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Monday, November 30, 2015

JewelBits Subscription Box Giveaway

 

jewelbitsWelcome to The Goods To Give - Gift Guide Giveaways

Enter to win a JewelBits Subscription Box

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This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. You are not eligible if you have won a prize from any of the sponsors in the last 12 month. This Giveaway is valid in the Continental United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. The winners will have 48 hours to email their information back to las93063 at gmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment, nor were they compensated for promotion. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Laura Smith at las930 (at)gmail (dot) com. You are not eligible to win this prize if you have won on another blog within the last 60 Days
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No Substitute For Mistakes by Carolyn J. Rose Release Event and Giveaway


I’m excited to welcome you to the release event for No Substitute for Mistakes by Carolyn J. Rose. This is the fifth book in the Subbing isn’t for Sissies series and is now available for sale! This is a cozy mystery series and the first three books are only .99 cents!

About the Book:
When substitute teacher Barbara Reed agrees to fill in for an instructor at a juvenile detention facility, she fears it’s a huge mistake. The job is stressful and confining. But Barb needs a paycheck, and a looming teachers’ walkout could eliminate regular subbing opportunities in Reckless River , Washington .

On her first day “behind bars,” Barb recognizes one young offender. When he claims he’s innocent, she sets out to investigate his crime—stealing a pedigreed cat. Her drug cop boyfriend urges caution, but Barb once had a run-in with the cat’s wealthy owner and thinks the kid was set up.

Meanwhile, someone is ghostwriting a cat-bashing blog for Barb’s entitled dog Cheese Puff. Several cat lovers aren’t amused. They post comments vowing to track down the little mutt and make sure Cheese Puff never blogs, barks, or breathes again. While members of the Cheese Puff Care and Comfort Committee scramble to uncover the blogger, a duck with attitude makes fur and feathers fly.

Then things get worse. Disgruntled teachers hire Barb’s bombastic sister to lead their protest. Barb’s friend Paulette discovers her interior decorating assignment pays in drug money. And Barb learns the hard way that snooping can be hazardous to her health.

***

Don’t miss out on the first three books, only .99 cents!




And the fourth book, No Substitute for Myth.

***
*

About the Author:
Carolyn J. Rose grew up in New York’s Catskill Mountains, graduated from the University of Arizona, logged two years in Arkansas with Volunteers in Service to America, and spent 25 years as a television news researcher, writer, producer, and assignment editor in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. She lives in Vancouver, Washington, and her interests are reading, gardening, swimming, and NOT cooking. Find out more about her and her books at http://www.deadlyduomysteries.com

****
GIVEAWAY:
$50 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Ends Dec. 23
Prizing is provided by the author, hosts are not responsible. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 17. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.

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This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh Book Tour and Book Review




Where to Purchase

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About

Stan opened the ugly ornaments box and pulled out the top three ornaments, the ones wrapped in green paper, the kids' favorites, and set them on the coffee table. He picked up the first one, the biggest one--Anna's blue pinecone--and began to unwrap it. Without thinking, Judith walked up, stopped him, and gently took it out of his hand. She wrapped it back up, set it carefully in the box. Then picked up the other two ornaments, put them in the box, and closed the flaps.

"What's the matter?" Stan said. "Did I do something wrong?"

"I don't think I can do this."



Nothing is more beautiful than family
For the first time since their children were born, empty nesters Judith and Stan Winters spent Thanksgiving without the kids, and it's looking like Christmas will be the same. Judith can't bring herself to even start decorating for the holiday; her kids always hung the first ornaments on the tree, ornaments they had made each year since they were toddlers. Sure, the ornaments were strange-looking--some were downright ugly--but they were tradition.

With Judith refusing to decorate the bare spruce tree in their living room, Stan's only hope for saving the holiday is found in a box of handmade ornaments . . .


Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Unfinished Gift and The Restoration Series with Gary Smalley. He has won three Carol Awards, and three of his novels were finalists for the RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for twenty-five years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel. Learn more at www.danwalshbooks.com.

The Author

  1. Dan Walsh
    © Dan Davis Photography

    Dan Walsh

    Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Dance and The Promise with Gary Smalley, as well as The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery, and The Reunion. He has won three Carol Awards, and two of his novels...
    Continue reading about Dan Walsh
My review;

"Keeping Christmas" by author Dan Walsh is another great book by him. I have read some of his other books and they were all wonderful. This is the story of a family, that is full of love for each other. But, it is more than that. It is a husband, father, who understands what he needs to do to make his family have a wonderful Christmas. I cried while I was reading this story and I wish, as I am sure other readers were, a part of this love. Dan Walsh is a fantastic author who knows how make a Christmas fantastic. I give this book a 5/5. I was given this book by Revell Publishing Company and all opinions are mine.

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson Book Tour and Book Review



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About

Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that's exactly what she's getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix--in the dead of winter, no less--the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off with Joy toward Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride--one that could derail the whole venture.

No one captures the heartwarming fun of the Christmas season quite like Melody Carlson. Fasten your seat belt, because it's going to be an exciting ride!


Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than two hundred books with combined sales of more than six million. She is the author of the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, Christmas at Harrington's, and The Christmas Cat. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com.

The Author

  1. Melody Carlson

    Melody Carlson

    Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books from Revell, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas...
    Continue reading about Melody Carlson

My review;
Joy is eighty-five years old and she is not taking no for an answer. She is going to take an RV and drive along Route 66 whether anyone likes it or not. She has asked her friend Miranda to come along. They will be driving to Joy's new retirement home in Phoenix all the way from Chicago. Joy has a secret that no one knows but her. This is a lovely Christmas story that I will always remember when I think about Christmas.   I give this book a 5/5. I was given this book by Revell Publishing Company and all opinions are mine.

The Beast by A. R. Davis Blog Tour and Giveaway


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PRESENTED BY
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Title: The Beast
Author: A.R. Davis
Audience: Young Adult    the beast gif
Genre: Fantasy
Format: E-book and Paperback
Publisher: Alice Davis
Cover by: Joseph Bradley
Editor: Kathrin DePue
Pages: 438
ISBN: 1514781743
ASIN: B010QVQ9RA
Date Published: 7/7/2015
 
 









blurb (6)
 
The citizens of Leola live in fear of the dense, dark forest that borders their town. Men disappear into the brush or are found dismembered as if they were attacked by a rabid Beast. But fear of a different kind also breeds in the citizens of Leola. For Valerie Mason, starvation is worse than potentially disappearing. With her former guardsman father drowning his troubles in spirits, it’s up to Valerie to keep them afloat by any means necessary…even if it means breaking the law.   Young Aubrey, the future Lord of Leola, fears that once he dies, the pages of his personal history will be left blank. When he hears of the dangers threatening his town, he knows the only way ensure that he lives on in the memory of his people is to venture into the forest and defend it himself…even if it might cost him his life. Valerie and Young Aubrey must each breach the veil of trees again and again on their own quests. Will Valerie or Young Aubrey emerge victorious, or will they fall victim to their own demons and The Beast?
 
 
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excerpt (6)
 

