Category Archives: Excerpt

Excerpt: The Burning Star by Jessie Lane

The Burning Star
By: Jessie Lane
Published: May 24, 2012
Genre: YA

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Can she reach her destiny before tragedy strikes?

The doctors have told Kay that she will die before she reaches her eighteenth birthday. Her mother’s determination to save her life leads them to a move outside of Asheville, NC to a new set of cancer specialists in the hopes to help her. But it’s not what Kay and her Mom find in the doctor’s offices in Asheville that lead them on the journey to save her before time runs out. It’s what Kay finds in the woods outside of Asheville, and an inhumanly gorgeous guy named Ryan, instead.

Myths and fairy tales come to life before Kay’s eyes, bringing her closer to the ultimate cure if she can stay alive long enough to get there. And if the cancer doesn’t kill her before she finds the cure the secrets her mother has hidden from her may be the beginning of the end.

 

 

Excerpt
All I could think was that if I concentrated on cleaning his gash then maybe I wouldn’t make myself look like an idiot anymore. The concentrating helped because I could just feel his eyes on me. I wanted to ask him what he was thinking, or why he was staring, but I thought it was better to just stay quiet and clean his arm. I worked quickly and when I was done I looked up into his face with a somewhat steely determination not to make an ass out of myself anymore today. “Hey, you think you can handle it if we clean it off with alcohol. I bet it’s going to sting like a bitch, but I’m afraid it might get infected if we don’t.”“Yeah, that’s fine.” He said as he concentrated on my face.

“Are you sure? Because a cut like that, I bet it’s going to hurt. Like hurt a lot.” I inwardly debated if he was trying to be brave, or if he was nuts enough that he just didn’t care. My bet was nuts.

Ryan put on a confident face and said, “I think I can handle it. But if it makes you feel any better I promise I won’t scream like a little girl.”

Well at least I could go get the alcohol without feeling like I hadn’t warned him properly. “Ok, wait here. I’ll go get the alcohol out of the bathroom, and I’ll be right back.” I headed out of the kitchen and turned right down the hall towards that bathroom. I snagged it out from underneath the bathroom sink cabinet and hurried back to the kitchen because some part of my brain still couldn’t believe that there was an exceptionally hot half naked guy in my kitchen. But sure enough I rounded the corner and he was still standing there waiting for me. “So, do you want me to like pat it on with the rag or…”

“No just pour it straight into the wound. That’s the best way to avoid any infection.” And with that comment he positioned his arm over the sink so that we wouldn’t make a mess. I just shook my head. He really was nuts.

“I’m betting twenty bucks you scream like a girl.” I chided.

“And I’m betting a date with you that I won’t scream like a girl.” He stared intently at my shocked face with a cocky little grin as I absorbed his comment in.

“Ok.” Really? I thought to myself. That’s all you can come up with is ‘ok’? He’ll think you’re oh so smooth now. In fact, I’m sure I just won the ‘smooth award’ somewhere.

I shook my head and gingerly started to pour the alcohol into the gash that ran nearly from his shoulder to right above his elbow. As I braced myself for the scream that I was sure he had coming, when the alcohol hit his wound he gasped from the pain and then snapped his jaw shut. His face became clenched and contorted from pain and his entire body literally locked up in a spasm of sorts. Jerking the bottle upright and setting it on the kitchen counter; I stared into his distorted face. He was in so much pain that I had absolutely no idea how he was not screaming. His body shuddered and then I saw where there were beads of sweat on his forehead that started trickling down his face.

I inadvertently took a step back from him afraid that he was going to crack and instead of screaming throw a punch or something. Then the strangest thing happened; I felt a blast of hot air that was strong enough to lift my hair a little as if it was in a breeze and then there was a rich smell of some kind of flowers I couldn’t identify that practically engulfed my senses. My body started tingling in response to something, and I felt a flash of heat ripple through me. Then as quickly as it had started, it was over. I looked around my house somewhat wildly for a minute trying to figure out what just happened. “What was that? Ryan did you feel that?”

“Feel what Kay? The alcohol burning the crap out of my arm. Yes, I most certainly felt that.” He was looking at me somewhat analytically, and I thought that maybe he was thinking that I belonged in the loony farm or something.

I was seriously going to have to reread the side effects of that new medication I was on. Maybe I was having hallucinations? But it felt so real. In fact, my body was still humming with something that I couldn’t place.

“Right, you’re right. It must have been the heater coming on or something. I just wonder when my mom got that smelly thing. It has such a strong smell of some kind of flower.” I started scanning the wall outlets for an air freshener plug in and then the counters for some kind of new smelly candle. Nothing. There had to be an explanation for it. The hot air came on and hit whatever air freshener Mom had put out, right?

