Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Paranoia

J.R. Johansson's PARANOIA, book two in The Night Walkers series, is out now. Here's a little about the book: 


With Every Night of Blissful Sleep Darkness Grows Inside Him.

In the aftermath of the events that nearly killed him, Parker Chipp is trying to learn to cope better with life as a Watcher. And it seems to be working...until he wakes up in jail with a hangover and 12 hours of missing time. Darkness has somehow taken control and Parker doesn't have a clue how to stop him. He finds an unlikely ally in Jack, the mysterious guy in the motorcycle jacket who offers to help Parker master his abilities as a Watcher. But even as they practice, the darkness inside Parker is getting more and more powerful, taking over Parker’s body and doing everything he can to destroy Parker's life.

When Jack reveals that there is another kind of Night Walker, known as a Taker, Parker starts to wonder if the strange things happening in Oakville are more than just a coincidence. After all, people are more than just sleepwalking. They're emptying their savings accounts with no memory of doing so, wandering into strange parts of town and disappearing, they're even killing other people--all in their sleep. If Parker wants to find out what's happening or have any hope of seeing his father again, he’ll have to defy Jack and put his own life in danger...because the more he learns about these other Night Walkers, the more certain he becomes that his life isn't the only one that could be lost.

I'm excited to have Jenn here today sharing an excerpt from PARANOIA. Here's what she says: "This excerpt is pretty early on in the book, Mia is gone on a vacation and Parker is back to watching his Mom's dreams while she's gone. That's pretty much all you need to know except that being a Watcher still kinda sucks. Enjoy!"

Wednesday night, Mom had a nightmare that featured me being set on fire at the high school.
Man, I missed Mia.
Thursday night, the dream started with Mom’s date with Mr. Nelson. It was detailed and absolutely clear. With vivid­ness like this one had, it was obviously a memory. They went out to dinner and a movie. The flirting made me a little ill but besides that it wasn’t so bad, and it was nice to see how well he treated Mom. When they got back to our house and Mom invited him in, everything got fuzzy around the edges and I knew we’d crossed over into dream territory.
They sat on the couch and he held her hand. When he leaned over to kiss her, I closed my eyes and sat down against the wall but I could still hear them making out. I didn’t want to hear that. I stuck my fingers in my ears and tried to drown out the sound of their smacking lips with my own humming.
A massive crash brought me out of it and I jumped to my feet, struggling to figure out what I’d missed. The living room door was hanging off its hinges and Mom was tugging the strap of her dress back up on her shoulder as she got to her feet. Mr. Nelson stepped in front of her, and they both looked confused. Then a shadow stood in the doorway, and I recognized him even before he walked forward into the light.
Dad wore the same clothes he’d had on the last time I’d seen him—faded black jeans, red polo shirt, and a leather jacket. His hair, his face … everything about him was the same. Not that I thought Mom had seen him over the more than four years since he’d left us, but this dream confirmed it for me. She remembered him the exact same way I did.
He came in and sat in the recliner facing the couch and said only one word: “Continue.”
I felt Mom’s emotions more powerfully at that moment than throughout the rest of the dream. Her attraction to Mr. Nelson was still forming—she enjoyed his company and he made her laugh—but her pain at seeing Dad, even in a dream, was heartbreaking. She got to her feet and tears streamed down her face. Dad stood up when she approached, and she curled up in his arms and cried.
Then I felt the anger. It wasn’t as fresh as other times she’d dreamed about him, but it was still pretty potent. She beat against his chest with her fists.
The rest of the dream faded away—Mr. Nelson, the couch, the room—until there was nothing left but my parents. Dad smoothed his fingers through Mom’s hair and whispered “Shhh … ” until she calmed down and relaxed against him.
“I hate you for leaving me,” she whispered in between sobs.
“I hate me too,” he said softly, and even though he was just an aspect of her dream, the pain written on his face made me feel a little better.
“You never came back.” Mom looked up at him. “I always thought you would.”
“I couldn’t.” He leaned down and placed a kiss on her lips and then took one step away. As we watched, Dad began to age suddenly, rapidly. The skin on his face and hands wrin­kled and then his cheeks hollowed out. His hair grew long and gray and then fell out onto his shoulders. Mom screamed again and again as his body decayed and his ice blue eyes, identical to mine, disappeared back into his skull. All that remained was a skeleton wearing Dad’s clothes. Then even that collapsed into a heap on the floor, and we were both thrust out of Mom’s nightmare.