Chapter 1

Valerie Mason emerged from the relative quiet of the forest and stepped back into the town of Leola just as the sun peaked above the buildings. She carried a bag of two dead rabbits whose blood was seeping through the bottom. She wrapped her arms around the bundle and walked as quickly and inconspicuously as she could, though the obvious tears around the skirt of her dress made it hard for her to blend in with the crowd. The hunters would not appreciate her encroaching on their territory again. She had been scolded a few times. The last time, they had taken her cargo away from her. She could not afford to have that happen again.
On her way to the marketplace, she passed the pub her father frequented. Valerie wondered if her father was in there now. She had half a mind to go look, but it would only delay her and it was quite useless otherwise. Last night, her father had returned home with a black eye and shards of glass embedded in his arm. With their combined salary, they were able to cover most of the doctor’s expenses. Whenever Valerie had any doubts about the necessity of her going into the forest to steal, she was reminded of the reason she had to continue with this dirty business. If Valerie refused to steal meat from the hunters’ traps, they would have had to choose between rent and supper—or doctor’s visits and rent and supper. Was it so wrong with the fact that she did not want them to starve?
Her father was, of course, apologetic as always, and as always, she forgave him before the words were even out of his mouth. It was easier for Valerie to forgive than to be angry with him. After all, he was all she had left, and she could not lose him, even if sometimes it felt like he was determined to be lost. Her father assured her that the other man struck first. The childish part of Valerie wanted to ask, “But why did you have to strike back?”
Valerie turned sixteen the previous spring, and she was too old to ask such naïve questions. She was of age to be considered for marriage, but there were no suitors lining up at her door, not that Valerie was interested in such things. She was only thinking about her father. Although, if she married, it might be easier to take care of him.
The town of Leola was drinking in the remains of late-summer. Women hung their laundry out the window, on the line between buildings. Wet slopping sounds of waste being tossed down into the alleyways could be heard as it spilled down the cobble-stone streets toward the main road. Lord Aubrey’s guardsmen marched in a unified line carrying rifles, their metal armor winking in the sunlight. Several passersby waved hello to Valerie, and she waved back cautiously. Children ran breathlessly as they chased each other, their laughter ringing in the air and mixing with the incoherent shouts of stall owners. Horses clopped lazily along pulling their carriages with heads bowed low as though they feared to make eye contact with beings around them. The aromas of waste, horse hide, and baking bread created a strange concoction in the air. All of this blended together to form the smell of the town that Valerie knew best.
She stopped in front of the tailor’s display window. The tailor himself was arranging a beautiful emerald gown for all of Leola to see. There was already a group of girls standing in front of the window, pointing, giggling, and gossiping. Valerie took a moment to imagine herself in that gown. Maybe she would join the girls in their gossip. Maybe she would be invited to one of Lord Aubrey’s parties, and he would be so impressed by her wit and charm that he would give her enough money to take care of her father forever.
The weight of the dead rabbits was enough to snap her out of her momentary daydream. No lady could carry such cargo and still be considered lovely or charming or witty. Valerie thought she had completely rid herself of such fantasies, but they kept finding her as though she was engaging them in an endless game of hide and seek.
A severely strict looking woman, who wore her hair in a bun so tight that it appeared to pull her face up toward her ears, was just turning the sign from Closed to Open on the front door of the bookshop. Valerie waited patiently for Mrs. Lind to finish arranging the books in front of the display window before walking inside.
The bell rang when Valerie pushed the door open. Mrs. Lind promptly swiveled around wearing a scarily forced smile and folded her hands in front of her. Her voice rose to an unnaturally high pitch.
“Wel –” she said before dropping three octaves into a low, disappointed tone. “Oh. It’s you”—her substitute for “Good morning.”
Altogether, it wasn’t said unkindly, though anyone else might have taken offense. Valerie simply shrugged it off.
