Friday, May 1, 2015

THE TRAMP by Sarah Wathen ~ELITE BOOK PROMOTION TOUR ~


When John was seven, he found Candy dancing in the neighboring yard wearing a yellow polka-dot bikini and red rain galoshes, splashing and dancing and singing at the top of her lungs. She saved his throat from getting ripped out by her grandma’s guard dog. Good thing she did, too. It was John who raised the alarm that day, when the man who smiled with his mouth but not his eyes drove off with Candy in a cloud of dust. The police stopped whatever might have happened next in a seedy motel—a place Candy doesn’t dare remember. John rescued her, creating a bond between two friends strong enough to awaken…something. 

That something has haunted the southern mountain town of Shirley since a time before stories were written, in a cycle that has spun for centuries. 

Years later, John and Candy begin to suspect something more sinister lurking amidst the days of football glory and the nights of clandestine rendezvous. John discovers disturbing symbols from the ancient tribes indigenous to the area in his history textbook, in a local cave system, and in his very dreams. Candy uncovers a family history that is more colorful than she knew. If shades of black are colorful. 

If only the two friends could foresee the danger looming before them. For another something, one much more dangerous than the first, is waking up to continue the cycle. 

And this something is bent on revenge…again. 

Murder forces everyone out of sunny valley torpor, and Candy realizes that more than acquaintance connects her with the killer. When a corpse is found, gutted as if for ritual, she knows that whatever evil has overtaken her hometown is moving forward. She will have to exorcise the haunting herself—though she has no idea how—and she will need John’s predestined help to do it. Candy will have to face the memories of that seedy motel room first. At least she finally understands the power she never knew she had—a link to her departed mother and a line of healers shrouded in pre-history.

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EXCERPT

Tyler lunged forward, grabbed a handful of hair, and yanked it hard. Candy’s neck snapped back and he slammed his body against hers.

A blade slid under her chin. “You’s a quick lil’ vixen, ain’t ya?”

Foul breath huffed against the back of her head, blowing wisps of her hair. She braced herself and felt the knife dig deeper into her flesh. All he had to do was whip it to one side to slit her throat. She stilled herself, barely daring to breathe.

“You been given that ole’ Sam goodies all along, wasn’t you? Think it’s ‘bout time I took some for me,” he snickered.

The heat rose so fast in Candy she felt dizzy. She tried to catch her breath over her fury. But, she knew where his filthy mouth was. She had a better idea where his eyes were, right behind her cheek. And as he struggled against the buttons of her jeans with his knife-hand, the point of the blade swung away from her. Candy Vale hadn’t grown up wrestling against three older brothers without learning how to deliver a few sucker-punches. She rammed two fingers backwards and felt at least one make squishy, wet contact with an eyeball. Tyler howled, and when he raised the switchblade, she grabbed his wrist and bit down. She tasted blood and heard the knife thud to the ground. He was still hanging onto her arm with his other hand, but he was leaning over in pain. She cracked her head against the bridge of his nose. He fell down, moaning in agony. She broke free, but tripped over a tree root.

“Shit!” As she scrambled to her feet she could hear Tyler on the move behind her. He grabbed her ankle and wrenched her back to the ground, twisting her leg so that she landed hard on her elbows. Her bones jarred to the top of her head.

“You bitch!” he screamed, blood spurting from his nose.

She saw her opportunity—he was blinded with his own blood—and she wrenched herself around to grab his head in both her hands, delivering her rage through her palms with a howl. She had planned to knee him in the mouth, but he yanked his head back so violently she lost her grip. He wailed like a banshee and flailed away from her. His eyes rolled back in his head and his body convulsed.

She watched him in horror. What the hell?

“Ahnaan…” Tyler sat up, in control of his limbs again. “Ahnaaan…wodiii.” The word came from deep in his throat—guttural—but Candy understood the meaning perfectly. The Sendalee word: Ahnaanvwodi.

“Where?” she stuttered, bewildered. His eyes were fixed on her. “Me? But I’m not the…”

He lunged at her, ripping at her shirt, her face. He tore at her hair in a frenzy, like he would claw his way inside.

“Get off—get off me!”

She kicked him away as hard as she could. A hulking shadow loomed over Tyler from behind, raised both arms overhead with a club held high. The club came down on Tyler’s head with a dull whack and his body went limp.

