New Books || January 30, 2016 || Surf Shop Sisters

"Double Take" by Laura KennedySurf Shop Sisters

Coral Cove #1

by Laura Kennedy

I guess everyone wants something in life. It was easy figuring out what each of my BFFs wanted the beginning of our Junior Year at Coral Cove High. For brainy Sudsy it was to get skinny; for upwardly mobile Tamara to get more stuff, and problem child Maria to be treated like she was older than ten.

Who knew that bigger problems lurked in the swampy bayous of Coral Cove, like redheaded Paris Breck, threatening to take me, Brooke Bentley, down like a clump of stinky seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico.

* NOTE: The Coral Cove series consists of standalone novels following the life of Brooke Bentley. The books can be read in any order.


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Read the first chapter below!

Chapter One

I guess everyone wants something. It was easy figuring out what each of my three BFFs wanted at the beginning of our Junior Year at Coral Cove High. For brainy Sudsy, it was to get skinny and have a boyfriend; for gorgeous Maria, to have her parents treat her like she was older than ten; for upwardly mobile Tamara, to get more stuff.

When it came to me, all I wanted was to be taken more seriously. For some reason when you’re reasonably cute, no one thinks you’re very smart. Other than geometry, my grades were okay, so why was I always getting the dumb, almost-blonde treatment?

Who’d have guessed bigger problems were lurking around the bayous of Coral Cove in the form of my soon-to-be nemesis Paris Breck? But first I have to tell you about Maria and how I always seemed to get tangled up in her problems, like a clump of stinky seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico.

It was a lazy Sunday morning and I’d just glided the Green Lady (my darling convertible) through the wrought iron gates of our Mediterranean onto the brick streets to my killer job at Surf’s Up. Top down, (the convertible’s, not mine), I was playing a rerun of my date with Tyler the night before, wondering if being forced to defend my virginity on a weekly basis was worth the hassle of having a boyfriend.

The reggae sound of The Expendables met me at the door. The Sisters, aka BFFs Sudsy, Tamara and Maria, didn’t seem to notice I was late. But instead of getting the evil eye from my old hippie boss, Dave, like you usually do from a grownup when you screw up, I got a sad, reassuring smile. The kind your parents give when you just broke your arm rollerblading.

I raced to a rack of bikinis and began to madly rearrange them, sneaking peeks at Sudsy and Tamara refolding a stack of Rip Curl T-shirts. Sudsy shot me a look from behind wire-rimmed Beatles glasses and shook her head. I was trying to figure out what she meant when Maria passed by carrying a box of sunblock. The crybaby of our group, tears from her big brown eyes threatened to spill down her cheeks like she was in a soap opera on Telemundo.

“What’s wrong with Maria?” I whispered to Sudsy.

“She’s bummed because her father told her she can’t go to Homecoming with Anthony,” Sudsy whispered back.

“So that’s a surprise?”

“No, but she just found out Anthony will be leaving for Army boot camp after Thanksgiving. Who knows what could happen to him?”

I glanced at Maria where she stood lining up amber bottles of sunblock and gave her a little wave. But instead of a smile, she just bit her Angelina Jolie look-a-like lip.

“Leave her alone,” Tamara advised. “She’s just going to have to deal with it.”

The morning flew by. In an attempt to pump swimwear sales, Dave coaxed me into a hot white Juicy Couture ruffled bikini (the killer suit I’d die for), to parade around the shop. I felt like an idiot, especially when two girls from school came in, but Dave was the boss.

Around one, Dave ordered a ham and pineapple pizza from Zeno’s Greek Pizza Parlor. We’d just finished devouring it when a well-dressed redhead and a skinny, youngish blonde sauntered in. Sporting Kate Spade, Prada, and real jewelry, they looked like they’d be good for a couple of hundred easy. The older one, who was around fifty, reminded me of an actress I’d seen on TV reruns.

“May I help you?” I asked.

A sneer crossed the redhead’s Pekinese face; the same kind of look you make when you’ve just spotted a big, fat cockroach.

“Tiffany wants to try on some suits. She’s a seven.”

“The sevens are on the rack against the wall,” I said, and with a wave herded them like a sheep dog to the back.

After a few minutes of mangling the merchandise, Tiffany held up a hot turquoise T-back. “What do you think, Mommy?”

She’s like thirty and still calls her mother Mommy? It was all I could do not to barf.

