Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Lumina Saga by Stephanie Amox

Title: Painfully Ordinary

Series: The Lumina Saga, book one

Author: Stephanie Amox

Genre: Young Adult

Date of Publication: Jan 2013

Number of pages: 225

Buy Links:
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Book Description:  Two teenager's lives become not so ordinary...

Caitlin and Leah are content with the slow and steady pace in their small Texan town. They have the typical challenges of any American high school - evil girl cliques and oppressive ex-boyfriends. They see themselves as painfully ordinary...but that soon changes. The arrival of two newcomers at school sets Caitlin and Leah on an explosive path of magic, betrayal, secrets and forbidden love. The discovery of Caitlin's true identity causes tremendous upheaval in her painfully ordinary life. Caitlin must learn to embrace her birthright and trust in her friends or she risks endangering them all.



About the Author

Stephanie Amox attended the University of Texas at Arlington, where she met her husband. Her life did an about-face in January 2009 and the future of her career looked bleak. Her husband encouraged her to follow her dream and finally write the story which had been buzzing around in her head for a number of years, thus The Lumina Saga was born.

These days she spends her time in Flower Mound, Texas with her husband, two children and a couple of crazy Jack Russell Terriers. When she's not writing she enjoys spending time watching her son play hockey or visiting her daughter at Oklahoma State University.

https://twitter.com/painfullyordin

https://www.facebook.com/PainfullyOrdinary

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9781300-painfully-ordinary
 


Excerpt Painfully Ordinary, Book 1

1. Beginnings


The strange woman glided through the dark to the edge of the bed and stared into my eyes. Her long, straight, chestnut-colored hair flowed around her face, as she moved with the grace, beauty and strength of a Native-American princess. Wearing a fluid, white dress, she made me conscious of the oversized T-shirt and cheer shorts I had worn to bed. Truthfully, she could have made Aphrodite feel frumpy. Her eyes were a breathtaking shade of violet, and while gorgeous, they definitely were not soothing. I clutched the covers to my chin with shaking hands and shuddered as she stood, openly assessing me. This was not her first visit. Other times, she stood just outside my open bedroom door looking in. As time passed, she became more aggressive. Well, maybe aggressive isn’t the right word—perhaps she just got bolder. I couldn’t figure out who she was or what she wanted from me. What terrified me most is that she never said a word. I grew paranoid about doors being open while I slept—as if closing the door to my room could shut the door on my dreams. Suddenly, I noticed the shadowy silhouette of a man standing in the far corner of my room. Had he come with the strange woman? Somehow, his presence was far more malevolent. I pulled the covers tight over my head, and when I finally emerged, he was gone. “Ciro” whispered through the inky darkness of my room. Sleep eluded me for quite some time after that experience.

“Caitlin…” Mom said in a singsong voice.

Ugh. Was it morning already? One thing for certain, the nightmares were getting worse. If this kept up, I was going to be completely sleep deprived. I had faced the same dream almost every night for the last few months. They were getting creepier by the day—or night—whichever the case might have been. I kept waiting for something even more ominous to happen, and found myself peeking around corners everywhere I went. 

I tried talking to Mom about the dreams a couple of times, but each time I brought them up, she would bite her bottom lip and look away. Then she’d turn back to me with a smile and say, “Oh, Caiti, it was just a dream. You are being so dramatic,” and change the subject.

But I knew better.

She only chewed on her lip like that when she was really stressed about something. I got the impression she wasn’t comfortable talking about the woman in my dream. I didn’t know why, but it was so frustrating.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I absolutely adored my crazy mom. She can be my best friend and fiercest protector. I guess if I were honest with myself, I’d have to say we do have a few things in common. People will sometimes mistake her for my older sister instead of my mom. It is so irritating, but of course, I know she loves it.

“Caiti…get up! You are going to be late!” Mom yelled from the foot of the stairs.

“Okay, Okay, I’m up, I’m up.” I grumbled.

I rolled over on my side and sat up, throwing my legs over the side of my bed, and whimpering. Pushing my tangled hair back from my face, I glanced up at the large tank that sat on top of my dresser and watched my turtle happily jetting around his tank. At least Faffy was happy to be up this morning.

Standing, I stretched, and dragged myself into the bathroom, which, thanks to my mom’s willingness to reassign the guest bathroom, I no longer had to share with my little brother. My phone vibrated on the bathroom counter, and I grabbed it before it fell into the sink. The incoming text was from my best friend, Leah—the one person outside my family who really gets me.

r u up yet???

ya, what’s up?

