Book Blast & Giveaway! Arabella Park by Meiling (Evan Tyler)

Arabella Park
by Meiling (Evan Tyler)
Season #1
Publication: October 1st 2017
Category: YA
Genre: Mystery

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Everyone knows that losing friends is a natural part of the high school experience. It’s all a game of musical chairs, really. Yet, what happens when a friend doesn’t intentionally “go ghost” but is abruptly taken away?

Kameron, Grayson, Mikey, Yasmin, and Jenna have been thick as thieves from childhood. Rightfully so—they make up the American minority in the German twin city of Arabella Park. When one of the five suddenly turns up missing, the remaining friends must find a way to bring her back while keeping up the facade of leading ordinary small-town lives.

As they search for their missing friend, they discover things about themselves and one another that will catapult them into an explosive climax and the ultimate revelation of who done it.

A multi-faceted mystery told from the alternating points of view of five friends, Arabella Park brings to life what it means to endure the most frightful, profound time of one’s life—the teenage years—while being stretched to the limits of what it means to be an adult, even a hero.

~Excerpt~

Sitting next to me in the backseat of Michael’s car, Grayson looks up from his cell phone for the first time since we started our joy ride. He centers his full attention on the side of my face.
I scrunch my brows. “Why are you staring at me?”
“No reason. Just trying to imagine you with a mustache and full beard.”
I dangle my ponytail over my upper lip. “Won’t be that hard if I don’t wax soon.”
He smiles at me, though there’s a mismatched expression in his eyes. It’s pity. It hasn’t left him since last week.
“No, seriously,” he says, “I’m just trying to remember what you look like for when you abandon me.”
Grayson made my announcement to Mikey and Jenna as soon as they picked us up in the Mikey-mobile, a refurbished 1989 Dodge Challenger his father passed on to him. Mikey and Jenna applauded my victory, immediately asked if I’d given Mimi the news. Yasmin would presumably be most ecstatic, considering we had plans to take Berkeley by storm together. We are now one acceptance letter short of realizing the dream in its entirety.
Mimi had missed all three of my victory calls. Such news had to be heard, not seen in a text. Further, the ever-jaunty rhythm of her voice would no doubt grow my own excitement.
Mikey insisted on congratulating me by dropping the car’s top for the special occasion. I probably would have been more inclined to tell him what an irritation it is having the wind toss my hair into whorls over my eyes if the gesture hadn’t been so sincere. Besides, without the lid of the car roof, the scene of the falling scarlet-gold sun on the horizon makes the city that much more picturesque. Downtown Arabella Park, with its gold-themed stores and restaurants can be quite stunning at sunset.
“I don’t know what I’m gonna do with you, Kam. You know, there’s no way I can get into Berkeley,” Grayson continues. “Plus, I don’t know if I wanna be known as a West Coast rapper.”
“Did you get the news, tio?” Mikey says.
“What…what’s up?” His tone is intensely curious. He hasn’t detected Mikey’s sarcasm. It’s pathetically obvious where his mind is.
“Facebook, Snapchat, WeChat, Skype, FaceTime, G-Chat, Twitter, Google Plus—all forms of media with over a billion users on the planet. There’s no way you’re gonna forget what that mug looks like.” Mikey grins at me through the rear-view mirror. “That beautiful, gorgeous Kasparov mug.”
“Okay, cool,” Gray says with a shrug. “Now, we can focus on more important things.” He attends his phone once again, scrolling down the screen with a smooth thumb. He slides down in the seat to spread his long, cramped legs, looking up at me to make sure I’ve caught his humor.
From the side mirror, I watch Jenna roll her eyes. “Guess nothing could be as important as Little Lolo, not even your sister getting into one of the best schools in the country.”
“You got it, Eeyore,” he says, using the name he’d given her years ago for the listless tone she often employs.
“Anything for you, Pooh Bear.”
“Well, anyway, I can’t find her on Facebook. Guess her name’s not actually Lolo. We’ll just call her dimples and swags for now.”
“Or we could call her London Griffin since that’s the kid’s name,” Mikey offers. “She’s in my AP Lit class sixth period. Today was her first day.”
“She’s in your class? Dude….” That was a dude of sheer wonder. “Did she say anything about the lunch battle thing? Was she impressed? You think she’s interested?”
“I think she doesn’t know you from a can of paint,” I say because bitterness, like heartbreak, is the friend that’ll never leave your side.
“Yeah, but did you see her face at the end of the battle?”
Jenna smirks. “I’m sure she was just taken aback by your incredible linguistic abilities….”
Mikey makes a dumb, stuttering sound, contorting his face, thus imitating Grayson as he watched London Griffin effortlessly steal the crown off his head at lunch. Jenna and I crack up. Grayson takes it in stride, returning to his Facebook search.
Like a fiend, I return to thoughts of Robert. His brown eyes used to be so kind. He had the kind of face that inspired immediate trust. So, I actually believed him when he said—
“Shit!” Mikey’s car jerks, thrusting me out of my thoughts.
“Ooh, Mikey said a bad word,” Grayson mocks.
Jenna turns to Mikey, holding her stomach, breathless. “Did we get a flat or something?”
“Turn the wheel, pull over to the shoulder,” I command.
“I got it.” Mikey wrestles with his steering wheel, the car slowly crunching and dragging over the black asphalt.
“Just pull over,” I insist.
“Shut up, K!” Mikey yells. After managing to get the car onto the shoulder, he turns back to face me, not meeting my eyes. “Sorry.”
His apology embarrasses me. “Whatever. Just check the trunk for a spare.”
Mikey opens his door and heads for the trunk. Grayson follows behind, not wasting the opportunity to hop out over the side of the convertible. I make my way to the boys’ side, while Jenna stays in the car, anchored by the baby. Mikey wrestles with the trunk’s old lock. When he finally manages it open, the three of us take a reflexive step back, faced with the startling contents of an otherwise pristine space.
A slight wind dances one of the contents out of the trunk. It is a single type-written paper that turns cartwheels in the air until Grayson reaches for it, suspending it between his fingers.
He flattens the paper, then holds it out to allow Mikey and me to read it over his shoulder. Our collective silence layered over the sound of traffic, we digest its meaning, a meaning made clearer by the other contents:
A bundle of straight, black hair stuck to the trunk carpet with blood
A silver ring tarnished by the same blood
“What’s going on?” Jenna hollers out of the window. She manages to raise herself from the car, toddling toward us. “Guys, what’s up?”
Annoyed by our silence and not yet having stolen a glance inside the trunk, she snatches the note out of Grayson’s hand and acquaints herself with the staggering situation the three of us have just been confronted with.

