Okay my friends, it's been a busy month, but Take a Chance on Me is finished! (except for some final editing) But in the meantime, here is the 1st chapter in Pule's story to tide you over. (Sorry - you'll have to scroll down but first read my other cool news!)
Guys, I have to tell you - Pule's story was intense for me. I heard back from one of my first readers and she says her husband was teasing her because she would be crying one minute and smiling the next. I have to admit there were a few chapters I cried through as I wrote them. And no spoilers on this one! Seriously - when you read it, girls you better hold it in and keep it to yourself. It's going to be hard to do but I have faith in you.
Alright, the second announcement I have is that Falling for Rayne is going to be FREE from 3/24 - 3/28/2015. FREE!!!! (on kindle) So help me pass the news around. Tell your friends and family and let's share the love :) If you have a blog or Facebook or Twitter I'd LOVE it if you could help me get the news out. Here's the link.
And my 3rd cool news is that I was featured in a Swoon Fest. Don't know what that is? Holy Cow you're missing out. A whole month of just my books were featured including my books from my Pen Name, Katie Lee O'Guinn. There are drawings and prizes and Amazon gift cards and rafflecopters. PLUS - awesome interviews (of me) plus interviews of some of my best and most loved characters, recipes and the best Hollywood casting you've ever seen. You must, absolutely must check it out. Here's the link.
Without further ado - I bring you, Pule's Story:
Pule Matafeo was not a man to sit back and be told what to do. Unless it was his mom doing the telling. Then yes, he was definitely that man. But Meredith Jensen was not his mother.
“I don’t care if Cleo needs even numbers. I’m not escorting Maya, the amazon goddess, anywhere.”
Meredith closed her eyes and breathed in deeply as she clenched her fists. Pule hid his smile and sat back to enjoy the show. Now that she was engaged to Asher, she’d turned over a new leaf and was trying to work on her patience. It wasn’t going well.
“Look, this is Cleo’s big day and she does not need this aggravation. Just show up in a tux, smile and escort Maya down the aisle. How hard is that?” she asked in exasperation as she did the final edits on her wedding invitations. With Cleo’s wedding being that weekend and everything was practically done, she was now able to work on her own wedding preparations.
Pule sighed loudly as Asher massaged Meredith’s shoulders and grinned at him.
“Dude, she’s gorgeous. Why are you putting up a fight? Every man there will be jealous of you.”
Meredith stopped what she was doing and turned slowly to stare up at her fiancé with narrowed eyes. Asher cleared his throat and kissed Meredith’s cheek. “I meant to say, everyone but me, because I’ll be your escort and to me you’re the most beautiful woman ever born,” he said in a low, tender voice.
Pule watched as Meredith’s face softened and she pulled Asher’s face down to hers where he was subjected to a quick but passionate kiss that made him sigh for real. He wasn’t necessarily jealous, but … yeah, he was jealous. He was surrounded by people in love, getting married or having babies constantly and it was starting to wear on his psyche.
“Cut it out,” Pule griped.
Meredith rolled her eyes and pointed at him. “You’re doing this, Pule. Besides, Maya told Cleo the other day that she thought you were hot. You’re always complaining about your social life. Well, here we are helping you out. You’re single and gorgeous. Maya is single and gorgeous. What. Is. The. Problem?” she said slowly and with enough sass to send Pule’s eyebrow rising.
“She’s too perfect, okay?” he said grouchily as he rested his head in his hands. “I always feel weird around her like my hair is out of place or I might have something in my teeth.”
Asher laughed. “I know exactly what you mean. When I dated Maya I…” Asher stopped suddenly and began whistling as Meredith glared at him.
Pule grinned. “Stop being jealous, Mer that was all for your benefit and you know it.”
Meredith shook her head as she unclenched her jaw. “My benefit, my behind,” she grumbled.
Asher walked over and sat down on the couch. Probably so he could be out of hitting range. “Look, the point is, Maya is a great girl. She can’t help it if she’s perfect. Just escort her to the wedding and you never have to be with her again,” he said reasonably, as he changed the subject smoothly.
Meredith’s expression immediately cleared and Pule rolled his eyes. “I’m going to be so tense from hanging out with Maya I’m going to need a massage afterwards.”
Meredith closed her laptop as she stood up. “And there will be hundreds of girls there volunteering for the job. Just because you have to escort Maya doesn’t mean you have to be glued to her side the entire night. What’s going on? You’re so moody lately. Is something going on at work or at home you’re not telling us about?” she asked, looking at him with concern.
Asher narrowed his eyes as he studied his friend. “Pule, you and I promised to tell each other everything. If something’s bothering you, then you have to tell us.”
Pule blinked in surprise and tried not to smile. Asher Murphy took his role as best friend seriously. He needed to remember that.
“Everything’s fine, guys. Really. Being a police officer is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love wearing the badge.”
Meredith raised an eyebrow. “What about Tate? Is it hard working for you cousin? Is he harder on you than everyone else? Are you being bullied?” she asked softly.
Pule stared at her in shock and then laughed. “Bullying? Mer, come on. Tate’s like my brother. He’s always looking out for me. No, working with Tate is incredible. The man brings me one of Jane’s cupcakes every day. No, work is amazing. I guess I am a little stressed at home though. My uncle Sefe just moved here from California and the house is already crowded. I feel like I don’t have my own space anymore. The man throws his clothes all over my bed. I’m about ready to shoot him,” he said, already clenching his teeth as he thought about his uncle.
