Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Guest Post - Author Kelly Martin

I want to thank Zanna for having me on her blog today! I think her book cover is one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen! Makes you just want to go out and get it on your Kindle or Nook so you can look at it more often J

I wanted to give you guys a sneak peek at SAINT SLOAN, my new YA/Christian/Inspirational thriller out now from Astraea Press. In it, Sloan Bridges just wants her 18th birthday to be perfect… her attacker had different ideas.

Chapter One
The cold November air burned Sloan’s lungs as she ran
down the secluded dirt driveway. Looking over her shoulder at the
brightly lit farmhouse swarming with people, she wished she had
grabbed her coat from the living room before escaping. Her legs
protested with each additional step she forced them to take, and
quite frankly, she felt like an idiot. In four days, she would be
eighteen, an adult; why should she care what others thought of
her? Or, more specifically, what Darcy Perry thought of her?

After nearly a quarter of a mile, the driveway sloped down
at a steep angle and met Brown Hollow Road. Sloan stopped at the
bottom, doubled over, and put her hands on her knees to catch her
breath. The harder her lungs extended, the sillier she felt for
running away like that. Sure, Darcy was mean, exceptionally so
when she drank, but Sloan shouldn’t have let her words hurt her
like they did. And that’s all they were, words. Words and cold beer
thrown in her face. She ran her fingers through her damp hair and
wondered how she would explain it to her mother.

When her breathing came easier, she stood up and looked
back toward the house. From her vantage point behind the short
hill, she could see all of the lights burning in the second story
windows and hear the music blasting throughout the isolated
farmland. The glow from the floodlights surrounding the house
made it appear to float in the sky. No doubt about it, Boyd knew
how to throw a party. Sloan couldn’t help feeling a little satisfied
thinking of how Mr. Lawrence, Boyd’s father, would react when he
found out his biology students were getting drunk at his house
without his knowledge.

She leaned on the standard-issue black mailbox and
frowned. It wouldn’t be fun to walk all the way back to get her coat
and beg Mackenzie to take her home. Everyone would stare at her,
mock her, and call her ‘Saint Sloan’, Darcy’s pet name for her. The
thought of Darcy’s smug face rising inevitably from Boyd’s
muscular neck made Sloan’s stomach knot harder, and she
slumped farther down against the mailbox, causing the metal to
creak. Sometimes Sloan wondered why she ever went anywhere.
She didn’t drink, do drugs, or make fun of others, and she wasn’t
into sleeping around anymore. She was the “reformed bad girl,”
and everyone loved to taunt her about it, especially her former best
friend, Darcy.

Blinding lights coming toward her right side caught her
attention. Turning toward them, she put her hand over her eyes to
block the brightness of the passing car. Instead of speeding by, the
car slowed down and stopped across the yellow line from her.
Goose bumps, not from the cold, formed under her long
sleeves. Meeting a strange person in a strange car at night in the
middle of an old country road didn’t appeal to her. Bloody flashes
from every horror movie she’d ever watched swarmed in her mind.
Suddenly, being made fun of and harassed at the party didn’t seem
so bad. She wished she had been able to control her temper better
and never have run out of that house. Nervous, she grabbed the
little golden cross that had fallen under her dark teal shirt collar
and prayed whoever was in the car wasn’t a homicidal manic.

The driver’s side window rolled down, and Sloan squinted
through the dark to see inside. “You okay?” an unfamiliar male
voice said. Whoever it was didn’t sound much older than her.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” She rocked on the balls of her feet so she
could be ready to run if the situation escalated beyond friendly
chatter. “Just out for a walk.”

“In the dark?”

“Seemed like a good idea at the time,” she said truthfully.

Sloan heard a hint of laughter coming from the car. At least,
it didn’t sound menacing. “Like I said, are you okay?”

“Fine,” she said with an undercurrent of defiance. She
wished he’d just go on his merry way.

“In my experience, people don’t go for walks in the dark
when everything is fine.”

“I’m… I will be fine. Thanks for stopping. You must be in a
hurry.” She tucked her hands under her elbows and walked back
up the little hill. Seeing the lights and hearing the annoying music
coming from the farmhouse filled her with dread. Between the
house and conversing with a stranger alone in the dark, she figured
the house would be safer, but not by much.

“I don’t have to be at work until eleven,” he yelled. “I can
give you a lift to your house if you want.”

