Sometimes a guy is even better than you imagined.
The Russo family and Seattle, Washington, are no match for Claire Hart and her savvy knowledge of all things vampire-related. Thanks to her obsession with the Twilight series, if there is anyone who would know a vampire when she saw one, it's Claire. And she's positive totally hot Tony Russo is a vampire — she just has to prove it!
In this modern retelling of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, follow Claire's hilarious journey on her first summer adventure away from home, where she learns everything isn't what is seems, and that is some instances, reality is way better than anything she'd ever find in a book.
About the Author
Jenni James is a busy mom of seven children who is married to a totally hot Air Force recruiter. When she isn’t busy chasing her kids around the house, she’s dreaming of new romantic books to write. Northanger Alibi is the second book in Jenni’s series, The Jane Austen Diaries. The first book in the series, Pride & Popularity, was released by Inkberry Press in August 2011. The third book, Persuaded, will be released in summer 2012.
To find out more about The Jane Austen Diaries or Jenni’s other projects, please visit her website, authorjennijames.com, or her Facebook page, Author Jenni James. She loves to hear from her readers and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three and a half weeks later, I asked myself the same question repeatedly: Can life get any better than this? I thought as I collected my luggage and took it down to the car. I thought it as I hugged and kissed my mom and dad goodbye, promising to say my prayers every night. Yeah. Say my prayers that I meet Edward. And then I asked it out loud as we boarded the plane.
By the time we landed, I was in that complete nervous-slash-excited state of mind you get when you’re ready for your amazing adventure to begin. I didn’t realize how excited I was until I noticed I was practically running down the long ramp to get to the terminal.
Cassidy finally caught up. “Why are you walking so fast, girl? The place isn’t on fire!” She panted next to me as she tried to match my long strides.
“Not yet, it isn’t. If you give me a couple of minutes, I’m sure I can cause enough friction with these shoes to start a fire.”
She giggled. “The way you were moving, I don’t doubt it.”
Cassidy and I walked out into the open terminal, then stepped aside and stood near a pillar to wait for Roger and Darlene. I felt a momentary stab of guilt when I realized my actions could’ve been considered rude, running ahead of the group like that. But all my fears were soon put to rest when the Hadleys came bounding down the ramp.
“Well, there they are!” Darlene exclaimed loud enough to be heard by everyone around us. “I’m so glad to see such eagerness. You girls are going to keep me on my toes, I can tell. It’s about time, too.” She walked over and put an arm through each of ours, and we all followed Roger as he carried their carry-on luggage.
After a happy squeeze and a giggle, Darlene asked, “So, are you two ready for your first real adventure?”
“Yes!” Cassidy and I chorused back, laughing. I had never been more ready for anything in my entire life.
Move over, Seattle. Claire Hart just landed, and I plan on taking you by storm!
So, my storm had to be patient as we unpacked and moved into the small cottage Roger had rented for the summer. Cassidy and I shared a pretty yellow room with two twin beds. There was a tiny closet tucked into the corner, and a long, white French-style dresser for our clothes. Each bed had a charming little white nightstand that matched the dresser, with a cute reading lamp and a personal alarm clock. I chose the bed closest to the window.
Cassidy opened a narrow door she’d found once she closed our bedroom door. She gasped. “What’s this?”
Probably another closet, I thought. Unconcerned, I dumped my carry-on on the bed and set my wheeled suitcase next to it.
“Claire, you’ve got to see this,” exclaimed Cassidy in a muffled voice. “You’re never going to believe it!”
I looked up and couldn’t see her anywhere. The small door was wide open. “Cass?”
“In here! Hurry!”
What in the world? I quickly dropped my camera and purse on the bed and went to the door. When I peered inside, my gasp echoed Cassidy’s just moments before. “No way. This is amazing.” I actually had to blink twice before I fully comprehended what I was seeing. It was the largest, most decadent bathroom I’d ever seen—at least the size of our room, if not bigger. It was beautiful and bright, with shades of cheerful yellow and pink and white bouncing off the walls and the soft, plush rugs beneath our feet.
Just then, Darlene knocked and then peeked into the bathroom. “This place is great, isn’t it?”
I was about to go off about the awesomeness of the claw-footed bathtub, but she went on. “So, girls, Roger’s classes don’t start until Monday, and since it’s only Friday, what do you say we do a bit of sightseeing while we’re here?”
“Really?” I said. “That would be awesome.” Even Cassidy looked excited.
“Roger and I thought we’d ask the president of Northwest Academy and his family to come, too. What do you think?”
The weird kids—the ones that need friends? My smile waned. “Sure, why not?”
“We did promise them we’d bring someone they could meet,” Darlene reminded me.
“Who’s this? You promised we’d meet someone?” Cassidy asked.
I’d forgotten I hadn’t told my sister anything about the loser teenagers. In hidden disgust, I walked past our host and sat on my bed. I’d let Darlene tell my sister the good news. I had all but blocked out the horror of Darlene’s explanation when I heard Cassidy’s massive intake of breath. With a grin, I caught her panicked look from the doorway just before she smiled happily at our host, obviously trying not to relay any of the warning flags I’m sure were popping up in her head.
