Saturday, August 31, 2013

Good sequel Excerpt

Do not read if you've not read GOOD!!!!


So right now I'm thinking this story will be a two-parter. That means the sequel to Good will also be the conclusion.

Title: Better
Release Date: Yeah right
Genre: New Adult contemporary romance
Book Description: Not yet



Now remember: This is rough, raw, and unedited.

Chapter 1 - Motivation

 
“Mr. Connelly! You’re making that up!” Cadence cried.

He watched her tiny shoulders shake with laughter. She pressed the dry erase marker against the board to hold it steady, but it was no use. Her laughter forced it up and down and sideways, muddying the numbers he’d written out for her.

“I’m not. I swear.” He chuckled. “And now you get to start all over.”

“Ugh! Help me, please,” she said, turning around to look at him.

He studied the wisps that framed her face, the afternoon sunlight catching them and setting them on fire. Her hairline, temples, and cheeks glowed. She looked like a porcelain doll.

She grinned and shook her head. “I still don’t believe you.”

He grinned back. “I know.”

He walked to the board and erased her mess. And then he rewrote the numbers and waited for her to start the problem. He wouldn’t baby her this time. He’d done it every time before. All it took was a little pout and the upturn of those sad blue eyes. He was a sucker, and he knew it. But not this time. This time she’d have to work for it.

“You know this, Cadence,” he said encouragingly.

She nodded and took a deep breath. He thought it was cute. He couldn’t help it. She was steeling herself for the mental workout.

He watched her furrow her brows.

No, he thought. Don’t you dare.

And then her face clouded over.

Cadence . . .

“Mr. Connelly, I don’t think . . .”

“Yes you do,” he said. “You can do this, Cadence.”

She chewed her lip and made a decision. She turned her pretty little face towards him, tilted her chin a fraction of an inch, and looked up with her big, sad blue eyes. And then she blinked. And waited.

Goddamnit!

Mr. Connelly sighed. “Okay. I’ll start you off.”

“Thank you,” she whispered.

He saw her tuck her chin to hide the grin playing at the corners of her lips. She knew she won. Again. And he couldn’t be frustrated with her. He wanted to kiss the top of her head instead—right at the point where her hair parted. His admission of defeat.

She turned her face to him again, marker poised inches from the white board.

“Well? Let’s do this, Mr. Connelly.”

He smiled. “Okay, Cadence.”

There was no going back.

 
***

 
Dylan scratched his neck, then leaned back in his chair. He propped his feet on the counter and looked at his best friend.

“Are you out of your fucking mind?”

Mark sighed and popped the cap of his Newcastle. He took a swig, then shrugged.

“Uh, no. You don’t get to shrug. You have to answer my question. What the hell, man?” Dylan said. He took the beer Mark handed him.

“She’s . . . she’s just . . .” He searched for the words, frustrated that they wouldn’t come easier.

“You need a song?” Dylan joked.

“Shut up, man.”

Dylan laughed and grabbed a record off the back counter. He slid it over to Mark.

“Go put that on,” he said.

Mark rolled his eyes and walked to the closest record player. He pulled the vinyl from its sleeve and placed it on the turntable. He lifted the arm, then paused.

“She’s like a clean slate,” he said quietly.

“Yeah. One you plan to dirty up,” Dylan replied.

“No,” Mark said. “That’s not it.” He placed the needle carefully on the vinyl. “Good choice, by the way,” he said, listening as the distinctive sound of The Killers filled the tiny space of the record store.

“I know,” Dylan replied, downing his beer.

“I don’t wanna mess her up,” Mark said. “I want her to make me a clean slate like her.”

He said it facing the record player. He couldn’t look at his friend, but he sensed the immediate tension in the room. There was a long stretch of silence before Dylan spoke. Mark watched the record spin as he finished his beer.

“Look man, I know everything with Andy—”

“Don’t say her name,” Mark said. “Just, please don’t.”

Dylan took a deep breath. “How is this high school chick gonna help you, Mark? She’s in high school. She’s nowhere near your maturity level, experience level—”

“I don’t want her to be,” Mark said. He turned around and walked back to the counter, hoisting himself up on it and reaching for a second beer. “You want another?”

Dylan shook his head. “I’m on the clock.”

Mark smirked. “Well, I’m not.” He popped the cap and took a long, satisfying gulp. “I don’t want her to know anything.”

“What? So you can corrupt her?”

“No. I just like her innocence.”

“Yeah, so you can corrupt it.”

“Shut up, man. That’s not it.” Mark thought for a moment. He took another sip of beer and scratched the stubble on his cheek. “She doesn’t hurt.”

“I don’t even know what the hell that means,” Dylan mumbled.

