Ashley Tropea comes from an Egyptian-Italian family and has been writing since she was 11. She finished her first novel by the age of 14 and published it online for free, where she received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback, earning a combined 1.5 million reads worldwide. After much prodding from fans, Ashley decided to independently publish her debut novel, MISSING IN THE PAGES, on Amazon, which has met with wonderful reviews and praise.

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Published in History & Culture

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Published in History & Culture

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Missing in the pages by Ashley Tropea is Perfect for Romance lovers

Ashely crafted “Missing in The Pages” by putting, love, revenge and how romance of lies makes us turn the pages until you finish the book. It simply makes you miss the pages of the book at every time you take a break from reading the novel. Author Bio Ashley Tropea comes from an Egyptian-Italian family and has been writing since ...

Ashely crafted “Missing in The Pages” by putting, love, revenge and how romance of lies makes us turn the pages until you finish the book. It simply makes you miss the pages of the book at every time you take a break from reading the novel.

Author Bio

Author Ashley Tropea

Ashley Tropea comes from an Egyptian-Italian family and has been writing since she was 11. She finished her first novel by the age of 14 and published it online for free, where she received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback, earning a combined 1.5 million reads worldwide.

In addition to her (perhaps unhealthy) obsession with books, she is also a huge tv junkie. She studied writing for tv at Loyola Marymount University where she graduated with a BA in Screenwriting. Her scripts have performed just as well as her novels, placing in numerous screenwriting competitions and regularly ranking in the top 10 on Coverfly's Red List.

With a special place in her heart for fantasies and ball gowns, Ashley intends to spread her love of large worlds, adventure, and romance through her novels and films.

About the book “Missing in The Pages”

Missing in the pages

With over 1 million reads worldwide, Missing in the Pages is an exciting and heartfelt story full of swashbuckling pirates, dangerous romance, and one girl's quest to find her home.

After eighteen-year-old Elizabeth Burrough's father went missing six years ago, all Elizabeth has ever felt is alone. Ostracized at school and ignored at home by her perpetually grieving mother, Elizabeth’s only solace lies within the pages of her favorite book, filled with daring sword fights and adventurous heroines. But when she awakes one morning to discover she's somehow inside the novel, it seems the glamorous world of eighteenth-century England may be more perilous than she'd ever expected. And when the striking but harsh Captain Carter McLeod decides he can use Elizabeth for his own gain, she is suddenly thrust into a treacherous life of deceit, envy, and revenge.

But as Elizabeth finds herself inexplicably drawn to the merciless captain, she begins to realize that Carter’s past is filled with darker secrets than she ever realized. And when Carter determines Elizabeth's help is imperative in recovering a treasure that had been stolen from him long ago, the dangers that lurk beneath the surface of the polished English nobility start to rise up around them. In a place where it seems no one is completely trustworthy and where darkness hides around every corner, Elizabeth must decide whether there is actually anything awaiting her back home or if this dangerously exhilarating world is where she truly belongs.

Opening Paragraphs

Rain slams against the wooden deck of the ship, dousing the candlelight and plunging the ship’s crew into darkness. The moon paints the frantic men in sallow light, reflecting the blanched panic on their faces as they rush to their posts, crashing into each other in the process. Thunder booms and lightning shoots from the sky, breaking through the thick darkness of the night. Offering Elizabeth just a moment to see him across the deck.

She hikes the skirts of her gown as high as she can and hurries toward him.

         “Nathaniel!”

         He turns and spots her. There is a look in his eyes that makes her blood run cold with a fear she has never known. Her throat runs dry and she almost stops in her approach. But she refuses to believe what his eyes are telling her.

         She shoves through the panicked crowd of men until she reaches him. “Where is he?” she demands.

         He drops his eyes to the ground, scratching his head sorrowfully. “I don’t know.” His voice is soft...mournful.

         Her heart plummets to her feet and she can hardly breathe. “How can you not know? Were you not with him?”

         “I was.”

         “Then where the bloody hell is he, Nathan?”

         He doesn’t answer, giving her that look again.

         She shakes her head. Terror’s cold tentacles wrap around her, chilling her to the marrow of her bones. “I have to find him.”

         He grabs her arm as she turns to go. “No, you can’t—”

         “I have to find him!”

         Thunder claps and every single man on the ship falls silent as they stare at the edge of the vessel. For a moment, Elizabeth can’t understand what’s happened. But then she watches as the figure of the man she has been searching for staggers onto the ship.

         It wasn’t a thunderclap.

         It was a gunshot.

