Lyfers: Chapter Two

My new novel, Lyfers, will be released Tuesday, February 9. Until then, here’s a preview!

← Go to Chapter One

Cody

“So what are the guys’ names again?” Cody hiked his duffel bag over his shoulder, flashing his tanned bicep to curious onlookers. The surrounding passengers had to be wondering who on earth was paying over a thousand dollars for this cruise but didn’t know the band. Some girls did double-takes when they caught sight of him.

Cody was part of the handful of men surging toward the ramp leading up to the opening of the ship. Most of the female passengers dragged a suitcase on wheels behind them, while some adjusted overstuffed paisley quilted weekender bags on their shoulders. Still others clutched pillows, bringing the security of home along with them, because this pillow was hypoallergenic or perfectly curved to their head or stuffed with the finest goose down and would be far superior to the wimpy cruise ship pillows. Once on deck, the crowd fanned this way or that, the veterans en route to their favorite stateroom, dodging the newbies, like Cody, with their darting eyes and shuffling feet.

Cody’s friend, with her smooth brown skin and black hair cut into a bob with side-swept bangs, pursed her lips. “You know exactly who they are, Cody.”

“Humor me, Darice.” He mimicked her unamused tone, laying it on thick by overemphasizing both syllables of her name. Her features didn’t soften. “I need a refresher to blend in with the super fans. Braden’s the one who looks like me, right?”

Darice opened her mouth to answer when another girl around their age, early-to-midtwenties, appeared out of nowhere and talked across her to Cody. “I thought you looked familiar! You look just like Braden when he was younger. You are going to turn a lot of heads this weekend.”

Cody cast a glance at Darice and then back at the girl. “That’s the idea.”

The girl giggled. “OK, so you know Braden.” She put one finger up, then a second. “Then there’s Markus. He’s the bad boy.” For each guy, she added another raised finger until she had an open palm. “Luc is…”

Darice interjected. “The ugly one.”

“Well, he’s not ugly. He’s just not the cutest. That would be Rusty. Or Russ, I guess he prefers to be called now. He’s the baby of the group although now he’s almost 40. Last, there’s Vaughn, who’s the straight-laced, big brother type.”

“That’s her favorite.” Cody pointed his thumb at Darice.

“Ah, you’re a Vaughn girl.”

“Have you been on this cruise before?” asked Cody.

The girl nodded. “This is my second. What about you guys?”

Darice moved her dark, bug-like sunglasses from her face to the top of her head, revealing her dark brown eyes framed by lashes expensive enough that someone wouldn’t be able to tell for sure if they were real or fake. “We’re virgins.”

Cody didn’t miss a beat. “Please go easy on us. Or don’t.” He winked.

This exchange sent the girl into titters. “Well, if you have any questions, let me know. I’m not a pro, but I kind of know what’s up.”

“I do have one.” Darice fished around in her bag and held up a piece of paper with their traveler information. “Which way to room 8217?”

“That’s right by my room! Follow me.”

Lyfers: Chapter One

My new novel, Lyfers, will be released Tuesday, February 9. Until then, here’s a preview!

Luc

Luc took a deep breath, inhaling the salty sea air through his nose and exhaling through an O-shaped mouth. He wasn’t sure if he was ready for all this again. Each of the South American crew members nodded or shook his hand, and one hurried forward to take his rolling suitcase and duffel bag from his shoulder. Their tour manager Sandy was bringing any special matching boy band gear they were supposed to wear this weekend.

The fans would be starting to show up in less than an hour.

Luc tipped his head to Markus as they each emerged from their respective limos. Rusty waved from the top of the gangway. Rusty, Vaughn, and Sandy were waiting with more crew members and a heaping stack of suitcases. The last limo slowed to a stop with a quiet squeak of the tires. Braden stepped out and concealed his eyes with dark, skinny sunglasses.

“What up, Bray?” called Markus.

“Hey, man,” said Luc, following Markus over to greet Braden. They engaged in handshakes and half-hugs, and Braden led the way up the gangway, which rattled with every step, while Markus hung back by Luc.

