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Thursday, May 12, 2016

✯BOOK BLITZ:✯ The Cilantro In Apple Pie by Kimberley Nadine Knights {EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY!}





The Cilantro In Apple Pie by Kimberley Nadine Knights

Release Date: May 5th 2016 by Ravenswood Publishing
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Fragnut. Confused? Well so is everyone else at Lumiere Hall Prep when sixteen-year-old Rubie Keane rolls in from Trinidad and Tobago talking her weird lingo. Not that she minds the culture confusion; she's determined to leave the past behind her and be overlooked—but a certain stoic blue blood is equally as determined to foil her plans.

Gil Stromeyer's offbeat personality initially makes Rubie second-guess his sanity, but she suspects his erratic outbursts of violence mask a deeper issue in his troubled, charmed life. Despite his disturbing behavior, a gradual bond forms between the two. However, on the night of the annual Stromeyer gala, events unfold that leave Rubie stripped of her dignity and kick Gil's already fragile world off its axis.

Both their well-kept secrets are uncovered, but Gil's revelation proves that sometimes the best remedy for a bad case of lost identity, is a dash of comradery from an ally packed with flavor.


Purchase: Amazon, B&N

{EXCERPT}

CHAPTER 1

All I could think of as I felt the wheels of that Boeing 767 lift off

the tarmac was that if I died, the pamphlet at my funeral service

would be so lame.

Celebrating the life of Rubie Keane:

Mother of…no one.

Grandmother of…(crickets).

Wife of…Mr. Nobody.

Friend of…

I had to stay alive, if only to make sure that the few people who

would attend my service after my hypothetical death wouldn’t be

subjected to the sheer boredom that was my past life—if that made

any sense at all.

But there was one huge problem.

I unofficially held the title of an FFF, and since I was a

frequently freaked-out flyer, the possibility of me going

temporarily insane, running to the nearest exit, and yanking that

door open for all three hundred plus passengers (including myself)

to get sucked out like a vacuum was very, very high.

I could almost feel my older sister and her new husband

grinning at my overly tense state from the seats behind me.

“I’ll sell you my last Ambien for five bucks,” my brother-in-law

Dennis whispered, leaning in close to my right ear.

“Dennis…” Violet warned, but she quickly smiled when he

winked at her playfully. “Try to relax, Rubie. It’s only a four-hour

flight.”

“Thanks for reminding me,” I grumbled as I took a deep breath

that filled my lungs to the max.

I heard Dennis try to suppress a chuckle, and not too long after

that, the resounding smack of Violet’s hand across his arm. Then

there was the undeniable sound of a kiss.

To say that those two were sickeningly adorable would be true

but not quite accurate enough. However, as much as I wanted to

throw up every time they were lovey-dovey toward each other, I

smiled inwardly, knowing that my sis was able to bag a real nice

ginger fella from Massachusetts.

I hated backstory, even in books, so when I explained to people

how the decision was made for me to migrate to the States with my

sister, I said the following:

1. My sister married a foreigner

2. My parents and I decided it was a good opportunity to easily

transition into a US college and

3. My grades were good enough to earn a scholarship to a fancy

private school

That was basically it, in a nutshell.

Of course, deciding to move from my sunny Caribbean

homeland of Trinidad and Tobago to a small town named

Mellowbrook right on the outskirts of Boston wasn’t as easy to

make as I made it sound.

There were arguments, objections, inevitable fears, and the

stupid thoughts of abandonment that kept plaguing my family…but

in the end, I believe we all came to the same conclusion.

Dennis Peterson was my sister’s red-headed soul mate, but he

was also my chance to inexpensively further my education.

Yes, that sounds horrible, but my parents and I were always up

front about our reasoning.

Daddy, when he was coherent, would tell him: “You can only

have my firstborn for a lifetime if you take my second born for two

years.”

It was said in jest, but with clear, underlying truths attached to

it.

Dennis fortunately had no problem with this tradeoff. We used

to have these one-on-one chats, Dennis and I, where I asked him if

he thought I would cramp their newlywed life.

He always said no.

