YABC Scavenger Hunt: Once Upon An Ever After (Angela Blount), Plus Excerpt & Extra Giveaway!
Today we're excited to share an excerpt from
Angela Blount's Once Upon An Ever After as part of the YABC Scavenger Hunt!
Read on for more about Angela and her novel!
And don't forget to answer the question from this post on the Scavenger Hunt form for a chance
to win the Grand Prize!
You can find Scavenger Hunt rules HERE !!
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 staff book reviewer for Young Adult Books Central, an underwriter for LitPick, a memoirist, sporadic poet, and webcomic artist.
In her spare time, Angela enjoys painting, reading, coffee shop loitering, questionable attempts at horticulture, and all things geeky.
~ Excerpt ~
You know you’ve been loitering somewhere too long when you start to recognize the security guards.
For the third time that day I took stock of the same rotund, middle-aged man in uniform as he sauntered past my bench. He cast me a backward glance and muttered something into the walkie-talkie mic he had pinned to the inside of his shoulder. Resisting the urge to give him a friendly wave, I slid my journal into my backpack and scanned the busy Baggage Claim area of the Minneapolis airport.
Arriving two hours early was a bit excessive of me—overeager, even.
I told myself it was prudence, given I’d never driven to the airport before and had attempted to navigate the Twin Cities just twice in the two years since receiving my driver’s license. But the truth was, after a 6,000 mile road trip and traversing several larger metro areas solo, I wasn’t so easily intimidated. No, there was only one reason I was lingering about, people-watching as complete strangers collected their luggage and reunited with other complete strangers. My boyfriend’s flight was coming in this afternoon. And I was stupidly, nervously, ridiculously in love.
The designation still sounded so foreign rolling around in my brain. But then again, I was new to this dating thing. And I hadn’t exactly gone about it in a way most could consider “normal.”
Half an hour earlier, a thirty-something woman awaiting her ride had tried to strike up a conversation with me. “That’s a lovely blouse. You look like you’re waiting for someone special,” she’d said, giving me a knowing smile.
I’d nodded, glancing down at the pink-ish, slit-sleeved peasant shirt I’d painstakingly selected for how well it fit my long, curvy frame. It was a much more feminine look than I usually bothered with, but that concession was balanced out in my mind by the fact that I’d snagged it at a Goodwill bag sale. Deciding it wouldn’t be socially acceptable to mention all that to the professional-looking woman, I volunteered what she was more likely looking for: “My boyfriend. I haven’t seen him .”
The older blonde woman gasped. “Oh, you poor thing! That must be so difficult.” With a look of intense interest she dropped to sit beside me on the bench I’d claimed, parked a little rolling suitcase at her feet, and smoothed her pencil skirt. “My fiancé travels a lot for work. They send him all over—a weekend in Vegas, a week in Japan… I can’t stand it half the time, but two months?! I can’t imagine.”
“It’s…kind of a long distance relationship,” I admitted, unsure what to do with the chatty woman’s attention. Should I introduce myself?
Hi, I’m Angeli. Are you interested in becoming friends, or am I just your social life raft for the next few minutes? I managed to contain the tactless thought. No point in feeling things out—chances were we’d never see each other again. Deciding the anonymity was enough reason to be my candid self, I added, “He lives in Alabama.”
“Oh, well that’s…quite a distance.” The woman gave a lipstick-smooth smile that seemed meant to cover skepticism. “But I hear if those kinds of relationships do happen to work out, they’re pretty solid. ‘Whatever doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger,’ and all that…”
I didn’t think I liked her use of the word ‘if,’ but I smiled politely and nodded. After all, my family, who were well versed in how mulishly determined I could be, were only somewhat optimistic about the potential lifespan of my first real relationship. Why expect more from a total stranger?
As it occurred to me I should give her a turn at being the focus of discussion, the blonde woman decided to fill the silence. “I bet he’s really looking forward to seeing you,” she nudged my elbow with hers in a conspiratory gesture.
Guessing she was insinuating something, I tried not to look embarrassed. “I like to think so.”
“How did you two meet, anyway? College? Spring break...?”
Oh boy, here goes…
“Technically, I guess you could say I met him on the internet,” I began, noting as the woman’s finely-shaped eyebrows shot up. I couldn’t tell if I’d merely surprised her or if she'd just set her freak-sensors to maximum. “But not on a matchmaking site or anything like that,” I hurried on. “We started out just friends in a sort of story-writing community…thing.” Specifying that it was a text-based role play game probably wouldn’t help build a case for my sanity or normalcy, so I left that part out. “Then I went on a road trip a few months ago to finally meet a few of my friends from there in person, and he and I just…clicked.” The summary didn’t do the experience any justice, but it was the best I could come up with on short notice.
“Oh,” the woman uttered, shifting uncomfortably on the bench. “That’s very interesting.” The way she stressed the word ‘interesting’ made me think it wasn’t the term she wanted to use. At least she was polite enough to hide her bewilderment. “Were there a lot of you who went on this road trip?”
“No, it was just me,” I said, impressed by how much higher her eyebrows were able to creep up her pale forehead. I was losing her. “But I was careful about it. I did background checks, self-defense training…kept a knife and a can of Mace close by. The Mace actually got me in a fair bit of trouble while I was in Canada—that’s kind of a funny story…”
The woman straightened her back and craned her neck, as if tracking one of the cars passing the window through the pickup area behind us. “Oh, well, there’s my ride,” she said in a cheery voice. She got to her feet and shoved the rolling suitcase ahead of her. “Thanks so much for keeping me company. And good luck to you!” With a tight smile and a wave she stepped around to the doors and out into the balmy, late September air.
I watched her out of the corner of my eye as she paced up and down the sidewalk for another ten minutes before a car pulled to the curb and she moved to meet it.
Shouldn’t have mentioned the knife, I decided.
Once Upon An Ever After
By: Angela Blount
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