Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - GOING UNDER (Excerpt 2)

(Brooke and Gretchen attend a party)

“I’m totally excited!” Gretchen squealed as we walked, arms linked, up the sidewalk to Tanner’s house.

Yes, I felt guilty for lying to my dad. It wasn’t Olivia’s house. There’s no Olivia anyway. But I thought it would sound better if the party were being thrown by a girl and not an immature boy. Tanner was just that. An annoying, loud, overbearing football player from my old high school who insisted on being popular whether people wanted him to or not. I think he was only accepted into the club because he had parents who traveled a lot, thus opening his house to the most over-the-top, alcohol-infused, sex-crazed parties in the city. It amazed me that not one of them had ever been busted by the cops.

“What’s there to be excited about?” I asked. “These parties are obnoxious.”

“Whatever, Brooke. You loved them last year.”

“Yeah, that was last year,” I said. “God, I don’t want to run into anyone I know.”

We pushed through the front door and nearly toppled onto Stephanie.

“Oh my God!” she screamed, throwing her arms around my neck and choking me.

“Steph.” I know I sounded less than enthusiastic, but I just couldn’t pretend anymore.

“I was so hoping you’d come tonight!” she replied, pulling away and looking me up and down. “You look so pretty!”

I did look pretty. I wore dark blue skinny jeans with a gray sequins top and alligator pumps. My very first pair of closed-toe heels. I bought them immediately after Beth’s funeral, and I made sure there was nothing sad about them. Not a hint of black. They were purple instead. I wore my hair in a messy chignon at the nape of my neck to show off my mother’s wedding earrings—the diamond studs. I felt confident and sexy.

“Thanks. I love your dress,” I replied. “It’s really cute.”

Stephanie looked down at her outfit. “I know, right?!” She grabbed my hand and pulled me into the living room. “Look who’s here, everyone!”

“No no,” I said, shaking my head and tearing my hand out of hers. “No one needs to know.”

I smiled nervously and looked around. Thankfully no one heard Stephanie or they didn’t care. The music was turned up to the max, and half the partiers were already wasted. There was an uneasy energy bouncing about the room, like a huge fight would break out at any moment. I didn’t like it, or rather my spirit didn’t like it. I could tell because my heart fluttered and thumped, and not to the beat of the song.

I turned around assuming Gretchen had followed me into the living room. I assumed wrong.
© S. Walden, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - Going Under (Excerpt 1)

Today begins "Teaser Tuesdays" where I'll post a short excerpt from the book each week until release day. Enjoy!

(Gretchen visits Brooke during work)

“What are you doing here?” I asked as I approached Gretchen.

“What do people normally do in restaurants?” she replied.

I smirked and grabbed the pen from behind my ear.

“I told you I would call you when I got home,” I said, flipping to a clean sheet on my order pad.

“Yeah, but I couldn’t wait that long,” Gretchen confessed.

“I’m busy tonight, Gretchen. I can’t hang around and chat,” I said. I glanced at my other tables. No refills needed. No one looking to get my attention. Good so far.

“I know, Brooke. I’ll hang out until the crowd dies down.”

“You’re gonna hang out at one of my tables all night?” I asked. “You better leave me one hell of a tip. I’m trying to make money here.”

“Relax,” Gretchen said. “Do your job well, and I’ll take care of you.” She winked, and I scowled.

“Hilarious. Really,” I muttered. “What do you want?”

“This salad thing and a Diet Coke,” she answered, pointing to the menu.

“Fine,” and I made my way to the order station. I punched in Gretchen’s order, then went to pour her a Diet Coke.


. . . I was caught off guard when I approached Gretchen once more with her drink. She sat staring transfixed, and I followed her gaze to a family that had just been seated. I nearly dropped the glass but refused to take my eyes off the family. Or rather, him. Funeral Guy. Again. Did he know I worked here? How ludicrous, and completely egotistical. I had to keep reminding myself that the world did not, in fact, revolve around me.

“Damnit, Brooke!” Gretchen cried. “You spilled Coke all over me!”

I tore my eyes away from Funeral Guy to look at Gretchen’s shirt. There were two tiny dark spots just to the left of her breast. I rolled my eyes.

“All over you, huh?”

“This is Bebe, bitch,” she replied.

I grinned. “I don’t know what that means.”

“Yeah. Sure you don’t. You better start setting aside your tip money if this shit doesn’t wash out.”

