Pre-orders are here, and with that comes knowledge of a release date! Fight will come out October 22nd. To secure a copy ahead of time, click on the “How to Buy FIGHT” tab and find your favorite reading method in pre-order form, including: Amazon paperback, Kindle, Google Play, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble eReader, and iTunes.
Check back next week for a Fight pre-order announcement! Here’s chapter one for a little taste of what’s to come:
- EMMA gets a shock
My eyes fly open from the surge of adrenaline.
It takes a petrified half second to figure out the culprit is my alarm, blasting a song at its highest possible volume. The bluegrass twang flows through my ears and I groan. Like every morning, it is right on schedule; and like every morning, I forget that the explosion of (ironically) chipper tunes is coming.
This is good. This is my plan, to be shaken awake by music I hate. Better to associate the looming misery with a negative vibe.
I tense and prepare, contracting muscles that I hadn’t known existed before this ordeal.
One, two, three.
Silent counts to the rhythm of the banjo’s backbeat, and yet … nothing.
Time for test two.
My fingers release the death grip they have on my sheets. I sit up slowly. Getting out of bed is a delicate process; it must be done with the utmost of care. Gently swinging my legs over the side, touching my feet to the hardwood floor, and shifting my weight to my toes are all potential time bombs followed by more cringing, more counting, and more waiting.
Again, nothing. I sigh and tiptoe across my room – still bracing for pain at any second – when my body locks in response to the single knock on my bedroom door.
“Emma –” my father begins before clearing his throat unnecessarily, a nervous tick from decades of business presentations.
It’s his only nervous habit. He commands respect (and fear) with a permanent frown and perfect enunciation of every word in the English language. I imagine him on the other side of the door right now, brushing lint off of a two thousand dollar suit.
He raises his voice to compete with my horrid music. “Why must this always be so loud?!”
I don’t know what to say, but it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t wait for an answer.
“Your mother and I are leaving for work. See you tonight.”
He and I both know this last part isn’t true. My parents spend every evening schmoozing with higher ups from their company at some swanky bar in Washington, D.C. Well, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes they go straight to dinner with coworkers. I don’t know why they bother with the charade of false promises anymore. They aren’t fooling anyone.
Right as I decide against saying goodbye, his shoes echo down the hallway. Small talk just isn’t done in my family. We are expected to be self-healing, emotionless, and verbal only for informational purposes.
I listen until the echo fades away. A mere whisper would echo in this house. It is a dark, empty shell where three people sleep at night. And to ensure it stays dark, one of the few rules my parents established is that curtains are to be drawn at all times. Doors to all rooms also have to remain shut unless exiting or entering (“to prevent a draft”).
This was ingrained in me from early on. I’d thought nothing of it until I started hanging out at friends’ houses. It didn’t take long to realize how much my home differs from others, where light and openness are encouraged. There is no smiling here. There are no family portraits or knickknacks of any kind, and there are certainly no silly souvenirs from the lack of vacations we’ve taken together. Foreign art and rock sculptures reside here. I live in a museum.
No, my parents would never stoop so low as to partake in any activity resulting in a smiling snapshot. Phone calls and meetings come first and foremost. The faint clacking of computer keys from behind their closed office door (known as the master bedroom in most houses) was my childhood lullaby. This is the way of life at the Briar house. As if further proof of this is even needed, most rooms still house unpacked boxes from the move. I was five then. I’m sixteen now.
The whir of my parents’ car fades down the street, and my anxiety-riddled body relaxes enough to let me turn the radio off – but not before I inspect it to ensure the alarm is preset for tomorrow. Then I walk back to my original destination: the full length mirror secured behind my door. When I catch sight of myself, I freeze. This is by far the weirdest part of my day. No matter how many times I do it, I never get used to it. Confusion from what I’m becoming, fear of not knowing what to do about it, and hope that it will just go away … every emotion hits me when I face that mirror.
Before giving myself any real time to think about it, I pull my ratty sleep shirt over my head and twirl around to examine my back in the mirror. I frown as I scan over what I know I will see … what I’ve stared at for countless hours over the past six months. They are just there, plain as day, greeting me in my reflection as if they’ve always been as much a part of me as my hands, my hair, my eyes.
An uncomfortable chill sweeps through me as I think back to when it all began…. [Read more…]
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P.S. Stay tuned for teasers about Fight’s sequel. 😉