“Kay, are you all right?” The way Ryan was watching me now I was obviously never getting that date. What a freak he must think I am.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine. Sorry, I guess I’m a little out of it today. How’s your arm? I guess we should wrap it up now.” I reached for the ace bandage and shook my head to clear the crazy fog that was still in there. I glanced up into Ryan’s face before I touched his arm just to make sure that he was ok with me trying to take care of him.

He must want me to stand, like, fifty feet back so he didn’t catch my crazy.

 

 

author

Jessie Lane is the writing team of Crystal Leo and Melissa Pahl. The two sister-in-laws share a great love of breathtaking romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them. Because really, it is ALL about the characters. (They’re kind of megalomaniacs)

When not losing themselves in a story, they remember they have real lives. Crystal lives in Kentucky with her husband and two little girls who plot daily the many ways they can drive their poor mother crazy. At the end of the day, Crystal calls Melissa and threatens to ship her two nieces to their favorite Aunt with lots of air holes punched through their box. Melissa answers Crystal’s crazed calls in Washington state where she lives with her husband and big furry baby of a Rottweiler named Yuffie, and reminds her that children are not shippable.

This is their first novel, but they are all geared up and excited to be releasing other projects soon!

For more information on Jessie Lane, check out their website. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Excerpt: The Mine by John A. Heldt

The Mine
By: John A. Heldt
Publisher: Self-published
Published: Feb. 12, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction

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In 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can’t use, money he can’t spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

 

Excerpt

 

For the next fifteen minutes, Joel and Linda stood at the edge of the water, arm in arm, and watched dusk turn into night. Neither said more than a few words, but neither had to. Their silence was a source of comfort, not discontent.The tranquility was broken a moment later, when two couples noisily emerged from the hall. One walked to a shiny black Ford parked near the front of a dirt lot. The other stayed on the deck and propped open an exit, allowing the upbeat sound of “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller to drift across the lawn and drown out a cricket philharmonic.

“You sure you don’t want to dance?” Linda asked.

“I’m sure – and not just because I don’t want to fall on my face. I’d rather stay out here with you.”

“Really?”

“Really.” Joel grabbed both of Linda’s hands and looked at her face. “Why would you think otherwise?”

“Well, to be honest, I wasn’t sure you even wanted to go out. I didn’t exactly make the best first impression at Tom’s graduation party. I had a little too much celebration,” she said, staring at her feet. “And I’ve noticed you’ve become rather sweet on Grace.”

“I wasn’t sure about going out tonight, not at first. But I’m glad we did. You look stunning – breathtaking – and you’ve been perfect company. I could not have asked for a better date,” he said. “As for Grace, I do like her. I like all of you. But I’m here with you now, not her, not anyone else, and I’m very happy to be here.”

Joel meant it too. His feelings for Grace had not ebbed a bit, but for the first time in weeks he began to ask serious questions – questions he should have asked at the start. Did he and Grace actually have something? Or was he just a fool holding Paul McEwan’s jacket until he returned on leave?

And what about his so-called consolation prize? She had no restrictions and came exactly as advertised: smart, pretty, honest, flawed, and unabashedly interested in the new kid in town. If nothing else, Linda deserved a fair shake and an open mind. The old saying about a bird in the hand began to gnaw.

Joel considered another thing as well. It felt good having a woman in his arms and in his life. It had been two months since he had enjoyed a similar moment with Jana, two months and fifty-nine years. Life as a monk was getting old.

“Are you OK?” Linda asked. She looked at him with soft, expressive eyes, eyes any man could get used to. “You look kind of lost.”

He smiled and pulled her closer.

“I was,” he said, “but not anymore.”

Joel put a hand to Linda’s face and took a long look at his Second Impression. He kissed her and, for a few splendid minutes, forgot why he was lost in the first place.

 

author

John A. Heldt is a reference librarian who lives and works in Montana. The former award-winning sportswriter and newspaper editor has loved reading and writing since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of both the University of Oregon and University of Iowa, he is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. THE MINE is his first novel.

For more information on John, check out his blog

Cover Reveal & Excerpt: Fallenmore by Lucy Swing

Lucy is still in the process of writing the sequel to her Feathermore trilogy but couldn’t wait to share the new cover with everyone! She still doesn’t have a blurb yet since the book isn’t finished but she was cool enough to take an except from what she has already written to share with us. Make sure to add Fallenmore to your Goodreads list and look for it to pop up on Barnes & Noble and Amazon soon!

Fallenmore
(Feathermore #2)
By: Lucy Swing
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: May 2012
Genre: YA

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Excerpt

Silence.

Darkness.

Stillness all around me. There was only the endless blackness that stretched out into infinity and swallowed me whole. I floated, weightless, suspended in a starless universe.

