Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Book Blitz: Heist by Laura Pauling

Heist by Laura Pauling

Release Date: 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Psychological Thriller
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Can one decision change the past?

Jack Brodie has a sixth sense that someone has been watching him. Following him.

One night he travels back in time to one of the world’s largest art thefts, known as the Gardner Heist. Why that one moment in time? And what does it mean for Jack?

When he returns, his world is different. His best friend is rougher, meaner. His dad hasn’t been around in years. And then there’s Jetta. The girl who took over his heart the moment she stepped into his life. No one is safe.

Each time Jack goes back to the heist to fix his mistakes, he returns to face the fallout. Disaster strikes in the present until Jack must make a choice. His family and his own happiness. Or the girl he loves. Except, he learns that his sixth sense was right.

Someone has been watching him and wants him dead.

Excerpts from Heist

At the bottom step, I hesitate. Moonlight reflects off a metal napkin holder and a half-finished puzzle left out for customers. It’s a small shop, and the faded smell of cinnamon clings to everything. Even our upstairs apartment.

I breathe in the scent, drawing courage from all that is familiar. Times like this I wish for Dad. He’d know what to do.

The floor creaks from the other side of the room.

My heart crawls into my throat, choking me. My knees weaken and my sweaty hands slip on the handle of the bat.

Step up and be a man. Those were Dad’s words, spoken into a telephone on the other side of the glass partition.

I think back to that day, the visit Mom knows nothing about. The smeared glass, the stubble on Dad’s chin and the fierce look in his eye that said he’d be outta there next week. But the next week turned into months and then years.

As my eyes adjust, the vague outline of a man appears in front of a painting on the wall. He reaches out and traces his finger down the gilded frame.

My pulse pounds so loud against the inside of my head, I can’t think. I stumble forward and raise the bat above my head. “Who’s there?” My voice shakes.

With his back to me, the intruder hesitates, his finger at the bottom of the frame. He doesn’t turn or flinch or seem to care who’s behind him. His black suit is tailored to fit his body and much too fancy for this time of night.

Sweat beads on my forehead and it feels like hours before the man clears his throat to speak. My arms shake. I debate whether to whack the guy in the legs with the bat and then take him out with one good punch.

“You been behaving yourself, kid?”

I freeze. The bat drops with a thud.

The words, the tone of voice, remind me of lazy spring afternoons when Stick and I would find my dad and uncle under the hood of their latest piece-of-shit car. I can taste the cold iced-tea and homemade cookies. I can feel the warm air against my face and smell the gasoline and grease. That was when I was thirteen and thought my dad was perfect. At sixteen, I know better.

Dad turns and steps forward, his thumbs hooked into the pockets of his tuxedo. All suave and elegant, he looks like a star from the old black and white movies Aunt Fiona watches. His parole is tomorrow. Did they let him out early? Or did he break out?

•     •     •

Jetta stops. The March breeze blows strands of hair across her face, partially masking her eyes. People walking to work flow around us. “How would you know about that?”

I stammer. How did I let that slip? The answer comes immediately and I blurt, “A psychic used to live in the coffee shop.”

Jetta crosses her arms, and her eyes narrow in on me with a dangerous look. “And you picked up some tricks?”

“Just a few here and there.” The doubt in her eyes forces me to scramble for a way out. A distraction. “Do you want me to read your palm?”

She pulls me out of the flow of pedestrians and holds out her hand, disbelief in her eyes. “Leave out the bad crap, ’kay?”

I wipe my sweaty palms off on my jeans then grab hold of her wrist. The contact sends tiny bolts through me. My gaze travels up to her face, her creamy skin, the lips that seem so kissable. I gulp. “No prob.”

“Why is your hand trembling?” Jetta asks.

I puff out my chest and make my voice as serious as possible. “It’s the psychic power getting ready to be unleashed.”

“Should I be scared?” Jetta whispers mockingly, her voice breathless.

I wink. “You’re in the hands of a professional.”

“What a cheesy line.” She rolls her eyes. “Hope you can do better than that.”

