Two years ago, Brenna did the unthinkable. She witnessed the aftermath of a murder and accused her only true friend--the first boy she ever loved--of being a killer.
Now sixteen, Brenna returns to Oklahoma only to discover that Isaac "White Bird" Henry isn't in juvie. The half-breed outcast is in a mental hospital, frozen in time, locked in his mind at the worst moment of his life. And when Brenna touches him, she's pulled into his hellish vision quest, seeing terrifying demons and illusions she doesn't understand.
Feeling isolated and alone, she's up against the whole town, targeted by bullying former classmates, a bigoted small town sheriff, and a tribe who refuses to help one of their own. But when Brenna realizes she's as trapped by the past as White Bird is, this time she won't turn her back on him. She's the only one who can free them both.
Even if she has to expose her secret--a "gift" she's kept hidden her whole life.
I sleep with the dead.
I don’t remember the first time I did it and I try not to think about why. It’s just something I do. My fascination with the dead has become part of me, like the way my middle toes jut out. They make my feet look like they’re shooting the finger 24/7. My “screw you” toes are my best feature, but that doesn’t mean I brag about them. Those babies are kept under wraps—just for my entertainment—the same way I keep my habit of sleeping in cemeteries a secret from anyone. Not even my mother knows I sneak out at night to curl up with the headstones…and the stillness. Some things are best left unsaid.
In the arms of stone angels, I’m not afraid.
I wish I had remembered the part about not telling secrets when I came across my friend White Bird under the bridge at Cry Baby Creek. A woman’s spirit cries for her dead baby and haunts that old rusted steel and wood plank footbridge. I’d seen her plenty of times, I swear to God. She never talked to me. The dead never do. She only cried and clutched the limp body of her baby to her chest.
Back then I didn’t fully understand how fragile the barrier was between my world and another existence where the dead grieved over their babies forever. And I had no idea that a change was coming. Someone would alter how I saw the thin veil between my reality and the vast world beyond it.
And that someone was my friend, White Bird.
When I saw him crying in the shadows of that dry creek bed, just like the ghost of that woman, the sight of him sent chills over my skin. I should have paid attention to what my body was telling me back then—to stay away and leave him alone—but I didn’t.
He was rocking in the shadows and muttering words I didn’t understand. When I got closer, I saw he wasn’t alone, but I couldn’t see the girl’s face. And tears were running down his cheeks. They glistened in the gray of morning, at the razor’s edge of dawn. I wish I had stayed where I was that day—hiding in the dark—but my curiosity grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.
Like an omen, the buzz of flies should have warned me. And thinking back, I wish that I had paid more attention to the sound. Even now, a single housefly can trigger that dark memory. And on nights when the dead can’t comfort me to sleep, I still hear the unending noise of those flies and I think of him. Our paths had crossed that day for a reason, as if it was always meant to be, and both of us were powerless to stop it.
I remember that morning like it was yesterday and I can’t get him out of my head.
White Bird was the first boy I ever loved. He was a half-breed, part Euchee Indian and part whatever. He was an outcast like me, only I couldn’t claim anything cool like being Indian. Because he was half-breed and without parents, the Euchee didn’t officially claim him, but that didn’t matter to White Bird. In his heart he belonged to the Dala, the Bear clan of the tribe, because the bear represented the power of Mother Earth. And the strong animal was a totem sign of the healer. The way I saw it, he had picked his clan well.
In school, the teachers called him by his white name, Isaac Henry. But when it was just the two of us, he preferred I call him by his Indian name and that made me feel real special. He was different from the other boys. I was convinced he had an ancient soul. He was quiet and didn’t speak much, even to me. But when he did open his mouth, the other kids listened and so did I.
Some people were scared of him because he was taller and bigger than most of the boys and he kept to himself. Sometimes he would get into fights. But after he got his tribal band tattoos, the fights stopped and everyone left him alone, including his teachers. His tattoos made him look like a man. And that was fine by me.
He wore his dark hair long to his shoulders and his eye color had flecks of gold and green that reminded me of a field of wheat blowing easy in the Oklahoma wind. And his skin made me think of a golden swirl of sweet caramel. That’s how I thought of him before the nightmare happened. He dominated my mind like a tune I couldn’t get out of my head, something memorable and special.
White Bird was my first crush.
And in a perfect world, my first crush should have been unforgettable and magic. But when mine turned out to be the worst nightmare of my pathetic excuse for a life, I knew I’d never deserve to be happy and that magic was overrated. And as for White Bird being unforgettable, the day I saw him under that bridge covered in blood and ranting like a crazed meth head over a girl’s corpse with a knife in his hand, I knew that image would be burned into my brain forever.
It was highly unlikely that I’d forget him and I made sure he’d never forget me. I was the one who turned him in to the sheriff.
ABOUT JORDAN DANE
HarperCollins launched Jordan’s suspense novels back to back in 2008 after the 3-book series sold in auction. Ripped from the headlines, Jordan's gritty plots weave a tapestry of vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense thrillers to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag. This national best-selling, critically acclaimed author’s debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM was named Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2008. Dane’s first Young Adult book is IN THE ARMS OF STONE ANGELS (Apr 2011, Harlequin Teen) with ON A DARK WING set for January 2012. Formerly an energy sales manager, she now writes full time. Jordan and her husband share their San Antonio residence with two cats of highborn lineage and two very lucky rescue dogs.
