When a new cover got made for One Little Word, I showed it off on my mailing list. I did not remember to post it on my blog, which I only discovered when I couldn’t find the cover in my images. Oops. Better late than never?
Quick summary: A jock screws up and must depend on the one guy who hates him while they try to sell the ruse of their secret fake relationship, which is getting less secret and fake with each passing day. This involves lots of hand holding, which brings us to the cover:
This isn’t the first time I’ve had an illustrated cover made, but it’s the first time I knew I was getting an illustrated cover. Technically, their heights should be reversed as the guy in pink is taller, which I keep telling myself doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Also, maybe he’s slouching or they’re standing on uneven ground.
Anyway, I also wanted to share an excerpt from the book. I did not know which part to share, so I decided to use one of my favorite scenes. In it, Ryan and Luke are at a grade school fair, and they are turning every game they play into a competition.
As this bit has two lines I love, that’s probably part of why I enjoy it so much. Especially since these lines, in my opinion, don’t make for great quotes and are hard to appreciate out of context, so I unfortunately haven’t made image quotes with them. If you want to guess the lines I love, go ahead. I’ll tell you after the scene.
LUKE STARED DOWN MY GRINNING FORM, his arms crossed against his chest, a reverse of our earlier position. Except his arms were more impressive with muscles bulging and straining against the material of his shirt.
I teased him to avoid the distraction. “Now you’re the sore loser.”
He wasn’t impressed with my victory. “Cakewalks are entirely luck based.”
“There was no rule there had to be skill involved.”
The possibility of him winning sweet treats kept him from complaining when I selected the cakewalk. Maybe I had good karma stored up because I always won cakewalks. I held a cake wrapped in plastic in my hands, funfetti with white frosting and sprinkles. Luke wanted me to pick brownies instead; he was so weird. Funfetti was the best.
“You’re at least sharing that cake with me,” he argued.
Luke had given me a root beer when he won the ring toss, an unexpectedly sweet gesture. He wanted to bribe me into the dunk tank, so the present wasn’t sweet. The nice part was how he remembered my beverage of choice. I may share my dessert, but he didn’t need to know that yet.
We did basically every event, jostling and trash talking each other at the slightest opportunity. Things that weren’t even really a competition we turned into one, like the duck pond. Except we got into an argument about what constituted winning, getting a duck with a higher number attached or drawing a duck that earned two candies instead of one.
We had time for one more game before heading back to our booth. The objective for our last game was to knock down cans with beanbags. This was another activity where Luke had an advantage, but Alicia was manning the booth for community service credit, so maybe she would help me out.
She stared at us incredulously when we stepped up to her table. “Isn’t this game a little too easy for you?”
Luke nodded. “For me, but I have to give Ryan a fighting chance.”
“Tell that to the duck pond, jackass,” I fired at him hotly.
“I won the duck pond,” he argued immediately. “Not you.”
Before we could get into it further, Alicia held up her hand. “Yeah, this and the duck pond are for kindergarteners. You know that, right?”
We looked around. The cans were regular empty pop cans, and the beanbags were at least half their size, so it did seem pretty simple. Unless you were five and could barely aim. And the kids in this line were especially young and all of them had parents holding their hands. The adults behind us watched us with exasperation.
The little competitive bubble Luke and I were in burst. It had been so easy to get absorbed in trying to beat him, everything else faded into the background.
“Oh, I guess we shouldn’t do this one then,” Luke said, sounding as silly as I felt.
“No, don’t let that stop you,” Alicia told us. “By all means, play the angriest game of Can Knock-Down the world has ever seen.” Her sarcasm skills were almost as good as mine.
We retreated from her booth as she laughed at us for being giant children. Damn, I wished I hadn’t drunk the root beer Luke gave me. I could have chucked it at her.
While our competition was intense, it had almost been fun. I hadn’t minded being in Luke’s presence then. I’d stopped keeping score at one point, only wanting to beat him so he wouldn’t be as smug.
Plus, maybe he had this ridiculous pout whenever he lost that I wanted to kiss away. Ugh. Being attracted to someone I hated was difficult. I’d feel the urge to punch him one moment and want to shut him up with my tongue in his mouth the next.
“I’m not getting in the dunk tank again,” Luke declared when we got back to our booth. His artificially orange skin looked like a bad spray tan. Yet even orange, he was still hot.
I couldn’t pull off that look so well. “What if I promise not to accidentally dunk you?” I offered.
“That doesn’t stop everyone else who tries to hit the bullseye.”
I smiled. “I may be able to help with that too.”
“I knew it!” He rounded on me in anger. “You’re such a cheater!”
“Do you want to cry about it, or do you want me to rig the game?”
He stopped and paused. Then he decided, “Definitely, definitely rig it.”
–The rest of the story is available here. My favorite lines are ‘Tell that to the duck pond, jackass,’ and ‘By all means, play the angriest game of Can Knock-Down the world has ever seen.’