by Barbara PietronGenre: YA paranormal romancePublished: November 12, 2013Sneaking out at night, driving without a license, and falling for a guy weren’t things fifteen-year-old Jeni expected to do while visiting Lake Itasca, Minnesota. Then she meets Ice, the local medicine man's apprentice. Suddenly, her simple family gathering becomes an exciting – and terrifying – week of self-discovery. At first Jeni doesn't believe Ice's claim that she can touch the spirit world and has somehow released a mythical underwater monster. However, she's forced to reconsider when a teen swears a monster killed his father while fishing on the lake. Just as she comes to accept truth, Jeni finds she is the only one who can imprison the monster, making her the creature's next target. She'll need immense faith in her newfound ability to put herself in harm's way and face down the monster. And even if she succeeds in delivering the local population – and Ice – from the creature's wrath, there is no guarantee Jeni will escape with her own life.
Heart of Ice by Barbara PietronCurrently FREE!
Heart of Ice Excerpt:Ice's ankle was held fast in a large leg-hold trap. He groaned as the metal teeth seemed to press deeper into his skin and grate on his bones. Stooping, he attempted to pull the jaws of the trap open and release his foot, but was unable to get the right leverage. Teeth gritted against the pain radiating up his leg, Ice dug his phone from his pocket then heard the crunching sound of footsteps. "I'm here," he shouted, relieved that the medicine man had heard his cry.
He waited as the footsteps drew near, calling out again.
But the figure that emerged from the forest wasn't the medicine man.
It was Nesbitt.
And he carried an axe.
Horror engulfed Ice and he froze momentarily, his thoughts scrambling for a means of defense. He had no weapon.
No bear spray. Nothing. Then he realized he still held his phone in his hand and fumbled it in his numbed, shaking fingers.
Nesbitt was making his way through the trees quickly. Humming.
Ice thumbed to the contacts in his phone and found his favorites. He glanced up and realized Nesbitt's eyes glowed with an odd, yellowish hue from out of his emaciated skull. He managed to get his thumb on Nik's name before the demented man smashed into him.
Dropping the phone to free his hands, Ice grabbed Nesbitt's arm that held the axe and shoved it away from him as he fell. Before the man could topple onto him, Ice scurried backward, yowling in pain as the trap bit harder into his ankle bone. He'd reached the end of the chain fastened to a tree and the more he jerked against it, the tighter the jaws clamped down on his leg.
Nesbitt rose first to his knees and then to his feet, in no hurry since he knew his prey was tethered.
Ice crawled sideways using his elbows and feet, although he realized if he wrapped the chain around the tree, it would only grow shorter. His hands clawed the ground around him, searching for a branch or stick, anything he might be able to swing at Nesbitt.
The madman moved forward, breathing heavily and drooling. Ice found a stick and wrapped his fingers around it, yanking it from the dead foliage. He jabbed at the man as he came forward and yelled in despair as the stick snapped easily.
A foot rammed into Ice's chest and he hit the ground hard, gasping for breath. Before he could rise to his elbows, the foot pressed down with force, pinning him. "Don't do this," Ice begged, his voice ragged. "Mr. Nesbitt!" he shouted."Please don't do this!" He hoped somewhere inside the crazed man a person still resided: a teacher, a human who wouldn't kill another human.
Nesbitt paused for a second, his face blank, eyes distant. Then he rasped, "Hungry," and swung the axe.Thunderstone Excerpt:
Ice sat motionless, staring at his knees.
How had he managed to make such a mess of things? He'd felt comfortable with Jeni and her family too; thought the evening had progressed smoothly.
Then he'd looked down into Jeni's upturned face and lost it. Despite the smoky bonfire, he could smell her; the fragrance of an apple orchard in the fall. Then his gaze fell to her glossy, ripe lips and the reasonable explanation he had in mind vanished. Instead he'd just blurted something out and completely blew it.
With a heavy sigh, Ice stood. His footsteps dragged as he headed between the cottages to the resort drive.
Engulfed in despair, Ice didn't register the whisper until it came the second time. He turned to see Jeni's head poked out the side door. She edged outside when she saw him stop. She took a step toward the porch rail. "I'm sorry. I overreacted." She hugged her arms around her torso. "I…I do that sometimes. I should've at least given you a chance to explain why you wanted my statue."
