This is the 33rd installment of my new book, Lost Days. The short description: When Hayley learns her crazy uncle vanished for more than a year when he was a child, the intrepid teen sets out to solve the mystery of his lost days, unmasking a legendary creature in the process.
I’m releasing it in installments every Sunday on this blog, and I also plan to be releasing it in paperback very soon. Click here to join the Lost Days Facebook Group. What do you get for joining the group? For one thing, you’ll be eligible to enter a drawing for a free laptop computer. For another, you’ll get editorial updates on the current manuscript, and for yet another reason, you’ll get first crack at giving your feedback on various design elements of the cover. Here’s a taste. I’ve posted four possible front covers on the Lost Days Facebook page, and to date, the two covers you see below have received the most positive feedback. What do you think?
To my disappointment, Owen was not waiting for me after class. I thought for sure he would be anxiously standing by the locker ready to tell me what Joyner’s first name was. In fact, I didn’t see him for the rest of the day at school. Joyner either. I began to imagine horrible things. Owen got too nosy. Joyner caught on. He got his three goons to keep Owen quiet, permanently. I tried to tell myself that I watched too many movies, that I was inventing crazy conspiracies about Joyner that couldn’t possibly be true. He was a high school kid. What would he want with Elizabeth Starling’s camera? I chuckled to myself as I walked the halls. What did I think, that Joyner was some crime boss, some kingpin that had people killed? He was popular, sure, but I was pretty sure that he wasn’t running some criminal organization after school.
Denise found me after third period. Those of us planning on attending the funeral had been given the green light to leave an hour earlier than planned because of the anticipated turnout. My guess was the administration was starting to regret letting the students attend the funeral. The crowd was going to be large and given the maturity level of most of those in attendance, there was sure to be some embarrassing behavior. I could see Dr. Claymeyer wringing his hands as he watched the students walk by his office.
Joyner and Danny Perry caught up to Denise and me as we exited the school. I wanted to be happy to see Joyner, but I couldn’t quite manage it. As ridiculous as it seemed, I had the lingering feeling that he was more than a high school kid. He was the leader of a crime syndicate.
“I’ll drive,” Joyner said.
“Oh,” I said. “I promised Owen that we’d ride with him.”
“He’ll get over it,” Denise said with a grotesque smile.
“Owen left, anyway,” Joyner said. I tried to detect something sinister in his tone, but it was flat.
“Left?” I asked.
“Saw him checking out in the office right after second period,” Joyner replied. He held up a set of keys. “Got my dad’s truck. King cab. Satellite radio.” He winked.
Denise grabbed my hand. “Of course we’re riding with you.”
“Well, alright!” Danny screamed like an idiot. He put his arm around Denise and guided her to the truck.
Joyner looked at me with concern. “Are you okay?”
I shrugged. “I don’t like funerals.”
He nodded and just said, “Yeah.” He reached down and took my hand in his. “Sure you want to go?”
I shivered from his touch. I couldn’t decide if it was fear or desire. “No, but I have to… you know, for Ginger.”
He grinned. “That’s why I like you. Every other kid in this rotten school is going to the funeral to get out of class. You’re actually going to support Ginger.”
“What about you?” I asked. “Why are you going?”
He didn’t even hesitate. “Because you’re going.” He kept hold of my hand as we walked to his father’s truck. The shiver came back, and I was pretty sure it wasn’t fear this time. I closed my eyes and prayed that he wasn’t a bad guy.