#
I woke dripping with sweat and could hear Mom scream­ing all the way across the house. Jumping to my feet, I bolted through the kitchen, narrowly missing a collision with one of the dining chairs. When I reached her room, I threw open the door. She was sitting straight up in bed, shouting words I couldn’t understand.
My heart pounded in my ears as I sat beside her and grabbed her hand. I kept my voice hushed and level. “Mom? It’s okay. It was just a nightmare.”
She blinked a few times at my face and began to calm down. Taking deep, shaking breaths, she wrapped her arms around me and cried into my shoulder. “It—it felt so real.”
“I know, but it’s not. Everything is okay.” I was still shaken by her dream, and I’d known it wasn’t real the whole time. The mind is a cruel trickster, the way nightmares can make a person believe their worst fears have come to get them. I have enough other problems, so I’m not sad that being a Watcher means I mostly miss out on having night­mares of my own.
The irony of the thought struck me and I suppressed a cold laugh. No, my mind played its tricks on me in the daylight … when I was wide awake. I’d seen plenty of nightmares but never been around to witness the aftermath. It ripped me apart to see Mom so upset. She was so strong—always had been.
Her sobbing subsided and she cleared her throat. I could see the embarrassment on her face when she pulled back. “Sorry, I—I don’t know what happened.”
“Please.” I smiled. “I had my breakdown a few months ago and you wanted one too. It’s okay to just admit it.”
“That must be it.” She grinned and shoved my shoul­der lightly, but I could see the gratitude in her eyes. “Now go to bed or you’re grounded."
    "Fine, fine. I'm going." I stood and walked out the door. As I shut it, I spoke five words of absolute truth. "Hope you sleep well, Mom.”


I've got my copy and I can't wait to dive in! You can find PARANOIA here:




J.R. JOHANSSON is a young adult thriller author. Her books INSOMNIA, PARANOIA (June 2014), and a third untitled book (June 2015) are with Flux Books. CUT ME FREE (Winter 2015) and another untitled book (Winter 2016) will be coming out with FSG/Macmillan.  She has a B.S. degree in public relations and a background in marketing. She credits her abnormal psychology minor with inspiring many of her characters. When she's not writing, she loves reading, playing board games, and sitting in her hot tub. Her dream is that someday she can do all three at the same time. She has two young sons and a wonderful husband. In fact, other than her cat, Cleo, she's nearly drowning in testosterone.


What people are saying about The Night Walkers Series
“The perfect blend of everything I love in a story. I hope a sequel comes soon!”
     –James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of THE MAZE RUNNER

“Completely unputdownable. I’ve decided to nickname Johansson: Scary McScarypants, because she spooked me in all the best ways.”
     –Carrie Harris, author of BAD TASTE IN BOYS

“Cleverly written and dangerously dark, Insomnia will take you to the brink of insanity. A must-read for thriller and romance fans alike.”
    —Elana Johnson, author of POSSESSION

“A riveting story of terror and despair that will keep you up long past your bedtime.”
    —Jennifer Bosworth, author of STRUCK

And don't forget to enter this awesome giveaway. Thanks for stopping by, Jenn!

10 comments:

Murees Dupé said...

Ooohhh, I have to give this series a try. Thank you for sharing with us.

David P. King said...

Nice! Glad to see some love for J.R. here. Let the paranoia begin! :)

Emily R. King said...

Congrats to JR!

Morgan said...

I've seen this cover everywhere and it's FREAKY!!!!

J.R. Johansson said...

Thanks for hosting this stop, Ilima! :) It was so good to see you at the launch last night! Thank you for being part of the blog tour!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

That is a kick-ass cover!

Robin said...

I like to be a little bit scared, so I need to snuggle under the covers, but not so much that I can't sleep. INSOMNIA was perfect for that, so I can't wait to read this one! I'm glad you had Jenn on the blog!

Johanna Garth said...

Paranoia looks really good. Sounds like a perfect fun series for this summer when I like my books to suck me in and keep me up late!

Nicole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicole said...

Congrats to J.R.! The cover is absolutely riveting, and the excerpt hints at such a cool premise.