Shelf Life (Crestlane County Series, Book 1)
It’s impossible to focus on college biology when your family believes doomsday is imminent and the government is out to get you.
All Pete Wilson’s ever wanted is to become a veterinarian, but those dreams are going up in flames. Commuting to an urban college and helping his parents with their apocalyptic prepper crap is more than he can handle.
Worse, Pete’s asshole neighbor is stirring up trouble, his family’s stockpile has been destroyed and farm animals are turning up dead.
Lindsey Linger is the tomboy sister of his best friend. Now a sexy spitfire, she and Pete are liable to set the barn ablaze as their romance finally heats up. But she’s hiding a terrible secret, and rural life isn’t all bonfires and hayloft romps. That becomes clear one icy winter night when the survival of everyone Pete loves hangs in the balance.
Can Pete be the hero they need, or will this be the end of the world as he knows it?
*Mature situations and sexual content – recommended for ages 17+*
“What the hell?” Mom charges out of the utility room and into the kitchen with my jeans balled up in one hand. In the other hand is a small plastic bag. “What is this? Tell me it isn’t what I think it is!” She shakes it in my face.
“I don’t know! It’s not mine.”
“Then why did I find it in your pocket?”
“My—” Oh, hell no. “I can explain. There was a girl at the party last night—”
“Party? I thought you had a project to work on at the library. Now you’re doing drugs and lying?”
“No! I mean yes. Yes, I went to a party last night, but no, I’m not smoking pot. She must have shoved it in my pocket.”
“She was close enough that she had her hands in your front pocket?”
I open my mouth for a second then snap it shut. I’m screwed either way, so I decide on the lesser of two evils. “Yes, she had her hands in my pocket. I’m eighteen. I can’t stay your innocent little boy forever, Mom, but I promise you I’m not doing drugs.”
“Did you drink?” I feel my cheeks redden under her glare. “I see.”
“What’s going on?” My stomach lurches into my throat at the sound of Dad’s voice.
“Tell your father what you did, Pete.”
“Mom—” Shame, hot and sticky, crawls up my neck. Mom only knows the basics, and if she and Dad knew what really went down last night, they’d die, come back to life, tell me how disappointed in me they are, die again, and make me feel guilty for eternity for killing their vision of the perfect son…the one who doesn’t bang girls who sell pot and have sex with other girls.
Character Interview Questions:
Pete Wilson from SHELF LIFE by Stephanie Lawton
Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book?
Not in a million years. I mean, I live in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio and nothing ever happens here except county fairs, occasional cow tipping, bonfires and I guess there was that one time when my best friends’ dad—the pastor—ran off with his organist. Other than that, Crestlane County is completely boring. Well, it was.
What are your favorite scenes in your book: the action, the dialog or the romance?
Two words: Barn scene. *smirks* I’m still picking hay out of strange places.
If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
Shit, I wouldn’t have been such an idiot near the beginning, but then, I probably wouldn’t have a story to tell if I hadn’t screwed up so badly. I kinda wish my author hadn’t told everyone how inexperienced I was.
Do you like the way the book ended?
Definitely, but I’m not sure readers will be so thrilled with it. Steph leaves off with a total cliffhanger. All I know is, at the end I’m dog tired after the weirdest and worst night of my life. It’s a total game-changer. It would have been nice if she’d left me and Lindsey under the blankets in my warm bed, but no. Still, even I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Would you be interested in a sequel, if your writer was so inclined?
She better put out a sequel! I’ve been standing on my front porch in shock for too long. I want another barn scene, dammit!
What is your least favorite characteristic your writer has attributed to you?
I do some really dumb shit. I make a lot of mistakes. Does that make me clueless? Oh, and whiny. I’m a little whiny at first. That changes in a hurry.
Do have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about?
Nah, she knows all my secrets. She even knows I wish I played a bigger part in the sequel, but there’s a different story that needs to be told in it. I’ll be back around for the third book in a big way. I can be patient.
What is your most prized possession?
The pocket knife my grandpa gave to me before he died.
Who was your first girlfriend/boyfriend and what do you like most about them?
Lindsey. Always Lindsey. You’ll have to read about how that came about in the book. As for what I like most about her, would it be wrong to say her ass in tight jeans? Next to that is her fierceness. Seriously, she still scares the crap out of me most of the time.
Did you have a pet as a child? What happened to it? How did you feel about that?
You’re an asshole for asking this. Read the book.
What are you proudest of?
Heh. Let’s just say that when you grow up on a farm, you see certain things, and learning about the birds and the bees and how those things work in the animal world is a bit different than reading about it in a health class book. We never had cable – still don’t – so I didn’t see things on TV unless I went to my friend Lewis’s house and we secretly watched Rated R movies when his parents weren’t home or after they were asleep. Then we once found his dad’s stash of porno magazines in the tool shed, but they didn’t show me anything I didn’t already know. All that time breeding livestock came in handy once I started college classes … and attending college parties.
What do you like most about where you live?
The smell of freshly tilled earth. The sound of birds chirping just before dawn. The stream that runs along the edge of our property, and the food that grows on our farm. The peace of being tucked away in the woods. The smell of a wood-burning fire on a cold day.
What is your most vivid memory of your mother and father?
The two of them hugging for the first time in a couple years after Dad returned from Afghanistan. They were both crying and nearly knocked each other over. They must have stayed that way for five minutes straight. I was still a bratty kid so I got annoyed and wanted him to pay attention to me, but looking back, I realize how much they loved each other. That’s the kind of love I want in my life.
What word makes you the happiest?
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on?
Cut-off jean shorts.
What turns you off?
Seeing my skank sister half naked in the apple orchard.
What sound or noise do you love?
Lindsey whimpering underneath me.
What sound or noise do you hate?
The sound of Jay Leaher’s voice.
If you knew a zombie apocalypse was coming in one week, what would you do?
Shit, I’m not worried about a zombie apocalypse! I had a real-life doomsday scenario happen in my own back yard. That’s not an exaggeration.
Have you ever gone alone to either dinner or a movie? What about a vacation?
I rarely go out to eat, the closest movie theater is nearly 45 minutes away, and I’ve never been on a vacation unless you mean summer break or holiday breaks. Those just mean more work around the farm, so not what I’d call a vacation.
What’s your favorite animal?
My Jersey cows. They’re my girls.
What do you admire about your parents?
They work harder than any people I know. They’re honest and they care about other people. Also, my mom makes a mean cherry cobbler from scratch.
~About the Author~
Always a misfit, Stephanie Lawton writes twisted romance that tugs the heart strings then punches you in the gut.
She has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating characters. She’s fascinated by teacher-student relationships, bullies, psychics, doomsday preppers and larger-than-life characters.
Making readers squirm is her greatest pleasure. Proceed with caution.
Originally from rural northeast Ohio, she lives in Coastal Alabama with her family.