December 26th, 2013 on Kindle!
To Be Loved is a mature, YA novel intended for readers 16+. *Warning* Contains some strong language and realistic references relating to sexual situations, drug use, and alcohol consumption.Avery Brooks is 16 years old and thinks she has everything she'll ever want. A nice house, a wealthy father, and a fast-paced social life complete with the best parties a girl could ask for. After her world changes when her father demands she go to live with her mother in the small town of Elkins, West Virginia, Avery finds that having it all might be something different than she originally thought. She settles into life in Elkins fairly easily. Getting along well with her mother, making new friends, and setting her sights on the most desired boy in her new school, Graysen Bennett, seem like a pretty good plan to straighten herself out and get back at her father for making her come to the small town. Avery quickly finds herself the center of Graysen's attention and things are working out just as she had planned, at least it seems that way. What else could she possibly need than To Be Loved?
ExcerptGreen. That’s all that laid before me, as far as the eye could see. Nothing but a long, rolling landscape of trees that were so closely put together you could barely discern one individual trunk from a hundred, yet so individual in their own beauty you could hardly compare one to the other. It was one of the most crowded and mountainous landscapes I had ever laid my eyes on and, though I had been here before, I didn’t remember it looking this way. I suppose as a young child I had my thoughts set on other things. Excitement about seeing my mother, the adventure of being in a new place. I wouldn’t have noticed the change in my surroundings as much as I did now. The silence deafened my ears and I shifted uncomfortably in my seat as the hum of the car’s engine continued to beckon the cozy lull of a much needed nap. But I knew I was due to arrive at my destination soon so sleep wasn’t exactly an option at this point. My father sat in the driver’s seat next to me, blankly staring at the road. Occasionally he would shoot an angry glare in my direction, yet he remained speechless. It had been this way for the past 9 hours, the longest 9 hours of my life. My heart pounded with uncertainty and doubt. The anxiety I felt over what was happening was enough to keep anyone wide awake so I wasn’t sure exactly why I felt I could sleep anyway. I didn’t have a clue why my father chose to drive me here rather than flying. Affording a few plane tickets wouldn’t have been a stretch for him and definitely would have made the trip easier on us both. I sure would have appreciated a quick journey to my new home rather than the longest silent treatment I had ever endured. I had to figure that was probably the reason why, that he wanted it to be long, drawn out, and uncomfortable. Sort of a punishment for me and my shenanigans from the past weekend I suppose. The interstate traffic was busy. No doubt because it was a Monday morning, just reaching the top of the hour at about 8:00am. But it seemed that even the busiest traffic atop the solitary mountain top we traveled upon wasn’t even a fraction of what the calmest part of the driving day was like back in Chicago. We had been in the car all night with only two stops for bathroom breaks. He hadn’t even asked if I was hungry, most likely hoping I would die of starvation and put his mind at ease. He had made it abundantly clear that he was sick of ‘dealing with my crap’ and wasn’t going to do it anymore. My weekend had been pretty wild, as most of my weekends were and this unexpected road trip that I now found myself venturing upon had been a result of, as my father had put it, ‘the last straw’. Once he had realized that I had, yet again, thrown another party at his house on Saturday night, he kind of snapped out. The normal argument ensued. Him stating how irresponsible and ungrateful I was while I defended myself and let him know exactly how much I resented him and his ridiculous rules. Though, in secret, I could understand his anger. After all, there were a few valuable items missing from the house and some drunken kid from school had broken one of my step-mother’s favorite antique vases. But I wasn’t about to let on in anyway that I felt guilty. Had he been aware of that detail he woulkd have run with it as far and fast as he could. No, I was the poor kid whose Dad was a real drag and I was sticking to it. After all of the screaming eventually ended, he chucked my cell phone against living room wall, smashing it into a thousand pieces. Quite honestly, that upset me much more than his random lecturing. I was so pissed off that I went to my room, promising to never speak to him again but knowing it wasn’t true. I told myself that this situation would end as all of our arguments usually did. I would falsely promise to be good and follow the rules and he would pretend to believe me. He would eventually get me a new phone and all would be well again. Well, at least until the next time I got caught, which wasn’t very often. But, to my surprise, that wasn’t at all how it played out. Well done, Dad. After about 3 hours of uneasy sleep, I was rudely awoken by his loud demand on Sunday morning to get up, pack my stuff, and be ready to leave by 8:00pm that night. I don’t know why it bothered me so much that I was apparently no longer welcome to live in my father’s house. I really didn’t even want to be there anymore anyway. We hadn’t been getting along for months and although I always liked Deena, lately she had really taken on the appearance of the wicked stepmother in my eyes. It seemed she always had something to say about how I dressed, where I went, who my friends were, what my grades were. Blah, blah, blah. Deena’s favorite line was ‘I only want what’s best for you’, and she used it every chance she got. After being told countless times that I had to be respectful of my father or be careful of how I dressed because I didn’t want to attract the wrong people, her