Can u get 2 school early?

Idk… ill try. im not rdy yet

hurry up i have BIG news

Ack!

I unplugged my straightening iron. My hair, thick and curly, hung halfway down my back. It would take forever to straighten, and there was no way I’d have enough time if I were going to get to school early. I dug through the pile of clean clothes in my papasan chair. Mom was always nagging me about how much easier it would be to find things if I just put them away. Whatever—that’s way too much work.

Settling on a pair of jeans and a shirt from my favorite hockey team, I snatched my bag and phone off my dresser and ran down the stairs. I could put my makeup on during the drive to school.

“That was fast.” Mom said.

I shrugged. “Leah needs me.”

My mom laughed as my little brother’s head popped up from his breakfast, his cheeks reddening slightly at the mention of Leah’s name. He shoved the last bite of his sausage biscuit into his mouth and jumped off the barstool. 

“I’b rebbyy,” he said around a mouthful of sausage.

The majority of the ride to Brady’s school and then to mine, was punctuated with the hum of incoming text messages. Mom watched me out of the corner of her eye and smiled.

“Is Leah going to last until you can get to school?”

I had to snicker at her.

“What is she so wound up about?” she asked.

Rolling my eyes, I let my phone drop into my lap.

“I have no idea,” I said, shaking my head. “But after all this, it better be something really good.”

We pulled up to the back door leading to the cafeteria, and I could already see Leah hopping from one foot to the other. When she saw our car, she waved frantically.

My mom chuckled. “You two try to stay out trouble today, okay?” 

Rolling my eyes and slinging my backpack over one shoulder, I strolled toward Leah. As it turned out, she couldn’t even wait for me to get inside, and ended up meeting me halfway to the doors.

“Oh my God! Oh my God! What took you so long to get here? Did you hear the news?”

She threw her long, blonde hair over one shoulder, blue eyes flashing with excitement. She was talking so fast, she grew breathless.

I held both palms up in front of me. “Easy, turbo, slow down for a minute. You are making me dizzy.”

She grimaced and rolled her eyes.

“Okay, now. What is this earth-shattering news which made you text me nonstop this morning? My mom probably thinks you are having some sort of episode.”

Leah raised one eyebrow and grumbled, “Would you be serious?”

Surprised at the outburst, I patted her on the shoulder apologetically.

“I’m sorry. I was just messing with you. So what is the big news?”

Slightly mollified, she took a deep breath before continuing.

“Guuuurrl…”she fanned her face with one hand.

 I noticed several brightly colored butterflies flying around her head. Where in the world had those come from?

“Have you heard about the two bits of hotness that just transferred? I got a text from Morgan before I even got here this morning.”

“Huh?” I was slightly dazed and blinked rapidly. I was so distracted by her halo of butterflies that I hadn’t even paid attention to what she was saying.

Leah’s hand shook and acted like she was going to have the episode I accused her of earlier.

“Caiti? Are you even listening to me?”

“I’m sorry. I’m just really tired, and I need more sleep. Okay, so we have two new hotties. What’s their story? I mean, who are they, and where did they transfer from?” I asked before waving my hand dismissively. “Not that it really matters, since Tami and her band of Alley Cats will latch onto them soon enough.”

Leah’s eyes sparkled again as she patted my arm excitedly.

“That’s just it! No one knows anything about them, since they seem kind of keep to themselves. They walked right past that whole group and didn’t even look twice. It was great! Tami and her entire crew appeared so confused. Wait until you see them. Daaaaaayum. On top of looking good, they have the most incredible accents. They sound Russian or something. It’s totally exotic…,” she paused. ”…and hot.”

I bit my bottom lip. “Well, what do they look like? How will I know when I see them?”

 She shook her head. “Oh, don’t worry, you’ll know. Whew, girl, will you know!”

I didn’t even have time to think about what that meant before she grabbed me by the arm.

“Hurry up—we don’t want to be late!”

 

I stumbled into geometry in a fog, still thinking about what she’d said. Why did they move here, of all places?  I plopped down into my seat and grimaced at the board. I was sure the Alley Cats would gather and start circling the newcomers in record time.

I tapped my pencil on the edge of my desk, impatiently waiting for Mr. Von to start class. Sometimes, I wondered how he managed to get himself dressed in the morning. Suddenly, my pencil slipped out of my hand, rolled off the edge of my desk and clattered to the floor.

