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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, June 8, 2015

someone will kill to keep hidden the Secret of the Sevens by Lynn Lindquist

“At the end of the day, it’s Talan and his endearing combination of bravado and vulnerability, coupled with the crackling chemistry he shares with Laney, that will keep readers turning the pages. A satisfying read for secret-society fanatics and romantics alike.” – Kirkus Reviews

Description:

Release Date: June 2015

Everyone at Singer, a boarding school for underprivileged kids, knows the urban legend of the Society of Seven. Decades ago, the original members of the secret guild for elite students murdered the school's founder and then perished in the fire they lit to hide the evidence. Or so the story goes.

Talan Michaels doesn't care about Singer's past. He's too focused on his future and the fact that he'll be homeless after he graduates in May. To take his mind off it, he accepts a mysterious invitation to join a group calling itself the Sevens. He expects pranks, parties, and perks. Instead, he finds himself neck-deep in a conspiracy involving secret passages and cryptic riddles about the school's history. Even worse, he's now tangled in web of lies someone will kill to keep hidden.

“At the end of the day, it’s Talan and his endearing combination of bravado and vulnerability, coupled with the crackling chemistry he shares with Laney, that will keep readers turning the pages. A satisfying read for secret-society fanatics and romantics alike.” – Kirkus Reviews

EXCERPT





I wrap an arm around her shoulder. “I didn’t say anything about dropping out. It’ll be fine. I’ll be careful. I promise.” Without thinking, I bundle her close and kiss her forehead.

The second I do it, I’m paralyzed. Laney and I don’t have the kind of friendship where we hug or kiss. Hell, we don’t even touch when we pass the salt at dinner. My arms tense like wood around her back, and I hold my breath waiting for her reaction. I’m a mannequin trapped in a pose while my brain scrambles to come up with a joke I can crack when she pushes me away.

Only she never does. 

She nestles inside my arms instead. It’s obvious she’s lost in thought about something, but she still seems pretty damn comfortable.

And so am I. 

I’m not used to girls touching me. Well, not like this anyway. I’m blown away by how different this feels. Lying here all peaceful, with uptight Delaney Shanahan all soft and cuddly, snuggling me like a body pillow.

I allow myself to exhale. My hand rests on the center of her back, rising and falling with her even, steady breaths. Her body forms to mine, and I catch a whiff of that lavender stuff again. She lies in a daze with her hand resting over a scar on my chest.

“Stay right there,” I say, sitting up. “I’m cold. I’m just gonna grab a shirt real quick.”

“No.” She nudges me back against the pillow, trapping my eyes with hers. “I’ve seen them before,” she whispers. “They don’t bother me.”

She lowers her head to my chest again and rides her finger over the raised scar that sits over my heart. I reach for her fingers, but she gently nudges my hand aside. “It looks like an S,” she says.

“It is. For Superman.”

She laughs softly and traces over the scar again. “How did you get this, Talan?”

I stumble over my words. “I... I’ve told you. On a playground when I was little.”

“No,” she says quietly, without looking at me. “How did you really get it?”

I’d push her away, but it feels too good, like I’ve been starving for her touch. Her fingers glide warm and tender over my bare skin. That ticklish “S” is totally screwing with me. My nerve endings are whipped into a frenzy. I try to think of something besides her, but it’s too late. My body is painfully aware that I’m lying half-dressed and alone in my bed with Laney, her hands running over my bare chest and her warm curves molded to mine behind a locked door.

Maybe I should try that kiss again, only this time…

“Talan?”

Laney jerks her head up.

“Please tell me it was you that just said my name,” I whisper.

Terror colors her cheeks as she slowly shakes her head from side to side.

“Talan? Are you in there with Laney?”  It’s Mom Shanahan.

Laney jumps up and yanks me off the bed so hard that I land on the floor with a thud. 

“Yes, we’re in here!” Laney yells a little too enthusiastically. “You can come in Mom. We’re not doing anything.” 

Mom jiggles the knob, but the door won’t open. “Why is this door locked?” she shouts.

“Oh fug!” Laney trips over my backpack in her rush to open it.

She reaches it about the same time I notice that the map and Sevens’ note are still spread out on my bed. I dive across the mattress, scrambling to bury the papers under my bedspread before Mom sees them.

When her mother walks in, I’m sprawled bare-chested across my bed, sweating profusely and trying to smooth out my tangled sheets and crumpled comforter. Laney stands next to the doorway, gnawing nervously on her thumbnail. Her hair is mussed and her face is redder than a sunburn.

I’m not sure what it looks like we were doing, but from the expression on Mom’s face, she isn’t giving us the benefit of the doubt anymore. 

Ah shit.
**** 
Rumors spread all morning, but the announcement at lunch makes it official: “Due to recent events and widespread vandalism, The Board has canceled all remaining extracurricular events for the fall season, pending investigation of these incidents.” Moans rise up across the crowded room. “In addition, the Board of Directors is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those involved.”

Kane said he could make things hard for my friends. Score one for the bad guy.

So why do I feel so guilty when I’m innocent? I stare at Laney’s table and tug my ear when she glances over. She nods towards Kollin, but I shake my head. I really want to talk to her alone. My head is spinning about Marcus and the Sevens and Kane. Laney has a way of slowing the world down.