He actually thought that my being there would make the

transition easier for his new bride; so that was one less thing he

needed to worry about.

Plus, the house they were moving into had a second bedroom

that just so happened to be slightly separate from the majority of

the house—on the ground floor, behind the kitchen.

I couldn’t understand the layout at the time, but he told me to

trust him.

Which I did.

However, I wasn’t particularly pleased when he halfheartedly

joked that I could be their very own live-in babysitter if he and

Violet had children a little earlier than initially planned.

I prayed to be in university long before I heard the pitter-patter

of Peterson feet.

So my parents did whatever they needed to do to get everything

organized—visas, important documents, transcripts—and then a

year later, on a cloudy day much like any other cloudy day, my

ticket was placed on the dining room table and my suitcases were

stacked alongside my sister’s in the car trunk.

We said goodbye to Daddy at home, but at the airport gates,

Mummy cried more than I’d expected her to. Then again, her tears

were completely warranted. She was losing not one but two

children in one swoop.

I was kind of surprised I didn’t cry with them. I should have,

because there was no place on earth like Trinidad, and I was

leaving for what could be a very long time.

There’d be no more doubles for breakfast at Long Circular Mall

with Daddy.

No more fourteen holidays in one year.

No more ole talk in public areas.

Funny that I was only thinking about all the silly, little things I

was going to miss about Trini life, but in the back of my mind, I

was somewhat happy to be escaping the past experiences that made

me feel unworthy to be considered a—

Boop!

The hollow sound of the bell disrupted my train of thought and

echoed through the pressurized cabin of the plane.

“This is your captain speaking. We’re now flying at

approximately thirty-five thousand feet, and there seem to be clear

skies ahead. We’ll be arriving at General Edward Lawrence Logan

International Airport in just under three and a half hours, so sit

back, relax, and enjoy the rest of your flight. Thank you for flying

American Airlines.”

Why did pilots always sound like what I imagined drunken

radio DJs on the graveyard shift sounded like?

Sighing, I pulled up the window shade and watched the setting

sun glow a pinkish-orange against the backdrop of clouds.

The nausea I’d felt during takeoff was slowly tapering off, so I

unbuckled my seatbelt and glanced behind me again.

Dennis was comfortably preparing himself for a sweet slumber

in his now reclined seat while Violet was perusing the In Style

magazine she’d purchased at the airport.

Three and a half hours to kill? I decided Dennis was doing the

best thing to pass the time.

So I put on my headphones, closed my eyes, and drifted off to

the sound of swashbuckling pirates and cannonballs in the

background.

* * * *

Compared to what seemed to be a ten-hour flight, a delightful

forty-five-minute wait at baggage claim, and a scream-worthy

episode with the car rental agency, the ride from the airport to my

future residence was suck eye. I anticipated a major case of jet lag

in the upcoming days though.

In the car we had every imaginable kind of fast food—

McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Taco Bell, White Castle—and

because the food on the flight was not that appetizing, I was

scarfing down unusual combinations of highly caloric cuisine by

the time we were driving down the I-95 highway to Boston.

Dennis was tickled pinker than usual to reacquaint himself with

the junk food he had so dearly missed during his year-and-a-half

stay in our neck of the woods. I swore I saw a tear of satisfaction

roll down his face when he took that first bite out of his R.F.

O’Sullivan’s burger.

“Curry’s good,” he garbled taking a rare moment to swallow.

“But juicy red meat between a sesame seed bun is absolute

heaven.”

I wasn’t sure if I agreed with him one hundred percent, but the

creamy blue cheese burger I ordered from the popular Boston

burger joint was definitely building a strong case in its defense.

Mellowbrook, established in 1892, reminded me of one of those

quaint fictional villages described in a nursery rhyme or picture

book. Gardens and flowers at every corner, houses that looked

ancient but new, and kids riding their bikes and playing in the

streets. The roads resembled huge sidewalks paved in glazed red

bricks, and the streets were lined with tall lamp posts lit from

within by candles. Every saloon-style store had the word “Shoppe”

in its name—Ophelia’s Bagel Shoppe, Sam’s Shoe Shoppe, The

Shambles Book Shoppe…

It was surreal.

