Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Have you checked out...

...my novella, Breaking Girl Code, in the Once Upon a Summer Anthology from InkSpell Publishing?

Check out an excerpt below, to see if it wets your whistle.


You would get EIGHT stories by EIGHT amazing authors! 

It wasn’t that I was mad at Preston. His sexist methods for getting a girl’s attention had likely been working famously for him—up until tonight—and he’d never had the need to change. I just had no interest in being the one to instigate such change. I wasn’t running a douche bag rehabilitation program.
No matter how much talking with him felt like home, or how his eyes seemed to penetrate into my soul whenever their gaze fixed itself on me. No matter how much we seemed to have in common. And especially no matter how delicious his muscle definition was as he’d pulled his t-shirt back on over his water-slicked body. Nope. I wasn’t going to give into my lustful instincts.
By the time we rolled down the Coeur d’Alene main drag, all traces of pink and orange were gone from the sky, and it was now a dark, deep bluish-black and speckled with stars. The streets were crowded with tourists taking in gourmet trout dinners, purchasing overpriced driftwood art, and listening to acoustical musicians singing away underneath antler chandeliers. I’d never been part of the Coeur d’Alene nightlife, mostly because by the time I was old enough to want to be, I was busy helping my mom stay sober.
Glancing at the side of Preston’s face, and judging by his somber expression, he likely wanted to get back to Becker’s party now that I’d shot him down.
“You can just drop Liza and I off outside my building,” I finally said, voice tight and tense as he turned east beyond the freeway, toward the poor side of town—myside of town. “I’ll take it from there.”
Preston scowled and watched the road, in all of his sopping wet t-shirt and dripping pair of khaki shorts glory. Preppy to the forty-seventh degree. So not my type. At least, not usually…
Gah! What was wrong with me? My interest in him was clearly the result of acute loneliness. I was eighteen. It was the last summer of my youth. I was supposed to be sowing all of my wild oats, and instead, I was working overtime, peddling flowers to (mostly) old people and the occasional rich boy looking to impress.
We stopped at a red light, and Preston turned to me. “What floor do you live on?”
I bit the inside of my cheek. Why did my heart clunk inside of my chest when our eyes connected? I was losing it. Losing it, I tell you.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Sabbatical.

I just got back from a three month sabbatical.

I didn't actually go anywhere, I was just overwhelmed with life, and had to take a step back. Nothing bad happened, per say, just a lot, you know? Life suddenly got very heavy, and I had no choice but to step back and regroup.

Here's what ya'll missed:

My awesome son hit 18 months living and serving in Chile, and we're excitedly planning his return this summer.
I dressed as the Long Island Medium for Halloween.
My daughter went to her first American homecoming! (Center, navy blue dress....she looked so pretty!)
We bought a house in the woods.
As if I could resist this staircase. I mean, come on.
My sweet Rocky injured his butthole. No, seriously.
I packed and unpacked boxes. So. Many. D*mn. Boxes.
We went to Disneyland on a vacation we really couldn't afford, but couldn't get our money back on. 
While in L.A., we found some incredible Korean BBQ and (literally) ate until we were sick.
I discovered Mickey Beignets. This was a problem for me.
Came home from Disney and packed to move this lady in......
My mom lives in the apartment in our new house.
So. Many. Boxes.
Celebrated Christmas in our new house.
Now that we live on a mountain in the woods, we've discovered wildlife again. Currently we have  "gang" of at least (I'm not kidding) 15 turkey living on our property, who are angry that we moved in and displaced them. My kids (and I) like to gobble at them and chase them. One of these days, they're going to chase me back, and scare the bejeezers out of me.

So as you can see, it's been a crazy fall/winter for me and mine. Not to mention the emotional implications of moving back to our hometown and seeing people we haven't seen or kept in touch with for a long time. Repatriating ourselves has been tricky, to say the least.

The good news is, I am back in the game. I am back to working and writing again, and I am back to blogging. I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday season, and that you're all excited for the books I've got coming up soon.

Glad to be back, friends.

xoxo
Brooke

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Excerpt time!

