August 03, 2014

Upcoming Release- Saving Sullivan (A Summer Lovin' Novel)

Hello, readers! I haven't blogged in a while and I'm so sorry about that. Life sometimes gets in the way. Between working and writing and family I have had little chance to do anything other than focus on those three things. But now, I'm excited to be finishing up Saving Sullivan, the fifth book in the Summer Lovin' series. I was very happy to be asked to join a wonderful collection of authors for this series. All of the books are written by different authors with a few commonalities: they take place in Banff at a resort during the same summer. Some characters will overlap but each book will have its own storyline and thus can be read as a standalone novel if desired, although I would recommend them all!
For my book, I've struggled over the last two months to write Saving Sullivan. I kept alternating between my heroines' point of view and her hero's, but the story just wasn't flowing well so I've decided to write it all from Abby's. What this means is there are a lot of extras from this novel that won't be published. So...I'm going to give you a taste of our hero. This would have been chapter one. Please read and share, tweet, like, whatever! And let me know what you think. Sullivan is a great angsty character with a trouble past, but hopefully a bright future :-) Here is your peek... Please keep in mind this is the pure, original draft. It has not been edited and is merely for you to have a glimpse into his mind and his character. Oh, there is language! Sorry if this is offensive :-)

SULLIVAN: “Academic suspension,” I whisper to myself. Well, fuck me. Sitting at the desk in my room, I lean back and rub my hands up and down my face. I pick the letter back up read it over and over, the reality of my situation hitting me harder with each pass. I’m wound up so tight I feel like I’m about to explode. I scrunch up the already wrinkled letter and toss it at the wall of my apartment bedroom, narrowly missing the garbage bin. My father isn’t going to make life easy for me when he finds out. If he doesn’t know already. Being a large charitable donator to my university he has connections and spies everywhere. 

My roommate, Ames Henderson the third appears in my doorway and leans against the frame before bitting into a big red apple. He catches the falling juice on his chin with the back of his hand. He eyes me for a moment as he tries to read me. Not many people can, but Ames and I have been friends forever so he can read me better than most. “You look like someone just crashed your Porsche.”

I nod, not saying a word.

“Can’t be that bad.”

I shake my head before raising my hands and reaching back to cradle the back of my head with my interlocked fingers. “Couldn’t get worse. I’m fucking suspended.”

“For how long?”


“You hated your program,” Ames says, as he takes a break from chewing.

I eye him. “Yeah, but I didn’t want to get kicked out of school and labelled a dropout. I only had a year left.”

“Well, nothing left to do but get fucked up then is there?” A sly grin creeps up along his lips.

How can I argue with that logic?

Ames and I round up some guys from school and head to Old Irish Pub, it’s a whole in the wall place in downtown LA but they attract some of the biggest bands in the world so it’s crazy hard to get into. And it’s a place that’s constantly being stalked by paparazzi, given the number of celebrities that tend to frequent it. I’m not a celebrity, but my friend Dean’s father is the lead singer for Chemical Meltdown and one phone call from him usually gets us in whatever restaurant or club in town we feel like hitting. It’s amazing what a little name-dropping or the slip of a few hundred dollar bills can do in this city.

I’m on my fourth whiskey on ice when my phone vibrates in my back pocket. I ignore it at first, pretending not to hear it over the quiet rock music and dull roar of the crown in the background. But once the ringing stops, it rings again…and again. I can’t ignore it forever. Mostly because my dad holds my trust fund in his hands, and without it I’m penniless…homeless, even.

“You might want to get that, friend,” Dean says, winking at me before shoving some meatball nachos into his mouth. Dean is probably my best friend. We’ve known each other since my twelfth birthday and all the shit we’ve gone through in our lives, we’ve gone through as friends. He knows what’s up with me, and he also knows how much trouble it will cause me.

Sighing, I reach into my pocket and pull out my phone. Four missed calls, all from the same number: Hope Media, Inc. And he’s left a message. He never leaves messages—probably because he knows I won’t bother to call him back. He already knows. There’s no other explanation.

“Excuse me for a second,” I tell the boys.

“Don’t do it!” Ames yells. “Don’t do it!”

I chuckle as I walk away, but I’m anything but amused. He’s probably right; I shouldn’t answer the phone, but I’m so full of apprehension right now and I need to just get this over with. Just how much trouble am I in, anyway? As much trouble as I was in when I got kicked off the rugby team last year for testing positive for cocaine? And subsequently getting arrested for possession? Knowing my dad’s priorities, yeah, probably just as much, if not more. He made the charges go away when he put me in rehab over the Christmas holidays, but this? Can he get a suspension overturned? He just might be able to, but as I debate this in my mind, all I can think about is, without rugby, I’m not entirely sure I want to go back. I have no idea what I want to do with my life, but I know that whatever I’m meant to do does not involve a business degree or working at my father’s media empire. And playing rugby professionally is a pipe dream, especially after getting kicked off the varsity team. I’m essentially fucked.

