“The Casquette Girls,” YA Paranormal Fantasy by Alys Arden

the casquette girls

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Seven girls tied by time.
Five powers that bind.
One curse to lock the horror away.
One attic to keep the monsters at bay.

**

After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless . . . you’re immortal.

“Seven girls tied by time. Five powers that bind. One curse to lock the horror away. One attic to keep the monsters at bay.” –THE CASQUETTE GIRLS by Alys Arden Coming November 17th, 2015 http://amzn.to/1QzbOUX

About the Author
Alys

Alys Arden was raised by the street performers, tea leaf-readers, and glittering drag queens of the New Orleans, French Quarter. She cut her teeth on the streets of New York and has worked all around the world since. She either talks too much or not at all. She obsessively documents things. Her hair ranges from eggplant to cotton-candy-colored.

One dreary day in London, while dreaming of running away with the circus, she started writing The Casquette Girls. Her debut novel garnered over one million reads online before being acquired by Skyscape in a two book deal. Rep’d by ICM.

Website   Twitter: @alysarden   Facebook   Blog

Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

On the Road

October 9th

The day had finally come.

Elation coursed through my head, my chest, my stomach—until the tips of my fingers tingled, as if the sensation were trying to escape the confines of my nervous system.

My father and I were finally on our way home.

Trying not to let the anticipation drive me crazy, I leaned back in the passenger seat and took deep breaths, inhaling the scents of worn black leather and bubble gum. The combination reminded me of sitting in the front seat as a child. I’d always been up for a ride in my father’s prized possession because I knew there’d be a sugary pink stick waiting for me in the glove box.

The city wasn’t exactly encouraging people to come home yet, but my father had always been a bit of a rebel. This fact, topped with endless nights of me begging and pleading, had finally made those four little words slip out of his mouth: “Okay, let’s go home.”

As soon as he caved, I fled the Parisian boarding school where my French mother had dumped me while my father and I were “displaced.” She didn’t tell me good-bye, and I never looked back.

I landed in Miami late last night, and we were on the road by six this morning. I didn’t want to give my father the chance to renege.

Ten hours later, we were still purring down the interstate in his 1981 BMW.

But I didn’t mind the long drive. In my sixteen years, I’d never been away from my father for that long. I’d never been away from New Orleans for that long either. It felt like years since the mandatory evacuation, but in reality it had only been two months—two months, two days, and nine hours since the Storm had touched ground.

The Storm was the largest hurricane in US history. Scientists were still debating whether it should even be considered a hurricane because it had smashed all previous classification parameters. They didn’t even name it. Everyone simply referred to it as “the Storm.” Economists were predicting it would end up being the greatest natural disaster in the Western world, and there were even rumors flying around that the federal government was considering constituting the area uninhabitable and not rebuilding the city. That idea was incomprehensible to me.

The media was all over the place about the devastation. We’d heard such conflicting stories there was really no telling what would be awaiting us (or not awaiting us) upon our arrival. Had our home been damaged, flooded, ransacked, robbed—or any combination of those things? Was it now just rotting away? I fiddled with the sun-shaped charm hanging from the silver necklace that nearly reached my waist, wrapping and unwrapping the thin chain around my fingers.

My phone buzzed.

Brooke 3:42 p.m. Are you close? Text me as soon as you get home. I want to know everything, ASAP! xoxo.

I quickly pecked,

Adele 3:43 p.m. I will! How’s La-La land? ❤

I didn’t exactly have a laundry list of close friends, but Brooke Jones and I had been attached at the hip since the second grade. The Joneses had been stuck in Los Angeles since the evacuation, and Brooke was freaking out on a daily basis because her parents were adjusting to the West Coast lifestyle at an alarming rate. Even the thought that her parents might permanently relocate to California made me cringe.

“Waffle House?” my father asked as we sped past the Florida state line into Alabama. He proceeded down the exit ramp before I could respond.

A bell dinged when I opened the door of the infamous southern chain, causing all of the employees to shout a welcome without looking up from what they were doing. My father headed to the bathroom, and I jumped into a booth, grabbing a napkin to wipe pancake-syrup residue off the table.

“I’ll be with ya in a second, darlin’,” a waitress yelled from across the narrow, shoe box–shaped diner.

Johnny Cash blared on the jukebox, the air reeked of grease, and the fluorescent bulb in the overhead light gave everything a sickly tint. I couldn’t help but chuckle, thinking about the stark contrast of this scene to my life just two nights ago: sitting in a café on the Champs-Élysées, eating a crêpe suzettes with my mother. Well, I’d been eating a crêpe. She’d never allow herself to eat something as appalling as sugar.

Midchuckle, I caught the gaze of a guy sitting solo in a booth across the aisle, who was slowly stirring a cup of coffee. Our eyes locked. My cheeks started to burn. I grabbed a menu so I could pretend to focus on something and let my long waves of espresso-colored hair fall in front of my face, trying to recall the last time I’d taken a shower. Ugh. I’d been in transit for more than twenty-four hours at this point.

I lifted my eyes to find him still looking intensely at me.

He was probably a few years older than me . . . and far too sophisticated to be sitting in this particular establishment among the tall hairdos and flip-flops. His black leather jacket was not the biker kind you might find in any diner in the Deep South—it was softer looking, trendier, possibly custom-made. The jacket, along with his dark, slicked hair, made him appear part James Dean, part Italian Vogue. For a split second I forgot where I was, as if stuck in some kind of Paris–Alabama time-continuum hiccup.

When I realized I was staring at him again, I became instantly flustered. His eyes didn’t move, but the corners of his mouth slowly spread upward into an innocent smile. Or maybe it was deceptively innocent? Just as my heart began to speed up at the prospect of finding out, my fork slid across the table, flew halfway across the room, and clanked against his ceramic mug.

“Sorry!” I covered my face, mortified, and considered crawling underneath the table. I’d been so caught up in the moment I hadn’t even noticed myself flick it.

“Don’t worry, honey, I’ll bring ya a new one,” the waitress yelled.

As if I was worried about the fork. I’d nearly taken out the eye of the hottest guy within a fifty-mile radius. My heart pounded melodramatically.

When I finally mustered the courage to raise my head to catch another glimpse of him, all I saw was his mug on top of a ten-dollar bill. Realizing I’d been hiding my gaze from no one, I became even more embarrassed.

Of course he ran. I am obviously hazardous.

 

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