Rise of the Alpha by Lorenz Font

RISE OF ALPHA – THE PRODIAN JOURNEY
 by
Lorenz Font
 Official genre of book: Young Adult/Urban Fantasy/Coming-of-age

All Brian Morrison wants is to be an ordinary teenager with normal teenage problems, but his uncontrollable twitching and phonic tics make that impossible. The butt of jokes in school, he is nothing but a laughing-stock until a visit to a local tarot shop turns his life upside-down.
The psychic’s strange prediction thrusts him into a mysterious world of ghastly creatures and bizarre events, and he must come to terms with the abrupt changes if he is going to survive. One mother’s plea for help presents him with an impossible challenge, but it also brings him closer to the most popular girl in school. Brian must overcome threats from all sides to honor his promise, and he is determined to succeed. His heart won’t let him turn his back on someone in need, especially when he’s fallen in love with her.
Protecting Shannon McKesson soon becomes the greatest purpose of his life. Brian discovers many things on this new journey, but the biggest one might be the truth about who he is. If only he and Shannon can stay alive long enough to unlock the mystery. 

“Bro, you’re acting weird today—weirder than usual, anyway. I know you well enough to know something’s up, so spill the fava beans!” Mark made that Hannibal Lecter hissing sound from one of our favorite movies.
“Yeah, you ran out of that psychic shop like you’d seen a ghost.” Darryl seconded. “Then you got sick and wouldn’t answer our calls until this morning. Spill, dude.”
I wavered between the truth or a lie about what had happened over the past few days. Telling them would also mean I had to tell them about Shannon. For some selfish reason, I wanted to keep her all to myself. My own little secret.
“We’re your best friends, in case you’ve forgotten. We’ve shared dirty secrets since middle school,” Mark reminded me.
As long as I could remember, these two had been watching my back.
I still hesitated, but the overwhelming need to share my fears with them overcame the urge to keep Shannon to myself.
“Fine. It’s weird, and I expect you to keep this on the down-low, aʼight?”
They nodded.
“That night at Madame Elizabeth’s, she said something that scared the crap out of me. I know it was bogus, but it freaked me out bad.”
“What did she say?” they asked in unison.
I mimicked Shannon’s mom. “With your curse comes a blessing.”
“Really?” Mark narrowed his eyes. “That scared the shit out of you?”
“Yeah.” I was sure they’d start making fun of me, but when neither of them said anything, I continued. “She’s creepy, bro.”
Again, there was silence except for the crunching sound of their chewing, and the music of the forgotten video game’s menu screen.
After a moment, Darryl began picking at his ear piercings, a nervous habit of his. “Okay, fine. Madame Elizabeth confused the hell out of me with my reading. I got the man hanging upside down. She said that it symbolized self-sacrifice and adapting to changes. Like there’s going to be a pause in my life until I give up something for the greater good. So I asked what it really meant, because my creep-o-meter shot through the roof. She said that my friend would be going through a transition and I needed to be there for him.”
Mark and I looked at each other while Darryl resumed his assault on the chips.

“Who is transitioning?” I asked, not sure what it meant.

Mark raised both hands and shook his head with a grin. “Don’t look at me. My voice doesn’t squeak. I’m circumcised, and all cylinders are a go.”
I socked Mark in the arm. “You’re stupid.”
“What did Madame E tell you?” Darryl asked him.
He was thoughtful for a moment. “Well, mine was kinda freaky, too. She had me pick a card, and I got temperance. She said it meant I had self-control and was able to handle tough situations, but that I had to deal with impatience and conflict. It could also mean angels and guardian spirits were around, but in my case, she said I was it.” He sighed and looked over at me. “Go figure what that means. Anyway, now you can tell us whatever it is you’re holding back.”
Cornered, I knew it was time to tell them about the dreams. I turned my desk chair around and straddled it. “That night, I started having weird dreams. First, this creature was chasing after Shannon McKesson. It was all a blur. I went back to sleep and dreamed something different. This random woman was being bitten by a rattlesnake. It was like I was there watching it happen. Then the next day, there she was in the news.”
I stopped to take a deep breath, and my friends stared at me like I’d lost my marbles. “See, I told you it’s weird. But that’s not all. I dreamed about Shannon and the weird creature again. It woke me up. I went back to sleep, I had another dream. This time, there was a girl running away from a man, and he was holding a bat. I could see everything around them, but I had no idea where they were. The next day, Shannon came over, and she and my mom were watching the—”
“Hold it right there! Shannon was here?” Disbelief was all over Mark’s face. Darryl stopped chewing, mirroring Mark’s surprise.
My secret was out. “Yeah, she came over when I didn’t show up for class yesterday.” I tried to make it sound like it wasn’t a big deal. 

