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{Release Blitz} Stolen by Marlena Frank

I am so excited that STOLEN by Marlena Frank is available now and that I get to share
the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by
Author Marlena Frank, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon
Gift Card, International, courtesy of The Parliament House and Rockstar Book
Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the
bottom of this post.

Title: STOLEN (Stolen #1)

Author: Marlena Frank

Pub. Date: January 22, 2019

Publisher: The Parliament House

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 342

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksKobo

It’s difficult taking care
of a delusional father by yourself. Sixteen-year-old Shaleigh Mallet would rather
explore and photograph dilapidated buildings than cater to her father’s dark
episodes. But when she’s kidnapped by a creature who carries her atop a flying
bicycle into another world, she realizes this wasn’t the escape she wanted.

In a kingdom known as the
Garden, where minotaurs pull carriages and parties are held in hot air
balloons, Madam Cloom and her faerie servant, Teagan, rule over the land with
incredible but terrifying magic. Shaleigh must prove that she is the
reincarnation of a long-dead ruler, not because she believes it, but because
it’s her only chance to survive. With the help of a trespassing faerie, a
stoatling, and a living statue, Shaleigh hopes to outwit everyone. She aims to
break the bonds of servitude and finally make her way home. What she doesn’t
realize, however, is that she’s playing right into the hands of a far worse
enemy…

Book Trailer:

Excerpt:

PART
I

FREEFALL

AN EMBARRASSMENT

Shaleigh didn’t think about how much
concrete and steel stood over her head as she stepped carefully down the
decaying hallway of Ferris Factory. The building had been abandoned for so long
that the mildew and fungus ran rampant from the moisture that crept down the
crumbling walls, so a respirator was a requirement. Ferris Factory was only two
stories tall from the outside, but the floors underground felt endless. The
elevator shaft only went down three floors when it had been operational; the
rest of the floors could only be reached with the stairs. She doubted any of it
had been inspected by the fire marshal.

Her best friend, Kaeja, walked so close
behind that she could feel her warm breath on the back of her neck. The only
sound that echoed up and down the hallway, besides their footsteps, was the
snap of Shaleigh’s camera. The photos were why they risked their lives to explore
dangerous places: to document the decrepit. It was thrilling to explore a place
that nobody else would see. Eventually all the walls would fall, and Ferris
Factory would decay into memory. Shaleigh and Kaeja would have the only
remaining proof it even existed, especially since it was clear that nobody was
supposed to know about this section of the factory.

A rat skittered out of a heap of moldy
paperwork and Kaeja took a deep breath until it passed. “This is the worst one
yet. By far.” Shaleigh grinned, though her respirator concealed it. “Come on,
we had to come back and take the stairs down. We couldn’t just end it at the
base of the elevator.”

“Do you see that?” She swung the
flashlight to the side. “I couldn’t even hang a picture on that wall. Four
floors down was enough, five floors is just begging to get hurt.”

Kaeja was right, the walls of the
hallway curved inward like a bow string. Shaleigh hadn’t noticed how bad it was
until she mentioned it. “We’ll be quick.”

She snapped as many photos as she could
while Kaeja held the flashlight. It illuminated a good portion of the hall, but
the beam had little effect against the thick, sick air. The light ought to have
made the place more inviting, but it only made the shadows darker. It was hard
for Shaleigh to keep her hands steady for the photos; fear and exhilaration
kept combating within her. Sure, this place was terrifying and could collapse
at any moment, but the thought of capturing a world that would never been seen
again, of documenting the forgotten before it disappeared, made her tap the
shutter button of her camera faster. “I wish we had more time. I’d love to
look inside some of these rooms.”

“Not me,” Kaeja said, her eyes
shadowed by the reflections of the flashlight on her mask. “These halls
are creepy enough, thanks.” The light flashed across some metal scraps
against the bowed wooden wall. It was hard to tell if it had been left behind
by the workers, or if it had fallen from the ceiling. “Didn’t they used to
make cars here?”

“Sure, that’s it.” Shaleigh
snorted as she tapped on a dirt-encrusted sign that warned visitors that the
hallway was a high security corridor. “Whatever helps you sleep at
night.”

“It’s an old building, but that
doesn’t mean they were hiding anything down here.”

“Then what’s with the high
security? They had to be doing something illegal down here. The maps we found
don’t even show these floors. I heard it used to be a hospital,”

Shaleigh glanced back to her with a
smile. “Dad heard it from a colleague at work. They used to keep dangerous
people here.” Kaeja stared at her, the beam from the flashlight in her hands
trembling.

A high-pitched squeal of metal echoed
down through the insides of the building, as though the entire structure was
shifting under its own weight. The squeal turned into a groan that shook the
very floor beneath their feet. Both teens froze, barely daring to breathe as
debris fell from the ceiling. Seven levels of exhausted steel, wood, and
plaster shifted over their heads. They stood in silence waiting for the walls
to give way, waiting to be buried beneath the rusty metal beams, discolored
linoleum floors, and rat-infested insulation; but the building remained steady.

