Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ravenstoke by Augusta Blythe: Excerpt

In WINTERBORNE, Loie and Mia's seventeenth birthdays brought more drama and surprises than they ever expected. Now, in Ravenstoke, they are adjusting to the aftermath and struggling to keep those newfound powers in check. When Andreas is called away to England under mysterious circumstances, a new guy is sent to Salcey Ridge in his place. Cian is smarmy and cocksure and Loie wants nothing more than to unleash a hellhound on him. Unfortunately, Cian isn't the only complication in their lives as the girls must also contend with the reappearance of Mr. Winterborne himself and Loie's most dreaded fear of all - a part in the school musical. Can the girls survive the rest of junior year unscathed?

Teen / Young Adult    |     Kindle  |  Nook  |  Goodreads



GIVEAWAY
Enter to win a digital copy of both books - 
Winterborne and Ravenstoke.
Comment on this post for a bonus entry.
Follow Augusta on Twitter for a 2nd bonus entry.
This Giveaway ends March 24th 11:59PM Central Time.

MY REVIEW 

I had the honor of reviewing Winterborne last year for
Coffee Time Romance and More.
You can read my review HERE.



EXCERPT
from Ravenstoke

I stand on the riverbank in bare feet and watch the water rushing past me.  With all the snow this winter, the water level is higher than usual.  Now that I’m actually standing here, I find myself hesitating.  Maybe I should have asked Mia to come instead of attempting this on my own.  Although, if I fell in, it’s not like she could rescue me.  The water temperature is frigid this time of year; she’d suffer hypothermia.  I know she’d jump in to save me anyway.  It’s for the best that I didn’t invite her along.
 
I close my eyes and center myself.  I can do this.  No fear necessary.  I keep my eyes closed and step carefully out toward the water.  The fast-moving current tickles the bottom of my feet.  I imagine the water droplets fusing together and forming a bridge and I feel the water beneath my foot harden.  I put my full weight on the patch of ice and bring my right foot out to do the same.  It’s working.  I take another step, growing more confident as I move slowly across the river.  I hear the water as it continues to rush past me and splashes over my toes, while the water beneath my feet is solid.  About five steps across, I hear the crunch of pebbles in the dirt on the other side of the river.  I sense it isn’t Mia.  I don’t think I know this person.  I stand perfectly still and continue breathing normally before I open my eyes.
 
     I’m right; it isn’t Mia.  On the other side of the river is a guy I’ve never laid eyes on before.  He stands there casually, as though he witnesses girls walking on water every day.  He sees that I’ve noticed him and gives me a friendly wave.

     “Cool trick,” he says as I hear the crack of ice beneath my feet.

It happens so quickly, I don’t have time to call out for help.  I plunge straight down to the bottom of the river.  At least my body is impervious to the cold.  I open my eyes under water and glance around to get my bearings.  Only one way up.  I bend my knees and propel myself to the surface.  My head manages to bob up far enough for me to catch a breath before the water washes over me again.  The current is stronger than it looks.  As I slip beneath the surface, I catch sight of something unexpected swimming swiftly toward me.  I must be hallucinating because it looks like a horse.  The most beautiful horse I’ve ever seen.  Sleek and glistening like Black Beauty with a golden bridle fitted to its head.  I must be drowning.  I open my eyes under the water again, but it’s difficult to see clearly amidst all the river muck.  Before I have a chance to swim upward, the horse is beside me, moving easily underwater, giving new meaning to the term seahorse.  Maybe he belongs to that guy on the riverbank.  The horse swims underneath me so that I can sit down on its back.  I grip its sides with my legs.  Before my hands reach its shadowy mane, I realize my mistake.  Too late.  My legs adhere to the horse’s body as it nosedives toward the bottom of the river.  This horse has no intention of bringing me to the surface.  I struggle to break free, but my legs are firmly stuck to the sides and I dare not touch it with my hands.  My lungs feel like they are about to explode.  Even pre-evolution, I’ve been able to hold my breath underwater for a decent length of time, but this is severely testing my limits.  I twist and turn my torso, trying desperately to think of a way out as the horse plunges deeper and deeper.  To make matters worse, my panic has set off submerged fireworks in the form of aluminum cans and other debris.  At least the stirred up trash is getting in the horse’s way as much as mine.
 
