Monday, March 31, 2014

Moonflower By Angela J. Townsend ~Book Blitz~


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Moonflower cover photo Moonflower.jpgTitle:  Moonflower
Author:  Angela J. Townsend
Published:  March 31st, 2014 by Clean Teen Publishing
Page Count:  238
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance Horror
Content Warning:  Graphic violence
Recommended Age:  17+
Synopsis:
Natasha remembers little from her Russian childhood, other than the lingering nightmares of her mother’s tragic death. So when someone close to her hands her a one-way ticket to Russia, along with the deed to her family farm, and then is brutally murdered, she has little confidence about what awaits her in that distant land.
With doubt and uncertainty, Natasha has no choice but to leave her life in America for an unknown future. Once overseas, the terrifying facts as to why she was really summoned home come to light.
Fact one: Monsters do exist. Fact two: The only thing keeping those monsters out of the world is an ancient mural hidden below her family’s farm. Fact three: The mural that keeps the evil out of the world is falling apart. The final fact: It’s up to Natasha to restore it and save the world from a horror unlike anything seen before.
Luckily, Natasha isn’t alone in her mission. Three Russian Knights are tasked with protecting her from the demons as she restores the mural. And leading the Knights is the handsome and strong Anatoly, who seems to be everything Natasha could hope for in a man. Unfortunately, there is one huge problem. Her Knights are forbidden from having relationships with the artists they protect, and Anatoly is a hardcore rule follower. But rules cannot stop the way she feels.
When a horrifying demon breaches the barrier and pulls Anatoly inside the mural, Natasha can’t help but charge, once again, into the unknown—this time to save the man she secretly loves. Now on the demons’ turf, she risks her own life to free the very one who is supposed to be protecting her. Little does she realize that if she should fail, it could mean the destruction of the very last barrier shielding mankind. Will Anatoly refuse Natasha’s help? Or will he finally realize, when love is at stake, the rules will be broken. 


EXCERPT
Seattle, Washington
The shadows came for me at night, in my sleep, evoking demons as they crept over me, pressing down, tangling around my arms, my legs, my neck. I struggled to open my eyes. To move. To breathe. Panic swelled. Twisting and thrashing, I battled to break free. The shadows turned to vapor, and it was my mother who held me now, clutching me to her bloody body as we huddled together. Her ragged, uneven breath feathered across the back of my neck.
She whispered one last Russian lullaby.
My father appeared in the doorway, his heavy boots dripping snow on the oak floor. His eyes were cold, vacant, a rifle tight in his hands. He advanced, yelling Siberian curses that fell from his lips like hissing snakes. He snarled and aimed the weapon at my mother’s chest. Her eyes stretched wide in horror, her lips twisted in a final scream as she pushed me to safety.
A bullet exploded through her torso, shattering my existence in a mixture of steel, blood and bone, colliding at the speed of light. My father lowered the gun, grabbed my mother’s wrist and checked for a pulse. A satisfied smile crept across his lips as he dropped her lifeless arm.
A whimper escaped my throat. He spotted me cowering in the corner, his eyes blazing with scalding fury. He raised the weapon, aimed it at my forehead, and the shadows came for me again…



Moonflower-Angel photo Angela-Townsend.jpgAbout the Author:
Angela Townsend was born in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Missoula, Montana. As a child, Angela grew up listening to stories told by her grandparents, ancient tales and legends of faraway places. Influenced by her Irish and Scottish heritage, Angela became an avid research historian, specializing in Celtic mythology. Her gift for storytelling finally led her to a full time career in historical research and writing. A writer in local community circulations, Angela is also a published genealogical and historical resource writer who has taught numerous research seminars. Currently, Angela divides her time between writing, playing Celtic music on her fiddle, and Irish dancing.
Angela’s first novel, Amarok, was published through Spencer Hill Press in 2012. She later went on to sign with Clean Teen Publishing in 2013 and currently has two novels published through them: Angus MacBain and the Island of Sleeping Kings and River of Bones. Her third novel, Moonflower is scheduled for release in March 2014.
Angela resides on a ranch, in rural Northwestern Montana, with her two children Levi and Grant.
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wilde Riders Week Blitz & Giveaway


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Wilde Riders - Week Blitz
by Savannah Young
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Date Published: 2/23/2014

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WILDE RIDERS (An Old Town Country Romance)

FOUR WILDE BROTHERS…ONE WILDE COUNTRY BAND
WILDE RIDERS is the first novel in a spicy new contemporary romance series about four sexy brothers, their small-town bar and their local country band. WILDE RIDERS can be read as a STAND ALONE NOVEL or as part of the SERIES.
Cooper Wilde spent his entire adolescence counting the days until he could escape rural northwest New Jersey. Now at 26, he can’t believe he’s coming back. But his late father’s bar, Haymakers, is in financial trouble and his older brother, Jake, has asked for Cooper’s help. 

