Hello and welcome to our stop on the Strong Enough blog tour hosted by Vade Mecum Blog Tours. The author is sharing an excerpt with our readers and there's a giveaway to enter. Enjoy!
Strong Enough by Ellen Harger
Publication date: February 25th, 2013
Publisher: Ellen Harger
Starting over is hard.
And sometimes, you have to burn a few bridges to do it.
Whitney Brown is average--average intelligence, average height, average weight--but she wants to be someone new. To kick-start her rebirth, she wears formal mourning, a black veil and vintage dress, to a wedding in her hometown, Woods Cross, a community that treasures family values. Is it an attack on marriage or has she just gone bonkers?
Emboldened but lacking a plan, she forces her foot in the door of a radio station in Sundown. A small metropolis of nearly 150,000, Sundown is a notch of urban flair along the Midwest's Bible Belt.
Getting in proves to be the easy part and the anonymity of being a DJ suits her well. But off air (and in person), Whitney must stand up to Sadi, an angry feminist and the bane of her college years while an old friendship with her former roommate, Leah, devolves around a guy.
It's 2002 and the Midwest radio scene is changing. Just as Whitney hits her groove, the radio station undergoes its own identity crisis. But what rocks Whitney to her core is the moment the condom breaks. Her abstinence only background leaves her embarrassed and facing a difficult choice.
They end up at a nearby diner—Eat Your Heart Out—with a menu designed to serve the clientele their arteries on a platter. Whitney tries to think, to say something funny about the name, but all she knows is that Gabe's thigh is pressed against hers.
When she slid into the cracked red leather booth, he sat beside her instead of taking the bench across. She tried to focus on the menu, but when she claimed to be unable to decide, he patted her knee and suggested an omelet. After that she was only aware of the coolness around her knee, aching to be touched again. As he talks, he occasionally leans into her with a little bump. She desperately wants to lean on his strong arm, so she consciously keeps her back straight. Now part of his leg is pressed against hers, and her brain has ceased functioning.
He tells her about the diner, growing up in the area, and his uncle while doodling the Superman symbol on a napkin. At first it was just the S in an upside down triangle but now he's drawing the image of Clark Kent pulling off his suit, the S appearing beneath. It's a close-up of just his chest, the hands pulling open the shirt, the S the focus of the picture. The skill of his sketch surprises and entrances her. The style is comic book and practiced.
"Are you designing your Halloween costume?" she jests.
Gabe's pen pauses and he lifts his eyes to hers. "What's your costume? Raggedy Ann?"
"Ah! A freckle joke. Nice." She gives him another punch and marvels at how elementary school rules for flirting still work. "I don't usually dress up."
"Me, either," Gabe says, rubbing his arm where she punched him. With a wink he returns to his sketch.
At this moment her dearest wish would be to be as interesting to him as his doodle. "You're really good."
He glances at her and gives her his crooked smile. "Thanks. I had youthful dreams of being the next Jerry Shuster, but art school was too expensive." He returns his attention to the napkin. "My uncle needed help with his bar, and after a while, I joined the fire department."
…. she considers his drawing again. "Why Superman?"
"Cause you're a hero?"
"Because we're not invincible."
About the author:
Ellen Harger was born at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. As a military brat, she moved often during her childhood--something she never resented and continued as an adult. The constant starting over influenced her first published novel, "Strong Enough."
At 14, her family settled in Missouri as civilians, permitting Ellen to attend one high school. She stayed in the Midwest to attend a small liberal arts college, studying creative writing and art. After 11 years, she moved to Boston. While there, she continued to study creative writing in Cambridge. Ever willing to explore new places, she moved next to the San Francisco Bay area. After 11 years away, and loving the symmetry, she returned to the Midwest to finish "Strong Enough." She has published a poem, "Guidelines," and released her novel as an e-book.
There is a tour wide giveaway for 10 eBook copies and signed swag, opened internationally. Ends July 6th.a Rafflecopter giveaway