Last week, after being hounded and harassed (you know who you are), I started formatting the second book in the GYP series, The Other Fish in the Sea. While this is not actually an excerpt or sneak peek of the book really, I thought it might be a fun little teaser for those who might be on the short list for the ARC. Plus, as of some time in the wee morning hours, my Facebook Fanpage hit 200+ likes and I wanted to do something in the way of a mini celebration. And after yesterday's revelation on piracy, I thought posting the EPIC ARC title page for The Other Fish in the Sea was rather fitting.
So, here ya go! Enjoy!
Copyright © 2012 by Jenn Cooksey All rights reserved.
The Other Fish
in the Sea
Book 2 in the Grab Your Pole Series
Advanced Reader Copy
This is an unedited ARC and is not to be sold, shared, reproduced, altered, reviewed, or quoted in any way whatsoever without notarized written permission from the author.
If you have acquired this ARC from anyone except the author, you and the person who gave it to you are committing a crime and are in danger of prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. Moreover, you will incur an exquisitely heinous ass kicking from the author and her scary-ass bitches who take after Liam Neeson’s character in the movie Taken. They have a very particular set of skills; skills they have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make them a nightmare for people like you. If you destroy this copy now, that'll be the end of it. They will not look for you, they will not pursue you. But if you don't, they will look for you, they will find you, and when they do, you’re fucked.
Delete or burn it now or suffer the consequences; least of which is likely to include being arrested and subsequently prison raped by a burly redneck with halitosis who goes by the name of Nancy.
You’ve been warned.
Copyright © 2012 by Jenn Cooksey All rights reserved.
The following is a sneak peek of Shark Bait, book 1 in the Grab Your Pole Series. Enjoy!
Copyright © 2012 by Jenn Cooksey All rights reserved.
I “Get” To Be The New Girl
And you know what? It can kiss my almost sixteen-year-old ass.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t swear. It’s just not who I am or how I’ve been raised. I haven’t been sheltered or anything like that, I’m just really awesome at self-censoring. See, I’m the good girl. You know, prays before she eats, gets good grades, keeps her room clean, does what she’s told, is always polite…that kind of stuff. Yeah, I know. That’s me, Cameron Ramsey, AKA: Miss “Goody Two Shoes.” I swear Adam Ant wrote that song back in the ‘80s specifically about me even though I wasn’t a twinkle in my dad’s eyes yet. Recently though, I’ve come to understand that, now and then, there are some situations in life that really do deserve a choice expletive.
Like right now. Standing in my bathroom getting ready for my first day of high school, you could definitely say I’m pretty fucking pissed off.
Technically it’s not my first day of high school, but it is my first day at a public high school. My sister and I were homeschooled until about three weeks ago when my mom’s cancer made it too much for her to keep up with…even after the double mastectomy. Her oncologist said they got it all, but the meds she has to take make her really ill and totally exhausted; because you know, losing her breasts—one of the major symbols of womanhood—and facing her mortality at the age of thirty-six wasn’t enough.
If all that wasn’t just dandy on its own, the icing on the suck-cake was moving last spring. My mom’s name is Mandy and she got sick about five months ago but at the time, she was able to keep up with the important things in her life, those things being my sister, Jillian, my dad, Kevin, and myself. However, about a week or so after my mom got the diagnosis, my dad called a family meeting to explain we would be moving back to San Diego. We have a ton of family here and everyone felt it would be easier for them to support us if we came back. Doing so was made possible by the company my dad works for. The head honchos there truly treat their employees like family and when the owner and managers heard what was going on, they totally got on the “Support the Ramsey Family Bandwagon” by giving him a transfer, and a cost of living raise.
At first Jillian and I were thrilled to be moving back where we were born. Every time my family visited our hometown, we would whine and complain about having to go back to Arizona; we being my sister and I mostly, but sometimes my parents would join in the grumbling. So that being the case, you’d think we’d be happy with finally having that long-time prayer answered, right? But you have to understand, we’re typical girls. Girls are allowed to be fickle. Especially me, since I’m the angst-ridden teenager.