ANGI: How often to you get lost in a story?
JORDAN: If a story can make me forget that I’m an author, that’s when I really get lost…and fast. Right now I’m reading Ilsa J Bick’s ASHES, a dark YA that has sucked me in. She writes beautifully. Love her word choices, but her characters are very strong and her settings are atmospheric and eerie. Love her.
ANGI: What’s the first book you remember reading?
JORDAN: Being a Texas girl, I grew up with a love for horses. The first books I remember craving were any novels with horses in them. Westerns with lone wolf cowboys & fantasies with flying horses suckered me in. I hung out at my elementary school library and read every single book that had a horse in it. With my first summer job, I bought a horse and had a few horses for years until the upkeep got too much with school too. Great memories though.
ANGI: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
JORDAN: I’m featuring a hero that I know in my upcoming book ON A DARK WING (Harlequin Teen, Jan 2012). David Clampitt is a cousin of mine and he consulted on this book to help me uncover the heart of my fictional character, Tanner Lange, who is confined to a wheelchair after a tragic four-wheeler accident. In real life, Dave lost the use of his legs when he was a teen and is wheelchair bound. Now Dave is a physical therapist and helps others get back on their feet. He’s happily married and a great guy. An inspiration to me. I had always been impressed with his physical strength, watching him move with such independence and his humor is out of bounds. Dave shared his personal stories of how people treat him—right after the accident to now—and some of those stories broke my heart. I had to include them and infuse Tanner Lange with Dave’s real experiences. Dave Clampitt is who I think of when I see the word “hero.”
ANGI: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
JORDAN: I love Pepé Le Pew. He has obvious drawbacks that he ignores. He’s a lover not a hater. And his rose-colored glasses make him very happy.
ANGI: What turns you off like nothing else?
JORDAN: Chaotic crowds, intense traffic, and slow computers. I need to get better at accepting things beyond my control (like Pepé Le Pew) and enjoy the moment, but I can turn into a crazy person in a heartbeat. Must be my Latin blood. It can be the best of me and the worst.
ANGI: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
JORDAN: I usually have a playlist for my YAs, only because it keeps me plugged into the music scene and I love how song lyrics can set the tone for a character or even inspire twists in the plot. I had Buck Cherry & other songs mentioned in this book but one song in the story really makes me smile. It reminds me of my niece who recommended it to me. My character, Brenna Nash, liked this song and so do I.
“I Like Giants” by Kimya Dawson http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwhxSV8dLdA
ANGI: Where do you read and how often?
JORDAN: I read every day and it’s become a bedtime ritual. I even go to bed early if I have a particularly good book on my nightstand or on my kindle. I do my edits for the material I wrote that day, but then I indulge in reading other people’s books. Reading transports me to a place where my mind can relax, even if the book is dark, I love how a good story can mellow me out.
ANGI: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
JORDAN: People ask this question of me all the time and look at me strangely when I say that I don’t have one favorite. I love so many movies for the various things they do for me and at the time of my life they came along. Even if I started a list, I don’t think it would ever be complete. I recently saw THE TREE OF LIFE and I’m still scratching my head, saying, “huh?” Definitely beyond awful. Sorry, Brad.
ANGI: Is writing or story-telling easier for you?
JORDAN: Story telling is always easy because it’s part of who I am and I do it for me. Writing is harder because I do it for others. I have to filter my word choices through my life’s experiences and struggle with the best way to convey what I need in a scene. I don’t even need a glass of wine to story tell. Just sayin’
ANGI: What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?
JORDAN: I’m so excited to be launching a virtual tour for ON A DARK WING (HarlequinTeen, Jan 2012) in Nov-Dec and YA Bound is hosting it. This will be my first YA tour so I’m very excited. There will be really cool prizes. With each signed book, my character Abbey is sending a surprise care package to every winner. (Abbey hasn’t told me yet what those will be. She’s such a drama queen.) Stay tuned for grand prize news. Amazing! (Advance review copies are available on Netgalley.) I love this book and hope you will too.
ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: Hey, Jordan…Out of all the books you’ve written, who is your favorite hero and why?
JORDAN’S GOTTA ANSWER: This is the same as asking a mother who her favorite kid is. Come on. Every character is a part of me and my life’s experiences. How could I say one has it over another? With each character, I find vulnerability that endears them to me. Many break my heart, but most stick with me even to this day. I feel badly for treating them the way I do too. I’m a bad momma, I guess.
UP NEXT FOR JORDAN
ON A DARK WING
“The choices I had made led to the moment when fate took over. I would learn a lesson I wasn’t prepared for and Death would be my willing teacher.”
Five years ago, Abbey Chandler cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but her lucky break came at the expense of her mother’s life and changed everything. After she crossed paths with Death—by taking the hand of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky—she would never be normal again. Abbey finds out the hard way that Death never forgets.
STAY IN TOUCH WITH JORDAN through her Website Twitter @JordanDane Blog
JORDAN WILL BE DRAWING for 3 signed copies of IN THE ARMS OF STONE ANGELS from those leaving comments through Sunday, Oct 30th.
Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.
JORDAN WOULD LIKE TO KNOW: Which of my characters do readers like best and why.
READERS DON’T FORGET to follow us on Facebook or Twitter >GetLostInAStory or #GetLostStories< for a daily update on who’s visiting GLIAS and what they might be giving away! Join us on Monday when Jill hosts Christine Cody. ~Angi