You guys, I'm so excited to be part of the official blog tour for SHRAPNEL (Evernight Teen), the sophomore novel by the awesomely talented Stephanie Lawton! And I'm also excited that my part of the tour consists of a sneak peek AND an ebook giveaway!!
Okay, I'm not gonna drag it out. Here's your sneak peek at SHRAPNEL!
The car ride to Oakleigh Mansion is a short one, just a couple miles east into historic downtown. We stop at a red light and I glance out the window at the giant cannon that sits in the middle of the park to my right. Today it’s painted pink with “save the ta-ta’s” scrawled across the barrel. My sixth sense kicks in and tells me some punks will soon be painting it purple. Briefly, I wonder how much of it is actually cannon, and how much is decades of layered paint.
A few more blocks and we arrive at Oakleigh, a big-ass white monstrosity straight out of Gone with the Wind. I’ve heard of it, but never visited. And unless they’re part of a reenactment, I’m pretty sure the film crew wouldn’t dress in period costumes, which means the uniformed guy on the stairs checking his pocket watch is not real. Super.
“Watch your language. Remember your manners. Do what the TV people tell you. Oh, and try to have fun.”
I give her a cheeky smile but kiss her before I haul my backpack out of the back seat and trudge up the winding stairs to the front door. Weird, right? The front door is on the second floor, not the first. I salute the dark-haired pocket watch guy and he stares right into my eyes, like he’s sizing me up or sucking my life story out of my brain. I snicker at the thought of a zombie ghost and slip past him to put my foot on the next riser. I’m one step from the top when the massive front door swings open to reveal a gray-haired man with an animated—and solid—face.
“Love the shirt. You must be Dylanie,” he coos.
“Dylan. A girl who knows her mind. I like that. Welcome to Oakleigh, Dylan. We’ve got an exciting weekend ahead. Ready to meet your housemates?” He raises a plucked eyebrow. The cameras must be rolling already.
“And you are …?”
“Riley Wiggins. Come in.”
“Nice gloves, Riley.”
He wiggles his bare digits where they peek out from his fingerless gloves. A real ham, this one.
Inside the cavernous house, a creepy painting of a woman with dark hair and laser eyes follows me down the hall. I peer at the brass nameplate on the bottom of the frame.
“That’s Mrs. Irwin,” Riley says. “She saved Oakleigh from the Union troops when they stormed Mobile.” I roll my eyes. I hate history. “She was an Irish subject of the British crown. Hung the Union Jack from the second-story porch and told the Yankees to bugger off. It worked.”
A Southern belle with balls—I can appreciate that.
Riley ushers me into a dark room that smells of hardwood floors and old books. I meet two other psycho kids about my age.
“Dylan Reid, I’d like you to meet Ashley Dalby and Jake Morris.”
I remember Mom’s order to mind my manners, so I stick out my hand. Ashley leaps off an antique settee and pumps my hand with more enthusiasm than is quite necessary.
“Hey,” she drawls. “How are you?” Her voice goes up an octave as she stretches out the last word into several syllables. Then she blows a gum bubble and keeps on chewing.
Then there’s Jake.
When your parents split up because your dad caught your mom with another woman and the boy you’ve been crushing on since kindergarten suddenly nicknames you “lezzy,” identity crisis is a given. Mom’s even asked me more than once if I want to talk about the possibility. Appreciated, but not necessary. Jake—and the heat creeping into my cheeks—is proof.
Yay!! I seriously cannot wait to read this book!
Here's a bit about Stephanie:
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.
If you haven't read Stephanie's debut novel, WANT, you have to. It's beautifully written and rife with pain and humor and hotness. A true winner!
And as promised, Stephanie and the wonderful people at Evernight Teen are offering up an ecopy of SHRAPNEL for one lucky winner! And the best part is that since it's an ebook, this contest is international!
Simply leave a comment below between now and Thursday, Jan 24th at midnight CST telling me your thoughts on the above sneak peek, and I will announce the winner on Friday. Easy, right? Then comment away!
You can keep up with the blog tour here, and be sure to check out Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads!