Once, sixteen year-old Dante Delgado dreamed of being one of the few trapecistas able to do a quadruple somersault in the air. Then a tragic accident took his parents, their circus, and his ability to fly.
Circus is one big family all over the world, and Dante hates everything to do with it. But to survive, he must choose between joining the ranks of the tiny, yet magical Mumbo Jumbo Circus or its nemesis, the Las Vegas spectacular, Cirque Patron. And it doesn’t help that two very different girls are confusing the situation.
If he makes the wrong choice, he won’t have a future to worry about.
Title: The Daring Young Man
Author: Jane George
Release date: December 10, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult Fantasy – I usually recommend for 14+
Promotion Event organized by: AToMR Tours
Giveaway per blog: We are giving away a copy of THE MUMBO JUMBO CIRCUS (Book #1) or THE DARING YOUNG MAN (Book #2). Follow the rafflecopter linky to enter!
DARING YOUNG MAN Excerpt #2 from Chapter 13.
Dante and Markie, a strange girl who has taken up with the circus teens, are busking (performing for money) in Balboa Park, San Diego. The act ends with a kiss:
Markie crashed into him. By all rights, he should have been flattened. The impression was more like being absorbed into a marshmallow. Her arms wrapped around him, sending a rush of feeling all down his back that continued into his hamstrings and calves. He shuddered, and she responded by quivering with glee. Her eyes were bulbous. Her teeth protruded. Dante should be repulsed.
But he wasn’t.
The crowd started chanting, “Kiss him! Kiss him!”
Markie played the moment to its fullest, glancing at the crowd, her expression bursting with naiveté, as if to ask, “Should I, really?”
They hooted and stomped.
She ripped the fake lips from her face and placed her mouth upon Dante’s.
A collective, “OOOOOOOOH,” rose from the audience.
Dante barely heard it. What he did hear was the haunting lullaby from the night he almost drowned and the seductive sound of ocean waves relaxing his defenses, drawing him in. Her mouth slid over his with sublime tenderness. He couldn’t stop himself from kissing her back. The kiss grew deeper.
His body buzzed, and along with the sensation came an overwhelming sense of her love. For him. He felt himself melting into her. He craved this unconditional comfort she offered. And her kiss was so incredibly hot. So sinuous. He forgot this was Markie. She hugged him tighter, and he floated on a soothing bed of complete ease. His hurt, his worry, his anger, vanished. He longed to keep kissing her, to disappear into her love.
The lullaby pulled at his thoughts. A hiss-hiss sound tugged at his body. It was the sound waves made as they kissed the sand. Over and over. He could no longer tell where he ended and Markie began. They merged. For a split second, he connected with her pure, inner joy, sparkling and fizzy, like he was her.
Dante wasn’t swimming, but he felt like he was. Deep in his soul, something black rose up like a shark, ascending toward the surface beneath his desperate, paddling feet. He couldn’t allow this. She’d drown him. Kill who he was. He couldn’t breathe.
He pushed away from Markie and stumbled backward.
They were alone. The crowd had long dispersed.
“¿Qué diablos?” he demanded.
“We kissed.” She stared at him with those ugly, gorgeous goggle-eyes. “It was part of the act.”
“I’m talking about the rest of it.” He backed a step further from her. “What in hell happened, man?”
She walked over to the coffee can and lifted it. “We made a bunch of money is what happened. We work well together.”
“There’s a group of people coming out of the conservatory.” Markie pointed. “Let’s start the act over.”
“You mean do it again?” Dante couldn’t quite keep the dismay out of his voice.
“Yeah, of course. The Mumbo Jumbo Circus needs money. We can double what’s in this can right now.”
He narrowed his eyes at her, trying to see her secrets. “You’re some type of siren aren’t you? You know, like the ones that drown sailors.”
She startled. “What are you talking about? We don’t… Those aren’t real.”
“You tried to drown me with that kiss,” he accused.
“You’re nuts. I would never…” She set down the can and put her hands on her hips. “I saved your life on that beach!”
Angry again, Dante walked up close to her. “Saved my life? I woke up naked, covered in sand, and couldn’t remember much. How about you tell me what went on, yeah?”
“I rescued you so now I care about you, is that so awful?”
Dante froze. That was exactly how he felt about Belinda. Well that, and a healthy dose of lust.
He said, “I don’t remember needing to be rescued.” Which wasn’t true.
“Trust me. You were well on your way to being the cutest corpse I’ve ever seen.”
Dante hated to be called cute. And wait a minute, she’d seen other corpses? He was far from reassured. He could recall the gangbangers, their fists and their knives. He remembered backing into the ocean to escape them. After that, his mind filled with that haunting lullaby and a warm mushy feeling. Yuck. That feeling, combined with the frustration of not being able to recount everything that happened that night, added to his rage.
“You must be one heck of a swimmer,” he spat out. “Olympic level even.”
“Oh, I’m better than that. I’m a regular sea monster.”
Dante laughed and, oddly, his anger dissipated. He couldn’t figure her out. What an absurd thing to say.
Author and illustrator Jane George lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a BFA in illustration from the California College of the Arts and has won awards for her art.
A dedicated writer for over a decade, she produces and publishes her YA fantasy and literary titles under her personal imprint, Paper Grove Publishing. Find out more at: www.Jane-George.com
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