I walk into the back hallway that leads to the bathrooms. The lights are low and apart from the music I can hear the steady rush of the stone waterfall standing against the far wall. I plug one ear to drown out the sounds around me and press one for play on my voice mail waiting for the one and only voice I dread to hear: my father’s. Everything about him puts me on edge and well off my game. We’ve always had a rocky relationship since I discovered he’s my father and it’s steadily declined over the years—I didn’t think that was possible, but he proved me wrong. But the voice on the other end of the phone isn’t my father’s: it’s his secretary’s. Fucking trust my father to get his secretary to do his dirty work.

“Sullivan, it’s Eva. Your father would you like you to come to the office the day after tomorrow. I’ve booked you a flight out of LAX for two thirty pm tomorrow. And in case you decide not to come,” her voice quiets, “I suggest you change your mind. He knows about you flunking out of school. And he’s been talking to the banks about your trust fund.” She clears her throat and her volume is restored, as if she worried my father might hear her warning. “I’ve forwarded your itinerary to your email. Call me if you have any questions. Clark will pick you up at the airport. Looking forward to seeing you. Bye for now.” Click.

Fucking Fantastic. Gritting my teeth, I pinch the bridge of my nose and sigh. So, I knew my father would lose his mind when he found out about this. I knew he’d make threats. Usually, they’re idle…but this time, I just don’t know. Talking to the bank? To my knowledge he’s never gone this far before and I can’t risk him taking away my trust fund. If he cuts me off I’m literally fucked. And he knows it.

It’s a long flight from California to New York but, after a quickie with the flight attendant in the storage compartment at the back of the plane, I manage to sleep for most of it. I toss the attendant’s number in the trash as I head to baggage claim. The girl was pretty enough, but calling a girl after sex tends to give a girl ideas, and girls don’t need any ideas as far as I’m concerned. I’m as good for women as my father is, and that’s not saying a hell of a lot. My father has destroyed more woman’s lives than I’ve scored goals in rugby. And I was the top scorer at LAU for the two and a half years I played there.

My father’s driver, Clark, picks me up at the airport with a great big sign that reads, “Mr. Hope.” I can’t fight the grin that claims my face when I see him. He was the only adult in my life as a kid, other than dad’s wife number three, that gave me the time of day. He taught me how to play pool, which I’m actually quite good at now. Some would even call me a shark.

“Hey, Clark!” I jog up to him and he pulls me into a hug. Now, I’m not into hugging men or anything but I love this man. More than anyone else who’s come in and out of my life over the years. He’s been my only constant. The only person or employee that can take my father and my fucked up family for longer than a few years at a time.

“Good to see you,” he says as he lets me go and taps me on my shoulder with one of his massive hands. I’m a pretty big guy, six feet two last time I checked, but Clark is huge both in height and width. Everything about him is massive, including his smile.

“So what am I in for?” I ask as we walk to the car.

He shrugs. “Couldn’t say. I suppose it has something to do with school.” He meets my eyes but only briefly as his gaze returns to the street ahead of us.

“You heard?”

He clears his throat and when his words come out, they’re choked, like I’ve managed to disappoint him. It almost crushes me. Now if my dad gave me this same look I’d roll my eyes and quietly tell him to go fuck himself, but on Clark…I feel like I’m two centimetres tall and shrinking, and I don’t like it. Not one bit. In fact there’s hard lump in my throat that forms from the drive from the airport to Hope Media Inc. Clark hasn’t said another word to me since I got in the car and I’ve been sitting in the backseat trying to pretend like I don’t care. When he slows to a stop, he glances at me in the rearview mirror, his forehead creased with worry. I feel like I should say something but I have no words. I focus instead on what’s coming next and let go of a long sign.

Hope Media.

I didn’t miss this place. The tall building with wall to wall tinted glass feels ominous to me. A trap. I worked here once as a kid, under my grandfather’s supervision. But he’s gone now. And with him went the only buffer between my father and me.

“Don’t worry, Mr. Hope. Everything will work out as it’s meant to.”

“As it’s meant to,” I whisper. “What if I don’t like the way things are meant to be?”

“When one door slams in your face, another one opens. You’ll just have to trust me on that.”