“Are you alright?”

Candy sat up, staring dumbly at her savior.

“Candy, are you hurt?”

The adrenaline coursed through her body. “Is he d-dead?”

John knelt down next to the stilled heap, feeling for a pulse. “No, just passed out. But, I think he’s going to wish he were dead when he comes to.”

“M-my g-g-god…”

Candy accepted John’s hand, wincing in pain when she put weight on her left ankle. She bore the pain to administer a sharp kick to Tyler’s midsection, and ended up hissing and hopping on her good foot.

“Come here, Candy.” John wrapped an arm around her waist for support, but when she fell into him, sobbing and trembling, he hoisted her up with both arms. She looped her legs around him and held onto his neck, clinging to him like a child. He threaded his hands under her bum—exactly the way the Child Services officer had carried her away from the crime scene when she was seven. She had watched over the officer’s shoulder—her Uncle Brian was sprawled face-down on the pavement, the policemen shouting over him. Guns were trained on his head.

“Let’s get you home.” John kissed her forehead, stepping gingerly through the undergrowth.

“Okay.” Her blubbering increased with her gratitude, and John made quiet shushing sounds as they left the woods. His Mustang was parked up the road under an umbrella of elm trees.

“I had him,” Candy snuffled wetly into his neck.

“Alright. It’s alright.”

“I don’t need s-saving.” Tears flowed and she pounded his broad back with a weak fist. “I don’t.”

“You could have fooled me, Candy-cane,” he sighed. She hugged him tighter. “You sure could have fooled me.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Wathen is an artist, author, and founder of the independent publishing house, LayerCake Productions. She was trained in Classical Painting at the University of Central Florida, and then received her Master's in Fine Art from Parsons School of Design in New York City. If Florida was where she discovered her passion, New York was the place she found her voice. "Writing a book was my obvious next step, once I realized I'd been trying to tell stories with pictures for years," Sarah says about transitioning from visual artist to novelist. "Painting with words is even more fun than painting with oil." She describes world-building with language--developing characters, constructing settings and plots, and inventing history--as a power trip that everyone should try at least once.
If only she had as much control over her Bichon Frisées as she does over her narratives. A devoted animal lover, she populates every story with at least one of her pets--especially the dearly departed ones, as therapy for an aching heart.

Sarah lives in Florida with her husband, son, and at least a dozen imaginary friends from her two novels, The Tramp and Catchpenny.

GIVEAWAY


The author is giving away the following gifts to one winner of the Rafflecopter.
  •        Signed print copy of the book + Kindle download
  •        MP3 download of The Tramp theme song, "Bound Hearts"
  •        Cover art T-shirt

a Rafflecopter giveaway



 
When John was seven, he found Candy dancing in the neighboring yard wearing a yellow polka-dot bikini and red rain galoshes, splashing and dancing and singing at the top of her lungs. She saved his throat from getting ripped out by her grandma’s guard dog. Good thing she did, too. It was John who raised the alarm that day, when the man who smiled with his mouth but not his eyes drove off with Candy in a cloud of dust. The police stopped whatever might have happened next in a seedy motel—a place Candy doesn’t dare remember. John rescued her, creating a bond between two friends strong enough to awaken…something. 

That something has haunted the southern mountain town of Shirley since a time before stories were written, in a cycle that has spun for centuries. 

Years later, John and Candy begin to suspect something more sinister lurking amidst the days of football glory and the nights of clandestine rendezvous. John discovers disturbing symbols from the ancient tribes indigenous to the area in his history textbook, in a local cave system, and in his very dreams. Candy uncovers a family history that is more colorful than she knew. If shades of black are colorful. 

If only the two friends could foresee the danger looming before them. For another something, one much more dangerous than the first, is waking up to continue the cycle. 

And this something is bent on revenge…again. 

Murder forces everyone out of sunny valley torpor, and Candy realizes that more than acquaintance connects her with the killer. When a corpse is found, gutted as if for ritual, she knows that whatever evil has overtaken her hometown is moving forward. She will have to exorcise the haunting herself—though she has no idea how—and she will need John’s predestined help to do it. Candy will have to face the memories of that seedy motel room first. At least she finally understands the power she never knew she had—a link to her departed mother and a line of healers shrouded in pre-history.
 
 
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