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A professional daydreamer, Lorenz Font discovered her love of writing after reading a celebrated novel that inspired one idea after another. Since being published in 2013, she has been conspiring, butting heads, and enjoying her spare time with vampires, angels, samurais, and other creatures she has created in her head.
Her perfect day consists of writing and lounging on her garage couch (a.k.a. the office) with a glass of her favorite cabernet while listening to her ever-growing music collection. She finds writing urban fantasy exhilarating and places an intense focus on angst and the redemption of flawed characters. Her fascination with romantic twists is a mainstay in all her stories.
Lorenz lives in Southern California with her supportive family and three demanding dogs.
Enter the Goodreads giveaway for a chance of an autographed copy of Rise of Alpha.
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Rise of Alpha – Lorenz Font

RISE OF ALPHA – THE PRODIAN JOURNEY
by
Lorenz Font
Official genre of book: Young Adult/Urban Fantasy/Coming-of-age

All Brian Morrison wants is to be an ordinary teenager with normal teenage problems, but his uncontrollable twitching and phonic tics make that impossible. The butt of jokes in school, he is nothing but a laughing-stock until a visit to a local tarot shop turns his life upside-down.
The psychic’s strange prediction thrusts him into a mysterious world of ghastly creatures and bizarre events, and he must come to terms with the abrupt changes if he is going to survive. One mother’s plea for help presents him with an impossible challenge, but it also brings him closer to the most popular girl in school. Brian must overcome threats from all sides to honor his promise, and he is determined to succeed. His heart won’t let him turn his back on someone in need, especially when he’s fallen in love with her.

Protecting Shannon McKesson soon becomes the greatest purpose of his life. Brian discovers many things on this new journey, but the biggest one might be the truth about who he is. If only he and Shannon can stay alive long enough to unlock the mystery.

VOYANT’s purple neon sign welcomed us when we walked into the dark, rather dingy room. The scent of burning incense was heavy, and I faltered, not digging the eerie atmosphere. The black walls were lined with wall hangings of different tarot card characters, which seemed to be smirking at anyone dumb enough to buy their bogus predictions. Mark glanced over his shoulder at me with an unspoken challenge, leaving me no choice but to follow him to the counter.
The girl behind the counter looked up, her expression one of boredom. I recognized her immediately and stopped in my tracks, my mouth gaping open.
Shannon McKesson?
Whoa! Shannon was the epitome of popularity. She was pretty in that girl-next-door type of way. Her blond hair bounced on her shoulders like girls’ did in television commercials. Her eyes were bluer than my mother’s, and she had that mature persona most teenagers would die for. I had been watching her all these years, unable to take my eyes off her whenever she drove her yellow Beetle into the school parking lot or walked through the campus with the sure kind of grace only confident people possessed.
Darryl shifted next to me and pushed my chin up, closing my mouth. I coughed, realizing I’d already made my first blunder of the night. And it didn’t even have anything to do with my tics.
“Hi, Shannon. We’re here for a tarot reading. I called earlier to make an appointment,” Mark said, sounding like a real tarot junkie.
“Oh, yeah. Larry, Curly, and Moe.” She hopped off the barstool and checked off our names in the appointment book.
Mark and Darryl quickly pointed at me. “He’s Curly!”

