Sunday, September 20, 2015

Enter to win 5 Clockwise Collection Books! (or $50.00GC)

The countdown to CLOCKWORK CRAZY is on! 

To celebrate, I'm going to giveaway a set of 5 print Clockwise Collection books (or $50.00 GC) to one special winner!

Enjoy this excerpt of the first chapter!

Chapter One

So what if he was going to Europe with his college basketball team without me? So what if the cheerleading squad and head cheerleader, Fiona Frias the Floozy, was going too? So what???
I stared hard at the text message from Nate Mackenzie, my hot boyfriend of one year, nine months and five days. My college-all-star-athlete-first-string-forward-for-the-Boston-University-Terriers-basketball-team boyfriend.
Nate: It’s official! We’re going to Spain!! It was a close call with some passport issues, but just got word we’re all clear to go!
All those exclamation marks were like stakes in my heart. Spikes to my feet. I felt frozen on the spot in the middle of a busy hallway in Cambridge High. Bodies brushed by wafting stale air and teen sweat, but it wasn’t enough to propel me. My heart weighed heavy like an anchor and a scratchy lump formed in my throat.
Nate had promised me all my firsts, but the one first he could never give me was international travel. I couldn’t fly. There was always the possibility that I could trip—swirl back in time—and it was best if my feet were firmly planted on the ground when that happened.
So he was going to Europe without me. Big deal. If I wanted Nate in my life (and I did!), I had to make some concessions. I couldn’t tie him down, guilt him into not doing things just because I couldn’t.
I forced myself to text him back.
Casey: That’s great. The Terriers are great. You’ll do great.
Nate: I’m glad you think it’s GREAT.
Casey: Are the cheerleaders going too?
I winced as I pressed send, immediately wishing I could take it back. This was the crux of my issue with Nate going to Spain and we both knew it. Fiona Frias, college girl, long-legged, green-eyed, Latin beauty was in love with my boyfriend and she didn’t try to keep it a secret. At all.
Despite Nate’s reassurances, I felt completely insecure. Here I was, still in high school, while Nate was halfway through his degree. Of course other girls would notice him. Of course other girls would chase him. Girls who were more mature and experienced than I was. Unscrupulous girls.
Girl. It wasn’t fair to group all girls together. Just one girl. Just one unscrupulous girl.
It only took one.
Nate didn’t text back right away and I knew I upset him with the question. For him it was an issue of trust, and all my overt and obvious inquiries about Fiona made him believe I didn’t trust him.
I did trust him. It was her I didn’t trust.
My phone finally pinged with his response.
Nate: Yes.
Only one word. Only one word! Gah! That was all he had to say? Nothing to comfort me and calm my worries?
Casey: That’s Great!
The bell rang and snapped me back to reality. Lucinda, my best friend who seriously deserved a medal for willingly wearing that moniker, poked my arm. “You’re going to be late.” Then, seeing my face, she asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Nate’s going to Spain. With her.”
We started walking down the hall toward my creative writing class. Lucinda’s history class was across the hall. She knew all about my worries over Fiona Frias and the impending team trip to Spain. She shot me a look of concern—or maybe it was pity—before saying, “I think you’re boiling things down a little too low.”
“Am I? Nate will need the self-control of a saint to resist her over there,” I said. “For one thing, the drinking age is lower and well, a guy’s power of resistance goes down with each drink, and it’s a million miles and several time zones away. Fiona…”
“Casey!” Lucinda grabbed my arm and forced me to look down into her dark, worried gaze. “Nate loves you. He’s not going to do anything with Fiona. You have to trust him.”
“I know. You’re right.” I felt like an idiot. When did I turn into this crazy, jealous maniac?
I made it to my seat in Mr. Ryerson’s creative writing class just as the bell rang. I folded my long limbs under the desk, brushed dark runaway curls off my face and took a deep breath. Lucinda was right. I was overreacting. I hid my phone under the desk and texted quickly before Mr. R confiscated my phone.
Casey: I really am happy for you. Promise to send me lots of pics.
Nate: Of course. I don’t leave until next week. I’ll see you tomorrow night.
Tomorrow was Friday, and Nate had promised to come to Cambridge until he had to leave for practice on Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t a lot of time but it was better than nothing.
Casey: love you
