Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sonnet Jayne Reads Dirty Books? An Excerpt From The Flip

You can preorder The Flip on Amazon. Release date is 7.20.17

“Ah, would you listen to that?” I ask Sonnet, who is curled up on the plastic-covered loveseat with her nose buried in her Kindle. “The glorious sound of work being done. And we’re not the ones doing it!”

“Yeah, seriously, great sound,” she mumbles, but I can tell she’s not really listening to me.

We’re taking a short break from cleaning out Aunt Penny’s office while the contractor’s crew is fixing the roof. I swear I’ve been out there ten times to make sure it’s “properly flashed” so we can avoid leaks this time. I don’t know much about flashing, but the foreman assures me the flashing on this job is perfection.

I can’t believe all the crazy stuff we’ve found in Aunt Penny’s office so far. First off, there are enough art supplies in there to make Bob Ross turn Phthalo Green with envy. Secondly, we found canvas upon canvas of her paintings, all stacked up in a huge pile in the closet. You can see the various moods she cycled through while living here: there are cheery ocean landscapes with brightly colored kites dotting azure skies, and there are dark, foreboding scenes with angry-looking waves crashing on bleak gray shores.

“I’m going to hang some of Aunt Penny’s paintings at my new business,” I tell Sonnet, who is still not paying me one bit of attention. “After all, she’s posthumously funding my new venture. Once I finally get a place to set up shop, I mean...”

“Great idea,” Sonnet mutters, her eyes never once leaving her screen. Whatever she’s reading must be 300% more riveting than me, which I find hard to believe. I’m usually the most riveting thing in the room, I chuckle to myself as I begin to tiptoe up behind her so I can try to read over her shoulder. I don’t know why I care about Sonnet’s reading habits, but I’m intrigued nonetheless.

When I’m about two feet from her, she whips her head toward me so fast, her glossy dark ponytail smacks her in the face. “What are you doing?” she questions, glaring at me with her sparkling hazel eyes.

“Uh, just wanted to see what you’re reading,” I answer, leaning over the back of the loveseat so I can see her screen.

She flips her Kindle over with lightning-fast speed. It’s a good thing her reaction time wasn’t that fast when we were kids, or I’d never have been able to pull any pranks on her.

“It’s none of your business!” she shouts as a pink blush starts to creep across her cheeks.

Oh, well, that only makes me more determined to find out what she’s hiding on that screen. I reach down to try to grab the Kindle out of her hand, but she snaps it away from me in the nick of time. Damn it! When did Sonnet develop serious ninja skillz?

She jumps up from the loveseat and backs away from me toward the kitchen. If she runs out of the house, I have no chance of catching her because she actually runs for fun, whereas I’m just a fat, beer-drinking former high school athlete trying to get a rise out of my business partner. Sure enough, she sprints down the hallway. And sure enough, I just can’t help myself and go sprinting after her.

Instead of heading out the back door, she bounds into the guest bedroom. I have no clue why she did that because now she’s trapped. Who’s the valedictorian now? Finding nowhere to hide, she desperately flings herself on the bed, tucking her Kindle protectively underneath her body like a goose sitting on a golden egg. I fly toward her like I’m tackling a 300 pound linebacker, but somehow manage to only partially knock the wind out of her lungs. She sputters, her arms and legs flailing wildly as she tries to keep the Kindle away from me while also trying to keep from damaging it. These competing motives are my key to victory!

I snatch the device from her like a raptor seizing its prey and hold it up high enough that she can’t reach it. She’s lunging for it, jumping high in the air, but being only 5’2”, there’s no way she can regain control. While it’s still hovering over her head, I press the button so the book she was reading comes into view. I begin to read aloud with increasing amusement: “He watched her fingers work her button and zipper, sliding her jeans down her thighs, followed quickly by her panties, which, as she suspected, were soaked with desire.”

Oh my god, Sonnet Jayne reads dirty books? This is an absolutely priceless discovery!

“Stop it!” she screams, standing below me with her hands firmly planted on her hips. Her face is amazing – a combination of shame and outrage, a lovely shade of crimson blooming on her cheeks.

“What the hell is this, Sonnet?” I question. When she doesn’t answer, I keep reading: “She paused, letting his eyes absorb their first glimpse of her nude, her curves bathed in the candlelight. She climbed onto the bed toward him and took his face into her hands, kissing him deeply. Her hands began to wander, touching and stroking his well-developed arms and back, feeling the tight mounds of muscles—"

“That’s enough!” she shouts, still breathless. Her face falls into her palms and her ponytail flips around her shoulder so it brushes against her heaving chest.

“I had no idea you were into smut!” I laugh at her.

“It’s not smut,” she fires back. “It’s thoughtful, provocative erotic romance with a strong, independent heroine!”

I close out of the book so I can see the title on the screen along with the rest of the books on her virtual shelf. “Mountains Wanted?” I ask, eyebrows raised. “I bet there’s some metaphorical mountains involved,” I wink at her. “Fisher of Men? The Playground?” I let out a deep, guttural laugh. “Yeah, those sound really…thoughtful all right!”