Ice moved closer. "Yeah…well, I didn't mean to say…ask…not like that." Jeni watched him, waiting. Ice took a deep breath. "Thing is, you're not going to like the explanation anyway."
"Well," she contemplated the toe of her shoe as she bounced it on the rail. "I can't promise I'll like it, but I'll listen." When she looked up she wore the ghost of a smile.
Ice searched her face and thought for a long moment. No more lies; time to lay the cards on the table. He wasn't hopeful for any particular outcome, only resigned to do what he felt was right. "I owe you a story about the monster your statue represents, don't I?"
She nodded slowly, wearing a puzzled expression.
"Let's start there then." So he told her how long ago, when the underwater monster swam freely, the people were plagued by bad fishing, overturned canoes, and children drawn under by whirlpools when they went swimming. "Eventually," Ice explained, "the medicine men of neighboring tribes joined together to lure the creature here. They trapped him in a cavern near the sacred burial mounds of Lake Itasca and charmed him to sleep." Ice paused, and then finished his story with the events of the past two days. "Then, about a hundred years later, a priestess…” He stopped to look at her, “…buys an artifact and falls into the water with it in her pocket. Her connection to the spirits combined with the power of the statue wakes the underwater monster. So the local medicine man sends his apprentice to find the girl and get the statue back. If he fails, the monster will likely escape and people will start disappearing."
Jeni narrowed her eyes at him for a moment and then laughed. "I get it. Cute. You made it sound like I was part of the story."
Ice maintained a level stare. "You are part of the story."_________________________________________________________
About the Author
After years in the corporate world, Barbara found herself with a second chance to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her lifetime love of books and the written word returned one answer: writer. Drawing from her experience with technical writing, she began by writing non-fiction magazine pieces and achieved both regional and national publication. Her success encouraged her to complete a novel. She learned much from her first manuscript, critiques, books, contests, and blogs. In 2012, her novel Thunderstone, was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and won a critique by Publisher's Weekly. A few months later, she was offered publication by Scribe Publishing Company.
Barbara has a few other novels in the works, including a Thunderstone sequel. If she's not reading or writing, Barbara likes to walk, gard
en, and sew. She works in a library and lives in Royal Oak, Michigan with her husband, daughter, and their cat – who often acts like a dog.
Find Barbara online:
___________________________________________________________Win a new young adult novel!(Before it's in stores!)
Barbara Pietron, author of Thunderstone, is running a contest to title her next novel. If your title idea is chosen as one of the top four suggestions, you will win the book!
Here's how it works:Based on the cover summary below, you think of an amazing title. You know, the kind of title that compels a potential reader to take the book off the shelf.
Then go to www.barbarapietron.com and click on the News/Events page. You can make your suggestion in the comment section of the post about the contest, or click on the link which will take you to the Scribe Publishing website suggestion form. Your email will be added to Barbara's list so she can keep you in the loop about the contest and the book.
If your suggestion is chosen as a top four, you will win the new novel! Those top four entries will be posted for readers to vote on their favorite. If your suggestion becomes the book title, you'll be mentioned in the book!
Summary:Sixteen-year-old Jack Ironwood knew exactly what he wanted. Until he got it. Jack was content to stay unnoticed by pretty and popular track-star, Natalie Segetich, until her best friend Emma disappears. Natalie swears something took Emma, and though most people write Natalie off as traumatized and confused, Jack is a soulshifter and he knows the human-stealing Enuuki—hell's messengers—are real.
As a soulshifter, Jack can cross into the underworld so he sees Emma's rescue as an opportunity to prove himself a valuable member of his transcendental sect—and a way to secure a future otherwise out of his reach. Although he needs Natalie's help to prepare for the mission, Jack intends to go to the underworld alone. But as a viable plan takes shape, it's clear the best chance of success means Natalie must accompany him.
On the eve of the quest, when Jack is promised the hand of a respected elder's daughter—a dream come true—he realizes he's no longer sure what he wants. But it's too late to back out, not with the sect and Natalie counting on him. Pursued by the dark lord's henchmen and ghastly mutant creatures, Jack and Natalie struggle to come out ahead in a battle and barter for souls. In the end, Jack will have to decide his own fate, because nothing short of a deal with the devil will get all three of them out of hell alive.Part one of the contest will run through January 31st, 2015 and the voting will take place in February.