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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Lost Melodies: Sneak Peek

Sneak peek at the first chapter (2500 words or so) of Lost Melodies, book 4 of the Wynter Wild series. Hi to my Wattpad readers who've headed this way! I'll be uploading the complete book, chapter by chapter, to Wattpad when I've finished editing.

CLICK "read more" to keep going...

Jesse kept the hot brunette in his line of sight as he got on all fours on the mat for some spinal waves. Her fantastic body was the second-best thing about his morning so far.

Best. Yoga class. Ever.

“Inhale. Connect to your deep inner core strength. Exhale. Connect to your outer core strength. Inhale…”

The instructor’s soothing voice led them through the exercises. The brunette glanced over her shoulder at Jesse with a coy smile as she extended her lithe body into a side angle pose, and demonstrated her admirable flexibility by arching back into the camel pose. Jesse did his best to keep up, conscious of not straining anything.

When flirting at yoga, how big a risk of injury should one take?

The instructor told them to partner up, and the brunette invited Jesse to her mat with a quirk of her eyebrow. They sat back-to-back, bending this way and that. Her spine pressing against his was pleasantly intimate, and wholly sanctioned by the circumstances. They stood and faced each other, clasping hands and bending knees into the chair pose, and then one arm outstretched and a twist to…

Across the gym, Wynter stood pressed against the far wall while her partner, a middle-aged woman, tried to coax her back to the mat to join the fun.

With regret, Jesse disentangled himself. “I gotta help out my sister.”

He and Wynter worked together for the rest of the class. One more glance at the brunette yielded a peeved frown, so he didn’t look her way again. Then came the cool-down—lying on their backs while the instructor took them through a visualization about chakras. Once she started talking about breathing in white light, Jesse figured Wynter’s discomfort would be on the rise. Sure enough, he opened his eyes to see her pushing on the gym doors, heading outside.

He grabbed his towel and water bottle and caught up with her. “You okay?”

“Didn’t want that woman touching me.” She looked shaken, with red spots of anger in her cheeks. Anger at herself, maybe.

“Sorry. I should’ve realized sooner—”

“Why did you suggest yoga, anyway?”

“Not all classes make you partner up.”

“But that white light stuff? That’s garbage.”

“Well, the physics of it isn’t totally garbage. Unless you split the light with a prism, you sort of are breathing in white light.”

Wynter tossed her head as they walked to the car. “It’s garbage, Jesse. You only tolerated it so you could ogle that girl.” Okay, so she was kinda angry at him.

“We gave it a shot, and the first lesson was free. I thought it might be something relaxing and healthy you could do after class. Once we move to the new house, you’ll be spending a couple of afternoons a week here in Issaquah waiting for me or Caleb to pick you up.”

“I’ll wait in the library.”

“Maybe they have pilates or a pump class or—”

“I’ll stick to karate with Sensei Caleb. Let’s check out the junk stores, see if we can find antiques for the tower.”

Wynter had her heart set on fitting out the tower of their new house like a medieval castle, which was Jesse’s fault because he’d dreamed up the idea. Trouble was, the tower was not habitable. They had an hour to spare, so he indulged her. He followed her around junk stores and feigned interest in the dark wood cabinets and sheepskin rugs and candlesticks.

Pretty soon he wasn’t faking it. His imagination caught fire at the idea of hanging tapestries and sconces. A cast iron chandelier dangling from the turret roof. A four poster bed. Maybe a few chains and manacles, just for show. Girls might find that hot.

They were all broke, so no one was going to be buying anything. Didn’t stop Wynter grabbing a couple of rope curtain ties and not putting them down again. Maybe she assumed he’d pay for them? He had succeeded that morning in getting a lifeguard job at the local pool—twelve hours a week, which meant he’d have to drop his regular drumming gig because he’d have no time for rehearsals. He had his YouTube money and the occasional twenty bucks from fill-in gigs. Once he paid for gas, college books, entertainment expenses with friends, and a gram or two of weed, there was nothing left for rope tassels.

As they admired a three-hundred-dollar mirror with an elaborately carved frame, Jesse got a message from Caleb.

Wynter saw his expression and her face reflected his alarm.

“Damn,” he said, “this is bad news. Caleb got the quote on repairs for the tower. Twenty-two thousand dollars, and that’s just to make it safe and fix the roof.”

“Do we have twenty-two thousand dollars?”

“Of course not.”

“But we love the tower!”

We love it. Caleb sees a money pit. It costs half that much to tear it down and he can sell the windows and stairs and stuff to recover some of the cost.”