“Try it on. It’s cute.”

While Baby Cakes trotted off to the dressing room, I knocked myself out showing Mommy everything in the store. Twenty minutes later, BC reappeared with a sea foam green baby doll dress, two L-Spaces, and my to-die-for Juicy Couture bikini. She headed for the cash register, her mother trailing behind. Bingo!

“I’d kill for that suit,” I said. “It’s the hottest ever.” Mommy handed me her American Express card and I ran it through the machine. “Paris Breck, what a pretty name. Did anyone ever tell you that you’re an eponym?”

“I’m a what?” She raised one radically plucked brow.

“An eponym. When something’s named after a person it’s called an eponym. Of course, you’re named after a person and a city too.”

She looked annoyed. “Oh, really? How interesting.”

“It just happens to be one of my vocabulary words from last week.”

Dave high-fived me when they left. “Killer job, Brookesie. Have another piece of pizza.”

“No thanks. My ass is big enough as it is.”

“Your ass is perfect and you know it,” Sudsy said, whisking by with the broom. But for once I wasn’t worrying about the way I looked. I was worrying about Maria.

It wasn’t until things slowed down and the four of us took a break at the beat up picnic table out back that we were able to talk.

“Okay, Maria, what’s the scoop?” I asked.

“It’s the same old thing. My dad thinks Anthony’s too old and a sleezeball loser, so he won’t let me date him.”

Tamara wrinkled her perfectly sculptured nose. “But you do anyway, right?”

“Well, yes. But I hate sneaking around! I want to go to Homecoming and wear a pretty dress just like everyone else. It’s the least I can do before he’s shipped off to the Middle East.” A fat tear streamed down her face.

I patted her hand. As usual I felt all protective and mushy. Just like in pre-school when she’d screwed up the CD player and I took the blame. “Now, don’t worry, honey. We’ll figure out something.”

Sudsy slid a neatly typed sheet of paper to me across the table. “Well, while everyone’s ruminating, here’s your new vocabulary list.”

I looked down. “Monday. Masticate.”

“It means to chew,” Sudsy explained.

“Then why the hell not just say chew?” Tamara demanded. She was not in a good mood.

Sudsy adjusted her glasses. “Because any moron can say chew, T. That’s why.”

Tamara rolled her eyes. “Well, it sounds like something a lot more exciting than just eating.”

Sudsy and I giggled while Maria just looked bewildered.

“So why not say you’re going to the dance in a group and then just sleep over at my house?” I suggested.

The Sisters nodded.

A shadow of a smile crossed Maria’s face. “Do you think it will work?

“No problem. I’ll run it by my mother. I’m sure she’ll be okay with it.”

“See, Maria, all fixed,” I said. But as soon as the words left my lips I was left with a bad feeling in my stomach, like I’d just eaten a raw oyster in a month spelled without an R.

The next day at school I spent half of geometry class figuring out the logistics of my scheme to get Maria to Homecoming with Anthony by drawing little isosceles triangles on my paper. Hmm. If one corner was Maria, another Anthony, and the last corner Maria’s dad… My math teacher, Mr. Humphrey, claims side angle side equals side angle side, but in this case I had the feeling it equaled trouble.

It was Wednesday after school and I was sprawled out on an obnoxious green alligator raft in our heated pool, wondering how we were going to pull off Maria’s secret date. Hopefully Maria’s family would be preoccupied with making that incredible chicken with yellow rice I love, or the black bean soup I adore even more, and wouldn’t notice her sneaking out her dress. My stomach growled. God, I wished I had some chicken and yellow rice.

I hopped out of the pool and wrapped myself in a huge fluffy towel. Would my mother be cooking something on that new blue European gas stove of hers, or would she just be polishing the stainless steel?

“What’s for dinner?” I asked, dripping into the kitchen.

My mother blew a lock of blonde hair off her forehead. “Roast chicken with lemon, brown rice with pecans and mushrooms, and ratatouille.”

“You know, I really love you.”

“Yes. By the way, Sudsy called, but I didn’t want to take the phone to you in the pool.”

“Mom, you can’t get electrocuted on a cordless phone. It runs on batteries.”

“Well, it just makes me nervous.” She took off her Kiss-the-Cook apron. “How’s Sudsy coming with her romance novel?”

“Almost finished, but she won’t let anyone read it.”

“Doesn’t she need someone to edit? Maybe I could help since I am a lit major.”

