Shannon Kennedy Books

 

Live What You Love!



Realistic & Paranormal Young Adult Fiction

New Books

New From Fire and Ice YA!
No Horse Left Behind

Champion show rider, Dani Wilkerson loves her Quarter Horse mare, Lady and wants to ride Western or ‘cowgirl’ style with her friends at Shamrock Stable. However, her glory-seeking parents have other plans for Dani that include three-day eventing and an eventual career in Olympic competition. They think all her riding activities should support this goal. While she wishes they understood her need to express her individuality, she also hates to disappoint them.


Then she discovers their plans to enroll her in an elite boarding school, sell Lady, and buy her an award-winning, event horse. Stunned by the betrayal, Dani knows she must stop them somehow. She isn’t a mere extension of their egos. When she fights back, she learns just how far they will go to achieve their ends, but how can she possibly defeat them?



Excerpt From The Novel

Chapter One

Marysville, Washington

Monday, February 10th, 2:45 pm

 

      When the last bell of the day rang, my friend Sierra headed off to basketball practice in the gym. I pushed through the crowded hall toward my locker, waving at Vicky as she hurried toward cheerleading. Robin would be off to her much loved job at the Mustang Corral, the local classic car dealership a few blocks away from our school, Lincoln High. Meanwhile, I had other plans. Well, actually my uber-controlling parents had made those ‘other plans’ for me.

      I grabbed the garment bag out of my locker and hurried for the restroom to change for my dressage lesson. My riding instructor, Lisa Atchison had competed internationally before she retired to open her own training barn. She took my lessons seriously. That meant I had to dress as if I was already in a competition even when I was only practicing for one. I was smart enough not to share my opinion of this nonsensical idea since I didn’t want to deal with the fall-out.

      Once in the bathroom, I stripped off the dark blue Western Washington University sweatshirt and Lincoln High t-shirt I’d worn to school today. I changed into a long-sleeved, high-collared show shirt, fastening all the buttons. I peeled out of my jeans, and took the light yellow breeches off the hanger pulling them on instead. I shrugged into last year’s classic black jacket, a wool blend. Lisa didn’t know I had a new one in my closet at home for next month’s dressage trials and since this coat had to go to the dry-cleaners too, I could get by with it for a while. My boots and helmet were already in the Jeep Grand Cherokee with my au-pair, Louise. She was a major time freak which meant she would be waiting in the parking lot.

       I glanced at my watch. I had to hustle. It was a twenty minute drive to the stable and Lisa hated tardiness. Any infraction meant an email to my parents. Since I’d talked them into letting me have a puppy last month, I didn’t want to get on their radar. Okay, so I complained a lot when they didn’t make it home for Christmas because of heavy snow, but who wouldn’t? As usual, the staff had the holiday off and it meant Louise and I hung around the house by ourselves. She was great, but it still majorly sucked. And I said so!

      My ex seemed to think I was a major diva and should be glad to be the invisible child six months of the year. After all, I had the housekeeper, gardener, chauffer and of course, my au-pair to look after me. It wasn’t like I’d ever struggled to survive in foster care the way he had.

      Meanwhile, my folks worked as a team, analyzing failing businesses and helping owners, shareholders and creditors get the most out of a dying enterprise before it totally tanked. In the ongoing economic downturn, it meant they’d never been busier. My father happily said that since the economy wouldn’t get better anytime soon, he expected to clear more than a million dollars this year. They generally made it home when the horseshow season started in the spring. One of them stayed throughout the summer and both were gone in early October, once again leaving me with the household staff to watch over me.

      The world stopped turning if I didn’t bring home blue ribbons and trophies every time I competed. My mother told me the puppy was expendable. If it interfered with my success in the show ring, it’d be sent to the pound. She said she wouldn’t let me have time to find it a new home. It would just be gone, taken away while I was at school. I knew she thought that would make me back off on the idea of having a real, live pet, but I didn’t. Instead, I made Louise promise to take Topper back to Robin, my friend who gave me the golden collie mix.

      I hastily French braided my long yellow hair, the perfect style to fit under my helmet. I switched out my earrings for little gold studs and hustled out the door. Before I made it to the exit doors, my ex who I privately thought of as Super-Gorgeous, a blond hunk in Lincoln High blue sweats, straightened from where he lounged against the wall. He’d obviously waited for me.

      I didn’t stop, brushing by him. “I’ve got to go, Harry. I don’t have time for this.”

      “Come on, Dani, at least let me talk to you.” He swooped down, took my garment bag and backpack. “I’ll walk you out to the Jeep.”

      “Louise will lose it.” I pushed open the outside door into the cold Washington afternoon, rain misting my face. “We’re already late.”

      “Tell her to breathe,” Harry said. “All I want to know is if you’ll come with me to the Valentine’s dance on Friday.”

