Welcome to the second part of the 2011 YA Spooktacular! This very cool event is hosted by Frenzy of Noise and Wicked Awesome Books, and I'm very excited to be a part of it! For those of you who aren't familiar with how it works, here's a brief summary of what it's all about:
This year, there are three stories written by some of your favorite authors that will be posted throughout the week. Each story is a choose your own adventure, where you get to decide what path to send the character down. Sometimes you live, sometimes you die, and sometimes you fall into a pit of no return.
There are also some TRICKS or TREATS scattered throughout the story, where you can enter to win prizes and get bonus points toward the prize packs. The prize pack for story 2 will be up tomorrow! On Halloween day, the grand prize pack will be posted. You can click the banner above to see a full list of the YA Spooktacular prize packs!
This part of story 2 is written by the utterly fabulous Jennifer Armentrout:
Jennifer Armentrout lives in West Virginia. All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true. Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she likes to read, work-out, watch zombie movies, and pretend to write. Her Young Adult debut novel Half-Blood, the first in a four book series, will release in Fall 2011 through Spencer Hill Press and her debut Adult paranormal romance is set for April 2012 release through Entangled Publishing. Basically, she has a lot of books coming out and she is always hard at work.
For more information on Jennifer and her books you can find her here:
Barnes & Noble
Before we get to her addition to the story however, I want to make sure everyone knows the below snippet is the very end of the story, so be sure and head over to Reading Teen to start from the beginning! Now, it's Party Time!
Scrambling in the dark, you find the fire extinguisher and whip around, swinging with all your might. The tank hits the rotten creature in the head. Crack! Bone shatters. There’s a wet sound that sickens you, and the thing goes down. Not moving. No sound. Dead.
You don’t wait. Rushing over to your friend, you help her with the ropes. “Are you okay? Did it hurt you?”
“I’m okay,” she cries. Rivers of black mascara run down her pretty, elfin face. “Oh, my God, I thought I was going to die. What was that thing?”
“I don’t know, but I have to get Michael. He’s in the garage!”
The two of you carefully step around the still form of the creature at the bottom of the steps and race upstairs, through the house. The fire in the garage is small but it surrounds him, and there’s enough left in the fire extinguisher to vanquish it.
The side of Michael’s face is red from the heat, and as you and Stace untie him, your hands are shaking. He grabs you, pulling you close when he’s free, murmuring something against your hair.
“Is it dead?” Michael asks, voice hoarse from the smoke.
“I think so.” You swallow down the fear. “I hit it pretty hard.”
“Should we check on it?” Stace asks.
That was the last thing you wanted to do, but with your friends, you creep back into the house. You halt at the top of the steps to the basement as Michael goes down the steps. Ice trickles through your veins. You don’t need to go any further. You already know.
The thing is gone.
Stace tries to reason it away, and she’s relieved. “At least, he’s gone,” she says, as you head outside. “It’s over.”
But is it really? And what was that thing? It couldn’t have been human. No one would’ve survived that kind of hit, but you’re alive and the thing is gone.
There are police sirens off in the distance. Someone has seen the fire or heard the screams. Exhausted, you drop down on the curb outside your house, beside a quietly sobbing Stace. Michael shifts closer, dropping his arm over your bent shoulders, offering a comforting layer of warmth against the horrors you’ve faced tonight.
You turn to him, your smile wobbly and weak. “Great party, huh?”
One side of his face is still ruddy from the heat of the flames, and a pang hits you in your chest when you realize how close you came to losing him without ever really…having him. Tears build in your eyes, stinging when it mixes with the arid smoke lingering in the air.
Michael presses his forehead against yours and gives you the smile you want to see. Not the placating smile, but one that flashes that deep dimple in his right cheek. There’s a deep flutter in your chest, a different type of warmth rolling through you.
“You saved my life,” he says.
You shrug it off, flushing and you try to turn away, but he captures your chin with the tip of his fingers. Your breath catches in your throat. He lowers his head ever slightly, his lips brushing yours in the sweetest possible kiss you’ve ever felt. Your toes curl as you lean into him, breathless.
He pulls back, cheeks flushing. “We have to do this again. Not the whole killer part, but this.”
Much later, after the police have come and gone, after your cheek is stitched up and you’ve spent hours reassuring your freaked out parents that you’re very much alive and okay, you retreat to your dark bedroom.
Stripping off your dirtied, bloodied clothing, you take a quick shower, careful not to get your cheek wet. Part of you is detached from everything that happened. And as you dry off, you think of Michael and his sweet kiss. Somehow, that alone makes thing better. Pulling on a clean sleep shirt, you sleepily make your way to your rumpled bed and climb in, tugging the blankets to your chin.
And something tugs the blanket back.
Your heart jumps against your ribs as you jerk up in bed, a scream catching in your throat. It's here, cloaked in the shadows, beside your bed…moving closer. Moonlight slices through your bedroom window, reflecting off the razor sharp talons.
“It’s party time,” the thing rasps.
You’ve reached the end of this branch of the story. To see what could happen differently, go back to the beginning at Reading Teen.
Or back up a few steps by going to Overflowing Shelf.
Make sure you visit Lisa M. Potts tomorrow and enter to win the prize pack for story 2!
And visit Wicked Awesome Books or Frenzy of Noise on October 31st to enter the GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY for a ton of books and a ton of swag!!
This stop of the YA Spooktacular comes with an extra treat in the form of a copy of Alex Scarrow's TimeRiders as well as an ARC of TimeRiders: Day of the Predator! To enter just fill out THIS FORM. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only and will run through midnight EST on October 31st. Good luck everyone!