“No,” she whispered, twisting the silky scarlet rope in her hands. “The tower is why we bought the house. We have to save it.”

Jesse’s heart squeezed. She had lost so much, and this new home represented love and safety and a new beginning. To start out this way, losing the tower, was a blow.

“What do you suggest?” he said, less patiently than he intended as he worked the rope loose from her hands. “I could sell my bike and the Caprice and my drum kit and laptop and I’d have about four grand. God, that’s depressing, that I’m only worth four grand at the age of nineteen.”

“What are we gonna do?”

“I don’t know. He doesn’t have the money to demolish it or fix it right now, cuz he’ll be paying for essential repairs around the house first. We’ll pray for a miracle. Let go.” He finally extracted the rope and checked the price tag. “I don’t have… What the hell—$29.99? I don’t have $29.99. I bet you could make this from a bit of string.”

“I can braid, but I can’t turn string into silk.”

“You know what, though? Our medieval tower, if we can save it, is sure to attract Rumpelstiltskin. He’ll do it.”

“For the price of my firstborn.”

“Hey, you know that story?”

“I know some fairy tales.”

“Let me guess, is your favorite Rapunzel? Is that why you like the tower?”

“Yes, Jesse. I love stories about girls locked away from the world.” She thumped his arm as they left the store. “I don’t have a favorite. I liked the idea of Rapunzel’s long hair, because mine was always so ratty. I liked Snow White because of all those little men she took care of, like I’m gonna take care of you and Caleb and… you know who, when he moves home.” She rolled her eyes to acknowledge the unlikelihood of that dream. “I like Sleeping Beauty because she was woken by a kiss.”

“So was Snow White.”

“Snow White was dead, or in a coffin, anyway. That’s just creepy. Sleeping Beauty was under a spell, saved by true love.”

“It’s a metaphor for virginity and sex—you know that, right?”

“I didn’t know that.”

“Most of those fairy tales are.”

Wynter stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. “I’m sixteen and I’ve never been on a date. Is that normal?”

“It’s perfectly normal. You’re concentrating on your studies right now.”

“You’d been dating for ages at my age.”

“Not really,” he said carefully, wondering where this was going. “I was exactly your age, just turned sixteen, when I—”

“Meg Whitfeld from the mini golf. Yes, I know. How old was Indio?”

“He refuses to tell me. Pretty sure it was the summer right before he turned fifteen.”

“How old was Caleb?”

“Fifteen and eleven months.”

“Caleb beat you to it? Wow.”

Jesse fidgeted with the car keys as they crossed the parking lot. “It’s not a race.”

“I just thought he’d be slower off the mark, whereas you churn through girlfriends so fast I lose track. What happened to Isabella from Seville?”

“She was a little insane. I didn’t pick up on it at first. Never mind. I’ll be more careful next time.”

“You were together for less than two weeks. Pretty soon you’ll be down to one-night stands, and you’ll have become Indio.”

“This summer, I plan to have my first long-term girlfriend.”

“Who?”

“Haven’t met her yet.”

“Okay. Well, good luck with that. Will you help me get a boyfriend?”

“I’ll play a minor role, but it’s your choice.”

“How do you choose a girlfriend?”

“I have a hundred criteria. She has to be smart. She has to not be funnier than me.”

“You’re not that funny, by the w—”

“And she has to be interested in me, obviously.”

“How can you tell?”

“All kinds of ways. Unnecessary touching is a big indicator. Or she looks at my lips. That means she wants to kiss me.”

“Or maybe she’s wishing your lips would stop talking for ten seconds so she can say something funny.”

Jesse scowled as he opened the car door for her. “See what I did there? I’m a gentleman. You’ll use me as your model of gentlemanly behavior and choose a boyfriend who opens the door for you.”

“You’ve never once opened a door for me before.”

“I’m sure I have.”

She climbed in. “I’m sure you haven’t.”

He grunted and closed the door.

“If you have any questions about how the male mind works,” he said, getting in the driver’s side, “you can ask me. Or questions about any part of the male anatomy, actually.”

“That could get embarrassing for both of us.”

“Nope. Not for me. Be careful what you ask Caleb. He managed to dispense all the necessary information to me and Indio over the years, but he’s gonna choke talking to a teenage girl about it.”

“Could I ask Indio?”

“You know the answer to that. I’m still your one and only source of accurate information, Wyn, and on this subject it’s doubly true. I’m very rational about my relationships, while also being emotionally invested to the appropriate depth.”

