“Are you out of your mind?” Cassidy nearly shouted, loud enough to rock the cottage while she paced in our bedroom later that night.
“Shh!” I hissed, instantly regretting that I’d told her about Tony.
“Claire, you can’t go around declaring that people have sold their souls to the devil and not have me freaking out! What gave you such a crazy idea, anyway?”
“Vampires are not evil. They don’t—”
“They’re blood-sucking people who feed off other life forms, mainly humans! Living, breathing humans. How is that not evil?”
My sister was blowing this way out of proportion. “Look—”
“No, you look. This is ridiculous. You’re ridiculous. Oh my gosh!” She whipped around and headed straight for the bed where I sat. “Please tell me you haven’t told anyone else about this. Please, please, please tell me I’m the only one who knows you think Tony Russo is a vampire.”
I rolled my eyes. Like I’m that stupid. “Of course you’re the only one who knows. Come on, give me a break.”
“Claire. Do you have any idea what type of ‘break’ this would be for our family if word got out you were accusing the son of the director of Northwest Academy of being a stupid vampire?”
That was it. She’d gone too far. “Vampires are not stupid, Cassidy!” I stood up and glared at her. “And excuse me, but I believe I would know if I met one or not.”
She walked over to her bed and collapsed. “Are you kidding me? You actually believe in them? Them? As in, you think there are more? Ugh. And I thought this babysitting thing was going to be easy.”
“Of course I believe in them. Vampires are real, Cass.”
“Why me?” She rolled over on her side and stared at me before she shook her head. “Claire, fine. You win. I’m sure—I’m positive—that there are some pretty sick people in this world. Even sick enough to drink human blood. So in a sense, they’re vampires. But if you think for one minute that—”
“But Stephenie Meyer says—”
“Stephenie Meyer? Is that what this is all about?” Cassidy sat up and rolled off the bed. In two seconds, she was rummaging through my side of the dresser.
“Hey!” I ran over to her, but I was too late. She had already found my Twilight book. “What are you doing with that?”
“This is a book, Claire. A book. This isn’t real.” She shook it above her head for emphasis.
I jumped up and tried to get it, but she was taller than me. “I know that. What do you think I am, a baby? Duh. Everyone knows Twilight came from a dream.” I jumped again and snagged the sleeve of her pajama top, pulling her arm down with it. “Give me my book.”
Cassidy sighed and released her hold, letting me take the book from her. “Do you really know it’s not real, Claire?”
“Yes.” I stomped over to my bed and set the book carefully on the nightstand.
“Then what makes you think Tony’s a vampire?” she asked warily as she headed back to her bed.
I sat down and shrugged. “Everything.”
I crossed my legs. “Okay, did you happen to notice how he knew what I was thinking?”
“Uh, no. I must’ve missed that.”
“Did you feel how strong he was? He felt like steel.”
Cassidy’s eyebrows shot up. “Wait. You touched Tony’s muscles?”
“Yeah. And he’s a whole lot stronger than he looks.”
“You touched his muscles? When did this happen?”
“On the Ride the Duck tour. Why?”
“Well, where was I?”
“Right next to him.”
“Oh.” She blinked and then asked, “So this is what makes you think he’s a vampire—he’s strong? And he knows what you’re thinking?”
“And he wouldn’t eat his food, because he said he was sick. Except, then his mom said he never gets sick.”
“And because he was sick, you concluded that he was a vampire?” I could tell my sister thought I’d totally lost it.
“Yes, because being sick was just an excuse not to eat. Vampires don’t like to eat regular food. And . . .” I fiddled with my hands.
“And he stared at me a lot.”
“Oh my gosh,” Cassidy mumbled under her breath. “Are you for real?”
“Yes, Miss Know-it-all, I am.”
Cassidy started to giggle.
“Ha ha. Very funny.”
She laughed harder.
“You know I’m going to prove you wrong, right?”
Her laughter turned to snorts. Very stupid-sounding pig snorts, I might add. It wasn’t funny. “I will prove you wrong!”
She fell off the bed. My sister was literally rolling on the floor laughing. And she thought I was the idiot.
“You know, you can stop now,” I decided to add after another minute of listening to her hilarity.
“I know!” She gasped. “But—but—b–b–but it’s j–j–just soooo fu-nnyyy!”“Ha ha.” I got up off my bed. “You know, knock yourself out, okay? Have a good li’l party down there, thinking all about Tony being a vampire.” She burst into more laughter. “I’m gonna go wash this gunk off my face.” I pointed to my makeup in case she was watching. She wasn’t. With a huge sigh, I stepped over my lunatic sister. Then I walked into the bathroom and slammed the door behind me. Peals of laughter vibrated off the walls, and I willed myself not to roll my eyes again. I will prove her wrong. Tony Russo is a vampire, and I know it.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Northanger Alibi by Jenni James
Amazon | Goodreads
Published January 15th 2012 by Walnut Springs/Inkberry Press
Just like they did for Pride and Popularity, the lovely folks at Inkberry Press are offering up two copies of Northanger Alibi for Austen in August!!
Two winners will receive a copy of Northanger Alibi by Jenni James US only Ends September 5th, 2012 Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter!
Make sure to leave your thoughts on the excerpt (and this adorbs cover, which I think captures a modern, bubbly Catherine perfectly) in the comments! And don't forget to go enter to win a copy of Pride and Popularity!!
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