Asher’s face relaxed and he laughed. “I met your uncle last week at The Iron Skillet. Huge guy, larger than life and the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. He seems like a fun guy.”
Pule sighed and ran a hand over his face. “Yeah, it’s a party all the time with Sefe. He’s my dad’s youngest brother and he was just hired on at Foss High School to coach the Football team.”
Meredith’s face lit up. “Is he single? Because he needs to join Your One and Only.”
Pule waved his hand in the air. “Yeah, yeah, Meredith. We all know.”
Meredith narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously. “Has your subscription run out? You know all I have to do is ask Brogan and he’ll tell me.”
Pule smiled brightly and stood up. “And on that note, I’ll be on my way. Tell Cleo that I’ll be happy to escort Maya down the aisle,” he said and smiled as Meredith clapped her hands and jumped up and down.
“Thank you, Pule!” she yelled and then threw her arms around his neck as she gave him a big smacking kiss on the cheek.
Pule grinned and hugged her back before lifting a hand to Asher. “You two coming to cheer me on tomorrow?”
Asher stood up and slapped him on the back. “Wouldn’t miss it. Seeing you crush bones is one of the highlights of my life.”
Pule laughed and pretended to punch Asher and tried not to enjoy the automatic wince. He waved goodbye and glanced at his phone as he walked outside. He had an hour before work. Just enough time to stop by the bakery and pick up a snack. Tate had today off and he didn’t want to go without a cupcake.
Five minutes later, he was pushing through the doors. He paused and closed his eyes as he took in the smell that was so uniquely Belinda’s Bakery; chocolate, vanilla and burnt butter.
“Heaven,” he said softly and then opened his eyes to see a girl he didn’t recognize staring at him with wide, glazed eyes. Meth addicts. They were everywhere.
“Hey,” he said with a smile and walked over to the display cases. “Is Jane around?”
The girl blinked as if she was in a daze. “Jane?”
Pule chuckled. This must be her first day. “Jane Matafeo? Part owner?”
The girl made a high squeaky sound that might have been a giggle and turned bright red. Pule watched curiously as the girl wiped her hands on her white apron and shook her head, sending her long, rich brown hair, pulled back in a ponytail swinging crazily.
“She’s upstairs with Tele. If you need her I can run up and get her though.”
Pule shook his head and gestured to the case. “Nah, don’t bother her. Tele needs his mama. Where are all the Matafeo cupcakes?”
The girl was staring again. He waited for a few seconds and then asked clearly in a louder voice. “The Matafeo cupcakes? They’re gone. Did Jane make any today?” Maybe she was hearing impaired, he wondered with a frown. Or, she really was high on something.
The girl jumped and blushed again. “Oh, Tate’s uncle Sefe came in and bought all of them. He said he wanted them for his team. He coaches the football team at Foss High.”
Pule rolled his eyes. Of course Uncle Sefe would take all of his cupcakes. The man was taking over his life. He ground his teeth and sighed. “Fine, give me one of those One and Only cupcakes and I’ll take a strawberry shortcake one too,” he said with a frown. He’d been looking forward to that burst of caramel and toffee all day.
“Dang, Sefe,” he muttered under his breath as the girl continued to stare at him.
“So, um… so, what’s your name?” the girl asked, lifting her chin bravely.
Pule glanced at her and then did a double take. She wanted to know his name? Have mercy. The girl was so young looking. She had cute little freckles on her nose that made her look like she was in high school. She also had gorgeous, big green eyes and high cheek bones. Her mouth was wide and generous but it was the look in her eye that had him taking a step back.
“Pule Matafeo, at your service. And who might you be?” he asked politely.
The girl swallowed before answering as she stared at his arms. “I’m Posey Tyler and I just moved to town this week. So you’re related to Tate then?” she asked, leaning her hip against the counter.
Pule grinned and crossed his arms over his chest. “You’re Wren’s little sister. I should have known. You have the same look around the eyes and mouth. You’re taller and darker than her though. I bet she’s happy to have you in town,” he said, relaxing. He loved Wren like a sister. His brother Kam had practically adopted her into the family.
Posey’s face lit up and she nodded her head. “Wren got me this job. When I’m not working here I’m helping her out with Jackie on days she works at the restaurant.”
Pule nodded his head and looked pointedly at the cupcakes. He needed to get ready for work and didn’t have too much time to chat. “That’s great. So how much do I owe you?” he asked.
Posey bit her lip and hurried to the case, lifting out a red velvet cupcake and a lemon cupcake, slipping them into a bakery bag. She told him how much he owed and he decided it wasn’t worth it to make a big deal out of getting the wrong cupcakes. He gave her his debit card and waited for his receipt as she had to try a few times to figure out the machine. He bit his lip as he fought the urge to reach over the counter and do it himself.
“Here you go, Pule,” she said, handing him the receipt. “Sorry about that.”
Pule nodded with a smile and turned to leave. “Have a good one,” he called out and hurried outside. He pulled the lemon cupcake out of the bag and took a bite as he searched for his keys.
He smiled at the tart burst of flavor and decided to forgive Posey for messing up his order. He slipped behind the wheel and promptly forgot all about the strange girl as he hurried home.
(C) Copyrighted Material 2015