“We’re going to make a pact.” Markus shoved his shoulder into Luc’s to get his attention. Except with Markus’s comparatively scrawny frame, it was more like slamming into Luc’s elbow than his shoulder. Markus was average height at 5’9”, but he had been the shortest in the band by 1 inch ever since Rusty had a growth spurt at age 15, two years after they had formed 4 Lyfe. Because of this, Markus had a bit of a complex about his size and used physicality and physical appearance to make up for it. Oh, and alcohol.

Luc laughed. “A pact? What is this, girl scouts?”

Markus looked with all seriousness at Luc from above his sunglasses. “I won’t drink if you won’t gamble or sleep with anybody.”

“I can’t sleep with anybody? Or just not with girls?”

Markus ran his hand over his goatee. “Are you going to make Rusty’s night or something?” The two glanced at Rusty to see if he had heard. He was talking to Braden and didn’t seem to be listening. Markus shook his head and said, “No, we already made that pact after the last cruise. No inner-band relations. That gets too weird.”

Luc didn’t say anything else, so Markus backhanded him in the arm. “Is it a deal?”

“Maybe the girls part, but not the gambling part. There’s a casino right downstairs.” His voice raised an octave on the last sentence, pleading with Markus to be reasonable.

Markus threw up his arms. “There’s a bar on every floor! In some cases, multiple bars. I’m fucked if I don’t have some kind of incentive.”

“Staying sober isn’t enough of an incentive?”

“No. Now having a pact.” He held up a finger like he had just gotten a brilliant idea. “That gives me something to prove.”

“A pact, huh? How about we make it a bet instead?”

“Uh, because you’re not supposed to be gambling.” Markus poked him in the side of the head as if he was pushing the reset button on Luc’s brain.

Luc brushed his hand away and smoothed down the sides of his hair so that his dark curls congregated at the back of his neck. He closed his eyes for a second and envisioned the blinking lights of the slot machines and the feel of the soft felt of the blackjack tables just a few floors down. “Fine, but can the pact be to indulge in moderation?”

“That’s not how this works, dude. Think about it.”

“I will. And I know just where to go to think.”

February 9: New Book Release

Lyfers, the next book in The Fandom Collection, will be released Tuesday, February 9!

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Over the next few weeks, I will be posting the first four chapters of the book to introduce you to each of the main characters.

If you haven’t read Front Row yet, I will also be running a free book promotion in the days leading up to the release! So you will be able to pick up Front Row for free Saturday, February 6 through Wednesday, February 10.


Description: A model, a recent college grad, and a stay-at-home-mom embark on the trip of a lifetime. Former model Jade is not as young as she used to be, and she struggles to keep up with the younger, newer fans. Cody, who is a dead ringer for one of the boy band members, wants one last hurrah with his best friend before he has to join the real world. Frankie left her husband and children at home to cut loose with her friends and her five favorite guys.

But the super fans, who have dubbed themselves Lyfe Support, keep getting in their way. When these three groups of cruisers put their heads together, tricking security guards and masquerading as band members, they can outsmart even the savviest of fans. And maybe then, the band they love will finally notice them.

All the while, Luc, the supposed least popular member of the band, needs to resist the myriad of temptations on the cruise ship to determine what really matters to him in life.

Black Friday and a New Cover

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US!

From now until Monday, you can get Front Row for free on Amazon.

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Now with a new e-book cover! I’m still trying to find that sweet spot of what fits the genre and my story best. Ah the beauty of self-publishing.

Also, this might change, but I noticed that Amazon has the paperback on sale for $4.99 right now. That’s the lowest I’m seen it yet!

Hope you have a happy and safe holiday weekend with much turkey and shopping for all.

Free Books!

This weekend, I am beyond excited to be attending Nerdcon: Stories, where I’ll get to see the likes of John Green, Patrick Rothfuss, and Rainbow Rowell, among others!

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As a special Nerdcon weekend offer, you can now get Flowerantha and Olivia’s Story for free Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

Front Row will also be free on Saturday!