         Carter stumbles, clutching at his stomach, blood spilling out. He struggles to raise his head, but when he finally manages it, his eyes easily find hers across the expanse of the deck, a wealth of meaning in them.

Then those beautiful hazel eyes that Elizabeth adores so much roll back in his head.

         “No,” she breathes as he collapses. She runs for him, ignoring the way her corset digs into her skin or the way his crew remain frozen.

         She drops to her knees beside him, cradling his face in her hands. His skin is pale and his muscles are slack. “Carter?” She shakes him hard, but he doesn’t move. “No, no, no, no—Carter? Can you hear me?”

         Silence.

         His eyes, eyes that had gazed at her with such love, such passion, now stare unseeingly into the stormy sky. Blank.

Elizabeth cries, terrible, painful sobs as she looks into those eyes. Carter McLeod, the man who always manages to pull her back from the edge, the only man she has ever loved, is dead—

   I snapped the book shut and practically threw it across the room where it landed on a round cafeteria table.

      What! Carter was dead? Really, truly dead? But he was the male lead! How do you kill the lead?!

   I leaned forward and rested my head in my hands, sighing.

   These books were going to be the death of me.

   I had been so sure the lead characters were safe with Sarah Morales. She had written my absolute favorite books for the past seven years. The release of the final book in the Caspian Rogers series had been record breaking; nearly every bookstore in America had sold out of the novels in the first day.

   And in the last book, she killed Carter McLeod. Unbelievable. Unforgivable, really.

   I moved to the table the book had landed on, picking it up and scanning over that last page again as if by sheer will I could change the words. But all I accomplished was a deeper feeling of despair and an embarrassing tear that trailed down my cheek.

   “Freak,” a girl muttered as she passed me, followed by giggles from her friends.

   My cheeks flushed hotly, and I fidgeted on the metal bench, keeping my eyes downcast.

   But I felt them watching me a few tables away, their eyes like hot pokers stabbing my skin.

   It was my fault. I knew I was sitting in the school cafeteria. I should’ve controlled myself better, done more to appear like the invisible girl I was supposed to be. The invisible girl I so desperately wanted to be.

   Because invisible meant no one could see me. Invisible meant no one was looking or laughing or whispering. Invisible meant silence, and silence meant safety.

   I had heard that saying over and over about sticks and stones, how words couldn’t hurt. Someone should’ve told the creator of that mantra that the eyes hurt more than the words. Constant accusations of “freak” or “weirdo” I could handle; I’d heard them enough. But it was the things unheard that made my cheeks flame, the judgement that radiated from their faces into my back. It was the unspoken thoughts I couldn’t hear but that I knew existed. That I knew were much crueler than anything anyone actually said.

   I let my long brown hair curtain my face from their view, opened the book in front of me again, and blew out a sharp breath. Shield back in place. A meaningless line of defense against laughter and scrutiny, but it was all I had.

   As the bell rang, signaling the end of lunch, I slung my backpack over my shoulder and hurried out the door, mentally counting down the days until graduation, until freedom. Just twenty-five more days, I assured myself. I had done twelve years with these people. I could do another twenty-five days.

***

When I got home, a note from Mom sat on the counter:

   Emergency at the hospital. Be back late. Dinner in freezer.

   I sighed as I practically threw the frozen dinner in the microwave, completely unsurprised to find Mom wasn’t home. Somehow, there was always an emergency at the hospital only my surgeon mother could solve, that just happened to coincide with the time I came home from school at night or when I left for school in the morning. Somehow, she always found a way to stay away from the house.

   Away from me.

   It was how she coped, she’d told me once. After Dad had gone missing, how could I expect her to be here, where so much reminded her of him? Where I reminded her of him?

   Six years. Six years ago, Mom went to work and I went to school, and when we came home, Dad was gone. At first, we’d thought he’d run away. Incomprehensible in itself—he loved us. But his phone, keys, clothes, everything had been left at home. No, he hadn’t run away. Something had happened to him.

   But that was six years ago. And Mom and I both knew the odds were he was…dead. The police wouldn’t find him, he wouldn’t stumble through the front door with an explanation. He was gone.

   So that made it six years that I had been completely and totally alone in this house. What was one more night?

   I shook my head—disappointed in myself for feeling disappointed—and pulled the dinner out as the microwave beeped.

   I set my plate at the kitchen table big enough for four but only ever seating one and flicked on the television, not caring at all what channel came on. I just needed something to cover up the sounds of my solitary meal.

