Friday, October 12, 2012

Stitch by Samantha Durante

Genre/Keywords: Paranormal Romance, Ghost, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult, New Adult
Length: 75,000 words (314 pages)
Release date: August 1st, 2012
Blog tour dates: August 15th – October 31st, 2012

Stitch Synopsis
Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa’s body screams at her to run… but yet she’s powerless to move.
Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome ghostly presence. In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees – and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison hell – Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition who leaves her breathless. But the terrifying secret she uncovers will find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.
Because what Alessa hasn’t figured out yet is that she’s not really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls of her university’s idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface…
The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.

Excerpt from Stitch, Chapter 11 “Revelry”

Alessa and Janie descended the stairs into the main foyer and took in the scene. The front door was propped open invitingly, cool air streaming over the threshold and regulating the temperature inside. Alessa observed that the house was already starting to feel sweaty and humid in a gross sort of way; she was glad she’d opted for the t-shirt over a sweater.

To the right of the steps in the living room, the couches were pushed back against the walls and the DJ – who Alessa recognized as a fraternity brother from one of the other houses on campus – had set up a pair of massive speakers with thick cords running to his laptop. He was playing dance music so loudly that Alessa could practically see the speakers vibrating. There was a large hand-painted sign hung on the wall that read, “Happy 40th Zeta Epsilon Pi!” Nearby a group of sisters and a few male guests stood chatting and swigging back gulps of what Alessa could only assume was the cheap, flavorless beer that always seemed to be served at student-funded events.

To the left, there was a rowdy game of beer pong underway on the dining room table. Two of Alessa’s housemates – maybe-Sara and another sophomore who lived down the hall – had two very dumbfounded guys down to their very last cup, with only two cups missing from their own side. Alessa looked on with amusement as maybe-Sara sunk the ball in the last cup – the guys had probably thought the two sorority girls would be an easy win, but no such luck at Z-E-Pi. Alessa felt a small swell of pride, which surprised her immensely.

There were two kegs stashed to the side of the dining room table, a giant bag of red cups balancing between them. Alessa guessed someone had made a trip to the bulk discount store earlier that day to stock up.

Janie saw Alessa eyeing the beer. “Shall we?”

“We shall.” As the beer pong teams set up for another match, Alessa and Janie made their way past the table to the kegs and each grabbed a cup off the top of the stack. The light yellow beer streamed from the tap, foaming up the moment it touched the white interior of the plastic cup. Alessa’s foam nearly overflowed and she took a quick sip to prevent the spill. As expected, it was bland and flavorless except for an unpleasant hint of sour. Ugh, she could already imagine the stale taste that would pervade her tongue tomorrow morning.

Janie took a sip of her own beer, her face contorting into the same grimace as Alessa’s. “Nothing but the best for Z-E-Pi,” she joked.

Alessa smiled and shook her head, choking down another frothy sip. At least the beer was cold. For now. “Come on, let’s go find somewhere to sit.”

Janie gave Alessa a disapproving look. Alessa knew that sitting alone in a corner was not Janie’s idea of a party, but she followed Alessa into the living room nonetheless. Alessa plopped onto the couch as far from the speakers as possible and Janie perched on the arm cushion next to her.

For the next hour or so, Janie and Alessa sat devotedly sipping their beers, making occasional small talk with the few sisters who stopped by to say hello. They finished their first beers and each started a second. The house started to fill up, another group of students pouring through the door every few moments and heading straight for the kegs. Before long the party was in full swing.

Her field of vision now entirely obscured by bodies, Alessa decided to stand up and get a better view. There were students packed in every direction, mingling and laughing and guzzling their cups. Shrieks of triumph sounded from another raucous game of beer pong, the talented Z-E-Pi team reigning over their next victim no doubt. The air buzzed with the din of voices shouting over the aggressively bumping music, the crowd’s bodies swaying almost involuntarily to the beat. Alessa could see a few small groups slipping into a full-out gyrate, which was slowly starting to spread to neighboring circles.

