All month long we’ve been celebrating teens heading back to school by sharing excerpts from new YA and MG novels that are in school settings. We’ve had ghost stories, zombies, horses, romances and mysteries so far. Something for everyone.
Today, author Shelley Pickens visits with a scene from her paranormal thriller Unhinged, the second book in her Haunting of Secrets series. The cover itself is exciting, but the blurb and excerpt will hook you right in. Looks to be an exciting read, and if you want to learn where you can order your copy, scroll on down.
Being normal isn’t always a good thing, especially if it ends up killing you.
Aimee, the sixteen year old girl who can see your every memory with just one touch, is fresh out of the torture room after risking everything to capture a killer. Despite her instinct to avoid contact with others, she tries her best to find a new normal at school—perhaps even a boyfriend. But for those who are cursed, happiness and normality aren’t easy to obtain. A bizarre illness spreads like wildfire through the school and causes those around Aimee to lose their sanity before falling into a coma. Slowly, all the people she loves succumb to this strange disease.
Alone and terrified, she must use her curse to find a way to save her family and friends. As she delves deeper and deeper into their memories, she realizes David, a delusional person from her childhood, is the bigger threat that could destroy her. Despite the danger that surrounds her, she struggles to solve the puzzle before it’s too late to help those she cares for the most.
But as David moves closer to eliminating her, one puzzle still remains. Will she be able to save herself?
Still absorbed within my memories, I tear my eyes away from Logan and look around the newly renovated cafeteria at our school. Since the old one was bombed five months ago, they have since re-constructed this new cafeteria on the other end of the school. The old site was converted to a memorial for the thirty-seven victims who died there.
If you had told me three months ago that I would be sitting here, in this new cafeteria, talking to a boy—a boy without even the word friend added—I would have laughed and told you that you were out of your mind. Yet, here I sit, with two of the most important people in my life, and I’m content. I never thought that was possible for me, but here I am, living it. And I honestly never want it to end. But cursed people don’t get happy endings. Sadly, the cursed never live long enough to see them.
From the seat across from me, Dejana’s sharp remark brings me out of my daydreams.
“Okay Aim, I’m ready now for sure,” she says as her perfectly polished hand shakes fiercely.
I look up from our almost touching hands and see the one thing I never want to see on my only friend’s face: fear.
“You really don’t have to do this you know. I know you're curious about how my curse works, but you don’t have to experience it to understand it. I can tell you all about how I absorb memories if you’d like. You can paint one of the happier memories for me. It would help me separate the good from all the bad that I witness,” I suggest.
Reprieved, Dejana looks up at me; her eyes no longer clouded with fear. Yet her brown eyes staring back at me mask something else entirely: disappointment? Or perhaps relief?
Dejana opens her mouth to say something, but a loud scream from the other end of the cafeteria interrupts her. We both stand up a bit too quickly, knocking our chairs to floor. We are all still on edge from the bombing. The slightest scream sends us both into a panic. I turn to reach for Logan, but as it turns out, there wasn’t a need. His hand is already reaching for mine. I quickly move to put my glove back on, since I removed it for Dejana’s little experiment, but Logan grabs my hand before I'm able to.
After a lifetime of not being able to touch anyone, it goes against everything I am to have any part of my skin exposed. But for Logan, I would do anything. He told me once after we kissed, that the jolt of electricity that accompanies my touch is addicting.
Great, now I am a drug.
Click on these links to get your copy of Unhinged.
For print – Lulu
Barnes & Noble Nook
Shelley Pickens is a Spanish teacher by day and a novelist by night. She's been in love with everything paranormal since she can remember. After years of teaching high school students, she decided to take her firsthand knowledge of young adults and apply it to her passion for creative writing and fantasy. When not teaching or writing, Shelley likes to spend time with her husband and two beautiful children in Atlanta, Ga. Her escape from reality is her love of complex thriller and science fiction TV series like Supernatural and Sleepy Hollow. In her spare time she is an avid watcher of little league baseball.
D. G. Driver
Author of Young Adult books Cry of the Sea and Passing Notes.