Unraveled by S. X. Bradley

I’m so excited to be part of this blog tour. FBI, serial killers, a thrilling mystery, what more could you ask for?

UnraveledGraphic

Blurb:

Sixteen year old math whiz, Autumn, spends her days reading about serial killers and dreaming of becoming an FBI Profiler. She never dreams her first case will be so personal. Her world is shattered when she comes home from school and discovers her murdered sister’s body on the living room floor. When the initial evidence points to a burglary gone wrong, Autumn challenges the police’s theory because of the personal nature of the crime. Thinking that finding the killer will bring her family back together, she conducts her own investigation using her affinity for math and forensics, but her plan backfires and her obsession with the case further splinters her family.  When her investigation reveals the killer is someone she knows, Autumn offers herself up as bait and sets a dangerous trap to unmask his true nature and to obtain a confession for her sister’s murder.

 

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Author Bio:

Susan grew up in South Texas, about ten miles from the U.S.-Mexican border. As a child she spent the summers in Mexico with her grandparents and extended family. During these vacations, she frequently created mysteries for her siblings and cousins to solve. These mysteries were her first stories. Nancy Drew soon became her childhood hero and inspiration to write mysteries for young adults.

Her greatest joy is her daughter who is quite the storyteller and likes to come up with the characters’ names for mom’s stories.

When she’s not writing or studying, you can find her looking after her personal mini-zoo which consists of two fish, one thief of a dog, and some hermit crabs.

Susan loves estates sales, traveling, spending time with her family, and discovering new books at the Columbus Metropolitan library.

Susan graduated from the University of Texas, is currently pursuing an MFA from Seton Hill University, and dreams of one day owning a touch screen murder board like the one on her favorite TV show, Castle.

 Unraveled-TEEN

Excerpt:

“Autumn, yesterday you had told us that when you arrived home the front door was open. Is that correct?”

I leaned in toward the voice recorder on the table and said, “Yes.”

“Are you positive about that? We interviewed some of the neighbors, and none of them saw an open front door at your house?” No doubt Mrs. Jimenez had told them that. Now that she was retired, she had nothing better to do than watch her neighbors. I wondered if she had mentioned seeing anything to Detective Kasanoff. Maybe she saw something unusual that day, a stranger in the neighborhood, a suspicious car, anything.

“The door looked closed, but when I touched my key to the lock, it opened.”

“Do you know who was the last person to leave the house that day?” I looked over at my parents. Mami had her head buried in her hands. She shouldn’t be here, hearing about all of this. Papi had his arm around her and gave me an encouraging smile.

“I was.”

“What time did you leave that morning?”

“About 8:00 a.m.”

“Did you leave through the front door?” I didn’t like where this was going.

“Yes, and I locked it behind me,” I offered before he had a chance to ask the question.

“How can you be sure? Look, I know how it is. It’s easy to get on autopilot in the morning. You do the same thing every morning, you get into a routine.”

I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I don’t forget things, Detective. I know I locked the door that morning.” He studied me for a moment and flipped through his papers.

“That’s right. Here it is. You’re some kind of math genius. You almost made the US Math Olympiad Team last year.” I wanted to reach across the table and strangle him. Someone had butchered my sister in my own living room, and he was reading up on how I’d choked on a freaking geometry question during last year’s Math Olympiad final round and failed to make the team?

“I’m gifted, Detective. I’m not smart enough to be a genius.” He broke into a smile. The first I’d ever seen from him.

“Is there really a difference?”

“Yes, about five IQ points.” He wrote something down.

“Let’s move on. You said you had come home because you’d left your math questions on the kitchen table that morning. Is that correct?” “Yes.”

He lifted the folder up and produced some papers that were protected in a plastic bag. He placed them in front of me. “Are these the questions you were referring to?”

I looked at my parents, and both of them had their eyes glued to the plastic bag in front of me.

Without touching the bag, I looked at the front page and saw the first question. It was the Bernoulli equation question that Celeste had asked me that morning over breakfast.

“Yes, those are the ones.”

“Care to know where we found them?” What did he mean? I’d left them on the kitchen table when I went to brush my teeth after breakfast.

“On the kitchen table?” I asked, trying not to sound sarcastic.

“No. In your backpack. The backpack we found at the scene yesterday.” He looked over at my parents this time. My eyes grew wide, and my mouth fell open.

“Mr. or Mrs. Covarrubias, did either of you put these math papers back into Autumn’s backpack after breakfast?” Papi left for the bakery every morning at 5:30 a.m. so he wasn’t even home. Mami had left right after Celeste and I had eaten because she had a dentist appointment. Maybe Mami’d seen the papers and stuck them in my backpack. Celeste had left about ten minutes before me. Her boyfriend Voss had swung by to pick her up. He did that every day.