The atmosphere had ripened with the musky human smell of sweat. An already intoxicated male guest leapt onto the couch and thrust his red cup skyward, splashing beer in every direction as he bellowed a hearty, “Z-E-Pi!” at the top of his lungs. Most of the guests cheered in response, then resumed their carousing. Yes, it appeared the party had begun.

Janie poured the last drops of beer number two down her throat and turned to Alessa. “Ready for round three?”

Alessa threw back the remainder of her own beer with a grimace. She was going to need to choke down a lot more of these to make this chaos enjoyable. “Let’s do it.”

Janie led the way towards the dining room, weaving her way in between pockets of dancing students. Alessa followed in her wake, apologizing to everyone she bumped into as if they could hear her over the noise. As they crossed through the foyer, Alessa paused at the threshold of the door to take in some fresh air, and at that exact moment, Nikhil came striding up the steps onto the porch.

“Alessa!” He spotted her inside the doorway immediately and started heading her way.

“Nikhil. Hey. You came.” Great opening. She took a deep breath and tried to swallow her awkwardness, taking a step in Nikhil’s direction. Then she remembered Janie heading for the beers. “One sec,” she said to Nikhil. She turned around and shouted Janie’s name. Janie was almost to the dining room but she heard Alessa and stopped, swinging around in the direction of Alessa’s voice. Alessa waved for Janie to come over.

Janie’s face lit up when she saw Nikhil. “Nice work,” she murmured to Alessa under her breath.

Alessa suppressed a laugh and turned back to Nikhil. “Nikhil, this is Janie. Janie, Nikhil.” They shook hands.

“Nice to meet you, Janie.”


Another tall, handsome male loped up the steps behind Nikhil, playfully punching him in the shoulder with a sarcastic, “Thanks for waiting for me, bro.”

Nikhil turned to his friend and laughed, and Alessa found herself blatantly staring at the two of them. They looked like they’d stepped out of some sort of preppy catalog that catered to the wealthy and privileged – twin Adonises, one dark and one fair. She normally found the popped collar look a little over-the-top, but somehow these two managed to pull it off with ease. They were quite possibly the most attractive men Alessa had ever been within touching distance of.

Nikhil turned back to Alessa and Janie, completely oblivious to the effect he and his friend were having on them. Janie was practically drooling. “This is Josh, from my water polo team.” Water polo. That explained it. Josh extended a hand in their direction and Alessa and Janie introduced themselves in turn.

Alessa was fumbling with how to proceed when Janie stepped in to save her. “So, we were just about to get a beer. Would you gentlemen like to join us?”

“Sounds great,” Nikhil replied.

“Follow me.” Janie led the way with Alessa, Nikhil, and Josh in tow.

Reaching the dining room, Alessa saw that the beer pong tournament had deteriorated and Lizzie Green was attempting to organize a battle-of-the-sexes game of flip cup. She was clearly tipsy, which only brought out her good-natured bubbliness. She spotted Janie and Alessa and waved them over. “Janie! Alessa! Come play with us! And bring your–” her eyes widened when she saw Nikhil and Josh, “– friends…” Fantastic. Just what Alessa needed – Lizzie Green as competition.

Janie, however, didn’t seem concerned. She turned to Alessa and the guys with an enthusiastic, “Let’s play!” Her competitive side sometimes overshadowed her better judgment, in Alessa’s opinion at least.

Alessa begrudgingly followed Janie to the female side of the table, hiding her displeasure as best she could. Janie grabbed two more cups for Nikhil and Josh and filled them each a quarter of the way with the now-warm beer while Alessa did the same with the girls’ cups. Lizzie turned to the new players. “I assume you all know how to play? When it’s your turn, chug your beer, set the cup down on the table, and tap it from the bottom to flip it upside down.”

