Spotlight on Just A Few Inches by Tara St. Pierre, Plus Giveaway!

Spotlight on Just A Few Inches by Tara St. Pierre, Plus Giveaway!

Today we're spotlighting Tara St. Pierre's novel, Just A Few Inches! Read on for more about Tara St. Pierre, her novel, an excerpt, plus a giveaway!

Meet Tara St. Pierre!

 

 

Tara St. Pierre has been writing for over two decades, but her muse only sporadically provides inspiration. Her laptop is filled with incomplete manuscripts and other plot outlines, and she feels blessed when one finally pushes its way through to completion--no matter how long it takes!

She enjoys classic science fiction movies and television shows. When driving, she sings along with the radio loudly and off key. She prefers tea over coffee, spring over autumn, vanilla ice cream over chocolate, and caramel over hot fudge. Though she lives by herself, one of her two cats enjoys cuddling with her.

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Now meet Just A Few Inches!

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All Carrie Roberts wants is to be a little bit smaller.

To fit into the perfect dress for the Valentine’s Day Dance. To look beautiful for her boyfriend, the school’s star basketball player. To keep his jealous ex-girlfriend, a rival cheerleader, away from him. And to be noticed by her classmates.

Exercising and dieting don’t work, but an advertisement for weight loss pills promises a quicker solution to her problem. As time runs out, she takes more than the recommended dose until she’s just a few inches slimmer. Heads turn when she arrives at the dance, and the wonderful night with her boyfriend is beyond what she dreamed it would be.

Days later, Carrie discovers that her body is changing in ways that should be impossible. While her doctor searches for a cure, she desperately turns to her friends and family for support. Everyone is noticing her now whether she likes it or not, and even the media is intrigued by her incredible story. Getting everything she once wanted has created new problems—problems that are growing more terrifying every day.

Because Carrie Roberts is shrinking.

 

EXCERPT:

 

119 lbs.

After Trish posted photos of me and Todd on her various social media pages, there were comments about how wonderful I looked. My glorious night had gone viral, and everyone knew that Todd and I were a couple. There was a part of me—an admittedly catty part of me—that wanted to rub it in Janelle’s face, so I couldn’t wait for that Monday’s basketball game.

However, I had difficulty finding clothes that fit properly. Almost every skirt and pair of pants I owned was loose. Only my tightest skinny jeans fit comfortably around my waist, but not as tightly as they should have. I didn’t need a new wardrobe or anything like that, but it was clear that I was a little bit slimmer than I was before the dance.

I rushed to the bathroom scale and was startled to see I had lost eight more pounds in only two days. I checked to make sure the scale was working right, and I walked away and came back to it, but it still gave the same weight. Even though I had stopped taking the pills, my system mustn’t have fully purged the effects of the heavy dosage I had taken.

Looking at myself in the mirror, I noticed that my body seemed to be in the same proportions as always. I didn’t look particularly thinner, so I wasn’t sure where I had lost the weight. More so, if losing that much weight wasn’t making me look emaciated, how could it possibly be bad? Everyone was saying that I looked great that night, so what was the point in complaining?

That afternoon in the locker room, Lauren brought up the dance after she had changed. “Everyone’s saying you looked so good you had Janelle speechless.”

“She’s still speechless,” said Trish, chomping on a chocolate bar as she joined us. “You shoulda been there, Lauren. You’d be so proud of our little Carrie.”

Not accustomed to being the subject of gossip, I simply smirked and shrugged while I took my cheering uniform out of my bag.

“I guess those pills worked,” said Lauren, a slight tone of condescension in her voice.

“Yep.” I unfastened my belt, and without removing it from the belt loops, I found myself sliding easily out of my jeans.

“Diet pills?” Trish quickly turned to me. “My mom has tried that kinda stuff before. Worked for a bit but then she was chunky once again. If they worked for you Carrie, then that’s cool.”

“Now that the dance has passed, you stopped using them, right?” asked Lauren.

