We’re thrilled to welcome Stacey Kade back to the site to celebrate the launch of her new series with THE RULES, Project Paper Doll #1 (published on April 23, 2013 by Hyperion Books). We’ve got an exclusive excerpt and a giveaway to win your own copy of THE RULES. Enter via the widget below.
Excerpt from Project Paper Doll: The Rules
In this scene from Chapter One, Ariane and her one and only friend Jenna are in the hall on their way to class. Ariane has noticed that something has lots of people abuzz, but even with her mind-reading abilities, she can’t quite pin down what it is. Jenna is too preoccupied by her sudden good fortune–Rachel, the most popular girl in school, has started to befriend Jenna–to notice that anything is amiss.
* * *
Hearing thoughts is never like what you see on television or read in books. People don’t walk around thinking in complete sentences, let alone whole paragraphs of exposition.
If GTX’s experiment had continued after me, there would have been whole teams of people like me—all of us able to communicate silently with one another as we spied on the enemy or moved in for a kill.
But with untrained human minds, it was a mess. Everybody shouting scattered words and phrases at the top of their lungs, essentially. And sometimes I only got pictures or feelings. It was hard to tell what was going on in someone’s head—on the rare occasions when I wanted to—especially when there were lots of people around, jostling and shoving, their minds as jumbled and out of sorts as their bodies.
. . . not me. Thank God.
. . . just so mean . . .
. . . makes me look fat. I know it.
This is going to be awesome!
If Mrs. McCafferty puts me in the front row again, I’m going to . . .
“Don’t you think?” Jenna asked, nudging me.
“Uh-huh,” I said, distracted. I wasn’t getting enough to piece it together. We were on the move, and so was everyone else, which made it impossible to isolate one mind. The best I could determine was that the people buzzing about whatever was going on were coming from the opposite direction. The people around us, slowly moving upstream in the hall, were still caught up in their mundane worries about homeroom and what they were wearing.
Jenna laughed. “You spaced on me again, didn’t you?”
I grimaced. “Sorry. Just thinking things through.” Normally I would have let it go. The last time I’d sensed so many minds in an uproar, the cafeteria had been serving french fries on a Tater Tot day. Who cares?
But this . . . this was different. It felt more personal, and I didn’t know why.
“Zane!” Jenna chirped, and bolted ahead of me.
Bradshaw was leaning against a wall, head and shoulders above everyone else, right at the intersection by our lockers.
A quick flash of weary patience crossed his face when he saw Jenna, but he hid it quickly enough that she didn’t catch it, thankfully. He greeted her civilly enough, and paid attention to whatever she was describing with great animation—lots of big hand motions, exaggerated expressions, and giggling.
Oh God, Jenna . . . No matter what had happened over the last week, one thing I could guarantee had not occurred was Zane Bradshaw developing a sudden interest in a girl he’d never acknowledged as alive before.
I cringed in expectation of some humiliating putdown, but Zane just smiled down at Jenna with that same mildly exasperated benevolence humans usually reserve for adorable puppies trying to chew their shoelaces.
We shouldn’t have done it.
The clarity of that single thought and the punch of accompanying shame from Zane blasted through the rest of the noise.
That’s when I got one image from Zane Bradshaw’s head loud and clear, no distortion.
A locker smeared with some kind of white paste, the words “Pain In My Ass” scrawled in flowing cursive at the top, flattened tubes of Preparation H dangling from the ventilation slats where the contents had been squeezed inside . . . and Rachel’s smiling face.
Oh no. I knew her friendship with Jenna was too good to be true. Rachel had simply traded in the immediate pleasure of crushing Jenna for something a little more longterm and hateful.
Excerpted from THE RULES © 2013 by Stacey Kade. Excerpted with permission from the author. All Rights Reserved.
As a former award-winning corporate copywriter, Stacey Kade has written about everything from backhoe loaders to breast pumps. But she prefers to make things up instead. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Greg, and their two retired racing greyhounds, Tall Walker (Walker) and SheWearsThePants (Pansy).
One copy of The Rules by Stacey Kade
Available on April 23, 2013 by Hyperion Books
1. Never trust anyone.
2. Remember they are always searching.
3. Don’t get involved.
4. Keep your head down.
5. Don’t fall in love.
Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”
But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…
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