Today’s guest author is B B Shepherd and we’re featuring her YA novel Bronze (The Glister Journals). Earlier this week we posted an interview with her, and now you can check out an excerpt from Bronze…
Allison Anderson is a normal but not exactly average fourteen year old girl. She knows she’s a little different, but it hadn’t bothered her too much—until now. Moving away from everything she has ever known to a new house, new neighborhood, and new school is bad enough, but it’s her first year of high school too. She’s more aware of her social and physical limitations than ever before. And then there are the new people she meets: the tough-looking girl in her home room; the cute but dangerous-looking boy she first saw before school even started; the quiet, older girl who keeps to herself; the sullen-looking, seemingly isolated junior that doesn’t seem to trust or like her at all. Can they be friends? She’s been the victim of bullying in the past. Can she trust them? While her peaceful new home only amplifies her doubts, she begins to learn that things are not always what they seem. Her world is turned upside-down by these and other new friends, two-legged and otherwise. Life soon becomes more complicated, and much more interesting!
Excerpt from the first chapter of Bronze
I slowly put the sketchbook down, took the earphones out, and turned my complete attention to the dog. It likewise faced fully toward me and stood, panting, as if waiting for a cue.
“Come here,” I said in a soft voice, patting my leg encouragingly.
The dog stopped panting for a moment, its head coming up and ears twitching forward as if to encourage me in return. I laughed a little and continued to talk in the quiet voice, telling it how pretty it was, and wouldn’t it like to come and see me? It hopped through the decorative split-rail fence at the edge of the yard and walked calmly toward me. As it got closer it began wriggling, its stub of tail seeming to wag its whole body. I was struck by its beautiful, pale blue eyes.
“Who are you?” I asked it.
The dog was so fluffy I couldn’t even tell if it was male or female. I waited for it to sniff my hand which was resting against my knee, then reached to the top of its head and scratched. It tried to lick my face and I laughed again, scratching a little more roughly around its ears and neck. We sat together for quite some time, me stroking and scratching the lovely, soft fur, and the dog obviously basking in the attention, occasionally taking the opportunity to lick my hand, my leg, and continuing to try to lick my face if I bent too close.
It was leaning contentedly against my leg as I stroked it and I was wondering where it had come from—probably from a neighboring property—when the dog’s ears perked up and its shoulders tensed. Its body didn’t move, but its attention turned toward the street and the direction it had come from. After a moment I could hear an engine, a high, uneven revving approaching from that direction, and a rider on a motorcycle came into view around the corner in the road. As he slowly drew closer, the engine noise dropped to a lower, even drone. He was looking from side to side, ahead, and sometimes behind as he drove. He had almost passed the house when he caught sight of me, looked away, did a quick double take, rode the bike in almost a full circle in the middle of the road, then sat staring at me, legs to the ground, his bike idling.
I realized at once, of course, that it was the sight of the dog which had caught his attention, not me, but that didn’t stop my cheeks from feeling like they had burst into flames. It wasn’t a response I was used to and I hoped that he wouldn’t be able to notice it that far away, or that my sunburn was covering it. I thought he was the most attractive boy I’d ever seen. It was difficult to tell how tall he was, but the one jeans-clad leg I could see looked long and slim, and the tanned arms holding the handlebars of the motorcycle were very well-muscled for someone who didn’t look too much older than myself. I guessed he was probably about sixteen, but could have been older. I would be turning fifteen in January, but was sure I looked about twelve.
The boy’s hair was a medium brown and even at this distance I could see highlights of a lighter shade. It was a little on the long side, longer than most of the boys I’d gone to school with anyway, and slightly wavy. His face was tanned too, and while I couldn’t tell the color of his eyes, his eyebrows were dark and finely shaped. From what I could tell, at this distance and with my imperfect vision, he looked really cute.
My mind was racing. Should I just sit here? Maybe he was waiting for me to do something. Should I stand up? Not a good idea. Long expanses of skinny burned flesh with welts and scratches from my ramble the other day could hardly be attractive. He probably wouldn’t see them from the road, but I knew they were there. Should I talk to him?
‘Um . . . hello . . . is this your dog?’ Of course it was his dog. Why else would he even be looking over here? That would sound way too stupid.
‘Um . . . nice dog. What’s its name?’ I’d have to yell if I wanted him to really hear me. I didn’t like yelling. My voice would probably crack and squeak; it always did if I tried to talk loudly.
The next thing I knew, he gave a loud, high-pitched whistle—I was impressed that he didn’t have to use his fingers in his mouth to do it—revved his engine twice, and raced back down the street the way he had come. The dog hadn’t shown any inclination to move until hearing the whistle, though it had been watching the boy the whole time. Now it didn’t hesitate or look back at me, but tore after him and soon disappeared from sight.
For some unknown reason, I shivered violently—then mentally slapped myself. I was such a wimp. My friend Brenda was always telling me so. Sometimes I was a dork and a couple of times I had thought her on the verge of calling me a loser, but she was right. I had no social skills to speak of and absolutely zero experience with boys. And, so far, prospects for change didn’t look good.
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Want to know more? Check out the links!
Series website: http://www.theglisterjournals.com/
Author’s Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4984592.B_B_Shepherd