Trust him. Yeah, I do, but it’s hard to feel hopeful right now. Not with my father and his holier than though attitude about to punch me square between the shoulders. All my life I’ve done everything my father wanted. He shipped me off to boarding school when I was ten years old. I saw him when he wanted and where he wanted. I applied to the right universities and though I didn’t get in, my father picked the school that agreed to take me. He had a plan for me without ever asking me what I wanted. And no amount of fucking up in my teens and early twenties could railroad his plans. Whatever shit I threw at him he cleaned up and made new plans, all of them directing me back to New York, to this gleaming, glass building that reaches for the clouds.

Although my father summoned me here, he doesn’t see me right away. No. Of course not. So I sit outside and spend some time chatting it up with his secretary. For whatever reason, she’s always been nice to me.

An hour and a half later my father decides I’ve waited long enough. He stands in the doorway to his office in his Italian suit and polished leather shoes. He’s lost some weight and his blonde hair is thinning on top. He waves me forward and I saunter toward him, my back up and my nerves on edge. Everything about him pisses me off. But mostly, the way he looks at me like an employee he’s marching in to fire. He’s been this way to me my whole life. I’m like a fucking bug he’s never been able to scrape off his perfect shoes. Even sending me away couldn’t remove the burden I placed on him.


He nods. “Sullivan. Good to have you home.”

I’ll bet. He holds out his hand and I shake it firmly. I enter his office and walk around the space. His furniture is all leather or oak and his view from the top floor gives him an eye view of the city, particularly central park. God knows how much this building alone is worth, let alone his company.

“Have a seat,” he says as he takes a seat in his chair. He leans back, his hands folded in his lap.

“I’ll stand.”

“I said sit, Sullivan.”

I smile and lean back against the bookcase. I can’t let him think he owns me. I need to hold my ground. Whatever he’s planning on saying, he needs to know that I’m not going to let him push me around. I will have a say in my life whether he likes it or not, even with the threat of poverty. I have my pride; it’s a consequence of being a Hope man.

He groans and rolls his eyes. “Suit yourself. Stand. Sit. I really don’t care. That’s not the battle I’m set to fight today.”

I scoff at him and, closing my eyes, I pinch the bridge of my nose, readying myself for what’s to come. “Then what is the battle?”

“Your future.”

I take a deep breath and move to the leather chair in front of his desk. I sit because I want to. There’s no other reason. And I have a feeling this conversation might take some time.

“I’m listening.”

“I thought after what happened last Christmas you’d smarten up. Maybe rehab would help you get your act together and focus on what matters.”

“What matters to me? Or to you?”

My father focusses his stern glare on me before swivelling in his chair to face the windows. A bird flies by, flapping it’s wings wildly. In the adjacent building a window washer lowers his mechanical unit to start working on a new window. I wonder how much you get paid for something like that. I could do that. Sure, I could.

“It’s time to grow up, Sullivan. School is over and I’m not sure I could get you back in even if I wanted to, which I don’t. So I guess you need to decide what you’re going to do with your life now you failed to get a degree. You’ve lost any chance you had a playing rugby professionally. What are you going to do with your life?”

I chuckle and tap my fingers on one of the wooden arms of the chair. “I don’t know. I’ll think of something.”

He laughs without humour and moves to stand, pacing the room while rubbing one hand along his smooth chin. He loosens his tie and clears his throat. “The way I see it you have only one option. You will come and work here. Start at the bottom and work your way up. It’s what your grandfather would have wanted. Your salary will be double what I would pay someone in your position but then again, you’re my son and I don’t want you to struggle.”

“Don’t want me to struggle? Are you fucking kidding me? Where was that attitude ten years ago.”

He licks his lips and replaces his poker face with a focussed glare. “The past is the past, Sullivan. I have no intention of rehashing old wounds with you right now.”

Of course. Let’s push our demons away. Pretend like he didn’t wreck me or turn me into the fucked up man that I am. But yeah, I’m not going to push the issue. Because having a heart to heart with him is never going to happen. It’s just not something he’s capable of and if I were being honest with myself, I don’t know if I am either.

“So what do you want, Dad? You want me to come work here in the mail room?”

“Is there something wrong with that? You think a college dropout deserves better? That’s what I did when I started working for your grandfather and I graduated from Yale with honours. It made me appreciate what I have and you need to learn a little appreciation.”

“As wonderful as this opportunity sounds I think I’ll try to find a job on my own.”

He laughs. “Where will you find a job? You think any respectable company will hire you?” He tips his head to the side and regards me from under raised eyebrows. I almost think he’s enjoying putting me in my place right now. Because he’s right. Who would hire me? They’d have to be an idiot. I don’t even have a single job to add to my resume, unless you can include drinking and travelling and fucking everything that walks. Check, check and check in those departments. “You’re faith in me is overwhelming,” I say, refusing to admit he’s right.

My father comes to his feet quickly and stands, pacing the room with his hands behind his back. “The only reason you don’t want to work here is to spite me. And I can’t help but think you got kicked out of school for the same reason.”