Of all the things these bastards could do, they had to put me in the spotlight. They knew I hated the attention. I felt my face burning from embarrassment but decided to play along, shuffling my feet for maximum effect. What came next was a reward for my efforts. Shannon laughed, the sound a sweet mix of tolling bells.

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A professional daydreamer, Lorenz Font discovered her love of writing after reading a celebrated novel that inspired one idea after another. Since being published in 2013, she has been conspiring, butting heads, and enjoying her spare time with vampires, angels, samurais, and other creatures she has created in her head.
Her perfect day consists of writing and lounging on her garage couch (a.k.a. the office) with a glass of her favorite cabernet while listening to her ever-growing music collection. She finds writing urban fantasy exhilarating and places an intense focus on angst and the redemption of flawed characters. Her fascination with romantic twists is a mainstay in all her stories.
Lorenz lives in Southern California with her supportive family and three demanding dogs.

Cover Reveal – Rise of Alpha by Lorenz Font

RISE OF ALPHA – THE PRODIAN JOURNEY
 by  Lorenz Font
Official genre of book: Young Adult/Urban Fantasy/Coming-of-age

Release Date: May 3, 2016

All Brian Morrison wants is to be an ordinary teenager with normal teenage problems, but his uncontrollable twitching and phonic tics make that impossible. The butt of jokes in school, he is nothing but a laughing-stock until a visit to a local tarot shop turns his life upside-down.
The psychic’s strange prediction thrusts him into a mysterious world of ghastly creatures and bizarre events, and he must come to terms with the abrupt changes if he is going to survive. One mother’s plea for help presents him with an impossible challenge, but it also brings him closer to the most popular girl in school. Brian must overcome threats from all sides to honor his promise, and he is determined to succeed. His heart won’t let him turn his back on someone in need, especially when he’s fallen in love with her.
Protecting Shannon McKesson soon becomes the greatest purpose of his life. Brian discovers many things on this new journey, but the biggest one might be the truth about who he is. If only he and Shannon can stay alive long enough to unlock the mystery.
We walked toward the building together. The corridor was filled with loitering students, waiting for the bell to ring. When we got to our photography class, we both sat in the back of the room.
“Should we schedule something this weekend?” Shannon asked.
“Schedule what?” I had no clue what she was talking about.
“Our photo session.” She showed a hint of a smile.
I remembered now. She wanted me to pose for her. Eager to please, I nodded, even if I hated the whole idea. “Where do you want to do it?”
She thought for a moment. “I want a nice background.”
How about my bedroom? I wanted to say, but that wouldn’t go over well, so I tried to come up with something else. “Um . . . you want nature as the background?”
“Yeah.”
“What about the Huntington Library? They have pretty flowers and plants there.” I couldn’t believe I was talking about this stuff with a girl. I’d come a long way.
Her eyes lit up. “Oh yes! That’ll be perfect. I want to see the Corpse Flower.”
Great! She’d be taking my picture next to the Amorphophallus titanium, an unattractive plant that smelled like . . . well, it lived up to its name. What a way to boost my ego. I tried to smile anyway.
A professional daydreamer, Lorenz Font discovered her love of writing after reading a celebrated novel that inspired one idea after another. Since being published in 2013, she has been conspiring, butting heads, and enjoying her spare time with vampires, angels, samurais, and other creatures she has created in her head.
Her perfect day consists of writing and lounging on her garage couch (a.k.a. the office) with a glass of her favorite cabernet while listening to her ever-growing music collection. She finds writing urban fantasy exhilarating and places an intense focus on angst and the redemption of flawed characters. Her fascination with romantic twists is a mainstay in all her stories.
Lorenz lives in Southern California with her supportive family and three demanding dogs.