   Naturally, it was the news, talking about the record sales of the Caspian Rogers finale. The news anchor stood in front of a bookstore with what looked like an angry crowd gathered in front of it. Everyone held copies of the last Caspian Rogers book, and their muffled grumbling could just be heard over the news anchor’s words. “Since first hitting shelves seven years ago, fans have been in love with Sarah Morales’ Caspian Rogers series, filled with adventure and swashbuckling pirates. The final installment of the beloved books was released earlier this month, and today, Morales was set to do a public reading of the novel at this bookstore. However, fans were left disappointed when the famed author failed to show, the third public appearance she’s missed since the final book’s publication. I spoke with many of the fans here today, and the question on everyone’s lips? Where is Sarah Morales?”

   I switched to a different channel, to some nineties sitcom that I’d seen so many times it could function as the irrelevant white noise I needed. Though it might seem ridiculous, I felt a certain kinship to Sarah Morales. She was loved, she was famous, and even she wanted to hide. Why couldn’t they just let her hide? Why couldn’t they be content with what she had given them and leave the rest alone? Why wasn’t all of it—any of it—ever enough?

   I finished up my dinner quickly and then sped through my homework, which was a joke this late into the school year. Who cared about finishing assignments in precalculus or physics? There was only twenty-five days left. Surely, the teachers had to know we’d given up by now.

   Although I felt like I had given up a long time ago.

   True, I used to strive for straight A’s. I used to stay up until the sun was near rising to study for exams or finish assignments. I used to think if I just worked hard enough, my mother would snap out of her funk, would smile and laugh with me the way she used to.

   The last time I’d tried was sophomore year. I’d stayed up late to catch Mom when she came home from the hospital. She’d stumbled into the house, scrubs wrinkled and eyes watery and bloodshot. But I didn’t care. If I had waited for a time when she was ready to talk, I’d never have spoken to her again. So I’d ignored any signs of exhaustion, plastered on an excited smile, and presented my report card to her.

   “What is this?” she’d grumbled before reluctantly taking the paper. She’d looked at it for a split second before clicking her tongue and handing it back. “Not now, Lizzie,” she’d said, and then headed to her bedroom and closed the door.

   And locked it. I remembered that vividly. She’d quite literally locked me out.

   Since then, I felt mildly proud when I brought home a C, felt like a superhero when I managed a B.

   And tonight, as I stared at the symbols of my precalculus homework, I felt that same indifference I’d felt for the last few years. That overwhelming question that pounded in my head:

      Why bother?

      Why bother when I wasn’t even going to college? Why bother when I knew I’d never study math or science if I did go to college? Why bother when I simply didn’t care? 

   So I pushed my homework away, put on my pajamas, switched off the light, and climbed into bed.

   Loneliness always hit me the hardest when I was lying under my covers, when all was quiet in the house, when I could hear the absence of my mother’s snoring in the next room, when I realized it was only eight o’clock and I was already in bed. And when the loneliness hit, when the isolation became too much, there were only two options: I could cry myself to sleep—which I had done too many times to count—or I could crack open Caspian Rogers and allow my only companions to cheer me up.

   Forgetting the grisly death of my favorite character, of course.

   Last night, I’d read the epic sword fighting scene, but, tonight, I flipped a few pages further to where Elizabeth Gallagher and Carter see each other again for the first time in years. It always amazed me how brave Elizabeth was when faced with the fearful pirate. Her and I were both “Elizabeth” but we couldn’t be more different, and not just because she was a few years older than me. Carter was by no means the warm and fuzzy type, but somehow this noblewoman found the strength not to cry or cower. She was strong. And I was not.

   I sighed and snuggled deeper into my covers. I wished I could be like Elizabeth Gallagher. I wished I could go right up to those snickering girls and give them a piece of my mind. I wished I could find the courage to make my mother talk to me, to get her to ask just once if I was okay. But I knew that no matter how badly I wanted to, there would always be some sort of invisible duct tape sealing my mouth shut.

   The words began to blur together on the pages as my eyes drifted shut.

      Tomorrow, my companions promised me. Tomorrow will be better.

      I fell asleep with the book open on my chest...

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AashleyT

Ashley Tropea comes from an Egyptian-Italian family and has been writing since she was 11. She finished her first novel by the age of 14 and published it online for free, where she received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback, earning a combined 1.5 million reads worldwide. After much prodding from fans, Ashley decided to independently publish her debut novel, MISSING IN THE PAGES, on Amazon, which has met with wonderful reviews and praise.
View all posts by AashleyT

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