How awesome is it that excerpt week coincides with release week for my brand new contemporary romance, Boys Don’t Cry? Nate and Tali are two of my all-time favorite characters, and falling in love with them while they fell in love was quite possibly one of my favorite experiences as a writer. I’m really excited for others to meet them, so here’s a little excerpt that introduces Tali.
From Chapter One
Three minutes ago, all I could think about was how much I was going to respect the refreshment of that air conditioning, but I’m already cold and anxious to steal Dad’s body heat as I tuck into myself and snuggle closer. I tilt my head to rest on the shoulder of a faded black Depeche Mode t-shirt that’s almost a decade older than I am.
“They heard you were coming and dumped all the chocolate chips into the trash,” Art adds, pushing across the table so his paper dining mat shoves into mine and sends it into my lap.
“That’s enough, Arthur. Sit down before the waitress comes.” Mom sighs and sweeps her hand across her brow like she’s got a headache. Sitting next to Art, I wouldn’t be surprised. He does that to me, too.
I can only imagine how long my siblings have been up, whining from the middle seat about starving, dying of dehydration, having to go potty, needing a new DVD in the player to entertain them. Gwen’s only three, so she can hardly be blamed when she starts throwing a tantrum, but Art really should know better. He’s been traveling like this his entire life, bouncing from home to home, school to school, starting over every time he thinks he’s settled in. It doesn’t bother me much, I sort of like seeing the country this way, but the last two times Dad’s finished a house, packed our belongings and moved us onto the next one, it’s really taken its toll on my little brother. He got used to Austin. He made friends there and started to believe we’d never leave, but then Dad found a historic Victorian in Sonesville, Pennsylvania, and it wasn’t long before we were on the road again and speeding toward another new life.
It sort of sucks. He’s trying really hard to hide his frustration with it all from Dad because our father’s excitement is contagious. Seeing him happy is a beautiful thing, but I know my brother. It’s an act, and when Art’s not happy, I’m not happy. He works really hard to make sure of that.
God, I don’t know if I can do this all again, even if it’s just for the summer.
Our waitress comes, lowering plastic cups with straws in front of Mom so she can pass them out, then she pours the three of us coffee before asking if we’re ready to order. It’s strange, the absence of the southern twang I’ve grown accustomed to over the last three years. There’s no y’all, and while she’s pleasant enough there’s nothing welcoming or hospitable about the smile she plasters on for us before promising to put our orders in straight away.
I could have stayed in Austin. I got accepted into the Interactive Games Studies program at St. Edward’s University back in December. Merry Christmas to me! Then Dad put the house he spent the last three years restoring on the market, tamping down any plans I might or might not have been considering about living at home while matriculating. Now when I go back, if I go back, I’ll have to stay on campus.
“I miss Austin.” The words are spoken before I’ve even had time to think them through, and for a moment everyone but Gwen grows quiet. She’s patting her hands on the table, splashing little fingers into the ring of condensation left behind by the cup Mom’s already moved out of her reach.
I can always go back. Dad promised, and I know he wants to see me pursue this budding dream of mine, but we’ve spent so much of our lives living this way, traveling together like some kind of circus, and I just don’t know if I can let go of that. Not yet.
Art won’t ever admit it, but he’ll struggle without me there to back him up.
I keep telling myself maybe Pennsylvania will suck. Maybe it’ll be so awful here, I’ll find the courage to let go and set out on my own, but then I look at my stupid little brother with the tip of his straw poking into his nose and I wonder if Art would make it without me.
Reaching across the table, I slap the straw, catching him off guard and making him sniff chocolate milk into his nose. He starts coughing, and Mom’s whacking him on the back, her stern brown eyes glaring at the beads of cow juice soaking into the pictures of pancakes and waffles coloring Art’s place mat.
“You’re—such—a—jerk!” he chokes out.
And then Gwen’s shouting the word ‘jerk’ with glee, slapping her hands together in celebration and giggling at the mess our brother’s made because Gwen likes messes. They’re her favorite thing.
You can read all of chapter one over on my website, and if you like what you read you can pick up a copy at one of the following retailers:
*note: Amazon has not implemented the price increase yet, so if you act fast you can grab an ebook for your Kindle for just $.99!