Mrs. Lind snatched the bag away from Valerie. She made a face like something smelled rotten. “Did anyone see you?”
“No, ma’am.” If they did, you would already know, Valerie thought. It was best to keep such comments to herself. She didn’t want to argue with Mrs. Lind and lose her job. Even though she was only allowed to clean the shop and alphabetize the books, Valerie enjoyed it. There was something about being quiet in a room where hundreds of stories were at her fingertips. It was the only place where Valerie felt she was in control of anything.
“If they catch you, I’ll have to fire you. And I’ll pretend I knew nothing.”
“Yes, ma’am.”
Mrs. Lind sniffed. “Is that all you can say to me?” She imitated Valerie’s tone, “Yes, ma’am. No, ma’am. Are you a machine?”
Valerie didn’t know how else to respond to that question. “No, ma’am.” Though some days, she did feel like a machine. This was one of those days.
Mrs. Lind sighed with a hint of pity and stored the bag in a safe place where the rabbits would take longer to rot. Then she returned to Valerie, touting.
“What on earth are we going to do with you, child?” Mrs. Lind asked as she pinched Valerie’s torn skirt. “If your father finds out about this, he’ll have my head!”
Valerie wondered what Mrs. Lind would say if she told her that not only did her father already know but that he had given her a knife for her birthday. “If you’re going to disobey me,” he said, “you may as well defend yourself while you do so.” Valerie had only ever used it to finish what the traps started.
Mrs. Lind continued to fret over Valerie and Valerie let her because, in a way, it was nice to be the subject of someone else’s worry, rather than the worrier, for a change.
“If you leave this with me tomorrow, I can probably fix it,” Mrs. Lind said about the sleeve of Valerie’s dress, “I can’t make any promises, however.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” Valerie said.
“Yes, yes. You can keep your thanks. I’d rather you show your gratitude by stopping this nonsense altogether.”
Mrs. Lind narrowed her eyes at Valerie as though waiting for her to promise that she would do just that. But Valerie couldn’t, and, frankly, Mrs. Lind knew that too.
After a moment of silence between them, Mrs. Lind said, “Can you please re-alphabetize the adventure stories? And when you’re done, dust the top of the shelves.”
“Yes –”
“If you finish saying what I think you’re going to say, so help me, I will do what your father refuses to.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Valerie said under her breath.
Mrs. Lind resigned to the counter while Valerie started her work. Children were their most frequent patrons, and sometimes they would leave sections in disarray. They loved holding the books in their hands and looking at the pictures. Some of them couldn’t quite make out the words. Sometimes Valerie would read to them. She liked watching their eyes widen in wonder. It reminded her of when she was a little girl; she used to stay up late to listen to her father’s stories, especially the one about the Beast. That was always her favorite.
Valerie could appreciate the adventures of dreaded pirates and Greek heroes, but her favorite genre was romance. There were rarely any female characters in adventure stories, and most of them were spoken of rather than seen. In the romance books, the ladies were sometimes permitted to follow the hero wherever he went. There was a sort of magic to them; no matter what dire situations the couples were plagued with, they always succeeded and ended up together. Valerie once thought her parents would make great characters in a romance novel. Her father was utterly mad about her mother, and her death was almost too much for him to bear. Coupled with what happened to him during the war, Valerie could almost understand why he turned to drinking and fighting. In a way, reading those books was Valerie’s “drink.” When she read about heroines like Caroline and Cynthia and Emily, she found herself stepping into their shoes, becoming mysterious, sweet, and desirable all at once. Sometimes, when she looked at herself in the mirror, she would recall her favorite lines and pretend she was wearing those pretty dresses in the window of the tailor’s shop. And the heroes they met weren’t half bad, either. Saxon and Daniel and Gregory: she could see herself spending time with them if they were real.
What she could live without was the stupid dialogue between the characters, the proclamations of everlasting love. Love was not everlasting.
Her mother’s death had taught her that much.
