BOOK RELEASE SNEAK PEEK

Here’s the first chapter of the book I’m releasing on April 22, 2019. Enjoy.

Hannah’s Fate – A Southwood Colorado Novel

Hannah Adler is on her way to a very important job interview from California to New York when her car breaks down right outside of a tiny town in Colorado. Lucky for her, a tow truck driver sees it happen and tows her into the town. While she waits for her car to get fixed, she runs into the very last person she ever expected to see again; Brian Oakley. Almost two years prior the two broke up due to her family’s views on image. Hannah was broken. Brian had left without a word of where he was going and now here she is standing in front of him. She’s got a decision to make: head to her interview and make her mom happy, or stay and find out if this is her fate.

Chapter One

Chapter 1 – Monday

   “Mom, it’s me, Hannah. I‘m heading out now. Just thought I’d let you know I‘m leaving. I‘ll call you later, I guess. Bye.”  I closed the trunk of my car and hung up my phone and placed it in my purse. I walked around the side of my car and got in. I did not know how I felt as I sat there, getting ready to leave. My mom had set up an interview for me in New York City. One that didn‘t sound all that appealing. But people would have called me crazy. People practically killed each other over working with Vicky Cosmos. I didn‘t feel that way.

   I’d graduated from UCLA not even a week prior and my mom was already lining up my future and shipping me off. She’d never treat my brother, Hayden, like this. He was the favorite child; she wanted to keep him around. No matter what he did, he’d still be in her good graces. I’d had to fight her on letting me go to UCLA since they don’t have a real fashion design program. I convinced her to let me get my degree in the arts and I’d be able to figure it out from there. Let’s say, she didn’t have much faith in me. 

   I put my car in drive and then paused. I glanced down the street once more checking for a familiar car driving toward me. Nothing. Neither my mom nor my dad was there to see me off. It wasn’t like I needed mommy and daddy or anything like that; it was that I was possibly moving to the other side of the country and they didn’t seem to care. I wasn’t sure why I felt surprised. We’d never, in my 22 years of life, been close. They had my entire life planned out for me and yet they were never actually there for me.

   “Whatever,” I mumbled, driving down the street.

   I watched my childhood home disappear in my rearview mirror. I’d have to send for my things once I found a place in New York City and I’d probably have to end up selling my car. The thought of driving around the city terrified me. I wasn‘t afraid to use the subway if I had to.

   As I drove, I picked up my phone and called Blair, my best friend of nearly twenty years.

   “Hey, girl. I’m here. How much longer do you think you’ll be?” Blair asked, upon answering.

   She was a perfectionist and that included arriving 5 minutes early to every single appointment she had and getting upset with people when they arrived on time. Which meant those that were procrastinators and showed up late, would feel her wrath. I was already running late and I could feel her seething through the phone.

   “I’ll be there in a few. Sorry. I had a lot to pack.” I said.

   “Did your parents show?” She asked.

   “No,” I said. I didn’t need to say anything else. She would know I didn’t want to talk about it.

   “Ok. Well, hurry. It’s getting crowded.” She said.

   I laughed. Blair liked to point these things out. Even though she liked crowded rooms. She somehow always made the room focus on her. Even if there was something else going on. Someone’s birthday? The room focused on her. A wedding? People asked her where she got her dress from instead of the bride. I’d even once witnessed her get interviewed at a movie premiere as the actor of the movie walked right on by the TMZ crew without being noticed.

   Blair had dark brown hair and gorgeous green eyes. They were the perfect shade and sparkled. Guys stared at her. They stared at me too, but men truly looked at her like she was the only girl in the world. Every one of my boyfriends did it and I didn’t blame them. Well, every one of my boyfriends except Brian. But Brian was different.

   I parked my car and walked into Starbucks. There were quite a few people there, but not as many as Blair had made it seem.

   It was strange to think I wouldn’t be meeting Blair there anymore. I thought about all the times we had spent there as I waited in line. We had been meeting there at least once a week since our freshman year of high school. It was our spot. It was bittersweet thinking we would no longer be meeting at all. I knew we’d have to grow apart at some point, but I hadn‘t been expecting it so soon. I tried not to cry. Diapasons of laughter interrupted my thoughts. A crowded table of what I assumed was a group of college students were passing around a cell phone and laughing.

   “Miss?” The Barista said, getting my attention.

I looked at her and apologized. “Sorry. I’ll have a Venti non-fat, no-whip, iced white mocha,” I said to her.

“Is that it?” She asked.

I nodded my head. “Yep.” And inserted my black Amex into the credit card machine. I still wasn’t used to the chip’s in the credit cards and had tried to swipe it first.

“Oh! Name?” She asked. She had almost forgotten.

“Hannah,” I told her.

She wrote it on the cup and thanked me. 

I found Blair sitting in our usual spot toward the back of the coffee shop. There were two yellow chairs we had loved to sit in and talk during our weekly meetings. We’d usually end up staying for at least an hour just gossiping.