“Yeah, you do,” Mark replied, looking his friend in the face.

Dylan shifted uncomfortably and nodded.

“She’s this beautiful little thing. And I want it.”

“You can’t use her like that,” Dylan said.

“I’m not!” Mark snapped. “It’s not like that. I don’t wanna use her. I’m attracted to her. I’m attracted to her smile and her laugh and her hair and the way she talks—”

“Stop,” Dylan ordered. “You’re making me sick.”

Mark laughed. “I really like her. And I know it’s unwise, okay? I know all this. But you don’t understand. She’s just there, all the time, shining.”

“‘Shining’? God, you’re a fruitcake,” Dylan said. His words were laced with light contempt. “English majors . . .”

Mark chuckled and took another sip of beer.

“Okay, so what do you plan to do with the shining girl?” Dylan asked. He watched the smile spread across his friend’s face.

“Love her.”

“Yeah, and then the shining girl puts you behind some shiny metal bars. Mark, you’re a smart guy. Use your head. And I mean this one,” he said, pointing to his temple.

Mark shook his head. “You haven’t met her.”

“I’m sure she’s like every other teenage girl,” Dylan replied. “And I’m not saying I wouldn’t wanna hit that, but society kinda has a problem with it, in case you didn’t know. You wanna look like some child predator?”

Mark grimaced.

“Exactly. I don’t care how fucking shiny she is. Some things you don’t touch.”

“She’s not a child.”

“How old is she?”

“Eighteen.”

“How do you know?”

“Well, I don’t. I think she’s eighteen.”

“Dude. Step AWAY from the shiny object.”

Mark laughed. “I don’t think so, Dylan. I don’t think I can.”

Dylan shook his head. “You know I’m there for you, man. Any way this goes.”

“You think I’m messed up, don’t you?” Mark asked.

“No. I think she mesmerized you. I think you’re lonely and jaded and looking for anything out there that’s the opposite of all the shit you’ve been through—”

“Dylan . . .”

“No, man. We gotta be able to talk about it. It’s been two years, Mark. You’re not the only one who still hurts over what happened to Andy.”

The chime of the doorbell broke the intensity of the moment. Mark listened, detached, as a group of teenagers shuffled into the store, chattering. Dylan shot up from his chair, immediately on guard.

“Fucking kids,” he muttered.

Mark smirked. “They haven’t done anything. Chill out.”

The men watched as the teens wove in and out of aisles, laughing and punching one another’s arms. Mark heard one of them say “sweet ass” and instantly thought of Cadence.

“Oh God,” he whispered, running his hands roughly over his face.

“What’s wrong with you?” Dylan asked, eyeing a boy who was rifling through a stack of classic rock albums.

“Nothing.”

“Hey! What can I help you boys find?” Dylan yelled.

They turned in his direction, catching sight of the six pack on the counter.

One exclaimed, “Dude! You drink at work?”

“My store. My rules,” Dylan replied.

They all nodded, impressed.

“That’s cool, man,” another boy replied. “Need anyone to work part-time?”

“Not one,” Dylan said. “Need help finding a record?”

“Not one,” someone else replied.

The boys snickered.

Dylan cracked a smile. “Then why don’t you get the hell outta my store.”

The teens froze before shuffling out, spitting timid insults at Dylan as they went.

“Dude, you’re a freaking asshole,” Mark said.

“No, I’m not. Those shits stole from me before. It took me a minute to remember. But I remember. That little blond shit . . .”

“Why didn’t you report them?” Mark asked. “And why don’t you get your cameras fixed?”

“Unimportant,” Dylan said. “We’re not talking about stolen records. We’re talking about Andy.”

Mark took a deep breath.

“She was my friend, too, Mark,” Dylan said softly.

Silence.

Mark opened another beer. “I know she was.”

 

Mark’s eyes flew open. He lay frozen in bed, engulfed in darkness, completely unaware of the girl lying next to him, breathing heavy and even. That sweet sound of contented sleep. He could think of nothing but that afternoon at Dylan’s store, sitting on the counter drinking too many beers, talking openly for the first time about the girl who disappeared under a white sheet stained red. The girl who promised him forever, then bled it out on an operating table. The girl he loved.

 Forever.

He turned his head to look at the living girl beside him. The girl who lay naked under his sheets, golden hair draped over her neck, acting as a scarf against the chill of the bedroom. He reached out to touch her hair, smoothing it through his fingers.

She nodded in her sleep, then opened her eyes. She’d done this before, and he knew she wasn’t awake.

“I love you,” he whispered.

“I know,” she replied. “Why do you have bad dreams?”

He froze.

“Why?”

“Cadence, are you awake?” he asked carefully.

