Friday, January 9, 2015

CLP BLOG TOURS presents MOONLIGHT AND ORANGES by Elise Stephens Excerpt

“Are you going to eat that?” Lorona pointed at the decorative orange wedge on Yuki’s salad plate. Yuki handed it to her. As Lorona savored the fruit, Yuki cleared her throat. She wanted to talk about the party and had even bribed Lorona by treating her to lunch, but Yuki had not received one scrap of juicy gossip in return.
Lorona had woken that morning with more than a craving for orange juice. She’d wanted vodka and another kiss. She hoped Yuki hadn’t noticed the empty juice carton in the recycle bin.
You’re being stupid, Lorona told herself as the silence dragged on.
She wasn’t interested in a man like Kestrin. Not one bit. At all. Nothing. One memorable talk followed by a dance and an argument, and finished off with a kiss. It was over. Lorona felt a sinking dread. She was trying too hard to convince herself.
A glint of realization flickered over Yuki’s round face. Lorona had unveiled her mental tornado.
Yuki chortled, “You know, it’s practically written in Webster’s Dictionary—Kestrin Feather’s Kiss: Noun. Definition: See Love Potion Number Nine.”
“Not interested.”
Yuki bounced in her seat. “Not even the littlest bit? Even if—”
“I don’t care if he’s the sexiest guy in the world. If he isn’t
interested in long-term stuff, why in the world do you want to set me up with him?”
“To start, it’ll be good for you. You’ve turned down enough men with your high standards. For two, I think you want this. I’ve never seen you put on this much make-up for work or,” Yuki sniffed the air, “wear your gardenia perfume just to sit with a bunch of dusty books all day. There’s something different about you. I can smell it.” Yuki laughed at her own joke. “You like him and I think he got pricked with his own arrow. That kiss dare thing was his way
of saving you, and I’ve never seen him do anything like that for a girl. He’s acting noble and...” She leaned forward. “I think he might break his habit of flings for you.”
“You’re asking me to believe that he thinks I’m special?”
Yuki’s eyes danced. “I watched the way he carried you and I wasn’t scared for you anymore.”
Yuki’s voice echoed in Lorona’s head. It’ll be good for you. The “what if” questions wriggled to life. Lorona silenced them by speaking.
“Then I’m your little experiment?”
“Damn, I’m late for work.” Yuki stood. “I need to get back. I’ll pick you up for dinner.” She winked, dropped a twenty-dollar bill on the table and sauntered out, swinging her faux alligator purse.
Lorona wished the purse would come alive and bite the smug grin right off of Yuki’s face.

A timeless tale of young romance

Lorona Connelly is ready for a change from her carefully planned, bookish life. When sparks fly at a costume party, she embraces a chance for romance with the handsome Kestrin Feather. However, she quickly realizes that even love and destiny may not be enough to overcome the reality of an overprotective mother-in-law and Kestrin's long, tarnished history of relationships. 

When Lorona's curiosity leads her to Kestrin's journal, doubt plagues them both with insecurities and threatens the relationship. Can true love overcome the odds, or was their whirlwind romance just a frivolous crush? Author Elise Stephens shares a journey of young love, fate, and wounded trust in the story of Lorona and Kestrin, a couple who must learn to overcome their fears to share a life together.

Elise Stephens received the Eugene Van Buren Prize for Fiction from the University of Washington in 2007. Forecast is her second novel. Her first novel Moonlight and Oranges was a quarter-finalist for the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Her short fiction has appeared in the Unusual Stories anthology, as well as in multiple journals.
She lives in Seattle with her husband where they both enjoy swing dancing, eating tiramisu, and taking in local live theater.

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