“Well, yeah.” I shrugged as I took off my shirt. One of my bra straps slipped off my shoulder, so I fixed it.

Lauren crossed her arms. “What do you mean well, yeah? What’s going on?”

The other bra strap slid down my other arm. Had I accidentally bought a larger bra and not noticed until then? Had I clasped it too loosely that morning? Pulling at the cups until I could feel the clasp dig slightly into my back, I looked down into my cleavage. Just like my pants, the bra was definitely loose; my breasts didn’t seem to fill it like they usually did.

“Carrie, you haven’t answered me.” Lauren was glowering at me.

“I don’t think their effects have worn off yet.” I put on my cheerleading skirt, but its elastic waist band didn’t cling to me as tightly as it usually did. “I’m still losing weight.”

Trish took a step back to get a full look at me. “You don’t look any thinner. You have the same great shape you had at the dance.”

“I noticed that too.” I sat down to tie my sneakers and noticed myself tying them tighter than usual. “Strange, right?”

As I reached for my cheerleading sweater, one of my bra straps slid off again.

“Then where are you losing it from?”

“No idea.” I put the sweater on, and it not only seemed baggy on me but longer too. “Can sweaters stretch in the wash?”

“Shrink in the wash?” asked Trish. “Totally. I had this really cute pink one that’s now more of a crop top—”

“She said stretch, not shrink.” Lauren rolled her eyes at Trish and then stepped over to me. “I don’t think so. Why do you ask?”

“Look at my sleeves.” I stood and held out my arms. Only days before, the sleeves ended at my wrists instead of reaching to the bottoms of my thumbs—a difference of about an inch. “They’re longer.”

“Maybe, I guess.”

The locker room had emptied except for the three of us. Trish said, “Come on shorties, game’s gonna start.”

Lauren looked me straight in the eye. “Aren’t you forgetting to put your sneakers on?”

“They are on.” Puzzled, I looked at her and then down at the sneakers on my feet. When I looked back at her and found her looking straight back at me, I understood why she had asked. We were at the same eye level.

I slowly turned to Trish, who normally stood at a height about halfway between me and Lauren, but it was clear that she was slightly taller than me.

We stared at one another in awkward silence. I wasn’t sure what to say, and I could tell they weren’t sure either. We all knew for a fact that I was supposed to be taller than both of them, and I doubted that both of them sprouted up a few inches over the weekend. But if they hadn’t grown, then the only other explanation was that I must have gotten shorter. Before I could dwell on that unlikely possibility, Janelle appeared in the doorway and hollered at us to get out to the gym.

I tried keeping my mind on the game instead of worrying, but every time I bounced, a bra strap would slide off, constantly reminding me that something strange had happened to my body.

It was worse during our half-time routine. Towards the end, the squad split up into groups, each holding someone up in the air and letting her fall back into our arms. I was part of a group of five girls helping to lift Trish. My job was to cup my hands underneath Trish’s right foot while she was raised into the air. Two of the other girls held her calves in place, a third spotted from behind, and Janelle had her left foot since she and I were supposed to be the same height. I found myself having to stretch my legs and arms more than I should have needed to keep Trish’s feet even.

When Todd found me after the game, I clung to him, and he innocently said, “Stand up straight so I can rest my chin on your head.”

“I am standing up straight,” I mumbled.

Then came an awkward moment where we both looked at my legs and feet to verify my claim. I was definitely shorter than I had been the week before. Todd simply stared at me, not knowing what to say.

Lauren witnessed the incident, and we gave the details to Trish in my car, after I adjusted the driver’s seat forward one click. Keeping one hand on the steering wheel while the other wiped away tears collecting in my eyes, I asked, “What’s happening to me?”

From the back seat, Lauren put her hand on my shoulder. “Don’t panic. There’s got to be a logical reason why you’ve gotten shorter.”

“People don’t get shorter!”

“It might be some weird side effect of those pills. You did take a lot of them.”

Her voice had a told-you-so tone to it, but she was right. How could I have been so stupid, so careless, so desperate? “What should I do?”

