will do anything for Ronnie. Anything. And I will keep her safe, always. No matter what.
hat’s next for Phoenix and Ronnie?
We’ve got a reconnaissance mission to HopeLess World.
Where you’ll face your greatest enemy yet.
And why will that be a challenge for you? Because he’s Ronnie’s biological father.
But that’s what’s next for your journey. What’s next for Phoenix and Ronnie?
That’s…probably nothing I’m gonna share.
Well, can you tell us where you left off?
We have some things to work out…
(He stares at me in an unnerving way) Like…we both have some issues with…uh…control.
You mean, who’s in charge of your relationship?
There’s no one in charge. We’re in it together. But sometimes tough decisions have to be made and then—(he stops abruptly)
And then what, Phoenix?
Well that’s what we’re working on.
But you think it should be you in charge—when those tough decisions have to be made.
Damn right—but only when her safety is at stake. But we’re in it together. Completely. (Phoenix gives me the first smile I have seen from him this interview)
What have you learned from all this?
I’ll never let anyone come between us ever again.
What if someone tries to get between you two?
(Phoenix looks up with his piercing eyes, smoldering) I wouldn’t want to be the man who tries it.
Suddenly Phoenix stands.
I need to go check on Ronnie. We leave for HopeLess World in just a couple of hours.
Oh, okay. Thank you for the interview, Phoenix. And, good luck.
The way he smiles, I know Phoenix doesn’t need my luck. As long as he has Ronnie, he has everything he needs.
About the Author:
Given my love for cities and all that is gritty, my new obsession with trees really has me stumped. (Sorry.) Maybe it’s because trees are the inspiration behind my new YA/NA novel, THE LETTING.
Whatever the reason for my new infatuation, some things remain constant — like my love for: coffee (although sadly, it’s now decaf); yoga; Luna bars (I am petitioning for them to bring back Chocolate Raspberry!); running in my neighborhood; Hemingway; Bukowski… and, above all, my husband and my girls.
I am the author of the bestselling novel, Sleeping With Mortals: The Story of a New York Mistress, and I’m also a playwright. I have my B.A. in English and my M.A. in Theatre.