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Holly Caste

Holly is a contemporary romance author. Lover of all things steamy and angsty— you’re sure to get your fill of these in her books! She also likes to have an underlying message in all of her stories, bringing awareness to bigger issues that are close to her heart. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her eating an unhealthy amount of bread and cheese, rocking out to emo music or hanging with her loved ones.

She’s yearning for an adventurous romance. He doesn’t believe in a happily ever after. Little do they know, their stories are about to intertwine.

Angry and directionless, Grayson begrudgingly goes to spend the summer with his sister, Rae in Golden Bay Beach. Although their parents want them to mend their relationship, Grayson’s plan is to keep to himself.

That is, until he starts spending time with his sister’s best friend, Emma.

Grayson quickly becomes captivated by Emma’s gentleness and compassion. An innocent night of sneaking through her window to make sure she’s safe turns into a summer of romance, healing and transformation. 

When Grayson realizes Emma has also suffered the cruelty of the world, he does everything he can to lessen her pain. Grayson and Emma find the shattered parts of one another and try to put each other’s pieces back together. 

Only, once a person’s broken, can they ever be glued back the same?

Trigger Warning: Explicit language, descriptive sex scenes, grief, physical violence, suicidal ideation, addiction/overdose Talk of (action off page): grooming/sexual assault of a minor, gun violence

Excerpt from Fragments of Gray

Grayson stretches across my comforter and holds something up. The moment I realize what it is, I gasp.

         “You read my kindle!?”

         A sly smile pulls at his lips. “I read your kindle.”

         My jaw hangs open. A combination of embarrassment and enthrallment pumping through my veins.

         “Technically, I only read the parts that were annotated.” His grin grows wider. “Sweet little Emma has a bit of a kinky side.”

         “Grayson!” I squeak.

         “I see you’re really into…” He glances at my kindle as if he’s checking his notes. “Hand necklaces?”

“Oh my god!”

He hops off my bed, standing over me. The heat of his body rippling across mine. “But I also noticed you like the softer moments,” he says, his pitch dropping. “Like getting kissed right here.” Tenderly sweeping my hair out of the way, he brings his lips to where my neck and shoulder connect, lightly brushing along my skin.

I shudder at the contact, desire fueling me.

I swear my whole body is turning scarlet as it heats up, any shame quickly turning to ashes.

Grayson carefully pulls away to look at me, but brings his fingertips over my collarbones lightly tracing over them as I talk.

“I can’t believe you read my romance books.”

“I’d be stupid not to—the playbook is right there. A cheat sheet to everything you like.”

Butterflies encompass my stomach. “Oh my god. You didn’t just read my kindle—you studied it.”

The smirk he gives me is so sexy, I’m milliseconds away from claiming it as mine.

“I’m intelligent, I just always lacked the motivation to put effort into anything,” he explains as his fingers leisurely dip lower, caressing my neckline. “But this topic? I’ll have no problem taking my time to master what my Red wants.”

My head dizzies as lust explodes through every particle of my body.

“I don’t know if I’ll like any of it or if I just like what’s written on the pages,” I admit.

“Then, we’ll explore.”

         “We’ll explore,” I repeat in agreement.

         His warm breath skates across my skin as he leans forward, placing another kiss against my neck. Traveling upward, his lips skim over me and his tongue marks the spot right below my ear.

         Clutching onto his shirt, my breathing turns ragged as it gets harder to stand straight.

         “We can try whatever you want,” Gray whispers. “I’ll touch you the way you want to be touched.” He kisses me once more. “I’ll say all the things you like.” Kiss. “And if for whatever reason you don’t enjoy it, you tell me immediately and I’ll stop.”

Q&A With Holly Caste

Since I was a child, writing has always been a form of therapy for me. I never had the dream of becoming an author or pursuing it as a career because I only wrote for myself as a creative way to let my thoughts and feelings out. I would only write poems and short stories, but in 2020 I had an idea for a book. With a lot of spare time on my hands due to being stuck in my house because of lockdown, I decided to sit down and give writing a novel a chance. I’m so incredibly thankful that I actually went through with it because I found a new love and passion! The creative tap is on a constant flow and I haven’t stopped getting book ideas since! (If only I could find the time to write them all!) The reader/author world has been extremely welcoming—I’m so grateful to have a home here!

Chaotic! I write whenever I can—which is usually late at night, after my daughter goes to bed. I tend to get sparks of inspiration as I’m falling asleep or driving, so my notes app is filled with random sentences and scenes.

I wish I had a more exciting answer, but when I’m not writing, I’m spending time with my loved ones. It’s what gives me the most joy. Everyone has hectic schedules (myself included), so any time I get to spend in their company is meaningful to me.

I usually catch up on the sleep that I missed while I was in the midst of the creative process haha!

When I send ARCs out and when my books are officially published, me and my husband crack open some liquor and have a dance party in our living room!

I didn’t intend to write Fragments of Gray, but readers loved Anything Rae Touches and asked me for more from that world so I decided to make an interconnected spinoff of the secondary characters in that book. I drove headfirst into Grayson & Emma’s romance (and trauma) and after several month, Fragments of Gray came to life!

Probably my own inner critic getting in my way and judging my creative process

Writing the sweet, romantic scenes were fun. There’s a lot of emotion and trauma wrapped around their story, so getting to weave in light-hearted or tender moments were a nice breather. Also, having Grayson fall harder was super fun to write!

Grayson writes poetry, this one is probably my favorite: “She’s bearing the weight of other’s sins, the pressure doubling down, snapping each bone. With clean hands she crumbles from their crimes. Crushed and turned to dust. Yet, she rises. And if she is the phoenix, ascending from it all, red flames igniting her spirit, then I am the ashes, delicate flecks of gray smoke worshiping her at her feet. Neither of us afraid of the fire.”

Can I say both Grayson and Emma? I’m not sure what I’d say to either of them, but I’d be down to hang out with them on the boardwalk or at Rae’s condo