The Starlight Chronicles by Lisa Orchard

The Starlight Chronicles
GENRE: Young Adult / Coming of Age
EDITOR: EsKape Press
COVER DESGINER: For the Muse Designs
Lark Singer is seventeen years old and already on the way to a brilliant music career. But as she and her band, Starlight, gear up for a competition, life seems to be throwing her a few curve balls. The mysteries of her past seem to be unraveling, and she’s no longer certain she wants to know those answers or how knowing about her past will affect her difficult relationship with her mother. And when her best friend, Bean, changes things between them, all her plans for a musical future are placed in jeopardy. How can she balance her complicated personal life to keep her musical goals on track?
Book One ~ Gideon Lee

Original Release Date: Oct 19, 2014

Lark Singer’s relationship with her mother is prickly to say the least. As she enters a musical competition that could launch her career, Lark also searches for answers her mother would rather keep hidden. Throw into the mix the fact her best friend Bean has been acting strangely, and Lark finds herself launched into uncharted territory. Will her quest for answers sabotage her musical aspirations?

Chapter One
I want to be like Gideon Lee. My lips move as I read the title of my essay. They twitch as I stifle a snicker. Looking around the room, I make sure no one has seen my facial tic. My eyes light upon the Presidents’ pictures lined up on the wall. They face me, each with a unique expression, and I wonder what they were thinking while they posed. They are above the clock so my gaze naturally falls on it. It’s almost time for lunch.
I settle back in my seat and my lips twitch again. A feeling of defiant exhilaration washes over me like a tidal wave.
Montgomery’s going to freak when he reads this.
Despite my best efforts, a giggle escapes and the boy in front of me turns around and gives me the evil eye. I return the glare. He is slumped over, and sweat beads on his upper lip. I think this is odd — it’s rather chilly in the room — but dismiss it before I turn back to my essay.

I bet old man Montgomery doesn’t even know who Gideon Lee is. This thought sends another giggle to the surface, but I quickly squash it by biting my lip.
I picture him searching Gideon Lee’s name on the Internet. I see his expression changing from confusion to disgust. I imagine him taking off his black, thick-rimmed glasses and shaking his head. I hear him mutter, “Lark Singer, what are you doing?” He rubs his face. I can actually hear the rough sandpapery sound as his hand finds his day old stubble. He sighs and puts his glasses back on. “What am I going to do with you?”
I remember when Mr. Montgomery first told us about the assignment. We were supposed to write an essay on someone we admire, someone who has contributed to society in some way. I know when he says this he wants us to write about an a historical figure. After all this is history class, but I raised my hand anyway.
“Lark,” he called out as he stood at his lectern.
“Do they have to be dead?”
He cocked his head as he studied me with his piercing blue eyes. Then he ran his hand over his military style crew cut, and I watched as his salt and pepper hair flattened then popped back into place as if each hair was standing at attention. I could tell he wasn’t sure where this was going. “Well… I guess not.” That’s when he froze, as if he realized he had just opened a door for me and he wasn’t going to like what was on the other side. He shifted his weight, and looked down at the floor before he backpedaled. “But they have to have made a positive contribution to society. It can’t be about a mobster or anything like that.” Pursing his lips, he stared at me, fiddling with those glasses. “This is one half of your semester grade, Lark. I wouldn’t pull any funny stuff.”
“Oh, I won’t. Scout’s honor,” I answered sweetly, placing my hand over my heart and giving him the scout salute, while inside I planned my rebellion.
I have him. I’m going to write about Gideon Lee, and there’s nothing he can do about it.
Book Two ~ Lark Singer
Original Release Date: Dec 6, 2014
Lark Singer is seventeen years old and already on the way to a brilliant music career. As she and her band, Starlight, gear-up for an upcoming, life-changing band competition, though, life seems to be throwing her a few curve balls. The mysteries of her past seem to be unraveling, and she’s no longer certain she wants to know those answers, or how knowing about her past will affect her difficult relationship with her mother. And when her best friend, Bean, changes things between them, all her plans for a musical future are placed in jeopardy. How can she balance her unraveling personal life to keep her musical goals on track?

