Title: Allusive Aftershock
Author: Susan Griscom
Publisher: Amber Glow Books
Release Date: December 18 2012
Editions/Formats Available In: Print and Amazon Kindle
What happens when a major earthquake changes life as you know it and the boy you thought you hated ends up saving you? Three times!
Courtland Reese is the guy everyone hates and makes fun of because … well, he is weird. He communicates with animals. Strange or interesting, seventeen-year-old Adela Castielle can’t quite figure out, but when he saves her from being trampled by her own horse, she begins to understand him a little better and wants to learn more about him. But, Max--her best friend/dream guy/someday-to-be-her-husband-only-he-doesn’t-know-it-yet--hates Courtland with a passion. Adela wants to know why, except neither boy is talking. When Max leaves her stranded in his parents' wine cave with his worst enemy, Courtland, after what the experts are calling a “megathrust” earthquake, Adela starts to question her loyalty to Max as steamy kisses in a dark damp cellar only fuel her emotions with more conflict. But does she really have time to worry about that when fire, destruction and mayhem surround her?
I daydream often. If I didn't write, I think my mind would explode from an overload of fantasy and weirdness. To the annoyance of my friends and family, my characters sometimes become a part of my world. During my childhood, I would frequently get in trouble in school for daydreaming. Eventually, my vivid imagination paid off and I had the privilege of writing and co-directing my sixth-grade class play--a dreadful disaster; though not from my writing, of course, I must blame it on the acting.
The craft of writing, although dormant for years, never really left me. Many years later, and with the help of technology, I let my imagination run wild again.
Born in a small town in Pennsylvania, I enjoy writing about characters living in small quaint towns. I tend to lean toward the unusual and spooky. I read all genres but I love reading paranormal romance and like writing in that genre.
My paranormal playing field delves into a different milieu, abandoning vampires and werewolves, but not discounting them. Someday I might like to write a novel about vamps and those furry creatures. But for now I like the bizarre mixed with romance. A strong hero or heroine confronted with extraordinary forces of nature, powers and capabilities gets my blood running.
I live in Northern California with my very romantic husband, my small yippy dog, Riley, and my humungous black cat, Saké. My family consists of his and her children; four wonderful sons, one beautiful daughter, and seven grandchildren. My greatest love in life is my family and those large and ever growing holiday dinners.
I enjoy traveling. I hate running, but do it once in a while. Reading and writing are my favorite pastimes.
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/SMGriscom
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Susan-Griscom/e/B008R94FNO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_3
Facebook personal: https://www.facebook.com/SusanGriscom1
As Courtland stood, the legs of his chair scraped along the floor and the back of his knees pushed it out of the way of his tall frame. His dark green hoodie hung loose and unzipped, his jeans sat low on his waist. His hair was slicked back away from his face, different from the normal way it usually fell over his forehead, giving him the appearance of an ancient Native American warrior. If I wasn’t already in love with Max and Court hadn’t been so mean to me the other day, I might actually think he was hot, the way he walked up to get the book without saying a word, his gait easy but cautious as he sauntered past Max’s desk. One never knew what Max might do and Courtland had been the brunt of his antics more than once.
“Stop by the library on your way back and pick up a couple of the books they have on earthquake preparedness. There should be a good selection on the subject. Ask Mrs. Snow to help you; she’ll steer you in the right direction.”
Courtland strolled out of the room while Mr. Montgomery continued his talk about earthquakes.
Sometimes I felt sorry for Courtland, the way some of the kids made fun of his keen intuition with animals. This morning, I was still too mad at him to care much about that, though. My mind wandered back to Big Blue. I really wanted to ride him—maybe today would be a good time to do it. If Max rode with me, Courtland might stay clear. I scribbled a quick note in my binder, ripped the page out, folded it into a little square and handed it to Max while Mr. Montgomery wrote something on the board. He read it and folded it back up before sticking it under his history book. After flashing a smile at me, he nodded.
I sat doodling on the paper in front of me, making little swirling designs I thought might look good on a book cover, half listening to Mr. Montgomery when I felt a brush of material glide over my arm. I looked up to see Courtland as he strolled past me, back from his trip to the office.
All of a sudden, my desk jolted
With no electricity, I could barely make out the two figures standing by the door to the cellar. If not for the half moon, I would not have been able to see them at all. I stepped up to them and realized they were staring up at the sky and my eyes naturally followed their gaze. I had never seen such an awesome sight. Without any city lights for miles and miles, the stars in the sky were unusually bright and plentiful. A truly beautiful sight.