In my contemporary romance, About That Summer, Molly finds herself at the same summer camp where she met her future ex husband, Jamie. They've been brought together for their mutual friend's memorial service, and neither one is particularly happy about it.

Except that they still love each other.



I ducked back under the water and started to kick, propelling myself away from the rope divider. Those blasted lily pads hadn’t done anything for me. They bound me to the boy who eventually became the man who dumped me for having a bum uterus. If I thought they’d catch fire, I would’ve ignited the whole patch out of principal. But for now, all I could do was paddle away. With a burst of energy from deep within, I swam toward the dock in the butterfly, my weakest stroke, barely slowing down to draw a breath. My muscles burned in protest, but I kept swimming. Burning muscles and tight lungs felt infinitely better than an aching heart. After approximately twenty-three laps between the ropes and the dock, I finally breast-stroked my way back to shore.
Crawling back onto the beach, I pushed myself onto my feet, breathless and exhausted. I needed a nap and some food. Something fattening and bad for me. Sue’s barbeque ribs sounded better than a Thanksgiving feast. Tilting my head forward, I shook my hands through my hair, sending droplets onto the beach at my feet as I walked back to my towel. Maybe Sue wanted some help in the kitchen. All I needed were dry clothes, and then I’d wander to the mess hall to check in with her. When I reached the overgrown tree line, I bent down to retrieve it, and cracked my head on something solid.
“Ow! Mother f—”
Every hair on my body stood on end, and I stood bolt upright. “Jamie!?”
Kneeling in the brush by my towel, looking sweaty and angry as he hurriedly tied his shoe, was my ex-husband.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Try Breaking Girl Code on for size...

Still haven't grabbed your copy of the Once Upon a Summer Anthology? 

Read an excerpt of my new adult contemporary, Breaking Girl Code, below, and see if it wets your whistle...



Peeling his antagonizing gaze off of me, he propped his arm around her shoulder and gave her a quick squeeze. I noticed how his upper arms stretched the sleeves of his fitted grey t-shirt, then jerked my eyes back in a forward facing direction.
“Liza.” That’s all he said. Like some sort of royal acknowledgment, or something. Douche bag.
I shook my head. This was going to be a long night.
“Thanks for inviting us.” Liza grinned at me over her shoulder. “Aubrey, don’t be shy. Did you find a date for my friend?”
Liza.” My face scalded.
Preston drug a hand through his sun-streaked hair, standing it on end. Between the sexed up tresses, the khaki shorts slung low on his hips, and his tanned skin, Preston looked as if he’d stepped off a commercial set. It was aggravating. And sexy. But mostly aggravating.
“Uh, my friend, Jeremy, is going to hang with her.” Preston shifted his gaze to me. “Hey.”
“Hi.” I swatted at a mosquito. “Listen, I don’t—”
“Oh, good! He found a friend for you!” Liza batted her eyes at her date. “She’s very excited.”
I grunted. “No, I’m—”
“Aubrey, right? Glad you came.” Preston nodded at me. “Do you want a beer?”
Liza’s smile faltered. “She’s my DD. But I do!”
I shifted in place. His gaze was heavy, and it made me want to kick him in the shins. Or purr. One of the two. “Aubrey Snow.”
His full lips pulled back, revealing that prize-winning smile. Somebody give that boy a blue ribbon. “That explains a lot.” Preston took Liza’s hand. “Come on, I’ll introduce you to my friend, Becker. This is his step-dad’s cabin.”
“Hey, wait.” I shoved my way through the crowd of partygoers. The scent of barbequed burgers and beer were heavy in the air, as we rounded the side of the house and strode onto a wraparound deck which faced the water. “Whatexplains a lot?”
“You’re kind of an ice queen,” Preston replied, pulling my best friend along. “Get it? Snow? Ice? By the way, you smell great, Liza.”





Saturday, September 15, 2018

A moment for the books.

I am not close with my family. Without going into the ins and outs of why, we'll just say I'm not, and I'm okay with it.



