Today, kicking off Thorn Abbey's official blog tour, hosted by MundieMoms, we have a special first-chapter excerpt hot off the presses!
The dream is always the same. I am walking down the
path, the one that winds through the woods by Thorn Abbey and leads down to the beach. The air is cool and wet with rain, and my footsteps are light on the carpet of brown, fallen leaves as I hurry down to the place where I know he is waiting for me. My cheeks are cold, and my heavy wool sweater scratches against my skin, but I don’t care because I can already feel his strong arms around my body and his warm lips against mine.
And then I am at the bottom of the hill. The beach rises above the horizon, endless and gray. Suddenly, I feel exposed. Frightened. The air is different here: bigger, less forgiving. It smells like the sea and salt and dead things.
I move closer to the water. A wave rushes up to my boots
and then snakes away, leaving two identical dark stains. I shud- der against the chill and look around. Where is he, and why is he late?
Another wave comes up, more imposing than the last, and I step back. But the wave doesn’t retreat. It keeps rising toward me, not cresting or breaking. I cry out and stumble backward. The wave grows larger, more menacing, finally overtaking me and sucking me into its icy deep.
Hands, fingers, hair. Her hands, her fingers, her hair. They wrap around me, colder than death, and pull me under as I scream. Her face—her beautiful, perfect face that he loved with a passion he will never feel for me—is the last thing I see as my lungs fill with the brackish water and I black out into the nothingness, still calling out his name in vain.
“Tess, this is Devon McCain. She’ll be your roommate.
me up. “Hi, Tess! Welcome to Thorn Abbey!” Devon steps forward.
Devon, this is Tess Szekeres. She’s a sophomore.” The house counselor, Mrs. Frith, moves aside as she makes the introductions and waves me into my new room. I enter, hesitating in the doorway as two enormous emerald eyes size
and gives me a quick, fierce hug. She is tall, maybe five ten, and reminds me of an Amazon warrior. Her long, silky black hair looks striking against her crisp white blouse and plaid school jumper.
“I’ll leave you to unpack and get settled,” Mrs. Frith says to me. “Devon is a junior. From Boston. She’s been here since
ninth grade, so she can fill you in on anything you need to know.”
“Yeah, like all the best places on campus to get high and make out,” Devon says merrily.
My cheeks grow hot as I wait for Mrs. Frith to start yell- ing or give Devon a detention or something. But instead, she laughs. “Good one, Devon. Don’t forget the Welcome Tea at four, in the downstairs parlors. See you girls then.”
“Lipton’s and stale scones. Can’t wait.” Devon closes the door after Mrs. Frith and turns to me with a dazzling smile. She has perfect teeth—braces, obviously—and I instinctively clamp my mouth shut. “I thought she’d never leave. Come on, show me the clothes you brought. I saved you the good closet.”
“Um, thanks. I didn’t bring . . . that is, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to . . .”
My voice drifts as I picture my wardrobe, Old Navy circa 2010, folded neatly in my one suitcase. I glance around the room, which is so much bigger than my own at home. Devon, who must have arrived on the early side of check-in, has already taken possession of her half. She’s hung framed posters on the yellow-rose wallpaper: a Vogue cover from the sixties, an ad for a German production of the opera Aida, and photos of Billie Holiday and Amy Winehouse. Her desk is cluttered with makeup, tampons, an iPod, a white laptop, and what look
like birth control pills. There is a purple silk quilt on her bed that looks impossibly glamorous.
Devon plops down on the quilt and kicks off her ballerina flats. She grabs a bottle of nail polish from her nightstand and starts painting her toenails. The way she is sitting, I can just make out a tattoo on her left thigh—a flower?—and a sliver of her black lace panties. I look away.
“Soooo. What is that, Greek?” she asks me. “What?” “Your name. Sounds Greek.” “Actually, it’s Hungarian. My family’s a mix of Hungarian,
Swedish, Chinese, Dutch, and a few other things.” “Wow. Mine are, like, straight Irish American. My dad’s ancestors were potato farmers from Galway. My nana on my mom’s side was an opera singer from Dublin. I’m boring, com-
pared to you.” “I don’t think so.” I can’t imagine Devon ever being boring. “Where did you transfer from?” “You mean, what school? Avery Park.” “Never heard of it. Oh my God, is that one of those hippie
prep schools where you grow organic vegetables and worship Gaia the earth goddess?”
“No, it’s just a regular high school. Like a normal public school. It’s in Avery Park, New York, near Albany.”
“Oh?” Devon raises one eyebrow. “Well, you’re going to love it here. Private school is soooo much better than public school.”
“I know. That’s why my mom made me apply, because my classes weren’t challenging enough and because—”
Devon shakes her head. “No, you idiot, not the classes! I meant the other stuff. You can get away with anything in pri- vate school.”
I stare at her. I’m not sure what to say.
“You have a lot to learn, Young Apprentice,” Devon says, smiling her dazzling smile again “Unpack your crap, then I’ll take you on the unofficial tour.”
About The Book:
By: Nancy Ohlin
Published by: Simon & Schuster
To Be Released on: May 7th, 2013
Add it to Goodreads
Nothing is as it seems in this darkly romantic tale of infatuation and possession, inspired by Daphne du Maurier’sRebecca.
Becca was the perfect girlfriend: smart, gorgeous, and loved by everyone at New England’s premier boarding school, Thorn Abbey. But Becca’s dead. And her boyfriend, Max, can’t get over his loss.
Then Tess transfers to Thorn Abbey. She’s shy, insecure, and ordinary—everything that Becca wasn’t. And despite her roommate’s warnings, she falls for brooding Max.
Now Max finally has a reason to move on. Except it won’t be easy. Because Becca may be gone, but she’s not quite ready to let him go…
About the Author:
I am the author of Thorn Abbey, a YA retelling of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, and Beauty. a YA retelling of the Snow White tale.
I've also contributed to several celebrity novels, including a New York Times-bestselling YA trilogy.
I'm currently hard at work on my next YA novel, which will be as romantic and mind-bending as Thorn Abbey (I hope!).
My favorite cures for writers' block are long walks, long showers, popcorn, chocolate, and really expensive coffee. I talk to myself a lot while I write (you know, to make sure the dialogue zings).
Thank you to Simon & Schuster, blog tour followers can enter to win a copy of Nancy's THORN ABBEY! Be sure to follow the tour and enter to win below.