Hey guys! I have an exclusive excerpt from Audrey Greathouse's The Piper's Price for you today, plus a Playlist to go along with it. Hope you enjoy!
ABOUT THE BOOK
The Piper’s PriceAudrey Greathouse
(The Neverland Wars #2)
Published by: Clean Reads Publishing
Publication date: February 21st 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Retelling, Young Adult
Peter is plotting his retaliation against the latest bombing. Neverland needs an army, and Peter Pan is certain children will join him once they know what is at stake. The lost boys and girls are planning an invasion in suburbia to recruit, but in order to deliver their message, they will need the help of an old and dangerous associate—the infamous Pied Piper.
Hunting him down will require a spy in in the real world, and Gwen soon finds herself in charge of locating the Piper and cutting an uncertain deal with him. She isn’t sure if Peter trusts her that much, or if he’s just trying to keep her away from him in Neverland. Are they friends, or just allies? But Peter might not even matter now that she’s nearly home and meeting with Jay again.
The Piper isn’t the only one hiding from the adults’ war on magic though, and when Gwen goes back to reality, she’ll have to confront one of Peter’s oldest friends… and one of his earliest enemies.
Gwen closed her bedroom door behind her, but other than that, she did not touch her house. With Foxglove’s diffused light from the purse, she flew through the hall and down the stairs, slow and silent. Eerie nostalgia crept up her spine as Gwen floated by, an intruder in her own home.
A moaning mew startled Gwen, and she almost fell out of the air before she caught herself. Out of the darkness, a tabby cat came padding toward its estranged owner.
“Hi, Tootles,” Gwen whispered, reaching down to pet the orange house cat. He purred as she scratched him behind the ears. Foxglove stayed safely in the pixie purse, out of the feline’s reach. Gwen shushed the purring cat, but felt as though she should apologize for her absence. Poor Tootles probably had no idea what had happened to the two happy girls who used to shower so much love on him.
Gwen continued downstairs, but didn’t put her foot down on the carpet until she had closed the door behind her in her father’s office.
She clicked the light switch on, acknowledging Foxglove’s buzz of concern. “If we don’t find something in five minutes, we’ll get out.” Her voice stayed hushed. “He works for the Anomalous Resources division. He might have information that’s valuable to us.”
At no point in her life did Gwen think she would ever steal from her parents. However, whenever she conceptualized the idea, it looked like sneaking money out of her mother’s purse or raiding the wine shelf for an experience getting drunk. She had never imagined she could—much less would—try to steal information about fairylands from her father’s office.
She scanned the papers on his desk for anything of significance, but didn’t dare touch them for fear of adjusting them in some noticeable way. After that, she went to the file cabinet between his two massive bookshelves. If he had brought anything interesting home from work, it would be safely tucked away.
She opened a metal drawer and started paging through the folders, most of them organized by date. After a minute of this, it became apparent that magic was a very small part of her father’s job. Magic was just another line item integrated into adult reality for him. Nothing interesting in his work folders appeared until she came across a file with a single document: a fifteen-page report titled Proposed Distribution of Neverland’s Resources.
Gwen pulled it out and laid the unstapled pages on the floor. Too excited and apprehensive to read it, she only noticed a variety of keywords that seemed pertinent to her interests. She whipped out her phone and began snapping pictures of the pages, effectively scanning the document to read through later. Foxglove snickered from the purse, thrilled with this find. She tucked it back in its unmarked folder and continued searching to the back of the file cabinet. She found another document, Planned Resource Use for The Invasion of Neverland, and snatched it out of the file. Before she could start photographing it, the office’s phone started to ring.
Foxglove screamed; it was a tiny noise, overpowered by the phone’s ring. Gwen shoved the document back into the file cabinet and closed it, less worried about noise now that the phone was ringing. She turned off the office light, trying to figure out where she could hide. The office was right underneath her parent’s bedroom… they would certainly hear the phone. They still had a home line and a telephone console capable of conference calls for when her father telecommuted. This was a work call, at three in the morning.
She heard groggy footsteps hurrying down the stairs. Where could she hide? There was no furniture that could effectively cover her from any angle.
The door opened, but Gwen was already above it, her back pressed against the ceiling.
THE PIPER'S PRICE PLAYLIST
1. Impossible Girl #1
The Impossible Girl
She's the first one of her kind, and the last one in her line.
She's a creature so rare, you can't be sure she's really there.
Sometimes I like to remember that Gwen really is in a unique position, and look at her from the admiring eyes of everyone else around her. She might not admit it, but this is her song.
2. Start With Goodbye, Stop With Hello
We'll start with goodbye, stop with hello
Never a hand hardly to hold...
Even though this is a more of a love song, it reminds me of Gwen and Peter because of how full of paradox and confliction all Peter's relationships are. It seems pertinent when he sends Gwen away from Neverland in the start of the book.
Thousands of them businessmen crumbling, crawling up the stairs
Two thousand of them sleepy eyes fighting against time...
This song (and its music video especially) captures a little bit of the anonymous antagonistic force that Gwen starts to hunt down and put faces and names too in this installment of the story.
4. Seven Years
It was a big, big world but we thought we were bigger
Pushing each other to the limits, we were learning quicker...
This song seemed to be all over the radio while I was drafting The Piper's Price, and I think it captures Gwen's fear of how fast growing up can happen.
If I get tired and say that I wanna change my mind
Pull me in a circle, so I can change it one more time...
If this doesn't sum up Gwen's decision making process, I don't know what does. She pulls 180 degree turns in her head so often, she always seems to circle back 360 degrees by the end of her fretting. She's very consistent for someone so conflicted.
6. I'm in Love Again
Oh I'm in love again, again,
And you may call me tomorrow my friend, yes,
You may kiss me again and again...I'll hold on tight
There's nothing better than realizing you're in love and getting a second chance at things with a good friend. I can only imagine how this song loops in Gwen's head every time she sneaks out to meet up with Jay.
The Jane Austen Argument
Oh, what have I become? And where is my mother?
Oh, bring me my sticks and spices, that I may build this birthing pyre...
It wouldn't be a complete playlist without a melancholy song about questioning who you are and wondering if it wouldn't be such a bad idea to start this whole “life” thing all over again.
8. The Pied Piper
This was on a “Hits of 1960s” CD my Dad had, and I loved it for inexplicable reasons as a child. I like to imagine this peppy love song is playing as Piper walks into the bar, and its upbeat tempo curdles his already dismal mood.
9. I Walked Alone
Rachel Rose Mitchell
If one's as good as their word,
There's nothing good in you
And there's nothing I can do.
When Gwen makes a shady deal with the Piper and gets burned, you have to wonder whom she's more frustrated with: the mysterious man who tricked her, or the cocksure boy who sent her on the mission in the first place?
10. Come Little Children
From Hocus Pocus
Come Little Children, I'll Take Thee Away, Into a Land of Enchantment...
Nothing says “kidnapping children with song” like this classic, originally sung by Sarah Jessica Parker for Disney's Halloween-y “Hocus Pocus” movie. I ended up going in a very different direction with Piper's song, but this was often playing in the background while I wrote.