That said, I have always had a soft spot in my heart towards my nieces and nephews, my two brother's children. There are three nieces and three nephews, and they're all extraordinary and brilliant in their own way, and despite not having done a good job maintaining my relationship with them (because of the aforementioned non-closeness,) I have always, always adored them, and would pretty much jump in front of a train for them.

Last weekend, I was given an opportunity I hadn't expected. I was asked to arrange flowers for one of my nieces' wedding in Hood River, Oregon. (In case you didn't know, I was a florist in another life, and so often when someone in my family gets married, I do the flowers.) But because I have an estranged relationship with much of my family, I had originally planned on simply taking the flowers to the venue, sitting quietly in the back at the ceremony, wishing my niece well, then hitting the road to GTFO.

But instead something magical happened.



My oldest niece, the bride's sister, asked me to drive wagon-train style to Oregon with her little family, where we stayed in the same hotel. I was able to play with her six year old, and cuddle with her four month old, and share a dinner with she and her husband. These small acts made me feel important and needed, in circumstances where I needed that reassurance badly. The way those two little kids smile and hug me fills my heart in a way I didn't think possible.

And as if that weren't enough to fill my soul for a good long while, my second oldest niece, the Bride-to-Be, asked my daughter (a gifted makeup artist) to do her makeup, and then asked if she could spend the morning of her wedding with us in our hotel room, getting ready for her ceremony.



I was flabbergasted. Utterly flummoxed in the best possible way.

Instead of hanging with friends, she chose to be with me--the aunt nobody likes, the family black sheep. We spent hours (her, her sister the Matron of Honor, her niece, my mother, my daughter, and me) in our hotel room doing makeup, giggling, talking, and gossiping. We discussed silly topics and serious ones. I got to know my nieces more than I ever have before, and I discovered that they are some of the kindest, most loving young women I've ever met. It felt like they were seeing me, and I was seeing them, 100% clearly for the first time. I loved every second of it.

I never would've thought that I would be the person my niece--and her sister, for that matter--would've wanted to spend such a special morning with.



And my heart overflowed as a result.

Literally never been so happy. And it was in the midst of one of the most awkward and uncomfortable weekends I've ever had.

And you know what? I learned something, too. I am important to people. I haven't believed that for a long, long time. I've been living my life under the assumption that I am very, very disposable to folks. That my presence is neither wanted, nor required amongst most people. But for some reason, I was not only wanted, but needed, and it. felt. great. You know what felt equally great? I realized that I needed them right back. *shuddering sigh*

What a cool experience.

I loved being a part of such a special day.



I will always, always be grateful for the experience, and for the love my oldest niece has shown me lately. It really is something to feel like I have a place in the crazy, dysfunctional, whackadoodle puzzle that is my family. Maybe someday I'll find my place with the rest of my nieces and nephews, too. If I don't, that's okay. Like I said before, I'm okay with the way things are. But if I do, I can't imagine how full my heart will be.

Thank you, Ry and Bean.

xoxo
(Aunt Sissy)
Brooke


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Ever spent...

....a late summer night in a hot cabin with your ex husband and your oldest friends?

Molly Kaff has...



“What?” Rachael teased. I still didn’t open my eyes. “Are you really going to pretend you didn’t tell us all what Jamie looked like naked?”
            “Can’t we pretend that never happened?” I grumbled, the skin on my neck and face growing hot.
When Jamie and I consummated our relationship, all three friends celebrated it as if we’d discovered a cure for cancer. Unfortunately for the world, we hadn’t cured anything but extreme sexual frustration at camp. I didn’t exhibit post-coitus discretion, and promptly told the girls every detail. Including a detailed description of Jamie in his birthday suit.
“No, we cannot pretend that never happened,” Rachael announced, pulling me out of my trip down memory lane. “In fact, if memory serves, doesn’t Mr. Burnham have a trio of moles right at the base of—”
“Argh! Your attention to detail is disturbing.” Wincing, I threw back my drink in one burning gulp, then wiped my lips. “Why did you even ask, if you already knew everything?”
“Because I wanted to give you a chance to insult his junk.” She shrugged simply, and looked at Jared. “It’s part of the process, insulting his penis size. Right?”
He didn’t look up. “Exactly right.”
“No, it’s not.” I shook my head, shuddering after my drink. “Not for me.”
Rachael’s smirk faded as she poured me another drink. “That’s because you’re not over him.”
“Not true.” I took the glass and threw it back. My arms and legs felt heavy, and my throat burned. All of which felt better than owning up to Rach being right. “I don’t. I mean, I’m not. I mean, I am,thank you very much.”
“Sure you are.” Her nostrils flared. “You know the best way to get over someone is to—”
“I know, I know. Get under someone new.”
She chuckled at her wittiness. “Well, yeah.”
“I can’t do that.” I sighed, and sat back in my chair, swirling the vodka again. “I’m sorry. I can’t.”
Rachael down another drink, then blinked repeatedly to focus on me. “I know it. You’re not that type. You’ve always been too loyal and pure for your own good. It’s actually a beautiful character trait.”
I smiled lazily at her. “Well, thank you.”
Her fist landed on the makeshift table with a thud. “But it’s time to become a slut!”

