Today I'm participating in the The Silent Swan blog tour. The novel is YA contemporary. There is lots of baseball and the book deals with issues related to the foster care system. Enjoy the excerpt and then enter yourself into the giveaway!
About the Book:
Once upon a time – better known as “now” - Gabriel Pritz reigns as king of his high school. Easy grades, perfect baseball season, a pretty date for prom—he's coasting into a golden future. Until his parents demand he cook dinner once a week. Caught between kitchen fires and ballpark withdrawal, Gabe is thrown into Tam Swann's orbit. Hostile, friendless, and stubborn, she's exactly the sort of person he'd prefer to avoid.
Tam's sphere of influence expands beyond Gabe's sad domestic skills, rapidly invading everything from his favorite game to parts of his soul he didn't know existed. It's uncomfortable, it's hard work, it's...making him a better man. And that's just what she does to people she doesn't like. The better he gets to know her, the more he has to face the truth: this sharp, heart-breaking outcast is worth fighting for. How many families, fairy tales, and felons will he go through to ride to the rescue of the bravest person he's ever met?
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A couple of skinny underclassmen grabbed their bags when he pulled up, trudging inside before he could even crack the window. Gabe glared at the windshield for a minute. Heir of the Pritz empire, vice president of the student council, grand poobah of all things baseball, and here he was reduced to grunt work. He dumped his varsity cap on the seat and scrubbed out any hathair marks. Getting out wouldn’t freeze him; he just didn’t relish the idea of wrestling an eightfoot folding table up to the second floor by himself. But sitting in the cab of the truck wouldn’t get the job done either.
When a girl on an ancient ten-speed spun around the corner, he knew he’d waited too long. Bad enough his friends would demand explanations—he did not want weirdos spreading gossip. The loner girl, with her messy ponytail and huge cake box, overqualified for the label.
Figuring this couldn’t take long, Gabe left his book bag and hauled the table out of his truck. It wasn’t so much heavy as it was awkward, his fingers sticking and slipping along the edges. After banging both his knee and his toes with the stupid thing, he rolled his eyes and turned around.
“Hey,” he called to the girl. “Grab the door.”
She turned to give him a fairly good Spock stare. Over one shoulder hung a frayed backpack, and tucked under each arm were her flat box and—even more bizarre—her bike’s front tire with its reflectors all marked in a weird cross. She shook her head and walked right past him, tugging open the door with two fingers and leaving him alone in the cold.
“Hey!” Gabe shouted again as the door banged shut behind her, but she was gone.
Figured. Bottom feeders did not mix with the student council.
He carried the table as best he could to the doors, scraping the side a little as he held the door with one foot. He needed to put laundry detergent in Alex’s shampoo or something when he got home. No brother was worth this aggravation.
The stairwell between the outside doors and the long hallway of concrete and lockers housed the same group of skaters who had been loitering outside. This time, they didn’t react. Gabe knew not to look for the spiteful girl, and he definitely didn’t ask these guys for help.
The chick was one thing; the dope-heads were another.
So Gabe was surprised when, halfway to the landing, the slap of tennis shoes echoed behind him. He whipped his head around, but the sound passed his other side. The table tilted, the weight shifting in his hands. His grip on the narrow rim tightened, but it wasn’t necessary.
“Up,” said the pony-tailed girl, standing a few steps above him. She had one hand hooked under the table leg. Her face—her whole body—screamed “Move it, moron.” Having never had anything of the female persuasion give him that look before, Gabe did the only thing he could.
He followed her up the stairs.
The table rocked between them as she swung around the landing and climbed to the second floor. With a lot of speed and very little bounce in the—that is, for a girl. Neither the view nor the pace she set was a problem.
Gabe opened his mouth, thinking he’d say thanks, when she stopped at the doors and looked over her shoulder.
“You’ve got it from here?” Neither her voice nor her words matched the hostile look in her eye.
What? “Yes, I—”
“Okay.” She dropped her end of the table and marched back down the stairs. Didn’t look back. Hadn’t smiled once.
Neither had he, but girls were the nicer species.
Gabe stood in that stairwell for five long seconds, readjusting his hold on the table and tapping his foot. Was it worth shouting down “thank you” to some dumb, anonymous girl?
Nah. She wasn’t important.
About the Author:
Lex Keating has been engaged in a passionate affair with books ever since the Velveteen Rabbit wanted to be real. She graduated from a liberal arts college with a BA in literature, and currently resides near Charleston, South Carolina, in a swamp full of barbarians and all their cats. She has been a teacher, a paralegal, a computer programmer, and a hospice caregiver. She currently divides her time between studying old fairy tales and making up new ones.
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