Below is a short excerpt from Connections (coming out Sept. 3, 2018). This snippet is written from the point of view of one of the main characters, Mellie Masterson, when she and her sister Callie are about to graduate high school in 1967. Among other things, Mellie is in love and she has failed her math final. From there, things get more complicated, especially since the novel spans 50 years! Read on:
That’s when Erin leaned over and tilted my head up. I looked into his dark blue eyes, for the first time up close, and I could feel my body quiver.
He placed his lips on mine, lightly, making no attempt to pry my lips apart. “Mellie, Mellie,” he whispered, sounding more amused than amorous. (Only guys sure of themselves sound amused after they’ve kissed me. So I assume. He’s the first to do it this way.)
Don’t ask me how I knew what was up with him but I did. Without waiting for me to say anything, he scrambled out of the car, came round to open my door and walked me over to my car.
Once home, I went straight upstairs, not bothering to look in on Callie. Such a zombie my sister’s become, as if she were the one to have flunked the math exam. I slept fitfully, a flutter in the center of my body keeping me awake most of the night.
Back to the public shaming at school, which, unthinkingly, I let myself in for. Should have been Callie to show up for the practice session and to pick up her own robe. As I said, though, she’s practically comatose. Ergo (as she would say if she deigned to speak), there I was out on the patio, hoping to scoot in and out before word of my disgrace got around. But it was not to be. News of my failing grade did seep out, sooner than I had anticipated.
Before I can retreat inside to the bathroom, Sherry takes my hand and gives me an elaborate hug, making a big show of sympathizing. Several of the other girls look on with pained faces painted on. As if they weren’t pleased as punch.
“We’re in shock, Mellie. It’s so not fair. He must have had it in for you, Dr. Faulkner,” Sherry laments, batting her mascara-caked cow eyes at me.
The only one of the lot who stands aloof is Doreen, puffing on a Camel and looking superior to the petty machinations on the patio where the senior girls congregate. Instead, she regards me coolly. I acknowledge her with a glance but say nothing. She flicks her cigarette butt into the nearby bushes before swiveling her hips back inside.
END of EXCERPT