Excerpt from Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke
“Mommy went to work. I came with Shelby.”
“Shelby?” The little girl pointed to a bored-looking brunette Addie’s age, sucking down a smoothie and texting non-stop. “Nanny?”
She nodded, chin quivering.
A tiny tweak wouldn’t matter, considering how unstable this world was. It was like a symphony – one wrong note in a perfect performance could ruin the whole thing. But if the song was already riddled with mistakes, one more wouldn’t make a difference.
Had I known I’d be climbing park benches in an attempt to rescue wayward balloons, I would have dressed differently that morning. Instead, I dropped the backpack and climbed up, hoping a sudden breeze off the pond wouldn’t cause my skirt to go Marilyn Monroe.
“Almost there,” I said, wishing I was taller. Even atop a park bench in my motorcycle boots, the lowest limb of the tree was out of reach, and the kid eyed me dubiously. “Back of the bench should do it.”
I put one foot on the back of the bench, wobbling in my heavy boots, the string dangling inches away.
So much for a quick fix.
“Need a hand?” came a new voice.
Startled, I lost my balance. Someone grabbed me, one hand on my leg, the other at my waist. I looked at the fingers curving around my thigh – a guy’s hand, wide and strong, slightly callused, with a leather cuff around the wrist – as dissonance roared through me, twice as loud as before. My knees buckled.
I knew him. A version of him, anyway. I’d spent a lot of time studying those hands when I should have been focused on math or history or Bach. They belonged to Simon Lane. And Simon Lane, even back home, belonged to an entirely different world than I did.
He guided me down until I was standing on the seat, balance restored, dignity shaky. He let go, but the noise remained. He was the break by the duck pond. I focused on his sweatshirt, the faded blue logo of Washington’s basketball team, and willed the discord away.
About the Novel
Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.
Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.
But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.
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About the Author
(Photo Credit: Anja Photography)
Author of the TORN (available now), TANGLED (Feb 2012) and BOUND (Fall 2012), from KTeen/Kensington Books. Mob, magic, murder. And cute boys. Always with the cute boys.