July 29, 2015
Hello readers! Welcome to our stop on the excerpt blog tour for
The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy!
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Romance, friendship, and dark, bone-chilling fear fill the pages of a summertime thriller in the spirit of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Twelve years ago Stella and Jeanie vanished while picking strawberries. Stella returned minutes later, with no memory of what happened. Jeanie was never seen or heard from again.
Now Stella is seventeen, and she’s over it. She’s the lucky one who survived, and sure, the case is still cloaked in mystery—and it’s her small town’s ugly legacy—but Stella is focused on the coming summer. She’s got a great best friend, a hookup with an irresistibly crooked smile, and two months of beach days stretching out before her. Then along comes a corpse, a little girl who washes up in an ancient cemetery after a mudslide, and who has red hair just like Jeanie did. Suddenly memories of that haunting day begin to return, and when Stella discovers that other red-headed girls have gone missing as well, she begins to suspect that something sinister is at work. And before the summer ends, Stella will learn the hard way that if you hunt for monsters, you will find them.
Taylor Martinson and I have been flirting for months, and I’ve been playing it distant and disinterested. Zoey says playing hard to get is the only way to sink your talons in a boy. And she would know. Zoey’s gone out with as many guys as me, Cole, and Michaela combined. But I am interested. Interested in his lazily crooked smile, his stormy blue eyes, his velvety laugh that leaves my stomach flip-flopping, the way he pours himself into chairs, reclining, stretching long, tan limbs out to take up every inch of space, head cocked back, half laughing like nothing is ever for real.
The only iffy thing about him is the couple of lacrosse boys—the “scum brigade”—he hangs out with. They’re basically like dogs: Any girl’s leg will do. And while that alone wouldn’t eek me out, how dishonest they are about it does. They prey on underclass girls with promises of prom and happily ever after. Once the girls give it up, the boys give them the ax. I don’t hold that against Taylor, though. He probably bonded with those boys over tetherball and roly-polies on the playground in kindergarten. If you consider that, he’s loyal to stay friends with them.
It’s doubtful that Taylor and his “bros” could find us here. This is Zoey’s and my special hideaway. We’re at least a mile away from the nearest cabin, way off the beaten path, and across town from the beaches of Blackdog Lake, where our classmates go for bonfires and swimming. We spend every summer in this spot, dallying away the afternoons, sunbathing topless to get rid of tan lines, and sneaking hard lemonades.
When we were younger, Zoey’s brother Caleb used to bait fishing lines for us in this exact spot. It’s where I had my first kiss in the summer after the fourth grade with Sam Worth. His palms were sweating so profusely he kept wiping them on his jeans. His eyes were scrunched closed, and his lips hovered an inch from mine until I grabbed his shirt collar and pulled until our mouths met. It’s where I had my second kiss, which I lied and said was my first, with Scott Townsend three years later. It’s where Zoey went to third base for the first time and was covered in poison oak blisters for two weeks. It’s a special spot, sheltered from prying eyes and anyone’s expectations but our own.
Cole plops down on her beach towel next to mine and dips her head back, basking in the sun. Thousands of miles from the ocean and she manages to have beach-wavy hair, as if her enthusiasm is generating static electricity. “I mean, oh my gosh. How do you not remember anything?” The cadence of her voice makes her California accent exaggerated. I think she does it on purpose, but it’s cute rather than annoying.
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