Still haven't read The Carny? It was my second traditionally published work, and one of my favorite stories/cast of characters I've ever written. I adore Charlotte and Vin, and hope you will, too....
Check out the excerpt below, and see if you'd like to give The Carny a shot:
Kasey gasped playfully. “You’re a tramp. I love it.” She patted the now fussing baby on the back. “I’ve got to go change him, and make a bottle. Be back in a minute.”
“Okay. I’ll get some cotton candy.” I could hear the obnoxious rock and roll music being cranked near the rides, and my feet longed to head in that direction.
“Ha! You’re gonna go look for your imaginary boyfriend.” Micah shifted and passed gas. “Oh, crud. I’ve gotta go. Meet me by the tilt-a-whirl.” She winked before scuttling off.
Rolling my eyes, I walked past the noisy, bright menagerie of rigged games and contests. Whack-a-mole, ring toss, balloon darts, wiffleball race. Each booth boasted oversized stuffed animals, hats, and tee shirts, and a bored looking carnie with bad skin and dirt under his fingernails. Their voices, trained to ring high above the throb of screams and music, called out false promises of big winnings and guaranteed prizes.
I saw the rides ahead, and felt the all-too familiar flurry of birds in my stomach. I’d done this very walk so many times, yet the anticipation never seemed to fade. I searched faces in the crowd. There were African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, and I spotted a Native American here and there, but my stomach sank when I passed two, four, and then six rides without spotting the face I’d had engraved in my mind for ten years. None of them had the same chiseled cheekbones; the same startlingly white grin; or the same deep black eyes that reflected my face back at me.
What would I say if I ever actually spotted Vin? I thought to myself as I watched a kid clutch his stomach as he exited the Super Round Up. Hi, we actually kissed when I was a teenager, and I’ve been stalking you ever since. Wanna hang out?
Okay, that was out.
I guess I could try Kasey’s advice…
Hey! Remember me? You kissed me when I was just a kid. Ha! I know, right? Say, we should go get a drink. Maybe do some dancing.
Ugh. Totally not my style. First off, I wasn’t a big drinker. And dancing? Ha. While both of my sisters had flourished in childhood dance classes, I’d been the human equivalent of a big, dumb Labrador in a tutu. No rhythm, no skill, and certainly not enough moves to win over the affections of any man.
I shook my head and swatted at a wayward lock of hair floating on the salty, crab-scented air. There was no point in planning out what I would say to Vin if I finally saw him. In the years I’d been strolling around carnivals for stalking purposes, I’d not once caught a glimpse of him. Would I even recognize him if I did?
The years had changed me. My face was less cherubic and more heart shaped than it was when I was a teenager. I had the beginnings of some wrinkles in the corners of my eyes, and my braces were gone. Even if I did manage to recognize Vin, would heeven recognize me?
We’d only known each other for a total of seven minutes. He’d probably long since forgotten me. Scolding myself for being such a silly, pathetic girl, I wrapped my arms around myself and turned towards the familiar tilt-a-whirl, where, as always, seventies rock music blared amongst the squeal of kids.
The voice sent a shiver up my spine and down my legs. It was the very voice I’d been daydreaming about since the age of eighteen. It sounded as smooth and sweet as I remembered, and my entire body halted at the sound, just as it had when his warm hands touched me.
Slowly I turned around, my skirt swirling around my ankles silently.
There stood Vincent Young.