“Fuck you!” she fires back, her hands never leaving her hips. “It’s better than the stupid video games you play all the time!”

Wow, she’s really upset.

“There’s no shame in reading romance,” I finally say, forcibly wiping the smile off my face. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to make you mad.”

“Boundaries, Andrew,” she says, having recaptured her breath, “ever hear of them?”

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Unfortunate Encounter - An Excerpt From The Flip

The Flip is available on pre-order from Amazon. Release date is 7/20/17.

By the time we’ve finished up at the house that night, Sonnet and I are both beat. We came inside during the heat of the day to work on stripping the wallpaper in the kitchen. It didn’t matter how many “stripper” jokes I made, I don’t think she ever cracked a smile. See, that’s why we never got along. She could never lower herself to be even slightly amused by the comedic stylings of world-renowned funnyman, Andrew Clark. I was elected Class Clown for a reason, you know.

“What did I do with my shoes?” she asks as soon as I crack open a cold one from the trusty cooler I packed up this morning. “And don’t you have to work tonight?” she asks when she eyes me taking a nice, healthy swig.

She’s such a buzzkill.

“A) I don’t know where your shoes are and B) nope, I’m off this weekend. Fuck yeah!” I wink at her, quickly deciding not to let her sour mood ruin mine.

“How did you manage that in the middle of the season?” she questions, getting a curious look in her eye.

“I told my boss I really needed to work on the house this weekend. She knows we gotta get this place fixed up, so I sweet-talked my way into a weekend off once a month this summer.”

“Well, good for you. I’m probably going to take some time off too once we figure out what the contractor is going to handle and what we’re going to do ourselves. If we only work on this place on the weekends, we’ll never finish before the end of the summer. And we really need to get this thing on the market by August first or we might as well wait until spring.”

That gives us almost two months, I calculate. “Agreed.” Well, at least a quick turn-around time is one thing we can both agree on. I notice she has found her shoes and slipped them on. “Where are you going?”

“I think I’m going to walk over to the boardwalk and grab something to eat,” she answers. I know she sees my eyes light up because her lips turn up with the tiniest smirk. “Do you want to come with me?”

She said the magical words.

But wait. Going with her means being seen in public with her. Willingly. It seems a little….odd. A little too much like a….date. But my stomach is growling, and it gets to make any decisions Drew Jr. isn’t going to make, so I agree to dinner.

As we're trekking along the few blocks to the boardwalk, I notice Sonnet is walking funny. "What's going on? Did you hurt your foot or something?" I ask, remembering my mother's admonishment not to be a dickhead. Of course, she didn’t put it so…colorfully.

"I think there's something in my shoe.” She sighs as she glances down at her hideous neon-colored running shoes, the kind that looks both ludicrous and outrageously expensive at the same time. "Hold on a sec, okay?" She gives me a little smirk.

I stop walking and watch her take off her shoe. The sunlight is fading into an rusty orange streak as it slips toward the purple horizon, so she fails to see anything when she peers inside. But when she turns the shoe upside down, a small object falls out onto the sidewalk. It looks round, almost like a dollop of poop or something, so of course I have to bend down and inspect it.

"Ewww, it's a millipede!" I stand back up to poise my foot over it, preparing to smash it to smithereens.

"Wait, no!” She forcefully grabs me by the arm, and even with her tiny body, she manages to shove me a yard or two away from the creepy-crawly creature. “What do you think you’re doing?!” she demands with obvious moral outrage.

"Uh, protecting your honor?" I retort. Come on, she was violated by that stealthy multi-legged worm! Or at least her shoe was.

"It's just a harmless millipede! It didn’t do anything wrong!” She smiles, crouching down to have a closer look at it. It's all curled up into a ball, it's million legs completely hidden by its hard brown shell. It slowly unfurls and starts to wiggle across the sidewalk. "See? It's so cute!" she fawns over it, her face all animated with a grin.

"Yeah, real cute." I shake my head.

We manage to have a fairly enjoyable dinner. She eats a huge salad heaped with every vegetable known to mankind, while I scarf down a steak and its rightful, god-ordained companion: steak fries. She tries not to get too grossed out by the salacious way I'm savoring my medium rare rotting cow flesh (as she referred to it multiple times), and I try not to get too grossed out by her unexplainable enthusiasm for broccoli.

"I'm dying to see the estimates," she says as we head back to Aunt Penny's house. “I want to get this show on the road!” I nod in agreement, noticing the sun has completely surrendered to the moon, which is hanging over the ocean like a giant pearl. I can hear the waves crashing on the shore from a block away. I'd ask her if she wanted to go down there and take a look, but that feels a little too romantic – i.e. icky – in my book.

"What is the deal with my foot tonight?" she asks as I swing the front door open to what will hopefully soon be a charming beach cottage. "First the millipede, and now it feels...weird and kinda tingly.” She scrunches up her nose with the last word as if she can’t quite decide if she’s freaked out or in pain.