Riley Smith, 25, is fresh out of her Ivy League MBA program and wants to make an impression on her employer, H & C Bank. Her first solo assignment is a fraud investigation on a business loan they made to Haymakers.

Even though Old Town is less than 90 minutes from New York City, Riley feels like she’s stepped into another world in this remote, one-bar town. Riley can’t wait to do her business and get back to the city as quickly as her sports car will take her…until she meets Cooper Wilde. He’s not like the other guys in this rural town and Riley feels inexplicably attracted to him.  



EXCERPT

The drive into New Jersey is exhausting. My only saving grace is that most of the traffic is going into the city instead of out of the city like I am. You’ve got to love those bridge and tunnel guys. I wouldn’t date one but I have a little bit of respect for them. The commute into Manhattan turns a nine hour work day into an eleven hour one, if you’re lucky.
  I can feel my stomach start to knot as I get further away from the city and further away from civilization. Pretty soon I’ll be in the sticks surrounded by woods and farmland. I can almost smell the manure that will no doubt take days to completely rid from my nasal passages. I pray that I don’t run into any animals, especially cows, which are huge, smelly and completely freak me out. The only live animals I ever care to see have to fit comfortably in a handbag, like a Chihuahua or Teacup Poodle, for example.
I have an appointment with a man named Jake Wilde. He asked me to come early, before the place opens at noon, so he can give me his full attention. I try to imagine what someone named Jake Wilde would look like and all I can come up with is an old gunslinger like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven.
As I pull into Old Town the place looks exactly like I thought it would. The buildings in the town square are old and I image the place hasn’t changed much in the last hundred years or so.
Haymakers is just past the town square, down the hill from the deli, next to the gas station. Those were the exact directions I was given, in those words. I take that to mean the town only has one gas station and one deli.
When I pull into the parking lot, there’s only one other vehicle sitting there. It’s an old beat-up Dodge Ram. Nothing like fitting the country bumpkin stereotype like a glove. Then I have a brief moment of panic and wonder if it’s safe to park my BMW in the dirt lot. Then I remind myself where I am. Who is going to mess with it in the middle of the day? A stray deer from the woods out back? The only thing I probably have to worry about is it getting dusty.
I take in a deep breath. I have to be thankful there’s no manure smell yet. The quicker you do this, I remind myself, the quicker you can get back to the lovely asphalt jungle you call home.
I’m hit with a gust of wind as soon as I get out of my car. How is it possible that Old Town is even windier than lower Manhattan? I didn’t think I’d ever find a place windier than Wall Street. Even the Windy City didn’t seem this windy when I had business in Chicago.
When I enter the bar, I try to smooth down my thick hair, which I know is probably a complete mess from the gust. I’m surprised by the homey feel of the place. How could someone like me possibly feel at home in a country bar? Even if I was wearing jeans and cowboy boots, if I even owned jeans and cowboy boots, I wouldn’t fit in at a place like this. 
I hear someone clear his throat and I turn to see a guy about my age, mid-twenties, standing next to me. I can’t help my surprise when I see he’s wearing khakis and a polo shirt, like he just stepped off of a golf course. He looks as out of place in this country bar as I feel.
“Are you Jake Wilde?” I ask.
The guy gives me the faintest hint of a smile but it’s almost as if it pains him to give that much. His deep brown eyes look even more distressed and I can’t help but wonder what’s behind those sad eyes.
He rakes his fingers through his thick dark hair. “A little windy out, isn’t it?”
My hand automatically goes to my hair and I try to casually flatten it down again. I imagine I must look like I just stepped out of a wind tunnel.
“Your hair looks fine,” the guy tries to assure me. But he’s got that hint of a smile on his face again and it makes me wonder if he’s lying just to make me feel better.
“I’m Cooper Wilde,” the guy says as he offers a hand.
 I don’t know why I suddenly feel nervous about shaking it. It’s a business meeting. That’s what people do. But the way this guy is looking at me gives me the feeling that he might be interested in more than just business.
But I’m not, I remind myself. Not only because I’ve all but sworn off men, I’m here to do a job. I’ve been working for H & C Bank for two years and this is my first solo assignment as a lead investigator. If I continue to do well, I’ll be well on my way to becoming a Vice President before I turn thirty. I don’t need a man to throw me off my career trajectory. And definitely not some guy in a country bar in rural New Jersey.
I take his hand and give it a quick shake but I can’t bring myself to look into his smoldering eyes again. “I’m Riley Smith.”
“I figured that,” Cooper says.
“Why is that?”
That hint of a smile has returned to his face again. “We don’t often get women in business suits in the bar.”
I’m not sure why I’m suddenly overcome with the urge to get a real smile out of Cooper Wilde. I don’t know even know the guy but it somehow seems important. I get the feeling he hasn’t really smiled in a while and it’s long overdue.
Not that I’ve had much occasion for real smiles myself lately.