I’d only ever seen towns like Mellowbrook on cable, but I’d

never imagined I would one day live in a place even remotely

similar.

“This town brings back great memories,” Dennis reminisced out

loud as we drove past a roundabout laden with pretty daises.

I stared out the window and wiped my ketchup stained mouth

with a paper napkin. “You lived here once?” I asked from the back

seat.

He shook his head. “No, but my grandparents did. We’d come

visit every holiday, and the air always smelled like pine trees and

freshly baked bagels.”

“Not a bad combo,” Violet commented at his side.

Dennis smiled broadly at my sister and draped an arm around

the back of her seat. “Not a bad combo at all.”

After turning onto Connor Street, we slowly pulled up to a

bright sunflower-yellow house with a white picket fence around

the perimeter and a stone path that lead to the front porch. Getting

out of the car, we all gawked at the property as if it were the first

house we’d ever seen in our lives.

“It’s really yellow,” I said, blocking my eyes from the glare that

reflected off the two-story cottage-like home.

Violet glared at me menacingly.

“But it’s cool,” I quickly added.

“It’s great,” she said, hooking her arm around Dennis’s. “The

color is perfect.”

He grumbled a bit and nudged his glasses farther up the bridge

of his nose. “I told them to paint it a mild yellow. This isn’t mild.

I’m going to strangle Kenny at the office.”

Dennis owned a small real estate business in the city named

Peterson Properties, so no doubt he’d easily managed to cut

through the majority of red tape to be in escrow. Whoever Kenny

was though, he was probably going to have a hard time explaining

how he could mistake mild yellow for this sun scorcher of a color.

“Well personally, I love it,” Violet crooned. She nudged me in

the side to say something else.

“We’ll have no problem giving directions to delivery men,” I

said calmly, pulling out a pair of sunglasses from the back of my

jeans pocket.

I stepped away before Violet could reach over to pinch me.

Dennis shrugged and took a deep breath. “Well come on. Let’s

go inside and have a look,” he said, pulling Violet along.

I followed cautiously behind, realizing this was in fact going to

be an absolutely new kind of home for me. Most Trinidadian

homes were made from good old-fashioned concrete and bricks.

We weren’t big on the wood thing in general, but then again, we

didn’t have to worry about insulation.

An inviting warmth greeted me as I stepped inside the living

room, and I relished in the feeling of my bones thawing out. The

autumn chill had already made its way to this town, and even

though it wasn’t freezing, I had to throw on Dennis’s much

oversized Boston University sweater over my t-shirt as we exited

the airport. It made me a dead ringer for a gray Powerpuff Girl.

“Rubie, come see this!”

I tracked Violet’s voice through the relatively empty house until

I found her giddy with glee, twirling around on the black and white

tiled expanse of the kitchen. Every appliance imaginable, from

blender to dishwasher, all eagerly anticipated someone pressing

their ‘on’ buttons for the first time. I had to admit, it was

impressive to look at.

“Not bad,” I said, nodding my approval.

She excitedly ran her fingers along the laminate of the kitchen

island. “I can’t wait to cook in here.”

Dennis grinned and admired his new wife from the doorway,

feeding off her enthusiastic energy. “It’s all for you, babe.”

She looked up and beamed brightly at him.

Feeling like an intruder in a private moment, I decided to give

them some space, but Dennis caught my arm before I could exit.

“Want to see your room?”

“Sure,” I said.

“It’s right behind here.” He motioned with his head for me to

follow, but before we left the kitchen, he leaned down to Violet

and gave her a small peck on her forehead.

“And look, you’ve got your own private little hallway,” he

added.

“I see what you meant about separate from the rest of the

house,” I observed, listening to our voices bouncing off the walls.

On the door hung a huge stop sign that read “STOP…NO ADULTS

ALLOWED.”

“I like,” I said, grinning.

“I thought you would,” Dennis replied. He swung open the door

and I stepped in slowly, trying to mask my anxiety.