“Were you zoning out?” She asked as I sat down.

“Yeah.” I let out a small laugh. “I was just being sentimental.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, remember when we first came here freshman year? It’s been a weekly tradition of ours and now it’s the end. This is it. There won’t be any more of these little meetings.”

“All good things must end.” She said. Her phone rang, and she smiled upon answering it. “Hey you.” I knew it was a boy. That was her greeting for boys she was seeing or was interested in.

“Henna!” Yelled a barista.

I wasn’t sure if they tried to call for me or not. But I got up to see. Sure enough, it was my drink with the word “Henna” written on the side. It had to have been a marketing ploy because I wasn‘t sure how someone could get the name “Hannah” wrong. I shrugged. At least it was better than the time they wrote “Lana”.

I walked back over to our table and sat down, taking a sip from my drink.

“Listen, I’ll call you later, okay? I’m with Hannah and she’s leaving for NYC today.” She said. Then she made a funny face. “No, no. She has to leave soon. I won’t miss it, I promise.” She continued.

I raised an eyebrow in her direction and she got off the phone.

“Sorry that was Troy. The new guy I’ve been seeing.” She said.

“You’re fine. How is that going?” I remembered three weeks prior when she told me she had met him and that she thought he could be the one. But this wasn‘t the first time she had thought a guy she was dating was “the one”. 

I’d had that once. Thinking a guy was “the one” and devoting all of my time to and energy to him. I took another sip of my drink and pushed the thoughts out of my head. Even five years later I couldn’t think about it. 

“So, anyway. Are you nervous about your interview?” She asked.

I pursed my lips as I thought about my answer “Sort of. But the truth is, I don’t even think I want it.”

“Are you kidding me? Interning with Vicky Cosmos isn’t something you want? That’s like a dream job and you are a total shoo-in.”

“Yeah, thanks to mommy dearest.” I rolled my eyes.

“So? You still deserve it. You’ve got such an amazing skill. I don’t want to see it go to waste.” She took a sip of her drink and then checked her lipstick in her compact. “This Jeffree Star Liquid Lip is amazing. Just saying.”

I laughed. I thought about the time we went to VidCon and how she instantly connected with so many YouTubers. 

Sure I’d grown up in Hollywood with my dad owning one of the biggest movie production companies. I was accustomed to being around celebrities, but YouTubers were different. These people were my peers and something about them being considered “famous” was hard to get used to. But Blair and I had always enjoyed going to VidCon and talking with some of them.

“Seriously though, you don’t think you want the job with Vicky?” She asked.

I chewed on my lip. “Um, I’m not sure.” 

“What do you want to do?”

“Part of me just wants to drive and see where I end up.” I knew this sounded less realistic. 

“Then do it. Maybe you’ll end up in New York. Maybe you won’t.” She shrugged. “You need to do whatever will make you happy. Not your mom and not your dad. They need to understand that.”

“But that’s -”

“Easier said than done?” She finished for me.

I nodded my head 

“I know but you are an adult now. If you don’t want to follow in her footsteps, she needs to just deal with it.” Blair said.

She was right; I was an adult even though they still treated me like a child. Why was I wasting any more time trying to appease them? I shouldn’t have been.

“Thank you, Blair. I’m gonna miss you and your wisdom.”

“I’m just doing my job. And I’m gonna miss you too. But I’ll come to visit you as often as I can. This isn‘t going to change our friendship. I promise,“ She said.

I felt tears stinging the corners of my eyes. “Oh god.” I didn’t want to cry in public.

Blair handed me a napkin.

“Thank you.” I said.

“No crying until you leave. Because if you start. I’ll start and then we will both be sitting here blubbering.” Her voice cracked. 

For a moment we sat not talking at all. We were just absorbing the moment. We’d never lived so far apart before in our lives. It was a lot to handle, and I was glad to know at least someone would miss me. Even if it wasn‘t my flesh and blood. But Blair had been there for me more often than they had been. 

The ambiance of the room changed as a more upbeat song came on the radio. I drank the final bit of my coffee and checked the time. It was 10:05. I had to get going soon if I wanted to make good time that day.

“I’m gonna miss you,” Blair said as she hugged me goodbye at my car.

“I’m gonna miss you too,” I said. Tears fell. I couldn’t help it.

“No. I said don’t cry.” She laughed as tears formed in her own eyes. “Call me as soon as you get to your first stop.”

“I will,” I promised. I had only planned on driving 8 hours a day. Anything over that and I knew it would push it for me. It would take me about five days to get there.

We said one final goodbye, hugging tightly and then I got into my car and was off. Headed out of the only city I’d ever loved. Away from the only people I’d ever known. Into a future, I was still uncertain about.


Look for the release in just two weeks! ❤

I’ve been working on this novel for 5 years, and I’m so proud it’s almost here. I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek.

XX,

Ashley

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