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Blog Tour: Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting

Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting


What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night…

Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teaches Jaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword.

But he has a secret. And his secret may have a connection to the one thing Jaclyn is hiding from him.

Upon hearing “monsters” are terrorizing the small villages around Black Mountain, Jaclyn’s father and his friends head out to hunt them … but they don’t return.

 

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Teaser 1

Mother crinkled her nose. “Don’t fret. You’re of marriageable age now. We must think of finding you a husband or your time will pass. I’m only thinking of your future, Jaclyn. I want to see you settled soon. Your father and I are not getting younger.”

“Getting married and bearing children is not for me. There’s much work to be done.”

I slipped my arms around her waist and pressed my head to her back. I inhaled deeply as warmth enveloped me and her love replaced the fright from my nightmares.

Safe. I am safe. No monsters.

“Our life is good here. Why would I want to fix what is not broken?”

“’Tis what we do. People will talk.”

“Let them.”

I scowled, anger boiling through my veins. I tended to not raise my voice, so I softened my tone out of respect.

“I will not be handed to a suitor I do not love.”

Mother patted my arm. “My child, you have much to learn. Love comes later. I did not love your father at first.”

“I will not follow other people’s ways.” Pouting, I shuffled my feet on the dirt.

She released a deep sigh. “Oh, Jaclyn. Your time will come. Everyone has a destiny. Everyone has a story to tell. Some more than others. We shall see what lies ahead for you. Fate will lead you to the path you are meant to take.”

I wished I had eyes for the future. I wanted to know a demon would not seize my soul, and I wanted to see a path without the nighttime cries. They must be monsters. I’d never heard a human throat make such tortured sounds.

What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night?

Illness swept through my stomach. A shudder racked me, beginning in my gut, forewarning me.

 

Teaser 2

?

I reached out, and just before I touched the brush, the old woman grabbed my wrist. Her probing fingers seemed to be seeking something. I gasped and jerked away from her sharp nails and the coldness of her touch.

“I apologize.” I tugged at my sleeve, even though it was already down, for fear she had seen my birthmark.

Her hood shifted and her dark, snapping eyes assured me she had. But when she peered up at me with a small smile, she eased my mind.

“Have a care, please.”

Her raspy voice stunned me, as she continued to stare, examining me like I was some kind of novelty.

“I’m sorry,” I apologized again. “I want to buy the set for my mother. I have a silver coin.”

I showed it to her. Perhaps she thought me a thief like the hat seller.

“Which one suits your fancy?”

She reached underneath her cloak for something—a dagger maybe?

My pulse raced. My mind became unsteady. Defeating an old woman would be easy, unless she was a witch. I had heard tales of witches in my younger days, but I’d never paid attention. I wished I had.

I pointed. “That one, please.”

She handed me the brush first and then the mirror. I ran my finger across the vine from the bottom, feeling the curves and indentations and the fine texture of the smooth wood. Admiring its beauty, I knew Mother would be pleased.

The old woman’s eyes stayed on my covered wrists. No fear showed through them, only recognition or something else unexplainable. Before she could ask me a question, I placed the silver coin in front of her and turned to leave.

“Stop,” she said.

I gulped fear down my throat.

Have I done something wrong? What will she ask of me?

All my life, no one had asked me about my birthmarks. I hid them well.

“Yes?” I turned to her, smiling.

“Here, I have a gift for you.”

I was foolish enough to think she would give me a silver back, so I opened my hand to her. She dropped three beans in it and closed my fist. When her hand touched mine, she gasped sharply, and her eyes rolled back.

I shuddered at her expression. I wanted to run far from her, but I remained calm when no trickery played from her. But why beans? Not a bag of beans, but three shriveled, gray, speckled beans.

“Nay, thank you.”

I tried to open my hand to return them to her, but she held steady onto me. The old fool giving me beans—she must be mad. And I needed to head back to Father.

“You look like your mother. Have ’em.” Her eyes bored into mine, and then finally let go. “You’d be wise to hold these fast. A time will come when you are in need. Use them wisely.”

