This is my second to last post before my book becomes available on Amazon on Tuesday (3/4/14). Today I am passing out a free sample.
First, a little synopsis to introduce you to the key players:
They’re burnouts – a little short on parents, money and plans for the future, but they’ve got each other and a whole lot of fun. With a world of crazy at home, Carrie Gould needs them to keep her sanity. To stay in their world she needs to keep dating the guy with the party house, which would be fine, if she hadn’t fallen in love with someone else.
He’s such a geek. Ben Gorman is obsessive, smart, strong-willed and on the fast track to his dream of becoming an Army Ranger. He’s also the only geek with a girl. Joelle Welker is perfect for him; a self-proclaimed Jesus freak, who is dedicated to her beliefs and to building a future with Ben. But those plans don’t include his neighbor, Carrie, or Ben’s dedication to her.
Their friendship started by chance. Their love started with trust.
And your sample:
The first meeting of the Homecoming decorating committee wasn’t so bad. The theme was castles, which Carrie thought was sort of lame, but considering the school mascot was a knight and there was a bunch of castle decorating stuff left over from other events, it made sense.
By the third meeting, Carrie wanted to bail. Joelle and her friends were also on the committee, and Ben must have told her Carrie went with him to Dutzow, because they went out of their way to talk bad about her and her friends anytime she was within earshot. Michelle Wagner noticed the tension and assigned Carrie to work with her and the preppy girls on decorating the stage. She assigned the Jesus freaks to the refreshment area, at the other end of the gym.
Michelle turned out to be really fun to work with. She was nice to everyone and knew a lot about paint and fabric and decorating in general. Carrie felt kind of bad that she still didn’t want to hang out with her. She had her friends, and they would be mad if she did anything more than help with decorating. She didn’t want to rock the boat.
The dance was on a Saturday night and set-up was the night before. Michelle told Carrie they would be working from after school till 9 or 10 p.m., so she asked MG to pick her up at 10 and bring her some clothes she could wear to Chuck’s. What she hadn’t planned on was Ben and his friends showing up to help.
It was mind-boggling how unaware Ben could be of the tension between Joelle and Carrie. When he got to the gym and saw Carrie, he came over to say hi immediately. Out of the corner of her eye, Carrie could see Jesus freak #2, Laura, go running to make sure Joelle knew. Shit. Carrie hated drama.
“It’s crooked, you know.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Carried shot back, “it’s not a real castle wall, Ben, no one is going to storm it.”
“It should still be straight.”
Carrie backed up a few steps to see how crooked it looked. “You do realize you are the only one who will notice.”
“I’d notice.” Pat, Ben’s best friend added.
Carrie rolled her eyes. “Thanks for the help.” She turned Ben away from her wall and pushed him in the direction of Joelle.
“Happy to be of service,” he yelled back over his shoulder as he walked away.
Joelle’s reaction to seeing Ben was as sappy as a Hallmark commercial. She ran to him and jumped into his arms, squealing with delight. He gave her a big hug, then let go and turned his attention to the refreshment table decorations. Carrie turned back to her crooked wall. It was already 8:40 and she needed to hurry up if she was going to finish by 10 and be waiting for MG in front of the school.
She had finished everything but hanging the big puffy purple and white things from the top of the archways. It was slow going because she had Pat and Wayne, Ben’s other friend, following her around, possibly flirting with her, but they were so bad at it, she couldn’t be sure.
“Wayne, move.” Carrie needed to put the step stool exactly where Wayne was standing. He moved only slightly to the right, still too close in her space. For the sake of speed, she ignored him. With a big fluffy ball of tulle in her hand she climbed up on the stool then on her tip toes to try and reach the top of the wall. Wayne reached over to hold her in place, and her irritation at running late only compounded how much it bugged her that he was touching her waist. She still couldn’t reach the top of the wall.
“I got it, Wayne. You can let go.”
He still held on, so she climbed off the stool and stepped away from him.
“I didn’t want you to fall.” OK, he meant well, but he needed to go find Ben and leave her alone.
That gave her an idea, one that would stir an already boiling-over pot, but she needed to both get rid of Wayne and finish. “Do me a favor,” she turned her attention to Wayne, “Go get Ben for me.”
He was obviously disappointed, but he did it.
“Still crooked,” Ben yelled as he walked toward her.
She beat her head against the wall, almost knocking it over. Ben laughed. It really wasn’t that bad, but he knew his precision drove her nuts. “What’s up?”
“You,” she answered as she pulled him into place next to the step stool facing the wall. As she climbed back on the stool, she pulled him close to her. “Put your hand out for my foot. I’m going to get on your shoulders.” He looked at her like she was crazy, but did as he was told. She was always bossy when she was decorating, and he was used to it.
She effortlessly perched on his shoulders and wrapped her feet around his back for stability. “Pat, hand me one of those purple thingies.”
“This one?” Pat held up one of the puff balls.
“No, the other one,” Ben teased. Pat looked down at the pile of them, then realized they were all the same and laughed along with Ben.
“Gorman, you are holding up the show. Pat, purple thing.” Pat tossed one up to Carrie.
“You are so bossy when you decorate,” Ben teased.
“Well, if I wasn’t we’d spend all day getting the imaginary crooked out of the fake wall.” Carrie tied the ribbon that held the tulle in place. “Pat, another one. Ben, move down.”
They continued down the line till there were only two tulle balls left. She couldn’t see her, but Carrie could feel Joelle’s stare burning a hole in her back. Jealous waves rolled in from the refreshment end of the gym.
More to come starting Tuesday, March 4th!