“Don’t disturb the master while he’s at work.” I raise my voice and manipulate my voice to sound like a gruff old man. An elderly lady flashes me a strange look.

Jetta giggles, light radiating across her face. Her eyes sparkle.

Slowly, I trace my finger down a line that stretches across her palm. My fingers tingle. The overwhelming smell of peaches comes to me. “You like peaches.”

“That’s my body spray.”

I clear my throat and try not to look at her soft pink lips. I trace a line that runs diagonal opposite her thumb. “Creativity flows through you like a mountain spring.”

“You already know I like art. Doesn’t count.”

I throw her a stern look, which produces another round of giggles. “Fine.” I search for the right words to save Jetta from her grandmother. I’m the only one who can warn her. I wish I had that kind of power in Dad’s life. In Stick’s life. “Stay away from art festivals today.”

“Why would I go to an art festival? I just moved into town. And that doesn’t count because that’s like saying, ‘Don’t climb Mt. Everest during lunch break.’”

“You’re testing the powers of the Great Fiasco.” I think hard about what to say next. This might be my only chance. What simple fortune will protect her?

“Does my hand say anything about being late to school on my first day?” she demands.

“Zippo. But wait,” I pull her hand closer, “I see a silver Mercedes.”

Jetta’s breath catches in her throat. “And?”

“Stay close to your friends so trouble won’t find you.”

She yanks her hand back as if I shocked her. She smoothes her hair and fiddles with the bow. Her face pales as if she has secrets in her life—reasons to be in trouble.

“This is silly,” she states and forges a path down the sidewalk, ending the conversation. “Let’s go. I need time to pass in my transfer records.”

I follow, trying to not watch her hips sway with every step, and suppressing the curious feelings beating with my heart.

•     •     •

The cops return. Their fake swagger and cop routine is gone. Now they move and talk quickly, with purpose, with no one to impress or fool. They leave the lobby and take the stairs two at a time. I follow them on silent feet up a wide and smooth marble staircase into a small alcove on the second floor. I hover in the hall and peek around the corner, afraid of what I’ll find.

Light from fake candles cast a ghostly shadow on the mix of large and small paintings hanging on the walls. The room drips with elegance, like two old ladies should be sitting on the velvet love seat, sipping Earl Gray Tea and nibbling on rye crackers.

The cops survey the room like they’re kids in a toy store. Dad’s partner moves close to a painting and a screeching alarm sounds. The blaring noise echoes through the entire museum. They mutter curses, and I jump back and clap my hands over my ears, the sound drilling into my head.

Seconds later, it stops. My heart pulses in my throat, and I dare to peek into the room again. Dad has kicked in a motion sensor on the wall. The plastic is shattered and wires hang out. He stands on one of the three chairs, not caring about the street grit on his black shiny shoes, and pulls a large painting of a boat on the ocean from the wall.

Together, they smash the painting from the frame. A knife glitters. Dad pierces the painting and cuts it like he’s slicing an apple for his kid’s snack. Flakes of paint drift to the floor.

I lean against the wall in the hallway, a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. My legs shake. I cringe at the sound of another painting being smashed from its frame. I want to go home. I want to party with my friends, eat a roast beef sandwich with Mom. I want to laugh with Jetta. I want to hold her hand and trace my thumb across her smooth skin. I want to pull her to me and feel her heartbeat against mine.

A strong hand grips my arm and jerks me into the room. “Looks like we have a little friend.”

I stare into Dad’s gleaming eyes. Eyes I don’t recognize. There’s no hint of a smile of recognition. Of course not.

The Gardner Heist happened in 1990. I wasn’t even born yet.


About the Author

Laura Pauling writes young adult fiction. She lives the cover of suburban mom/author perfectly, from the minivan to the home-baked snickerdoodles, while hiding her secret missions and covert operations. But shh. Don't tell anyone!

Her YA Circle of Spies Series includes A Spy Like Me and Heart of an Assasin. Book three, Twist of Fate will be released in the fall of 2013.

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