What immediately caught my eye was the fact that it was a

split-level room. Three short steps led up to a narrow platform with

a window nook, where I instantly envisioned myself buried

between layers of cushions and reading books for hours upon hours

on the weekends. Three steps down and we were standing in the

main part of the room, with an industrial desk and chair set

jammed against the northern corner and a medium-sized white

closet flanking the opposite wall. The bed was in the middle of the

room, looking rather sad in the midst of all the space it was

engulfed in.

Dennis walked up the stairs and pried open the nook window.

“Sorry about the smell,” he apologized. “I think we oughta keep

this open for a while.”

I nodded in agreement. “Do you know that if you add a

teaspoon of vanilla extract to every five gallons, a recently painted

room will smell like freshly baked cookies?”

Dennis looked over his shoulder at me with a skeptical

expression on his face as he used the double tassel tiebacks to

angle the curtains to the side. “Are you serious?”

I was always serious when it came to useless, random facts.

Well…I guess in this case it wasn’t so useless. “Or you can leave a

cut onion overnight and it’ll soak up all the fumes.”

“Huh. I’ll keep that in mind when I’m giving quick home

improvement tips at my next open house.” He dusted his hands off

then and rejoined me in the middle of the room. “So…what do you

think?”

“I think I owe you something,” I said, truly feeling like such a

leech for being the teenaged spoke in this newly married man’s

wheel of life. I didn’t deserve such a cool room.

“Nah, that’s okay.” He turned and winked at me mischievously.

“Besides, you’ve already given me Violet.”

I scowled at him. “I’m serious. I feel like I’m invading your

space.”

Dennis let out a low sigh. “I thought we were over this, Rubie.”

“I know. It’s just…”

“Just nothing. Look, I told you, it’s okay.”

“It can’t be okay. These aren’t normal living conditions,” I

argued, tightening the woogie that attempted to hold my unruly

hair in a high ponytail. “You guys should have your privacy.”

“And we will have our privacy. Why do you think we shoved

you down in this dungeon behind the kitchen?” He grinned. “I

promise you’re not the big inconvenience you think you are.”

“Well, it’s only for two years,” I said, more to convince myself

than him. “I’ll be out of your hair before you know it.”

When I plopped down on the full-size mattress, he sat next to

me and ruffled the few strands of hair that had stubbornly escaped

its tie. “Rubie, you’re the first low-maintenance girl I’ve ever met.

If you can get ready in less than twenty minutes in the morning, I

don’t think there’s going to be a problem. Sure, it’s not the most

traditional living arrangement, but you want to know something?

Before I met your family and your sister, my life was pretty boring.

The same routine every day. But now, every day’s a new

experience. The past year’s been the best of my life. I have Violet,

and it’s important to her to have you here, so it’s also important to

me.”

I couldn’t help but think that Violet had really picked a winner

in this stocky Bostonian.

“Well, okay,” I said sheepishly. I fiddled with the embossed

wristbands and charm bracelet that bore the Trinidadian flag and

other local trinkets on my left wrist. “But if you ever need a

favor—”

“I know where to find you,” he finished for me with a smirk.

“But there’s one more thing I want to show you.”

He walked over to the wardrobe, opened it, and pulled out a

hanger.

On the hanger hung a long-sleeved light-blue shirt, a navy-blue

V-neck sweater vest with matching tie, and a green and blue tartan

pleated skirt. I glanced inside the wardrobe to see two identical

blazers with a monogram on their fronts, a few white polos with

the same monogram, and some short-sleeved oxford shirts.

“That’s a lot of uniform,” I mumbled under my breath as I

walked over to touch the plaid skirt.

“Well, it’s for the different seasons. We get all four here in

Boston.”

That might have been an obvious fact for someone else, but for

a person like me who up until that point only knew firsthand about

a rainy season and a dry season, it was a valid reminder.

Big changes…mundane reasons.

“Right,” I said, pressing my lips together to form a tight line.

“Lumiere Hall, huh.” It was the exclusive private school I was

supposed to start the following week in the neighboring town of

Salmery. Salmery was larger than Mellowbrook, but not by very

much.

“It’s the best private school in the area. Kids who go there are

Ivy League bound.”

