Well, I’ll be. We hit 500 Facebook likes, and by the end of the weekend, there will probably be 500 Goodreads TBRs.
My job now is to show you what I am up to. It’s NanoWrimo — National Novel Writing Month, and I’ve been busy (let’s pray I can keep it up).
Andrew and Kelly’s story continues in Trouble Me. The outside pressures of a life lived in the spotlight are now theirs to face together, as a team. But there may be other threats to their happiness that are beyond their control…
I’m excited to tell you that this book seems to be cracking along and is a whole lot of fun to write so far! One thing I am loving is that a good chunk of the book is from Andrew’s point of view. I hope you enjoy hearing from him as much as I do.
So without further ado, here’s your SNEAK PEEK!
Jesus. So I step out of the limo and as usual, there it is—the roar.
I sound like a total douche. “As usual.”
I do have my absolutely neurotic moments. “They aren’t squealing as loudly as they used to be.” That’s the thing about going after fame or acceptance or whatever this craziness is. It’s so cliché, but there’s never a point where it’s enough. Because really what a narcissist like me, a fame whore, an actor, is looking for, we’re not ever going to find out there. Until we’re enough inside, all the success and magazine covers will just whip people like me into a weird insecure frenzy. We need to get another hit, score another deal, more more more to get the same buzz we used to get from less attention. That sounds utterly familiar, doesn’t it?
Why couldn’t I be a normal addict and transfer my addiction to something like Saint Bernard-size plastic cups of Mountain Dew or something?
I shake off nicotine and alcohol, but fame, ooh, it tastes so damn sweet.
Facing the crowd, I breathe in deep and bite the insides of both of my cheeks as I stand tall.
This deep breath and slight twinge of pain helps to center me, sure, but Sandy, my publicist, also taught me to do it for the red carpet, for appearances. It makes the cheekbones pop.
Wow, this stream of consciousness is getting dangerously shallow, isn’t it?
Anyone who thinks ridiculously photogenic people were born that way haven’t been through media training with a major movie studio.
“Hey, handsome.” It’s Amanda. Mandy of the Mandy/Andy Variety Hour.
“Amanda.” I’m gonna be hoarse. It’s loud out here. The concrete canyons of the city bounce all the sound of the crowd back to my ears.
“I’m here to save you from taking yourself so seriously.”
“Uh-huh.” I eye the sidewalk between us and the stage door to the television studio. On one side a large group of people is contained against the building by a metal crowd control fence. On the other side, the sidewalk is supposed to be clear for us and for anyone who hopes to just walk down the street, but people have heard the commotion and are starting to mill around to see what’s up. The limo I just got out of pulls away, and Tucker joins us for the short walk from the fire lane up the city sidewalk to the back door of the building. We’re taping a spot on the morning show I hate, the one with two people who despise each other with a passion, but who pretend to be besties for the sake of sagging mid-morning ratings.
Tucker hustles us along, his hands out to clear a path through the gathering crowd. We have to edge closer to the street, avoiding the looky-lous.
“Let’s go in. We could hold hands.” Amanda gives me a sly look.
“No, we couldn’t.”
“’Cause we’re not going steady? You could give me your ring. Or pin me.”
“’Cause I’m in love with someone who is quite clearly not you and who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing jeans with that amount of shit decaled on the back pockets. What, did you tie one on and get crazy with the Bedazzler?”
“Suck it, Pettigrew.”
“Always the lady, Amanda.”
We only mildly hate each other, and most of the time now it’s more reminiscent of Arthur and D.W. than Hepburn and Tracy. She’s the pesky cartoon kid sister. If D.W. were into cupping and fish pedicures and colonics and whatever other weird beauty routines Amanda is doing to herself lately.
I look to my left as Amanda takes a step ahead of me, just in time to see Tucker lunge towards me.
At that exact moment, someone from behind me shoves me, hard. I’m off balance, turn a bit in my bid to regain my footing, and am thrown back on my heels. I’m going over, about to be off the curb, ass over tea kettle.