Mrs. Lind promptly closed shop when the clock tower began to ring the four o’clock hour. She gave Valerie a wary glance as she held up the bag of dead rabbits, as though she was deciding whether or not to give it back and whether doing so would be an act of encouragement. It spoke volumes that Mrs. Lind handed over Valerie’s pay before she handed over the rabbits. In the end, she gave them to Valerie without much fuss.
“Until tomorrow,” she said.
Valerie wished her a good evening (adding a “ma’am” at the end for good measure) and proceeded down the lane to her house. The buildings along her street reminded her of crooked teeth in a grey mouth. They certainly weren’t as nice as the buildings near Aubrey Manor. The manor rested on the tallest hill in Leola, and Valerie saw it as a white eye staring down at the rest of the town. Valerie had only ever seen Lord Aubrey once when he dismissed her father from the guardsmen’s service. She barely remembered him. She supposed she should hate Lord Aubrey—that she should blame him for everything her father went through—but being angry at him was like being angry at the wall. There were more important matters that required her energy, such as making it home in time to make a good rabbit stew and whether or not her father would be home on time to enjoy it.
She entered her house to see her father sitting at the dining table as though he had been waiting for her for quite some time. He undoubtedly still felt guilty about last night. He meant well. He always did.
Valerie resembled her father more than her mother. She had his dark brown eyes and long, lanky frame. She did not have her father’s scarred, leathery skin and the despair he often wore like a branding mark. War left him to deal with ghosts and a bad leg. When her mother was alive, her father smiled all the time. When she reminded her father of that now, he replied, “Now I save all my best smiles for you.”
Her father was offering his best smile now. He greeted her with an embrace and a kiss to the top of her head. “Did you have a good day at the shop?” he asked. He glanced down at the bag in her hand and then quickly looked away as though he could not bear to see it.
“Yes, Papa. Did you have a good day at the smith’s?”
Her father worked at the gunsmith near the edge of upper-Leola. He helped make guns for Lord Aubrey’s men.
“It was tolerable,” her father said. “Everyone is stressed about the deadline. It seems nobody is ready for Lord Aubrey’s son to take the seat.”
Valerie set the dead rabbits on the counter. “I’m sure you will make it. You always do.”
Her father stood at the dining table. Valerie could feel his eyes on her back.
“Did you have many customers?” he asked.
“A few. They came in sparingly.”
“That is unfortunate. Did you bring anything to read?”
“A Saxon Matthews book.” Saxon Matthews was a romance series that Valerie loved. She sometimes read them to her father while he sat in his chair and smoked his pipe. He’d say, “Now there’s a man I’d want to see you with,” at her description of the series hero.
“Ah. I wonder what he’s up to this time.”
“Well, we’ll see after supper.”
Valerie succeeded in removing the heads and began skinning the bodies. The smell of blood was potent.
“Did you hear about Mr. Randall?” her father asked.
Valerie sighed. She did not know Mr. Randall, but she was certain she knew what happened to him. “No, I did not.”
“He’s gone missing—has been gone for several days now.”
Valerie had heard such stories of people vanishing in the forest. At first, she thought they were tales to warn children against going in and getting lost under the dense crown of trees. However, a few days after her birthday, Mrs. Knott’s son left to get married and was never heard from again. Disappearing was a frightening prospect, but to Valerie, starvation was worse.
“That is unfortunate, Papa.”
“It’s been happening quite a lot recently—more people missing every day. I hear Lord Aubrey is considering sending his men into the forest to investigate.”
“Hmm.”
“The guards might catch you stealing.”
If they do, I’ll act like I’m thick in the head, Valerie thought. That’s what got her out of most similar situations. I don’t know any better, sirs. I was just trying to help the poor animal.
“Or you might be…”
Valerie turned to face her father. His hand was on his mouth as though he couldn’t bear to say the word.
“You know I don’t mean to keep…” His shoulders slumped over in defeat.
“I know,” Valerie said softly.
“Things are going to get better,” he continued. “I’m not going to keep forcing you to put yourself in danger. I’m going to get better. I’m going to be a better father.”
“Papa –”
He held up his hand. “Don’t. I’m supposed to keep us together. If I can’t fulfill that duty, then I am less than a man.”
Valerie walked over to him and embraced him as tight as she could. She had heard those words before. Their effect had dulled over time, but she could never stop loving her father.
He meant well.
He always did.



