Blast from the Past: Tangled Web 2 – Everything But

posted in: Various Musings | 0

If you caught my blog post earlier this week, then you know I’m sharing old page content and turning it into blog posts so I can revamp other portions of my site to be more condensed and organized.  Today, I’m sharing the old page info about Everything But.

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In a nutshell: High school English teacher Erin Lancaster is stuck with the unwelcome job of filling in for the injured cheerleading coach, but she wants to back out when she discovers she has to be auctioned as a date during the annual spring fundraiser. She’s horrified to find her rock star crush Riley Schultz, former frontman of Spawn, will be playing emcee for the event, but she’s even more shocked that he also happens to be the highest bidder for her affections, and sparks fly when she discovers that maybe their attraction is mutual.

Riley’s been in the music business long enough to know that true love is not in the cards for him, but the cute blonde he’s dropped a wad of cash on would be a welcome distraction during his vacation. He has no idea there’s more to her than meets the eye.

Will one week together be enough for them to quell the flames, to enjoy everything but?

Trivia: Everything But is the first book I wrote while participating in a WriMo (a writing challenge where groups of writers get together and plan to write a 50K novel in one month). Well, I wrote about 50K that first month and knew right away that the story was only half done. So I spent the following month finishing it up! But it was fun participating in an event with the camaraderie of other writers reaching for the same goal. I’ll never pass another WriMo by!

Cool facts: Everything But has been my fastest-selling book by a landslide (well…until Bullet, that is). I anticipated that it would do well, considering it’s a “sequel” to Tangled Web, but I could not have anticipated how well this little book would do. It has blown me away!

How Erin resembles Jade: I might not teach high school, but I do teach college English.

Characters:

Riley Schultz: Former vocalist for Spawn, Riley is now singing and playing rhythm guitar in a new band called Undue Influence. Romance is no longer in the cards for him, but that doesn’t mean he’s not interested in spending some time with beautiful Erin who has caught his eye.

Erin Lancaster: A high school English teacher, Erin has had a crush on Riley Schultz since he was in his first band. She’s temporarily filling in for the injured cheerleading coach and is forced to participate in an “auction,” a fundraiser where she and the cheerleaders go on a “date” with the highest bidders. She might not feel as horrified if Riley wasn’t the emcee for the evening.

Jackie Cole: Erin’s best friend since the third grade, Jackie is the one who always manages to talk sense into Erin…no matter what the subject.

Ron Gill: The theater teacher at Erin’s high school, Ron has been harboring feelings for her that she had no idea about.

Marjorie (Margie) Schultz: Riley’s uptight mother who serves on the school board and has strong feelings about her son’s involvement with an English teacher.

Josie (Jo): A groupie-type girl who lives in Erin’s apartment building, Jo sets her sights on Riley. Why wouldn’t she?

Teaser:

Erin felt herself growing jittery, knowing she was going to be the next item of scrutiny. She kept telling herself it was all for a good cause. And all of the girls had made at least one-hundred dollars, so she hoped she could make that much as well. She’d lost count, but she knew they’d already made over fifteen-hundred. Any amount she pulled in would be gravy.

But there was another reason she felt anxious as hell. She was going to be standing next to one of her old rock crushes. She was afraid she’d come off as a giggly teenager, not unlike the dozen girls he’d already dealt with.

No. Must. Remain. Poised.

She was inhaling slow, deep breaths in an attempt to keep her cool. All the people in the audience who already knew her would think any residual nerves were simply due to the fact that she wasn’t comfortable with being thrown on a stage. No one ever had to know the truth.

And the rock star? Well…she’d likely never see him again, so why did she give such a sh*t?

After Beth was escorted off the stage, Erin took one last gulp of air. She didn’t want to stand until she was called up, but she smoothed out the fabric of her dress that was resting on her thighs. When she looked back up to the stage, she saw Riley walking toward the edge. He crooked his finger at the co-captains and then walked off the stage. Erin wasn’t quite sure what to think of that. Either he’d had enough, having bombed his last attempt at a joke, or he didn’t know he had one more person to auction off and was bailing before being accosted by fans again.

Erin tried not to feel hurt. It wasn’t personal. So much for standing next to one of her rock star crushes, though. So when John Corbin, a senior who’d never been in any of her classes, called her name (“Last but not least, Miss Lancaster!”), she stood up and walked toward the stage. Her smile wasn’t real, because part of her felt like she was in shock, but at least the nerves had dissipated.