Why did I have to experiment in the deepest part of the river?  Stupid hubris.  Now I’m going to die in my least favorite outfit.  I hate these grey cords.  I only wear them when I don’t plan on seeing people.  Serves me right.  Then it hits me -- my grey cords.  My pants are stuck, not my legs.  I fumble with my button and manage to unzip my cords.  With the horse pulling hard in one direction, I am able to use the leverage to shimmy myself out of the pants.  Once free, I shoot up toward the surface.  I avoid looking down and focus on the glint of sunlight on top of the water.  Just as I am about to reach the surface, I feel the horse tugging at my foot, trying to drag me back down.  I glance down to see the horse gripping my foot in its mouth.  My cords are still affixed to its sides.
               
Strong fingers grasp my hair and pull me out of the water in one quick stroke.  Thankfully, my foot comes with me, free from the horse’s mouth.  I lay on the riverbank, coughing and gasping for air.  My hair is matted to my face and my shirt is so heavy with water, it’s practically falling off.  Then I remember that I’m already not wearing any pants.  I clutch my top, willing it to stay on.  Oh crikey, what underpants am I wearing?  Please don’t be Hello Kitty.  They were a gift; I didn’t choose them.

“Do you need mouth to mouth,” a male voice says, “because I’d be happy to oblige?”

I blink the stray water droplets out of my eyes and turn my head to see him more clearly.  The guy from the riverbank grins down at me like I’m a topless mermaid on display at the aquarium.

“Not necessary,” I finally say after emptying the water from my lungs.
 
Without a word, he hands me his black jacket and I wrap it around my waist.  I stand up and slick my hair back away from my face.  He tries to help me up, but I brush him off.  Who is this guy?  More importantly, what was that Trojan horse?  I definitely looked that gift in the mouth.
 
“Well, hello Kitty.  Thanks for the show.  I sure enjoyed your riverdance with the kelpie,” he says.
 
“No thanks to you.”  I don’t let on that I have no clue what a kelpie is.

“What?”  He laughs, seemingly amused.  “Not even a polite thank you then?”

“Are you kidding?” I ask.  “You’re the reason I almost got killed.”

“On the contrary, I think you’ll find I’m the reason you didn’t get killed.”

“I wouldn’t have fallen in if you hadn’t distracted me with your whole standing there looking at me thing.”

He continues to grin.  “I have that effect on girls.”
 
I gape at the smarmy, albeit handsome, creep.  His thick, dark wavy hair is cut exactly right, an inch longer and it would look like a dirty mop.  Against my better judgment, I make eye contact.  Terrific, he has beautiful eyes, two storm clouds bearing down on me.  Why can’t they be small, beady and mouse-like?  I hate mice.

“Who are you?” I muster.

He shakes his head in a self-deprecating way.  “Sorry.  Of course.  How could you know?”  He extends his hand.  “Captain Cian reporting for duty.”

“Keane like the band?” I ask. At the touch of his hand, a familiar ripple of electricity passes between us.  The Universal handshake.

“It’s spelled C-i-a-n.  It’s Irish, so I’m told.  Sometimes pronounced kee-an, apparently, but not in my case.”

“I’m Loie.”

“I know.  Why do you think I’m here?”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Augusta Blythe is the author of WINTERBORNE and RAVENSTOKE, YA urban fantasy books, In the Land of the Sapphire Sea, a middle grade fantasy book, and her alter ego Keeley Bates is the author of HOSTEL TAKEOVER, a women's contemporary fiction ebook.


 


5 comments:

Kali S said...

Thanks!

Carole said...

My daughter and I would both love these books. My curiosity is peaked!

Carole said...

My daughter and I would both love these books. My curiosity is peaked!

SusanD1408 Crochet Addict said...

OOOhhh they look fantastic. Thanks for the giveaway!

Laurie said...

The giveaway winner is Ruty. Congrats!!