by Kat H. Clayton
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Published: July 10th 2012 by Kat H Clayton (first published June 23rd 2012)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
Casper Whitley is forced to move to Charleston, South Carolina where she’ll be the new kid her senior year of high school. Casper’s upset about the move until she meets the Roman family’s gorgeous son, Cal, but there’s a problem. A mystery surrounds him which can be summed up in one word…Kythera. Never heard of it? Neither has Casper until she finds the word tattooed on cars, paintings and all her new friends.After Casper’s life is threatened, someone is forced to tell the truth about her parents, the Romans and Kythera’s motives for her being in Charleston. Once the truth is revealed, she must decide whether to protect her family and Kythera’s secrets or walk away from everything she has ever known.
As part of the Indie-Self Published Event over at Say It with Books, I'm sharing with you an excerpt from Kat H. Clayton's book, The Kings of Charleston.
I plastered a smile on my face as I walked in. Charlotte was in front of the mirrors, studying her figure in a pretty, pale pink chiffon dress. She was holding her strawberry blonde hair up, twisting around so she could get glimpse of the back of the dress. She didn’t notice me as she studied her reflection.
I was about to speak when I noticed something on her back. Scrawled in beautiful black script across her right shoulder blade was the word “Kythera.” I felt my mouth drop open. “Kythera” seemed to be showing up everywhere, a word until I had moved to Charleston, I had never heard of.
The sales clerk had walked in a few seconds after me and had glimpsed the tattoo as well. But her reaction was radically different from mine. She had audibly gasped, but then became very attentive.
“Ms. Watson, can I get you anything?” she said breathlessly, as if she were saving a life instead of getting clothes. I gave the girl a curious look. She was acting like the cop had the other night with Cal.
Charlotte looked at me in the mirror, and she could see the odd expression on my face. She immediately dropped her hair, covering the tattoo.
“Hey, I thought you were still on the phone?” she asked, ignoring the sales clerk, who had started picking up the clothes that Charlotte had left on the ground. Her face slowly turned rosy red.
“I just came in,” I said slowly, as I tried to understand what I had just seen.
“Was it Cal?” she asked, as she stepped off the platform in front of the mirrors.
“I didn’t take you as the type to have a tattoo,” I stated, ignoring her question. She had disappeared into the dressing room and I could hear her rustling through the clothes. Plastic hangers clattered to the floor.
“It was on a dare. I really didn’t know what I was doing,” she said nervously.
“What does it mean?”
“It’s an island somewhere in Greece.”
Another clattering of hangers fell to the floor and I thought I could hear her mumbling under her breath.
“I was in Greece when I got it. Some of the local boys—who were gorgeous, by the way—dared me to get it. Something about Aphrodite and it being her island or something like that. I don’t really remember now.” She reappeared from the dressing room, several garments slung over her arms.
The sales clerk rushed to take them from her and took the items to the cash register. Once again, Charlotte didn’t seem to notice what I thought was the girl’s totally bizarre behavior. She kept her gaze from mine as we followed the sales clerk to the cash register.
“Our house and Cal’s each have a painting named after that island,” I stated.
Charlotte only glanced in my direction, before rummaging in her purse.
“Really? I haven’t even paid that much attention at Cal’s and I’ve never been to your house. That’s an interesting coincidence.”
I didn’t believe her. I wasn’t convinced it was a coincidence at all.
“So, what’s with the island? Is Kythera special or something?” I asked, leaning against the counter. Charlotte started pouring the contents of her purse out on the counter, rummaging through some gum wrappers, lipstick, and a gold compact.
“Nothing, really. A favorite vacation spot . . . that’s all,” she said curtly.
“Oh, is it a really nice place?”
“Yeah, sure.” From her wad of receipts, she finally pulled out her credit card.
I was about to ask her another question when the girl behind the counter shook her head. “Ms. Watson, I’ve been instructed not to take your card. The clothes are yours to keep as a gift from the store, according to my manager.”
“Oh, thank you,” Charlotte responded, taking the bags from the girl without questioning the decision.
I had never had any store give me anything for free and I knew for a fact that the Watsons didn’t own this boutique. I didn’t think any store gave anything away for free unless the person owned the store or they were a celebrity.
“Are you an actress or something?” I asked, unable to contain my curiosity.
“What?” She looked at me quizzically.
“You have to be an actress or some kind of celebrity for a store to just give you clothes.”
“Oh, that. No, I’m not. My mom is friends with the owner or something like that,” she said in a noncommittal tone.
We walked out of the store silently. The tension was palpable between us. After a few seconds, I decided to let the whole thing go for now. I knew this wasn’t the time to argue about it, because I wouldn’t get anywhere. Besides, I didn’t want to alienate the one of only two friends I had made so far.
“So, you never answered my question. Was that Cal on the phone?” She instantly perked up, breathing easier now that she was shifting the focus away from her.
“Yes, it was. Something came up, so we’re not going out,” I said calmly.
“Oh, that sucks. I’m sure you’re bummed.” Her voice was full of empathy.
“It’s not a big deal, really.” I smiled, but she looked at me doubtfully.
She sighed deeply. “Why can’t you admit it bothers you just a little?”
“Because, it doesn’t bother me that much. I’ll see him again, I’m sure.” We reached her black BMW and I waited for her to pop the trunk.
As she searched in her purse for the key, once again I was awestruck by what I was seeing. The numbers were missing on her vehicle and a bright red “K” was in their place. I knew I didn’t have to look on the driver’s side to confirm what else I was sure was there. Kythera would be plastered in red script above the wheel. I felt uneasy again. Somehow I knew Charlotte, Cal, and Kythera were connected—beyond it being some awesome vacation spot.
About the author
Kat H. Clayton
I’ve been a writer my entire life, but never pursued a writing career until a couple of years ago. I can remember as a kid making up stories and living in my imagination. As an only child, writing had always been a great source of entertainment and joy. It’s a childhood entertainment that has followed me into adulthood and has become my passion.
I’ve also always been an avid reader. In middle school I began reading Mary Higgins Clark (I’ve read every single mystery she has written to date) R.L. Stein and V.C. Andrews. I continue to read and enjoy a variety of authors today.
I love to travel, try out new recipes and hang out with my wonderful husband, our dog named Lil and our crazy cat, Frank. I’m originally from Kentucky, but currently reside in South Georgia.
Drop by on the 19th for a guestpost from Kat!
It's real cool, trust me. :)