I scoop my lunch up. “Where you going now?” Marcus asks. There’s an edge to his voice.

I’m too flustered to think of an excuse. “I’ve got a meeting with my counselor. I’ll talk to you later.” I rush out and head down the hall.

I collapse in a chair in Solomon’s room, tapping my fingers to the pounding in my head. The door slowly opens and I finally exhale. But it isn’t Laney.

Marcus crosses his arms on his chest. “Meeting with your counselor, huh? Does Ms. Bennett rent space from Solomon now?”

“What are you—”

“No!” he says. “No more bullshit. I want to know what’s going on. Why are you blowing your friends off, and where do you keep sneaking off to?”

He’s pissed and he isn’t gonna let this go. I can’t tell him the truth and my mind is racing too fast to come up with a lie.

“Tell me what the hell is up, or I’m going to Boyle. I don’t care if you are my best friend. If you have anything to do with this Sevens shit, you’re screwing a lot of people. It ain’t right. You’re headed for trouble, Tal.”

I stare at him, emotionless.

“This is your last chance. Tell me who you’re sneaking around with.”

“Me.”

Marcus twists toward the voice in the doorway. His jaw drops lower than mine when Laney repeats herself. “Talan’s been sneaking around with me. We’re hooking up. I didn’t want Kollin to find out.”
Marcus glances between us, clearly not convinced. “Laney Shanahan—a cheat? No way. Plus, that doesn’t explain the night of the dance. He lied about why he left early. You were there the whole time; you stayed later than anyone. You weren’t hooking up that night.”

I walk around the desk to buy myself some time to think. “I was… jealous. Watching her with Kollin was bugging me, so I told Taylor I didn’t feel good so I could go home.”

“But why wouldn’t you tell me? It’s not like I’d tattle to Kollin.” Marcus has this hurt look on his face—the kind you see on abused kids who know better than to trust people. “We’ve never kept a secret from each other before. I asked you a few weeks ago if something was going on with you and Laney. You straight up told me, ‘No way.’”

“He wanted to tell you, but we didn’t have a choice,” Laney says. “We can’t risk my parents finding out. Mom already caught us once. Remember the other afternoon when she called us into her office?” Marcus nods. “Mom caught me in Talan’s bedroom. We made up an excuse, but now she’s really watching us. If they learn Talan and I are in a relationship, they’ll remove him from our group home. There aren’t any openings in any of the senior houses, so Talan would be referred out of Singer. He’s 18 now—too old for foster care placement. He’d be out on the street.”

Marcus shakes his head, then shrugs. “I don’t know. It doesn’t add up. You two sneaking around? You drive each other nuts."

“Oh for Pete’s sake.” Laney shoves Marcus aside, grabs the collar of my shirt, and pulls me into a knee-buckling kiss. With our lips locked, her hands slowly glide up my chest and around my neck. She kisses so good, I forget to breathe. All I can think about is how great this feels. How soft her hands are running through my hair. How warm her chest is against mine. How sweet her mouth is, and how great she tastes. She must have had strawberries for lunch. It’s all better than I imagined.

Oh hell, who am I to waste an opportunity like this? I cup my hands around her bottom and scoop her body closer. Before you know it, I’ve forgotten Marcus is even there.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” he says.

Laney pulls away to catch her breath, staring up at me with her face and lips all red.

Marcus shakes his head. “I never thought I’d see the day when Talan Michaels was whipped by a girl. What the hell is going on at this school? Grave robbings. Secret societies trashing campus. And Talan Michaels and Laney Shanahan falling for each other? I’m scared to drink the water.”  He plods out of the room with a stunned expression.

“Thank you,” I tell Laney. “Really. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

She yanks her arms off my neck and back pedals. “I did it for the Sevens.”

“Sure you did.” I wink.

“What’s with the tongue? And did you have to grab my butt?”


“My tongue wasn’t rolling around by itself in there.”

About the author:
Lynn Lindquist lives in a suburb of Chicago with two overly-social sons and a mutt named Slugger who wisely hides under the bed most days. The hordes of teenagers that regularly frequent her house (think Panama City Beach during spring break) provide fodder for her young adult novels and growing anxiety disorder. Ever since her sons broke the Guinness Record for Largest-Rager-Thrown-While-a-Parent-Was-Out-for-the-Night, she enjoys spending her free time at home entertaining friends, cooking, reading, and writing. Thankfully, her favorite things in life are her sons, words, and kids, so she wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is represented by Katherine Boyle at Veritas Literary Agency. 


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10 comments:

Danielle Merkle said...

Great excerpt, thanks for the giveaway!

patrick siu said...

I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

Juana said...

I liked both the excerpt, and the book cover.

Jan Lee said...

Interesting excerpt, didn't give anything away. Guess I'll have to read the book, LOL

Wendy Hutton said...

sounds like a great read, thanks

Andrea Heltsley said...

This book sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing and the giveaway!

Dan said...

I liked reading the excerpt. This sounds like a very interesting story.

Amanda Sakovitz said...

i loved the excerpt, thanks for the chance!

Thomas Murphy said...

sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway.

rounder9834 @yahoo.com

Bridgett wilbur said...

The excerpt was great and I would love to read this book. Ty