I started writing At the Stars years ago, and had to put it aside – partly because of other deadlines and family obligations, and partly because the story was a little too much for me at the time. I saw the image I absolutely needed to use for the hero, Jake, on Michael Stokes’s facebook page last March, and that finally pushed me to finish the story. I’m so happy and proud to finally have it done!
At the Stars is different than anything I’ve written before – it’s more emotional, the characters are younger, and laden with a whole ton of emotional baggage. It’s angsty, but it was a story that had been eating at me forever and when a story does that you have to get it out.
About At the Stars:
A GIRL TRYING TO LEAVE HER PAST BEHIND
I was a normal teenager who loved music and dancing, until the day I was attacked in my favorite record store. A few years later when my mom succumbed to depression and took her own life, I couldn’t stay in my hometown with all the memories and the curious stares. I decided to get in my car and just go – except my car decided it was done going outside a tiny place called Evergreen Grove. That’s where I found Jake. Or I guess Jake found me.
A GUY WHO CAN’T LET HIS GO
For the last eight years, all I can think about is the day I ended another man’s life. Then I manage to save Cassie’s, and I feel like maybe I’ve got some kind of second chance. To do what I couldn’t before, or maybe even for something bigger. Something like love. If only I could feel like I deserve her…
Excerpt (Cassie’s point of view):
“You can’t live off muffins and granola bars. You need a sandwich. Hell, so do I. We both need a break from this shit.” He grabs the box of muffins and rolls his massive shoulders, while my surprise keeps me rooted and watching him walk away. He turns at the door, still looking irritated. “You coming?”
I look toward the back. “Delia?”
“Be on time tomorrow,” she calls. “It’s multigrain day.”
Jake only smiles a little and pushes open the door, waiting. His arms and chest move under his button-up work shirt, pulling me forward in spite of my confusion.
God, I think this is the first guy I’ve honestly liked the way I used to hear my friends talk about at school. The giggles and the fake drooling and face fanning followed by ridiculous comments like “He’s so pretty” or “I’d totally do him in a phone booth.”
I mean, how stupid is that? When was the last time anybody even saw a phone booth?
Here, now, following Jake and his brisk stride across the street to his truck, it finally all makes sense: AJ’s right. I like him. I like the way he keeps trying to help without treating me like I’m fragile. I like the way he looks at me, like I’m a woman he finds attractive, not a wounded animal he has to pity. I like that he feels easy to talk to, even when he’s all growly.
I don’t feel scared or tentative around him. And in spite of his dire warnings, I’d like to hang around him more.
I want to spend time with him so much I’m following him even though I don’t have a clue where we’re going, and even though I’m still a little annoyed by his sandwich comment. I half suspect if we passed a phone booth right now, I might give the thing a moment’s pause.
Then, out of nowhere the tears come. Only for a second, because now isn’t the time to get emotional. It never is, so I shove them down.
He’d never get it, what liking him this way means, even if I tried to explain. He’s already given me one serious friend-zone lecture.
I sniff and blot my eyes on the edge of my T-shirt. Thankfully, he’s too busy unlocking his truck to notice.
Anyway, I like him enough that maybe the friend-zone is okay.
GIVEAWAY!! To celebrate the upcoming release of At the Stars, I’ll be choosing two winners (or the giveaway doohickie will) to win either a $25 Amazon gift card or a signed paperback copy of At the Stars.