I had fallen, hadn’t I?

I’ve gone to hell.

I didn’t understand when, or how, but I must’ve had become a fallen angel. I would forever live and succumb to the darkness that I felt inside of me. I would roam the mortal realm with a heart filled with hate and destruction.

I moved my arms but I couldn’t see them. It was as if I didn’t exist. I was only mind in this world. Wherever this was. The air around me was thick and I took long, deep breaths, but it only caused the feeling of suffocation to enclose me even more.

I thought of what had happened before I had come here, an attempt at trying to piece it together. How and why I had been the one to end up in this place. My memories were hazy, distant, but they were there. I maneuvered around the fog that kept them hidden but I couldn’t tap into them. They were blocked off.

I allowed myself to wander through my life before any of this happened. My parents. Memories flashed through and I gripped on to each one, holding on to the past. Holding on to the love once filled my heart, yet there was nothing there now. No love, no happiness. It seemed like a distant memory, but why? Why had I fallen? There was a faint noise that sent vibrations all around me. I extended my arms, trying to feel for something. Nothing.

“Hello!” Although I couldn’t see myself, I was able to hear. My voice echoed fiercely but no one responded. It was silent for what felt like forever.

“What are you doing here?” Claire. She sounded distant and muffled. I wanted to call back to her, to ask her to help me, but something stopped me. Something deep inside me made me doubt her, almost hate her.

I tried to move, but I couldn’t really tell if I was moving at all. I just floated.

“I can protect her. She will be safe with me, and most importantly, she will feel no pain.” Blake? Why was Blake here? Or, there? Wherever it was that they were. Did they know each other? Questions gathered in my head, but there was no one around to ask them to. I still screamed them out.

“What is going on? Where are you?!”

There was a warm feeling on my hand and then it spread along my arm, as if the darkness was caressing me softly. I twitched away from it, scared by the feeling it brought. The fear was instantly gone. Left behind was emptiness, I just was; the darkness no longer scared me. I wanted to go where he was. Blake. He would know what to do.

“Michael, you can’t think for one second life will go back to what it once was, can you?” Claire’s voice rippled though my body, awakening a monster.

Michael? Who the hell was Michael?

“Of course it won’t, but it’s not because of me, is it?” He spat out. “It was your hand that killed him.”

Killed him.

Who?

A set of blue eyes flashed before me.

And something inside of me broke. Again.

I saw his face and that was all it took for the pain to come crashing down like a tidal wave. I tried to hold on to his face, to the emotions that were coming across in his eyes, but he was gone, and the glimpse of my own emotions was gone with him. I stared down at my own arms, they way they had been wrapped around his body as he took his last breath. The way his bright eyes had lost their intensity; not even the moon that washed the forest with light could brighten them up. His eyes had moved through my face as if searching for something that would save him. But I couldn’t save him, and his eyes soon stared, lifelessly at the star filled sky above us. He had died in my arms and I had done nothing to stop it. I had nothing to prevent it from happening.

Could I had saved him from the doom that loving me had brought upon him?

I screamed, or at least I thought I was screaming. There was no more sounds coming out from me.

I dug deeper through the memory. I could still feel the weight of his body in my arms. There had been a tear deep inside of me the moment I felt his soul vanish, when he had become just another useless death in Lilith’s game.

Lilith. Who had left him there to die. Who just stood by as Shemer’s sword took the one person I lived for. Who stood by when Claire, my best friend, killed him. Lilith, whom I would have sacrificed it all to, if only to see his face one more time. If me dying meant I would be with him again, that’s what I wanted to do. Where I wanted to be. But I was trapped here.

Alone.

 
 
author

Lucy Swing lives in sunny Florida with her husband and two children.

She is a YA Paranormal/ Romance writer, whose works include: Feathermore #1 & Fallenmore #2 (Feathermore Trilogy), Bloody Valentine, the novella, and Bloody Valentine is also offered in “Death by Chocolate,” an anthology consisting of 6 fantastic YA short stories with a chocolaty twist.
She is an absolute book hoarder and must always have a book at arms distance. Music is her muse, and there is always a soundtrack that plays along her life.

For more information on Lucy Swing please visit her website.

Cover Reveal: My Super Sweet 16th Century

My Super Sweet 16th Century
By: Rachel Harris
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: Sept 11, 2012
Genre: YA

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On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

 
 

Excerpt

 

I hear their muffled whispers and understand every Italian word. Every witty comment made at my expense.

It’s like my brain is automatically translating.

I bunch the soft fabric of the dress in my hand and then reach up to feel the ribbon in my hair. I lightly skim my fingers over my chin and feel my lack of zit. I take in the costumes of the crowd, the stench of the animals, and the Italian I can now speak and understand. And suddenly it hits me.

