Disappointment has been on speed dial in Ellen Grayson's life lately. Her dad died, her mom numbs the grief with drugs and alcohol, and her so-called friends have slowly abandoned her.
Trusting a popular teacher with her troubles should have been safe and should NOT have led to an unwelcome seduction attempt that made her desperate to escape the final moments of Junior year. Lesson learned. Best to keep all the sordid details to herself and trust no one.
Enter Rex Jacobi, a cocky boy, recently transplanted from New York City and fellow summer camp employee. Though his quick wit and confidence draws her in, she can't let him get too close. And summer is just long enough and hot enough to keep a boy like that at arm's length.
But by the time Rex's charm wears down her resistance, it's too late. He's put Ellen on the "just friends" shelf and has shifted his romantic attentions to the impossibly annoying and perky anti-Ellen. Even worse, the teacher who tried to get her to sleep with him is still at it, preying on other girls while Ellen struggles to come to terms with what happened.
With her ability to trust as shaky as a chastity vow on prom night, Ellen must decide if she has enough remaining courage to speak up about the well-liked teacher and risk retribution, tell Rex how she really feels about him and risk heartbreak, or hold all her secrets inside. After all, it's the only safe place she knows when the only thing louder than words is the fear of being rejected.
Louder Than Words Excerpt 3 -- "Meet Ellen"
Inside the apartment, the red message light blinks on the answering machine. I press play and my brother’s voice fills the room.
“Mom called and said you robbed her.” He chuckles softly before resuming his message. “I told her if she showed up at the rec center again, I’d get a restraining order. I mean it, too. If you see her loitering around there or anywhere near the apartment, you need to let me know right away.” A few heavy breaths follow. “I have to work late, be home around seven. Either just cook enough dinner for yourself or put my share in a Tupperware and I’ll eat it for lunch tomorrow. I’ll grab dinner on the way home. Love you, ya little poop.”
The next message is from a debt collector looking for Mom.
A third message is from some chick named Coco who’s fangirling over Robbie. She calls all the time, but as far as I can tell, he never calls her back, just erases her messages. My brother’s kind of a man-whore, but he’s not a liar, never pretends to be in love with any of the women foolish enough to fall for his doe-eyed dorkitude.
From our genetic pool of possibilities, Robbie possesses more sex appeal than either of our parents could ever claim. Guess who got stuck with the bill for the overdraft? Observers asked to describe me would probably say: dishwater blond hair, generic brown eyes, and baby fat that migrated to her lady lumps and invited their friends to visit, too. Average height, average weight, average skin, average at sports, and average artistic talent. I can claim superlative intelligence, but it’s really more of a social liability at my age. I don’t have a boyfriend, not even an average one, but apparently I’m a magnet for the sexual advances of sleazy older men and teenaged mafia from New York.
About the Author
Iris St. Clair is the pen name for a long-suffering cubicle worker by day, a Walter Mitty-like dreamer by night. (Her alter ego Tatiana Ivanadance also choreographs gravity-defying routines in those fantasies, but that's another bio.)
No matter what genre she writes, she prefers witty, insecure heroines and kind, persistent heroes able to break through to the gooey heart inside.
In high school she was voted most likely to win at Monopoly and Clue, but least likely to throw a ball anywhere near a target. Thank goodness writing requires less hand-eye coordination, punctuation errors notwithstanding.
Iris believes in the two-year "fish or cut bait" dating rule and has a 20+ year marriage and two teenaged sons as proof of concept. She lives, writes, dreams and dances in the rainy Portland, OR area.