Savannah Young:
Romance novelist Savannah Young grew up in rural northwest New Jersey in a place very similar to the fictional Old Town, which is featured in her books. When she's not at her computer creating spicy stories, Savannah is traveling to exotic locales or spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Caught in the Crosshair by Barb Han







Lauren James had ignored the recent spate of calls from her brother.  After all, he was a big player linked to a major cartel, and he’d been dead to her for nearly a decade. Then she receives the one call she can’t ignore—her brother’s been kidnapped and will be killed if she doesn’t bring money. No matter how far gone her brother is, Lauren can’t turn her back on him completely. Deep down she’s always wanted to save him. Now, she’s forced into action because he’ll die otherwise.
Ex-Special Forces sniper Jaden Dean owns a private security firm and after losing his older brother to gang violence, needs to take down as many scum bags as he can—single-handedly if need be. And he was the best. Until he trusted the wrong woman on his last assignment and ended up nearly dead in the street.
On a tropical island with a hurricane brewing and dangerous men closing in, Lauren and Jaden will need to work together to survive and find her brother. The cartel seems to be one step ahead and Jaden’s operatives are being killed one-by-one. He will have to use all his specialized training and risk everything, including his heart, to outwit the deadly group and keep Lauren safe. Their magnetic attraction isn’t helping matters…because even a slight distraction might just get them both killed.


BUY YOUR COPY
MY OPINION
Well, I'll be totally honest. This book packs the action to the max. It is full force. However the story itself kinda falls a bit flat. It's not that it doesn't have a great out cropping it just doesn't explode like you'd want.
You have this whole life or death and then you have main characters wondering if they've hurt another's feelings...how their lips might feel...REALLY???
There's really bad guys out to shot your butts dead in a hurricane non the less and you're worried about that?
I guess my whole second guessing really started at the beginning of this whole book...I mean she went so long avoiding her brother's phone calls, just to jump when a terrifying call comes in ...No calls to the police nothing...
Then it's like lets trust whom ever
Grant you Lauren and Jaden really grew on me through out the story I just don't think on whole this book knocked my socks off. That being said it doesn't mean I won't give this author another go around because I totally will...Who knows maybe her next will kick my butt or I'll be a character that gets brutally murder within the first chapter ...No worries.
I do recommend that everyone take their own adventure with this one....You might find that I'm just being a royal witch or that I'm being right on the money either way....

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Barb Han’s writing career spans 14 years and most media. Barb’s held positions ranging from Sports Reporter at her college newspaper to Opera newsletter editor to News and Feature Writer for a Fortune 100 company. Barb has penned hundreds of articles in both U.S. and international markets and holds a bachelor of arts in journalism. A member of Romance Writers of America, Barb has served as committee chair for her local chapter.

Web site: www.BarbHan.com



To download the first chapter, visit Barb's Web site at: www.BarbHan.com.

