Tuesday, July 28, 2015

BLOG TOUR [Trailer & Excerpt + Giveaway] Hunter by Renee Donne

Release Date: 11/14/14
Anaiah Press

Summary from Goodreads:
Moving across the country isn’t Hunter’s ideal start to her Junior year of high school. She has no friends to hang out with, no beaches to lounge on, and she’s living just a few miles from the secluded hiking trail where her father died when she was a baby.

Living in Wyoming isn’t all bad, though, thanks to Logan, the handsome veterinary assistant at the animal clinic where she lands an after school job. And he seems just as interested in her as she is in him.

As Hunter begins to settle into her new home, she learns more about the circumstances surrounding her father’s tragic death, and it may not have been the accident everyone believes. Something dangerous lurks in the woods, and Hunter might be the next victim. 

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Chapter One

The world outside the beam of headlights didn’t exist. The relative silence inside the car did nothing to help the feeling of isolation. Of course, my dismal mood had a lot to do with the fact that we were moving clear across the country, away from the big city and crystal beaches, and smack dab into the middle of nothing. Out of the corner of my eye, I looked over at my mother. Her dark hair was up in a crude ponytail, between her glasses and the backlit glow from the dash, she looked older than I’d ever seen her look before. And tired. But then again, we’d been on the road for close to fifteen hours, and we were on the wrong side of midnight.
The road had narrowed to a barren two lanes forever ago. Maybe it just ended in the middle of nowhere. I pulled up Maps on my phone for probably the thousandth time to check that the 287 really did run right through town. My new home, Lander, Wyoming. Population: like negative twenty. Or it might as well be. They didn’t even have a Burger Shack.
But I didn’t get a say in the move. Mom decided for me when she lost her job. “We’re moving home to Grandpa Birchum’s ranch in Wyoming,” she’d said. No, home wasn’t a ranch I’d only visited a handful of times, and a grandfather who was more a stranger to me than our mailman. Home was the house we’d lived in since I was two, the bedroom where I’d slept almost every night for most of my sixteen years. I sighed and turned to look out the window.
Only the occasional farmhouse silhouetted against the night broke the monotony of dark landscape. In the distance, a flash of pale light streaked by much faster than we were going. It was gone before I could blink. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. Nothing but darkness. The world was black once again. It must have been my imagination, maybe a reflection of our headlights on something out in a field. Or maybe we’d just been in the car so long I was beginning to hallucinate out of sheer boredom.
“Listen, Hunter, I know you don’t want to move all the way out here. But sometimes we have to do things we don’t always want to do.” My mom even sounded exhausted. I crossed my arms over my chest and kept my gaze on the passing darkness. She continued, “I wish it could have been different, but this will be good for us, I think.”
I pursed my lips.
“Hey, do you remember that time we came out to visit Grandpa for Thanksgiving and it snowed? Remember how beautiful and peaceful it was? We didn’t get snow like that back in South Carolina, huh?” She didn’t seem to notice I wasn’t participating in the conversation.
I reached out, turned the radio on, and let my hand drop back into my lap with a dull thud. All that came through the speakers was soft static. Our usual stations wouldn’t work way out here. Before I could reach for the button to find a local station, my mother reached up and flipped the radio off.
“You know, since I’ll be working on Grandpa’s ranch, I won’t be gone all the time like I used to be. We’ll have a lot more time to spend together.”
Fabulous. It took moving halfway across the country to be able to spend time together… now—when I already had a life and was used to being on my own, more or less. I would really rather have been hanging out with my friends back home than blazing a trail to some ranch out west where I didn’t know anyone.
After a few minutes of silence, my mother sighed and reached for the radio button. She must have finally gotten the hint that I just wasn’t up for chatting. I lost myself in the scenery again as she tuned to some easy-listening station and settled back into driving.
Somewhere in the distance, lightning flashed, and I wrapped my sweater tighter around me, hoping it wouldn’t rain. It was creepy enough driving out here all by ourselves. Rain would absolutely not help. I stared down at the line separating our lane from the shoulder of the road, my eyes unfocused. Maybe I could bore myself to sleep.
Legs. A pair of cowboy boots under jean-clad legs flew into and then out of my line of sight as we passed someone standing on the side of the road. I shot up in my seat, turning so fast I pulled a muscle in my neck. “Ouch!” I rubbed my neck and scanned the road behind us, but darkness had closed in as soon as we passed.
“What’s wrong?” My mom didn’t sound even slightly worried.
“There was someone standing on the side of the road back there.” Did I sound as frantic as I thought I did?
“Oh honey, I’m sure it was just your imagination. It’s almost one in the morning. No person in their right mind would stand out on the highway in the middle of the night.” She sounded like she was reasoning with a small child. That tone always grated on my nerves, but I bit back any smart remarks that might have tried to escape. I knew what I saw. I didn’t need her to believe me to validate it. I crossed my arms over my chest and sat back in my seat. But now, I was worked up. I kept scanning the countryside, the shoulder of the road, the highway behind us for signs of life.
I was so busy looking around, I almost missed the woman who dashed out in front of our car, her flowing white dress billowing around her. My mother reacted in an instant, slamming on the brakes and turning the wheel toward the empty lane designated for oncoming traffic. I braced, cringed, and prayed we missed her. Time slowed; each second lasted for minutes as the car spun. Inertia pulled me toward my door, and I was helpless to resist the pull.
We were going to spin forever. This was it, how I would die. Years later, the car rocked to a stop. Everything was still, the car, the air. Everything except my heart, which was pounding a hole through my chest. Then my mother was on her knees in her seat, leaning over me, checking me over for injury.
“Hunter, are you hurt?” Her voice was high-pitched with fear and held the strain of anxiety.
Was I okay? I ran through a mental checklist of body parts, testing each one for pain or injury. “I’m okay. I’m not hurt. Are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine. But there was a woman in the road.” She was already reaching for her door handle, clutching her phone in her other hand. I climbed out of the car, too. There was no body in the road, so at least we hadn’t hit her. My mother and I walked together to the back of the car, each scanning the surrounding area and the road behind us.
The road was empty, the countryside vacant. The woman was gone.

About the Author

Renee Donne is a native Floridian with a penchant for writing books with a western theme. In her head, she's a world traveler and an amateur chef. In real life, she's a hometown girl with an affinity for fine wine and good friends. Her favorite place to write is sitting on her veranda, overlooking the beach.

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