ATO- D’Ann K Burrow
It’s #ATO Tuesday! And we’ve got YA author D’Ann K Burrow taking over today 🙂 She’s here with a deleted scene from her upcoming book Playing by the Rules! This one looks really good so here we go!
Piney Bluff, Texas. The absolute last place seventeen-year-old Kennedy Thatcher wanted to spend the last few weeks of summer vacation. But when her father’s work means he has to disappear, she ends up living with her aunt in the middle of nowhere.
Some secrets are good.
Kennedy wants to go home, especially before she breaks Rule #1 – Never tell.
Some secrets are bad.
Kennedy has a gift, even though she calls it a curse. She’s a Finder. She can find anyone…any time…anywhere. But using the gift comes with a price.
Some secrets are deadly.
Kennedy’s dad is tracking a serial killer who has just chosen a new victim. The girl is still alive, at least for now. Kennedy could find her, but that would mean breaking the most important rule of all.
Will Kennedy make the choice to change her life forever?
Rule # 67 – The camera has a strap for a reason. Use it.
Kennedy peered through the viewfinder on her camera. Muscular legs covered in black spandex – bulging biceps peeking from beneath royal blue jerseys, if they were wearing shirts at all…definitely a different perspective than when she was covering last spring’s debate tournament at Holy Trinity Academy for girls. A bead of sweat trickled along the bridge of her nose and she wiped it off with the back of her hand.
Yes, the sun beat unrelentingly on her black French braids, but as she adjusted the lens to get a tighter shot of the intense expression in Tanner’s green eyes – she strongly doubted the bead of sweat trailing across her forehead right now was simply caused by the heat.
The shutter of her camera clicked in time with the cheerleaders, chant and for the first time since she’d arrived here, she relaxed.
The ball arced through the air, and she followed the path of its spin through her tiny window into the world. Panning back, she widened her perspective on the shot, but still found Tanner in the direct center of the picture. And then he winked. And then she dropped her camera.
How had one twitch of one little muscle rattled her so much that she let her precious camera slip out of her hands and drop somewhere below the bleachers? Damn him. She wanted candid pictures – of course he’d be aware of exactly where the camera was. No wonder Aunt Loretta called him a showboater. He’d want to make sure she was taking pictures of him. She wouldn’t have dropped the camera if he hadn’t surprised her. She’d worked an entire summer to afford that camera. Kneeling on the hot metal, she realized she’d caught a break…kind of…instead of landing in the too-tall grass, the strap caught on something on the way down.
Now, instead of just lying amid the trash, it was hanging beneath the bleachers – both too far for her to reach from above, and she suspected it would be above her head from below. This was an awesome turn of events.
Still, she couldn’t just let it dangle in the breezed.
Kennedy was forced to get on her hands and knees as she plastered her belly onto the bleacher steps to reach her camera as it dangled by its metallic pink neck strap. Stretching as far as she could, her fingernails brushed against the fabric, but she couldn’t grip the strap.
A whistle blew and teen-age male voices cheered, but she ignored whatever signal must have just been given down below.
She squeezed her shoulder between the openings beneath the seats, trying to ignore the wads of gum likely older than she was.
Two black athletic shoes clomped onto the ground on either side of her head. “Need some help?”
Speak of the devil. “I dropped my camera.” Kennedy gave up on her attempt to retrieve it and looked up….directly where she didn’t want to stare. Her cheeks burned red as she desperately backpedaled away, but she wasn’t fast enough.
“Practicing for tonight?” Scarlett’s laughter drifted up the stairs. “Only in her dreams.”
“She has a better chance than you’ll ever get.” Tanner mercifully pivoted his hips to end the awkward positioning.
The drill team members roared with laughter as their captain sputtered but was unable to come up with a response.
“Just ignore them.”
“Easier said than done.” Kennedy’s heart pounded in her ears as she knelt on the ground and brushed the dirt from her hands. Her cheeks still burned and she wished the ground would open up and swallow her. “I happen to live with that one.”
“You have my pity.” He flashed a toothpaste-commercial grin in her direction. “Move.”
“Is the word please not in your vocabulary?”
“Move please so I can get your camera.” He waved his hand to indicate she should scoot back. “I saw you drop it.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be practicing?”
“Didn’t you hear the whistle?” He paused. “That means it’s over.” He screwed up his cheek and his right eye closed completely as he strained to reach the camera now blowing from side to side in the breeze. “You really don’t know anything about football, do you?”
“I’m a whiz at Wikipedia.”
“I’ll bet you are.” Tanner placed her camera in her hands. “What position do I play?”
“That’s easy.” He ran his fingers through his hair. Sweat stained and pressing against his forehead, the highlights from working in the summer sun had practically disappeared. He almost looked like a different person. “What about number 46?”
“He’s not the quarterback.”
“I think we’ve established that. He plays defense if that helps you any.”
Kennedy tapped her fingers against the metal seat.
“He’s the cornerback – and a good one.” Tanner sighed and took a seat on the bench next to her. Her composition book had blown open and he began to read her notes. “Crap. You really don’t know anything about football.”
“I went to an all girl’s school.”
“But at home. Didn’t you watch the Superbowl?”
Kennedy shook her head. “My dad’s not exactly big on sports.”
“I can tell.” He shut the book and looked at her. “Well, there’s just one way to fix this. Private lessons.”
“If you’re the head sports reporter, then you’re going to need to be able to explain what you see on the field. I’m planning on a football scholarship. I’m going to need decent press.”
“Shields – if you want your clothes, then stop flirting and get in the lockerroom.” Coach Santos appeared at the bottom of the stands.
Flirting? Kennedy hastily stood and grabbed her pile of books. At home, they joked that flirting was the only subject she ever failed.
“There’s a good game on tomorrow. I’ll come by and pick you up eleven.”
“It’s a date.” Kennedy wanted to tape her mouth shut. Not a date. Scarlett would kill her. Hands off Tanner — that was a definite rule.
“See you tomorrow.” A ghost of a laugh played on the corner of his lips.
Playing by the Rules’ preorder site on Amazon
What a GREAT cover and such a juicy teaser! I am definitely reading this one!
I’m a fan of things that go bump in the night–at least I like to read and write about them. I write both Young Adult and New Adult romances, frequently with a paranormal twist. (No vampires or werewolves allowed…I see enough of them when I watch The Vampire Diaries, and can any other vampire really compare with Damon Salvatore?)
My preschool teachers began to worry a bit when I said that I wanted to be a witch when I grew up and my favorite color was black. Thankfully, my imagination still gets a good workout when I write about the secrets people keep. And don’t we all have a few secrets?
When I grow up, my dream is to work at the Haunted Mansion. Until then, watching Ghost Hunters will have to count as research.