Reyna must have pulled some kind of gypsy mojo.

Maybe this is one of those nifty “change your life” magic scenarios like in the movies. I mean, mostly I’m still expecting to blink and be right back in the midst of overpriced, gaudy tourism, but for now, the gypsy-time-warp explanation is infinitely better than thinking I’ve lost my mind. As I decide to go with that option, I feel my frantic tension melt away.

The growing crowd seems to notice my change in demeanor and begins shooting one another amused looks, but I don’t care anymore. A smile stretches across my face. Evidently, I was wrong earlier; Reyna is a psychic mind reader, because if this is her special brand of bibbity-bobbity-boo, then she made my exact daydream from earlier in the courtyard come to life.

The long red gown, the braided hair, the Italian merchant’s daughter, the time period. I am in Renaissance Florence.

I stare dumbly at the ground, the words and reality sinking in.

I’m in Renaissance Florence!

 
 
author

Want to connect with the author? You can swing by her website, and find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Cover Reveal: Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein

Pretty Amy
By: Lisa Burstein
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release date: May 15, 2012
Genre: YA

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Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she’s somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls take matters into their own hands—earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx—Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating “rehabilitation techniques” now filling up her summer. Worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing—like she is nothing.

Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it’s worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over.

 
 
Excerpt

I was just about to put out my cigarette and go back inside when I heard a skateboard coming down the street. It sounded like waves, like a conch shell against your ear. That full, empty sound.

Maybe it was Aaron. I conjured up my stupid daydream, the one I used to fill my head when I couldn’t deal with any of the other stuff in there—that he would find me, that he would apologize, that he would tell me that prom night hadn’t been his fault.

The difference this time was that when I looked toward the sound, he really was there.

It was him.

Aaron.

He was skateboarding down the sidewalk like it was made of water, wearing the same loose, worn jeans from his Facebook picture. He carried a backpack, like he might have been coming from the library, but I doubted he ever went to the library.

I lit another cigarette with the end of my last one; any excuse to stay put. Then I remembered I was wearing a suit.

“You got another one of those?” he asked. His eyes were blue. I hadn’t noticed that in his picture.

My hands shook as I gave him a cigarette. He brought a silver- and-black Zippo to his mouth, flipped it open with one hand, lit his cigarette, and slapped it shut. The whole thing took seconds, but it felt like he was doing it in slow motion. “Thanks,” he said.

Maybe he had just stopped to get a cigarette. Maybe it had nothing to do with me.

It probably had nothing to do with me.

“I know you,” he said. “Where do I know you from?”

I couldn’t tell him. Telling him that he’d stood me up for my own prom would have been way too embarrassing. It would tell him that I still cared enough to remember.

“I’m friends with Lila and Cassie,” I said, wishing that my hair wasn’t pulled back in a headband like I was a nun.

“What are you all dressed up for?” he asked.

Of course he didn’t know me. If he had, he would have known that I’d just come from court and that I was trying to do everything I could to forget it.

“I work here,” I said, thinking fast. “I’m supposed to be a librarian.”

“You don’t have to lie,” he said, laughing. “I’m Aaron.”

“Amy,” I said, waving hello with the cigarette in my hand.

He smiled. “Though you do make a cute librarian.”

I tried to keep myself from coughing. “This suit sucks,” I said. It seemed cooler than saying thank you. It seemed cooler than getting all squishy over what he said, even though that was how I felt.

I looked at his skateboard. “You wanna try it out?” he asked . The deck had a mural of blue sky and white-capped mountains hand-painted on it . The wheels were covered with stop-motion birds, so that when they spun it must have looked like the birds were flying.

There was more to this boy. More that I wanted to know.

“I guess I could,” I said, but then I remembered my mother. She would come looking for me soon.

I shook my head. “I should go.”

“You got a cell phone?” he asked.

“Not that I’m allowed to use anymore.”

“Parents,” he said. He pulled a sketchbook from his backpack. Maybe he had painted that beautiful mural. He ripped out a piece of paper, wrote something down, and handed it to me.

It was his phone number.

I tried not to act surprised, tried to act like boys gave me their numbers all the time, especially when I hadn’t asked for them.

“See you around, Amy,” he said. He dropped the skateboard next to him. It landed perfectly on its wheels like a cat would on its legs.

As he skated away, I looked at his number; the paper was as soft as fabric. I folded it smaller and smaller and hid it in my bra. Maybe he hadn’t said what I wanted him to say, but he had found me.

He had found me.

 
 
author

Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She wrote her first story when she was in second grade. It was a Thanksgiving tale from the point of view of the turkey from freezer to oven to plate. It was scandalous.

She was a lot like Amy when she was in high school.

She is still a lot like Amy…

You can find Lisa on her website, Facebook and Twitter