Amy Maurer Jones was kind enough to allow me to host her on my blog today. Her latest, Wildflower, releases June 1st and I, for one, cannot wait until the release. The cover. It’s the cover, right? Absolutely beautiful! I can’t wait.
Wildflower pulled out a quill. It looked like any ordinary quill. Only, I knew what she was capable of doing once her fingers finished guiding it along the parchment. She began sketching an outline of a cluster of birds with the black ink. There were at least a half a dozen in the flock.
“With each new life we breathe our souls will migrate toward one another. Our souls will carry us over land and water to be reunited again and again.” she smiled as she replaced her quill and began chanting in her native and mysterious language.
Like magic, the ink evaporated off of the paper and swirled in circles in the air until it found purchase on skin. A cluster of delicate birds were suddenly embedded at the nape of her neck. I felt tingling warmth spread over my chest. When I looked down I found one more imprint engraved over my heart.
I glanced down at the winged figure permanently seared into my skin and smiled. They would not separate us. We would be one forever because my heart would always belong to Wildflower, in this life and every future life.
A Chapter Sample
I shuffled my feet more quickly as the late bell rang for class. The obnoxiously, blaring sound was a rude reminder of my inability to get to class on time. Fortunately, I had Mr. Falls for Calculus this period and he would, no doubt, be attempting to flirt with Ms. Warner, the Algebra teacher, in the hallway just outside the classroom. As I rounded the corner I confirmed that my suspicions were correct, raced through the door and slid into my seat before Mr. Falls had the slightest clue.
“Pushing it a little close again aren’t we, Laney?” a heard a friendly voice tease as I settled into my seat.
I only smiled in return, guilty as charged.
My junior year at Plymouth North High School isn’t panning out so great, not that I’d expected it to. No, I’m pretty much ignored by my peers and most of my teachers. It’s not so much that I’m disliked, I’m just, well, not the norm. I’m not rich, so I can’t claim any trust fund baby attention. My parents, Shane and Andrea Stillwater, are hard working middle class folk. My mom is an accountant and my dad is the Art teacher here at Plymouth North and, sadly, the only teacher in the school that acknowledges my efforts. I have no exceptional athletic abilities. In fact, I’m pretty pathetic with any sport which requires the manipulation of a ball, which is pretty much every sport. I’m just an average student, so you won’t find my name on the Principle’s List. Not that I’m complaining, I don’t mind being average and blending into the institutionally drab, beige walls of Plymouth North. In fact, I prefer it that way. Unfortunately, I’m not quite average or normal enough. You see, my mom is White but my dad is Native American and apparently, at Plymouth North, the in – crowd prefers a pure pedigree. In their eyes, I’m a freak. My people believe physical wellness and spiritual wellness are connected. By alleviating injury or sickness affecting the soul you may restore the physical body to balance and wholeness. If I get sick my dad takes me to see my grandfather, our tribe’s Shaman, and he heals me with his spiritual gifts. Needless to say my peers find my tribe’s beliefs and practices to be a bit odd, so I’ve been labeled as the weird witch of the North, North Plymouth, that is. I’m not bitter, though… OK, I’m a little bitter but I don’t feel sorry for myself because that’s just pathetic and I am not pathetic.
So, what motivates me not to jump off of a cliff, you wonder? Well, first of all, my parents are pretty great. Yeah, I know, this is not exactly normal sentiment for a teenager but they don’t really bug me that much. Second, I’m pretty good at finding distractions. I love to draw and ride horses. When I get bored I can draw myself into a world that is much more interesting than my own or head out to my grandfather’s ranch and hit the trails with Bunny, my favorite quarter horse. Third, Carly Higgins, my best friend since kinder – garden, Carly can always makes me laugh, even when I feel like crying. Last, but not least, Jordan Stone, a super hot guy. We have English and Spanish together and he sits right behind me in both classes. We talk and flirt and joke around and it subdues the monotony a little bit.
“So, do we have any plans for the weekend yet?” the friendly voice whispered as Mr. Falls entered the classroom three minutes after the bell finished ringing.
“I don’t know, Carly. I’m still kind of bummed about the last one.” I complained.
“All the more reason to put yourself back out there!” she encouraged, forever the optimist.
“Miss Higgins, do you wish to address the class this morning?” Mr. Falls interrupted.
“No, sir…” Carly frowned.
Mr. Falls nodded an unspoken warning to Carly and I and began his lesson. I was off the hook for now.
The day continued in its usual monotonous manner until fourth period English class. Jordan Stone is in this class.
“How’s it going, Stillwater?” Jordan smiled as he loped into the room and slung his book bag to the side of his painfully uncomfortable metal and wooden desk behind mine. He was dressed in worn blue jeans and a black tee shirt. His blond hair was tousled on top of his head from the recent sprint from his previous class. It still looked good. No, more like perfect. His green eyes pierced through me as his dimpled and gleaming, white grin took my breath away. OK, stupid, it’s time to say something. What was it that he just asked me? Crap!
“Uhm, hey, I didn’t see you at Jessica Jacob’s party last weekend. Did you find something better to do?” I teased awkwardly, at a loss for words.
Jordan laughed, not missing a beat. I have no doubt he realizes that he drives me crazy. This can’t be healthy, still, I persist being the masochist to love that I am.
“Nah, we heard it was gonna’ be lame so we crashed Gracie’s place instead. Her parents were out of town.” he replied nonchalantly.
Great! My favorite person, Gracie Henderson, little Miss Perfect, weaseled her way into Jordan’s weekend effectively canceling me out. Gracie’s been getting one up on me more often than I care to admit these days.
“Oh, uhm, well, how was that?” I asked tightly, not wanting to show my annoyance and not really wanting to hear his reply.
