Throughout the months prior to publication, I’ve shared a few teasers with my Facebook followers and now you can find them all here. =D Yay!!
Disclaimer: These are all unedited versions. Therefore, there may be some errors (yikes) and they also may be different from their final versions in the book.
#1: This is the first prologue I wrote for EXCEPTION. It later got replaced for the one in the book, but I still love it.
After countless hours of driving a U-Haul truck and holding back her emotions, the combination of weak coffee, a greasy grilled cheese sandwich and boxed cheesecake, was like a meal of the gods to Emily. Wanting to get away from the eyes of too many truckers, she cleaned her plate in record time and asked for the bill. Fishing for her wallet in her overstuffed purse, she found a red envelope with her name written in black ink in a hand script that was as familiar to her as her own. Tears tickled her eyes as she opened it and removed the handwritten letter stored inside.
As I’m writing this letter to you, you’re in your bedroom packing up your things to move across the country and farther away from me than we’ve ever been in the past 26 years. I would be lying if I said I’m not sad by your leaving, I am… I’m so sad Sissy. But, I know that it’s the best for you.
Watching you suffer for the past year has been hell, you didn’t deserve going through all of that. Growing up, I’ve always tried my best to shield you from all the shit we went through and even though it didn’t always work, I know I’ve tried. But this time, I didn’t see it coming and therefore I did nothing. Even with you saying that it wasn’t my fault, I’ll never be able to forgive myself for that. I’m the big sister and should have kept you from harm.
I’m so sorry that you’re hurting and I do hope that Connecticut brings you the peace and the fresh start that California brought me. I hope that in your new city, where you have no bad memories and no sadness involved, you find happiness and love. But for that I must ask you, my beloved Sissy, that you work on your fears and allow the right people to be a part of your life.
As hard it must be for you to believe it, there are good people in this world, people who will add to your life and not take from you, people that will laugh and cry with you instead of laugh at you and make you cry for them, some of them will even share your pain and will never hurt you intentionally. And one day you may even find people who will complete you and make your shitty past worthwhile, like Chuck did to me.
Please believe that and open up!
I’m not telling you to be careless and allow just anyone in, after all that would be extremely stupid giving our track record. But I believe – even if you don’t – that you will find your way through this life if you listen to your gut. So go with it.
You’ve already made your peace with becoming a hermit, so you’ve got nothing to lose by making things difficult for those who try to be around you. Stand your ground, keep your wits, principles and values, show people that your standards are as high as your heels and you won’t take crap, even if it means you’ll be alone.
Now to those that want to be around you even after all that, LET THEM!! You are so amazing and you deserve so much love – note that I’m not saying romance, I’m saying love. Make friends, love them and allow them to know you and love you like I do.
I love you so much and miss you already.
With all my love…
#2: This is the scene where Taylor and Emily meet for the first time.
Mid-sentence in her text to Zack, a string of profanities that would have made her late, shameless Nana blush, found their way to her ears.
Curious to know who the foul mouth was, Emily lifted her eyes from her iPhone screen and saw a tall man in expensive looking jeans, a black t-shirt that clung to his chest just enough to show his defined chest and bulging biceps, and worn out boots, standing next to her. His handsome face twisted with an indignant, disgusted look directed at the cup in his hand. The scene made her giggle.
The sound called his attention. He turned to her, glaring through an annoyed and disgusted frown, which only served to heighten the amusement she was trying hard to control. “I take you’re not a student.”
“No, I’m not. I’m just a caffeine addicted brother that was served the worst coffee of his damn life. In fact, calling this awful cup of brewed crap a cup of coffee is insulting.” He emphasized his statement by dumping the full cup into the trash bin next to him. Emily had to bite her lip in order to control a new wave of laughter bubbling inside of her as he continued his rant, “When I went to college, we had better coffee than that.”
Taking in the sight of her happily gulping at her cup, he stopped and looked her straight in the eyes. His expression softened, a light smirk and an amused expression replacing his previous frown. “You don’t look like a student either, so please enlighten me. Why are you torturing yourself with such an enormous cup of this disgusting crap?”
Emily smiled and shrugged her shoulders, taking another sip of the offensive beverage in question. “I was woken up before the sun this morning and I just spent the past two hours in a library room with a bunch of students. Walking in these heels to the nearest Starbucks would have been more torturous than this coffee.”
