Monday, July 22, 2013

Blog Tour: MY GIRLFRIEND BITES by Doug Solter [Excerpt, Playlist + Giveaway]

 Sometimes the boy gets the werewolf.



A wimpy 16-year-old boy wants to find a girlfriend. When he falls for the perfect one, she shifts into a werewolf and throws his life upside down. 


 After his "dream" girl rejects him, 16-year-old Aiden tries to commit suicide. Yet he mysteriously survives. Now he feels like a loser with zero possibility of finding the perfect girlfriend. Enter Bree, the creepy girl with too much hair who's rumored to be cloned from a frozen prehistoric cave girl that scientists discovered in Canada. But when he accepts a ride from “Cave Girl” during a storm, Aiden discovers this weird girl not only has a kind heart. She is also cute. 

 Aiden offers to help Bree in Algebra and the two become friends. When Aiden pushes that friendship into a date, Bree accepts. On a romantic night at the zoo, Bree and Aiden fall in love as the animals watch. Unlike Aiden, they can smell what Bree really is. 

 Bree decides to tell him her deep, dark secret. Her family are werewolves hiding from the Demon Skins, a mysterious new enemy hunting down all the werewolf packs on earth. Aiden struggles with Bree's revelation, but chooses to stand by the girl he fell in love with. But standing by his new girlfriend will be the biggest test of his life.
 
Too bad Bree can't turn a coward into a fearless werewolf. That bite thing is only a myth.
 
This forces Aiden to do the unthinkable...believe in himself.






Chapter 1

I brace for the most insane thing that I’ve ever attempted, telling a girl that I’m in love with her. But that’s only one fire pit I have to jump over. This wasn’t any girl. Hell no, I couldn’t fall in love with the standard girl I could borrow a pen or a piece of paper from. A standard girl I could maybe fool into having a burger with me after school. I couldn’t make life that simple for myself. I had to fall in love with the hottest girl ever conceived by the Almighty…Pamela Osterhaus. She laughs with some friends standing around her locker as school wakes up for hour number one of this amazing Monday morning.

Well, I’m hoping my Monday will be amazing. It could be a disaster of Death Star proportions. Do you ever wonder about all those millions of Stormtroopers that died when Luke Skywalker nailed the exhaust ports with proton torpedoes and caused a gigantic artificial moon to explode? I do. That must have sucked. Imagine you’re a Stormtrooper taking a relaxing dump in the bathroom or playing cards with your buddies in the barracks when the world around you explodes into flames. And then you get tossed into the vacuum of space with zero oxygen, suffocating to death.

Pamela touches the shoulder of the girl she’s listening to. I image that smooth hand touching my shoulder. Or maybe my hand. Or better yet my face. I bet her skin feels like silk. Wouldn’t it be so cool to have a girl touch you like that? Not on accident. That happens a lot in the hallways when you accidentally bump into a girl or step on her shoes. That’s not what I mean. That’s not a special kind of touch.

Pamela Osterhaus. Don’t let that husky-sounding German name fool you. Pamela is thin and shapely with this long, strawberry blond hair. Her perfume smells like a dryer sheet. You know, the ones your mom would toss in the dryer to prevent static cling? Light and flowery. A scent a girl loves to soak herself with.

Pamela doesn’t know me. We did have two classes together last year, but I don’t think she remembers. But I sure as hell remember her. I couldn’t stop remembering her.

My stomach swims in acid. I can’t make my feet walk over to talk to her. I did plan this out. Knew exactly what I wanted to say. Even memorized it. I went through the words over and over again in my bedroom, talking to a poster of Bat Girl substituting for Pamela.

Don’t laugh. I would ask Bat Girl out in a second if I knew her real identity. I only wish I had Bat Girl’s guts.

“Excuse me.” The pissed off voice comes from my right. It’s Cave Girl. Her eyes glare from under a curtain of long, straight-black hair. The girl is scary weird and about as friendly as a tiger with rabies.

“You’re blocking my locker,” Cave Girl says. Even the sound of her voice creeps me out.

I move down the hall to give Cave Girl her space and then continue my mental build up. The minute-hand descends like a hammer, ready to crush my opportunity to bits when the first hour bell sounds. I can’t say what I want to say with Pamela’s friends still hanging around. It’s intimating enough saying them in front of Pamela. I could wait for a better time.