 

Teaser 3

 

The men slapping Father on the shoulder one by one signaled time to leave. That night I heard a side of Father I’d never known. My respect for him rose even greater. He was well known by his former townspeople. He protected them, served them, and cared about them.

The men spoke to Father with reverence, at least the older ones with whom he had a kinship. None of them would have been there late into the night if they hadn’t sought his advice.

But the beasts—they were real whether the men believed or not. I believed because Father said they were, and I’d heard their cries for months.

The monsters’ wails had first invaded my mind the day I turned sixteen. How many heard their cries at night like me and never told a soul, afraid to be cast out of their village or burned for a heretic?

A silent, deadly chill took hold of every bone and muscle. Small wonder he had not liked my monster tale the previous night.

When father flung the barn door open, I had no time to think but run back home. Who knew what kind of scolding I would receive if I were caught? I had seen no women at the meeting, let alone children.

Water descended in gleaming silver drops from the night sky, a gentle kiss on my face. I tightened my coverlet and ran against the frigid wind as fast as my legs would carry me.

Boots pounded against the wet dirt as the rain poured heavier and thicker on the spongy Earth. My face went numb, and then my body, not just from the savage cold, but from my thoughts.

They are real … real. Taller than life … claws like a beast … teeth as sharp as knives.

I reached home with speed I never knew I had. Panting and desperate for air, I slipped inside quietly and walked with careful steps so as not to disturb Mother. Then I threw my coverlet across the bed and scooted under the damp blanket.

My hammering heart slowed to a steadier beat but refused to calm. I had discovered much through the crack in the wall. Having early chores in the morning, I closed my eyes for sleep, shivering, but sleep would not come.

Thoughts of monsters took hold of my mind.

They are real.

Teaser 4

 

I sat up, this time not caring if men saw me. My teeth chattered, and the rain kept falling, and my vision stayed unclear except for the bobbing lights of the lanterns. I could no longer tell where Father stood as I peered into the night, until the sheep bleated louder.

The roar of the monsters whirled in the air—one deafening snarl after the other—and loud thumps steadily approaching shook the earth.

Boom! Boom! Boom!

From the sound of them, there were at least three. Maybe more.

Their rage rumbled the earth like a lion’s growl, but a hundred times worse. I wanted to see what they looked like, but the rain and the darkness made it impossible. I had to wipe water off my face every second to better my vision.

When the lanterns moved closer to the sheep, I stiffened. And not too far from them shone six glowing circles—radiant like the sun—high above the ground. My gut told me they were the monsters’ eyes, burning like Hell’s fire.

God help us.

“What are you waiting for?” Aldwin shouted. “Kill the beasts.”

“No, Aldwin,” Father said.

“We can’t fight giants, Richard.”

“May God have mercy.”

The angered monsters’ cries reverberated within the forest, loud enough to be heard for miles. When lightning struck again, shock slammed into me and my breath hitched, for I got a glimpse of the monsters towering over the men.

Their elongated arms possessed claws the size and shape of swords. To my horror, the beasts looked like the creatures in my vision when I’d touched the lance.

They are real … real … real. Taller than life. Claws like a beast. Teeth as sharp as knives. Phantom demons incarnate.

“Run,” William shouted, and then human screams followed.

 

 

 

Blog Tour Schedule

September 10th
*I Am A Reader
*Clean Wholesome Romance
*Katie’s Clean Book Collection
*Aubrey Wynne: Timeless Love

September 11th
*Paulette’s Papers
*ilovebooksandstuffblog
*My Life Loves and Passion

September 12th
*Biscotti and Bracelets
*BookHounds ya

September 13th
*Wishful Endings
*Singing Librarian Books
*T’s Stuff

September 14th
*Stormy Vixen’s Book Reviews
*Why Not? Because I Said So!
*A Night’s Dream of Books
*Stacking My Book Shelves!
*Literary Addicts

 

Author Mary Ting

International Bestselling/Award Winning Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. She also toured with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

 

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