“Wow, you’re worse than me,” he replied with a wide, perfect smile and an arched brow. “I’m Taylor, by the way.”
#3: This is one of my favorite scenes, which I’ve entitled Red Hot Goddess.
“If I thought you two would be this entertaining to my patrons, I wouldn’t have bothered hiring a band,” Jody teased, motioning to the several pairs of eyes staring.
Blood and heat blotched Emily’s face and neck. She hated being stared at. Noticing her unease and knowing her well enough to pinpoint where it was coming from, Zack hugged her around the waist and whispered in her ear. “They are bound to stare when you walk in here looking like a red-hot goddess amongst denim clad mortals. Come on, Cheesecake, relax! It’s envy not mockery.” He kissed her cheek tenderly and felt her relax a smidge.
“Your friend is upstairs, Emmy,” Jody informed pointing her chin to the general direction. “And I think he just saw you.”
Emily’s eyes moved to the mezzanine, where Taylor stood by the railing holding a pool cue and flashing a smile worthy of a toothpaste commercial. Their eyes locked in silent communication. He gestured with his head for her to join himand she agreed with a wide smile and an almost imperceptible nod.
“The freeloader?” Zack’s voice was as excited as the look on his face. “Sweetie, that’s not cute at all…”
“I know right? That’s just a tall order of yummy,” Jody continued excitedly, fanning herself.
Emily’s eyes returned to her friends filled with incredulity. “Seriously? And I’m the teenager. He’s just a nice guy, quit bugging me.” She smoothed her dress and turned to walk to the game room.
#4: This is my favorite scene of Emily with her friends. I’ve entitled it Tamale.
“We’re not staring, Cheesecake.”
“Fuck that, of course we are,” Jody interjected rolling her eyes at both her friends. “The man is hot as a tamaleand he steals your email from his sister’s phone to send you pictures and emails from god damned China. You bet your skinny hinny we’ll stare.”
As much as Jody’s reaction was to be expected, it didn’t make the situation any less aggravating. “We’re friends Jody. If you were in China wouldn’t you send me photos?”
“Sure I would. But answer this, am I a tamale?”
The whole situation had Zack choking on his wine and roaring with laughter. As always Jody’s unfiltered mouth had Emily’s traumatized personality backed up into an uncomfortable corner which required his immediate assistance.
“Jody, darling, that’s a stupid question,” he teased. “Fire is one thing you have plenty. That and boobs. Now leave Cheesecake alone. Tamale or not, Taylor’s proving to be the really nice guy she told us he is, and that’s all we care about.” Nobody knew how to deal with those two women better than Zack. He turned his conciliatory gaze at Emily. “Now, will you please, tell us about the emails?”
#5: This is the favorite scene of both my writing sisters. =)
The blond barista who smiled at Taylor all those weeks back waved for Emily to approach the end of the counter. Her brows were pulled together tightly as she left her place in line and approached the young woman. The name tag stuck to her apron read Annabelle.
“Hi, you called me?” Emily asked confused.
“You’re Emily, right?” the woman asked. “Emily Watson?”
The confused frown in Emily’s face deepened, but her sweet tone didn’t waver. “Yes, can I help with something?”
“Not really, but I’ll have your drink ready in a sec,” Annabelle informed with a smile.
Once more Emily was baffled. “Okay, but shouldn’t I order and pay first?”
Annabelle giggled and shook her head fixing a lid on top of a venti paper cup and placing it in front of Emily. “It’s been taken care of.”
Emily eyed the woman in confusion and opened her mouth to ask what she meant, but Annabelle continued with the explanation she was looking for. “Your drop dead gorgeous friend just left. Apparently he knew you’d come here. Before he paid for it he marked the cup himself and left clear instructions of how you liked your coffee,” she informed with a swooning expression on her face.
Emily’s eyes instantly dropped to the cup. Her lips curling into a broad smile and proving where Taylor was concerned, she was not in charge of her own face. She thanked Annabelle who smiled and winked at her and made her way to the sofa by the window.
Removing the protective sleeve Emily read the words scribbled in black ink.
Emily A. Watson
A whole lot of bold coffee + some skinny milk + a drizzle of cinnamon
I told you me knowing your order might come in handy, enjoy! See you soon, Tay.