The Winnowing by Jo Schaffer
(Stanley & Hazel, #2)
Published by: Month9Books
Publication date: February 26th 2019
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
Darkness descends over St. Louis, a city already rocked by the Great Depression. More and more people are disappearing, and some have turned up dead. A sinister secret society is putting forward their plan known as “The Winnowing,” designed to wipe out those they consider “undesirable.”
After Stanley and Hazel foil the diabolical plans of Charles Chouteau, they become instant celebrities. Hazel is thrust into the role of debutante, and risks loses herself in it. Meanwhile, Stanley must deal with the horrific tragedy of his best friend’s death while being threatened by the unseen forces of the Veiled Prophet.
With things spiraling out of control, Stanley and Hazel’s relationship is tested, possibly beyond repair. As bodies pile up, people become more desperate. The divide between wealthy and poor grows ever wider, threatening to tear their worlds apart. Now, the two must find a way to work together if there is any hope at all of saving their relationship and their futures.
BOOK ONE Excerpts:
Stanley turned to her, curious. “Tell me. Where did you see me before? Perhaps on the golf course or having martinis at the club with the mayor?”
Hazel scoffed. “Selling papers, silly.”
Stanley’s face warmed. “Oh. That’s just my cover. I’m actually an international spy.”
“There’s no shame in selling papers,” Hazel said.
“Yeah. Someday I’m going to write for the papers. Then, I’ll work my way up to be a regular columnist. Someday I might even move into radio journalism or write for the newsreels.”
“I bet you’d be good at it,” she said.
That made his chest warm. “Yeah?”
“Sure. You seem smart. And you have a great voice for radio.”
Stanley blushed. It was a good thing it was dark. “So what’s it going to be for you? Ivy League college and marry a prince?”
Hazel let out a ragged sigh. “I hope not. I kinda had my heart set on becoming a pirate.”
Stanley chuckled. “Is that a fact?”
Her eyes twinkled when he looked at her and then her face went serious. “Well, to be honest … I don’t know. There’s what’s expected of me and then … there’s that part of me that’s just mine. The part that’s a wild gypsy or an actress or a world traveling explorer who brings medicine and education to native tribes in exotic places.”
Stanley grinned, liking her more every second. “Sounds like the interesting part.”
Hazel nodded, a little frown tugging down her full lips. “My world is so little, Stanley.”
He supposed it was. Seemed like being a swell would open the world up to you but maybe it didn’t. Maybe it just confined you to Lindell and the “right places.”
“Well it just got bigger, dollface,” he said, gesturing to the large, dark expanse of the park.
“Yeah,” she breathed. “And I can’t see a thing.”
“Just follow me.” Stanley shoved his hands in his pockets, deep in thought.
Hazel stumbled down the grassy hill of the moonlit park. Stanley glanced at her from several steps ahead. “You with me, Bananas?”
“Yeah.” She swallowed back the urge to be sick. Hazel’s legs moved her forward but nothing seemed real. She was in Forest Park at night with a newsie boy she’d just met and Sandy’s runaway sister was back there, slumped against the statue of St. Louis with her head cracked open.
She couldn’t make her brain take it all in. Evelyn’s face—caved in on one side, her mouth slack, teeth showing like gravestones covered in blood. Gripped with panic, Hazel quickened her step to catch up with Stanley—her only guide in this darkness. He was a part of it. This was his world, not hers.
BOOK 2 Excerpts
The renegade newsie climbed on top of the metal box and forced the window open a crack with a crowbar he produced from his baggy trousers. Then he sat and lit a cigarette. He puffed on it a few times before reaching into the inside pocket of his oversized coat. He pulled out a bottle that sloshed with liquid and removed the cork.
He took a handkerchief and stuffed it into the bottle of liquid, leaving a tail of it hanging out of the top. Pinching his cigarette between two fingers, he contemplated the tip, while smoke trailed out of his nose.
Henri sniffed the air, and his ears perked. Before Hazel could stop the young dog, he jumped and let out a bark.
Arthur sprung to his feet, turning in Hazel’s direction.
Bananas. She squeezed her eyes shut, hoping he wouldn’t see her where she crouched.
“Peek-a-boo,” Arthur said, slow and deliberate. “I see you, Princess.”
Knees shaking, Hazel slowly stood to face him. She gripped Henri’s leash. He was her only defense.
“Where do you go, Hazel Malloy?” Gabriel said in her ear.
“I can feel you thinking hard.” He chuckled.
Hazel smiled. “I like this song,” she said, embarrassed as though he could actually tell that he’d caught her thinking about him.
“I do too.” He pressed his cheek to hers, and she let him.
As the song ended, there was a slight disturbance from the far end of the room. Hazel glanced up, and her heart paused.
Stanley stood in the entrance of the conservatory, tall and suited up, a hard look on his face, one eye almost swollen shut. He was flanked by some of his Knights, looking rough and out of place in suits, smirks on their faces as they scanned the room. It was like Eliot Ness and his Untouchables about to raid.
The “good people” of St. Louis stared uneasily and made way as the boys stalked into the room. Hazel sometimes forgot what they must look like to everyone else. They were a tough looking lot, battle scarred, and imposing.
The song ended and in the pause before the next one began, Stanley took long strides across the room, toward where Hazel and Gabriel stood, still holding hands.
Stanley’s eye twitched. “Heya, Haze.” He tilted his head toward Gabriel. “If it isn’t soft slugger trying to get to first base.” His jaw flexed, and he breathed in through his nose, and Hazel knew he was counting to ten.
Gabriel released Hazel’s hand and calmly replied, “Good to see you, Fields. You clean up nice.”
Jo Schaffer was born and raised in the California Bay Area in a huge, creative family. She is a YA novelist, speaker, writer at Patheos.com, works in film production and is a Taekwondo black belt.
She’s a founding member of Writers Cubed and co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, one of the largest conferences in the nation for youth ages 13-19. She and a crew of local and international bestselling authors present writing workshops to hundreds of attendees at the Utah-based conference as well as hundreds of others worldwide who view the conference online.
Jo loves being involved in anything that promotes literacy and family. She is passionate about community, travel, books, music, healthy eating, classic films and martial arts. Her brain is always spinning new ideas for books and sometimes she even gets around to blogging.
Jo is mom to three strapping sons and lives in the beautiful mountains of Utah.
a Rafflecopter giveaway