“Why do you have bad dreams, Mark?” she replied. “Why?”

“I don’t have bad dreams,” he said. “Go back to sleep.” He ran his fingers through her hair once more.

“Okay, but I don’t believe you,” she mumbled, and closed her eyes. He waited until he heard the heavy, even breathing once more before slinking soundlessly out of bed.

He walked to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. And then he stared blankly at the contents inside, deciding if he wanted food or drink. He wasn’t hungry. No to food. He wasn’t thirsty either, though that beer looked refreshing. But he didn’t need refreshment. He needed an escape.

It didn’t happen often—remembering. Once Cadence walked into the picture, he determined to bury the past, or, at least, the finer details. He’d never forget her. He didn’t want to. But the details. Well, those he could bury. But every now and then he’d still dream of the past, and those finer details that would otherwise escape his memory during the day burst about his subconscious at night, demanding recognition. They took control of his dreams, and he’d wake some mornings soaked with sweat. He thought Cadence never knew. She never said anything about it until tonight.

He closed the refrigerator door and walked back to the bedroom. He stood over his girlfriend, watching her sleep. She was far away from him, in her own dreamland, and he couldn’t stand the distance. Not tonight.

He pulled back the sheet and watched her curl into a fetal position. Her hand searched for the covers, but he made sure to keep them away from her grasp. He couldn’t get enough of it—staring at her nakedness. She was so tiny, so fair. A little fallen angel, he thought.

His.



copyright S. Walden, 2013

43 comments:

  1. Wow. I can't wait to figure out why Mark is the way he is. I want to love him but I have a feeling you are going to make us work for it in the next book.

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    1. Maybe a little. Honestly, right now my scenes are such a jumble that I don't exactly know at what point in the novel the truth comes out. For some reason I'm thinking midway, but there are hints leading up to it.

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  2. Loved this! Can't wait to read!!

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  3. OMG. That was sooo good. I hope this comes out this year & you don't make us wait until 2014. :D

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  4. Spent all of yesterday reading "Good." I just couldn't put it down! I so look forward to finding out what happened with Mark, Cadence & Avery.

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    1. Thank you for spending time with my story. I think that's the most awesome compliment--when people tell me they read a story of mine straight through. <3

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  5. I love that you give us these little extra vignettes, that the story is not bound to the confines of a book. Eagerly awaiting the continuation of Good and anything else you put a pen to. You've got a reader for life.

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  6. I just finished Good and it was brilliant! I can not wait until Better...well, I can; I just really don't want to!

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    1. Ha ha! I won't make you wait too long. I promise :)

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    1. Look it: it's delicate work when you've gotta figure out how to make your hero forgivable after he spanks the hell out of your heroine. :)

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  8. omg im excited!!! Mark is so complicated, I don't understand him but i have a feeling i'll start to like him in the next book. Im praying for avery tbh lol

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    1. I think it'll help significantly that you'll be able to get inside his brain. I've said this before: third person POV is my favorite way to tell a story. It allows a reader to distance herself from the characters if she wants, but then also hear all of their thoughts instead of being restricted through a first person POV narration. Btw--I'm praying for Avery to be happy, too.

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  9. I loved Good! I loved Cadence and Mark and this excerpt tells me that I will love the next book!

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    1. That's the hope! Actually, I hope you love the sequel more <3

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  10. Whoa....I am even more intrigued and cant wait to hear more about Mark's story..

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    1. Oh, you're gonna get it. All of it. ;)

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  11. I just finished Good, so refreshing, humorous, deep, different. In short I loved it. I hear what you are saying, but pleeeaase don't take a long time with Better. I can't wait

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    1. You won't wait too long. I'm not cruel. I am tired at the moment, though. But the sequel is coming right along. :)

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  12. Omg I cannot wait for this book! I just finished reading Good and I could not put it down. Now I'm anxiously awaiting Better and I hope the wait isn't too long :)

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    1. Hey Angelica,

      It won't be long at all. I promise. <3

      xo Summer

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  13. I just finished Good and it was AMAZING!! I can't wait for Better...thank you for sharing these excerpts!

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  14. As a mom with a 2 yr old n hot hubs, I find it hard to read the books I choose as I quick as I want. Don't get me wrong I still devour 4 adult/cont/para books a month. When I read going under I was blown away n stayed up basically for 2 days, but I set a record with Good. My hubs told me to shut up 5x last night as I laughed out loud ALL NIGHT! I literally read it in one night.... when will number 2 grace our world

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    1. Hey Justine,

      Thank you so much for choosing to read my books! That means a lot, and I'm so happy you enjoyed Good. I'm also happy that I could make you laugh out loud--no easy task to get humor to translate appropriately on the page. I'm glad you "got it."

