Sunday, October 13, 2013

Ready For Another Alex Finch Excerpt? Plus Another Chance to Enter the Giveaway!

Here you go - another taste of Alex Finch. This time you get to meet Misty - the absentminded project partner. :)

Meet Alex Finch - tomboy, techno geek, monster hunter.
Reluctant monster hunter.
A school project, an absentminded project partner, and a misplaced backpack all change 16-year-old Alex Finch's life forever.
In a single afternoon Alex finds the missing backpack, has a run-in with Sam, the boy she's had a crush on since first grade - and discovers that monsters are real.
That mind-blowing incident throws her life in a completely different direction, uncovering secrets that cost her more than she could ever imagine. And the further she digs, the darker and more dangerous the secrets become.
What else is hiding behind the ordinary facade of her California beach town?
Alex is about to find out.
*Includes an exclusive excerpt of Truth and Consequences, the second Monster Files adventure, coming your way in time for the holidays!

It could have been worse.
Yes, it could haveI could have been stuck with Lance Rayner for the biggest, most important English assignment of my high school career. He had the sense of a rock, and dirt was smarter.

Instead I was partnered with Misty Corwin. The Misty CorwinProm Queen, cheerleader, class president, and airhead extraordinaire. I had already chosen my book for the project, To Kill a Mockingbird, and was 99.9% certain she’d never even heard of it. I was doomed.

And Misty cemented that fate by losing my notes three days into the project.

~ ~ ~

“What do you mean, you lost them?”
Misty tossed her waist length blonde hair over one shoulder, five foot ten inches of perfect lounging against the decorative arch leading into the school quad. She looked calm, but I could see the panic in those sky blue eyes. “I, you know, misplaced my backpack.”

Who does that? I took a deep breath, let it out, promised myself a new toy for Red if I didn’t punch her. “Do you remember where you misplaced it?”

“Um.” Now the panic spread across her face. This was not going to be pleasant. “I got on the bus near,” she looked around, as if some nefarious gossip was waiting to jump on every word. Yeah, I like words like nefarious. Sue me. “You know. The house.”

“The house.” My hands itched, wanting so badly to shake her until she started making sense. She lost the notes, my notes on the project. Notes I had spent months on. She was going to be accountable. If the small, angry part of me I only let out once in a leap year had its way, she’d be paying in pain. “And that would be which house, out of the, oh, twenty thousand or so in Emmettsville?”

Misty raised one perfectly shaped blonde eyebrow. “Sarcasm is like a second language to you, isn’t it?” I looked at her, startled, and I have to say, impressed. I didn’t think she even knew what sarcasm was. “The McGinty houseit’s the closest bus stop to my gym. I must have set the backpack down when I was getting change for the bus. I didn’t mean to, Alex.” She did the pretty little pout that worked with every teacher at school. I was, thankfully, immune. “This assignment is important to me, too.”

“Okay.” I let out a sigh, partly because I knew she meant well, and partly to ease some of the desire to choke her blue. “Let’s go see if it’s still there.”

“But I have practice!” She bounced off the arch, ready to cheer for her right to avoid this. “We have a game on Friday, and as head, I have to—”

“You’re going with me.” I may be short, but I have thistone. Mom calls it my “creep out the children” voice. Misty cringed like I had threatened her with imminent death. “We will hunt down the backpack, and you will not touch the notes again. Are we clear?”

Misty seemed to shrink with every word. “Yeah. Can we go? I want to have some practice time.”

I didn’t mention the fact that I would be missing dance class as I slung my messenger bag over one shoulder. No one at school knew that I was a dancerand I didn’t want that to change now. I like having parts of my life separate, to avoid the pointing and laughing.

I clamped my hand on her wrist, to keep her from sidetracking on me as we went past her fellow cheerleaders, and made her walk to the McGinty house. Where there was no backpack to be found.

“You’re sure it was here?”

Misty flipped her hair back, a sure sign she was irritated. “I was just here. This morning.” She spoke slowly, like I was an idiot, and pointed across the street. “My gym is right there. The same gym I go to three times a week. Good enough?”

I pushed hair off my face, limp strands sticking to my skin. Walking here may have been punishment for her, but it didn’t do me any favors. The humidity coming off the ocean two blocks away made me long for air conditioning. Welcome to October in Southern California.

“I’m going to check in the yard,” I said. “Maybe some kid threw it over the fence.”

“You’re not—you’re going inside?”

“It’s just a house, Misty.” She moved closer to the street, rubbing her arms. The McGinty house was the cliché that every neighborhood seemed to have—an overgrown, abandoned house that was, of course, haunted. I’m far too practical to believe that random spirits hang out in a dirty old house, waiting for some kid sneaking in on a dare. I handed her my messenger bag. “Try not to lose this one. I’ll be right back.”

I opened the rusted wrought iron gate, which naturally squeaked. Inside, the wide lawn was overgrown with some kind of vine, spreading across patches of dry, dead grass, the mess covered by the first drop of fall leaves, and piles of trash. The sidewalk was cracked, and buckling under the pressure of the tree roots demanding more room.

I scanned the side of the yard closest to me, looking for a backpack-shaped object among the trash, leaves and vines. Nothing.

Pushing down pointless anger, I kept looking, forced to move deeper into the yard. Closer to the house, the trash piles got bigger, more dense. With a sigh, I pushed up the sleeves of my hoodie and resigned myself to getting dirty.

Ten minutes later, all I had for my efforts were filthy hands and a nasty gash on my left forearm from a rusted can. Terrific. Tetanus shot time for me. I had a handkerchief in my messenger bag, and it was time to give up on the backpack, and my months of work.

I could cobble the notes together again from the research on my computer. Unfortunately, most of them were handwritten during study period, when we aren’t allowed near the library computers. Please, don’t get me started.

I knowI should have scanned them in, made a backup copy. I just didn’t expect anyone else to be touching them. Backups were number one on my new to do list.

With a sigh, defeated, I started to turn toward the streetand I spotted it, a green bulk in the shadows of the porch.

“Yes—” Forgetting the blood, and the filth coating my fingers, I moved to the steps. They looked—decrepit, but I wanted what was inside the backpack enough to risk it. Besides, the heavy leather of my motorcycle boots would protect me if I went through.

I tested the first step. The wood screeched under my weight, but it held, so I took a chance. The screech became a squeal. I held my breath, ready to jump at the first crack. The squeal subsided to a grumbling moan. Encouraged, I moved to the second step. It got me close enough to reach for the strap.

That was when I heard the growl.

~ ~ ~

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Thanks for stopping by, and until next time - read on. :)

About the Author

C.A. Dean believes in ghosts, witches, magic - and monsters.

She loves the supernatural, the odd and the strange, and writing about it is like going to a job she loves - no work and all fun.

She would love for you to join her as she hunts for monsters - real and imagined.

And there's the official biography, out of the way.

I love telling stories, and my four nephews have been a big influence in what I read, and now what I write.

Sliding into YA has been as easy fit, especially since I've been reading and loving it for years.

Alex Finch: Monster Hunter is the first book of a series I have been planning for a while, and I can't wait to introduce you to Alex and her rather quirky friends. :)

To find out more about me and my books, you can hop over to my website:

Hang out with me on my Facebook page:

Or come and exchange tweets at:

I look forward to meeting you. :)


Debby said...

I am enjoying reading about your book.

Cate Dean said...

Thanks, Debby!