I’m excited to get to share with you an excerpt from Lana Long’s Finding Favor. Enjoy and be sure to let the author know what you think! I’ll be posting a review tomorrow, so be on the lookout for that. 🙂 If you have been looking for my regular features, be sure to check my Facebook.– Jamie
I woke early after not sleeping well. I threw on gray shorts and a black T-shirt, and put my hair in a ponytail. My eyes were only slightly puffy.
Thankfully the kitchen was the only room awake, and not even Brenda bothered me.
When I opened the greenhouse door, I stopped short. It was only seven but there she stood, by my work table—a place she’d never been—waiting for me with a malicious smile on her face, a metal garbage can at her feet.
“Hello, Favor,” Madison said. A chill traveled up my spine.
“So yesterday was rather embarrassing for you.” She picked a piece of lint off her shirt. “I thought that would be enough, but after a restless night I decided it really wasn’t. My dad sent you a birthday card.”
Her eyes flashed and shone like emeralds. “I knew something needed to be done. And you know what that means.”
She silenced me with a finger to her lips. “Now is not the time for groveling, Favor. That time has passed… if it ever existed.” She pulled a book of matches out of her pocket.
My heart sped up. She was going to burn down the greenhouse. I took a step toward the door. I didn’t need her knocking me over the head and leaving me in the burning building. She was sadistic, but I’d never thought of her as violent. With the manic look in her eyes and a matchbook in her hand, I discovered that I’d never before known true fear.
“Madison,” I said in a warning voice. “What are doing?”
“What am I doing? Favor, I know you’re slow, but c’mon. Even you aren’t that slow.”
“Madison, if you burn down the greenhouse your parents are going to be really, really mad. Murder is a capital crime.”
She laughed at me, her head thrown back and her fist clutched to her stomach. “That is hilarious. You think I would risk my future for you.” Her eyes went bright green and even crazier still.
“That’s it, you know?” She took a step toward me and I took a step back. “The attitude that everything is about you. Always about you.”
“Are you crazy?” I screeched. Not the best thing to say but she’d gotten me going. “Nothing is ever about me!”
“Really? Then why did my dad send you a birthday card when he didn’t send one to me?”
All hope of reasoning with her drained out of me. Mr. Brown had forgotten Madison’s birthday earlier in the year. I’d been too distracted by my own problems to make the connection.
“Madison, you have to know the birthday card had nothing to do with wishing me a happy birthday.”
“Oh, I know.” She waved her hand, making my stomach plunge as the matches waved, too. “I know about the contract. I found it in your desk.”
I tightly fisted my hands to stop my urge to throw her to the ground and take the matches.
She stretched her neck and smoothed her hair.
I stepped toward her.
She went perfectly still. “Now, now, Favor. If I were you, I would try not to piss me off anymore this summer, or I’ll tell my dad about your little crush on Ethan.”
Another thing she knew about me. I felt exposed.
“He’ll take away your money for college. And something tells me your precious internship is in this deal, too. But right now I’m feeling charitable, and really, angrier at my father. So, unless you do something to make me less charitable, your secrets are safe with me. But that doesn’t mean that I can let you get away with garnering even a little attention from dear, old Dad.”
I swallowed hard. “What do you plan to do?”
“Oh, I plan to burn these.” She held up the trash can and inside, stacked neatly on top of each other, were my journals.
“Madison…” I took a step towards her.
“Uh-uh.” She twisted her body so the trash can was farther away from me. “Like I said, the time for groveling is over.”
“Madison, please.” Tears welled in my eyes. “You don’t understand. Those journals are all I have of my dad. They’re everything that’s important to me.”
“I know that,” she scoffed. “Why do you think I choose this method of retribution? You take away my dad’s attention, and I take away your dad’s attention. It seems fair.” Her tone turned sinister and she sounded crazier.
“How did you find them?”
“Oh, I have my ways. You’re not the only one with secrets.”
“Madison, I will do anything you want.”
She put the trash can down and pinched the bridge of her nose. “Stop saying my name!” She started out in a whisper and was screaming by the end.
I should’ve turned to run and save myself, but I couldn’t. Those journals meant everything to me.
“God.” She sighed in frustration. “Don’t say another word, okay?” She smiled at me. “I have a whole day planned so I’m going to get this over with. This is for the birthday card.”
She pulled a match out of the box.
I stared stunned, shaking my head. She struck the match, and I felt faint.
“But most of all, this is just fun.” She flung the match into the trash can and a flame shot up a few inches from the can. Even Madison jumped back.
“Huh,” she said thoughtfully. “Shouldn’t have used so much lighter fluid.”
The flame jumped inside the trash can, but thankfully, stayed contained.
I gave Madison plenty of room as she left, not daring to take my eyes off of her. Once the door slammed shut, I grabbed the nearest water can.
I tore through the greenhouse trying to find water. Finding a half-full can, I doused what was left of the fire, a plume of smoke rising and encircling my face. I coughed, waving at the quickly dissipating smoke.
Finding Favor is priced at just 99 cents as part of its special launch week sale. Pick up your copy on either Amazon US or Amazon UK now, and don’t forget to stop by and participate in the special release week contests.
Our big launch week prize basket includes: Journal with a cover inspired by Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (as is this novel), note cards with an orchid design (Favor’s favorite flower), a hard cover edition of To Kill a Mockingbird (Ethan’s favorite book), and a cool pen (who doesn’t love cool pens?). CLICK HERE NOW TO ENTER!
About Finding Favor
In the eight years since seventeen-year-old Favor Miller’s father died, she’s had to endure her reluctant, self-righteous guardians the Browns. Every day for eight years, they’ve reminded her that she doesn’t fit in, that she’s not one of them. Every day for eight years, she’s eagerly awaited the day when she’ll finally be free to live her life her way.
On the eve of high school graduation, Mr. Brown ambushes Favor with the offer of college funding and a to-die-for summer internship–with the one stipulation that she must discontinue her friendship with his son, Ethan.
Accustomed as she is to sharing everything with her best friend, this is one secret Favor must keep in order to protect Ethan. The distraction of his new girlfriend, her growing friendship with his older brother, and her need to understand her family history, add in further complications.
As Favor debates signing the contract, she must decide if she’s willing to give up her best friend in order to pursue her dreams. Will she have to stay in the place she’s so desperately wanted to escape in order to make the right decision and get what she really needs?
About Lana Long
As a devoted fan of young adult novels herself, Lana Long is thrilled to be gracing the YA world with her first novel, Finding Favor. Many years of daydreaming and several writing classes and workshops have contributed to the development of Finding Favor as well as to her inevitable future books. Through her experiences at Lighthouse Writers in Denver, the Big Sur Writing Workshop in California, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference, she has learned an amazing amount about writing novels.
Although writing serves as a relaxing process, Lana is also grounded by her family, by her work as a church treasurer, and by volunteering at her kids’ elementary school.
She hopes that her books provide readers with the same entertainment she herself finds in YA novels. If you enjoy a good coming-of-age story featuring enthralling characters, check out Finding Favor and read more of Lana’s thoughts at www.lanalongbooks.com.