      I have a tentative date set for Book 2, but I'm not sharing until I know for certain that I'll meet my deadline. Hang tight. It won't be long :)

      xo Summer

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  15. I'm usually pretty skeptical when it comes to NA with high ratings, and since Good was ALL over my GR newsfeed, I admittedly stayed away. Until I didn't, and I wish I had, simply because waiting to find out what happens next just might be the death of me.

    Thank you for restoring my faith in NA, and more specifically, Indie authors. Can't wait to read more from you. <3

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    1. Hey Raquel,

      You've no idea what your words mean to me. Thank you for taking a chance on Good. I can't wait to get Better to you. And you won't have to wait much longer. Editing as we speak!

      <3 Summer

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  16. freaking excited for this. and already have an idea about what happened to Mark but i really want to know what will happen. the truth not just what my imagination is conjuring. ugh! itching to have the next book. your books are AWESOME! :)

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  17. Ok, so I spent my day off in bed reading Good. Wow. Great book can't wait for the second book. I hope Cadence and Avery stick together and maintain their friendship. Can't wait to read how it all turns out.

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    1. If you're interested in reading a little bit from the sequel. May answer a question or two ;)

      http://shhmomsreading.com/blog-tour-and-giveaway-good-too-good-1-by-s-walden/

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  18. Oh my gosh, this is amazing!! I can't wait to read the full book!! :)

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  19. I apologize for ignoring Good just because I didn't like the cover(ya,I know lame ..but that's just me) however yesterday I was checking some website and lot of people had mentioned it as their favourite or loved it so I decided to find out what the fuss was all about....

    U won't believe, I spent half the night reading it..could not put it down till I finished it! now I know why it was all over -It was freaking awesome! infact,I loved it more than C.R.,which I was awaiting for with bated breath...

    can't wait for part 2...

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    1. LOL! You didn't like my cover? Aww shucks. It's actually my favorite so far out of all my books ;) I'm so glad you took a chance on the novel anyway, and even happier that you enjoyed it! Can't wait to get Better to you. Nov. 19. Not too much longer.

      <3 Summer

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  20. This novel makes me angry,emotional ( i mean that was awesome,never feel emotional like this when read a novel.Seriously,feels like rollercoaster at first i pity cadence and then i hate her )

    Maybe i'm too religious...cadance and avery even mark pissed me,i hate them butt i LOVE your novel,i like the emotional feeling....What's wrong with me???

    Can't wait for BETTER ...hope everyone can get their happiness (hope cadance ,her familly and grace can stick together again...Well..i don't think her family and grace the bad one...it's just candace..blind because of her love)

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    1. There's nothing wrong with you. There would be something wrong with me as a writer, however, if I couldn't elicit those emotions from you. I'm excited to get Better to you. Not long now. Nov. 19 is fast approaching!

      <3 Summer

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  21. I just read Good straight. through. First time for me, and I read 3-4 books a week. It kept me thinking, laughing, and crying throughout. It's amazing to me that I could both love and hate Cadence and Mark at the same time. Being an avid romance reader, I'm always looking for the heroine to get the guy, but this book had me confused, flustered, and sometimes a little pissed off. When you read 150+ a year, it takes a special one to stand out. Last year, that book was The Edge of Never for me. This year? Good. 5+ stars

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    1. Leslie,

      What a compliment! Thank you so much! I really hope you enjoy the sequel as much as the first book.

      <3 Summer

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  22. Summer I love your writing but please warn me if you're gonna tear my freaking heart out like you did in Hoodie. Even though I'm gonna read Better no matter what, I need to know if I should start looking for a therapist now. So excited for the sequel girl and can't wait to see what's next.

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    1. You don't need to look for a therapist ;) I'm sorry, though, that I tore your heart out with Hoodie. I really did end the story the way I felt was most real. Anything else would have sounded cheesy and contrived. I know readers want their HEAs. I totally get it--escape, fantasy, all that. There's the rub when it comes to my storytelling because I write realistic fiction. I have to be true to the story, even if it ends up eliciting some tears. :( Don't hate me.

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  23. Hi, I'm currently 10% into reading Good right now, and I sort of have this tendency to check the ending of a book before reading it... so far I'm hooked, and I couldn't help but check this excerpt out. It made me more curious. And I love the how the writing goes, so I kind of can't wait. :)

    - Wafiyah

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    1. I'm excited to get Better to you! Not long now--Nov. 19 will be here before we know it!

      Don't check the ending of Going Under before you read it, if you choose to. Would ruin the whole thing for you. And DEFINITELY don't do it with Better ;) Don't you wanna be surprised?

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