“Mami, did you put the papers in my backpack?” Her eyes were swollen, and I swear she was two seconds away from passing out. Her gaze wandered around the room until it fell on me. She shook her head. My heart sank.

“Then it had to be Celeste. She must have put them in there.”

“Her fingerprints weren’t found on the papers.” How was that possible? The oils from her hands would have been transferred onto the paper if she’d stuck them in my backpack. It couldn’t have been her then. That left no one, and I had no answer. That wasn’t good.

“Autumn, look, I’m going to be honest with you. There are some things that just don’t add up here. We have witnesses that say you and your sister were arguing at school that morning and that she looked very upset. Care to explain what that was all about?”

I could feel the cell doors closing in around me. This was a witch hunt, and I was about to be burned at the stake.

My parents were staring at me, begging me with their eyes to explain what was going on. The question mark stabbed my heart. They knew that Celeste and I hardly ever fought. The last time had to have been when I’d accidentally given her a black eye when I was five and was trying to learn to hit a baseball.

I looked at the detective and said the only thing I knew to say. “Detective Kasanoff, I want a lawyer.”

Author Sara Hubbard Shares an Excerpt of Blood, She Read

I’m super stoked to have Sara Hubbard here today. She shared an excerpt of New Pride for me last Friday and now I get to share and excerpt of her YA paranormal romance, Blood, She Read–which happens to be an OmniLit BEST SELLER! YAY!!!

Be sure to read to the bottom–we’re hosting a GIVEAWAY!!!! 😉

Take it away, Sara! 

I am so happy to be guesting today on Laura’s blog. Laura and I are both contracted to Etopia Press and we share a book birthday! Like Laura, my book is a young adult paranormal novel. It also has elements of romance, suspense, and mystery. Today, I am going to provide you an exclusive excerpt from Blood, She Read. In this scene our main character, a psychic teen witch, is being confronted by some popular boys about helping the police with a murder investigation. I hope you enjoy!

Exclusive Excerpt from Blood, She Read

(Edited for language)

When I left detention, the hallways were empty and eerily quiet. I half expected tumbleweeds to roll down the black and white checked linoleum. The overhead lights were off, leaving the hall in shadows that were broken only by patches of light streaming in though the open classroom doors. Barely enough light allowed me to make out the numbers on my combination lock, but I managed to get it open on the first try. First time for everything. I opened the door and objects shot out from the cramped space inside as if they were made of tightly coiled springs. Books, pencils, and pens fell onto the floor with a clatter.

“Fantastic.” I crouched down to collect them, gathering them into my chest. I needed to get out of here quick. If anyone came asking questions and demanding answers, I wouldn’t have anything to say for myself. One by one, my locker contents slowly fell again. Just my luck. One of my tampons rolled across the floor until it finally collided with a pair of black, steel-toed boots.

Shoot me now.

My eyes lifted slightly to meet with solid, muscular legs covered in faded blue jeans. Whoever wore them bent at the knees and crouched down beside me. I kept my gaze cast downward, embarrassed. He picked up the tampon, and lightly clutching it between his index and middle finger, he held it out to me, his hand palm-side up.

My cheeks boiled and the heat spread to my ear lobes and neck. I could only imagine the rash that accompanied it. Combined with my freckles, I probably looked like a freak show. I lifted my gaze to meet the square, thick jaw of Tommy Harris.

F###. My. Life.

I bit my lower lip to keep from screaming. Why, out of all the people in school, did he have to find me with a rogue tampon? I wanted to be sick. His eyes almost seemed to glow in the shadowed hall, and his glare sliced through my skin.

I let out the breath I’d been holding. We weren’t alone.

Double f### my life.

Finnigan stood to Tommy’s left and Markus to his right. I glanced at the word Tampax bolded in white across the shocking pink wrapper. I snatched the tampon and tucked it into the big, single front pocket of my green hoodie. Most of the other items I held fell to the floor with a trickle of clicks and clanks. As I rose to stand tall, Tommy mirrored my movements. I had to crane my neck to look up into his steely eyes. In front of me, he seemed giant-like.

I sucked in air and let it out slowly. “Thanks.”

He half-smiled at me, but not in a way that made me feel comfortable. He took a step forward, forcing me to take one back. The cool surface of the steel locker behind me pierced through my clothing and hair. It travelled through me, sending shivers up and down my spine. I straightened my shoulders, stretched my neck, anything I could do to gain an extra inch. He meant to intimidate me, and I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing he succeeded.

Over and over, I told myself that he didn’t scare me, but I knew I was full of shit. He could have snapped me in two without breaking a sweat. And he could have done it long before I could rhyme off a spell. Not that I’d cast now after what I’d just done to Foley. He couldn’t open his mouth!

