Wednesday 3 December 2014

Blog Tour: The Stall of Second Chances by Dana Bate

Title: The Stall of Second Chances
Author: Dana Bate
Published: 20th November 2014
Publisher: Corsair
Today I am delighted to be on the tour for The Stall of Second Chances by Dana Bell, with a fab extract of the book. The other stops on the tour are listed below, so please do visit their blogs for some other great content.


‘Looks like you need a refill.’
The man from the end of the bar is standing behind Heidi’s chair, his hands tucked into the pockets of his puffy black jacket. His hair is the colour of milk chocolate, wavy and thick with narrow sideburns, which frame his slender face. He looks vaguely familiar.
‘I guess I do,’ I say, looking into the bottom of my glass and Heidi’s.
The man flags the bartender. ‘Hey, Eli, another for the lady and her friend,’ he says. ‘Add it to my tab.’
I dismiss him with a wave of my hand as I let out a small burp under my breath. ‘Thanks, but I’ve got this. I can manage four bucks.’
‘I’m sure you can. But I overheard you and your friend talking, and it sounds like you’ve had a rough day.’
I raise an eyebrow. ‘You were eavesdropping?’
His cheeks flush, and he rubs his narrow chin. ‘It was hard not to. Your voice – let’s just say it carries.’
‘Oh, so now I’m a loud talker? Great. Thanks. That’s just what I needed to hear.’ The bartender places the filled glasses in front of me. I clear my throat. ‘I’VE GOT THIS,’ I shout. ‘BUT THANKS FOR THE OFFER.’
The man’s face turns even redder. ‘Suit yourself,’ he says. ‘But don’t tell me chivalry is dead. I tried.’
‘Badly,’ I mumble into my beer.
‘What’s that?’
‘Sydney?’ Heidi pokes her head out from behind the man’s shoulder. ‘Why are you shouting?’
‘Gee, I don’t know. I guess I can’t help it. According to this a-hole, I’m a LOUD TALKER.’
Heidi smiles nervously. ‘How many of those gin bottles did you drink before you got here?’
‘What do you care? I can do what I want. It’s a free country.’
Apparently in my buzzed and self-pitying state, I have resorted to the rhetorical sophistication of a six-year-old.
‘Maybe another drink isn’t such a good idea,’ Heidi says, eyeing the bartender and giving him a not-so-subtle sign to cut me off.
‘Oh, yeah? And why’s that?’
Heidi shifts her gaze from the bartender to me to the red-faced guy and back to me again. ‘Because I think we need to get something in your stomach.’
‘They serve food here,’ I say, now invoking the stub­bornness of a three-year-old. At this rate, I’ll be on the floor in the foetal position by the time we leave.
Heidi pats my shoulder. ‘I think you’re more in the mar­ket for Taco Bell tonight.’
‘I thought you hated fast food. I thought you only ate organic.’
‘Tonight, for you, I will make an exception.’ She reaches into her pocket and throws twelve dollars onto the coun­ter. ‘Thanks,’ she says, waving at the bartender as she lifts me out of my seat. She smiles at the guy in the jacket, who is staring at the two of us. ‘And thanks to you for the offer.’
‘Yeah, thanks for ruining everything!’ I shout, fighting Heidi as she tries to stuff me into my gigantic coat.
He lifts his hands defensively. ‘Listen, I’m really sorry. I was just trying to be nice.’
‘Yeah, well, mission unaccomplished.’
I don’t even know what I’m saying at this point.
Heidi grabs me by the elbow with her pale, bony fingers and pulls me towards the front door. ‘Come on, lady. Let’s get some food in you.’
I whip my head around as Heidi pulls me through the door and stick my tongue out at the man who called me a loud talker. He smirks and offers a small wave.
‘Jerkface,’ I mutter under my breath.
Heidi drags me out of the door and onto 14th Street, but I slow my step as I stare at the man’s figure disappearing through the closing door.
‘What are you staring at?’ she asks, her hand clasped around my arm
I wriggle free from her grasp and readjust my hat. ‘Nothing. I thought I recognized that guy for a second.’
‘The jerk in the puffy jacket.’
‘I don’t think you’re in a state where you can recognize anyone right now.’
I teeter as I try to walk through a small mountain of snow and nearly lose my balance at the corner of T Street. ‘I don’t know. I can’t put my finger on it. He just looked really . . . familiar.’
Heidi grabs my arm to keep me from falling over. ‘Easy there, boozehound.’ She guides me onto a cleared patch of sidewalk and wraps her arm around my shoulders. ‘Forget about the guy, okay? He’s an idiot. We have more impor­tant things to do.’
‘Like what? Buying a bunch of eighty-nine-cent tacos?’
Heidi grins. ‘Precisely.’
She pats my shoulder with her gloved hand, holds me tight, and together we slip and slide along the icy sidewalk as we make our way up 14th Street.

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