Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Release Day Blitz: The Foxglove Killings by Tara Kelly (Excerpt + Giveaway)


Title: The Foxglove Killings
Author: Tara Kelly 
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Synopsis: Gramps always said that when the crickets were quiet, something bad was coming. And the crickets have been as silent as the dead. It started with the murdered deer in the playground with the unmistakable purple of a foxglove in its mouth. But in the dying boondock town of Emerald Cove, life goes on.

I work at Gramps's diner, and the cakes―the entitled rich kids who vacation here―make our lives hell. My best friend, Alex Pace, is the one person who gets me. Only Alex has changed. He's almost like a stranger now. I can't figure it out...or why I'm having distinctly more-than-friend feelings for him. Ones I shouldn't be having.

Then one of the cakes disappears.

When she turns up murdered, a foxglove in her mouth, a rumor goes around that Alex was the last person seen with her—and everyone but me believes it. Well, everyone except my worst enemy, Jenika Shaw. When Alex goes missing, it's up to us to prove his innocence and uncover the true killer. But the truth will shatter everything I've ever known about myself—and Alex.

About the Author: Tara Kelly adores variety in her life. She’s an author, one-girl-band, graphic designer, editor, and photographer. She lives in Sin City with her beloved guitars, sound design master husband, and a fluffy cat named Maestro.

Excerpt:

Alex saw it first.

We were cutting through Neahkahnie Park, the morning sun warm on our backs. I was telling him we should take his grandpa’s El Camino SS and drive down the coast to California for the summer.

“He left that car to you,” I said. “You know he did.” I reached over to muss his light brown hair. It always stood straight up afterward, as if he’d been electrocuted.

“We can’t, Nova. I—” He stopped walking, his eyes widening at the playground.

Clumps of fur blew across the grass, like the cotton blooms did in July. I didn’t think it was real at first. Some kid’s stuffed animal, maybe.

But the stench was unmistakable. I’d practically been raised in my grandpa’s diner. I knew the smell of meat past its prime. Raw. Metallic. Even a little sweet.

A deer’s carcass was a twisted heap in the playground, its legs jutting out like winter branches. Bits of flesh, ranging in color from pink to dark red, were strewn across the wood chips. The head of the deer sat on the middle bucket swing. A misty film covered its eyes, and its mouth was open, as if it were gasping for air.

My stomach muscles began to knot.

I saw a dog get hit by a semi once. The scene replayed in my mind for months. The thud of the impact, the way he’d yelped. The last second of that dog’s life seemed to echo forever.

This was worse. Someone planned this. Put it on display, like it was entertainment.

“What the hell…” Alex said, his voice barely above a whisper.

“Don’t look.”

Alex had been on an animal-saving crusade since birth. He’d tried to bring a rabbit back to life the day I met him.

In fifth grade he’d called the police on his neighbor for yelling at her cat.

This wasn’t something he could handle. Especially not now.

“There’s nothing you can do,” I said, the words slipping out automatically.

“I know. I’m not nine anymore.” He glanced down at his busted Vans. Years of skateboarding had turned them from black to gray.

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Yeah, you did.” He held my gaze this time. His eyes looked almost yellow in dull light. Usually they were green.

I knew whatever came out of my mouth wouldn’t be the right thing to say. He’d been so weird since his grandpa died last month. Happy one minute. Pissed off the next. Sometimes he didn’t talk at all.

I slowly moved toward the deer, wishing I could ignore its vacant eyes, the drone of the flies pecking at its belly. My gramps used to clean up crime scenes back in the day. He swore by downing a few dozen peppermint Tic Tacs, claiming it obliterated his sense of smell. He was also a chain smoker…

A handful of mints wouldn’t take this image out of my head. Nothing would.

“We should call someone,” Alex said behind me.

Neither of us had a cell phone. He couldn’t afford one, and my mom thought they caused brain cancer.

I held my breath, trying not to gag. If I wanted to be a detective one day, this was the crazy shit I’d be dealing with. Too bad I’d inherited my mom’s weak stomach.

Something bright purple sat on top of the deer’s limp tongue. Darker spots peppered the inside, like a rash.

As I leaned closer, I realized it was a wilted foxglove. Or deadmen’s bells, as Mom called them. They were bell-shaped flowers that grew all over coastal Oregon. When I was little, she told me not to eat them or I’d end up like Sleeping Beauty. I used to think they belonged to the fairies. The evil ones, anyway.

A chill swept across my skin, the kind that came from inside.

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

-Kristen ♥

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