No. Magic wasn’t the answer.

Tommy’s left arm jutted out and with a slam, it landed to the left of my head. I flinched and then silently cursed myself. Then he did the same movement with his right hand. My gaze flashed to Finnigan, to the beautiful boy I’d once thought was awesome. He refused to look at me. Ashamed? Embarrassed? Whatever. He’d held the door for me the other day and his lips had curled into this cute half-smile. I’d almost smiled back, thinking how great it was for him to treat me like I might matter. Now he let his brother threaten me, while he and his cousin stood watching. Three against one. Cowards. I couldn’t believe I’d ever thought he might be something special.

I wanted them all to go away, and as my anger bucked and blossomed, I thought about the awful things I wanted to do to each of them, but especially

to Tommy. In fact, images flashed through my mind with such clarity, I might have been watching them on a movie screen: Tommy being thrown back and forth across the hall, denting the lockers, and then lurching up to the ceiling until his head disappeared, before his body and legs dangled frantically like a headless chicken. I shook the images off before I lost control.

“Don’t you do it, Petra,” I muttered to myself. “Don’t you dare. Magic causes more problems than it solves, and they’ll only see how different you are.”

I didn’t need magic to protect myself. I had a knee and he had nuts for a target. And so did his cronies. Why was I looking at his penis? I snapped my gaze back up to his harsh face.

“You and I need to talk.” His voice was calm, but his eyes were ice.

“OK.”

An image wandered into my mind, of Tommy standing in the middle of a parking lot with a wrecking ball about to be released on his nuts. I cursed myself again and tried to shove it down deep. What was I thinking? Then, I watched the wrecking ball whip through the air, connect with his groin, and lift him, while his mouth formed a perfect, agonized O shape.

Stop it, stop it, stop it.

“Heard you had a visitor Saturday afternoon,” he said.

“So?” I managed, my voice cracking.

“So, I had one too. Saturday night. Cops came ‘round after midnight, asking me and my brother all kinds of questions about Josie Brennan. Kind of a coincidence, don’t ya think, since I heard they were at your house before they came to mine.” Tommy’s smile faded, and I swear his eyes flashed crimson, but I assumed the semidarkness played tricks on me. “For months we had no cops at our door, then you talk to them and they’re at my house.”

Oh my God. My dad. Did he know, too? No way. He would’ve shown up at my house by now to stare down at me with his cold, black eyes, before punishing me. Mom had been wrong. Dad didn’t care enough to keep an eye on us. This gave me comfort. But more than that, thinking about my dad gave me strength. Compared to my dad, Tommy was a stuffed bunny rabbit. Tommy didn’t scare me or intimidate me. Not anymore.

Book Blurb:

Keeping secrets from a psychic can be murder.

Petra Maras lives a charmed life, but only in the magical sense. Her absentee father is a criminal, her mother is emotionally dead, and everyone at her new school knows she comes from a family of witches. All she wants is to be normal, but that’s impossible, given her family. And given that she’s psychic. When the police request help with a murder investigation, Petra reluctantly agrees. Which isn’t such a good idea since the prime suspect wants to date her, and she really wants to say yes. Her gut says he’s innocent, but since she can’t get a read on him, she can’t know for sure. And when she discovers he’s been keeping secrets, she wonders if maybe she’s been following her heart instead of her head…

You can purchase Blood, She Read here:

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Blood-She-Read-ebook/dp/B009ZW8G28/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352411850&sr=8-1&keywords=blood%2C+she+read

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-she-read-sara-hubbard/1113727374?ean=2940015914825

Omnilit/ All Romance eBooks https://www.omnilit.com/product-bloodsheread-987664-251.html

Kobo http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Blood-She-Read/book-iBiLKgaH5UuCv5oLedDXqA/page1.html

Sara Hubbard is the author of young adult books. Her debut novel BLOOD, SHE READ releases fall 2012 and is a NEORWA Cleveland Rocks winner and a RCRW Duel on the Delta finalist.

Sara was born in Australia to British parents, but has lived in Nova Scotia for the majority of her life. In addition to being an author, Sara is a wife, a mother, and a registered nurse with the military.

If you want to find about more about Sara, here are her links:

www.sara-hubbard.com

http://twitter.com/SaraLouHubbard/

http://pinterest.com/saralouhubbard/  http://www.facebook.com/sarahubbardauthor

Thanks so much for reading this! And thanks again, Laura, for having me J

Sara, it’s been a blast sharing our book birthdays! Thanks!

Hey, gang, if you’d like a chance to win a copy of Blood, She Read or New Pride, click the link below and fill out the Rafflecopter form.

You can find it on my Facebook author page, Author Laura Diamond and Sara’s Facebook author page!

While you’re there, give us a like, will you? Thanks! 🙂