Teaser Tuesday

“Can I show you something?” she asked.

I wasn’t sure if I should follow her or even if I could but I didn’t want her to let go of me. I didn’t want her to disappear again and leave me there alone, still lost. So I nodded.

We swam to the end of the dock and she untied the small rowboat. She climbed in first, reaching for the oars and holding it steady as I sat down across from her. I watched the house recede. My eyes trailed back to the road, still waiting for someone to come down it. They didn’t.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“Not far.”

I searched the horizon but it was empty. No land. No boats. It felt like we were headed straight for the skyline, about to fall off into nothing. The waves grew choppy and I wanted to take the oars from her but I didn’t know where we were going and for some reason I liked listening to the slow rhythm of her breathing as she fought the waves.

The boat finally grinded to a stop and when I looked over the edge the water was so clear I could see tiny creatures bedding in the sand, their thin shadows eclipsed by the girl as she climbed onto the sandbar.

“I went to the Bahamas once when I was thirteen,” she said. “The water was so blue. I strapped on a snorkel and spent the entire week just walking from sandbar to sandbar, face underwater watching the fish swim by.”

I followed her out of the boat and a school of bright yellow fish cut between us, scales glinting.

“This?” I said.

She smiled and walked around to the other side of the boat. The water was a dark grey, my legs tangled in a mess of rust colored seaweed. I could barely see my feet, their shadows disappearing beneath swirls of mud.

“This is the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston. I tagged along on one of my mom’s work trips. It was just a few weeks after Hurricane Ike.”

I stared at the muddled outline where the two oceans converged—one light, one dark. I waited for them to mix, for that invisible seam to break free but it didn’t.

We waded farther out into the clear water, another school of fish bumping against my calf, bright red coral twisting near my ankles. It was startling.

“I used to come here,” she said. “When I first got sick I would stand here and it wouldn’t feel like purgatory anymore. They’re memories.” She faced the beach. “My memories.” Then she looked at me. “I don’t know why you’re here or if you’re—”

“Real?” I asked.

She nodded and I wasn’t so sure anymore either.

“But you don’t have to be afraid,” she said. “It doesn’t have to feel like purgatory.”

I watched the sunlight reflecting off the ocean and dancing against her skin. Her eyes were lighter in the sun; green churning to a soft sea foam like the waves crashing near our feet. And standing there in that invisible seam between two oceans, two worlds, she was just as startling.

The tide swirled in her gaze and I watched it shimmer there, glinting from a soft grey to jade and then I said, “It doesn’t.”

TGIB-WP

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Free Chapter Saturday

I hid in that empty trailer house for what seemed like hours, waiting for the sun to peek out over the trees again but when I finally stepped outside it was still stalled red in the exact same place it had been earlier. The forest was gone and I followed a chalk road, waiting for the farmhouse to rise on my left, to hear the waves, to feel the breeze cutting across the snow. But suddenly I was walking through a desert, a sunburn already creeping up the back of my neck despite the setting sun. And I was still fighting it. Still waiting for that road to carry me home, somewhere that actually made sense.

Something shifted to my left and I paused. I examined the flat dusty terrain, still waiting for my eyes to adjust. Shapes were strewn along the path, darkness winding and clawing across the desert floor, the shadows of giant constellations in orbit. I shuddered and the heat suddenly felt alive. Everything felt alive.

The night seemed to flex and groan, sun finally sinking. I picked up my pace, glancing over my shoulder until I tripped over a loose stone. I hadn’t realized I’d been running. I hadn’t realized I’d been afraid. But as I rose to my knees, still staring into the darkness; feeling paralyzed, I realized that maybe I was. When I saw those shadows moving in the distance I realized that maybe I should be.

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Free Chapter Friday

I stood over my workbench, pieces lined in neat rows, running my fingers over each of them. I waited for that electric pull, that itch to pick one up and turn it over in my palm. I tried to look at my sculpture, the one I’d been slaving over for months, and not just see a mess. But that’s hard to do when you feel like one yourself.

My emotions on the day before a new trial always existed on this manic spectrum between reserved hope and total indifference. There was a part of me that believed it would work as if that belief was its own serum and if I just let it fill every inch of me, maybe it would tell my body to relent. To let the cure work. To be a miracle for once. But there was another part of me that knew my body would never be a miracle, that I would never get better, and sometimes that ache filled me too, snuffing out everything else.

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Teaser Tuesday

I looked down at my clothes, dark jeans and some t-shirt with weird shapes on it sticking to my skin.

I stumbled to my feet but my legs were still liquid and I sunk back down, crawling to the first sand dune. The tide licked at me, still reaching, and I kept crawling, getting as far away from the water as possible.

I looked down the beach to where the water seemed to disappear behind the tree line, and then just past the next sand dune, the beach giving way to tall grass and a narrow dirt road that spilled into a bright blue sky. None of it looked familiar. Not the dark trees. Not the road veering around the bend. Not the beach. Not even my own shadow trembling next to me. I stared at my hands, throat tightening, trying to remember.

Remember. Jesus, anything. Just remember something.

But there was nothing. There was no one. No echo of a past I might have lived, of a place I might have come from. There was nothing and I was empty.

TGIB-WP

 

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The Girl In Between on Wattpad!

A few weeks ago I decided to join the amazingly creative and wonderfully insatiable community that is Wattpad. A few weeks ago I knew absolutely nothing about the social media site and today I still know close to nothing but what I do know is that Wattpad isn’t just a place for teenagers to share and consume fan-fiction but it’s a place where reading and writing are experiencing a magnificent renaissance. Not only are young people seeking out words but they’re being inspired to create their own. They’re learning how important that is, how important they are, and through this self-expression they’re not only falling in love with reading in an entirely new way but they’re falling in love with the very act of creating. It’s an absolutely thrilling time to be a writer and if you are, Wattpad is definitely the place to be. I’m still only a few weeks into the experience and I’m sure I’ll be blogging a lot about Wattpad in the future but for now I just wanted to let everyone know that the first few chapters of my new novel, The Girl In Between, are NOW ONLINE! That’s right, Free Chapter Friday has officially been revamped and each week on Friday and Saturday nights I’ll be posting new chapters on Wattpad from my upcoming series as well as excerpts from my backlist!

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TGIB-WP

Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive.

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