The release of my second young adult novel is getting closer. I sent the manuscript back to the editor for the second round of edits, and the cover designer booked. Right now, I’m aiming for an early March 2015 release for The Evolution of Lillie Gable. Until then, expect many snippets and teasers! Here’s an excerpt from chapter one!
“Let’s play boys versus girls,” Lillie said with a devious grin. Her chestnut-brown hair blew with the lake breeze. She turned to Rachel who sat next to her on their blanket in the sand.
“We can take them,” Rachel said. She smiled, but her brown eyes were sizing up their boyfriends, Brent and Jake. The boys were standing a few feet away tossing a football to each other in the sand.
“Let’s play, then,” Jake said. He walked over to the blanket and offered a hand to Lillie. His messy, blond hair and blue eyes were hard to resist, but Lillie waved him away.
“I don’t need any help from you,” she said. “You guys are going down!” Lillie vaulted forward, sending sand flying in all directions. A few nearby sunbathers turned in their direction offering up dirty looks to Lillie. She yelled “Sorry!” on her way into the gentle, cool waves of Lake Erie.
Due to a mild summer, the lake water remained chilly until a week or so ago. The cold water hadn’t kept Lillie out of the water earlier this summer, but she was bummed that the warm water had only returned in time for school to start.
Lillie, Rachel, Brent, and Jake waded through the rocks and waves to the sandbar. The water reached Lillie’s shoulders before she felt the sand between her toes. On the sandbar, the shallow water rose to Lillie’s waist at the deepest sections—perfect for a game of water football with the boys.
“Okay, what’s our strategy?” Rachel asked. Lillie stood a few inches taller than her best friend, but whatever advantage Rachel lost in height to Lillie, she made up with speed and tenacity.
The boys were talking to each other several feet away. “Beat them,” Lillie said.
Together, Lillie and Rachel were a tough pair to beat on the basketball court. When they weren’t on the court, they didn’t like to lose, even in a game of water football with their boyfriends.
“The good news is we weigh the same as the boys,” Lillie said. Rachel laughed. Brent was tall, maybe an inch or two over six feet, but his body was typical of a runner–skinny and toned. Lillie guessed she weighed more than Brent with his three-percent body fat. Jake’s frame resembled the typical male high school athlete’s. He didn’t play any sports at Eastbrook anymore, but his free time was spent at the gym. He was close to six feet tall with broad shoulders, toned arms, and six-pack abs.
“That’s not a plan,” Rachel said, glancing over her shoulder at the boys.
“I don’t know. Hit them where it hurts?” Lillie said. “Let’s play, we don’t need strategy.”
“The end zones line up with the buoys,” Brent shouted across the water as he pointed to his left and right. “Ladies can have the ball first. Ready?” Lillie and Rachel looked at each other, then both gave a thumbs up.
Brent launched the football into the air toward the girls. Lillie backed up a few paces, waving Rachel off. She caught the ball.
“Block for me!” Lillie shouted. She started running, but her dash for the end zone through the water resembled a power walk. The water slowed her down, but Brent looked like he was gliding through it without any resistance. As he closed in on her, his blue eyes sparkled in the sunlight, and Lillie knew she was in trouble. She looked over her shoulder. Rachel jogged behind her, so Lillie slowed down.
“I’ll take care of Brent,” Rachel said. “Let me lead!”
They ran forward. With Brent a dive away from Lillie, Rachel dashed in front of Lillie and took a flying leap at Brent. She caught him off guard, sending both of them crashing into the water. Lillie laughed and kept running.
With Brent down, Jake remained the only obstacle to Lillie’s touchdown. She knew he wanted to tackle her, to feel her body close to his, but she didn’t want to give him that joy during this game. She had a touchdown to score. If she barreled through him, she could make it to the buoy.
Lillie put all her strength and speed into forward motion and steamrolled Jake. She elbowed Jake in the stomach and a knee landed below the belt. He crumpled into the water, so Lillie hesitated. He resurfaced seconds later and leaped for Lillie, wrapping his arms around her waist. She pressed forward, looking at the buoy several paces ahead on her left. Her legs burned from the heft and weight of Jake, but a touchdown was within her reach. Dragging Jake behind her, Lillie used her remaining strength for a final push to the goal line. She lunged forward.
“Touchdown!” she shouted, crossing the imaginary goal line. Jake released his grip on her. Lillie threw her arms in the air and then spiked the football into the water, splashing both of them. Rachel celebrated from across the water with cheers and arms raised, and she failed to see Brent until he tackled her. They both fell into the water. Lillie laughed.
“We let you have that,” Jake said as he approached Lillie.
“No, you didn’t,” she said. “We scored on you fair and square.”
“I’m not sure I would call a knee to the groin fair,” he said.
“Sorry about that,” Lillie said, turning to him. “Let me make that up to you.” She wrapped her arms around him and let her lips dance with his. His wet, muscled body was warm against hers.
“Maybe you can make it up to me later?” he asked between kisses.
“We’ll see,” she said, pulling apart from him. “First, we have a game to finish. She grabbed the football and swam to Rachel.