by Lisa Orchard
Release Date: 10/21/14
Summary from Goodreads:
Lark Singer’s relationship with her mother is prickly to say the least. As she enters a musical competition that could launch her career, Lark also searches for answers her mother would rather keep hidden. Throw into the mix the fact her best friend Bean has been acting strangely, and Lark finds herself launched into uncharted territory. Will her quest for answers sabotage her musical aspirations?
Francine went all out for Bill. Resentment rises in my throat and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
“Sit down, Birdie,” Francine says as she carries the steaming bowl of sauce to the table. She sets it in the middle and then moves toward her chair.
Bill pulls it out and says, “There you go, Franny.”
He called her Franny again. The bile rises in my throat, but I force it back. If I’m throwing up, there’s no way I can put my plan into motion. Resisting the urge to wade right in, I plop down in my chair. This has to appear natural, spontaneous. So I let my irritation fester, hoping I can relieve the itch soon enough.
I sit down across from Francine and Bill sits on my right. It’s awkward. I can tell already that I want to get away from here as fast as I can. I start with the salad and avoid Bill’s gaze. He starts with the spaghetti noodles. He keeps looking at me, sizing me up, I’m sure. Am I going to be his ally in this mess, or an enemy? A problem child he has to contend with? The questions dance in his unwavering stare. There’s a calculating look in them too and I don’t like it. I keep my face neutral, as if the only thing happening is an evening meal. I need the element of surprise to pull this off.
“So, Franny,” Bill starts. “Did you know that Betty has given her two-week notice?”
Francine’s eyes brighten when she looks at him. “No. I didn’t. Why is she leaving?”
“She wants to retire a little early,” Bill says as he ladles some sauce over his pile of noodles.
Don’t fall for it, Francine. He dangles this carrot in front of my mother and it pisses me off. What a total creep. I can’t believe he would come here, eat our food, and mess with my mother like this.
My anger starts in the pit of my stomach, a raging fire that spreads throughout my body. I’m livid by the time Bill finishes covering his noodles with sauce.
He sure eats a lot. Pig.
My eyes narrow as I wait for him to put the ladle back into the bowl. “Pass the noodles, please.” I keep my voice calm. There’s no tremor indicating the fire burning inside. Bill hands me the noodles and our eyes meet over the bowl for a brief second. His have that calculating look and they narrow as he tries to read my expression.
“When will you be posting the availability of the position?” Francine asks, unaware battle lines are being drawn, and the opponents are sizing each other up.
Bill turns away from me, but not before, I see a flash of wariness creep into his eyes. He must have seen something in my expression. I must have given something away and I silently curse myself. I was counting on the element of surprise. Scooping noodles on my plate, I listen to the conversation, pretending I couldn’t care less, but I think Bill knows better.
“Probably in about a week. I want to make sure we have the date of Betty’s last day firmed up before I post it.” Bill twirls a pile of noodles around his fork and shoves them into his mouth.
He chews with his mouth open and it totally grosses me out especially when I hear the sound of his lips smacking as he chews. Maybe Francine will notice and will be as disgusted as I am. Maybe I won’t have to put Operation Sabotage into play. Glancing at her, I inwardly groan. She’s oblivious. She’s always like this when someone new comes into her life. Blind.
“I’d be interested in that position,” Francine says. She puts her fork down, and a faraway look fills her eyes. “Francine Singer. Head Teller. I like the sound of that.” She picks up her fork and gives Bill a secret smile. His eyes twinkle when he meets her gaze and I know it’s time to put my plan into motion. Squash this train wreck before it even leaves the station.
I glance at Bill, and give him my most innocent smile. “Does this mean you’re going to be my new dad?”
He starts coughing and quickly grabs his glass of water. His face turns red, and I can tell he doesn’t know what to do or where to look. Finally, he picks his fork up again and twirls another pile of spaghetti noodles onto it; he shoves the forkful into his mouth, while keeping his eyes on his plate.
That’s right. I think to myself. Eat. Fill your face.
Then I look at Francine. I can feel her body growing rigid with rage. If her eyes could shoot lasers, I’m sure Francine would shoot them at me right now. But they can’t, so I’m safe for the moment. I move forward with Operation Sabotage.
“I’ve never had a dad,” I say with fake girlish excitement. I gaze adoringly at Bill, while inside I just want to hurl. Bill clears his throat and squirms in his seat. He glances at me, and his lips flutter as if he’s trying to smile, but just can’t do it. I’ve got the advantage and move forward like an army overtaking a bunker. “Yeah, Francine had me when she was sixteen and she won’t tell me who my dad is. So you can be my new dad.” I give her a measured look across the table. I know I’ve lobbed a grenade at her and declared open war. But I’m prepared and wait for her to fire back. I don’t have to wait long.
By fifth grade I was writing my own mysteries and illustrating them as well. I've always known that I wanted to be a writer and I tucked that little piece of information into the back of my brain; determined to take it out and use it when it was time.
After graduating from Central Michigan University with a Marketing Degree, I landed a sales job. I was on my way! After spending 13 years in the Insurance industry, I met my husband. We soon married and had two beautiful boys. I decided to stay home with my kids. A tough decision, but one I don't regret.
I did, however, miss the hustle and bustle of work - and working toward a goal. T
hat is when the little voice inside my brain said, "It's time to write."
So I did, and "The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer" was born, followed by my new book, "The Super Spies and the High School Bomber."
I am very excited as I begin this new "chapter" in my life.
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