Welcome everyone to the Carousel Ride. Watch your step as you enter we don’t want anyone falling and gouging their eye out! As you can see our Carousel isn’t filled with beautiful ponies to ride instead you will get the opportunity to sit upon the various creatures that reside in The Twixt, a mythical land filled with wonderfully scary, weird and imaginative monsters. Don’t worry all the creatures you see before you are just replicas of what the real things look like. I promise that you are completely safe, but as you start to spin around on the ride make sure to keep your eyes open in case you happen to see a Scribe. They are creatures sent to mark humans to try and keep the balance between our world and theirs. If you happen to see one be wary because that means you have The Sight and Scribes are ordered to blind anyone that can see them! Don’t worry it is very rare so I’m sure you won’t be seeing anyone strange tonight! So what do you say are you ready to enter into The Twixt?
*Enter to win an ARC of Invisible at the end of this post*
*Don’t forget to enter the grand giveaway for your chance to win 2 books featured during the Fall Carnival Event!!! Click HERE for your chance to win!*
*Please enjoy this “exclusive content” for INVISIBLE: the original Chapter One that was cut from the manuscript! It features Joy at her day job and, having been a waitress myself for many years, this was dear to my heart but we liked beginning it with action right away–hence Chapter Two became the new Chapter One! Still, it might be fun to show a little “rewind” (like putting the Carousel in reverse)! *
Joy grabbed the first ceramic platter piled high with Cobb salad and ran a moist towel around the rim, making it neat. There was a soup-and-sandwich combo and a small fettuccine with mussels, heads of steam curling above them like clouds. Joy sprinkled it with obligatory Parmesan cheese and checked her cheat sheet.
“Move,” Miguel urged from the kitchen. “Order up.”
“Sounds like someone’s in a mood,” Neil said as he came for his orders. The lanky blond boy grabbed two specials, plunked them on his tray, and sprinkled them generously in one, smooth move. “Be careful with the plates—they just came out of the washer. You haven’t been here long enough to develop your oven mitts yet.” He waggled his fingers and dashed off.
Bracing herself, Joy grabbed the pasta dish. It slipped out of her grip with a bang.
“Ow!” Joy winced as hot broth splashed over her hand. She popped her thumb in her mouth. The spot tasted hot on her tongue. “Damn.”
Miguel glared and wiped the spill with a rag. “We don’t have time for this. You told Lola you could tackle lunch rush.”
“I can,” Joy said, wiping her hand on her apron. “I am.”
She grabbed the plates quickly, ignoring the steady burning in the crook of her arm as she crossed the café. Table Two needed their waters refilled and Table Three looked impatient. Joy wondered how she ever thought high school was stressful. She smiled for Table One.
“Cobb salad,” she said, placing the platter between them, “Fettuccine Antoine and a Tomato Soup and Sandwich.” Joy lowered the plate to the table, fingers screaming. “Please be careful,” she cautioned. “The plate is very hot.” She tucked her smarting hands behind her. “Is there anything else I can get you? More water?”
“Yes, thank you,” the first woman said. “And the check.”
Joy’s heart fell. There went the upcharge for coffee and dessert. “Very good…”
“Oh no,” the second woman said. “This is my treat.”
“You got it last time.”
“I insist,” the older woman turned to Joy. “Listen, dear, if you want a tip, you will bring me the check, understood?”
Two dings from the kitchen. Saved by the bell.
“Excuse me, ladies.” Joy fled.
“Table Five, ready and waiting,” Miguel said and dropped the plates in a row.
Joy filled a pitcher with ice, rolling her hand in the cold. What she wouldn’t give to have one of the Twixt’s medicinal poultices right now. Or Ink’s soothing touch on her skin. She missed him in all of her in-between moments. Snatches of thought belonged to him. “Be right there.”
Lola marched out of the back office and grabbed a stack of menus to update the specials page, red nails matched her lipstick and high heels. She glared at Joy.
“What are you doing?”
“I burned my thumb,” Joy said.
Lola tucked a streaked curl into place. “Enough to file an accident report?”
Joy dropped the ice and wiped her hand against her apron. “No.”
“Then get moving. Your tables need refilling and you’re taking up space.” Joy shrank inside. She wasn’t certain if Lola was talking about the plate orders or her. “Miguel? Send one of the boys to prep. We have a party of ten at twelve-thirty.” Lola turned on her smart red pump and marched back into her office, shutting the door behind her. Joy felt the heat on her face prickle like sunburn.
Miguel shouted to the kitchen in rapid Spanish. Someone dropped their tub of dishes. He rapped the counter with a ladle to get her attention. “Now, Ponytail!”
Joy reached for her plates as one of the busboys sped past. She swerved out of the way, but he bounced into Neil right behind her.
“Watch it!” Neil said, too late. The spaghetti order slid sideways, slithering over the edge of the plate, and hit his pantleg on its way to the floor. The busboy bolted. Joy grabbed a towel.
“Great,” Neil muttered, wiping his hand on a napkin. “So much for Table Six.”
Joy scooped up the mess. “What was it?”
Neil brushed off his pants. “Spaghetti marinara.”
Joy threw the lump of warm noodles and paper towels into the garbage. “I’ve got one,” she said, grabbing a plate from Table Three. “Here. Take it.”
“You’re sure?” he asked.
She nodded. “I can stall them,” she said. “Look: winning smile!” She flashed one of her dazzling trademarks leftover from gymnastics training. It still worked its magic—Neil looked impressed.
