Author: Melissa Turner Lee
Published: February 28, 2013
Word Count: 66,500
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Content Warning: None: G-Rated
When a self-conscious young woman discovers the boy in drama class is actually the immortal who painted the world into being, she becomes the target of another painter who hates humanity.
The Earth Painter is a Young Adult Supernatural Romance set in the small mill town of Chesnee, SC. It revolves around Holly Scruggs, whose family has just moved back to Chesnee after her dad lost his job along with pretty much everything they owned. Her image conscious parents correct her to the point of brokenness until she meets Theo. He is the artist responsible for all the beauty of the land and he thinks Holly is beautiful, too. Together they will fight against Fritz, the water painter, who hates humans and is hiding a secret under the high school.
Melissa Turner Lee holds a BA in Communications with a concentration in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She has studied fiction writing since 2008, attending various writing conferences and workshops, along with guidance from professional writing coaches. She resides in Spartanburg, SC with her husband and 3 sons.
My mouth fell open. Was he nuts? How was I supposed to answer a question like that?
I balled my hands into fists and put them on my hips. “What’s the matter with you?”
When he put his hands on his hips, I got upset for a moment before I realized he was still doing the mirroring exercise.
Ms. Jones suddenly yelled and clapped. “I love this. Love it! Everybody look at Holly and her partner. They aren’t just moving, they are conveying emotion with it. Brilliant!”
I went back to doing normal movements. And Theo continued to stare at me. “You look so familiar. I heard you say you just moved here, but did you move back? I mean, did you live here before…a long time ago maybe?”
“No.” I half-smiled and then bit my lip.
He was exceptionally good looking. I’d been too irritated to notice at first, but the more I looked at him the warmer my cheeks grew. The way he stared at me didn’t help. It was intense and inquisitive, and he was too close. We weren’t touchy-feely at my house so this invasion into my personal space was especially uncomfortable.
“So you’ve never been here before?” His gray-blue eyes studied me even more.
“Well…um…I’ve been to Chesnee before—to visit my grandmother before she died. Maybe you saw me around town then.”
He shook his head. “No, that’s not it. I’ve seen you up close, like this. I remember your eyes. They’re the color of the sea—just inside a coral reef, and your freckles are the stones of a volcanic island scattered along the sand. Your hair is like the sun setting over the water, shooting out orange rays in all directions.” He stared into my eyes even deeper. “You’re very pretty.”
The impact of his words slammed into me. I’d braced myself for an insult. That’s what I was used to. This was either the way he came onto girls for a hook-up, or more likely, some mean joke to get a good laugh going with the other kids. Anger bubbled up. I knew those kinds of tricks. Those were the kinds of things the kids I used to hang with did all the time. They played them on me too, when I no longer belonged in their circle.
My hands trembled, and my lips drew up to hold in the anger, but I refused to cry in front of this boy. I wanted to call him on his prank. I knew better than to think it was a real compliment, but I couldn’t think of anything clever to say.
The tears burned in my eyes despite my efforts.
“Forget this!” I shouted as I ran off the stage. Everyone’s stares bore into my back as I grabbed my backpack and made for the door. My head throbbed from ear to ear. I was dropping the class, and that was final.