EXCERPT
The Texas sun beating down on the white canopy over the fresh grave created a greenhouse effect, intensifying the triple-digit temperature. Jaden Dean loosened his tie. At five o’clock the heat had peaked. A half hour into the inferno, his shirt threatened to melt into his skin. He’d barely noticed.  
His focus was Helena. Long after the attendees had gone home, she sat there, broken, looking lost and alone. A stark contrast to the deadly field operative she was.
Jaden couldn’t walk away, so he moved to the chair next to her. “There anyone I can call?”
She didn’t look at him. Only shook her head.
Jaden sighed sharply. “Talk to someone, then. A priest?”
Her gaze focused forward. She didn’t respond.
“Then take some time off. Hell, take as much time as you need. Your job will be waiting for you. ManTech can survive for a while without you.”
She glanced at him.
Damn, it was hard to look her in the eyes, see the pain there. Pain that was his fault. 
She shook her head again. “I need to keep busy. Work is all I have now.”
Right. She’d been orphaned as a child. A wrench tightened inside Jaden’s gut at remembering the details of her abusive past. There was no family to surround her. Tim had been everything to her. He was her love. Her redemption. Her life.
And now he was dead.
Freakin’ South American cartels.
Her chin came up. “And those bastards have to pay.”
The hollow look in her eyes was a knife to his chest. Something inside her was broken. Would she ever be the same?
Would he ever be the same after sending her fiancĂ© on the mission he should’ve taken himself?
Jaden knew all about losing someone close. The unspeakable pain. The darkness and anger that settled in the soul. The hopelessness. Everyone that had been close to him was dead. His operatives were all the family he had. And they were being killed. He was beginning to think he was cursed.
If she insisted on working, he’d keep a close eye on her.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Taken By Choice ~Promo~


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Taken By Choice - Release Blitz
By Jessica Frances
New Adult Paranormal Romance
Date Published: 3/6/2014

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Taken By Choice (Taken Trilogy #3)

They failed. They have been taken by P.A.G.E. again and this time Stan and Martha are prepared for them. They’ve made it impossible to escape. They have no choice but to stay in line and behave.

New friendships are made, relationships are put to the test and answers about their abilities are revealed.

Is it possible that they can still take down P.A.G.E. but this time trying from within?

Or will the choices they make endanger the future they were tasked with protecting?

Only time will tell. Unfortunately, it might mean having to give up everything for the chance of ending this once and for all.


EXCERPT

“I know we failed getting out of here. I don’t know what happened, but it was our best shot and we failed.”

“I know. I know this will kill Rose, but I think we need to stop fighting this place, at least for a while. We can’t risk them breaking us up. I thought for sure we would be split up after this.”

His statement breaks my heart because that’s exactly what is happening to us. “That’s not what I meant. I just think we need to have that talk, the one where we talk about if one of us makes it out of here and the other one doesn’t.”

“Don’t say that. We leave here together, got it?” Charlie pulls on my arm to stop me walking and grips my face so that I see the certainty in his eyes. It takes every bit of mental power to not cry or break down and tell him that it isn’t going to happen that way.

“I know, but being in that room for so long, I realized that, if you got out and were free, I’d want you to do something for me.” 

“Do what?” he asks me cautiously, biting his tongue on arguing his point that we will get out together again. 

“I’d want you to check on my mom and Drew. Make sure they’re coping okay. Tell them how sorry I am over Dana and how much I love them.” 

“Did you have a dream I should know about?” He narrows his eyes at me, sensing I’m hiding something. I blink away more tears, knowing the only way I can get out of this is to lie. I have to lie to him. I’m a horrible person. 

“I haven’t dreamt since the hospital. I just had a lot of time to think. I thought that if I was to die in that room, what would happen to my mom and to Drew? I know I can trust you to look in on them. I just needed to say those words, to know that if something happened to me, that they’ll be okay.” 

“Nothing is happening to you, I promise.” He brings me forward, hugging me to his chest. 

My heart must be completely shattered now. There can’t be anything left, and yet, I can still feel it breaking. I can’t have him making a promise there is no way he can keep. I can’t do that to him. 

“Don’t promise me that. Sometimes, things are just out of your power. Fate put us together and it could just as easily pull us apart if it wants to.” “I’m not going to—” 

“Just promise to love me forever. That’s what I need to hear from you.”

Without any reluctance, he answers me, “I promise to love you forever.” 