No I’ll chicken out. If I don’t do it now, I’ll be thinking about it all damn day and — screw it. I’m doing this.

But not with her friends there.

Would you guys please leave? I’m dying here.

The bell sounds again. Kids start heading for first hour classes. I should be heading to my class now. But I wait.

This will kill me if I don’t…
Pamela’s friends leave for class. My beautiful target selects a book from her locker, slips it inside her backpack. She slams her locker shut with a metallic clunk and turns back around to look up into my eyes.

“Hi, Pamela. What’s up?” I say, trying to sound smooth, but my voice wavers. Her soft green eyes squint as she tries to place me. “I’m Aiden Jay? I took Economics with you last year?”

Pamela pauses, calls up the class in her mind. “Oh yeah, you sat in the row next to me.”

“That was me,” I say much too loud. Losing my cool. I settle down. “How did you do in that class? The final was tough but I tore it up.”

“It tore me up. That’s why I’m taking Economics again this semester.”
Damn it. Now I made her feel stupid. Way to go, Aiden.

“I kind of accidentally tore up the final. It was a fluke because I didn’t even study for it. And I was high.”

I was high? What am I saying! Now she thinks I’m a druggie.

“I’m only messing with you. I don’t do drugs. Not unless Red Bull counts.”

Kids rush off to class all around us. Pamela’s eyes dance from the kids to me and then back again. “Did you want something?” Pamela asks.

“Oh, yeah. I wanted to —”

The saliva in my mouth turns to sand.

Damn it. This was so easy with Bat Girl.

Pamela fidgets. She wants me to hurry.

And I’m failing.

It’s like I’m hanging off a cliff. My fingers slipping off one…

By one…

So I push through it before I fall.

“I…I like you.” The sentence loosens my tongue. I feel a sudden rush of emotion as the words come flying out. “Over the summer I kept thinking about you. The way you laughed and the way you smiled in class, it’s really amazing. And you’re like the nicest girl ever. A guy would be lucky to have a girlfriend as nice as you. And…you’re really cute too. I mean, you must have guys coming up to you and asking you out all the time. And why wouldn’t they? You’re like everything a guy would want in a girl.”

Pamela shows nothing. I can’t even tell if she’s happy, pissed, or even moved by what I’m saying.

I keep going. What else can I do?

“If you only want to be friends, I understand and that’s cool with me. It really is. I’m so sorry to stop you like this, but I had to tell you face-to-face or it would destroy me.” I swallow and take a deep breath. “I only wanted to let you know how much I liked you.”

F-me. I did it. I went up to a girl and said it. It’s like this huge weight squashing my skull for weeks is now dissolved into air. Amazing. Did I kick ass or what?

I search Pamela’s face for a clue. Did she like what I said?

She laughs.

Laughs?

Laughs. In my face.

“Are you being serious?” Pamela asks. “I, like, barely know you. Do you think I would instantly fall in love with you because you like my smile?” She slings her backpack over her shoulder. “The only thing I remember in Economics was that you would stare at my legs like some perv. I’m so not interested in spending time with a guy who creeps me out. And any guy who’s too dumb to notice I have a boyfriend is too dumb to waste my time with. And if you don’t stop talking to me, I’ll whisper a suggestion in my boyfriend’s ear and have you killed.”

Pamela removes her claws from my chest. Then she moves down the hall with her back to me. “Sorry, but I don’t want to be your girlfriend.” She yells that last sentence on purpose. The kids in the hallway stare and laugh. Soon their fingers tap out text versions of my social disaster for their friends to enjoy and share with the entire school.

The floor tiles I stand on explode into flames as I tumble into the vacuum of space.

I’m now a pathetic stormtrooper.

And my Death Star just blew up.

*****

My sneakers crunch fallen twigs and pine cones as a breeze nudges the trees above, making them creak and groan. The full moon punches through the forest, putting out more light than I want tonight. I can’t wait to throw this cheap yellow rope over a branch, wrap the other around my neck, and put a final period on the most worthless sentence ever created. My life.

Pamela could have let me down easy by saying, “Thank you, but I already have a boyfriend.” Maybe acknowledge the fact I poured my heart out to her, opening up something inside that’s hard enough to dig out and say in front of a girl you’ve worshiped for months.

