Monday, January 29, 2018

It Should Have Been You by Lynn Slaughter - Excerpt + a Giveaway

Happy Monday, readers! I'm back from vacation and I've got a treat for you - an excerpt from Lynn Slaughter's fab YA mystery, It Should Have Been You. Here's a bit about the book to get us started:

Living in her sister's shadow has never been more dangerous.

Five months ago, Clara Seibert’s twin sister was murdered. Struggling under the weight of newfound and unwanted attention, the only thing that makes Clara feel normal is ghostwriting an advice column for her school’s newspaper—until she starts receiving threatening emails in her staff inbox.

“It should have been you...but soon."

Convinced that her email stalker blames her for her sister’s death and is out for revenge, Clara undertakes her own investigation to clear her name and avoid a similar fate. Can she solve the murder before it’s too late?

I love a great mystery, especially a great YA mystery! This one officially hits shelves tomorrow, but you can get a sneak peak here right now:

by Lynn Slaughter
excerpt from Chapter 2

As I raced toward Jenny’s house, I pushed the speedometer on my VW bug so high my car shook, right along with me. Definitely not a good combination. I was so distracted I nearly sideswiped a delivery truck as it pulled out of the back entrance of Ralph’s House of Pancakes. So much for priding myself on my responsible driving.

Jenny was waiting for me in the lobby of her chrome and glass-covered high-rise that was so shiny it made my eyes hurt. But it was one of the addresses to have in Springbrook, Ohio. Jenny’s parents were hot-shot attorneys, who worked such long hours Jenny referred to seeing them in passing as “newsworthy sightings.” Our parents were close to being absentee—hers, physically, and mine...more emotionally. Sometimes I think that’s why we understood each other so well. We know what it’s like to be an afterthought.

Rick, the ancient doorman, swept the door open for me with a flourish. Jenny took one look at my face and pulled me into her enormous arms for a giant bear hug. As she liked to say about herself, “I’ll never be a small girl.” She was over six feet tall and outweighed me by a good fifty pounds of solid muscle.

But the biggest thing about Jenny has always been her heart. “Come on,” she said, pulling me toward the elevator. “Stay for dinner? We can call out for Chinese.”

My stomach lurched. “Not sure how much I can eat, but I think so…I’ll check with my dad.”

Fifteen minutes later, the knot lodged in my gut tightened, as we sat side-by-side staring bleakly at the damn message on the computer screen. “It could just be another one of those creeps that went after you before,” Jenny said, “one of Moura’s weird groupies trying to freak you out. Maybe they’re mad that you’re still here, and she’s not.”

“Well, consider me freaked!”

Jenny squeezed my arm. “That’s what this jerk is going for, so my advice to my favorite advice expert is to show him you’re not freaked.”

Just then, Rick buzzed. The Golden Pearl deliveryman had arrived with our order. “Clara, this delivery guy is so hot!” Makeup kit in hand, she dashed to the ornate gilded mirror in the foyer, quickly ran a brush through her hair, and put some lip gloss on before descending to the lobby to retrieve our food.

When she got back, she was practically glowing. “He winked at me!”

Usually, this would launch us into a strategy session on how to make a love connection with Mr. Hottie Deliveryman. But not tonight. As Jenny worked her way through two helpings of Vegetable lo Mein and sesame chicken, I picked at my food and pushed it around my plate. I couldn’t stop obsessing about the message. “No one on the staff is supposed to breathe a word that I write the column.” God, would I ever be able to trust anyone again? The paper had been the one place I felt safe.

“Uh…you told me.”

She had me there. I’d promised, along with everyone else on staff, to keep quiet about who wrote Since You Asked.

She held up three fingers. “Scout’s honor, I haven’t said a word. But chances are you’re not the only staff member who blabbed to their BF and swore them to secrecy.”

“You’re right.” I sighed and slumped down. “What should I do? I feel like I want to write back.”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

“I don’t know, but I can’t let this creep think he—or she—is getting to me.”

We headed back to the computer and I pushed “reply”: Gee, thanks. Be sure and let me know a date and time, so I can pencil you in.

I hesitated, then pushed “send.” For a moment, I felt better.

But seconds later, a return message popped up: This account is no longer in service.

I swore. Jenny, who’d been looking over my shoulder, threw a comforting arm around me.

“Clara, you’ve got to talk to the cops.”

