Sample Chapters from Gusty Proposals by LJ Gastineau
Where am I?
The dark forest was foreboding in the moonless night, yet somehow she had a feeling she had been there before. It was almost like déjà vu.
Something was coming.
She could hear the snapping of twigs in the distance. Her heart raced, fearing the unknown. Should she run? Should she hide? She could barely see anything around her. Only outlines of trees; their branches skeletal and grasping as though they could snatch her from where she stood like some sort of thief of night.
Something cold and wet touched her face. Was it raining? She would have to find someplace to use as a shelter or risk getting pneumonia.
Forgetting all the mysteries that lurked in the dark she ran blindly. A glimmer caught her eye from the right. Curious, she headed in that direction then came to a halt. It was a large gilded mirror. Mesmerized by her reflection she approached it staring in wonder. A scream tore from her throat as something beyond its smooth surface grabbed her pulling her towards it.
Violet Piccolo gritted her teeth when the shrill cry of her alarm clock ripped her away from her dreams. She groaned, tugging her pillow over her head as she squirmed further under the covers.
Next she was greeted by a firm rapping at her bedroom door. “Violet, it’s time to get up…”
She winced at the insistent sound in her mother’s voice. Didn’t the woman realize that it was her daughter’s sixteenth birthday? Shouldn’t Violet be allowed to do whatever she wished including sleeping in rather than playing dress up? She was so sick of doing everything that was expected of her!
“Violet, are you even listening to me? We have a long day ahead of us.”
Knowing that unless she said something, she would have to endure a long winded lecture, the petite girl surfaced from her warm cocoon. “Okay, mother. I’ll be right there.”
“Wear a button down shirt, please. It’ll keep your hair from getting messed up when you change for tonight.”
Once the click of high heels departed away from the door, Violet plopped back down on the soft pillow, a halo of strawberry blonde curls fanned out around her head. She sighed, lifting her amber gaze towards her calendar. May 20th. Her birthday, yet… It felt like it had never been hers to begin with.
As the only daughter of a well-to-do businessman and his socialite wife, Violet felt she was more like a commodity. She was always expected to behave a certain way. Her friends were handpicked by her parents, from the time she could talk. Her life, in general was regulated from what she could eat to what she wore. Her birthday was no exception.
Rather than have a simple party with friends or even dinner out with her parents, Violet was expected to cater to being another pawn in her father’s climb up the cooperate ladder as his boss’s, son’s Prom date!
What’s next? Marriage? Violet glared at the garment bag which contained the baby pink gown trimmed in sparkling crystals—nothing less for her parents’ little bargaining chip.
“Violet! You’re wasting time. Hurry up!”
She winced at her mother’s harsh tone. With a sigh, the girl gathered herself from the bed then dressed as she was expected—a button down shirt and skirt.
Violet knew her mother would criticize her hair if she stepped out of her bedroom as she was. Instead she gathered it back into a ponytail, securing it with an elastic band. The woman would still be critical, but she would just have to deal with it.
With one last glance back at the loathsome pastel room that her mother had forced upon her only daughter, Violet grabbed the garment bag then left.
Also, for those of you who’d like a signed copy of any of LJ Gastineau’s books, she will be at the Trinity Gateways LLC table at Ancient City Con in Jacksonville, FL. The con is July 18-20, 2014 and she will be there all weekend. LJ — and the rest of us at Trinity Gateways — look forward to seeing you there!