It didn’t really sink in until our last day with our homeschool group. I didn’t know it was going to be so hard. None of us did. Everything was happening so fast and we were all so excited and busy with packing and stuff, that when it came time to actually say goodbye to our friends and the great people we’d spent the last nine or so years with, Jill and I were totally unprepared for how it would affect us. I guess I did okay. I held my tears back until I was in bed that night and quietly cried myself to sleep. I hadn’t done that since I was like six or something. Jillian on the other hand…well, she was a train wreck. She’s a twelve-year-old genius and normally has no emotions to speak of, but I haven’t seen her bawl like that since the cat she paid for with her own money—the one she actually threw a first birthday party for—got hit by a car when she was four. When it was time to leave the park, my mom had to pry Jill loose from her best friends and carry her to the car. Jillian sobbed the whole way home. She didn’t come out of her room for dinner that night and even though her door was shut and the radio was on, we could hear her crying her eyes out. We left the next morning.
The drive from our old house to the new one only took about six hours and by the time we crossed the California State Line, everyone had mostly gotten over the misery of leaving. This was thanks in large part to the seldom sight of lush green grass and being able to roll the windows down in the car. Two things that definitely won’t be missed about Arizona are how close the weather resembles the Seventh Ring of Hell and how everything is some shade of beige. Actually, there isn’t all that much we’ll really miss except for our friends, and thinking about how short a drive it is, it’s easy to tell yourself you’ll get to visit them all the time.
It was the beginning of May when my dad pulled the U-Haul truck into the driveway of our new house, which so happened to be in the same neighborhood my family lived in before we relocated to the Northwest region of Hades. Honestly though, the move couldn’t have been timed better. In Arizona it’s usually so hot by May, everyone already has their A/C units cranked up and running 24/7 in preparation for summer hibernation like confused bears. Not in San Diego though. The weather here is just about as perfect as it can get. I can’t even begin to explain how awesome it is to have the windows in the house open and being able to breathe the fresh air everyday—like it’s some kind of big treat or something. I guess you could say it is for someone who previously risked choking on sweltering heat just walking to the mailbox.
Before we even got settled, my mom sent in the required paperwork so she could continue to legally homeschool us, and she didn’t skip a beat in resuming our educational regime. Now, let me just explain something; my mom isn’t a schedule kind of gal, so when I say regime or schedule, I just mean we didn’t get a moving break or anything like a summer vacation. We did have the chance to do school at the beach when my mom felt up to it though. My parents are big on learning from life and they call those opportunities “teachable moments.” We brought books to the beach and talked about tides, the coastal eco-system, and the chemistry of salt water. The highlight for me was getting to drool over all the hot surfer guys. I’d like to go on record right now by saying that in addition to beautiful weather; San Diego also has a plethora of saliva producing boys.
That’s partly why I’m so mad about going into public school. Sure, I didn’t get to see my friends everyday like normal kids, but I really loved sleeping in until 9:00 or 10:00, doing school in my pajamas, and being done with all my subjects by lunchtime. We’d get to learn from experience, too, which is actually lots of fun. Now however, I need a freaking alarm clock to wake me up because my first damned class is at (now get this…) 7:15 in the morning! I mean what are we? Chickens? Seriously, who in their right mind can even think straight that early, let alone do math? Not this girl, that’s for sure. On top of that, I get to worry about what I’m going to wear so I can fit in with the hundreds of other kids who’ll most likely pass judgment on me based on whether I’m wearing last year’s nail polish color or something shallow like that. Plus, I won’t get home until sometime around 3:30 after being imprisoned in classrooms for seven hours. Oh and here’s the kicker; I “get” to do homework. The classes are so crowded that the teachers don’t have enough time to ensure every student understands the material during the fifty some-odd minutes of class, so they have to rely on homework and tests to know whether the kids have learned anything from the textbook and their lectures. And it’s not like I have any friends here to make all this worthwhile anyway. I was too young when we moved away to have friends I’d remember or who’d remember me now, so here I am…back in sunny San Diego and all alone.
I’m also pretty pissed about my mom being forced to let go of the one thing she loves doing with all her heart and soul; the one thing she and my dad always sacrificed so much for.
When I was born, my parents decided one of them would always stay home with me, which meant we had to live on one income. That’s not the easiest thing in the world to do and it got even harder when Jillian was born. My mom and dad made some hard choices and went without a lot of things their friends had or got to do, just so my mom could be home with us. That’s also why we moved to Arizona. My parents say that’s probably the hardest decision they’ve ever made, leaving their family and hometown. They felt it was the right thing to do, though, because it was so much cheaper to live. Anyway, after we were there about six months and it was time for me to start first grade, my mom met some women at the park and discovered they homeschooled. Right away she was hooked on the idea. She came home and convinced my dad she should do that with Jill and me and the rest is ancient history, which I’ve already studied extensively. Heck, my sister and I have even mummified chickens a couple times. And really, even though mummification isn’t a skill set one might build a résumé around, it’s still pretty freaking cool being able to say you know how to do it.