Chapter One

THE GUYS ARE impatiently waiting for me. Bean’s foot jiggles so fast; it appears as if a current of electricity runs through him. We have to be down at Pearl’s by seven.
We’re all geeked about playing on stage, I can tell. Performing at Pearl’s gives us the face time we need for when it’s really going to count. The real event — the competition — is only a few weeks away. I pick up my pace, we have three hours to jam and grab some food before we go on stage.
“Come on, Chickie,” he says, gesturing with his sticks as he settles into position behind his drums.
Rushing forward, I plug in my amp. As I crank out a few chords to warm up, that old energy buzzes through my veins. After a couple of licks, I’m ready and my nimble fingers tingle. I’m wired. I love playing in front of a live audience. “Which one are we jamming on?” I look over at Bean and wait for his answer.
His brow creases as he tries to decide. “This one here.” He holds up the lead sheet and waves it impatiently in the air.
I squint to see it. It’s the one we titled “Secrets.” Pointing to the lead sheet sitting on Stevie’s stand, I get into position. I had taken a few minutes and titled Stevie’s lead sheets for him the other day.
He nods. “Thanks.”
Bean slams his sticks together and counts out. “One… two… three.”
We’re off, filling the garage with musical energy. My body’s rigid, as if every muscle’s flexed and ready for action. Screaming chords fill the air, as my nimble fingers crank on my Gibson. I feel like I’m a live electrical wire, popping and snapping with unrestrained energy.
When we’re done with that song, no one speaks. Instead, Bean holds up another lead sheet and then we’re off again. Tonight’s performance is going to be epic. I can tell just by how we’re coming together. I grin in spite of my intense concentration; my confidence is growing by leaps and bounds. We are so ready for this competition that I can feel it all the way down to my bones.
After the second song, I hold up my hand and say, “Our sound smokes. But don’t you think we should play some of the music we’re going to be performing tonight?”
Bean snorts. “Yeah. Probably.”
We take a few minutes and discuss some of the songs we want to play. We usually crank out tunes that were big hits in the seventies and eighties, a lot of Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and Rolling Stones. They’re more mellow than what we’ve been playing, but they’re still good melodies and the crowd at Pearl’s digs that classical sound. Playing this type of music broadens our musicianship, but there’s nothing like cranking out our own songs. After choosing a few of the harder tunes we immediately start jamming.
We’ve chosen “Hotel California” by the Eagles. It’s a dark tune about moving to California and I love the melody. My guitar howls out the chords and I feel that quiver inside as I sing the lyrics. After cranking out three more Eagles’ songs, we change it up for a few Fleetwood Mac and Rolling Stones’ songs. They’re great dance tunes and we know we’ll get people out on the floor with these.
After the last melody, we take a break. The garage seems to hum with the absence of our music. As if it was vibrating at a rapid rate and is slowly winding down because the music stopped. We all take swigs from the water bottles Bean brought out earlier and then sit in the folding chairs by the wall.
“What time is it?” Stevie asks, screwing the cap back on his water bottle.
“Time to get going,” Bean answers after a quick glance at his watch. “My brother should be here any minute to help me get my drum set down to Pearl’s.”
“Cool. I guess I’ll ride down with Francine.” I grimace as I say this and Bean exchanges a look with Stevie.
“I’ve got my parents’ Toyota for the night. You could ride with me,” Stevie offers with grin and a shrug.
“Awesome.” I smile at him as my heart swells with gratitude for my band mates. The truce between Francine and me has been extended, mainly because I’ve been
avoiding her and there hasn’t been an opportunity to wage another war. So I welcome any opportunity to keep the avoidance plan going.
