The Summer of Shambles
by Ebony McKenna
Publication date: June 21 2013
Genres: Comedy, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Dive into this wonderfully witty young adult series from author Ebony McKenna, set in the far off European country of Brugel.
15-year-old Ondine is struggling to fit in at Psychic Summercamp and doubts she possesses any of her family’s magical abilities. She resolves to leave, determined to follow her own path and be a normal teenager. Whatever normal is in a place like Brugel.
On the way home Ondine is shocked when her pet ferret Shambles starts talking – in a cheeky Scottish accent no less! He is in fact a young man trapped in a witch’s curse. When he briefly transforms into his human self, Ondine is smitten. If only she can break the spell for good, Shambles can be handsomely human on a full-time basis.
During the summer, these two misfits uncover a plot to assassinate a member of the royal family and discover a secret treasure that has remained hidden for decades. This attracts the attention of the arrogant Lord Vincent, and Ondine can’t help being drawn in by his bad-boy charm.
With so many demands on Ondine’s attentions – and affections – normal has never seemed so far away.
The Summer of Shambles is the first in the four-part ONDINE series. Fans of The Princess Bride or the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series will love this delightfully quirky fairytale.
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The smell of fried breakfast foods wafted from the kitchen windows, making her tummy rumble.
“Aw, breakfast. I could murder some big fatty sausage,” Shambles said, his tongue licking the fur around his mouth in anticipation.
“You’re stalling,” Ondine said. “Tell me what happened, and then we’ll have food.”
“Ooooh, listen to ye! All grown up and sophisticated, like,” Shambles teased, then Ondine stared daggers at him and his voice dropped to a sombre tone. “I didn’t know she was a real witch, otherwise I wouldnae called her one. But she was getting snippy with me, so I ducked off and had some more plütz. It’s like peaches and rocket fuel that stuff, and I’ve nawt touched it since. Then she got really pished with me when I stepped on her feet and fell over. I ripped the lacy bit at the bottom of her skirt and then she got really mad. She called me pond scum. I called her a witch. She looked like her head might explode. She said, ‘You’re damn right I’m a witch. And you’re nothing better than a low-down weasel,’ and then she said I could stay like that.”
“Wow. And she turned you into a ferret, right there in front of everyone?”
“Naw, she turned me into a donkey! Of course she turned me into a ferret! She was fair affronted.”
Ondine gaped at him.
“Ferrets are smaller than weasels, but we’re the same family, so maybe I am a low-down weasel after all. But between us, I prefer ferret.”
Ondine giggled. “I think she did the right thing. Debutante balls take a lot of organizing, and a lot of rehearsals. I think you should apologize to this poor girl as soon as possible. Then you might be yourself again.” The thought of Shambles becoming himself made her wonder what he might look like if he were a real man again? His accent alone made her grin.
Opening the back door, the pungent odour of fried meats and old beer greeted them.
“Aww, that’s the good stuff.” Shambles took a noisy sniff.
“Ondine! What are you doing home?” her mother called out from the hallway.
“Hi, Ma, you look great. Have you lost weight? I love your hair.” Her mother looked as plump as ever, but her new burgundy-brown hairdo skimmed her face and made her look thinner. Flattery ought to put her in a good mood. Just to be on the safe side, Ondine adopted what she hoped was a pleading look on her face. “I . . . I got homesick so I came back.”
Ma stopped mid-stride, mouth open, when she saw the ferret on her daughter’s shoulder. “Heavens above! What is that?” She pointed to the ferret with one hand, while the other patted the ample bosom above her heart, as if the beating organ might leap from her chest.
It called for quick thinking on Ondine’s part, because her mother could be either furious or happy about the situation.
“He’s really tame. Please, Ma, let me keep him?”
But Shambles was having none of it. “That’s the one!” he cried out, finally finding his voice. He scurried down the back of Ondine’s vest. “That’s the witch!”
Ebony McKenna lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and son.
She has worked as a journalist, market researcher, website editor, and company director.
As a teenager, she lived in a family-run restaurant. This provided the inspiration for Ondine's family, as Ebony has also waitressed, prepared food and yep, she washed dishes. So many dishes.
Now she writes novels for a living, so her hands are dry. Except for when her characters are making her laugh too much and she has to wipe tears away so she can see the keyboard.
She's always loved trivia nights and the Eurovision Song Contest, and wishes she'd put money on Conchita Wurst winning this year.
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