Louder Than Words
Release Date: 09/16/14
Disappointment has been on speed dial in Ellen Grayson’s life lately. Her dad’s dead, her mom is numbing the grief with drugs and alcohol, and her so-called friends are slowly abandoning her. Trusting a popular teacher with her troubles should have been safe, shouldn’t have led to an unwelcome seduction attempt, shouldn’t have sent her running to the girls’ bathroom for the final moments of her Junior year. Lesson learned. Best to keep all the sordid details of her life to herself.
Enter Rex Jacobi, a cocky teen recently transplanted from New York and fellow summer camp employee. Though his quick wit and confidence draws her in, she’s not letting him get too close, not til she’s sure she can trust him. By the time Rex’s charming persistence wears down her resistance, it’s too late. He’s put Ellen on the perma-pal shelf and shifted his romantic attentions to her arch-rival. Even worse, the teacher who tried to seduce her is still misbehaving with impunity.
With her ability to trust as shaky as a chastity vow on prom night, Ellen must decide if she has enough remaining courage to speak up about her teacher and risk retribution, to tell Rex how she feels and risk heartbreak, or hold all her secrets inside, the only safe place she knows.
I finish chewing and begin to sputter something about how she’s imagining it when a white curtain of liquid cascades down the front of my face. Shocked, I jump up from my seat. “What the … ”
Two of the girls from the Easy Chair club stand next to me, one with an upended milk carton in her hand. They’re laughing and everyone at the nearby tables is watching and snickering as I snatch up a handful of napkins to wipe my face.
“No use crying over spilt milk,” the one who poured the milk says.
Her friend says, “That’s for Mr. Hamer, you lying bitch.”
“What’d you do that for? Are you crazy?” Leanne bolts around to my side of the table. “You have no idea what’s going on!”
“I know a liar when I see one,” Milk-Pourer’s friend says.
“And a drug addict,” Milk Girl tacks on. “Maybe she thought she’d blackmail Mr. Hamer into letting her use his lab to cook up some meth.”
Milk Girl never sees the hands that shove her to the ground. In the background, someone is screaming. I’m too busy waterboarding Milk Girl with my own dairy beverage to care.
Milk Girl wails beneath the stream of liquid, thrashing her legs but seeing as how I’m sitting on her body with her arms pinned between my thighs and her sides she’s not going anywhere until I let her up.
Or someone pulls me off.
Milk Girl’s rescuer sets me on my feet but retains an iron lock on my arms.
Mr. Delvecchio lowers his face to mine. “Ellen!”
I peer around him, my pulse pounding through my veins, and watch as another teacher helps Milk Girl to her feet.
“These two started it,” Leanne says to Delvecchio in my defense.
“The four of you, to the office! Now! The rest of you, return to your tables!” Delvecchio’s bark sends the crowd scurrying, all but one that is. Rex has arrived and stands nearby watching me, his brows puckered, his mouth open.
“What’s going on?” he asks.
I’m too mortified and agitated to answer him. Delvecchio nudges me forward. I need no further encouragement to walk on, away from Rex, out of the cafeteria, away from all the dog-piling students who smell blood.
Iris St. Clair is the pen name for a long-suffering cubicle worker by day, a Walter Mitty-like dreamer by night. (Her alter ego Tatiana Ivanadance also choreographs gravity-defying routines in those fantasies, but that’s another bio.)
No matter what genre she writes, she prefers witty, insecure heroines and kind, persistent heroes able to break through to the gooey heart inside.
In high school she was voted most likely to win at Monopoly and Clue, but least likely to throw a ball anywhere near a target. Thank goodness writing requires less hand-eye coordination, punctuation errors notwithstanding.
Iris believes in the two-year “fish or cut bait” dating rule and has a 20+ year marriage and two teenaged sons as proof of concept. She lives, writes, dreams and dances in the rainy Portland, OR area.
$10 Amazon gift card + ebook of Louder Than Words (INT)
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