A horn sounds off in front of the house. Moving to the garage door opener, I press the button. The Brown Turd sits in the driveway, rumbling and vibrating.
“There’s my ride,” Bean says. “Can I get some help?”
No one talks as we all gather around Bean’s drum set and help him disassemble it. It takes us about fifteen minutes to get everything in the car, but when we’re done, Bean’s satisfied with our work. He gives me a wink and says, “I’ll see you down there, Chickie.” Shifting his focus to Stevie, he says, “Later, dude.” They exchange a quick knuckle bump, and then Bean jumps in the car.
As they pull out of the driveway, Stevie gives me a nudge. “Come on. Let’s get going.”
I follow him back to the garage, where we grab our equipment and stow it in the backseat of his parents’ green sedan. Then we hustle inside and grab our coats. On my way out the door, I glance at my watch and realize we’ll just have enough time to eat before we play. Since we don’t charge for our performance, the owner of Pearl’s gives us our meal on the house. We’re okay with that because we need the face time and the food at Pearl’s is epically awesome.
After we climb into the car, Stevie starts it and pulls away from the curb. “What’re you going to get?” he asks after adjusting his mirror.
I tilt my head and think about it before I answer. “Probably a wet burrito.” I smile and face him. “How about you?”
“That does sound pretty good. I’ll probably get one of those too.”
We share a giddy laugh and then zoom down the road. I love Friday nights at Pearl’s, the relaxed atmosphere and the friendliness of the staff. The owner of the bar, whose actual name is Marge, always welcomes us with a smile. Her grandmother, the original owner, was Pearl.
Marge is a rotund woman with big boobs and an even bigger heart. When I was a young girl, I’d been afraid of her. Afraid that I’d get lost in that big pillowy chest and suffocate.
I snicker every time I think about that now and chalk it up to irrational fears of childhood.
As we pull into the parking lot behind the bar, I turn to Stevie and say. “Hey, did Bean tell you we have a name for the band?”
Stevie shakes his head as he puts the car in park and shuts it off. “Nope. What is it?”
“Starlight.”
Stevie grins and fiddles with his glasses. He repeats the name a couple of times, then turns to me, and says, “I like it.”
I let out a squeal of delight. “I do too.”
Stevie laughs because I’m not the type of girl that squeals. I’m much more levelheaded, but I can’t help it. We have our songs picked out and we have a name for the band. And the fact that we’re getting face time tonight is just frosting on the cake.
“Where’s Bean?” I ask, scanning the parking lot for the Brown Turd.
Stevie frowns. “I don’t know. He should be here by now.”
“Well let’s get the equipment into the bar. Maybe by the time we’re done, he’ll be here.”
“Okay.”
Climbing out of the car, I scrutinize the area again and still no Bean. Disappointed, I sigh and grab my Gibson and my amp, then carry them inside. Stevie’s right behind me with his gear in tow.
We trudge through the back door and find ourselves in a dimly lit hall. It’s narrow and smells of slimy grease and stale cigarettes. I figure this is where Marge’s staff comes when they want to have a smoke.
Traveling down the narrow corridor, we pass a bathroom on the right and the kitchen on the left. Coming from the kitchen is the sound of meat frying on a hot grill, the clatter of dishes, and the barking of orders as the staff hustle around trying to get through the dinner rush.
Inhaling a big whiff, I catch the scent of chipotle and cayenne pepper. Must be a Mexican dish is the special tonight, and my stomach rumbles in anticipation. We skirt
the main dining room and enter the bar area. At seven, Marge opens the divider between the two rooms and we’ll start cranking out the tunes.
