May 13, 2013

Nantucket Blue Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway

Nantucket Blue
Author: Leila Howland
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Buy Links: Amazon

For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

"Come on." Zack took the bag with the champagne and jumped out of the boat and pulled it almost all the way to shore.
"Is this public?" I asked as I took off my flats and hopped out. The water was ankle-deep and surprisingly warm.
"No," he said, dragging the little boat up onto the beach.
"But I've always thought this little beach would be the best spot to see the fireworks."
"So, this is someone's private land?"
"Yeah, but she won't bother us. She's just some super old lady who barely comes out of her house. She's a famous miser and she has the best view on the island. She should want to share it."
"So, are we like, trespassing?"
"Yes, but whose land really is it?"
"Ah, hers?"
Zack spread out a blanket, secured it with four rocks.
"Wrong. It belongs to the children of tomorrow. And they don't mind that we're here. Now, let's open that bub!"
"Who's down there?" said an old voice.
"Oh, shit," Zack said, our eyes locking.
"Who's on my property?" said the voice.
"Uh, just a couple of friendly youths," Zack said, shoving the blanket in the bag. I took off my shoes again and stuck them in there.
"We're really sorry," I said. We ran to the shore and pushed the boat in the water. Above us the sky was in gold and silver hysterics. The old lady searched for us with a high-powered flashlight.
"You're trespassing and it's against the law!" She made it halfway down the stairs, shining the light right on us. For a super old lady, she sure was quick. The boat scraped the sand until it was deep enough to float. The bottom of my shorts were now soaked. Zack hoisted me by the waist and I hopped in. He followed, the boat wobbling. I scrambled to the seat in the stern, pulling my wet shorts away from my body. Zack bit his lip as he fumbled with the oarlocks.
He lifted an oar while I guided it into place. Zack rowed us quickly away, out to sea, both of us cracking up.
"Youths?" I asked.
"It's what we are," he said, and then shouted, "Happy Fourth of July!" The old lady said something in response, but we couldn't understand. Above us the fireworks were in a riot. Little rockets of light shot upward and popped open, full of sequins.
"Look," I said as the explosions quick-fired, getting bigger and more dramatic. "The grand finale."
"The Fourth of July, aboard La Principessa!" Zack added in an Italian accent.
"Oh! Champagne!" I said and clapped my hands.
"Yeah, get it."
I unwrapped the gold paper and tried to pull off the wire cage over the top of the bottle, but couldn't  figure it out.
"Here," Zack handed me the oars. His knees were outside mine. Our legs touched, his knees squeezing mine. He untwisted the wire and popped the bottle. The cork flew into the water and champagne spilled over the top of his fingers and all over my lap.
"Sorry," he said and tried to wipe it off with the bottom of his T-shirt. We were both laughing. The bubbles were cool and tingly on my thighs.
"I'm totally soaked!" I said. I looked up; he was so close.
Our cheeks touched.
"You are just..." he said into my ear. My eyes closed, eyelashes like matches striking my cheeks, setting them on fire. He kissed me, long and sweet, on the mouth.
"Just what?" I asked when we came up for air, stunned, heart stomping like a parade, wrists aching from holding the oars.
He seemed unable to finish his sentence with words.
He pulled the wet oars inside the boat, wrapped his arms around me, and kissed me again. He gripped my waist. His fingers slipped down the back of my shorts.
"She'll kill me," I said, pulling away. "Literally."
"She'll kill me twice," he said, and pulled me closer.
"That's impossible," I said.
"Not if I turned into a zombie."
"Zack." I removed his hands and placed them on his own knees. I put my hands behind my back and took three deep breaths. "It can't happen again."
"Okay," he said. A warm wind twisted my hair. The boat drifted and his hands did, too, back to my legs, up my arms and neck. We kissed. We drifted and kissed and drifted and kissed as the sky flashed and clapped and bloomed and broke.

LEILA HOWLAND loves to read, explore L.A., and engage in funny and meaningful conversations with her friends and family, especially her brother who calls from Washington D.C. whenever he’s waiting for the bus. A lot gets discussed in those phone calls, but they tend to end abruptly when the bus shows up. She can really cut the rug, but wishes she could sing without people covering their ears. A graduate of Georgetown University, Leila spent five years acting in New York where she was a company member of the award-winning Flea Theater in Tribeca. It was a lot of fun and she often talks about “getting back into it.” The closest she has come was a stint as an extra on The Young and the Restless in 2010. Leila now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two dogs. She teaches high school English and blogs for HelloGiggles. NANTUCKET BLUE is her first novel.

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