Hello on this last Tuesday of January. Here where we live in the Hudson Valley, there's a blizzard going on. We are part of the Thunderstone blog tour and have a deleted scene from Barbara Pietron's YA paranormal romance. There is also a giveaway. Welcome!
Thunderstone by Barbara Pietron
Genre: YA paranormal romance
Published: November 12, 2013
Sneaking out at night, driving without a license, and falling for a guy weren’t things fifteen-year-old Jeni expected to do while visiting Lake Itasca, Minnesota. Then she meets Ice, the local medicine man's apprentice. Suddenly, her simple family gathering becomes an exciting – and terrifying – week of self-discovery.
At first Jeni doesn't believe Ice's claim that she can touch the spirit world and has somehow released a mythical underwater monster.
However, she's forced to reconsider when a teen swears a monster killed his father while fishing on the lake. Just as she comes to accept truth, Jeni finds she is the only one who can imprison the monster, making her the creature's next target. She'll need immense faith in her newfound ability to put herself in harm's way and face down the monster. And even if she succeeds in delivering the local population – and Ice – from the creature's wrath, there is no guarantee Jeni will escape with her own life.
Deleted Scenes from Thunderstone
In Thunderstone, the underwater monster recruits a human minion to extend its reach onto land. The first draft of the book included the man, Ned, with scenes from his point of view. But, I cut Ned's scenes to increase the intrigue and add to the creepiness of this unknown villain. When Thunderstone readers expressed interest, I posted Ned's story on the Bonus Features page of my website.
After I was offered a publishing deal, I cut another character, Alexis, leaving the story told strictly from Jeni and Ice's point of view. Alexis is a camper in Itasca State Park, who's annoyed at being ignored by her mom and her mom's boyfriend. So she finds her own entertainment—his name is Mike. The following is a never-before-released scene:
Alexis lay still, listening to her mom’s boyfriend's murmurs as he opened the door and helped her mom up the steps and into the camper. She waited, irked at their drunken stumbles and poorly-muffled laughter, as they used the bathroom and finally made their way into the bedroom, closing the door behind them.
A thrill of anticipation ran through her as she sat up. Her bed was converted from the kitchen table, conveniently located right next to the door. She stepped into her shoes, grabbed a flashlight, and tiptoed from the camper.
Although her mom had come in later than she expected, making Alexis late for her rendezvous with Mike, she felt pretty confident that he would wait quite a while before giving up on her. The night before, they'd met for a second pavilion make-out session—longer than the previous night and including a good dose of exploration. Mike was a good kisser and seemed to know what to do with his hands. She'd left him wanting more with a promise that tonight they'd go to the beach, where they could be alone and uninterrupted.
Alexis smiled to herself. Yep, he'd wait.
Mike loitered at the trailhead, leaning against a fence, with a blanket under one arm and a cigarette in the opposite hand. "‘Bout time," he said, the corners of his mouth curling upward.
"I’ll make it worth your while," she promised.
Grinning, he dropped the cigarette in the sand and crushed it underfoot.
She shone her light on the path and they followed it across the main park road and alongside the lake, heading for a wide expanse of beach. The lake was calm and still, reflecting the crescent moon. Alexis looked out across the water as Mike spread the blanket on the sand. He kicked off his shoes and sat down. "C’mere," he said in a raspy voice and patted the blanket.
The spring night was mild enough that as they heated up, they shed their jackets. The exhilaration of the cool air on her hot skin inspired Alexis. She stripped Mike’s shirt off then went for his jeans. While he gladly finished removing them, she stood and peeled off her own jeans.
He emitted a soft, animalistic growl and reached for her but she stepped away. "Come on," she whispered.
Crossing her arms over her stomach, she grabbed the bottom of her tank top and pulled it smoothly over her head. "Skinny dipping." She tossed her top in his lap.
His eyes widened. "You’re kidding."
Alexis took a few more steps and then slipped her panties off, flinging them over her shoulder, giggling. "Come and get me," she taunted, and then skipped into the water.
Wearing only his boxers, he followed tentatively. "It’s gotta be freezing," he protested.
"It’s invigorating." Alexis was up to her waist now. "Come on, I’ll warm you up."
Mike tested the water with his toes. "You’re nuts!"
She turned to face him, backing slowly into the water. His eyes bugged out above his open mouth and she laughed at his incredulous look. The water was only ankle-deep where he stood, yet his mouth moved silently as if he were too cold to speak.
Then she felt something brush her leg. "Ew," she squealed, spinning around. A bulbous object floated in the black water, probably a piece of a fallen tree. "I felt something touch my leg."
Maybe that's what Mike had been trying to say, she thought and began urgently trudging through the water back to shore. Then she glanced back over her shoulder and screamed.
The thing behind her was rising from the water. Her terrified brain labeled it a giant alligator even though she knew it was much too cold here for alligators. Menacing yellow eyes marked her retreat as her mind scrambled for a reasonable explanation. She slogged though the water in seemingly slow motion, feeling like a doomed animal attempting to escape a tar pit.
"Mike! Help me! Help-" Her words cut off as a cold, metallic, scaly mass encircled her waist. She shrieked, trying to shove the snake-like aberration away from her.
Mike lunged forward and reached for her. He was nearly there. She stretched toward him, holding out her hands, but her feet were swept from under her and she was torn away.
Alexis opened her mouth to scream one last time, the sound smothered as she was drawn into the icy depths or the lake.
Heart of Ice by Barbara Pietron
About the Author
After years in the corporate world, Barbara found herself with a second chance to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her lifetime love of books and the written word returned one answer: writer. Drawing from her experience with technical writing, she began by writing non-fiction magazine pieces and achieved both regional and national publication. Her success encouraged her to complete a novel. She learned much from her first manuscript, critiques, books, contests, and blogs. In 2012, her novel Thunderstone, was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and won a critique by Publisher's Weekly. A few months later, she was offered publication by Scribe Publishing Company.
Barbara has a few other novels in the works, including a Thunderstone sequel. If she's not reading or writing, Barbara likes to walk, garden, and sew. She works in a library and lives in Royal Oak, Michigan with her husband, daughter, and their cat – who often acts like a dog.
Find Barbara online:
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New from Barbara Pietron in fall 2015!
As a soulshifter, Jack volunteers to rescue a girl from the underworld so he can secure the future he's always dreamed of. Although the hazards of his mission multiply and his assured fate loses its luster, he can't back out—he must save the girl or die trying. But he soon discovers that nothing in the dark realm is black and white…and the Lord of Souls is always willing to bargain.
Win the book before it's for sale! Details at www.barbarapietron.com