There’s a small stage at the back and we head in that direction. I flick on the light. It flickers before the room lights up. Booths with cracked upholstery line the walls, and there are tables sporting red plastic tablecloths with candles in the center of them. Surrounding the tables like troops taking a bunker, are chairs with the same type of upholstery as the booths.
Stevie bangs into a table with his Fender and curses under his breath. I make it up on the stage and place my equipment on the left. Stevie likes the right side and Bean sits center stage, about five feet behind Stevie and me. There’s a small platform for him that sits about ten inches higher than the stage. This way Bean isn’t lost behind his drums. Stooping, I arrange my stand and amp so they’re out of the way, but accessible. Stevie does the same thing, and we’re quiet as we work.
After I get everything situated, I glance toward the door and frown. Still no Bean. My stomach flutters. If we don’t have a drummer, we can’t play. I catch Stevie’s eye. “I’m getting nervous.”
Stevie gives me a smile and says, “Chill. He’ll be here. You know Bean, he’s always running late.”
Just as Stevie finishes speaking, Bean rushes in the door. He’s carrying one of his snare drums and his brother’s following behind him carrying his cymbals. I’m so glad to see him that my heart swells in my chest. The overwhelming urge to run up and hug him is so strong, that I have to clench my hands to stop myself. I play it cool and say, “Hey. We were wondering where you were.”
He gives me a wide grin and says, “We had to make a quick stop.” He’s pumped — I can tell by his energetic motions and bright, shiny eyes. “I’ll be right back with the rest of my drums.” He winks at me and then turns to Stevie. “Would you care to help, kind sir?”
Bean and Stevie share a laugh at Bean’s silliness, then leave to carry in the rest of the drums. Brian waves to me
and bounds. We are so ready for this competition that I can feel it all the way down to my bones.
After the second song, I hold up my hand and say, “Our sound smokes. But don’t you think we should play some of the music we’re going to be performing tonight?”
Bean snorts. “Yeah. Probably.”
We take a few minutes and discuss some of the songs we want to play. We usually crank out tunes that were big hits in the seventies and eighties, a lot of Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and Rolling Stones. They’re more mellow than what we’ve been playing, but they’re still good melodies and the crowd at Pearl’s digs that classical sound. Playing this type of music broadens our musicianship, but there’s nothing like cranking out our own songs. After choosing a few of the harder tunes we immediately start jamming.
We’ve chosen “Hotel California” by the Eagles. It’s a dark tune about moving to California and I love the melody. My guitar howls out the chords and I feel that quiver inside as I sing the lyrics. After cranking out three more Eagles’ songs, we change it up for a few Fleetwood Mac and Rolling Stones’ songs. They’re great dance tunes and we know we’ll get people out on the floor with these.
After the last melody, we take a break. The garage seems to hum with the absence of our music. As if it was vibrating at a rapid rate and is slowly winding down because the music stopped. We all take swigs from the water bottles Bean brought out earlier and then sit in the folding chairs by the wall.
“What time is it?” Stevie asks, screwing the cap back on his water bottle.
“Time to get going,” Bean answers after a quick glance at his watch. “My brother should be here any minute to help me get my drum set down to Pearl’s.”
“Cool. I guess I’ll ride down with Francine.” I grimace as I say this and Bean exchanges a look with Stevie.
“I’ve got my parents’ Toyota for the night. You could ride with me,” Stevie offers with grin and a shrug.
“Awesome.” I smile at him as my heart swells with gratitude for my band mates. The truce between Francine and me has been extended, mainly because I’ve been avoiding her and there hasn’t been an opportunity to wage another war. So I welcome any opportunity to keep the avoidance plan going.
Book Three ~ Starlight