“Forget it. Sudsy says it’s an absolute masterpiece already.”

There’s an old cornball song my Grandma Donnie sings. Something about life not being easy—I beg your pardon. I never promised you a rose garden. I don’t know who’s begging whose pardon, but they were sure right about life not being a bed of flowers. I mean, I was just trying to help Maria and already I was the bad guy. At least according to Tyler.

After school the next day, Tyler and I parked the Green Lady at the Cove for the purpose of my telling him our plans had changed. Having an abundance of testosterone surging through his scrawny bod, I’m sure he thought we’d driven to the Cove to make out. So once I’d turned off the engine, I gave him a juicy kiss to get him in a good mood. Kissing Tyler was really quite delicious, because, scrawny or not, he was one of the hottest guys at Coral Cove High. But when I pushed him away and blurted out that he’d have to meet me at Homecoming because I’d be going to the dance in a group date with Sudsy, Tamara, and Maria, he was not happy.

“But I thought Maria was going with that Anthony dude?”

“She is. But her father can’t stand him, so she has to pretend she’s going with us girls and then sleep over at my house.”

“You must be friggin’ kidding,” he croaked. Sometimes when Tyler gets excited his voice still goes up and down like the Scorpion ride at Busch Gardens.

“No, I’m not kidding, Tyler. This dance is like extremely crucial to Maria. I can’t let her down.”

“But it’s all right to let me down.”

“I don’t see what the big deal is. We can still be at the dance together.”

“So does that mean we won’t be hanging out after?”

I looked at him and smiled, realizing that hanging out meant making out in the back seat of my convertible.

“There’ll be plenty of other times for that. Think of it this way. Helping Anthony and Maria go to Homecoming is sort of like your patriotic duty. I mean, Anthony could get killed when he’s in the army. It’s the least you can do.”

A scowl crossed his handsome face. “You know, Brooke, I’m really sick of the way you always manipulate me.”

“With the exception of now, when have I manipulated you?”

“All the time. You constantly have some kind of scheme.”

“Tyler, that’s not true. Besides, in business they call that entrepreneurship.”

“Right.”

We drove back to school in silence; Tyler turned away from me like my cat does on the way home from the vet. I stopped at the bike rack where he got out of the Green Lady and slammed the door.

“You don’t have to take it out on my car,” I said.

He turned and glared. “I wish you worried half as much about me as you do about your damn car. Well, you won’t have to worry about it anymore.”

“So does that meaning you’re breaking up with me?”

“What do you think?” he snapped and with that unlocked his bike and pedaled off in a cloud of dust.

Interview | Laura Kennedy | “Double Take” + Giveaway

Alice J. Black will be releasing her paranormal novel “The Doors” from Fire and Ice in the fall of 2014. She took some time to read Laura Kennedy’s brand new release “Double Take” and ask Laura some questions. Read on to get the inside scoop on “Double Take” and leave a comment to win a free ebook copy of “Double Take!”

When sixteen-year-old Brooke Bentley’s green convertible and cell phone conk out during a tropical rainstorm, she believes it’s just bad luck. But when she darts through the dark to a dilapidated Victorian she thinks is the home of a friend and is invited in by a butler in a faded black tux, Brooke knows it must be karma. Because how often do you meet a reclusive 1950′s movie star who thinks she’s actress Terry Moore? And how often does someone as charming as eighty-year-old Laura de France insist on transforming you into a movie star, too? How can something as simple as a dress control your life? It can if it’s the famous green toga worn by actress Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and you’ll do anything to wear it.

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Alice: What inspired you to write Double Take?

Laura: Two things.

First is the movie Beneath the 12-Mile Reef that was filmed here in the sponge diving town of Tarpon Springs, Florida in 1953. Starring Robert Wagner, Gilbert Rolland and Terry Moore, it’s a Romeo and Juliet love story I weaved into the plot.

Second is my friendship with the sister of ninety-year-old actress Sharon Randall who became my inspiration for Double Take antagonist Laura de France. I was fascinated with stories of Sharon’s years as a child star. Known as Janice Chambers, she was signed to MGM during the 1930s where she worked with other child actors such as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.

Alice: Your main character, Brooke, refers to her friends as The Sisters. Which of the Sisters would you say you’re most like and why?

Laura: To begin, the Sisters label came from the fact all four girls in Double Take work at Surf’s Up, the coolest surf shop in Coral Cove. I am definitely Brooke, the novel’s protagonist. Brooke is basically positive and happy, and always tries to do the right thing. She screws up, of course. As she says in Double Take, “Why does everything have to happen to me? I’m a good person, sort of.”

Alice: Do you think you would have liked to wear that stunning green toga yourself?

Laura: Of course I’d like to wear it!

Alice: Was the toga based on a real dress?

Laura: The green toga is real. When writing Double Take, I rented the film Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, then viewed it carefully. Ms. Taylor wore a dozen or so gowns in the film. I chose the toga because it was one of the more modest, making it a realistic probability that Miss de France could own it.

© IMDB

© IMDB

Alice: Who was the easiest character to write?

Laura: When is writing easy? Just kidding. I’d have to say Brooke. Actually, all of my characters were relatively easy since they’re so real to me. Charles Dickens said that sometimes when he wasn’t writing, his characters would tug on his coat sleeve, begging him to get back to work.

Alice: Who was the hardest character to write?

Laura: I wouldn’t say James was hard, but I thought about him a lot. He is a complex character in a complex world.

Alice: Do you know anyone like Laura De France in real life?

Laura: Even though I modeled Miss de France after Sharon Randall, it was only because of her background as an actress. Sharon is far too sweet to be controlling. As for controlling people, we all know a few.

Alice: Do you think all/many girls of her age would do something like Brooke does just to get to wear that dress?

Laura: We all do things to get what we want. And it isn’t just teenage girls. Brooke was guilty of making poor choices. Her parents knew about her relationship with Miss de France, they just didn’t know about the Patent Leather Room.

Alice: Do you know any teenager who would give up so much time to be with someone like Miss de France?

Laura: At present, I don’t know many teenage girls. Guess I’ll have to hang around the Tastee Freeze more.

As for spending so much time with Miss de France, I think there are girls who would. Remember, Brooke initially went to Miss de France’s every day after school out of a sense of guilt because she felt responsible for Miss de France’s heart attack. Miss de France then created enticements so she’d continue to come. For Brooke, it’s all a matter of vanity, beginning with the Cleopatra dress. What girl isn’t vain? “But I wanted the dress!”

Alice: I felt sorry for Laura and James not really being able to strike up a relationship, how did it make you feel to write about the differences in the way people view different races?

Laura: The relationship between Miss de France and James was both beautiful and sad. Obviously, they loved each other very much, but as James told Brooke, “We live in an unforgiving world of black and white.” James met Miss de France in the 1960s, an era when interracial relationships weren’t just frowned upon, they were often illegal as demonstrated in miscegenation laws in many states that prohibited marriage.

Alice: Nick seems like a genuinely nice guy despite what he did with her mother. Do you think Brooke is really in love with him?

Laura: Nick. Nick is genuinely a nice guy. He’s made his mistakes and regrets them. He’s twenty-four now and is maturing.

Is Brooke really in love with him? As much as a sixteen-year-old going on seventeen can be. However, Brooke is also a realist. She knows that for the present, there’s no chance of a romance between them.So being ever hopeful, she’ll move on.

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About Laura Kennedy

LAURA KENNEDY lives in Tarpon Springs, a Greek sponge fishing town on the West Coast of Florida. She grew up in Minneapolis where her mother was a romance writer who helped her father support the family. By the time she was twenty-two, she lived in Southern California, was married, had a baby, and was broke, the perfect Petri dish for the beginning of a writing career. Encouraged by her mother’s writing success, Laura borrowed her mother’s portable typewriter on which she concocted her first story that sold for the staggering sum of $225.

Fire and Ice Page: http://www.fireandiceya.com/authors/laurakennedy/index.html
Blog: http://laurakennedy17.wordpress.com

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About Alice J. Black

Alice J. Black was born in the Northh East England and even as a child had more fascination with books than the outside world. She writes in the supernatural young adult genre and likes to experiment with other genres. She’s an avid writer on her second home, writing.com. Her debut novel, The Doors, is due for publication in September 2014 from Fire and Ice YA Books. She has had other short works published previously in the Writing.com Anthology 2013.

Giveaway

Leave a comment below and you’ll automatically be entered to win a free ebook copy of “Double Take” by Laura Kennedy!

And don’t forget, there’s still time to enter to win the $10 Amazon gift card as well over on THIS post!