“Awesome!” he nodded enthusiastically. “Everyone was there. Why didn’t you come? I missed you.” he said sincerely.
OK, this is an improvement. He noticed that I wasn’t there. Maybe he was looking for me. Maybe he had wished that I had been there. I looked up to see that he was staring at me and it finally dawned on me that he was waiting for my reply.
I straightened up and snapped out of my trance.
“Oh, well, you know, I didn’t want to let Jessica down. It was her birthday and all.” I explained lamely, not wanting to admit that I had not been invited, would never be invited, to a party being thrown by the one person who seems to hate me more than anyone else in the entire world.
I’ve often wondered what Gracie has against me. For the life of me I can’t come up with a single reason. I’ve never done anything to her. Actually, that’s a lie. I know exactly why Gracie doesn’t like me, but it would not be politically correct to voice my opinion on this matter. I am, after all, already the under dog here. My father isn’t white and this fact doesn’t sit well with some people. It really sucks and I wish everyone would just grow up and get over it. Well, no use crying about it, I guess. It won’t change anything.
Just as the bell was about to ring the devil herself sashayed into the class- room.
“Hi, Jordan!” she squealed. “It was so great that you could make it to my party last Saturday. It was so much fun, wasn’t it? I mean, everyone who was anyone was there, right?” she droned on.
Don’t think I didn’t catch that last jab either. She eyed me meaningfully when she uttered it so sweetly.
“Oh yeah, man! You’re party totally rocked.” Jordan nodded. “Let me know when you decide to play host again.” He winked before he shifted around in his seat to face Laura Rice. “Hey Laura,” he whispered. “…did you finish you’re Calculus homework last night? Can I copy it?” he grinned mischievously.
“Sure thing, Jordan.” she agreed easily, pulling her home work from her bag.
I bet Jordan has yet to do a single Calculus assignment this year. As Jordan smiled at Laura, or her home work, Gracie’s expression fell. Her glance drifted to Laura and conformed into a scowl. Laura remained oblivious, still entranced by Jordan’s charms. Dang! Gracie must have it bad for Jordan to be jealous of Snora – Laura. We’re talking major bore – fest personality. Get a grip Gracie!
OK, I know, that was mean and being mean isn’t usually my style. Maybe Laura isn’t so bad, maybe she’s just shy. She’s good at Calculus. There, I said something nice about her so why do I still feel like a total hag? I don’t mean to be cruel; it’s just that Gracie always makes me feel like a loser. She thinks she’s better than me, so much so that sometimes I begin to feel like she might be right. She really gets under my skin, you know?
“So, Laney, how was Jessica’s party?” Gracie turned her venom on me.
Sure, her voice was friendly enough but her eyes held the paralyzing and hypnotic stare of a cobra ready to strike.
“Oh, it was great!” I smiled cheerfully.
I lied. Gracie rolled her eyes.
“Well, I heard it sucked!” she hissed, no longer attempting to hide her malice.
On that note we all shifted uncomfortably in our seats and focused our attention toward the English teacher who was beginning the day’s lecture. Yet again, I was saved by the institution of public education.
After English class Jordan walked with me to our Spanish classroom. During our stroll he remained unusually quiet for about half of the distance.
“So, Laney, do you have plans for this weekend?” Jordan voiced shyly.
OMG! He was asking me out! OK, take deep breaths and don’t pass out.
“Uhm, no?” I responded awkwardly.
I was completely caught off guard by his inquiry.
”Oh, well uhm, how would you feel about going to see a movie with me?” he continued.
“Great! What movie?” I agreed without hesitation.
Only then did I realize that perhaps I shouldn’t sound so eager. My doubt was immediately remedied, however. As soon as my words were uttered I observed Jordan’s shoulders and gate relax, and return to his normal easy posture.
“Really?” Jordan breathed with relief and surprise.
“Uhm… yeah, what movie?” I persisted, entirely surprised and thrilled by his reaction.
Surely, he knew I would say yes. What idiot wouldn’t?
“Awe, wow! I totally thought you would say no.” he continued to confound me with his delusional response. “I mean, I’m totally psyched that you want to go out with me. I’m just surprised, I guess.” he jabbered on, finally explaining his uncharacteristic behavior.
“Why?” I wondered.
“Because, you never do.” he shrugged.
I raised another clueless eyebrow at him.
“You never say yes when guys ask you out.” he clarified.
“So, what, is this like an experiment or something?” I worried.
Get the freaky Indian girl to go out with you! Were they taking bets? Was money exchanged?
“No, I promise it’s not like that at all. I really like you, Laney. The truth is I’ve wanted to ask you out for a long time, but I didn’t because all the guys said you would say no. I was too chicken. You know, afraid of rejection?” he admitted sheepishly. I smiled, both satisfied and flattered by his response. Jordan immediately relaxed again and ran his fingers through his golden locks. “So, why do you always say no… to the other guys, I mean?” he wondered.
“Because, I think they’re a bunch of creeps.” I answered honestly.
It’s true. Most boys at Plymouth North find me to be more than easy on the eyes, but I’m not easy, and I know their intentions don’t progress beyond their hormonally driven male instincts. What I mean to say is, none of them would take me home to meet their mother, if you can catch my drift. The sad and true fact is, my caramel complexion would not be overlooked or accepted.
Jordan’s shocked expression was so comical I couldn’t help but burst into laughter. At my knowing reaction he quickly and ever so smoothly collected himself.
“You’re a handful, aren’t you?” he chuckled.
“Maybe…” I said coyly.
Oooh! I simply can’t wait until release day! What a tease!
Okay, so Amy will be hosting a give away on release day, June 1st on her blog. Just click here to enter!
Need more Wildflower? Check out Amy’s trailer here!
Look for Wildflower June 1st on Amazon!