“What is the appropriate depth of emotional investment?”

“All depends. Don’t worry, I’ll help you with all of that but this afternoon we have something much more important to deal with. High school enrollment.”


# # #


“You nervous, hun?” Caleb asked Wynter on the drive to the high school. She was quiet in the back.

“I’m okay. This feels like kind of a big occasion. When I first came to Seattle, Jesse, you told me I could go to your old school. It’s taken fourteen months, but finally I am. Do the teachers know I’m your sister? Will they remember you?”

Jesse twisted around to face her. “How memorable do you think I’d be, two years down the track?”

“Very.”

“Okay, then.”

“How long since you were here, Caleb?”

“I went to Jesse’s concerts—but the last time I had a class here was eight years ago.”

“Did you like the school as much as Jesse did?”

“Probably not. It was… y’know, school. I liked that it was a lot bigger than my high school in Anaconda.”

“Were you here at the same time as Indio?”

“Just for my senior year, when he started as a freshman.”

“Indio was a shock to their system after two years of Caleb,” Jesse said. “But then, along came me. I more than made up for it.” As Caleb turned the Silverado into a visitor parking spot in front of the huge red-brick building, Jesse said, “Looks exactly the same. Come on, Wyn. You’re gonna love it.”

Wynter was the first out of the car. Caleb put an hand on Jesse’s arm to stop him.

“Take it easy, okay?” he said, once Wynter had shut her door. “I know you’re excited for her, but this is gonna be tough. Aside from all the stress with starting a new school, she has three very different older siblings’ reputations to overcome.”

“She’s gonna outshine at least two of us,” Jesse said with a grin, before shrugging off Caleb’s hand to get out. “I hope Mr Wellesley’s still the librarian. We were best friends.”


# # #


Two of Wynter’s teachers had appointments to talk with her. The first was her homeroom teacher, and Caleb’s heart sank a little when it turned out to be Mr Roberto, who knew all three Fairn boys rather well.

“How’s that brother of yours?” was the first thing out of his mouth after Wynter had been introduced.

“Indio’s graduating this semester from Portland State,” Caleb said. “Already has a full-time job lined up. He’s very talented. Gonna do great.”

Mr Roberto’s bushy eyebrows twitched dubiously.

“Wynter’s super smart,” Jesse said after she and Mr Roberto had talked through her optional subjects. “She can finish Algebra II this year and get started on Pre-calculus before the summer, if you put her in Mrs Perry’s class.”

“I’ve read her report card from the last school, thank you, Jesse. There’s room in Mrs Perry’s class, but it clashes with physical education.”

“I don’t want to do physical education,” Wynter said. “Caleb’s teaching me karate, and I’m taking swimming lessons soon.”

“Excellent. Extra-curricular activities are excellent. However, you need to take one year of physical education in order to pass high school.”

“Can’t she do it next year?” Jesse said.

“Yes, but this year would be—”

“Okay, that’s what she’ll do. Mrs Perry’s the world’s best math teacher. Wynter has to take that class. She can graduate high school a semester early.”

Caleb gave Jesse a look to silence him. “Wynter and Mr Roberto need to make these decisions,” he said.

They muddled through it and Wynter got her timetable sorted out. With half an hour to wait, Jesse served as tour guide around the school. The students were in class, so the corridors were quiet. Then, they headed to the admin wing for the next appointment.

“Ms Green’s the school counselor,” Caleb told Wynter. “She can help you settle in, if you take the time to listen to her advice.” He was anxious Wynter make friends at this school, after failing to do so at her last two schools.

They reached the office. Caleb saw the name on the door and his stomach flipped.

Anita Green.

Surely not...

“What’s up?” Jesse said, seeing his hand hesitate in midair as he prepared to knock.

“Uh, I think I know her,” Caleb said.

“I don’t recognize the name. Mr Sokolov was counselor when I was here.”

“Yeah, she wasn’t a teacher,” Caleb said. “She was a student.”

Wynter clapped her hands over her mouth. “Did you have a crush on her?”

Before he could answer, the door opened and Caleb found himself face-to-face with the girl he lost his virginity to.

2 comments:

  1. I LOVED THIS!!!!!!!! I only have one thing to say, and that is that you have NO IDEA how much I missed Wynter, Caleb, and Jesse. You are such a great author! When are you going to start posting Lost Melodies on Wattpad, sorry just can't wait for more!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for reading!
    I can't give you a firm timeline on book 4. I'm editing the first half, which needed a bit of work. The second half is pretty much done.

    ReplyDelete