Today I have the pleasure of introducing you all to one of my Astraea Press friends, Brenda Maxfield. Having just become a grandmother of the most gorgeous Elijah, but also a wonderful and talented Author. Her current release is “The Lance Temptation”.
Sophomore Emili Jones has had it with being a boring, straight-A student. Itching for excitement, she sees plenty of it in classmate Farah Menin’s life of frequent dates and edgy adventure. Hoping the popularity will rub off, Emili latches onto Farah and manipulates herself into best friend status. The connection helps her land the hot new guy, Lance Jankins, but there’s a catch. Now a pawn in Farah’s dating games, Emili is on a crash course to betrayal. Will she realize it in time to save herself?
Excerpt from The Lance Temptation (Book One of The Edgemont Collection):
Farah carried her tray with its plate of green beans as if it were the royal jewels. She sashayed toward our regular table in the corner of the cafeteria, her hips lightly brushing the backs of the entire high school football team who’d already grabbed the table in the nearest the food. The catcalls began immediately.
“Hot stuff,” one player yelled, and then whistled.
With practiced innocence, Farah paused, and turned to face the guys. She rolled her green eyes and shook her head, feigning annoyance. A smile played on her lips. Then she fluttered her thick lashes and continued on, skirting her way to our table in the back.
Oh yeah, she’s a master at everything I’m not. All Farah has to do is show up and the boys follow, frolicking like puppies around a bone. So, shameful as it sounds—I made it my business to become her friend, even if it meant dropping everyone in my tight circle. I was done being the boring, straight A girl. I wanted the hot guys to drool around me for once, and I figured the connection couldn’t hurt.
Watch and learn, Farah had said. Right.
I stood with my tuna sandwich stuffed inside my crumpled lunch sack, sighed heavily and followed her, trying not to let my shoes clack out my progress. Nobody’s eyes followed my every move.
Well, there’s a surprise.
I slid onto the bench across from her. It was Monday—the only day Farah’s halfway civilized because she’s tired from the weekend—and we were eating lunch together as usual.
Farah opened her milk carton, and took a drink. She tipped her head, letting her thick red hair cascade down her back. The loose curls nearly touched her waist. Farah’s well aware how flat-out gorgeous she is, and she quickly glanced around to see who might be watching.
The table of girls to the side of us stared at her. When they spotted me looking at them, they huddled together in one big gossip head. Farah saw them laughing, pointing, and whispering. Her expression hardened. “What a bunch of wannabe’s.”
“They’re jealous,” I said.
Farah leaned across the end of our table toward them. “Talk about me all you want, you sad groupies.”
Their heads jerked apart and each one of them glared at her. Farah scowled, and then turned her attention back to me.
I heard a yelp behind me, and someone hollered, “You’re disgusting!” A burst of raucous laughter filled the air. I could see Farah watching the whole scene over my shoulder. Wide-eyed, she jumped from her seat and flew to a table of freshmen girls. I swirled around to observe. Farah lunged across their strewn trays and stuck her face against a shocked girl’s nose. “Leave her alone! Do it again, and you’ll deal with me.”
Her harsh voice echoed across the cafeteria. The freshmen girls were shocked into silence, but their lips fairly curled into snarls.
A choked sniffle came from a girl cowering at the end of the table. Macaroni was splattered all over her uniform. Farah stood up to her full height, her cheeks blotched red. She regarded the sniveling girl. “You okay?”
There was no answer.
“Want help cleaning up?”
The girl shook her head, picked up a napkin, and started wiping at her shirt.
Farah squared her shoulders and returned to our table. I stared at her. “What was that?”
“Bullies. I hate them. And where are the lunch monitors, anyway?” She picked up her fork and took a bite of green beans.
“You know, sometimes you’re actually nice.”
Farah grimaced. “Don’t let it get around.”
I laughed and picked up my sandwich. Right then a tender feeling of protectiveness toward Farah washed over me.
And that’s when he descended upon our table. The New Guy. The one I’d secretly been panting after since he transferred to our school two weeks earlier.
Interview with Emili Jones, the main character of The Lance Temptation:
Give us a few brief facts about yourself.
My name is Emili Jones. I’m sixteen years old and a sophomore at Bates Academy.
Is Bates a private school?
Yes. I’ve gone there forever. All my friends are there.
Who’s your best friend?
Right now, my best friend is Farah Menins. She’s gorgeous and all the guys like her.
And how about you? Are you popular with the guys?
Not so much. I figured if I hung out with Farah, it might help me get more popular.
Did it work?
I managed to snag one guy all on my own. His name is Marc and he’s really nice. You know, a sweet guy. But there’s this new guy at school named Lance, and I start sweating the minute I look at him. He’s fine. But I don’t think he’d ever look twice at me.
What’s your favorite thing to do?
I make perfume. It can get kind of spendy though.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?
Is it okay if I don’t really answer that? It’s embarrassing and I’m still mad at myself. I will say this—it had to do with Marc.
What do you wish you could do over?
Wow. There are a couple major things. I dumped my friend Jeannie, and sometimes I regret it. Especially because of the reason why I dumped her. The other thing is the same as the last question you asked. It’s about Marc.
What’s hardest about being a teen in today’s world?
The pressure on you to be hot and smart and beautiful and popular. It’s impossible. Who could live up to that? Well, maybe Farah. But the pressure makes you do stupid things. Even when you try not to be an idiot, you end up doing things you know you shouldn’t.
What are your future plans?
Hmmm, I’m only a sophomore so I’m not sure. I want to graduate from Bates and go to university. I’m worried, though, because something’s going on with my dad. He has some big announcement, and I can tell by the look on his face I’m not going to like it.
I hope the announcement isn’t too awful. It was nice talking with you today, Emili. All of us can read about your story in The Lance Temptation, correct.
Yep. Thanks for talking with me. It was nice to be here.
Brenda Maxfield loves writing novels for young adults. She explores teens’ heartaches and triumphs—and always with a bit of romance thrown in to complicate matters. Brenda is a high school teacher and spends most of her waking hours with teens. She loves hearing their views on love and life, and is honored to be part of their lives.
Brenda has lived in Honduras, Grand Cayman, and Costa Rica. Presently, she lives in Indiana with her husband. They have two adult children and are grandparents to one precious little guy, special delivery from Africa.
When not writing or teaching, Brenda can be found at her lake cabin with a book in her hand and her dog Lucy on her lap. If you’re looking for good, clean teen reads, check out Brenda’s books! She loves getting to know her readers better, so stop by and say hello at: www.brendamaxfield.com
All links are available at: http://www.brendamaxfield.com
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