Sloan spun around, half expecting him to be standing
behind her with a rag full of chloroform. “Thanks. That’s sweet, but
it’s not necessary. I can get my friend to take me home.” Lord, please
don’t let her be drunk.

She started to turn back around when he yelled again. “You
don’t know who I am, do you?”

Of course she didn’t. It wasn’t like she could see him in the
shadows. “Should I?”

“Guess not. I’ve not been back in town all that long, but I
know you.”

The tiny hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. Who
was this guy?

“You’re Sloan Bridges. You used to date, and I use that term
loosely, my brother back in the day.”

That didn’t help much. “Could you be more specific?”

His laugh filled the space between them. “Had a lot of
boyfriends, have you?”

“More than my fair share,” she admitted regretfully.

“We all have a past, Sloan. Don’t let it get you down.”

Easier said than done. “So, who is your brother?”

“I’m not surprised you don’t remember. You were both
eating paste in Kindergarten back then. Ray Hunter.”

Ray Hunter! Her face lit up when she recognized the name.
When she was six years old, Ray had been her first official school
boyfriend. He was also her first kiss. Unfortunately, that kiss on the
cheek during nap time landed him in time out next to Mrs.
Dobson’s desk. Sloan had always felt bad about that. “I remember
Ray! Wow, so you’re Adam or Aidan… I’m sorry. I don’t remember
your name.”


“Aaron Hunter! Yeah. I remember you now! You and Ray
and your mom moved after Christmas that year. Broke my heart.”
“I’m sure you bounced back quickly.”

She couldn’t deny that. “I didn’t know you were back. Are
Ray and your mom here, too?”

There was a pause, and Sloan wondered for a second if he
had heard her. “Ray is. My mom’s not.” The way he said it let Sloan
know he’d rather have his teeth pulled out than talk about her.
“Anyway, I’m going back to town to get ready for work. If you still
live next to Donna Robinson, it’s on my way.”

“I do, but Donna doesn’t live there anymore. She’s in
Evening Oak Nursing Home.” She found herself walking toward
him as she spoke.

“I hate that.”

“She’s been in there about a month. I visit her now and then.
She’s doing as well as you’d expect, but she can’t take care of
herself anymore. Her house has been on the market ever since she
went in.”

“They don’t think she’ll come back home?”

“Doesn’t look like it.” Thinking about Donna always made
her sad. A few months before, the woman had been full of life.
Then a stroke nearly killed her. It did take away her ability to walk
and care for herself, but not her mind. Though slow to talk, Donna
was as spry as ever. “How do you even remember where I live?”

“Good memory,” he said. “Donna was always nice to me
and Ray. She took care of us when my mom wouldn’t… couldn’t,”
he corrected quickly. “And she used to make us cookies. She took
us to church a few times.”

Sloan heard the genuine sadness in his voice. Something
about it made her not as apprehensive as she had been a few
moments before. Anyone who held on to such sweet memories that
long wouldn’t hurt her. She hoped not anyway. “Yeah, she was. I
always liked her. She took me to church, too. I still go to her church,
but it’s not the same without her.”

A few seconds went by before he spoke again. “So, it’s
obvious you’re freezing and something or someone ran you out of
that house.” He motioned toward the lights on the hill. ”You don’t
want to go there, for whatever reason. I can help. Last chance. Let
me drive you home. I promise I won’t hurt you.”

“Says the guy sitting in a strange car talking to an innocent
girl in the middle of the night.”

“A Mustang isn’t strange.”

“No, but the rest of this is.” Torn, she looked back toward
Boyd’s house filled with mostly judgmental classmates; then she
shifted to Aaron’s car and bit her lip. “Okay. Look, I’ll text my
friend, Mackenzie, and tell her I have a ride home.”

“I’ll also tell her that if she doesn’t hear from me in one hour
to call the police.”

“Ouch,” he laughed. “You think that little of me?”

“I don’t know you well enough to think anything about you.
That’s the point.”

~Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin is a southern girl who lives with her husband and three rowdy, angelic daughters. By day, she is a teacher. By night, she is a crazy-haired, multi-tasker who writes when the kids go to bed. 

She has two young adult novels out now: SAINT SLOAN (about a girl who can’t get away from her past) and CROSSING THE DEEP (a girl’s faith is tested, stranding on a mountain with a guy she barely knows). Both are Amazon bestsellers.

You can find her at any of her two blogs: (author blog) and (daily devotional blog).

Kelly loves God, is addicted to chocolate, and would rather write than sleep.





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