“You give me too much credit. I didn’t put any effort into getting kicked out.”

“This isn’t a game! This is your life and my reputation!”

I shake my head at him. What would a normal father say right now? Would he be angry? Maybe? Would he ask me what I’m gong to do with my life? Probably? But then, wouldn’t he also ask me how I’m feeling? If I’m okay. Failure sucks and even though I hated business school, I sure as hell don’t want to be labelled as a dropout.

“You want to know the real reason I don’t want to work here? Fine. I don’t want to work here because I fucking hate it here.” I fucking hate you is what I should have said but instead I hold my tongue.

“Then try and find another job. You have my blessing. But just know this, your trust fund is done.”

“Whatever. Grandfather left that money to me. You have no claim on that money.”

He laughs, more out of frustration than humour. “Your grandfather left a clause in his will that allows me to withhold any or all of the funds in your trust fund if you don’t choose to follow in the family business.”


“No bullshit, son. This is a family business and that meant more to him than it does to me, but I’ll admit, part of me wants to see you succeed, and I want to see you succeed here.”

“You can’t do that.”

“I can and I will. I’m meeting with the bank tomorrow.”

Unreal. I can’t believe my father is blackmailing me to work here. Why the fuck does he even care? He doesn’t even know me? He sure as fuck doesn’t like me or he would have tried to have more of a role in my life. Instead he pawned me off to his father and as soon as he died: boarding school.

I stand and turn on my heel, heading for the doors.

“What is it about this place that you hate so much?” he says, the volume of his voice rising to almost a yell.

“Other than having to see you every single day of my life, for the rest of my life?”

He rolls his eyes. “And what plans did you have for this summer, let me guess, partying and whores?”

“I don’t pay for sex.”

“That’s hardly my point.”

“I was planning on heading up to the cabin in Banff for a few weeks. Some of my buddies from school will be there.

“Right. Spending more money that you didn’t earn.”

“Hey, fuck you. You inherited this company from your father.” I move to the edge of my seat, heat boiling deep within my core.

A flash of crimson streaks across my father’s face and for a moment I think he might just run across the room and punch me. But then I remember my father prides himself on control. He’d never give me the satisfaction of seeing him lose it.

After a few deep breaths he says, to my surprise, “Fine. Head to Banff.”

Okay. I narrow my eyes at him, unsure. He’s trying to trick me, and I quietly wait for the other shoe to drop.

“Work there for the summer.”

“The plan was to enjoy my summer, not work there.”

“Then I propose a deal.”

I feel like he’s baited his hook and he’s reeling me in because the sad thing about all this is that I don’t know how to live without money. I’ve never had to. If he cuts me off I’m fucked with a capital F. Everything I own has his name on it. Even my car is in his name. And where would I live? The apartment I had in California while I went to school my father owned. I have nothing, save some expensive watches and how long with a few thousand last me. My trust fund is fifteen thousand a month.

“Have you summer. Enjoy yourself but work while you’re there. Keep your job for the entire summer and you can do whatever you want come September. I won’t fight to have your trust fund withdrawn. Prove to me that you’re more than a ambition-less loser.”

I want to call him a prick. Because that’s exactly what he is.

“I need your answer, Sullivan.”

God. Give me a minute. “And if I don’t keep the job?”

“You’re on your own. Trust fund will revert to me. A job in the mailroom is yours if you want it, but otherwise you’re on your own. You can finally see what it’s like to live without a parachute. Maybe you’ll actually grow up, become a productive citizen instead of the spoiled fucked up mess sitting in front of me that I’m ashamed to admit I’m related to. But then, you’ve always taken after your mother, haven’t you?”

I curl my fingers into fists and press them into the upholstery of the chair. It takes all the energy I have not to launch myself across the room and pound my fists into his smug face. How dare he talk about my mother that way?

“So what’s it going to be, son?”

“There is hardly a choice in what you’re offering.”

“That’s a matter of perspective.”

Either way I lose. It’s just a case of how much. Because he and I both know the likelihood of my committing to a job and keeping it are low. I wouldn’t even know where to start. Plus, people telling me what to do all the time will just set me off. But just to prove him wrong…

“What kind of job are we talking about?”

“The owner’s a friend. I’ll talk to him and see what we can do, but regardless you have to keep the job. If you don’t and you break your agreement with me I’ll wash my hands with you. I’m serious.”

How many time had I heard that before, but then, I’m a betting man and I’m betting on me. The prospect of my dad releasing his hooks on me is too tempting a deal to refuse. I stand and head for the doors to his office. Over my shoulder, I say,” “You have yourself a deal,” before leaving the same way I came.

No comments:

Post a Comment