Crap.

I bent down to pick it up and found myself staring into the face of the most stunningly gorgeous guy I had ever seen. He had rugged good looks, instead of being the pretty-boy, male model type. Vin Diesel might have some competition for my attention with this guy.

Holy crap! This must be one of the newcomers Leah described this morning. Whew—she wasn’t exaggerating. No wonder she was all wound up.

I had no idea how long my internal monologue went on, but I realized he was still holding my pencil out to me.

“Thanks.” I mumbled, blushing to the tips of my ears.

Oh, man! Why hadn’t I straightened my hair this morning and worn something cute?

Tami twisted around in her chair, watching me through narrowed eyes. I had never been able to stand her, so I just stared back and raised an eyebrow in challenge. She glanced from me to where he was sitting directly behind her, and it wasn’t until that point I realized he was still studying me.

Tami turned all the way around in her chair and placed her hand lightly on his arm, showing him a row of perfectly straight teeth.

“Oh, you’ll have to excuse Caitlin,” she said in a sickeningly sweet, baby voice and giggled. “She is just so uncoordinated.”

Oh, no she didn’t! Who was she calling uncoordinated? Unfortunately, my emotions tend to show all over my face. When I’m pissed, everyone knows it, and I was all kinds of pissed at her.

She refused to break eye contact, daring me to do something. Normally, I would just blow her off. I really didn’t care what she thought, and frankly, she was a waste of energy. However, this time, something inside me snapped.

Perhaps it was the whole lack of sleep thing again.

I granted my total attention to the newcomer, flashing him my brightest smile. He appeared startled and presented me with a grin in return that took my breath away.

“Oh, ignore Tami. She’s just mad because someone dropped a house on her sister.”

He stared down at the floor and, to his credit, didn’t actually laugh, but I saw his shoulders shake.

Tami glared at me.

“Caitlin, you are such a freak.” Leaning closer to me and lowering her voice, she continued. “You can just forget about him. He won’t want some little nobody like you. He will be mine. I’ll tell Ryan you were looking at him, and that will be the end of that, won’t it?”

This was exactly the kind of thing that always set Ryan off. Ex-boyfriends were the absolute worst. She fixed a fake smile on her face and carried on watching the newcomer like he was a juicy steak and she was starving.

Tami always used the exact same tactics, and he would probably fall for it just like all the others before him–and believe me, there were plenty before him. I pivoted in my seat just in time to see him scowl and remove Tami’s hand from his arm.

I laughed aloud, couldn’t help myself. He bent his head, giving me a conspiratorial wink. Mr. Von decided to start class at that exact moment, so I never got to see her reaction, but I could only assume it wasn’t good, since this was the second time he had blown her off.

Throughout class, the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. Someone was watching me, but the only person sitting behind me was the new guy. Was it him? I really needed to find out his name, so I could stop referring to him as “the new guy”.

Why would he be watching me? I was painfully ordinary. Someone like him could have anyone he wanted.

I couldn’t figure him out. Then I suffered a moment of sheer panic, remembering how I had left the house in such a rush that morning.

I seriously hoped I didn’t have some sort of Alfalfa-thing going on with the back of my hair.

I rubbed my necklace between my fingers, as I always do when I’m upset. It’s a dark-gray stone cut into a unique pattern, like a flame, held on a long, black cord. My mom gave it to me when I turned sixteen, and made me promise to wear it every day. I never take it off, except when I’m at tumbling practice. The stone has been worn smooth by the constant rubbing, and holding it always relaxed me.

The bell rang, signaling the end of class. I must have completely lost track of time, but what else was new?

Tami got up from her desk, placing her arm in new-guy’s. She batted her eyelashes and said, “Talon, will you walk me to second period?”

I rolled my eyes.

Sorry, I am meeting up with Jace.” His voice was deep and smooth and he had the bluest eyes I had ever seen. He fixed his gaze on my necklace then grinned, pivoted on his heel, and left the room.

A trill of laugher escaped my lips. Strike three.

Tami’s face turned an ugly shade of purple. She threw her purse over her shoulder and glared at me.

“I’ll say hi to Ryan for you.”

Crap. This is exactly why I don’t normally banter with her. It’s just not worth the trouble in the end. She was going to make me pay for this encounter.

I laid my head on my desk and waited for the ground to open and swallow me whole.


 
April 26 - www.teenblurb.org

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