“Are you being serious?” The sentence still hurts. Like a recent burn on my skin. I can’t believe her. She laughed. It was funny to her. My feelings were funny to her.

After school, I went home and shut myself inside my room, letting the darkness in. Darkness is a best friend, one I’ve lived with for so long. I thought Pamela was the answer. I thought being with her would lift me out of this crap. Give me something to hope for in life, not crush it to powder. I’m sick of waiting. I’m sick of hoping things will get better. This stupid idea that if I keep hanging on, my life will become something amazing. Something worth staying around for. But life is cruel. Not beautiful. It’s painful and it’s ugly and I’ve been lied to and I’m pissed, but not enough to fight back.

I want to give up.

So I found this yellow rope in Pop’s garage and knew what I should do with it. Now I’m happy. I’m finally going to die.

I find a strong pecan tree that should work. I toss one end of the rope over a thick branch that looks good. It should support my weight. To anchor the rope, I tie one end around the trunk of the pecan tree and make sure it’s tight. On the other end I make a great hangman’s noose courtesy of the Boy Scouts. That’s back when I gave a crap about the Boy Scouts. The scout leaders didn’t teach us this particular knot, but one of the guys in our troop knew how and showed us.

I use a borrowed steak knife to stick my suicide note to the rotting tree trunk I’m using to jump off of. A patch of wild mushrooms form an uneven ring around the trunk. I hate mushrooms. Nasty tasting things. Mom would fry them in butter for Dad and the smell made me gag and wanna barf.

I step on top of the rotting trunk. Wrap the noose around my neck. Tighten it. Soon the rope is snug against my throat, and its straw-like surface irritates my skin. But the rope over the pecan branch looks tight and ready to do what I need it to do.

Okay. All I have to do is step off. Take one step, and I can be happy again.
I wonder if Pamela will feel guilty about me dying. I hope so.
They all should feel guilty.

A wolf howls through the trees. The sound pierces the silence of the forest as a warm breeze gives me a final kiss goodbye. Sounds like I’ll be a free meal for some lucky wolf tonight. I feel tears racing down my cheeks. I don’t want to cry. Real men don’t cry when they’re about to face death. I try to stop because I don’t want to go out like this, but I can’t stop.

Damn it. I can’t even die like a real man.
I’m so pathetic.

I breathe in.

And jump off the stump.


Chapter 2

So how did I screw that up? I remember the rope biting into my neck. I blacked out. Then I woke up in this stupid hospital. Alive. What the hell? The hospital staff filled in some of the missing pieces. Late that night, someone brought me to the ER when things were going crazy. A huge apartment fire swamped the place with twelve burn patients and their grieving families. The staff didn’t remember any details about the person who brought me in and disappeared. They never left a name. Whoever this good Samaritan is…I want to thank them for being an asshole.

“Ready to go?” A male nurse rolls a wheelchair into my tiny hospital room. He raises the shades, letting in all that bright sunshine I want kept out.

I peel myself off the sticky leather chair I’ve been waiting in, gather my stuff, and nod. The male nurse wheels the chair next to me.

“Do I have to use that?”

“Yes, sir. Hospital policy.”

Whatever. I drop myself into the chair, putting my backpack on my knees. The nurse slaps down the foot rests. I divert my eyes from him, catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The wheelchair completes the I’m-a-total-loser look that is so me right now.

We take an elevator down to the first-floor lobby. The nurse rolls me past walls decorated with buffaloes, Indian art, and other Oklahoma-related crap. Through the front window, the morning sun paints the hospital lobby this weird shade of orange. It almost fools me into thinking this will be the happy day when I come back to my happy life that I failed to escape from.

Dad waits in the lobby, wearing his familiar Liberty Airways t-shirt that’s permanently stained with hydraulic fluid and wheel grease from a Boeing 737-800. He follows as the male nurse wheels me up to the old Dodge pickup. I get out of the stupid wheelchair and lift the door handle. Locked. Dad climbs in, reaches over, and unlocks it.

Johnny Cash sings from the old country radio station Dad likes to listen to as we drive home. He’s the only guy who listens to the radio anymore. I bought him a digital music player for Christmas, but it’s still in his bedroom. Unopened. Whatever.