      “We broke up.”

      “Yeah, well I haven’t seen you with anybody new and I don’t have anyone either. Can we go as friends?”

      I debated silently as we dashed through the icy rain to the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Harry opened the back door, put my things inside and handed me the pair of black, leather, knee-high riding boots. He was always good company and the only thing we ever argued about was my parents.

      They weren’t around yet and wouldn’t be here this weekend, so my mother couldn’t embarrass me by saying that he was disposable in front of him, that I had more important goals than a guy. Plus, he wasn’t creepy. When I said we were through, he accepted it. He didn’t stalk me in the halls at school or send uber-nasty texts or hassle any of my friends.

      “Okay.” I slid into the passenger seat. “We’ll talk about it Thursday at lunch. Now, I’ve got to go.”

      He nodded, turned and jogged back toward the school gym. I hoped he wouldn’t be in trouble with his basketball coach for being late to practice. Then I decided he was a big boy. He could handle it. I finished swapping out my shoes, tossed them in the back. I buckled up.

      Taller than me, even in the driver’s seat, Louise shot a concerned look my way, before she pointed to the distinctive bag from the sub shop. She turned the key, started the engine and we were on the road. “Eat your snack. Talk to me. Your parents….”

      “Aren’t here yet.” Digging into the sack, I pulled out the sandwich. Cold cuts on dry bread. Ick! But, I didn’t dare get mayo or mustard or tomato on my clothes. “And I do like Harry Thornton. He has nearly as many issues as I do.”

      “Oh yes. You and your issues.” She smiled. “Need a hanky?”

      “It’s ‘tissue’, Louise. Not hanky.”

      “As my granny says, just don’t over-egg the pudding, my dear.”

      “I won’t,” I said.

New From Black Opal Books!

 

Hangover Holidays

 

Seventeen-year-old, Darcy Gallatin hates the Christmas holidays because her alcoholic father always ruins them for the whole family. But this year, Darcy is determined to make the season special for her ten-year-old brother, regardless of how hard her father tries to sabotage it. Disaster strikes when her dad injures Darcy’s horse, Whisky. Can Darcy ever forgive her father, or has he finally crossed the line and made her hate him? Even Darcy doesn’t know for sure, but one thing is certain—she needs to change things. And fast. But, how?


 

Excerpt From the Novel


Chapter One


Snohomish, Washington,

Sunday, November 24th, 3:15 pm:

 

He’ll be there this time, I told myself, staring out the bus window. Stop worrying. We were on Highway 9 headed north toward our school, Stewart Falls Academy and my dad was supposed to pick us up after our weekend field trip to one of the top-ranked state universities in Pullman, Washington. Mom had promised that Dad would meet us when I called on my cell to let her know we were getting close.

“What did you think of Washington State University?” Lynn, my best friend forever, elbowed me, breaking into my thoughts. “Earth to Darcy. Come in, Darcy. Are you okay?”

“Fine.” I tried to smile at her. “I was a bit nervous at first in Pullman, but everybody was really nice and friendly. It reminded me of Stewart Falls.”

“Yeah.” Lynn giggled. “But, Pullman is bigger.” She glanced forward to where our cheer coach sat behind the bus driver. “Remember how Ms. Olson kept apologizing for taking us to what she called a “small town” until you told her the college had the premier vet school in the state?”

“And you kept reminding her that Stewart Falls doesn’t have department stores, bowling alleys, or movie theaters and Pullman does.” I remembered the town clustered near the university. I was more certain than ever that I wanted to go there next fall. Right now, it still seemed like a long time, not a little over nine months away.

I glanced around the bus at the other cheerleaders. Rita and Kaitlyn had their heads bent over a horse book, but most of the girls were talking to the people nearby. “I really liked being in Pullman with the Varsity and JV squad. Everyone’s been great. No drama divas.”

Lynn eyed me for a moment, coiling and uncoiling a strand of bright red hair around one finger before she lowered her voice. “Are your parents still fighting?”

I nodded and then shrugged as if it was no big deal. “Dad comes in, saying he got off late from work, and Mom yells at him. Then he storms out and gets drunk. He doesn’t get home again till the bars close.”

“Gross.” Lynn wrinkled her nose in disgust. “Do you want to talk to my dad about it?”

“No way.” I shook my head quickly. “I don’t want Dr. Jed to know.”

“Darcy, he wouldn’t blame you,” Lynn said. “Everybody in Pine Ridge and Stewart Falls knows what the Gallatins are like.”

“Thanks a lot!”

“Not you.” Lynn sighed, a blush filling her cheeks. “You’re different. Everyone in Pine Ridge and SF knows that too. You’ve gotten straight As ever since third grade. People say that you’ll be the first Gallatin to go to college. If you weren’t special, you’d never have gotten into the Academy.”