I loved being homeschooled.
So, that brings me back to staring at myself in the mirror, trying to figure out what to do with my hair. I have wavy—okay, maybe it’s not so much wavy as it is curly—medium blonde hair that goes just past my bra strap, and I do not have bangs. I tried them when I was eleven and discovered bangs look ridiculous on me, and after claiming to have a bad hair day for the more than 365 days it took me to grow them out, I vowed never again. Anyhow, my hair is actually pretty easy to do, but I want to look as good as possible because my new high school has the unfortunately intimidating nickname “Soshmont.” From what my parents say, a “sosh” is a stuck-up or conceited person; like they think they’re better than everyone else. Most of the kids who go there have money, drive cool cars, and live in huge houses. Then there are the rest of us “poor folk.” You know, those of us who live in a two-story house with four bedrooms, four baths, a pool, and a three-car garage. There’s a lot of tradition and sentiment attached to the school because it was the first ever in the district and opened sometime in the early 1920s. My parents, who were high school sweethearts, went there and—if you can believe it—their parents before them. To make matters worse, school started four weeks ago in the beginning of September. That means I get to be “the new girl” everyone will gawk at when I walk into my classes. Seriously, ugh.
“Hey Camie, you almost ready?” Jillian asked, skipping into my bathroom and taking up residence next to me in front of the mirror.
“Yeah, I guess so. You think mom and dad would freak out if I wore some makeup?” From a teenager’s point of view, my parents rock and most of the time they rock hard. They’re cool about a lot of stuff, but their daughters wearing overly tight clothes and unnecessary cosmetics are two things they are not big fans of.
“Probably. You don’t need it anyway…you lucked out with the really dark eyelashes,” she said as she ran a brush through her uncommonly long, blonde hair.
As is most often the case, Jillian is right. I have this kind of light Mediterranean skin coloring, and my eyelashes are so dark it looks like I already have mascara on. So according to my parents, essentially all makeup falls into the unnecessary category for me. My sister, however, is allowed some light mascara and blush, although she practically never wears either. She and I share one physical trait and that’s our eye color. We both have brown eyes flecked with gold and green, and we get that unusual mix from our dad. I’ll have to check the little box next to brown or hazel when I get my driver’s license in January, even though neither of those are really right, but whatever.
Now I’m not conceited, but I’ve been called beautiful my entire life so I don’t really worry about my looks, I’ve just taken everyone’s word for it and left it at that. I think I’ll blend in okay, though, and be able to make friends in time, but I think Jill’s looks will eventually cause problems for her. Most girls will probably be jealous of her, and not just because she’s so smart, which she is—scary smart. But the fact is, boys are going to swarm around her like bees on steroids. Seriously. If you want a good idea of what Jillian will look like when she’s sixteen, just picture Malibu Barbie.
Physically, Jillian and I aren’t all that similar, especially with the difference in complexion, hair and backside. Her—truthfully—slightly wavy, light blonde hair stretches all the way past her cute, perky butt and she has the good fortune of being able to tan amazingly well for being so blonde, just like our mom. I mean I can tan really well, too, but I’m not blonde like she is, so it makes her stand out even more. Anyway, I’m about 5’6” and she’s around 5’4” or 5’5”, but I think she’ll end up being a little taller than me when we’re done growing. And at the rate she’s going, I bet her boobs will be bigger than mine as well. Seriously, the next time you’re in Target, go look at the Barbie dolls…
“I know, but I’m afraid I’m already gonna stick out like a sore thumb. I was thinking maybe if I wear a little makeup, I won’t feel so out of place.”
“Well whatever, it’s your funeral. I don’t think you should upset mom though,” Jill said bluntly, this being one of those times she’s chosen to be direct, which she does from time to time. I guess I shouldn’t complain though; I find her cryptic mode of communication even more irritating.
“Yeah, you’re right.” Again. “Are you nervous?”