The noise stopped. Particles drifted in
the air.

“It doesn’t sound very good, does
it?” Shaleigh whispered.

“I don’t like it. I don’t care what
you say, this is the lowest I’m going. Five levels below ground is far
enough.”

Shaleigh stifled a laugh, “That’s
what you said when we found the stairs.”

A high-pitched noise erupted down the
hall causing both teens to jump. It didn’t sound metallic…it didn’t sound
like the building at all.

Kaeja stared down the hallway with wide
eyes. The noise broke into a whimper, and then there was silence. It only
lasted maybe a few seconds, but they both knew what they had heard. Someone was
down there with them.

Shaleigh turned to look behind them, but
without the flashlight beam it was too dark to see anything. “Was that—was
that behind us?”

Kaeja spun around, temporarily blinding
Shaleigh in the process. “I don’t know. I thought it came from in front of
us.”

The darkness felt like a cage all around
them. The beam of the flashlight, darting forwards and backwards down the hall,
seemed so small and insignificant now. Someone was in the darkness. Someone was
watching them. Shaleigh stepped around Kaeja and started back toward the
stairwell. “We should go.”

Kaeja grabbed her arm and Shaleigh could
feel her clammy fingers through the sleeve of her jacket. “Are you crazy?
You said that’s where it came from.”

“How else are we going to get out
of here?”

Kaeja could give no argument and shook
her head. “Shaleigh…” she whimpered.

“It’s okay, we’ll do it
together.” She put her camera around her neck and took Kaeja’s hand. They
walked slowly towards the door of the stairwell, side by side, fingers clasped
in a death grip.

For a moment, Shaleigh thought she saw
movement ahead of them and stopped. Kaeja must have seen it too because she
swept her flashlight left and right, searching for whatever it was. Just before
the beam of light reached one of the doors, Shaleigh was certain she spotted a
shadow move into one of the rooms.

“Ow…” Kaeja whispered giving
their joined hands a tug. Shaleigh realized she had been gripping too hard and
loosened her hold but didn’t say a word. Her eyes were fixed on where the
shadow had been. As they drew closer, an arm stretched out, hairy with long,
black fingernails, and pulled the door closed. There was a splash as though
something heavy had fallen into a pool of water from behind the door.

Kaeja screamed. A bolt of adrenaline hit
Shaleigh and she grabbed Kaeja’s arm. Together they ran. As they passed the
door, the knob began to turn with a creak. She wasn’t sure if Kaeja had seen it
or not. “Keep going!” she yelled, all pretense of caution forgotten.

Once the stairwell came into view, they
sped up. Shaleigh slipped on a wet spot and her foot skidded. She would have
sprained her ankle if she hadn’t grabbed for the wall. What a stupid way to
die, she thought as she regained her footing. She had to keep her head
straight, because panicking in an old, decrepit building was a sure way to get
hurt or killed by whatever was after them. She forced them to slow down to
climb over a pile of broken boards and nails. Shaleigh had thought it odd to
have it so close to the stairwell when they’d first come down, but now she saw
it as a marker, a warning perhaps, to keep trespassers out. As she helped Kaeja
down the opposite side of the rubble, she heard limping footsteps approaching
them.

“It’s coming!” Shaleigh cried
and together they sprinted for the stairwell. The flashlight bounced beams off
the walls.

They hit the metal door like a battering
ram, shoving it into the rusted railings of the stairs, causing it to
reverberate like a gong up and down the concrete shaft. Shaleigh gripped the
metal rail, feeling the flecks of paint come off on her hands, and the raw rust
beneath. She exchanged a glance with Kaeja, both trying to catch their breath.
The respirator was humid with her breathing and she couldn’t wait to rip it off
when they got outside. She looked up the dark stairwell above them and
grimaced. There were too many floors between them and safety.

Kaeja gasped and reached out to grab
Shaleigh’s arm. Shaleigh stared at her. She thought she could make out
footsteps from the hall they just left, but it was so faint it was hard to make
out. It could have just been the sounds of the building, but she didn’t want to
take any chances. Taking a deep breath, Shaleigh led the way as they started up
the stairs.

One floor, two floors, three floors.

Was that the sound of the doorknob
beneath them being turned? Kaeja hurried to her side as they continued to
climb. Both were audibly gasping now. It wouldn’t take much for their pursuer
to know where they went. Shaleigh’s thighs were burning. She could sprint up a
flight or two of stairs, but this was tough. It didn’t help that she was
already out of breath before they even started climbing.

“What if it’s locked us in?”
Kaeja asked between sucking in gulps of air.

Shaleigh didn’t respond. She didn’t want
to even consider that option.