“How about pizza for dinner?” Dad asks. “Want the usual?”

“Sounds fine,” I say, wondering when he’s going to say something about you know what again.

“Bought you an electric razor.”

“Okay.”

Dad nods. Hesitates. “Hid the scissors, too.”

I don’t answer.

“Catch you trying that again and I’ll ground you.”

Ground me? That’s funny. He’s acting like I broke a window or lied about my grades.

“I’m being serious, Aiden.”

I nod. “Okay.”

Dad guides the pickup into the driveway. I stare at our sad, one-story house that I hoped I would never see again. We step on the porch causing Fatso, the neighbor’s dog, to bark its head off. Stupid dog. All it does all day is bark. And it knows that we live here. If it can smell us, why does it keep barking like that?
I’m glad we never got a dog.

*****

The outside of Wiley Post High School reminds me of a slaughterhouse. The hooks ready to plunge into my skin and take me down the conveyor belt to the rotating knives disguised as classrooms. The inside has few windows. Only an endless criss-crossing of sanitized hallways with smooth white walls, red classroom doors, and shiny, white-tiled floors. The shine comes from the janitors mopping up all the blood the school takes out of the students.

Yeah, okay, I’m getting way too dark. But I’m not looking forward to school at all. It’s going to suck. I bet everyone knows what I tried to do with that rope. And if they put that together with what I did in front of Pamela, then everyone will figure out why I tried to kill myself. 

“Ignore that bitch, A-man.”

Issy and I wait for the lunch line to stir. Issy Bishara is my sensei. My guru. My wingman for life. His comment makes the old lady serving the mac and liquid cheese glare.

“Sorry. That wasn’t a reference to you, ma’am,” Issy says. “You seem like a finely distinguished woman for your age. Clint Eastwood would definitely want some of that.”

I bust up laughing. I can’t help it. Issy’s funny.

Issy flashes an innocent smile, one he’d perfected during junior high. Issy is short for Ishmail. I met him in seventh-grade Life Sciences class when we dissected a real chicken leg with veins and nerves all over it. Disgusting. After that class I couldn’t eat fried chicken for a year.

Issy burps. “Pamela Osterhaus wasn’t worth your time. You shouldn’t have said anything to her.”

“Thanks for the help; that doesn’t help me at all,” I say.

“Wished you told me you were going to do it. I would’ve talked you out of it.”

“Next time I’m in love with a girl, wanting to pour out my love for her in front of the south-side lockers again…I’ll check with you first.”

“Good. Friends always get each other’s backs. Just saying.” Issy glances at the next lunch lady behind the fogged glass. “Cheeseburger.”

“Chicken nuggets,” I say.

Issy grabs his burger. “You don’t need the perfect girl to be happy.”
I take the paper raft full of chicken nuggets with two packets of honey mustard, then move along the line for drinks. “What’s wrong with finding the perfect girl?”

“Hey, I’d love it if Hermione sat on my lap and taught me awesome magic tricks while I seduced her, but that’s not realistic.”

“Hermione?”

“The girl in the Harry Potter books? How do you not know this?”

“Because I have zero interest,” I say. Which is true. “Anyway, that’s a character from a book. I’m talking about finding a real girl who is perfect.”
“Impossible.” Issy selects a can of Coke.

“No. I’m saying, perfect in my eyes.” I snatch my standard grape.

“Still impossible.”

“How do you know?”

The cashier rings up Issy’s tray as he motions towards the wide-open cafeteria filled with kids. “See all those girls? They’re not perfect. But A-man, they’re girls. They’re still soft when you touch them and they still have those wonderful girlie parts. And when they kiss you, they’ll still build a tent inside your pants.”

The female cashier sighs. “That’s a nice image. Thank you for that.” She then gives Issy back his change, and we find an empty table.

“So did you have the flu last week?” Issy bites into his greasy cheeseburger.
“Hmm?” My mouth is full of chicken.

My friend sucks down his Coke. “You said you were sick last week. Was it the flu?”

I swallow. I didn’t tell Issy about the forest, or the yellow rope around my neck, or the hospital visit, or about the therapist I have to go see now. “Yeah, it was the flu. Kicked my ass all week.”