“We got it,” Alessa replied, gritting out a smile.

As the game initiated, the eight players on each team held their cups aloft, tapping them together with their opponents across the table. Janie stood across from Josh, beaming, and Alessa lined up with Nikhil. She noted with satisfaction that Nikhil was looking only in her direction.

Everyone placed their cups on the table in front of them, goading the other side with cheerful trash talk and spirited promises of defeat. Lizzie, who was to start them off, viciously stared down the guy across from her until he looked visibly shaken – apparently the combination of so much beauty and so much ferocity being flung at him at once was a little too much to handle. She raised her glass to his to signal the start of the game, her opponent wavering for a moment before he realized what was happening. It was all Lizzie needed. She threw back her beer without pause, slammed her cup to the table, and deftly used her fingertip to flip it on its head in one graceful swipe. Perfect, as usual.

The game continued down the line, each side cheering on their own players as they downed their beers and flipped their cups with varying degrees of success. When the game reached Alessa, the girls had a small lead and she was determined not to jeopardize it. She chugged her beer in one swift motion and placed her cup on the table, the lip overhanging the edge of the wood. Alessa tapped it gently with her finger, but the cup just fell over and rolled on its side. In a moment of panic she glanced across the table at Nikhil; he was only now starting to guzzle his beer. She quickly reset her cup and hit it with a little more force. Success!

Janie finished off the game with a win for the women’s team, to much applause and uproar. The men immediately demanded a rematch. After another close round the men proved victorious, necessitating a tie breaker. When the men won once again, they suggested mixing up the teams and everyone happily obliged.

After four rounds of flip cup – bringing Alessa’s tally for the night to somewhere around three beers – the room started to spin, in a pleasant way. The excitement of the game had brought out a zeal in her that she hadn’t felt in very long time, and the adoring looks that Nikhil was sending in her direction didn’t hurt either. Alessa felt deliriously happy for the first time in over a year. Damn the ghost. Tonight she was having fun.

There was a break in the action as the first keg tapped out and a couple of the guys volunteered to set up the second one. Janie took the opportunity to suggest that the four of them go dance, which sounded like a fabulous idea to Alessa. Alessa looked inquisitively at Nikhil and he consented with an affable shrug. Janie didn’t even give Josh a choice. She grabbed his wrist and dragged him behind her, and he acquiesced with an amused smile. Alessa and Nikhil followed.

Finding a clearing in the living room, Alessa noticed that the pounding music no longer felt oppressive, but freeing. She could feel the beat pulse through her body and she let it move her as it pleased. She danced with abandon, completely unselfconsciously, and it felt good. She felt sexy, alive.

Nikhil and Alessa were pressed together ever closer by the crowd, their bodies moving as one in time with the music. Alessa could feel the hair sticking to the back of her neck as her skin started to glisten, but she didn’t care. She threw her arms up and tossed her head with the beat, reveling in the moment.

Nikhil gently placed his hands around Alessa’s hips, seemingly mesmerized. The crowd swelled and they were pressed together once more, his arms wrapped around her waist, her hands on his taut swimmer’s chest and shoulders. He leaned over, nudging his face so close to hers that she could feel the heat rising off his skin. Alessa parted her lips and looked up at Nikhil, preparing to surrender to her body’s impulses.

But instead of the dark brown eyes she expected, she saw only blue. Unfathomable, sparkling blue, glittering with facets of ocean and sky, boring deep into her soul and clutching at her heart. Once again, a single word rose in the back of her throat – Isaac – and she knew this night was over.

Stitch Purchase Links
Amazon (print $9.99 & Kindle $2.99):
Smashwords (multiple e-book formats $2.99):
Barnes & Noble (Nook $2.99): available in the iTunes store ($2.99 e-book)

About the Author:
Photo of Samantha Durante, author of Stitch
Samantha Durante lives in New York City with her fiancĂ©, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. Stitch is her first novel. Learn more about Samantha at

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