Original Release Date: Feb 17, 2015

Everything is on track for Seventeen-year-old Lark Singer and her band Starlight. They have a great shot at winning the competition that can launch their musical career. But when Lark discovers they will be competing against her old nemesis Duane McIntyre things really heat up. How far will Lark go to win, and what will it cost her in the end?

Chapter One
“AWESOME JAM session!” announces Bean as he twirls his sticks in the air.
“We are so ready!” I exclaim. The competition is just a week away, but I’ve never been so ready for anything in my life. We have the smoking hot tunes. Four of them, and they’re full of positive energy. And we have the smoking hot name. Starlight. I love the way it rolls off my tongue when I say it.
For a brief second, I think about who we’re up against for the competition and Duh-Wayne’s face floats into my consciousness. I shake my head to wash the image away. Nothing is going to ruin this chance for me, not even Duh-Wayne.
The competition. It’s my one chance to get out of this town, to have the musical career of my dreams. The winner gets a paid-in-full opportunity to audition for American Singer and the winner of that gets a recording contract. I can almost feel the contract in my hand.
Turning my attention back to the task at hand, I unplug my guitar. As I put my Gibson back into its case, Bean moves from his perch behind his drum set and squats next to me. “Hey, I’ve got to give Stevie a ride home, but after that would you like to go for a cruise?”
“Yeah.” I give him a smile. “I would.”
“Bean. Come on, I’ve got to get home,” Stevie says in a tone that’s not quite impatient.
I stand. “Just let me put this away,” I say, patting my guitar case. I hustle inside and run my guitar up to my room.
When I return to the garage, I hit the button and then sneak under the door as it makes its descent. Stevie’s standing just outside the passenger door, waiting for me to climb into the car next to Bean before he gets in. He’s thoughtful that way.
I climb in and give Bean a nudge and a grin. He grins back and his eyes have that special twinkle that’s just for me.
Stevie scrambles in and closes the door. “Let’s go.”
Bean backs out of the driveway and heads down the road. The Brown Turd rumbles and backfires as he steps on the gas. I’m surprised Mr. Szasbo hasn’t made an appearance, but then I remember his cat. Ever since I saved his kitten, I haven’t heard a complaint from him. Maybe he has warmed toward me.
It takes us fifteen minutes to reach Stevie’s house. A brick ranch with a long front porch and attached two-stall garage. The house doesn’t seem to match my friend. I expected him to live in some bungalow by the sea. Instead, he’s in small town suburbia and it dawns on me that I don’t even know what his parents do for a living.
“I’ll catch you guys tomorrow,” Stevie says with a wave, pulling me from my thoughts.
“Yeah. Tomorrow,” I say with a quick smile. I can’t wait for him to leave so I can be alone with Bean.
“Later, Dude,” Bean yells before rolling up his window. I snuggle up to him as he steps on the gas and heads toward downtown. “So where do you want to go?”
I shrug. “I don’t know. Let’s go someplace where we can talk.”
He winks at me and says, “I know just the place.”
“Where?”
“You’ll see.” He gives me a mischievous smile that sends my heart racing. I love it when he looks at me like that.
We make small talk while he drives to our destination. I’m shocked when we pull into a cemetery. “What are we doing here?”
“You said you wanted to go someplace to talk.” He snickers. “We definitely won’t get interrupted here.”
“No kidding,” I say as I stare out the window. The grave markers go by and I can’t help but think about the people lying beneath the ground. I wonder what kind of lives they had. As I think about these things, I realize there’s a lot of history in this cemetery.
“So, what did you want to talk about?” Bean asks as he grabs my hand. The familiarity of the rough calluses on
my skin warms my heart. He stops the car and turns the engine off.
“My mom admitted it.”
“Admitted what?” Bean shifts in his seat and slouches against the driver’s door.
I shift and turn toward him. Before I speak, I rub my fingers along the scar above my right eyebrow. It’s my bastard stamp. I got it the day Duh-Wayne called me a bastard and then laughed when I didn’t know what one was. As I recall the horrific fight we had, a shudder runs through me as I tell him. “She admitted that Jared Miller is my father.”
“What?” Bean sits up straight and bumps his head against the window. Rubbing it he says, “When did all this happen?”
“Last night.” I brush a curl away from my face.
Lisa Orchard grew up loving books. She was hooked on books by the fifth grade and even wrote a few of her own. She knew she wanted to be a writer even then. Her first published works are the “Super Spies Series.” These stories revolve around a group of friends who form their own detective squad and the cases they solve. “The Starlight Chronicles,” is the next series that Lisa created with musical misfit, Lark Singer as her main character.
Lisa resides in Michigan with her husband, Steve, and two wonderful boys. Currently, she’s working on the next book in the Starlight Chronicles Series along with a few new ideas that may turn into stand-alone novels. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, running, hiking, and reading.
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