“And I promise that I will love you forever, too.” I finally make a promise I know I’ll keep. 




About the Author
Jessica Frances

Born and raised in South Australia, Jessica spends her days working in a bakery, afternoons catching up on lost sleep, and nights reading and writing. Writing has always been a passion of hers, however it wasn’t until Zoe appeared into her head and wouldn’t leave that she finally was able to put a story down and finish it. After writing three books, she is wondering if she should start charging Zoe and her friends rent.

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My Dog Understands English by Cherise Kelley ~Week Blitz~


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My Dog Understands English - Week Blitz
By Cherise Kelley
Non-Fiction / Memoir / Dog Stories
Date Published: 11/30/2013




Dogs are smarter than we think.

Has your dog ever surprised you by doing something you said the first time? You are not alone! Here are 50 stories about amazing dogs who understood what their humans said. Some even saved lives in the process!

Chloe the golden Beagle braved a hurricane to obey the new command, "I need Dad, Girl."


Ellie the Coonhound helped her human family escape from an angry bear by obeying the new command, "Get it!"


When her human brother said jokingly, "Maybe Cocoa could dig again and find it," Cocoa did just that!



Our Queensland Heeler mix, Raffle, gave me the idea for this book when he finally but unexpectedly ate some green beans off the kitchen floor after I said, "Oh, so you'll eat grass but you won't eat green beans, eh?"




EXCERPT

By the time my eyes fluttered open, Hurricane Elvis was already underway.



The entire house was shaking by the time I woke up. The wind angrily pounded at the window with such force that I was sure it was going to break. I sat up and tried to flip the light on, but the power was out. Terrified, I climbed off the bed and hid between it and the wall. I was still disoriented from just waking up, but I remember vividly not being able to hear anything except the storm. As I sat there though, I heard a noise from outside the room.



Mustering up the courage to pull myself up on my knees, I opened the door just in time to see the living room window shatter as a tree flew through it.



As I watched the storm raging inside the house, I grew worried for my sisters. I called for them, but they didn't answer. I could feel the panic swelling up inside me, taking over. I looked over my shoulder. My dog Chloe was close behind me, and I told her to stay. Then, I began my journey across the living room. The plan was to crawl underneath the tree. I could reach the bedroom that way. As I crossed the living room, the wind pushed up.



Before I knew it, the entertainment center was on top of me, pinning my legs down.



Try as I might, I couldn't move. I now realized the predicament I was in. Thankfully, Chloe hadn't listened when I gave her the command to stay. As soon as I was trapped, Chloe was on her stomach, crawling to me. I looked at her with tears in my eyes, and with a whimper, she nudged me.



I whispered, too scared to speak in my normal tone. "I need Dad, Girl."



That was all I said. I never expected anything to come of it. After all, I had never taught her a command that was anywhere close to this. I was only telling her because it made me feel more comfortable. I was so scared, and hugging and talking to my animal made me feel better. But before I could pull her into my arms, she pulled herself out of my grip and ran back in the direction we had come from.



I closed my eyes, trying to ignore the cold that pressed against my unprotected body. I was rapidly growing numb. I could hear Chloe barking, but faintly so. I didn't realize what she was doing. My dog was getting my dad's attention. Within seconds, he was alerted to the situation and was fighting the storm to get to me. It didn't take much for him to get the window blocked off and the entertainment center off of me. The rest of the storm was waited out quietly.



That was how Chloe became so much more than just the family pet. She saved my life, and all because she understood English so much more than we expected her to.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Soul Control by C. Elizabeth ~Feature~













Soul Control


Author: C. Elizabeth

Publisher: Wings ePress
Pages: 454
Genre: YA Paranormal
Format: Paperback, Kindle

Purchase at


“Lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil.”
Words that ring true for seventeen-year-old Saydi Gardiner upon discovering her ancestry.  But if she has doubts, further confirmation is forthcoming and it comes in the form of a wickedly gorgeous Nathanael Braxton, when he steals her heart and cuddles into her sole – the last place the boy should be.
Nineteen-year-old Nathanael’s unrelenting good looks aren’t the only thing that make him dangerous – and he knows it!  However, his caring human side struggles with a loyalty – a loyalty that binds him to the hunt for the soul that will give his family the power they seek. There’s only one problem: When he finds her, Nathanael falls in love with his prey – Saydi.