Yasmin Navarro.
I have her. I cannot make it plainer. I will not attempt to. You will carry the burden of gathering belief.
I trust that you will doubt the evidence. All Catholic school children have doubts.
If you must, test the DNA of the blood evidence I have so kindly left you. I don’t know how you will do so without informing someone about what you have found in the trunk.
Here is something you should not doubt: I will chop Yasmin’s body to little pieces and eat them over the course of several meals if you tell ANYONE about what you have found. Anyone means anyone.
As your Bible so clearly states, the power of life and death is in your hands. I recomend that you choose life. Life is so much better than death, isn’t it? A life like Yasmin’s deserves to be lived to a ripe old age. I trust that you will agree with me. More than that, I hope we can work out a deal that will ensure Yasmin’s safe return.
Now, to the question that is on all of your minds: What do I want? I don’t know the answer to that presently. I will let you know that soon enough. In the meantime, prove yourselves trustworthy enough to hold a secret. A life depends on it.
Kisses,
Me

~Book Trailer~

~About the Author~

I’ve lived the most ordinary life ever. Thus, I write for my own entertainment and hopefully, one day, the entertainment of millions of others. I’m a guitarist/singer/songwriter and above all, a hard worker. (At least, I’d like to think so.) Not sure what other clever thing I could say, so [insert clever line right here.] 🙂

Evan’s Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

~Giveaway~

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Follower of Jesus, loving wife, homeschooling mom, blogger, author, gamer, and a lover of the culinary arts. Toni lives in Michigan with her husband and four children. If she's not writing or curled up with a book, you'll most likely find her playing with her kids, baking cupcakes, or killing zombies.
  • bookbunny68

    Looking forward to a good mystery read. I live in a small town and would like to see how they handle things in the book.