She promptly sits on the plastic-covered couch to take her shoes off. She stretches her sock-covered feet out in front of her, examining them as I head into the kitchen. "Huh, seems normal,” she proclaims. I'm grabbing a beer from my trusty cooler when I hear a loud gasp, quickly followed by a sharp shriek.

I take my time prying the cap off my beer bottle before heading into the living room to see what the fuss is about. I find her gripping her left foot in her hand, her eyes approximately the size of the full moon we saw hanging over the shore.

"Andrew!" she chokes out. "Oh my god, look at my foot!" She moves her hand away to reveal large purple splotches up and down her skin from her big toe to her heel.

"What the hell is that?" I ask. "Looks like purple dye!"

"It’s BURNING!" she screams as the air begins to circulate around her foot.

"What do you mean ‘burning?’"

She doesn't answer me. Her face turns red as she hops up and down on her right foot all the way into the kitchen where she hoists her slim, perfectly toned leg up onto the counter. She shoves her whole left foot under the faucet, which is turned full-blast on cold.

"Wait, did the millipede do this?" she gasps again. "The millipede!" She turns around to look at me with her dark eyes on fire. "Google it, google it!" she demands, bouncing up and down on her right foot.

"Google what?" I ask her, still confused as hell but highly amused by the scene unfolding in Aunt Penny’s kitchen.

"Google whether or not millipedes can hurt you!" she replies as if I'm a complete moron. It's the same tone I remember her using in 9th grade when I screwed up the animal we were supposed to dissect in biology class.

I whip my phone out of my pocket, and my thumbs furiously fly across the keyboard until a set of search results appear. My eyes grow to the same size as Sonnet's as I read aloud: "Certain types of millipedes release a harmful substance if they are threatened or if you handle them roughly. The harmful chemicals in millipede toxin are Hydrochloric acid, Hydrogen cyanide, Organic acids –" I throw my phone on the counter. "Holy shit, Sonnet, you've got millipede poisoning!"

"Oh my god, what do I do?" she screams back at me. Her face is contorted with fear and pain, her arms flailing as she wildly gestures at me. I have never seen her look so worried, not even in sixth grade when I snapped her bra so hard the strap broke, and she had to go to the nurse's office to get some help fixing it. Man, I was such a jerk! No wonder my mom told me to be nice.

I pick up my phone again and continue reading, giving her the highlights, "You may notice a brown stain and/or intense burning and itching."

"Yes, yes, go on!" she urges me as the cold water continues to run over her splotch-covered foot.

"It says you should wash with soap and water and go to the ER if it's in your eye. It's not in your eye, right?"

She shakes her head with a slight sense of relief.

I finish speed-reading the WebMD article. "Looks like you're good." I lay the phone back down. "Carry on then,” I encourage her with a little wave and a bow.

Her eyes narrow as she processes my flippant response. "What? That's it? I'm just going to have these purple marks on my skin or what?"

"Yeah for a while, or so the all-powerful intrawebz say," I reassure her. I open one of Aunt Penny's drawers that I suspect contains dishcloths. Turns out I'm right. I hand her one and she pats off her foot, examining the dark patches of skin.

"Oh my god, they're HOT to the touch!" she gasps.

"Yeah, it's a chemical burn," I confirm.

She shakes her head. "Who knew we had poisonous millipedes around here?!"

I laugh. "I bet you wish you'd have let me stomp on it now, don't you?"

"Don't even!" she fires back. "Poor little defenseless thing. It's not its fault my big ole foot tried to squish it!"

"Really?" I look at her incredulously.

"Yeah, it's still a living creature. I wouldn't want to harm it!"

"Even though it harmed you?"

She nods emphatically. "I'll be fine," she assures me. And just like that, all traces of panic are gone from her face and voice.

I'm honestly impressed her freak out session was so short in duration. Hell, I would have freaked out a lot more. Better her than me, that’s for sure.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Buy The Flip

Releases 7/20/17 on Amazon:

Andrew and Sonnet hated each other in high school. Always rivals for the best grades and top academic honors, there was no love lost between these two nerds after graduation.

Ten years later, they've both been named heirs to property in Bethany Beach, Delaware, after the passing of its owner, Penelope Vaughn. Ms. Vaughn was Andrew's Great Aunt and Sonnet's beloved next door neighbor growing up. 

The quaint beach cottage needs serious work before going on the market. Andrew and Sonnet are both willing to bury the hatchet in exchange for drills and saws, especially since they stand to make a pretty penny with the beachfront property, which will finance Drew's dream of opening a business and Sonnet's plan to earn her doctorate in astrophysics.

But when they face a multitude of home improvement obstacles, will these two former adversaries be able to pull off a successful flip? Or did Great Aunt Penny have something else in mind with her bequest?

Learn more about K.L. Montgomery:
Twitter: @klmontgomery8
Instagram: @k.l.montgomery