Nate: ly2
I let out a breath of relief. We were okay.
Nate would be gone for two weeks. It wasn’t like we saw a lot of each other now anyway. We both had school and homework and jobs. With texting and Facebook, it would be like he wasn’t even gone.
Mr. Ryerson petted his thick graying mustache as he called the class to order. I loved this class. Writing was something I could do as a time traveler without too much worry. For the most part it was a job of solitude. I didn’t have to worry about touching someone, skin-to-skin, and accidentally taking them back in time. Only four people knew about my “gift.” Lucinda, who was the first unlucky person to go back with me and also how I learned about the skin to skin thing; Nate, who wasn’t my boyfriend at the time and my brother Timothy, both of whom were also accidental traveling guests; and Samuel, a fellow traveler. The only other one I knew.
No, that wasn’t true. There was that blond girl I met in the convenience store one time. Adeline? I wondered what happened to her and if she had a good-looking boyfriend who was being chased by another older, prettier girl.
I wasn’t sure what kind of living I could make as a writer, but this class offered unit studies in several fields: journalism, poetry, short stories, novels, memoirs (mine would sound like fiction!) and scriptwriting.
“The deadline for your deposit on the Hollywood trip is today,” Mr. Ryerson said, eyeing me specifically. I’d signed up back in November with no intention of actually following through. I only wanted to avoid the inevitable questions as to why I didn’t want to go. I did want to go, but the class was flying. What if I tripped while in midair? It would be disastrous.
I broke eye contact with Mr. Ryerson and stared resolutely at my desk. Mr. Ryerson continued, “We’re joining a script-writing class with students from Hollywood High and we’ll visit all the tourist traps. Bring your laptops. Leave your winter coats.”
A cheer went up in the room. I slunk lower into my seat, once again awash with discouragement.
“Casey?” Mr. Ryerson called my name and I snapped to attention. He stood at my shoulder and I looked up, past his bushy mustache and into his squinty, concerned eyes. He leaned in and lowered his voice. “Are you having trouble coming up with the deposit?”
It was like I suddenly had bionic hearing and caught the sounds of the other twenty-eight students quieting and cocking their heads toward me. “Yeah,” I whispered back. “I don’t think I can go.”
“It’s possible the school could come up with a subsidy.”
It was so quiet in the classroom, Mr. Ryerson’s words echoed off the wall. My cheeks flushed with embarrassment. Now everyone thought my family had money problems. I squeaked out, “No, that’s fine.”
“You’re a good writer, Casey.” He dropped a paper on my desk with a big red A+ on the top. “I’d hate to see you miss out.”
I spent the class period working on a short film script about a stupid contemporary boy who gets stuck in the civil war era and joins the Union Army (write what you know!). I couldn’t resist checking my phone when the lunch bell rang. I got a new Instagram pic from FabulousFiona! It was a selfie. Her abundant bosom peeked out of her cheerleader uniform (some things just aren’t handed out fairly!) A couple basketball players chatted in the background. I recognized one of the guys as Nate.
Her comment: “Too bad you can’t come.”
I gasped. Fiona Frias just made this personal! My thumbs went into high speed and I immediately forwarded the image to Nate.
Casey: This!!!
He didn’t text back. Of course, he was busy playing basketball while Fiona jumped up and down on the sidelines in a short skirt and there was nothing, NOTHING, I could do about it.
The thought of her traveling to Spain with Nate (I know, it was with the basketball team, but SHE thought it was with Nate) made my blood boil. I had to be careful or I was going to stress myself back to 1863 and I really didn’t feel like dealing with that right now. I stopped at the fountain and sipped cool water, long and hard.
Breathe, Casey.
Once my heartbeat was under control I leaned against the wall and wiped my face with my sleeve.
Maybe I couldn’t go to Spain with Nate and maybe I couldn’t stop Fiona from going with him, but I could control some things in my life. I walked resolutely back to my creative writing class. I had a checking account and an unused crumpled check in my purse. I’d written only a couple checks in my life, but I remembered how. I gripped my pen tightly as I wrote the date, the amount required for the deposit and then scribbled my signature at the bottom with a flourish. I swallowed hard. I was going to Hollywood.

No comments:

Post a Comment