Less than an hour later, I was in the police station making a report. It took the callow-faced sergeant less than five minutes to connect the dots and send me up to Detective Martino’s office. I’d hoped I could avoid him, but he’d either pulled night duty or was working late.

Amazing how little his office had changed in the last few months. Scribbled notes, piles of folders, and old Styrofoam coffee cups littered his desk. The familiar bars crisscrossed his dirty window. Even if he wanted to look out at the city, I doubted he could see much through all the grime.

“So,” he said, staring at the computer screen where he’d pulled up the message, “you don’t recognize this address?”

“No. And when I tried to reply, I got a message the account was no longer in service. Can you figure out who sent it?”

“We can try. But how did this person even know to send it to the column? I thought you told me no one knows who writes it.” His hooded dark eyes stared at me with their usual mixture of suspicion and semi-contempt.

“I don’t have a clue. We’re all supposed to be on our honor not to say, but maybe someone on staff talked—or someone guessed.”

“All right, I’ll have one of our tech guys check it out.” He paused and lifted his mangy eyebrows expectantly. “I’ll need all the ISPs for your devices.”

“What? You think I sent these to myself?”

“Look, all I know is I’ve got an unsolved murder on my hands. Witnesses say you were yelling at Moura two nights earlier. Your own family was aware there were tensions. I’ve got no signs of forced entry, she gets bludgeoned to death, yet you claim you didn’t hear a thing. You see why I’m having a little trouble with this?”

“I’ve told you over and over again. I was listening to Dixie-Land jazz riffs on my i-Pod with my ear buds in. My bedroom’s up on the third floor. World War III could have been going on downstairs, and I wouldn’t have heard a thing!”

“You don’t have to yell, Clara. I heard you…Dixie-Land jazz, huh? I don’t know too many teenagers who go in for that kind of music.”

“So now I’m suspicious because I like jazz? This is ridiculous!”

“Just an observation.” He paused, and I could almost see the wheels in his miniature brain turning, as he went for his version of a sympathetic smile. I wanted to tell him to stick to his day job and forget acting, but I knew I couldn’t stop him from giving Good Cop Mode another whirl.

“Clara,” he said in a markedly softer tone. “I know it couldn’t have been easy being the sister of a superstar.”

I cut him off just as he was about to launch into his favorite version of my sister’s murder—that starred me sneaking up behind Moura while she practiced Rachmoninoff’s Barcarolle and smashing the back of her head with the book end bust of Clara Schumann, the famous pianist I’d been named after no less.

“How many times do I have to tell you? I did not kill my sister! And if you had a shred of evidence, you’d have arrested me a long time ago.”

“This investigation is far from closed.”

I pushed my seat back and stood up. “I don’t know why I bothered reporting this to you guys. I thought your job was to find my sister’s killer, not torment me.”

Detective Martino pulled himself to his feet, his beefy super-sized frame looming above. “I’m just doing my job, Clara,” he said, evenly. “And we’ll definitely check this out. Call me immediately if any more threats come in. Understood?”

I nodded and stalked out, unable to resist the urge to slam the door behind me.

Excerpted from IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU © Copyright 2018 by Lynn
 Slaughter. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

About the author: Lynn Slaughter has a passion for dance and music—from Frank Sinatra to Chopin—and her first book, While I Danced, was a finalist in the 2015 EPIC competitionin the Young Readers category. After a long career as a professional dancer, she earned her MFA in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University. She and her husband live in Louisville, Kentucky. You can visit her at www.lynnslaughter.com and follow her on Twitter @lslaughter2.

Ooh, I love it! I can't for all of you to read more! 

Thanks to the publicist, I have one copy to give away here on the blog. To get your name in the running, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, February 12. Open US only and no PO boxes, please!

And if you just can't wait until tomorrow to read more (I would't blame you), you can check out more excerpts here:

1/24: Teenreads
1/25: Criminal Element
1/29: No More Grumpy Bookseller
1/30: Elizabeth A. White
2/1: Short & Sweet Reviews
2/2: Novel Novice
2/5: Read Now Sleep Later


Kay said...

Like the sound of this one for sure! Hope you had a nice vacation!

Dan K said...

Been awhile since I entered one of your giveaways. This one sounds interesting

traveler said...

This sounds intriguing. Thanks.

Danielle H. said...

This book sounds so good. I love to read mysteries.