“Oh, Gretchy,” I said.

“Do not call me that,” she warned, and then her tone changed in a flash. “Now, check out that hottie over there.” She pointed to Funeral Guy. My hottie. I already decided to claim him.

I was itching to see her reaction. “Gretchen, that’s Funeral Guy.”
© S. Walden, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Treat (Excerpt)

February 19th marks the start of "Teaser Tuesdays" where I'll post an excerpt from Going Under each week up until the release day. Make sure you stop by to get a taste. And since tomorrow is Valentine's Day, I thought I'd give you a little romantic treat from the book. I actually wrote this scene before discovering Lana Del Rey's song, Video Games. (Yes, I realize the song is a year and half old.) But it couldn't be more perfect.


(Brooke and Ryan play video games)

. . . he leaned over, burying his face in my neck, and ran his tongue slowly all the way from the base to right behind my earlobe.

I squealed.

“Good squeal or bad squeal?” he asked, mouth pressed against my ear.

“Good squeal.” I don’t even know how I got out the words. I was out of breath from shock.

Ryan pulled away and looked at me. “I think we need to—”

Anything! I screamed inside. “I’ll do anything you want!

“—play some video games,” he said.

Excuse me?

My face must have said it all because Ryan burst out laughing.

“Not a gamer?” he asked.

“I don’t even know how to hold the controller,” I replied. Just make out with me!

“I’ll teach you,” he offered, and jumped up from the bed to turn on his TV and Playstation.

I didn’t know what he was up to. I felt the sexual energy coursing through him when his tongue made contact with my neck. I’m not sure why he was trying to fight it, if that’s what he was doing. What was so wrong with kissing, anyway? We’d already done it.

“Come here,” Ryan said, and I slunk off the bed halfheartedly to sit next to him on the floor. “No, not there. Here,” he said, pointing to the space between his legs.

Oh, so that’s what he was up to.

I nestled between his legs, leaning against his chest as he leaned against the foot of his bed. He gave me the controller, then placed his hands over mine so I was trapped in what I later told Gretchen was the Gamers Embrace. He walked me through each button and how and when to use them. Then he asked me if I was interested in killing some bad guys.

“I have a feeling I’m gonna be really bad at this,” I said, feeling my heartbeat increase. It was ridiculous, but I was nervous, and not because I was sitting in such an intimate position with Ryan. I was scared of the freaking game.

“You’ll do just fine,” he said, and pressed the X on the controller. The game started, and I squealed.

“You like to squeal,” Ryan observed, watching me die in the first few seconds.

© S. Walden, 2013

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Going Under Cover Reveal

Congratulations to the seven winners of the GOING UNDER e-book ARC!

Winners, I've just sent you all an email from swaldenauthor@hotmail.com with two attachments: .mobi file for Kindle and .pdf file for all e-readers. I've included instructions for how to side-load the book on to your readers. Please email me if you have any issues. Once again, congrats! And I hope you love the book!

Going Under

New Adult Fiction
Release Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Book Description:
Brooke Wright has only two goals her senior year at Charity Run High School: stay out of trouble and learn to forgive herself for the past. Forgiveness proves elusive, and trouble finds her anyway when she discovers a secret club at school connected to the death of her best friend. She learns that swim team members participate in a “Fantasy Slut League,” scoring points for their sexual acts with unsuspecting girls.

Brooke, wracked with guilt over her friend’s death, decides to infiltrate the league by becoming one of the “unsuspecting girls,” and exact revenge on the boys who stole away her best friend. An unexpected romance complicates her plans, and her dogged pursuit of justice turns her reckless as she underestimates just how far the boys will go to keep their sex club a secret.
Excerpt (Chapter One):

I left the bathroom in a hurry, turning the corner for the foyer and slamming into him. The force of the hit was so great that I stumbled backwards, nearly falling on my bottom if not for his outstretched hand. I grabbed it before going down and wobbled on my too-high heels, clutching him as I worked to regain my balance.

“God, I’m sorry!” he exclaimed.

I looked at his face then, unprepared to see something so beautiful. I think I gasped. And then I averted my eyes out of sheer embarrassment.

“I really should watch where I’m going,” he said.

He still held my hand, and I let him. I couldn’t remember who I was or where I was going. I couldn’t remember where I had just been. I only knew that a very cute boy . . . no, he was more than cute. He was gorgeous. This very gorgeous boy was holding my hand, and I had only one thought. I wanted to make our handholding more intimate. I wanted to lace my fingers with his.

