Cover Reveal: The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones Paperback

As many of you know, I would sell my heart for Dee Moreno and James Lancer. If you don’t know who they are, then you’re missing out (on the book and my spiel). The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones is an intoxicating blend of fantasy, horror, and romance—a Faustian fable perfect for fans of Holly Black and Stranger Things.

While I do love myself some romance, The Hearts We Sold is not centered around it. It’s a story about Dee Moreno, a girl who has a difficult home life and is about to be kicked from her boarding school—the place where she truly feels free—for lack of funds. But in this world, demons exist to make deals: one human body part in exchange for one wish come true. However, the demon that Dee approaches doesn’t want just any body part—he wants her heart in exchange for her wish. She then becomes a “heartless” and joins a crew that has to take down an otherworldly threat. There are demons that can be outwitted, hearts that can be reclaimed, monsters to be fought, and love that isn’t impossible without a heart.

The paperback isn’t available until July 2, 2019, but I’m just so excited and in love with the new cover that I wanted to share it with you today! If you’re still not sold (which you should be), here’s a little sampler of the book.

Chapter 1

A demon was knitting outside the hospital.

Dee Moreno froze. The smokers’ area was where she always took her lunch break; she didn’t smoke, but it made for a good place to eat—at least, when it wasn’t already occupied.

If she returned indoors, she would have to eat her lunch with the other high school volunteers, and that thought made her stomach shrivel up. It was the kind of afternoon one could only find in Oregon—grass still doused with last night’s rain, lit up by what sunlight managed to escape the cloud cover. Dee considered her options.

Demons weren’t supposed to be dangerous, or only as dangerous as your average used car salesman. This demon sat on one of the benches. Red yarn trailed around its fingers as it knit, and the sight made Dee feel brave.

Still, she sat on the farthest bench.

“It’s a bit low,” she said quietly.

“What?” the demon said. In a silky voice, because of course that’s the only kind of a voice a demon would have. The demon didn’t look at her; it kept steadily knitting, its fingers deftly sliding a stitch from one needle to the other.

“Lurking outside a hospital,” said Dee. “Kind of going for the low-hanging fruit, aren’t you?”

The demon’s mouth twitched. “How do you know I’m working?” It finally looked at her. The look wasn’t a once-over, or at least not the kind Dee was used to. The demon wasn’t tallying up her bra size or even leering at her. It was simply staring, and Dee took a moment to do the same.

The demon had dark hair cut evenly down its neck. It wore a suit with more grace than most humans could manage, the light gray material untouched by wrinkles or dirt. Despite the sunny weather, an umbrella rested against its leg. The demon was beautiful, but something in its face was subtly off, the way ancient portraits or statues never looked quite true to life. The demon also looked decidedly male, although Dee couldn’t let herself think of it as a him. It was altogether too alien.

The demon’s attention sharpened. “You’re a little young to be working here.”

“I’m a volunteer,” said Dee. She’d learned from a young age to answer adults quickly and succinctly. It didn’t matter if this thing wasn’t human; her old reactions still snapped into place. “It’s required for all Brannigan students to do community service.”

“And is it customary for such students to seek out demons on their lunch break?”

“I didn’t,” said Dee. “I came here to eat a sandwich.”

Said sandwich was mangled from hours spent shoved in her backpack, but Dee fished it out. They sat in silence for a long minute or two, until the demon heaved a sigh.

It said, “All right. What do you want?”

Dee kept her attention on her sandwich. “I don’t want anything.”

The demon went back to its knitting; it frowned, and unraveled a stitch. “You must want something.”

Dee tried to change the subject. “Are you really knitting?”

The demon’s eyes never left its work. “Actually, I’m purling at the moment.”

This startled a laugh out of Dee.

The demon looked taken aback. “I said something funny?”

“It’s just…,” said Dee. “I just had a mental image of demons getting together for knitting parties. I mean, is this a normal thing? Do demons pass the centuries doing arts and crafts? Do you go yarn shopping?”

The demon echoed Dee’s smile. Or at least, it tried to. It was like watching an archer draw back a bowstring—the thing armed itself with its perfect white teeth and charming face.

“I got this yarn the way I get everything I want,” the demon said, very softly. “I make deals.”

Looking into the demon’s eyes, Dee remembered all those stories she used to read as a kid—tales of ill-advised deal making where people gave teeth to fairies, queens trading firstborn children in exchange for gold-spun straw. Stories filled with magic and ambition, with dead stepmothers, wicked smiles, and cursed monkey paws. Dee found herself meeting the demon’s eyes, her defiance flaring to life.

Dee didn’t believe in magic.

“What do you want?” repeated the demon.

Dee refused to look away. “I don’t want anything.”

The demon’s smile widened. “Now, I know that’s not true.”

A loud clanging made her jump. She whirled around, grabbing at the back of the bench. One of the hospital doors had been slammed open, and two nurses walked out, talking animatedly. Heart still pounding, she turned back to face the demon. It watched the two nurses with a tolerant smile; they barely gave Dee and the demon a glance before rounding a corner. They hadn’t recognized the demon. If they’d known what it was, they’d have reacted. Looked excited or afraid or—something. But their gazes had slid over the creature and moved on.

It leaned closer to Dee, its voice lowering to an intimate tone. “You see, my dear, only a human that wants to make a deal can see a demon for what they are.”

Dee discovered she was shaking when the crust of her sandwich dropped into the damp grass.

The demon was still smiling at her. A cool, almost smug smile. Again, Dee felt that little flare of defiance. “I don’t want to make a deal with you,” she said firmly.

The demon returned its attention to the knitting, to the blood-red yarn trailing through its fingers.

“Well, if you do,” said the demon, “you know where to find me.”

Dee Moreno is out of options. Her home life sucks (to put it mildly), and she’s about to get booted from her boarding school—the only place she’s ever felt free—for lack of funds. But this is a world where demons exist, and the demons are there to make deals: one human body part in exchange for one wish come true. 

The demon who Dee approaches doesn’t trade in the usual arms and legs, however. He’s only interested in her heart. And what comes after Dee makes her deal is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she ever could have imagined. Reality is turned on its head, and Dee has only her fellow “heartless,” the charming but secretive James Lancer, to keep her grounded. As something like love grows between them amid an otherworldly threat, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give James her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?

In The Hearts We Sold, demons can be outwitted, hearts can be reclaimed, monsters can be fought, and love isn’t impossible. This book will steal your heart and break it, and leave you begging for more.

Valerie Wong1 Comment