“Wow,” I whispered, standing between Max and Court. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Court’s focus change and he stared down at me. There was something strange about the way his eyes bored into me, as if he could see into my soul. I waited for him to look away but he held his gaze on me while I pretended to marvel at the sky. I’d never seen him stare at me that way before and I got nervous. My fingers fidgeted with each other and I clamped two of them in my other hand to steady them. If I hadn’t known better, I never would have guessed in a million years he had injuries. His eyes stayed fixed on me with an intense tenderness I had never seen from a boy before. Maybe Courtland Reese wasn’t so bad after all. Standing between the two of them in all their glorious hotness had my stomach doing flip-flops. I knew it was wrong to think these things under the circumstances, but maybe my mind just needed the distraction … or confusion. I loved Max, but I was beginning to like Courtland too. Man, I was in so much trouble.
“I’m so sorry, Adela. I’m so sorry.” His soft voice barely registered in my ear while he stroked his hand over my head, trying to comfort me. I didn’t want comfort. I wanted to find my mom. I wanted her arms around me, rocking me the way she did whenever I became upset or sick. My legs buckled under me, and I collapsed to the ground. Max held on and sank down with me. We sat on the pile of my broken home. “I’m pretty sure she’s not here.” He continued, “I think she went to Sacramento with your dad.”
I sniffled, hoping Max was right. I knew we couldn’t search through this on our own. I just wanted to try.
I don’t know how long we sat there while I leaned against Max’s chest—could have been a few seconds, could have been a few minutes. It felt like hours. I dried my cheeks with the sleeve of my sweater but couldn’t lift my head from the comfort of Max’s embrace.
I thought about how I’d just used my sweater to wipe my tears and nose and sighed as I sniffled. Speaking softly into Max’s shirt, I said, “My mom would cringe if she saw me do that. She’d say, ‘Adela, stop, get a tissue. You’re going to ruin your sweater.’”
“Ah, you’re right, she would. Are you going to be okay?”
“No, but what choice do I have? I can only pray she’s with my dad and they’re okay—and hope Ambrosia and Aaron survived. We need to find them.”
“Right. First let’s find something for your hand.”
“Yeah, look.” He placed his fingers around my wrist, turning my hand over; blood covered my entire palm. I stared at my blood-soaked hand as if it belonged to someone else. “When did I do this?”
“You fell when you were running toward the sweater.”
“Oh yeah, right, I fell.” I shrugged. “There’s a lot of blood, but it doesn’t hurt.”
“It will once the shock wears off.” He found a small dishtowel under the ramshackle pile of debris in the kitchen area and wrapped the soft cloth around my hand, tying a knot at the backside. “That should be tight enough to stop the bleeding. Let’s go to my house. My folks can help us.”
An explosion burst through the air and I almost jumped out of my skin. I turned toward the noise and stared in horror at the sight of the Arco gas station completely engulfed in flames. The fire immediately spread into a clump of trees between the station and the half-demolished grocery store about six feet from where Max stood.
“Max!” I screamed and leaped up forgetting about the clenching in my stomach.
Max hurried back and grabbed my hand again. We ran, hopping over broken brick, concrete, glass, and wood from collapsed buildings, swerving between and around abandoned cars stopped or smashed along the road. Max never let go of my hand. Trees and buildings consumed in flames glowered around us, the heat almost too much to bear. The scent of gas permeated the air along with the muck of smoke and debris. Water spewed up from a broken fire hydrant, knocked on its side by the delivery truck now perched on top of it and I gasped at the sight of a bloodied man’s head hanging out the window.
I wanted to be home more than anything now. Did we even have a home? Were my mom and dad okay? The twins? What about Big Blue? I fought back tears, trying to convince myself they were all fine and probably wondering where I was. I squeezed my eyes shut to picture my mom pacing the living room, worrying and telling my dad they needed to find me.
All of a sudden, we stopped running. I glanced up to see why and gaped with horror at the road in front of us. The broken asphalt had buckled into a pile about twelve feet high, obstructing our way. The crumbled debris from the buildings on both sides blocked the entire area. With the newly formed abyss in front of us and the out-of-control inferno behind us closing in fast, we were trapped.
This or That Interview
This or That Questions
a) Paperback or Ebook? Both. It depends on the situation. I do mostly read on my iPad, however, there are times when a paperback is needed, like floating in the pool or indulging in a bubble bath.
b) Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
c) Laptop or Desktop? Desktop
d) Liquor or Wine? Wine
e) Summer or Winter? Summer
f) Day or Night? Night. That’s when I get to relax and sometimes some of my best ideas come to me during the night.
g) Cash or Debit Card? Credit card all the way. To my husband’s dismay, I never have cash.
h) Birthday or Christmas? Both. I love presents and surprises.
i) Talk or Text? Text. I really hate to talk on the phone. J
j) Gum or Candy? Candy
k) Coffee or Tea? Both
l) Dog or Cat? Both
m) Long hair or Short? Both, but right now I have short hair, having recently cut it from being down to the middle of my back.
n) Sing or Dance? Dance, I cannot carry a tune.
o) Fruit or Vegetable? Fruit
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