So she kept the frozen smile on her face and walked off the bleachers toward the stage. Part of her struggled with feeling embarrassed. Ah…not good enough to be announced by the famous guy. Personal or not, she comforted herself with the idea that the guy was a dick. That’s what a lot of media had said about Riley Schultz anyway…that he was arrogant, conceited, and a bit of a control freak. She let her mind wander through its archives. She remembered that was at the heart of the Spawn breakup. Sure, part of it was the drugs. But she remembered there being some major conflict between Riley and his best friend from high school, J. C. Gibson, the lead guitarist. They both battled for ultimate artistic control of the band. J. C. wanted to go one way, Riley the other, and they wound up disbanding. They disagreed about the direction the band should go in. If Erin recalled correctly, Riley wanted to continue to cross over, drawing larger crowds, while still maintaining what he’d called “musical integrity.” J. C. had called Riley a sellout and said he refused to pander to anyone. Erin thought they were both being stubborn, because the bottom line was they both loved the music. Surely, they could’ve found some common ground. Maybe there was more to the story than she knew–hell, maybe it was just the drugs. Today, J. C. had already recovered and was in a new band that was already working on a second CD but Riley was only now getting back on his feet.

Maybe that’s what he deserved for being such a dick.

All right, her mental rant was over now and she finally made it up to the podium beside the two football players. The other player had been in her Sophomore Honors English class, and he held out his arm as if displaying merchandise. “Ms. Lancaster,” he said, grinning.

She smiled, thinking she was glad she had these young men auctioning her off. She wouldn’t have liked having a sarcastic asshole pimping her out anyway. John, the more vocal of the duo, spoke into the microphone. “Okay, I’m afraid we’re not the showmen Riley Schultz was, but we’ll take one for the team.” At the mention of team, Erin heard and then saw a large chunk of football players in the audience practically roaring their support. “All right, can I get a bid of twenty-five dollars for Winchester High’s English maven Erin Lancaster?”

Erin started laughing, afraid she was becoming hysterical, giggling just like the cheerleaders had moments earlier. She knew it was because everything was heightened, what with being on display and all, but it seemed like forever before anyone made a bid. Sh*t. That would be the ultimate humiliation. Not even a twenty-five dollar bid. But finally Ron Gill’s hand went in the air. And she wasn’t sure what to think about that. Ron was nice enough but they’d butted heads quite a few times during faculty meetings. They had different ideas. They were supposed to agree on a Shakespeare play every year. Ron was supposed to have his students study it in Drama II and she had to dissect it with her seniors in Honors English, but it was almost as if Ron just wanted to pick a fight. If she said Julius Caesar, he’d insist upon Macbeth. If one of the history teachers jumped in and asked about Henry V, he’d dig in his heels and demand Othello. If she wanted to focus on a comedy that year, he’d demand drama. He was infuriating.

And then it hit her. He was like a boy in middle school, picking fights because…he liked her. Oh, God. Why hadn’t she ever seen it before? And…he was a nice enough guy. But he really wasn’t her type.

And, again, just whom did she think she was kidding? The last guy she’d fallen for, a bad boy at that, had crushed her so badly she’d sworn off men forever. So…let him bid. She’d enjoy dinner with him and then go home. She just hoped she could earn at least a little more than twenty-five bucks.

“Can we get fifty?” This question was followed again by a few moments’ silence until she heard another voice booming in the back.

“Five-hundred.”

Erin was certain she hadn’t heard correctly. Her eyes scanned the crowd, unable to find the face that owned the voice.

John said into the microphone, “Was that five-hundred?”

She saw someone step forward. “Five-hundred.”

F*ck. It was Riley Schultz. What the hell? She felt all her composure melt away. What was that she’d been thinking about an arrogant dick earlier? She looked down at him as he got closer to the stage and tried to smile, but instead she knew her mouth was just hanging open, in shock.

“Whoa, dude,” John said into the microphone. He looked back out at the crowd. “Um…can I get five-fifty?”

And the rest was a blur. Riley Schultz won the bid, spending more money than anyone else had, and she had no idea what to say or do. But at least she’d finally managed to smile.

Stats: I told you Everything But has taken the cake when it comes to being my fastest-selling book, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This book has excelled all my other ones and by far. Its highest rank on Amazon was #234 Paid in Kindle Store, but that’s not all! It also got as high as #18 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Women’s Fiction > Contemporary Women; #32 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Contemporary Fiction/ and #41 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Romance > Contemporary. Also thanks to this book’s sales, I was, for a time, propelled into Amazon’s Most Popular Authors’ ranks. I have to tell you that was a great feeling!

Availability:
Kindle
Nook
Paperback–Amazon

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