best intentions quickly became unwelcome. The wrong people? What was she even talking about? Deena had begun to seem more and more snobbish with each passing day and though I hadn’t said it, I was secretly glad to get away from her, no matter how good her intentions had been. Dad on the other hand was another story. We used to get along pretty well until the past year or so. Then, we suddenly transitioned from about 16 years of laughter and sharing everything with each other to a relationship in which I desperately tried to avoid even being in the same room with him. He always made such a huge deal out of everything. Yes, everything. Even the smallest infraction, say a detention at school, had the ability to push him right over the edge. He would start going on and on about responsible behavior and the next thing I knew, we would be in a full blown fight with each other. Was he never a kid himself? Did he never make any mistakes? What was the big deal anyway? My father always acted toward me as if I was throwing my life away or something. I was an honor student, I ran cross country, I did what was expected of me, usually at least. So what if I partied when I had the chance? Work hard, play hard, right? Isn’t that what kids do? So If I was doing everything I thought I had to, what was the big deal if I screwed around a bit on the weekends? I really just didn’t get it. I understood he was peeved about me partying in the house. He went on and on about how he could lose his license to practice law and if I were to get in any legal trouble, that if we were caught by the police he could be charged with providing alcohol to minors because we were in his house. And he absolutely, under any circumstances, would not tarnish his stellar reputation just to bail me out. He had said countless times that he just wouldn’t be able to do that, as if anyone had ever even asked him to do such a thing. And my favorite, my absolute be all end all statement was ‘Avery, you’re 17 years old. You just don’t get it.’ No shit. I guess he was right, I didn’t get it, I still don’t. I wasn’t a drop out, I wasn’t a drug addict, well, not as far as he knew anyway. I wasn’t pregnant, the closest I had even come to having sex was a quick rendezvous with Joe McCall in the bathroom at my friend Sarah’s house. That incident ended with him walking away from me, obviously disappointed that I wouldn’t give in to his desire and me laughing up his absolute awkwardness with Sarah on her back porch while smoking a joint. Dad didn’t know about that. In fact, Dad didn’t know about most of the things I did. He had only ever caught me in about a quarter of my lies, so I really couldn’t understand why he seemed to think I was so bad. He had said something to my mother yesterday when he called her. Apparaently he thought it decent to give her one day’s notice that I was moving to Elkins to live with her. His exact words were “Good luck, Melanie.” When I had overheard him say that to her on the phone, that comment instantly set me on fire. As if this entire situation was my fault! Sure, I had a party, and an amazing one at that, and it was at his house while he and Deena were out. So what? A few things went missing which obviously wasn’t my fault. There was booze there but I hadn’t been drinking that night. I didn’t do anything wrong at all that night as a matter of fact. Not that I didn’t drink on other occasions. But in my own house? I would have been stupid to do something like that. It wasn’t as if I was aiming to get busted. A lot of my friends were drinking that night, but how was that my fault? If he wasn’t so uptight all the time about everything I did, maybe I wouldn’t have to try and sneak parties in when I could. So when I heard that statement that he had said to my mom, I made a decision. Call it anger, call it revenge, call it whatever you want, but I was immediately bound and determined to make sure that my Mom had all the good luck he had wished her. That same day, the day he told me I was moving to the small, rural town of Elkins, West Virginia, I decided that I wouldn’t cause any trouble for my mom. Not one bit. Not because I didn’t want to, because I think everyone knows, I like to party. But just to prove him wrong. Just to make him feel as stupid as I did for having to leave my house in Chicago. I would show him that perhaps he was the problem, not me. That his rules and anger were just as damaging as my so-called irresponsible behavior. And not once did I ever concern myself with whether or not that was the actual truth. Truth can be a funny thing. Though my existence on this planet has been short, a mere 16 years, I’ve noticed that humans are capable of making the truth what they want it to be. Like, there is no definite…anything. Dad always said the truth was black and white. Something was either 100% true or 100% false. Though I do believe that and I see where he’s coming from, I’ve found that bending the truth is quite easy. I could tell my mom the truth, but say it in a way that made me appear practically blameless. And she’d believe me. I didn’t consider that lying. I would tell her exactly what happened, just as my father had. But once she heard it from me, once she saw the look on my face that I could so easily summon, she’d be on my side in a heartbeat. Why? Because she would want to believe it. She’d want to believe that Dad failed at his job and that she could do it better. My mom is a good woman. She’s not manipulative or selfish, but she’s a mom. And every mom wants to be needed. Every mom wants to think that no one can do her job better than she can. That’s how my mom must feel. That’s how all of my friend’s moms were and once I arrived and explained the situation to her, I was sure I would gain her sympathy. Then Dad can deal with that. That would show him just how effective this creative punishment of his was. As far as I was concerned I hadn’t done anything wrong at all. Dad was wrong. Dad and Deena. And they would soon see that, I was going to make sure of it.
Look for it on Kindle December 26, 2013!