“Thanks.” Neil said as he washed his hands and made the switch. He glanced back at the office door. “You hanging in there?”
“Barely,” Joy said. “I just got chewed-out and I have a smackfest brewing over the check at Table One.”
Neil winced. “There goes your tip.”
“Tell me about it,” Joy said.
“Don’t worry, it’s a two-top,” he said. “It’ll turn over quick enough and you’ll get another chance to impress the locals.”
“Right. Okay,” Joy said as she carefully stacked her plates. “Any other advice for the newbie?”
Neil sprinkled the noodles with extra cheese. “Smile more. You’ll charm the socks off them.” Neil called into the kitchen. “Can we have a rush on another spaghetti, Miguel?”
The cook leaned his meaty arms over the counter. “For her or for you?”
“Come on, Miguel,” Neil said, hands full. “I’m begging you.”
Miguel shot Joy a look. She smiled.
“Fine,” Miguel said. “Five minutes.”
“See? What did I tell you?” Neil gave Joy a wink and took off.
Mopping up the last of the red sauce, Joy tried to think of something to tell Table Three.
“Just remember,” said Miguel. “There’s plenty of kids who want to wait tables this summer. Any one of them could do your job.”
Joy’s smile faltered. She hefted her tray, snatching a stand as she walked down the hall, feeling precarious. Her parents’ advice rang in her head: ‘If you can’t be a Yes Man, be indispensable.’ Well, then, it stood to reason that if you couldn’t be indispensable…be permanent.
Permanent. Indelible. Indelible Ink.
He imbued her everything, sinking deep into her brain.
She delivered the meals to Table Five, poured more water for Table One, and took a deep breath as she approached Table Three.
“Your meal will be a few more minutes,” Joy said with an apologetic grin. “I know that you specifically said ‘no cheese’ and when I saw your order, I couldn’t be certain, so I sent it back in case there were any allergy concerns.” Smiling, Joy realized she was literally lying through her teeth.
The businessmen sighed, deflated. One exchanged a look with his colleague.
“Thanks for checking,” he said.
“Again, I’m sorry for the delay,” she said. “Can I bring you another bread basket?”
His partner folded his napkin into sharp creases. “Might as well.”
One fire out. Two dings. Table Three? No, Four.
Joy raced back to the kitchen. Miguel was stacking plates.
“You know,” he said. “Lola’s never going to put you on dinner shift if you can’t handle lunch.”
“I know, I know, I know,” Joy muttered while printing out the check for Table One. “I can do it. Let me just drop this off and I’ll be right back.”
Miguel spun a pan and rolled his eyes.
“How is everything?” Joy asked Table One before realizing she’d committed Waitress Timing Sin by asking her question while their mouths were full. There was an awkward moment of silent waiting.
Ms. Chicken Parm chewed and swallowed. “Fine.”
“The fettuccine tastes salty,” the other woman said, swirling a bunch of noodles. “Here, taste this,” she offered the fork across the table. “Does it taste salty to you?”
Her friend wrinkled her nose. “I don’t like seafood.”
Joy kept smiling, desperate. “Would you like to order something else?”
“No, no,” the woman sighed and went back to picking at her dish. “I just wanted you to know that it was salty.”
Was it worth comping her meal to gain a better tip, or was this a total write-off? Joy hadn’t been working at Antoine’s long enough to be sure. Two dings interrupted her thoughts. Table Three. Finally!
“I’ll tell the chef,” Joy said and plunked the check on the table, dead center. Let them duke it out.
Joy paused at the fill station, snatching her phone out of her pocket and sent Monica a quick text:
Joy briefly fantasized being somewhere with no food, bells, or people. Somewhere outside like Abbott Park where she could sit with Monica and Gordon, surrounded by trees and sun and chirping birds. Somewhere peaceful. Quiet. The only thing missing would be Ink. Well, Ink could be there, of course, but no one else would know it. Dating an invisible boyfriend had some serious downsides.
Her phone buzzed back with a message: Calvary here! When do we ride?
She typed, 4pm. Bring coffee.
A buzz a second later: Will do! Joy smiled. As a best friend, Monica rocked.
Tucking her phone into her apron, Joy dashed around the corner and snatched the first entrée off the counter, expertly wiping the rim and generously sprinkling shaved Parmesan on the “no cheese” order.
Joy stared down at the plate. She wanted to cry.
Two dings. Table Three was waiting.
One more hour to go.
I have no good excuse for the way I write. I lived in a normal, loving, suburban home, studied hard, went to college, went to graduate school, got married, had babies, and settled down in northern Connecticut. Despite this wholesome lifestyle, I was clearly corrupted by fairy tales, puppet visionaries, British humour and graphic novels. As a result, I write dark, quirky, and sometimes humorous speculative fiction.
You can visit Dawn around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Want to read more from Dawn Metcalf?
This giveaway is provided by Dawn Metcalf!
One lucky reader will win an ARC of Invisible
(US & Canada)
Available September 30, 2014 from Harlequin Teen
About this Book:
Some things lie beneath the surface.
With the power to change everything.
Joy Malone wants it all—power, freedom and the boyfriend who loves her. Yet when an unstoppable assassin is hired to kill her, Joy learns that being the girl with the Sight comes with a price that might be too high to pay. Love will be tested, lives will be threatened, and everyone Joy knows and cares about will be affected by her decision to stand by Ink or to leave the Twixt forever.
Her choice is balanced on a scalpel’s edge and the consequences will be more life-altering than anyone can guess.
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