Except that there’s nowhere for me to go, no pavement on which to be laid out flat, because this isn’t the slightly bowed-in fire lane next to the studio alley. Moving north, the flow of traffic is right on me. Behind me. About to take me out.
Tucker’s hand has me by the neck of my sweater, roughly, and he yanks. My head comes up, sending the trajectory of my body in a direction away from the New York City traffic. But as he gives me a serious neck burn, I also feel sharp, clean pain bite hard into my shoulder blade.
I hear a crunch, a pop of plastic, and hope that crunch was glass or something else besides my scapula. Noise, a yelp escapes my mouth, and for a second I’m self-aware and proud of not letting loose a huge chain of filthy, angry pain words.
But I also hear a sick gasp come collectively from everyone witness to what just happened. Then, an eerie half second of quiet, then girlish screams of concern.
I’m listening, but really what I’m doing is being dragged by one arm and my lapels. Tucker drags me through a door.
“Oh shit oh shit oh shit.” I hear myself repeating it, like a panicked mantra.
Tucker shouts, bellows, and now I look at linoleum and the glare of fluorescent lighting and I hear, I think, the heels of my shoes squeaking and squealing on the tile because Tucker, he’s not done dragging me yet.
I wonder when he’s gonna stop when all of a sudden he does.
We’re in the back of a kitchen, by a prep sink. He’s on the cell phone, and he’s put himself between me and anyone else. There’s a small crowd of wait staff and cooks hovering behind him, but navy sport-coated burly guys form a human barrier between him and them. They must be network security.
He talks to me. “Andrew! Andrew!”
“Are you all right?”
“What?” I have no idea what the hell is going on. Everything is just now coming into focus. “You shredded my neck.”
He turns me around, away from him. I look at the “It’s New York State Law, Wash Your Hands Before Returning to Work” sign above the sink.
He barks again. “Someone get me scissors.”
I feel something hot and wet on my right hand. It’s blood. It’s my blood. “My shoulder?”
Someone’s gotten him scissors. “Jesus, Andrew. What happened out there?”
“Someone shoved me. It was like a dirty play from that Burt Reynolds movie, the one where the prison guys play football.”
“All the Right Moves?” There’s loud shredding of fabric.
Jacket’s ruined. Probably the sweater, too. Jeremy’ll be pissed. He got Escada to dress me for today. Now it’s all gone to hell. “No, not All the Right Moves—that’s Tom Cruise. Good God.”
Tucker works on the back of me. “Oh, I know. The Longest Yard.”
“Yeah, that one.” I watch my blood drip into the sink. “Tuck, the blood thing. You know how I do blood.”
“Your own, not well. How do you feel right now?”
To tell the truth, right now I can bet money – oh hell, I’ll bet that sweet flat screen I was going to give Jeremy for Christmas – I know logically that I have been struck by a car, took most of the hit to the right shoulder blade, and laid the flesh above it wide open, probably clean down to the bone.
But shock is a wonderful thing. I don’t feel anything, not yet, except for the warm, wet river down the right side of my back.
“Javi, come put pressure on this.” Tucker calls out one of the security guys, who comes to my side to follow Tucker’s orders. Tucker leans around, looks me in the face. “Ambulance is 1:40 out. They’d be here right now, but the traffic is a cluster. Police shut the whole block down. EMT’s are driving the last half-block down the sidewalk.”
Something comes to me clear and bright, like a yellow balloon in a blue summer sky. “Tucker. That was on purpose.”
Tucker looks me straight in the eye as he turns me around and helps me sit on the edge of the stainless steel sink that’s now covered in my blood. There go the six-hundred dollar pants. My shoulder decides to start throbbing in a “hey there’s some trauma going on here” rhythm under the heavy-fisted pressure Javi’s putting on it.
Tucker speaks; his face dead serious. “It was definitely on purpose.”