Today we're excited to share Angela Blount's excerpt from her novel, Once Upon A Road Trip as part of the YABC Scavenger Hunt! Read on for more about Angela and her novel!
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Meet Angela Blount!
Award-winning author Angela N. Blount is a Minnesota native, transplanted to the deep South--where she currently resides with her understanding husband, their two children, and a set of identity-confused cats. She is a former book reviewer for RT Book Reviews, a memoirist, freelance editor, sporadic poet, and webcomic artist. In her spare time, Angela enjoys reading, coffee shop loitering, questionable attempts at horticulture, and all things geeky.
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Meet Once Upon A Road Trip!
Eighteen-year-old Angeli doesn't "fit in." She's never been on a single date, and she lives vicariously through an online world of storytelling. With the pressures of choosing a practical future path bearing down, she needs a drastic change. Too old to run away from home, she opts instead to embark on a solo 2-month road trip. But her freedom is tempered by loneliness -- and anxiety tests her resolve as she comes face-to-face with her quirky internet friends.
Aside from contracting mono and repeatedly getting herself lost, Angeli's adventure is mired by more unforeseen glitches -- like being detained by Canadian authorities, and a near-death experience at the hands of an overzealous amateur wrestler. Her odyssey is complicated further when she unwittingly earns the affections of two young men. One a privileged martial artist; the other a talented techie with a colorful past.
Bewildered by the emotions they stir, Angeli spurns the idea of a doomed long-distance relationship. But she is unprepared for the determination of her hopeful suitors. In the wake of her refusal, one man will betray her, and the other will prove himself worthy of a place in her future. Angeli sets off in search of a better understanding of herself, the world, and her place in it. What she finds is an impractical love, with the potential to restore her faith in happy endings.
A true story with an unapologetically honest outlook on life, love, faith, and adventure -- Once Upon A Road Trip is a coming-of-age memoir.
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~ Excerpt ~
Angie eased down and then flopped onto her back. The cushioning grass cooled her skin, while the stars overhead greeted her with unusual brilliance. “Wow,” she breathed, pleased to have such a worthy distraction from her waning discomfort. “Not much light pollution out here, huh?”
“Yeah, that’s one of the few perks.” Vince chuckled, stretching out beside her. “My dad bought me a telescope when I was a kid. I wish I could remember more about it than just how to find the planets.”
Contemplating, Angie stretched out a hand in front of her and pointed up at the first constellation she could easily identify. “That ‘W’ shape is Queen Cassiopeia.” She traced the lines from point to point with her fingertip. “It’s supposed to be her on her throne, but it leaves a lot to the imagination.”
“The vain queen.” Vince nodded when she glanced his way. “I remember something about that from Greek mythology.”
“That’s right.” Angie nodded. With a degree of satisfaction, she motioned toward a kite-shaped constellation. “There, that one’s yours. Draco.” She followed along its winding tail with a sweeping finger.
“The Dragon.” A smile came through in his voice. “So, where’s the north star?”
“See Ursa Major…the Big Dipper?” Angie pointed to the star grouping, skimming upward as she drew along the handle.
“That’s the easiest marker,” she said. “Look to the cup part at the top corner, and then off in a straight line—you’ll run into the handle of The Little Dipper. Its layout is reversed from the Big Dipper. See it?” She turned her head aside to follow his gaze as he tracked with her instructions.
Vince shifted closer until their shoulders touched, bringing his angle of sight in better alignment with hers. “Yeah, I see it,” he said, lips quirking upward in recognition.
“It’s right there,” Angie said as she outlined the invisible connections. “The last one at the end of the handle.”
Vince looked upward intently, nodding once before turning his face toward her. “So that’s the one I follow, if I want to find you again?”
Angie gave a dismissive smirk to conceal her sudden trepidation. “I believe buying a plane ticket would be the easiest way.” He couldn't like me that much. Not after I almost got sick all over his car. “But don’t feel obligated. There isn’t that much to see in Minnesota.”
Vince made a thoughtful sound, but said nothing more.
Angie stared up at the glimmering starscape overhead until her thoughts settled and her eyes drifted closed. She didn’t know how long she’d been dozing on the lawn before she felt a light, pleasant sensation moving along her skin. She opened her eyes to find Vince propped up on one elbow, smoothing his fingertips along her arm.
He smiled, lingering concern in his expression. “Feeling better?”
“Much.” Angie fused her answer with a reassuring smile. She considered retracting her arm from his reach, but found herself curious over the soothing effect his touch was having on her. Instead, she pretended not to notice. “I might sleep out here tonight.” She closed her eyes again.
“I suppose you can.” Vince chuckled. His fingers brushed the inside of her elbow, and she barely restrained a shiver. “But I don’t think our luck is going to keep holding out against the mosquitoes.”
“I guess you’re right,” Angie said, though she was in no hurry to retreat to the house.
If he were gutsy enough, this wouldn’t be a bad time to kiss me.
Where did that thought come from? She had little time to examine it before she sensed Vince shift his weight.
Warm breath grazed Angie’s cheek, the only warning she had before she felt the tentative touch of lips to her own. Despite her passing thought, she hadn’t expected this. Instead of her mind switching off in surprise, she was acutely aware of Vince. His kiss was gentle and timorous. Almost novice. Though she knew sharing it could hurt him, in that moment, she feared she might cause him worse pain by rejecting the show of affection. Tentative, she returned the kiss.
Her acceptance ignited a mutual intensity she wasn’t prepared for. Vince pressed closer, with a doting responsiveness that enveloped her—mind and body—in an inexplicable warmth. What she'd meant to end quickly became a searching, drawn-out exchange of emotion. Vince surprised her again by being the one to break their connection.
Angie opened her eyes to find him staring down at her with a tense look of worry.
“Are you alright?” he whispered.
“I…think so.” She forced herself to focus, unsure of what had startled him.
Without warning, Vince lowered his head and laid his ear against her chest. “Your heart—”
Only then did Angie realize her heart rate was so rapid, it felt as though the muscle was rebounding against her rib-cage. She sat up abruptly, baffled by her own physical reaction. “I’m fine. It just does that sometimes,” she said, neglecting to mention that the last time she could remember her heart beating this fast involved a double espresso and a strenuous Aikido practice.
What does that mean? Five minutes ago I wouldn’t have thought of him as anything but a friend.
“Did I...scare you?” Vince eased himself back, brow creased with concern.
“No.” Angie shook her head, mind buzzing with apprehension. She couldn’t be sure if he’d gotten caught up in the stargazing, or if he’d truly begun to care about her. If anything scared her, it was the idea that she now had the power to hurt him.
Once Upon A Road Trip
By: Angela Blount
Publisher: Artifice Press
One winner will receive a Prize Pack to include a signed copy of both Once Upon A Road Trip and Once Upon An Ever After (the complete duology), a banded mini travel journal, and a Socially Hazardous bumper sticker. ~ US Only
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