about the author (3)

AuthorPic

A.R. DAVIS first picked up writing at age six after getting annoyed that the characters weren't right in a Donkey Kong Country novelization. She loved it so much that she went on to graduate with a BFA in Creative Writing at UNCW. Visit her site: http://pencilprofessional.com/ to learn more and connect.

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Do You Believe in Santa? by Sierra Donovan Virtual Tour and Giveaway


Enter to Win a Print Copy of 
DO YOU BELIEVE IN SANTA?


DO YOU BELIEVE IN SANTA
Evergreen Lane #1
Sierra Donovan
Released Sept 29th, 2015
Kensington: Zebra


Miracles don’t just happen on 34th Street. They can happen right in your living room—if you’re willing to believe…

What grown woman claims to have seen Santa Claus? Mandy Reese, for one—on a very special Christmas Eve when she was eight years old. These days, Mandy works at a year-round Christmas store in Tall Pine, California, where customers love to hear about her childhood encounter with Saint Nick. But when Jake Wyndham arrives in town—charming, gorgeous, extremely practical—Mandy faces a dilemma. Deny what she saw, or let Jake think she’s sugarplum crazy?

Jake scouts hotel locations all over the country, but he’s never met anyone quite like Mandy before. Her warmth and sparkle are irresistible, but…meeting Santa? Really? Jake’s no Scrooge but he’s definitely skeptical. Then again, there are all kinds of things Jake never experienced until he came to Tall Pine. Like autumn snow. Mind blowing kisses. And the magic of falling head-over-heels, madly in love…


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Sierra Donovan is a wife, a mother of two and a writer, though not always in that order. Her greatest joy is helping people find true love on the printed page. She is a firm believer in Christmas, classic movies, happy endings and the healing power of chocolate. Sierra’s first novel, Love On The Air, was a Holt Medallion finalist. Her 2014 Kensington debut, No Christmas Like The Present, won the Golden Quill Award for Sweet Traditional Romance. Her 2015 novel, Do You Believe In Santa? marks the beginning of Sierra's new Evergreen Lane series. You can email Sierra at sierra_donovan@yahoo.com, or visit her website at www.sierradonovan.com.





That Night by Lisa McManus Blog Tour and Giveaway



THAT NIGHT
Lisa McManus


Evernight Teen Publishing,  31,000 words
Teen/Contemporary/Romance/Suicide/Bullying


It can take a whole day to figure out what happened…that night.

 On what was to be just another Monday morning at school, Luke’s girlfriend Jessica is nowhere to be found.  Names like ‘psycho lover’ follow Luke to his locker, even from his best friend. Luke soon learns Jessica tried to kill herself at a party from the previous Saturday night, and she’s blaming him. With posts on FaceBook feeding the rumors of what happened that night, the school has to investigate. 

 Torn between worry, guilt, loyalty, priorities, and an urgency to clear his name and protect hers, he has to find her—he loves her no matter what. The teacher in the middle of the investigation is also the same one to provide academic and character references for Luke’s college applications due by the end of the week. Luke knows he’s not to blame, but with no contact from Jessica and everyone blaming him for what happened, he’s at risk of losing everything—Jessica and his dreams of being a mechanic—all because of what happened that night.


Buy Links:    ARe     Amazon     Evernight Teen

Follow the tour stops HERE.