“No. Honestly, I’m afraid I’ll be bored outta my skull. I wish mom and dad would’ve let me go into ninth grade like I placed.” She sounds totally exasperated—and for good reason.
You see, one of the problems with going into the public school system after being homeschooled your whole life is the likelihood you won’t really be taught anything you don’t already know, because when you’re homeschooled, you tend to learn more at an earlier age and at a faster pace than the kids who are educated traditionally. And trust me when I say that my mom has given us a very thorough education up to this point. In fact, you’ll probably find that I lean towards using a vernacular that is more often than not, non-standard in relation to the majority of my peers. More simply put, I know a lot of big words and I like using them. However, I do understand that regardless of their years on this earth, not everyone understands what the hell I’m saying when I feel so inclined as to demonstrate my extensive vocabulary, so, I try making a concerted effort to be understood by toning it down in my everyday speech and talking like everyone else does.
That being said, I’m fairly advanced scholastically, although I’m fifteen going into my sophomore year like I would be if I hadn’t been homeschooled, mainly because I don’t test well. Not like Jillian. According to her age she should be in seventh grade, but the truth is…she’s a flippin’ test-taking genius. And I’m not exaggerating about the genius thing either. You ever hear of Mensa? Yeah well, she doesn’t boast about being a member of that elite group of intellectuals, but the fact remains, she is one.
Now I’m not positive and I’m not about to ask, but I don’t think Jillian knows our mom and dad asked the school not to give her any placement tests past the ninth grade. She could’ve easily placed as a senior if not tested out of school entirely. I overheard our parents one night and after talking about it, they decided she isn’t ready for high school, but what I really think they meant was, high school isn’t ready for her. Jillian is highly confident, exceptionally smart, and she takes great pleasure in her devious tendencies. Not a good mix. And with all that being so, you really want to stay on her good side because she also has a temper. I also think they kept Jill in eighth grade to give me a year on my own. I completely love my sister but after being with her everyday for the last twelve years, a year to myself sounds pretty good to me. We’ll see how I feel about that, though, when I’m eating lunch alone.
“I’m not so concerned with being bored…I’m more worried about not knowing anyone.” Seriously, I don’t know a freaking soul at my school and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find that to be a little scary.
“Yeah... You know, this whole thing really bites,” Jillian said, showing what I find to be the proper amount of attitude towards our really crappy lifestyle change.
“I know, especially today. It’s gonna be a huge suck-fest…like Buffy meets Twilight,” I agreed.
For unto every generation a vampire phenomenon is born, one that girls and even some women will obsess over endlessly. For my mom it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I get the Cullens. Don’t misunderstand me, I enjoyed the books and everything, but just because they both have vampires, it does not make them the same. Buffy is just classic. It had everything…cute boys, mass drama, love stories, but best of all, it was freaking hysterical.
“Nice comparison, but it’s gonna suck even more if we don’t leave right now…we’re gonna be late.”
I heard my mom calling us from downstairs and then my dad honked the horn. “Crap! Well, good luck Jilly. I’m sure you’ll find a way to keep busy today,” I told her, giving her a big hug.
“You too, Camie. At least you have one AP class, so that should be interesting,” she replied, hugging me back.
Like I said, I don’t test well but, I really am sort of advanced. I was able to scrape into a junior level, honors literature class by the skin of my teeth. I’m prepared to be bored in the rest of my classes, though, except for maybe geometry. I hate math. Jillian and I are of like minds about this one thing, but again, she’d probably be in AP calculus if she were in high school.
We grabbed our school backpacks, yet another new thing for us, and flew down the stairs. My mom was waiting, holding the front door open while wearing what was previously normal school attire for my sister and me—pajamas, slippers and a bathrobe.
“Bye Mom! I love you!” Jillian and I said in unison and we each gave her tight, but quick hug. Neither of us wanted to look into her face because we were afraid of becoming emotional.
“Bye girls, I love you too. Oh! Have a good first day!” My mom hollered from the porch as we clambered into the car.
Backing out of the driveway, my dad blew my mom a kiss and I couldn’t help sneaking a peek at her. She’d moved onto the front lawn to watch our progress and had the fingers of one hand pressed to her lips and she was waving with the other. Shit. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t put any makeup on after all…I’d just end up looking like a clichéd raccoon before the short, five-minute drive to school was over.
Copyright © 2012 by Jenn Cooksey All rights reserved.