They climbed two more flights of stairs.
Kaeja reached the door first. They both let out a sigh of relief when the door
opened. Panting, they jogged to the main exit, a pair of massive iron doors
that looked like they belonged in a mausoleum. Neither of them said a word as
they descended the short flight of broken steps to the grass. Shaleigh ripped
off her respirator, Kaeja did the same, and they both exchanged grins as they
crossed the grass-pocked concrete walkway. It felt good to feel the heat of the
day on her skin too. The sun was sinking in the west, but the air was sweet
with wild honeysuckle and a light breeze rustled the old oaks. Shaleigh relaxed
a bit but could tell by Kaeja’s expression that she wouldn’t be able to relax
until they had left the property completely.

The concrete walkway fell away to tall
grass that came up to their hips, as they sidestepped small pine trees that
were beginning to take over the lot and moved further away from the building.
The chain link fence that surrounded the property sported multiple warning
signs for trespassers, though they were faded from exposure. Kaeja pulled back
the corner of fencing they had used to get in, and they both climbed through
without saying a word. Kaeja paused, took a deep breath, and relaxed her
shoulders.

“I know you’ll hate to hear this,
Kaeja,” Shaleigh started. “But I think I’m done with Ferris Factory
for a while.”

Kaeja laughed. “No complaints here.
I’m going to add that we never go underground again either. I am not running up
that many stairs again, no matter how great you say the pictures will be.”
Shaleigh couldn’t help but laugh. The downtrodden path through the woods made
it a short walk to reach the bus stop. Shaleigh unwrapped the scarf from around
her head and shook out her twists. The breeze felt wonderful on her scalp. They
dropped everything into Shaleigh’s backpack as they walked. The main road was
surprisingly empty for a Sunday afternoon. After exploring inside of
decomposing buildings for a while, she had new respect for even the simplest
things. The bench for the bus stop, covered in graffiti and bearing a single
broken board, looked like a luxury.

Kaeja sprawled across the broken wooden
bench and covered her eyes with her arms.

“Wow, what a rush!”

“I know!” Despite her smile,
Shaleigh still glanced over her shoulder, as though expecting the person from
the building to be slinking toward them through the woods.

“What do you think it was?”

Kaeja stared up into the sky.
“Someone crazy, I’m sure. It’s a good thing they made some noise. I don’t
like the thought of them sneaking up on us like that.” She sat up and
patted the bench beside her.

Shaleigh obliged, her legs were still
shaky. “Did you see that hand?”

Kaeja shuddered, “Looked like he
hadn’t seen the light of day in forever.” She stretched her arms over the
back of the bench. “This is exactly why I don’t like the big ones. There
are too many hiding places.”

“The small ones aren’t much
better,” Shaleigh added. “Sometimes it feels like a shot right out of
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you know?”

Kaeja nodded and the two grew silent
from their own nerves. Kaeja’s leg jumped up and down, as though at any moment
she would jump up into a sprint. Shaleigh kept resisting the urge to look over
her shoulder once more. The bus couldn’t come fast enough.

“Ugh, I need to think about something else.” Kaeja said with a tense
smile. “You’ve got a party coming up tonight, don’t you? You get to get
all dolled up. I know you don’t like the people much, but I do envy you getting
to go.”

Shaleigh sighed. “I had almost
forgotten about it.” She checked her watch. It was a good thing they had left
when they did because she still needed to get home and clean up. “If you like
it so much, you can totally go for me.”

“Your dad would never let me. He
needs you there.”

“Unfortunately.”

Kaeja scooted closer and put an arm
around her shoulders. “I’m sorry. I guess that is pretty hard on you. Do
they ask you a lot of questions about him?”

Shaleigh nodded. She hated the tight
feeling she got in her chest whenever she thought of those stupid parties. She
hated the fact that she had to go. Why in the world did Roseworth College have
so many of them anyway? It was like they wanted to torture her.

Deciding to change the subject, she
picked up her camera from around her neck. After checking to make sure nothing
had been damaged in their mad dash, she asked, “Want to see the
pictures?”

Kaeja nodded but looked concerned.
Shaleigh ignored it.

The brilliant light of the flash somehow
made the dark halls of Ferris Factory less frightening, less dangerous. If only
people were so easy to strip of fear.

About Marlena:

I write about strange creatures.
Typically they shouldn’t exist, or they have bled through from a different
reality, or they’re pretending to be a crying baby in a crib. Sometimes that
lands my stories in horror and other times in fantasy, but there’s always an
air of strangeness to my tales. If you want to get a better feel for what I’m
talking about, check
out a few clips
 or read a few drabbles.

My work has appeared in a spattering of
short story collections, but I do have a few novellas and novels in the
pipeline. Other than talking about writing, I also talk about cryptozoologywerewolveswildlife
conservation
, and of course kitties.
I’ve also been known to nerd out about Batman and The
Hobbit
, and have recently discovered the cracktastic fun of Black
Butler cosplay, so there will likely be more
of these incidents
.

By day I work as a web developer, so
I’ll occasionally talk about web issues like finding
the right theme
.

Giveaway
Details:

1
winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, INTERNATIONAL.

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