TARN and a Scene from Drink, Slay, Love!
8 days until DRINK, SLAY, LOVE!
On Wednesday, September 7th, at 6pm, I will be participating in the Teen Author Reading Night at the Jefferson Market Branch of the New York Public Library, along with Coe Booth, Paul Griffin, Jeff Hirsch, David Levithan, Jonathan Farmer, Jon Skovron, and Adrienne Vrettos. We'll all be reading from our latest YA books. If you're in the area, I hope you'll come!
If you're not able to come... please wipe your tears, quit rending your clothes, and cease wailing your eternal disappointment to the unyielding stars. I have a present for you that I hope will console you: a scene from DRINK, SLAY, LOVE!
It features Pearl (our vampire-girl heroine) sparring with her vampire boyfriend. FYI, she was stabbed through the heart by a were-unicorn only a few hours earlier and nearly died. Enjoy!
FROM DRINK, SLAY, LOVE:
"I suppose you think you're good enough to be my escort to the ceremony?" Pearl asked.
"Of course." He charged toward her, swift as a blur. She swung up as he sliced toward her head. The wood hit as she blocked the blow, and the staff shuddered from the strength of the impact. She swayed as pain rippled through her, but she shoved.
He stumbled backward.
"I have heard there's waltzing," Pearl said.
"All the more reason you need a handsome prince to complement your stunning beauty."
"Your brothers are handsome as well," she said. She swept her leg out, caught his knee, and yanked. He twisted away before her foot could pull him down. "And perhaps more coordinated."
He smacked her side with the staff, and her breath hissed through her teeth. Clearly, she'd misjudged Mother. Mother had indeed intended this as punishment. She knew that Pearl would never admit weakness to Jadrien, and she knew he wouldn't hold back. Of course, there was a way to escape the intended beating: kick his ass first.
He struck again with the staff. Right, left, down, left. "You are destined to be with me," he said. She blocked. One, two, three, four. She spun and landed a second strike on his side. He swore as he danced away. "You are the most beautiful creature in all the state," he said as he swung his staff toward her neck. She bent backward as the tip pushed against her jugular.
"Just the state?" Pearl asked. Continuing to bend backward, she reached out with one hand to touch the floor and then kicked up hard as she flipped over. Her feet caught Jadrien on the chin, and he reeled back.
"Let's see how well you clean up before we invest in too many superlatives," he said.
"I think I'll 'clean up' right now," she said. She swept her staff low, aiming to sweep his feet out from under him.
He was too fast. He leapt over the staff and struck out with his fist. It caught her in the solar plexus, and pain from her wound lanced through her. Another blow came at her, and she was a second too slow to react. It knocked into her stomach, and she flew backward across the room. She slammed into one of the wood pillars.
"Slow today," he commented.
"Just lulling you into a false sense of complacency." Pearl sprang away from the pillar and attacked. The spinning staff whirled into a blur. She struck at his neck, his legs, his shoulders, his arms. He ducked as she rained blows down on him.
Jadrien struck back, and she raised her staff over her head with two hands, catching his staff dead center. Crack! Her staff split in two. Splinters rained down. She withdrew, holding half a staff in each hand.
"Surrender," Jadrien said.
"Oh, I don't think so." With one stick swirling in each hand, Pearl leapt through the air and attacked. With each hit, she felt stronger. She felt a smile tug at her lips. Her torso ached and burned, but she could think through it. She could do this. She'd survived a near-staking. She'd been chosen with her family to host the Connecticut Fealty Ceremony. She could do anything! Her breath raked her throat as she swung the sticks faster and faster. He blocked. Each strike became as loud and rhythmic as drum beats. "Our ceremony will be spectacular," she said. "I'll make sure of it." No human, no hunter, no mythical beastie with a day-glo horn was going to ruin this for her. "Better than spectacular, it will be perfect."
Catching her waist with one hand, he drew her tight against him. "I believe you," he said. And then he kissed her. The sticks dropped from her hands and clattered to the ground.
Mid-kiss, she yanked his staff out of his hand, hooked her foot around his ankle, flipped him to the ground, and pinned him down with his staff pressed against his throat. "Surrender?" she said.
"To you," he said, "I surrender my heart and soul."
She rolled her eyes. "Very romantic, considering you have neither."