“Lumierrrre Hall.” I rolled my Rs like I was speaking Spanish.

“It sounds like the name of a Parisian auditorium.”

Dennis laughed and placed the hanger back into the closet.

“Well, it’s the best auditorium money can buy. Not that we have to

worry about that. I heard you really blew them away with your test

scores.”

“I was barely a B-average student in Trinidad,” I said,

shrugging.

“But academically, you’re way ahead of your peers here,”

Dennis said.

“Seems so.” It was one of the advantages of following a British

system back home. “But is that really enough for a free ride?”

Dennis reenacted my shrug from before. “Apparently it is.

Remember, you’re like an investment to the school.”

“Great,” I grumbled, falling back against the mattress. “So I’m

in a school full of snobs, right?”

Dennis winced slightly and cocked his head to the side in

whimsical distress. “The possibility is there.”

I groaned.

“Your mom thought it’d be better if you attended a high school

with a uniform. It’s what you’re accustomed to.”

I grunted louder and pulled the hood from his sweatshirt over

my head even though we were indoors.

Dennis laughed at my lack of enthusiasm and closed the closet

doors. “You’re going to have a bunch of friends in no time. You’ll

see.”

“I’m really not interested in making friends,” I said honestly,

staring up at a random dot on the ceiling.

Dennis’s eyebrows shot up over the rim of his glasses. “Oh?

I’ve never known you to be the loner type.”

I wasn’t…not always anyway.

“It’s a new development.” I got up off the mattress to check out

my own private bathroom before Dennis could question me further

on the matter. But I could sense by the way he was looking at me

that he was putting a pin in the conversation, with definite plans to

return sometime later.

“When’s all our stuff getting here?” I asked, changing the

subject. “I hope my guitars made it to Boston without any

damage.”

I’d taught myself to play the guitar a few years back—from

YouTube no less. But that didn’t mean I was disadvantaged in any

way. Of course I wasn’t a seasoned professional ready to grace

Wembley Stadium or Madison Square Garden as yet, but I played

decently enough to strum some popular songs if an intimate

audience deemed it necessary.

I remembered back in Trinidad, Dennis putting me on the spot

during their engagement party at my house. I was furious at first,

but after I’d successfully played a tune without once mucking up

the chords, I thanked him for having more confidence in myself

than I obviously did.

He and Violet were always encouraging me to take formal

lessons, but to me it wasn’t about having the theory or technique

down to a tee. I played for more therapeutic reasons, strumming

strings when thoughts became excessive so music would carry

away my doubts.

The F chord was the devil in my eyes though—I avoided it at all

costs, no matter how much I loved a song.

“The movers should be here the day after tomorrow,” Dennis

answered. “Until then, we’ll have to make do with what we’ve got

in our suitcases.”

“Oh.” I didn’t hide the disappointment in my voice very well.

“But,” he continued after a five second lull,” I did manage to

arrange something that’ll make the wait a little easier.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Oh yeah? What?”

Instead of replying, he walked out of the room and returned

some moments later with an HP tablet in his hands. “Wi-Fi.”

I grinned and took the tablet from him. “I knew Violet married

you for a reason.” Sliding my finger across the screen, I found the

Skype icon and tapped it firmly.

It was time to call home.


AUTHOR BIO:

Kimberley Nadine Knights knew when she kept willingly opting out of parties so she could stay home and write instead, that she was destined to be an author.

Born and raised in the tropical twin islands of Trinidad & Tobago, when this Caribbean girl isn't creating new plotlines for her ever growing lineup of fictional characters, she spends her time strumming her guitar to indie rock songs and snapping once in a lifetime photos halfway across the globe in countries such as Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and France.

She's an avid fan of The Walking Dead series and firmly believes that The Food Network should consider her being a judge on the next Chopped challenge.
Visit her website http://kimberleynknights.wix.com/author and learn more about this up and coming author. 


{GIVEAWAY!}



Thanks for stopping by! : )

2 comments:

Darlene Cruz said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm so curious now, two different people world collides.

Nikita Soni said... Best Blogger Tips

The book sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing and the chance to win! :)

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