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YA / Paranormal
It’s been six years since Dylanie and her family visited a Civil War site and the place came alive with cannon fire. Problem was, no one could hear it but her.
Now she’s sixteen, her dad’s moved out, her mom’s come out of the closet and Dylan’s got a spot on Paranormal Teen, a reality TV show filming at historic Oakleigh Mansion. She’ll spend a weekend with two other psychic teens—Jake and Ashley—learning how to control her abilities.
None of them realized how much their emotional baggage would put them at the mercy of Oakleigh’s resident spirits, or that they’d find themselves pawns in the 150-year-old battle for the South’s legendary Confederate gold. Each must conquer their personal ghosts to face down Jackson, a seductive spirit who will do anything to protect the gold’s current location and avenge a heinous attack that destroyed his family.
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Today I’m super excited to be on Terri’s blog so I can share with you one of my favorite lines from Shrapnel, a paranormal romance mutt that also contains elements of horror, historical fiction, and a tiny thread of LGBT. More important, though, is that this excerpt is told from Jake’s point of view. He’s a teen with empathic power—he can feel others’ emotions and depending on what they are, they often drain him of energy. Writing from a guy’s POV is so much fun, and below you’ll see why.
Jake has just mastered a skill taught to him by Riley, a mentor psychic, but he retreats to his room to decompress. His peace and quiet doesn’t last long. Ashley and Dylan are the two girls who are also at the psychic retreat with him.
I’m feeling pretty good about myself, but I still high-tail it to my room and spend an hour in lotus position, trying to slough off the primordial ooze Ashley and Dylan spewed at me earlier. It coats my brain like a brown layer of mold, the kind that grows in the gym showers at school and threatens to attack and drag freshmen down the drain into a tangle of man-hair and Axe body wash.
Because I have my shield down, I know who’s knocking at my door before I open it.
“Hey, Ash. What’s up?”
“Can we talk?”
“Um, sure. Come on in.” I turn my back so I can blow out my shield in secret. It’s like a mental rubber to protect me from her emotional crabs.
“I never got to tell you about the dreams I had last night.” She gives me a pointed look.
“Yeah, sorry about that. Bacon.” I shrug. “So, what were they about?”
“Ethan. He sent them to me.”
“Uh, how do you know?”
She tells me about the conversation she overheard in her dream and the splinter in her arm. Then she shows me the mark. She finishes by recounting the second dream, the one near the stable and the shady guy in dark clothes.
“Why do you think Ethan chose you? I mean, he was already in Dylan’s room. It doesn’t make sense.”
“I don’t know.” Ashley rubs the top of her nose and looks somewhere over my shoulder. “It’s weird.”
“Ash, even if I wasn’t an empath, I’d know you’re lying.”
She shifts her weight from one foot to the other. “I have an idea, but it’s stupid. Look, forget I said anything, okay?”
She turns to leave and I so want to let her go because, let’s be honest, I’ve got enough shit on my plate. But like Riley brought up earlier, empaths are usually peacemakers and I need to stop fighting my nature. God, I’m a douche.
My first instinct is to grab her arm, look her in the eyes and tell her she can trust me. So that’s what I do. Douchy, douchable nature.
“Jake, I did something really bad. Like, really, truly horrible!” The urgency in her voice grabs my attention. “I mean, y’all are gonna find out about it when the show airs, but—” And she’s crying. On my shoulder. And because I’m a douchy, peacemaking empath, I put my arms around her and pat her back while she bawls. She takes a shortcut past girly crying and goes straight to ugly hiccupping, snot-running, make-up-smearing scary crying. Aw, hell. Riley can take his peacemaking nature and go f—
“I killed my little brother.”
“Shut up, you did not.”
“I did. I had a dream that he died, but I didn’t tell anyone about it or do anything to stop it. It’s my fault.”
Well, this explains the rotten cheese smell of her emotions. After a big sigh—one I’d like to use to blow my shield up big enough to shove her out the door—I ask the question that’s expected of me.
After collecting a couple English degrees in the Midwest, Stephanie Lawton suddenly awoke in the deepest reaches of the Deep South. Culture shock inspired her to write about Mobile, Alabama, her adopted city, and all the ways Southern culture, history and attitudes seduce the unsuspecting.
A lover of all things gothic, she can often be spotted photographing old cemeteries, historic buildings and, ironically, the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. She also has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles.
She has a love/hate relationship with Mardi Gras and can sneeze 18 times in a row.
Stalk Ms. Lawton!
I don't know about you, but that excerpt left me hanging!
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