Sitting in the passenger seat, Trish turned to me and flailed her arms as she spoke. “If you stopped taking them, the effect will reverse itself. That’s how it works with my mom. She always puts the weight back on no matter what diet she tries.”

In my rearview mirror, I could see Lauren roll her eyes before asking, “You still have the pills, right? First thing you’ve got to do is tell your mother—”

The car swerved as I exclaimed, “No way! I can’t tell her! She’ll freak out when she finds out what I did.”

“She’s going to figure it out. She knows how tall you’re supposed to be. Look how quickly Todd noticed.”

“There are ways to make you look taller,” said Trish. “All it takes is the right pair of shoes until this wears off.”

There was an uncomfortable silence. I was pretty sure Lauren and Trish were wondering the same thing I was wondering: what if it didn’t wear off?

5’ 5”

I was barefoot and standing as straight as possible against a blank stretch of wall in my bedroom. Since she was the tallest in the room, especially in her cute pair of wedges, Trish marked my height. After moving the pencil away from the top of my head, she guided me aside while Lauren unspooled my stepfather’s tape measure against the wall.

The longer the metallic scraping lasts, the better, I told myself. “What’s the damage?” Though I had asked the question somewhat calmly and jokingly, my insides were all knotted. When the sound ended, I held my breath.

“Five feet, five inches,” announced Lauren. “How tall are you supposed to be?”

“Five-eight.” I could feel my stomach heaving as I stumbled forward and collapsed onto my bed, where I buried my face in my pillow.

Trish said, “I heard that people are shorter at night than they are when they wake up. Maybe—”

“Not three inches shorter.” The pillow probably muffled my faint voice.

I sensed a depression in the mattress beside me and then felt a comforting hand on my back. From above and behind me, Trish said, “It’ll be okay, Carrie. Young people don’t lose their height, and even with old people, it doesn’t happen that suddenly.”

“I doubt it was sudden.” said Lauren, and then I heard her retract the tape measure. “It probably happened gradually, but none of us noticed the difference until today.”

My eyes popped open as I turned my head to the side. Lauren’s conclusion made perfect sense, and it certainly explained a few odd occurrences that I had nonchalantly tossed aside. My weight loss had been gradual, so I could only assume that while I was losing weight, I was also losing height. Then I wondered if it had actually happened the other way around. What if the real reason I had lost weight was because I had slowly gotten shorter? Then the red dress didn’t suddenly fit me because of the weight I had lost; it fit me because all of my body measurements had gotten smaller.

Trish took the tape measure from Lauren and made a mark three inches higher on the wall to indicate my normal height. The first attempt to make it look like I was still there involved the highest pair of heels I owned. When I easily slipped my feet into the shoes, I was horrified to discover they were slightly loose. “My feet too?!”

My mother had a slightly smaller shoe size than I did, so I went into her room and found a pair that fit me fine. When I stood against the wall, I almost reached the five-eight mark, but the difference wouldn’t be noticeable to the casual observer. “What do you think?” I asked.

Trish took off her shoes and stood in front of me. Looking slightly upward at my eyes, she smiled and said, “Looks good to me.”

“You should tell your mom,” said Lauren, folding her arms in front of her. “Whatever happened to you isn’t normal. It could still be happening to you. The sooner you see a doctor—”

Clasping my hands together, I leaned forward and pleaded. I hoped my wide, glassy eyes would convince her that I wanted as few people as possible to know what had happened to me. They would wonder or stare or ask questions. As much as I enjoyed people talking about how great I looked at the dance, I didn’t want anyone talking about how different I looked since. I wanted to live my life as normally as possible, and the only way I could imagine doing so was to make everybody think nothing had changed.

“Please promise me you two won’t tell anyone.”

Lauren groaned. “You know we won’t, but I still think—”

“Our lips are sealed.” Trish covered Lauren’s mouth and then pantomimed zipping her own mouth closed and throwing away the key.

