Less than a week to go until Paper Planes and other things we lost is let loose on the world!
Today my co-author, Mindy Hayes posted the Prologue. Click on her name to check it out, THEN come back here and keep reading for your preview of Chapter One - Just Another Day
And keep waiting . . .
You read it? Okay, continue on to chapter one . . .
JUST ANOTHER DAY
FRIDAY, JANUARY 1
“Happy New Year!”
Screw. You. Those are my first words of the new year? Ha! Bet this is going to be a stellar year.
“Awe, give me a kiss.” The shrill voice shouts the slurred words in my ear. I may be deaf now, thank you very much. Bright pink cable knit sleeves drape around my neck, the wearer’s dark blonde mop of hair assaulting me. She isn’t at all familiar. What the heck, man? I pluck her wrists from my shoulders and she falls away. Freedom! I make my escape.
A heavy beat ricochets off the wall as I work my way upstairs. I stop midway and glance over the banister. There’s a sea of bodies occupying the dim room below. Revelry is everywhere. It’s 1993—a new year. The year of graduation, the year we start college, the year we become adults. A circle of girls bursts into laughter directly below me, one of them blowing a noise maker, as their hips move to the rhythm pulsating from the speakers. I should be down there, too. They’re celebrating the beginning of a new year. I’m celebrating the end of the old one.
I turn my back to the revelers. Closing my eyes, I press my knuckles between them and rub the skin in circles. Between the obnoxiously loud music, cheerful party goers, and asthma-inducing cigarette smoke, I’ve developed a headache in the three minutes I’ve been here. Why does she do this to herself?
Man, these parties suck. The smoking and drinking, the random hook-ups sessions and fights . . . and the crap like this—the random body before me. The poor guy is propped against the wall, passed out between two steps. I carefully step over him. How far would he roll if I shoved his shoulder? Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Wow. My foul mood is her fault.
I move forward, side-stepping a couple near the top of the stairs, and scan the hallway. She’s nowhere to be found. On to knocking on doors it is. Man, this knight in shining armor routine is old. I’m sick of coming to her rescue, but here I am doing it again.
Slamming my fist on each door, I jiggle the handles and call out her name.
“Amber?” The first door glides open, revealing a room full of teens sitting in a cloud of smoke staring back at me. No Amber.
Door two is locked. No answer. I pound harder. “Amber?”
“She’s not in here,” a vaguely familiar voice replies. How many doors have I knocked on looking for my sister in the past six months? Too many if people recognize us.
The door at the end of the long hallway opens, the party host himself walking out. Dude’s dressed for July at the beach, not January in Pennsylvania, with his open button-up shirt and low hanging shorts. What an idiot.
“George, where’s Amber?”
“Hey, man.” George lifts his hand for a high five. “Happy New . . .” His salutation cuts off as I stalk forward. I hurry his way before he can think to close the bedroom door. I should have saved my breath; he doesn’t bother with discretion. The prick.
He stumbles, his bloodshot eyes blinking rapidly as his back hits the wall. I crowd his personal space, rejecting his high five and pressing my palm into his chest. The potent stench of alcohol and sweat rolling off him could singe nose hairs. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” If she’s in this room . . . I compose myself and shove open the door.
My eyes leave George’s face and he inches away. Forget him, Brett, he’s not worth the swollen knuckles.
There she is.
Okay, maybe he is worth the hassle. My jaw clenches.
Amber’s perched on the edge of a disheveled king-size bed. Her face is blank as she slips her shirt over her head. I inhale deeply, averting my gaze and locking the door behind me. Ruffled pillows, floral paintings, and a feminine wallpaper border decorate the room. This is his parents room? Sick.
“Psh, why would I bother wasting my words on one of those?”
“Brett.” Her eyes and her tone hold a plea. I’ve heard it before.
Remain calm. “I’m bringing you home.”
I should take hold of her skinny shoulders and shake her like a rag doll until she learns some sense, but the method wouldn’t work on her. Nothing works with her. I’m prepared to tell her as much when her tears begin.
“Did he—” How do I ask the question? Did he hurt you? Force you? Why is she crying?
“Hmmm?” She swipes her knuckles across her damp cheek. “Did he what?” She gapes at me. “Oh! No. B, I’m fine. He . . .” Her words tangle together and she stops trying. I roll my eyes. It’s hard to find the energy for anything more.
Walking into the adjoining bathroom, Amber flips on the light and straightens herself. She wipes at the black streaks below her eyes, a tissue pressed against her lips as her fingers comb her hair into something presentable. It’s as though I’m watching a scene from a movie. One I’ve seen many, many times. I recognize these movements for what they are; she’s putting herself back together again. Humpty Dumpty’s tune echoes in my mind again. When will rescuing her stop working? At what point will she no longer be able to put herself back together again?
Her hands press palm down on the vanity as she leans forward. She stands there, her nose pressing against the mirror, studying her reflection for two whole minutes before she straightens, shakes her head, and flips off the light.
We leave the house in silence.
She slips into the passenger seat of my car and buckles up. “How was your date?”
How typical of her, ignoring what she’s done and speaking to me as though it’s merely another mundane day. I close my eyes, gripping the steering wheel.
Calm down, Brett.
I need to help her figure things out, but, man, I want to run away from this—from her—and everything I’ve taken on over the past six months.
Amber coughs, rubbing her hands together, blatantly reminding me of the below freezing temperatures and the fact that we’re sitting in an ice box. I crank the engine and the heater kicks on.
“My date was great,” I shift into drive. “Right up until the moment I had to leave and rescue my idiot sister.”
Her sharp inhale is like a sneeze in a library. Recognition dawns on her face. A wry smile crosses her lips as my angry one challenges her. “You’re right.” Her head cocks to the left, her brow lifting. “I am an idiot,” she concedes.
Before June, I would have laughed and gloated at her easy concession. Not tonight though. Tonight, I don’t want to be right. I don’t want to see my sister in this light. I simply want her to stop what she’s doing.
Yep, happy New Year to me.
There you go. A small peek into Brett and Ruby. I hope you're intrigued by them already. I adore these two and can't wait for you to get to know them. Remember you can get the special pre-order price of 99¢ up until release day. After that it goes to $3.99
That's 90k words for 99 pennies. It's a steal! Here are the links:
Also, join in on the Facebook release party this weekend (it'll be one of those drop in whenever parties) for some prizes and sweet little tidbits you won't find elsewhere: https://www.facebook.com/events/560358820811494/