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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Excerpt: Smoke, Wings and Stone

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Smoke, Wings, and Stone
by Marijon Braden

Plot Summary:

Carrie and Sara Fleming are as different as two sisters can be. Both in high school, Carrie is an outgoing soccer jock, trying to navigate the minefield of Varsity sports –and dating. Sara is a talented musician, who wants to spend her senior year focusing on graduating and getting into a great music school. Both of their lives change forever when Sara inadvertently finds herself engaged to marry Lucien Gargouille, prince of an ancient race of gargoyles.

Sara has no interest in marrying anyone, but a vow spoken in the moonlight has bound her to Luc – forever. To make matters worse, there is a war brewing. For centuries, the gargoyles have protected mankind from all the dark forces in the world. But someone is making trouble, and trying to break the fragile treaty that has kept evil at bay, and Sara has become a target.

Carrie sees the danger around her sister, but can only watch and wait, hoping that Luc and his Family can keep Sara safe. After all, this is what they were born to do – protect the world from vampires, and all the other creatures, who would try to break out of their darkness. But when the enemy makes a daring move, it falls on Carrie to not only save her sister, but to keep the two worlds from crashing together.

Book Excerpt:

We ran out the sliders, across the deck and down the steps to the backyard. I turned to look at the house. There was no smoke coming out from anywhere. No flames. Was it a trick?

“Keep moving,” Chris ordered, and he moved across the yard. It was almost dark, and the backyard was all shadows. The dogs were running around happily, thinking it was playtime.

“We need to cut through and get back on the street,” Chris said. “Let’s go.”

We all followed him across the grass, when suddenly Fred started growling again. I glanced over my shoulder. Six dark figures were coming from around the house, following us.

“Run,” Chris yelled.

We ran. Kevin grabbed Becca’s hand and we raced towards the street. I could hear the dogs panting behind me. I was suddenly afraid, because the air was ice cold and there seemed to be smoke everywhere. I could barely see.

“It’s not real,” Chris screamed. “Keep running.”

I dodged the forsythia bush by the sidewalk. I knew every inch of the neighborhood. I’d been running through these streets my whole life. So had Kevin and Becca. The vampires were so far behind us, they would never be able to catch us. I figured we needed to get to Kevin’s house. Once we were back inside somewhere with the door closed again, we’d be safe. I swerved and pounded down the pavement.

I glanced quickly over my shoulder. I could see the vampires behind us, much closer than they should have been. How had they managed to move that fast?

Kevin and Becca were right behind me, Chris bringing up the rear. Kevin’s house was at the end of the block. We’d be there in less than a minute. We’d make it, no problem.

And then the street opened up. I could see it cracking open, like an earthquake or something. The ground was shaking and I stopped short, panicked. The dogs kept running. Couldn’t they see that the street was no longer there?

“It’s not real,” Chris screamed again, but it was real. It was right in front of me. I yelled for the dogs to stop, and whirled around. Kevin and Becca ran right into me. The ground to the left of us started opening up as well. What was happening? The vampires were so close that, even in the growing darkness, I could see that one of them was wearing a happy face tee shirt.

Chris stopped and turned to face them. The ground to the right of us was cracked and open. We were trapped. Chris stood still. I saw his shoulders lift. Then he started to change. As he grew, the vampires slowed. I heard Kevin swear under his breath, and Becca was whispering ohgodohgodohgod. Chris dropped onto all fours and roared. He reached out and swiped at one of the vampires with a giant paw, and the vampire went stumbling to the side of the road. The others began moving, two to the left of Chris, two to the right, and one right in front. Chris moved towards one, but the vampire danced away quickly, like a video on fast-forward.

“You can’t take us all,” one of the vampires said. The sixth, the one who had been slapped away, was back on his feet. “Just give us the bride.” Bride? They wanted Sara. They thought I was Sara. They were after me. And there were six of them.

Chris snarled. Fred growled. Chris spun quickly and took another swipe, but missed. They were keeping just far enough away that he couldn’t hurt them. And the three of us were stuck behind Chris, with no place to go but down a gaping hole in the earth.

Fred started yapping. What was that dog thinking? Then, from behind us, there was a low, whooshing sound, and a winged figure swept down. It was a giant frog, over six feet in length. It opened its mouth and bit off the head of one of the vampires. The body slumped to the ground and turned to gray ash.

“Yes!” Kevin yelled, pumping his fist in the air.

The remaining vampires turned and ran. They were gone in the blink of an eye. So were the craters that had surrounded us on the road. The pavement was smooth and unbroken. The smoke was gone, and the cold.

Chris turned to us slowly. He was back to his human form. Toad had landed on the road and was now a slightly plump, middle-aged man with thinning hair and glasses. Toad walked over to Chris and gave him a long hug. The older man leaned in close and said something to Chris. Chris nodded, and the two of them walked over to us.

“Are you all okay?” asked Toad.

We nodded. Becca was gray-faced. Kevin was glowing with excitement.

“Where are the craters?” Kevin asked.

“I’ll explain in a minute. Now, get back into the house,” Toad said, glancing around as he herded us back up the street.

Chris grabbed Toad by the arm. “They weren’t Brunel,” he said.

Toad nodded. “I know. I didn’t recognize them.”

Chris took a deep breath. “So, is the treaty intact?”

Toad shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said.

Becca grabbed my hand.

“What just happened?” she whispered.

“You have just become a member,” I told her, “of a very select club.”


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