About the Author

C. Elizabeth lives in St. Albert,  Alberta, Canada and during her short writing career she’s learned a lot about herself, sometimes to the point that she wonders how the heck she got this far in life and know so little about herself.
For the majority of her life she dabbled in many things, such as drawing, photography, sewing, only to find that after a while, she would lose interest, but writing is a different story — it found her and continues to be an addiction, as well as a most wonderful, incredible passion.
Not only does she write novels, but she does whatever she can to hone her craft.  Such as attending the New York Pitch Conference, seminars and the like, as well, she writes for online magazines on the topic of… you guessed it, writing.
Her latest book is the YA paranormal romance, Soul Control.
Visit her website at http://www.celizabeth.ca/.

Connect & Socialize!

TWITTER | FACEBOOK



First Chapter:
Preface
I’ve always believed the soul connects us together. Being able to feel emotion, love one another, hurt one another, laugh, cry... all the things that make us human. Did I believe my soul was an actual physicality of my human make-up? That it could be whisked off into the darkness by a demon? No. To me, life held enough hurt and pain without having to worry that there were forces of evil crouched in the shadows--waiting for me to swear, or something along those lines.
There was nothing more humbling than to be wrong.
As the warmth of the morning sun brushed against my face, I heard the cries and whimpers of the ones I loved. Truth be told... dying would be better than the alternative.
One
When the summer was over, my friends and I settled into our last year of high school. All of us were looking forward to graduating and going to university. I wanted to be a teacher, but they still weren’t sure.
We lived in the small town of Duck Lake, Saskatchewan where time stood still and nothing changed. Every year it was the same--no new faces, no one ever moved to God forsaken Duck Lake, and anyone who started grade one on any given year would eventually graduate with the same classmates. If anything, it made the teachers happy, for there weren’t too many of us that didn’t have good grades. We had to... if we were ever going to escape.
Being a snore-fest, my small home town offered only three entertainment options. We could hang out at home, hang out at the local restaurant/billiards room (Sloppy Joe’s), or, last but not least, party every night with the beer heads. Our little group of four pretty much stuck with the first two, only because the last time we drank, it took me four days to recover! It also brought about other crappy consequences--I endured two weeks of no friends when my mom found out and grounded me. Of course, she cited my age of seventeen and, not to mention, what drinking did to the soul.
That was one of my mom’s little quirks. She was always adamant that I was special and needed to be extra careful. Yes, she believed there were people out there who would be particularly interested in me, working very hard to ruin the good I had. She always talked like it was someone she knew, when in fact, she meant the general population.
~ * ~
“Saydi,” Angie called, hurrying down the hall toward my locker. She was one of my three best friends, a trio that included Angie Kathers, Becky Meyers, and Norma Pasely.
Angie was the one who we liked to call the computer geek--all in fun, of course. She was the epitome of “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Five-seven, blonde and blue-eyed, she always turned heads wherever we went. She was also the only one of us who had a car.
Closing my locker door, I waved back. “Hi!”
We walked to social studies with her arm wrapped in mine. “Did you hear there was a moving van in front of the old Winslow house? Someone’s finally moving in there.”
That surprised me, because that house had been targeted for demolition. “Really? Are you sure?”
She nodded fiercely. “I heard it right from Pat.” Pat was the town pharmacist and the biggest gossip ever.
“Hmm, that’s strange. No one’s lived in that place for years.” I stopped and looked at her. “Weren’t they going to tear it down?”
Angie shook my arm. “Don’t you remember? A few months back someone bought the place to save it.” She rolled her eyes dramatically, throwing her other arm up in a flourish. “They’ve completely renovated or restored it, whatever it is. Remember?”
How could I forget the biggest news to hit Duck Lake in years?
“Um... not sure how that slipped my mind,” I admitted.
In typical Angie style, she rolled her eyes again. “Really, Saydi, how could you forget? It was only the biggest news all summer! Where’s your head?”
“Ladies, get to class,” Mrs. Jensen ordered, coming from around the corner.