Wish I could tell him the truth, but he wouldn’t understand. He would just tell me how stupid I was. Like I don’t already know this.

I’m early to fifth-hour Algebra. Don’t know why. Guess I’m bored, and sitting in a huge vacant classroom is something new and different. A handful of voices echo from the hallway. The second hand ticks on the clock above the white-board with faint stains of past math problems. I unzip my backpack and remove stuff for class. Then wait.

The AC kicks on. Air rushes through the vent in the ceiling, brushing a page of my open algebra book.

The room does nothing else to entertain me.

This coming-to-class-early thing was a stupid idea.

My pencil is worn down to a dull bump, so I get up and jam it in the pencil sharpener. The smell of grinding wood and tangy lead fills the room as I note a girl pausing at the doorway.

Cave Girl.

Today she wears jeans and this pink T-shirt. Her hair is long and dark and covering her face like a window curtain. Amazing. It’s so long the ends reach her belly-button. Cave Girl has only been at Wiley Post for a few weeks but her “fame” is already the talk of the school. Cave Girl never talks to anyone. I mean, if you’re standing in front of her locker she will, but usually she doesn’t talk to girls or dudes. She will talk to a teacher, but only if they ask her questions.

Cave Girl grunts a lot too. Swear to God. When we’re working on a test or some other assignment in class, I can hear her grunting. Like she’s working hard on an algebra problem and her Cave Girl mind is on overload. From what I hear, she does this a lot in her other classes. One girl swears that she heard Cave Girl growling in the girl’s bathroom.

The story goes that scientists cloned Cave Girl using DNA taken from a pre-historic teenager they found frozen in some icy mountain in northern Canada. Sounds like crap to me. I mean, why would adults bother with cloning a teen since they have plenty of us around to ignore already?

Today, the girl who’s never friendly to anyone, the girl who doesn’t acknowledge my existence unless I’m blocking her locker, that girl stares at me. I mean, really stares. I’ve sat behind her for weeks and she’s never made eye contact with me whatsoever, and to be nice, I did the same.

I grip the razor-sharp pencil in case Cave Girl attacks me with that spiked-club that she carries in her backpack. The one her ancestors used to bring down dinosaurs for food. That’s if you believe the rumors.

But Cave Girl moves to her desk. I take the long way around to mine and sit behind her. She then twists around.

She’s turning around? Why is she doing that!?

“Hi.” Her voice is light and just above a whisper.

Why is she talking to me? What did I do wrong?

I nod and pick up my sharp pencil again.

“Happy to see you back.”

She is? Why? Don’t make me stab you, Cave Girl.

“Thanks,” I say, trying not to sound too grateful.

Hiding through those strands of black hair, Cave Girl smiles, making her cheeks flex. Her skin is so clear and soft. Her lips part as her mouth hangs slightly open. She doesn’t wear lipstick or any makeup at all. Still, those lips have this natural roundness to them. A roundness that begs — well, I wouldn’t mind taking my mouth and — the girl does have nice lips.

Amazing. I never noticed this before, but Cave Girl…is kinda hot.

Her eyes watch me. They have this unusual amber tint. Maybe it’s the way the fluorescent lights hit them.

“You’re welcome,” Cave Girl says as she continues staring. The weird intensity makes me want to squirm under my desk and hide.

But I grab another pencil and jump to my feet to go sharpen it. As I grind more wood and lead, I sneak a peek at Cave Girl. Her eyes stay fixed on me. Like that’s not weird and creepy. I don’t want to go back to my seat now.
I end up grinding the new pencil into dust.


Two more girls walk in and talk about some dumb television show that was on last night. Cave Girl opens her algebra book and starts reading. I take the long way around to my seat again, but this time she doesn’t turn around for the rest of fifth hour.










Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Doug went to college at nearby Oklahoma State where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Radio/TV/Film production and worked in local television for 20 years.

 Doug began writing screenplays in 1998 and became a 2001 semi-finalist in The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting.

 His script Father Figure was one of 129 scripts left from 5,489 entries. His tenth script, Rail Fan, became a quarter-finalist in 2009.

 Soon after, Doug made the switch to writing young adult novels in 2008.

 Skid, a young adult novel set in the world of Formula 1 racing, is his first.





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