Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Exploring Pretty Dead Girls with Character Penelope

Please welcome a special guest to the Alleyway today. Her tale is set amid an eerie sea of mystery and lies that's just about to seep to the surface of a small town. Here's a peek into her world...

Pretty Dead Girls
by Monica Murphy

Publication Date:  January 2, 2018
Publisher:  Entangled Teen

Beautiful. Perfect. Dead.

In the peaceful seaside town of Cape Bonita, wicked secrets and lies are hidden just beneath the surface. But all it takes is one tragedy for them to be exposed.

The most popular girls in school are turning up dead, and Penelope Malone is terrified she's next. All the victims so far have been linked to Penelope—and to a boy from her physics class. The one she's never really noticed before, with the rumored dark past and a brooding stare that cuts right through her.

There's something he isn't telling her. But there's something she's not telling him, either.
Everyone has secrets, and theirs might get them killed.

Hi Penelope! Thanks so much for joining us today. Let's give your readers a little insight into you. What makes you (Penelope) different from the other popular girls in your senior class?
I don’t know…let’s be real. Am I really that different from anyone else? I mean, I try to be nice to everyone, but we know that doesn’t work all the time. In fact, I’m sure if you looked at us on the surface, you’d think we’re all the same. And we sort of are. So it doesn’t surprise me that if one of us made someone angry, the angry person would want to take us all down.

As logic would have it, I suppose.

So, do you really care about being popular? Or, more importantly, what do you care about most?
At first, I really cared about being popular. My older sister always was, so I assumed I should be too. But I also realized there’s a lot of pressure, trying to be popular, having to deal with all the expectations and haters. I sound pitiful, but I can be hard. Right now, I care about staying alive, graduating high school and going to college. Those are my three main objectives. I don’t really care about popularity anymore.

If you were taking a ride on a ferris wheel, who would you want to share the seat with you? Who would you avoid sitting with at all cost?
Um, I’d avoid sitting with Courtney at all costs, because she drives me insane. She’s just…not a nice person. I can’t believe it took me all these years to figure this out.

That's okay. You're not alone in that, I'm sure.

I’d sit in the ferris wheel with Cass, though. I have feelings for him. I care about him a lot. And he’s fun. And cute. And…

When you agree to work with the loner & possible suspect boy in physics class, what about him surprised you the most?
That he was so smart and that he knew my friends way more intimately than I first realized. 

Well, if that doesn't get your shackles up I don't know what would.

What is your greatest fear?
That I won’t survive beyond the age of seventeen!


What is your biggest hope?
To get accepted to the university of my dreams.

Any advice to other senior girls out there who find an odd boy in their class just as fellow female classmates begin ending up dead?
He might be a solid ally, someone to work with when you can’t trust anyone else. So give that weird boy a chance. He could surprise you.

Sound advice. All the best to you, Penelope! Readers will definitely be cheering for you.

Sitting with Cass like this, being so close to him, makes me hyper aware of everything about him. His clean tinged-with-fabric-softener scent. The sound of his breathing, the beat of his heart. His hair is soft, so are his clothes, and he has angsty taste in music. His shoulders are broad, his thigh is hard beneath my butt, and his chest is firm.

I like him. Despite being angry with him earlier, I can admit that I’m attracted to him. And I think he’s attracted to me.

“I’m pretty sure the only person Brogan wants to get off is himself,” I mutter under my breath, ducking my head.

Cass chuckles, the warm, deep sound making me shiver. “Most guys are selfish assholes.”

“Even you?” I look up to find he’s already watching me.

He nods slowly, his gaze dropping to my lips again. “Even me.”

“I bet you’re not that selfish,” I whisper. I am totally flirting with him.

“Oh, I definitely am. Watch me.”

And then he does the craziest thing.

Cass leans in, his mouth drawing close. So close, I can feel his breath tickle my lips. I part them, ready to say something, anything to break the sudden tension that’s crackling between us, but his mouth lands on mine in an instant.

I suck in a breath, shocked by the jolt of electricity that rushes through my blood when his lips touch mine. We're already completely wrapped up in each other. It feels…natural to kiss him.
His arms tighten around my waist, pulling me into him. I circle my arms around his neck, my fingers sliding into his hair. It’s thick and soft, the ends curling around my fingers, and I tunnel my hands deeper into it, savoring the hitch in his breath when I do so.

Our mouths are still connected. We kiss and kiss. Soft, innocent kisses at first, and then I part my lips, and he does too. Our lips linger, the kisses last longer as our breaths accelerate, and then his tongue is there, tracing my lips, circling mine…

It’s the hottest kiss I’ve ever experienced, the both of us trying to be quiet as we secretly make out while hiding in Courtney’s closet. His hands go to my waist and he readjusts me so I’m straddling him, and I wrap my legs around his hips. We’re chest to chest, his bulky sweatshirt is totally in my way, and I wish I could tear it off him so I can get closer.

But I settle for this. We’re kissing for kissing’s sake. There’s no end game, no trying to get into each other’s pants or get each other off, as Courtney so eloquently put it. And it feels so good, to get lost in Cass’s arms and lips for a while, to forget about my troubles, to concentrate on the delicious slide of his tongue against mine, his hands in my hair, the race of his heart and the heat of his skin.

Plus, it’s Cass. We’re giving in to the chemistry that seems to simmer between us every time we’re together. There’s something between us I’d like to explore, despite all the extra baggage that seems to come with this boy. His dead dad and his murdering mom and his weird grandma with the cluttered house and the cats. His mysterious ways and addiction problem—all of this adds up to a guy I should avoid at all costs.

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is a traditionally published author with Bantam/Random House and Harper Collins/Avon, as well as an independently published author. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance. She is also USA Today bestselling romance author Karen Erickson. She is a wife and a mother of three who lives with her family in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere, along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through many angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA. Website • Twitter • Facebook • InstagramPinterestSnapchat • Goodreads

For more deets on Penelope's story, follow her book tour!

What are your thoughts on this story? Any questions for Penelope?


  1. Smart she figured out just surviving high school is far more important. Congratulations, Monica!

  2. Congratulations, Monica. Your book sounds intriguing. Those high school years are tough. Best of luck to you.

  3. Character interviews are so much fun!

  4. If you and Cass get stuck in the very top gondola of the ferris wheel, what will you talk about? Think about it, if you have nothing, you might want to find somebody you have more in common with.


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