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Still haven't read Drew and Posey's story?

Grab the book that helped to heal my heart after my agonizing fostering journey...


His hands came down on the front of my shirt, and when he jerked me close to his face, I could smell his toothpaste. “What else has this little bitch told you?”
Don’t call her that.” I growled.
He laughed bitterly. “What, are you in love? Did you fall in love with the trash?”
“You don’t even know her,” I said. My voice shook. I’d never stood up to him like this before. “You can’t control who I date. I’m eighteen. You have no say in anything I do anymore.”
“If you want to live in this house, I do.” He gave me a shake. “If you want to drive around in that nice car and use the nice credit card I gave you, I do.”
I dug in my pocket for my wallet, pulled it out and tossed it on the cement floor. “Take it. Take it all. I don’t want it. I just want you to leave me alone.”
“You just want me to leave you alone?” My dad imitated my words, raising his voice like a whiney child. His grip tightened, and he raised me onto my toes. “Bull. You want to piss your life away. You want this whole town to see the mayor’s kid throwing his life away. You want to embarrass your old man because of some damned rebellious streak.”
“It’s not a rebellious streak,” I croaked. His grip on the collar of my shirt tightened even further, and sweat beaded on my forehead. “I don’t care whether you’re embarrassed or not. I don’t give a damn about you or your reputation. I just want to get the hell away from you.”
His eyes searched mine. The tension in the garage hung in the air like smog, and I damn near choked on it.
“You pretentious little bastard,” Dad spat, giving my shirt another jerk and making me cough. “You wouldn’t last one day without your mother and me wiping your ass.”
“Why bring Mom into this?” I managed to say, tears stinging the back of my eyes. No turning back now. I’d already gone further than I ever had with him. “She might be a drunk, but at least she doesn’t beat up her kid. I wonder what people would think if I started telling the truth?”
He threw me onto the hood of my car and the metal bent underneath my weight. His fist collided into my ribs once. Twice. Three times, before he stood back upright, panting. “You sanctimonious little brat. You won’t ruin my reputation. You won’t. Do you understand me!?”
Rage rolled in my stomach, pricking my skin with sweat as adrenaline coursed through my veins. I was off the car hood in a flash, drawing my fist back, then smashing it full force into my dad’s face with a belly-turning thwack. He stumbled backward, his hand on his mouth as blood seeped from the split in his lip.
We stood there for a long time, the silence only broken by our ragged breathing.
His eyes widened.
My heart pounded so hard it echoed in my ears. I spread my feet apart, and clenched my hands again, ready to fight some more. My heart was torn. Part of me wanted to throw another punch, this time landing it right on the eye, so he would have to go into his office the next day with a shiner. But the other part of me felt like a freaked out little kid who just wanted to curl up underneath the car and cry.
I’d punched my dad in the face. My dad.
He stood upright, wiping the blood from his skin, then scowling down at his dirty fingers. I could see his pulse jumping in his neck as he considered what to do next. I waited for him to talk. To say whatever he wanted to say after being clocked by his only kid, but instead he clenched his bloodied fingers and lunged at me.