“I think I should,” I mumbled.

I chanced another look at him. I made a conscientious effort not to gasp as I took in his light blue eyes. I’d never seen eyes that color. Bing Crosby had nothing on this guy’s eyes, and Bing’s eyes were the color of the Mediterranean. No, the eyes I looked into now were so light blue they looked translucent. I thought if I stared a little longer I could see right inside his head, to his brain, and I don’t know why that turned me on so much. I wanted to witness the workings of his mind, the firing synapses, information traveling safely inside neurons to different parts of his body. A few made it to his hand, and they must have told him to keep holding mine because he didn’t let go.

I stared shamelessly, licking my lips at one point. He stared back just as boldly. I wanted him to like what he saw. I wanted him to think I was sexy. I wanted him to feel the same instant attraction I did. I’d never felt it before. Not really. Not even with Finn. It was unsettling, and I wondered how people functioned after being smacked upside the head with it. Instant. Physical. Chemical.


Just rip my clothes off, I thought. Just rip my clothes off and do me right here in the hallway!

He smiled and released my hand. I thought he did it reluctantly, like his brain ordered him to and he finally acquiesced. I smiled back, a flirty grin. I pulled my ponytail forward over my shoulder and played with the strands. I bit my lower lip. And then reality came crashing down like a hailstorm, large lumps of ice banging my head and screaming at me in unison.


I looked at the gorgeous guy, and my face went white.

“Oh my God,” I whispered.

He stared at me for a moment before saying, “Are you okay?”

I shook my head and started towards the sanctuary doors. He followed behind.

“I’m awful, I’m awful, I’m awful,” I whispered over and over. I didn’t care if he could hear.

What the hell was I doing? Trying to flirt with a guy at my best friend’s funeral? How could I even forget for a second that I was at a funeral? I was supposed to be carrying around heavy, black sorrow to match my black dress and black heart, not batting lashes and fantasizing about sex with a stranger. Was I so ridiculous that a hot guy could make me forget to have any kind of decency? Or shame?

I rounded the corner and saw my mother waiting for me. And then I ran to her, threw myself into her arms, and burst into a fit of tears.

“Brooklyn,” she whispered, holding me in a tight hug. “It’s okay,” she cooed as she stroked my hair.

“I’m a terrible friend!” I wailed. I saw the fuzzy outline of a boy walking past us tentatively through the doors.

“No, you aren’t,” my mother replied.

“Yes, I am! I don’t even know why I’m here! Beth hated my guts! She wouldn’t talk to me all summer!”

“Brooke,” Mom said. “I want you to calm down. Now, we talked about this. You knew it would be hard, but she was your best friend for all those years. Do you think she wouldn’t have wanted you here?”

“No, I don’t!” I cried.

“Yes, she would,” Mom said. “Now we have to go in.”

“I can’t!”

“Brooke, Beth was your best friend,” Mom said, trying for patience.

“No she wasn’t! Not after what I did! I ruined everything! I’m a freaking slut!” I sobbed, shaking my head from side to side.

“Sweetheart, don’t say words like ‘freaking’ and ‘slut’ in a church,” Mom replied.

I only sobbed louder.

“You can do this,” Mom encouraged.

I stood my ground, shaking my head violently, refusing to go in.

“Brooklyn Wright!” Mom hissed pushing me away and grabbing my upper arm. She squeezed too tightly, and I squeaked in discomfort. There was no more tenderness in her voice. “Get yourself together. This isn’t about you. So stop making it about you. You’re going into that sanctuary and you’re going to pay your respects to your friend, and you’re going to make it about Beth. Do you understand me?”

I swallowed hard and wiped my face.

“Do you understand me?” Mom repeated.

I nodded grudgingly, and she took my hand, leading me through the doors.

© S. Walden, 2013
All the lovely blogs participating in the cover reveal:

Friday, February 1, 2013

It's coming!

Make sure you check back here Sunday for the official cover reveal of Going Under, my third book. New Adult fiction about love, sleuthing, revenge, and forgiveness: all the stuff that makes up a delicious high school drama.

So what's the reveal? Well, the cover (Alfred's best yet!), the book description (finally!), and an excerpt from Chapter One. Oh yeah. And I'm giving away quite a few digital ARCs (Advance Reading Copies), so make sure you drop your name in the giveaway.