Excerpt:
 “Hey, man.” I nodded to Jeremy Waters as I started the long trek up the front lawn of the school. He nodded back but gave me a questioning stare as I walked past. Again, weird. What is with everyone today? I wondered.
I scanned the busy school grounds. Where was Jessica? I knew our break-up was inevitable, but I dreaded it. I still cared about her very much, but things were changing: me, her, and ‘us’––and I didn’t know what to do about it. Neither did she.
At first I didn’t notice anything off, but as I passed group after group of unusually silent guys and girls from all grades, I got that weird feeling, like I was being watched, like the whole school was focused on me or something.
Some of the guys pulled their buds out of their ears as I approached, their banter from moments before silencing as I passed. One guy shook his head as if in disgust. Another guy awkwardly picked at something on the ground with the toe of his shoe, as if he were avoiding something.
I kept going, trying to walk as normally as I could. Hard to do when you know you’re being watched.
Where was Jess? I checked my phone to see if there was anything from her: nothing.
I shifted my backpack and made my way up the path to the front steps of the school. With every footstep, uncertainty and foreboding gnawed at my gut.
A group of girls from Jessica’s drama club huddled on the front steps like a bunch of hens. They all gave me the once-over. One of them was crying and another gave me the finger.
That stopped me in my tracks. “What the hell?” I stared them down. “What was that for?”
“Screw you, Luke!” The one with the ornery finger spat. “Stay away from Jessica!”
What the...? Whatever. Bunch of gossips––they seriously need to get a life.
Jessica and I had been drifting apart for a while. Where she was involved in her drama club, her social life, I preferred being under the hood of a car, alone. But it wasn’t that I chose cars over her or anything. I cared about her very, very much. At one time I even contemplated the L-word thing with her. But lately, something had changed, and I couldn’t figure out what. I mean, I knew I wanted to be with her but it was like we were drifting towards each other, then away, then back towards each other again. Only to then again drift further away.
But I would never do anything to her, to earn me the middle finger from her friends. So why were they acting like that? What the...? I shook my head and kept going. I hadn’t done anything to provoke their reaction, so they could just go back to their pointless chatter about hair or whatever.
With fifteen minutes to go until the first bell, I wanted to catch up with Jess before classes started. She lived way on the other side of town, and as much I would have loved to pick her up every morning, her mom insisted on driving her. Her mom liked me, so it wasn’t anything against me personally, but Jessica said it was a ‘mom and daughter thing.’ And besides, we always met first thing at school and I would, at least, get to drive her home.
But that day, even though I wasn’t exactly about to have ‘the talk’ with her right before class, I wanted to at least see her that morning to start the day––it was our ‘thing.’ A pang of regret fluttered in my gut. If we broke up, would we still meet in the mornings? She had become part of my day and I still wanted that.
I made my way through the doors of the school. The halls were already swarming with East Clark High’s student body. I searched for Jessica as I pushed and wove my way through the crowd. But I soon realized I wasn’t pushing past anyone, anymore. The constant buzz in the halls had all but died down, and people were stepping aside giving me a wide berth as I went.
What the hell was wrong with everyone? I frowned at everyone practically plastered up against the lockers, avoiding me like I was contagious or something. Did I smell like dog sh––
“Psycho!” A familiar voice hissed in my ear, cutting off my thoughts. Great––Mark. I stuttered to a stop but tried to keep going. I, along with everyone else, was used to his stupid ways, but I had to find Jessica. I didn’t want to waste time getting into it with him right then.
But he came at me again with, “Psycho-lover!” and that definitely had me coming to a full stop. I swear I felt spit on my cheek.
I refused to swipe it away, giving him the satisfaction of … I didn’t know what. Something. I glanced up to find his buddies chuckling while Mark, the idiot himself, contorted his face into what he assumed was the look of a crazy person.
He didn’t have to try very hard. It came naturally.
And I hoped his eyes stayed crossed like that.
I stared him down, and just when I turned away he was up against me, his face so close to mine his eyes looked crossed. “Jessica almost knocked herself off the other night. Whadidja do? Screw her over?” he hissed.
I stared at him in confusion. My face numbed. My neck heated. What was he talking about? What did he mean, ‘knock herself off’?



About the Author:
Lisa McManus has been an avid reader since her teen years, and is inspired daily by her teenage boys and the forests and beaches of Vancouver Island, British Columbia where she lives. Along with writing for kids and teens, she is also multi-published with Chicken Soup for the Soul and numerous other magazines and anthologies.  When she’s not writing, reading or refereeing her family, she is either hiking or out on the archery range.


Twitter: @LisaMcManusLang


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