Saturday, December 14, 2013

{Spotlight + Giveaway} Another Little Piece of My Heart

What if your devastating break-up became this summer’s hit single? In this rock-and-roll retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, music can either bring you together or tear you apart. At her dying mother’s request, Claire dumps Jared, the only boy she’s ever loved. Left with a broken family and a broken heart, Claire is furious when she discovers that her biggest regret became Jared’s big break. While Jared is catapulted into rock-star status, another piece of Claire’s heart crumbles every time his song plays on the radio. The summer after her senior year, it’s been months since the big break-up, and Claire is just trying to keep her head down and make it through a tense trip to the beach with her family. But when Jared shows up, and old feelings reignite, can Claire and Jared let go of the past? Or will they be stuck singing the same old refrain?

I wait for Jared to say more but he’s staring at the sky, at the seagulls congregating in a giant flock. All at once they swoop low and rest on the rocks across the way.
I don’t know what else to say, either, so I start fiddling around with the song again. For a moment, I lose awareness of the awkwardness between us. There’s something so peacefully familiar about sitting next to him while strumming.
I sneak glances at him while I play. His expression is contemplative, and the breeze blows stray strands of his sun-kissed hair into his face. I want to push the strands aside. I want to smooth down that stupid eyebrow hair of his. I want to press my cheek against his, feel how warm it is, turn my head so that our lips brush just one more time, and he’ll put his hand on my hip and pull me closer.…
I want a lobotomy so that I can get these dangerous cravings out of my head. It’s over, gone, never will be again. And I’d been fine with that until three weeks ago. Fine.

Maybe this song is about him, after all. Damn it.
I sing. Jared picks up my notebook and examines what I’ve written.
This is my world
This is my pain
This is my tears
This is me forsaken

“When did you get the new guitar?” he asks.
My fingers stiffen on the frets. “Christmas.”
“You dad actually bought you one? I thought that sort of thing was against his religion.”
“Funny. No, he didn’t buy it. I did with my gift money.”
“Ah.” Jared bites his lip. “Can I?”
It’s an old habit. I hand Jayna over to him without thinking and immediately regret it. I feel exposed without its weight on top of me, and I pull my knees in.
“It has great tone.” He plucks each string individually and strums a few chords.
I rest my chin on my knees. “Yeah, she’s—it’s—great. Know anyone in the market for one?”
“You’re looking to sell it?” He raises an eyebrow. “Why?”
“In case you haven’t realized, I’m not exactly working at the grocery store for my health.”
Jared stops playing. “I figured you were working there so you had extra spending money for college. Didn’t feel it was my place to ask.”
“I’m not going to college.” I can taste the bitterness in my voice. “It was too late to apply for financial aid when my dad lost his job. So college is out. For the moment anyway.”
I hold out my hand because now I’m trembling and need to keep my fingers occupied.
Jared passes me Jayna. “Sorry. Hannah clued me in about your dad. What do you plan to do?”
“Don’t know.” I throw him a sarcastic smile, or as close as I can get to one. “Run off to New York and get noticed by someone famous? How’s that been working for you?”

About the Author Earning a doctorate in psychology convinced Tracey Martin that imaginary people were way more fun than real ones. Plus, they make better minions. From this revelation an obsession was born, and she’s been writing stories of kick-ass girls and women (and the guys who deserve them) ever since. She loves fantasy and SF, likes her music epic, and prefers her movies to contain explosions. A city girl at heart, she doesn’t understand how she and her husband ended up living in New Hampshire, but she’s vowed to escape one day. Until then, writing keeps her off the mean, small town streets.
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