I prayed for rain. Like, big-time rain. You know—enough to cancel our sightseeing tour and put off the inevitable meeting as long as possible.
Well, it did sprinkle, but not enough to keep us away from meeting the paragons of awkwardness. In fact, we were soon standing on the slightly damp grass in front of the Space Needle, watching them walk toward us.
All right, I admit it. Anthony and Eleanor Russo weren’t that bad. I mean, sure, there was something about them that just didn’t sit right, something in their movements or the way they talked. I don’t know—it seemed stilted, not natural. Kind of Stepford-y, if you catch my drift. But other than that, I couldn’t complain.
One thing was for sure, they were a whole lot cuter than I thought they’d be. Their whole family was this perfect, white-collar, yuppie-type family. They each had beautiful smiles and beautiful eyes and beautiful clothes.
The parents were Ilene and Jonathan. Both of them looked really young, but they must’ve been in their early forties. And then there was Anthony, who went by Tony, who had just turned seventeen, and Eleanor—Nora—who we later found out was his twin sister.
They were nice, too—almost too nice. I enjoyed talking to Nora the most, because she seemed just a little bit more real than Tony.
“Have you ever been to Seattle before?” she asked as we boarded a large boat with wheels, part of our Ride the Ducks tour.
“No. Does this vehicle really go in the water, too?”
“You’ve never been on these before, have you?” She smiled at me, then climbed into a row and patted the bench next to her. “You’re going to love this tour. It’s really nice.”
“Nice?” Crazy, yes, but nice?
Cassidy and Tony sat down on the bench across the aisle.
“Fun,” Nora amended. “It’ll be a lot of fun.”
Now “fun” I understood. “Cool.”
“Just wait. It’ll drive us all around Seattle, so you can see everything up and down the streets, and then it’ll drive right down a ramp into the ocean. That’s why they’re called ducks, because they’re on land and then the water. They’re really nice.”
There was that word again—“nice.” Something just wasn’t right.
Nora’s brother leaned across the narrow walkway between the two benches and asked, “You didn’t tell Claire about the part where we go all the way under the water, did you?”
Huh? Under the water? I looked out the sides of the duck-slash-boat thing. There were no windows. Just open air, supports, and a roof. The boat would fill up with water in seconds. “Are you kidding?” I asked him.
Tony’s eyes moved from Nora’s to mine. It was the first time I had made real eye contact with him.
Wow. He’s—he’s really cute! And, um, close.
Leaning over like he was, Tony was only about a foot from me. “It’s just for a couple of seconds. It’s not like you’ll drown or anything. You did read the brochure, right? It told you to make sure you only brought waterproof stuff on board.”
What in the—? I glanced down at the pamphlet in my hand and back up at him, totally thinking he was serious until I saw a playful glimmer flash in his light brown gaze. “Whatever.” I rolled my eyes and tried to push him back toward Cassidy. My hand collided with solid steel. At least, that’s what his shoulder felt like to me. Not that I had touched a lot of guy’s shoulders, but Tony’s felt pretty strong. Really strong, actually. Almost too strong.
He must’ve seen my face because he chuckled nervously, then quickly leaned back into his seat.
A few more passengers moved down the aisle between us and broke our eye contact.
“What’d you say to Claire?” Cassidy asked him.
As I sat forward and tried not to think about how strong his shoulder was, I heard Tony murmur something to Cass. A second later she burst into laughter.
“Don’t mind Anthony,” Nora whispered. “He’s always trying to tease people. You should see the stuff he does to me.” She shuddered dramatically.
It was definitely a sign that they were a normal family. Maybe there was hope for them yet.
I didn’t have much time to think about them after that, since the boat thingy started up. For the next hour and a half, I lost myself completely to the zany tour. Even the tour guide was hilarious. I couldn’t believe it when he had us singing along with him. He made the most boring sights, like regular cafés and businesses, seem exciting. I couldn’t wait to explore them after the tour was over.
When we plunked into the water, the energy level, which had been pretty high before, jumped to colossal proportions. It was incredible to see Seattle from the water—it gave the whole city a sort of picturesque quality.
It was then that it hit me. Really, truly hit me. Oh my gosh. I can’t believe I’m here! I’m in Washington! How did I ever get this lucky?
So, my first full day in Washington wasn’t bad. It was wonderful, actually—it didn’t turn out anything like what Cassidy and I had imagined. Thank goodness Nora and Tony weren’t total far-fetched basket cases. The day could’ve been pretty bad.
Dinner at the Space Needle turned out to be a way different story. Believe me—I need a whole chapter to tell that one. Who knew Tony would turn out to be so completely different? I mean, honestly, I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted how our day would end. But now that I’ve had some time to ponder it, I see the signs were there all along. I just hadn’t been wise enough to put them together.