“Yes ma’am,” I responded, tugging on Angie’s arm to move faster. Apparently, the quickness of our steps was a direct correlation to the speed of her words.
“Anyway, let’s go by there after school before we go to Sloppy’s, okay?”
There was never any reason for me to go near that old stinky house. It was on the other side of town, and besides, it gave me the creeps.
“Angie, it’s completely in the opposite direction.”
Just before entering class Angie managed, as usual, to get the last word in. “Come on, it’s Friday! We got nothing better to do.” She grinned a mischievous grin. The ulterior motive dancing in her eyes jogged my memory. Other news came along with the renovation--it wasn’t just the house she wanted to see, Angie was dying to see if the rumors were true... Supposedly, boys our age were going to move in.
“You love me,” she quietly proclaimed, sitting at her desk beside me.
Yes, yes I did...but how much? The day wasn’t over.
~ * ~
Lunch time was our first opportunity to meet up with Norma and Becky, our other two groupies.
Norma was about an inch shorter than me, which would put her at about five four. She had dark black hair cut really short, so it framed her face and made her hazel eyes shine. Her cheeks were always rosy and she had an exceptionally small nose, but it suited her. She was also the one that struggled with everything, including boys.
Becky, on the other hand, was five six and had the same blonde hair as Angie, but it was always tied up in a ponytail. Becky hated hair in her face and she wore glasses over her dark blue eyes that rested on her little flat nose. Becky could be categorized as not the sharpest tool in the box, but she was fun.
Angie filled Becky and Norma in on her plan. Norma was on my side, arguing our case that the old house was out of the way. Becky was on Angie’s side. That was a no brainer... Becky was just as boy crazy as Angie.
Unfortunately for them, my logical side kicked in. “If they’re just moving in, we’re probably not going to see anybody, anyway.”
Becky stuffed a potato chip in her mouth. “Of course we will. They gotta come in and out to unpack the truck.”
“Duh!” I jeered playfully. “By time schools out, the moving part will be done.”
She hovered a chip close to her mouth looking off to the side, in her own world. “Oh, never thought of that.”
“Don’t look now, but we’re not going to be the only ones who’ll be doing a drive by.” Angie directed a nod behind me. “Look who’s planning.”
Turning around, I took a bite of my apple and grunted. “Of course,” I drawled with my mouth full.
Segra, Jocelyn, and Mattie were all wide eyed and talking with their hands. Segra Tittle had long curly brown hair, brown seductive eyes (I heard boys say that), was about my height, and had a body that made movie stars look saggy.
Jocelyn Adams was the one I kind of felt sorry for. They only allowed her in their group because she let them push her around. She had mousy brown shoulder length hair that always looked messy, blue eyes, stood about five nine, and was a little chunky around the edges. Unfortunately for her, she hadn’t mastered how to be graceful with her height and always seemed clumsy.
Then there was Mattie Drunes. She’d fit in anywhere with her long auburn hair, freckles and green eyes. She was about five seven and slim, and I never understood why she wanted to hang out with Segra. Mattie always had a smile, even with braces.
Those three were the most popular girls in school and had been since, well... forever, and only because boys liked the type of girl Segra was, for a short while anyway.
Angie moved in closer. “So... let’s skip last period.”
“No,” I argued. “I have an English test then. I can’t skip it.”
Angie turned her attention to the other two. “Well?”
Becky nodded with excitement.
Norma declined. “No thanks, we’ll know soon enough who lives there. What’s the big deal about today?”
Becky gave Norma a crooked smile. “Because if there’s boys and they see us first, we’ll be the first on their minds and they’ll remember us!” It was a warped logic, but a Becky logic nonetheless.
Norma flirted with the idea Becky presented. “Oh, maybe that is a good idea.” And as if someone hit her in the head, she snapped it toward me. “Are you sure you don’t want to come?”
It wasn’t something I could even consider, and they knew it. “No, I can’t. I’ll meet you guys at Sloppy’s after I drop off my Sunday School lesson. Father Lacombe wants to take a look at it to make sure it’s okay for me to teach the kids.”
Being our resident, not so bright, drama queen, Becky threw her hand over her mouth. “Oh! I forgot! Darn it! I’m teaching next Sunday, aren’t I?” She looked at all three of us, wanting an answer.
