Today is my stop on The Blackbird Season blog tour and I am here to share an exciting excerpt to with you all!
About the Book
“Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times…
Until, of course, more important question arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.”
In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.
Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alecia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alecia to wonder if her husband has a second life.
And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.
Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.
The comforting thing about high schoolers was they never changed. Every day they were as self-absorbed as the day before, their phones perpetually inches from their faces, fingers flying over the screens, sending Snapchats and text messages and tweets. Drama over boyfriends and best friends and boyfriends-slash-best friends. Bridget kept her ear to the ground: she knew who were BFFs and baes and whose mom was popping pills and whose dad was sleeping with the biology teacher who wore the short skirts.
Even when Bridget had bad days, really, really bad days, when she missed Holden with every breath in her body, when her very cells seemed to vibrate with missing him, with the way his flat, wide thumb used to slide up her arm with a smooth, gentle pressure. It was the little gestures that popped into her mind and stole the air from her lungs in the middle of class, in the middle of a sentence half the time. She swore the kids thought she’d lost her ever-loving mind. Maybe she had. But even then, on those days when she could barely string two sentences together and they all looked at her, mouths agape like catfish, they never let her down. They concerned themselves with her for about one hot minute before they kept on keeping on with their oh-so-gripping soap opera lives.
It was too cold for March. Sneaking up on spring break and still hovering around the thirties and forties. Her Georgia blood wasn’t used to this nonsense, and she wondered for about the billionth time why she didn’t go back, now that Holden wasn’t keeping her here anymore. Maybe because it still felt like he was here, only nine months later. Hardly any time at all, and she could still sense him in the bare, crackling trees in the front yard, their leaves scattered and killing what was left of his precious lawn. She could, what? Feel his aura? Oh, if her mother could hear her thoughts. Ain’t got the good sense God gave a rock, that’s what she’d say.
“Earth to Bridge.” Nate Winters stood in the door to her empty classroom, only three minutes after the bell, but long enough into her prep period to catch her sitting, hands folded in her lap, staring at the far wall of chipped and peeling cinder block.
She gave him a big smile, shaking her head to clear it. “I’m here. I was . . . thinking.”
Nate crossed the room in two easy lopes, turned a chair backward, and sat. “You? Nah.” He rolled his eyes and she swatted at him.
They used to joke about that, Bridget’s hamster-wheeled brain, the thing that never stopped. Even when she was drinking, she’d stand up suddenly, her whiskey and Coke sloshing over the edge onto Alecia’s new carpet (and you could tell she had a small heart attack about it), and proclaim to have an idea. This was back when they thought they could do things. Nate and Bridget were teachers. Holden was a doctor. Alecia was in public relations. They were a dream team for some not-yet-established charity that helped children and bought them shoes or taught them to read or gave impoverished girls tampons. They had potential, dammit.
Bridget straightened the papers on her desk, just for something to do, her mind slipping dangerously on the thin ice of the past, the way it sometimes did. Some days she never really found her footing. But Nate made it more bearable. He touched her arm.
“How’s Alecia?” She brushed her hair back off her shoulders, sat up straighter, and gave Nate another bright smile. “Gabe?”
“Oh, you know. Ups and downs.” He shrugged, and Bridget wondered how many of the downs Nate really got to see up close.
“Give them my love.”
He nodded and pulled out a folded index card. “I stopped by because I wanted your advice on this.” He pushed it across the desk at her.
The ravens came in sets of three
One for each sword, drawn down, unfreed
Until nightfall when he’d cower
Washed with the blood of a thousand kings