Great Series, Great Author
by Cathy - reviewed on January 05, 2013
Claire Hart is just a normal 16 year old girl. She has very overprotective parents because of something that happened to her older sister. Her favorite books are the Twilight series, so she's beyond thrilled when Darlene and Roger, some of her parents friends want to take her to Seattle. The only way they will agree is if Claire's older sister, Cassidy goes as well, Clair quickly gets over the fact that her parents have basically invited Cassidy along. It's SEATTLE, after all! The whole reason that Darlene wants Claire to go to Seattle is so that the kids of some of their friends would have someone to hang out with. That is kind of a red flag for Claire about those kids, but she's pleasantly surprised when she meets Tony and his sister Nora. But it seems as though they have a secret and Claire is certain that she knows exactly what it is. They do live in Seattle, and of course, so does Edward and his family. Not to mention Tony is hot enough to be a vampire! Cassidy is sure that her sister's crazy, so Claire produces the Twilight books for her to read and she's immediately hooked, although skeptical about Tony being a vampire. This book was hilarious! Claire gets herself into so much trouble, because of her belief in vampires and werewolves and believing that she knows people who are those things. I love how Claire is so naive in the beginning, and how she kind of grows up to the point where she cares more about the people around her than she cares about herself. This is the second book in The Jane Austen Diaries series by Jenni James. You definitely want to read the first one Pride and Popularity, just because of pure awesomeness, but I'm not sure that you have to read these ones in order if you don't want to or happen not to. I happened to meet Jenni James at a book signing a few weeks ago, she's super nice and her books are amazing!
by Shauna - reviewed on January 05, 2013
What a fun book! A little Jenni...a little Twilight...a little Jane Austin... This book takes an amazing twist from Twilight...into the thoughts of MANY teenage girls as they see their own Edwards in everyday life... Cute ending as love prevails all!
Terrific read from Jenni James!
by Alexa - reviewed on January 01, 2013
I absolutely loved this second book. The first book was so amazing and I anxiously awaited the release of Northanger Alibi. This is a fun romance novel that is sure to make you fall in love with the characters just as much as I did. Way to go Jenni!
Funny and Clean
by Customer - reviewed on January 05, 2013
I loved the first book in this series, Pride and Populrity, and thought, "There is NO way this book could be as good." Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise! I loved this story!! I love how this author takes a classic story and twists it around to completely modernize it. Very clever; very darling; very fun; and completely clean too!! Claire and her sister are invited to go to Washington State for the summer with some of her parents friends. This is exactly Claire's dream vacation, since she is a huge Twilight fan. When Claire meets Tony, she is convinced he's a vampire. What ensues is a completely hilarious adventure that had me giggling right out loud! Claire is such a fun character. I loved the thoughts running through her mind. I loved the situations she got herself into and how she treid to deal with them. The supporting characters were a riot as well. I seriously can't wait for the next book to come out!! A preview was included at the back.
by Shanti - reviewed on January 05, 2013
I am not a Twilight fan. Not at all. So I fully expected to not be grabbed by Northanger Alibi. On the contrary, this book was super cute and funny. Jenni James catches every aspect of being 16 and of being obsessed by...well...anything, really. In this case, it just happens to be Twilight and vampires. Claire's determination to prove that Tony is a vampire will leave you in stitches, even while it has you wondering 'what if she's right??' I'd highly recommend this book for anyone who is young, or young at heart.
Loved This Book
by Customer - reviewed on January 05, 2013
Jenni James has a way of making these stories her own without losing the true essence of Jane Austen. I LOVED THIS BOOK! It is probably my favorite book out of the series so far. I'm not a very big Twilight fan but the way it was incorporated into this story was brilliantly executed. The suspense and the love story kept me going and I actually laughed out loud at different times. It is clean and adorable. I loved it.
Laugh your heart out
by Emma - reviewed on January 05, 2013
If you like twilight read this. If you like romance read this. Any person will agree that this story is both touching, and funny. I laughed and blushed right along with Claire. Tony is definitely perfect for her, and I want to meet someone like him!
It is a marvelous book!
by Victoria - reviewed on January 05, 2013
This book is amazing! I love how the author describes the characters and the setting around them! My favorite part was the whole book! I love how the main character is obsessed with twilight and thinks that this guy must be related to Jacob black! So buy her book and find out for yourself!!!
by Danielle - reviewed on January 07, 2013
This book is chock full of adventure and humor and romance! If Jane Austen had the chance to read this book she'd be proud!
by Customer - reviewed on January 06, 2013
This was one of my favorite books I have ever read. It was Hilarious and a really well written romance. I absolutly love the way Tony never gives up! I have read this book so many times and it never gets old! 12 and up!
Love this Series!
by Tiana - reviewed on January 09, 2013
A little over the top at times, but super cute. In comparison with her Pride and Popularity, this one didn't seem to have as many references to the Austen book, but there were enough there to make me laugh. Like Northanger Abbey, this book is also pretty tongue in cheek about people who are a little too serious about their fiction. While she's immature at first, Claire does grow up and learns that living a real life is better than what's in a book. Fun read!
Screaming for Northanger Alibi!
by Kymber - reviewed on January 10, 2013
Northanger Alibi was one of the best books i have ever read. It is so Funny, surprising, and a very sweet book. Me personally, i read it on a bad day and it just washed it away! Northanger Alibi is a must read!!!