Angie dug in her purse. “Hang on, let me get my calendar,” she said as she pulled out her cell phone. All of our schedules were meticulously imbedded into that little electronic calendar of hers, not that we had any kind of elaborate agendas, but it pleased her to feel important.
After some furious button pushing, Angie had Becky’s answer. “Yup, sure are, Becks.” Then she tucked it away and looked at her. “Have you even got an idea what to teach?”
“Not a clue.” Becky slouched down in her seat.
The bell rang.
When I stood to leave, I patted Becky’s shoulder. “You’ll think of something, hopefully soon. It usually takes you two weeks to prepare a lesson.”
She ignored the bell and rested her chin in the palm of her hand, sulking. “I know.”
~ * ~
My spare class on Friday afternoons usually found me in the library studying, and that particular day was no different. I laid out all my materials and methodically began reading the first chapter of five we were being tested on in English.
“Hey, Saydi,” Todd said, as he sat down across from me.
I peeked up. “Hi, Todd.”
Todd Lethars, eighteen, had been my boyfriend off and on since sixth grade and completely off since grade nine. It was never anything serious; we’d never even kissed, so I guess you could say he was one of my best friends, too. But a couple months prior he’d started acting weird, following me around, and even went as far as to corner me and ask me out on a real date.
I told my Mom about it and she laughed, saying he was finally a young man and was showing interest in me. “That’s what boys do,” she informed me. Well, though he was tall, maybe six foot, with blonde curly hair, perfect skin and beautiful brown eyes and... get a grip! Something just didn’t feel right when he asked me. It felt like my brother was asking me out, and ever since then I stayed away from any boyfriend/girlfriend talk whenever he was around. I also tried to avoid him.
“What can I do for you, Todd?”
He folded his arms on the table and rested his chin on them, grinning.
“Todd, I’m trying to study.”
Continuing to grin, he nodded. “That’s okay, you study, I’ll watch.”
My mouth turned up in a soft smile. “You’re making me lose my concentration.”
“No! I’m sorry!” he goofed.
I giggled. “Todd!”
He pushed his chair back. “Okay, I’ll let you get back to it.” Then he pointed at me. “You heading over to Sloppy’s after school?”
“Yeah, right after I drop my lesson off with Father Lacombe.”
“Kay, we’ll see you there.”
“Bye.”
Across the room, two girls were whispering and gawking at him as he walked away. Todd could probably have any girl he wanted. He was pretty cute.
~ * ~
With another exam under my belt I scanned the extra noisy hallway for my friends, then remembered they skipped last period. It would be interesting to see what they discovered, and as I stepped out the doors it did make me a bit curious as to who moved in to the old house. I had to admit a little jolt of excitement came along with that curiousness. What if there were some new boys? That would be the highlight of the year for all the girls no matter what the boys looked like. It was appealing just to have new faces in town.
The rumbling of an engine crawled up behind me.
“Hey, get in,” Todd called, from his car.
“Thanks, but I’d rather walk,” I responded, forcing a smile.
“Come on, Saydi,” he begged.
I stopped to study him, debating whether it was a good idea or not.
His hands slapped together in prayer fashion. “Please, with sugar on top.”
“Oh Fine!” I grumbled and got in. “The least you could’ve done is be a gentleman and open the door for me.”
The tires squealed against the pavement as he pulled away from the curb. “I’m not that desperate.” He laughed.
When Todd rounded the first corner he slowed down to the speed limit, not wanting to alert the Father to his erratic driving ability. Once parked, he insisted I stay put. Then he opened my door for me and bowed, holding his hand out. “Me lady.”
Taking his hand, I stepped out. “I thought you weren’t that desperate?”
“Well... maybe a little bit.”
“Hmm.”
It felt uneasy how closely Todd walked beside me, giving me the impression that he wanted to reach for my hand and in turn made me shudder. A quick interception was warranted.
“You don’t have to come in,” blurted out.
Smiling, he responded, “I know, but I need to talk to Father Lacombe too.”
“Oh.”
There was a sly look on his face. “Don’t you want to know why?”
There really wasn’t any interest on my part, because I knew what he was doing, but I humored him anyway. “Okay, why?”
“I wanted to see if he’d let me attend Sunday School,” he said, being a rascal.
And there it was...letting me know, in a roundabout way, he wanted to spend time with me. “You’re a little old, don’t you think?”
“Well...” He ran his fingers through his hair. “That might be a problem.”
“You think?”
He laughed, finding the small of my back with his hand.





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