*          *          *

The first thing I did the next morning was measure myself. Though the mark was slightly below the one Trish had made, I quickly came up with rationalizations. Without Lauren and Trish’s assistance, it was harder to get an accurate measurement, or my feet sunk into the carpet. Being in a state of denial, the discrepancy didn’t seem like a problem.

I had to dig through the drawers of my dresser to find a clothing combination that worked. Since the cuffs of all my jeans hung to the floor, I put on a pair of Capri pants. The pink short-sleeved top I finally settled on was a little baggy on me but still acceptable. It was also a little long, but that was simply solved by tucking it in—a maneuver that helped keep my pants snug. Completing the ensemble were Mom’s pink three-inch pumps, which I doubted she’d wear while staying at home or running errands.

Right before practice, I found Lauren and Trish outside the gym. “How was your day?” Lauren asked.

“Pretty good,” I replied. My secret plan was to behave as if there was nothing different about me. “No stares or anything.”

“They should be staring,” said Trish. “You look awesome.”

“Thanks, but these are pretty much the only clothes I own that came close to fitting me.” I turned to Lauren, who appeared a little shorter than I was because she never wore shoes as high as the heels I was wearing. “We’re the same height right now, so do you have any clothes I can borrow until this is over?”

“You’re asking me?” Lauren furrowed her brow and took a step back. “My clothes might be a too…roomy on you.”

Lauren’s tone of voice had shifted, and I felt guilty for making her uncomfortable. She was a little heavier than me, and I was honestly only thinking about my height and not my overall size. I apologized, but Trish interrupted to describe some tight skirts and yoga pants that she’d happily lend me.

Todd approached us, and I prepared myself for the true test. Stretching all my muscles, I straightened myself out as much as possible and waited for him to kiss my forehead and rest his chin on the top of my head. Perfect fit! My charade had worked.

“What are you doing after Friday’s game?” he asked. “My parents will be away for their anniversary, and I’ll be home alone. You wanna come over?”

“Sure!” Of course I wanted to be alone with him, maybe to do more of what we had started in the back seat of his car. It would continue the illusion that everything was still normal in my life.

Todd kissed me goodbye and ran into the gym for practice. Once he was out of sight, I released a deep breath and let my shoulders slump. Standing up so straight was difficult. “I should never have doubted you,” said Lauren. “Can you show me how to be taller?”

“The only drawback about this scheme is these shoes,” I said as we headed to the locker room. “My feet are killing me.”

I sat down, removed my shoes, and rubbed my aching feet. When I stood back up, I was instantly reminded that I wasn’t my normal height. I was looking directly into Lauren’s eyes...no, I was looking slightly up at them! Only the previous evening, we were the same height. I quickly looked down and saw that Lauren was already in her sneakers for practice. Sure enough, when I put mine on, we appeared to be the same height again, so I sighed in relief. I didn’t want to entertain the possibility of being any smaller. Five-foot-five was considered near average height for a woman, and at that time, being average was good enough for me.

 

Just A Few Inches

By: Tara St. Pierre

Release Date: June 1, 2015

*GIVEAWAY DETAILS* 

TWO winners will recieve a paperback copy of the book Just a Few Inches (US only).

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Comments 3

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Linda Romer on Thursday, 26 May 2016 14:21

Just a few inches sounds interesting, I would like to read more of this story. Thank you

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Just a few inches sounds interesting, I would like to read more of this story. Thank you
Bethany on Saturday, 04 June 2016 21:59

I got a chance to read this book in ebook for an honest review. Here it is: https://bethleesbookblog.blogspot.com/2015/12/review-just-few-inches_10.html

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I got a chance to read this book in ebook for an honest review. Here it is: https://bethleesbookblog.blogspot.com/2015/12/review-just-few-inches_10.html
Danielle Hammelef on Sunday, 05 June 2016 08:46

This book will be interesting to read--I love that the author tackles the body image issues in a unique way. The colors of the cover are perfect.

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This book will be interesting to read--I love that the author tackles the body image issues in a unique way. The colors of the cover are perfect.