When Jaycee Stevens is six years old, her mother dies and leaves her with an abusive drunk of a father who only remembers she’s there when she gets in trouble. She grows up a foul-mouthed hellion who doesn’t take crap off anyone, and she lives in fear of anyone finding out she’s also a love-starved little girl terrified of the dark. By the time she’s seventeen, Jaycee has outrageous behavior down to an art. Her intrepid spirit carries her to college on an athletic scholarship, but she’s tripped up there by a poor little rich boy on the baseball team named Bud Stanton. Bud hides in a bottle just like Jaycee’s old man, and the last thing she wants is to get mixed up with another drunk. He’s everything she despises, and she wants him more than she’s ever wanted anything. When she finally stops fighting her attraction to him, they fall hard for each other, and God help anyone who gets caught in the crossfire.
Jaycee and Bud are an emotional paradox: drawn to each other because they’re so much alike, and constantly at war for the same reason. They fight as frequently and as physically as they make love, but Bud’s arms are the only place Jaycee has ever felt safe from the terror of her recurring nightmares. Their rollercoaster life is gritty, touching, and funny, and just when they think they’ve made it safely to the end of their wild ride, Jaycee’s childhood comes back to derail her when she has to go home and face her biggest fear: What happened to her in the dark?
Targeted Age Group:: 16-adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My first book was such a feel-good story that I wanted to write something a lot grittier and edgier the second time out. I also subscribe to the belief that everything happens for a reason. We don’t always know the reason until much later, but it’s there just the same. I love the song “What Might Have Been” by Little Texas, and it got me thinking about how many of us have someone from our past that we’ve never forgotten, and how many of us wonder what might have happened if we’d gone down different roads.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I had a very happy childhood with two loving parents, so I have no idea why an abused and neglected little girl named Jaycee kept demanding that I tell her story, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. And she grew up to be such a hellion that there was definitely plenty to write about, especially when she met the male version of herself when she got to college. I love writing flawed characters who are hard to like and making the reader fall in love with them. It challenges me as a writer and keeps me honest.
WHOSE ASS DO WE HAVE TO KISS TO GET A SOFTBALL FIELD?
Jaycee Stevens smiled at the shocked expressions her sign was generating from all the baseball fans as she stepped onto the field decked out in full softball uniform. Good, she hoped it embarrassed the hell out of the school board officials who were there to unveil the new $50,000 lights they’d bought for Randolph High School’s baseball field when the softball team had no field at all.
“Hold it!” Coach Watson shouted at Jaycee as she walked through the gate. “Get out of here, Stevens! I told you I wasn’t putting up with any more of your stunts!”
Jaycee responded by walking to the middle of the field and sitting cross-legged on the pitching rubber, her short blonde hair curling wildly in like-minded defiance, and the six earrings curving up her right ear glittering audaciously in the brand new lights.
Scott Simmons ran over to the mound from first base. “Get off the field or I’ll throw you over my shoulder and carry you off!”
“Touch her and you’ll deal with me. She’s got a right to be heard.” The right fielder for the other team planted his six-foot-four frame between Jaycee and the other Randolph players who’d joined Scott at the mound.
Scott looked at the guy’s imposing stature and obviously reconsidered his threat. “Yeah, whatever. I hope Coach calls the cops on her troublemaking ass.”
Jaycee swung her sign at the back of the tall young man’s legs. “Hey, mind your own damn business! I don’t need your help.”
A reporter and cameraman arrived from WSFA in nearby Montgomery, claiming they’d gotten an anonymous call about an expected disturbance and wanted to ask the young lady some questions. Once Jaycee had been interviewed on camera and allowed to voice her complaints, she agreed to leave so play could resume, but she accosted the tall right fielder in the parking lot as he walked to his car after the game.
“Hey, Dudley DoRight! Who said I needed you to rescue me? If the cameras had gotten a shot of that Neanderthal trying to haul me off the field, I could’ve been the top story on the ten o’clock news.”
He stopped and turned around. “The name is Cole McGee. Sorry if I screwed up your plan, but my mama raised me to help a lady when she needs it.”
“Well, Mama’s Boy”—Jaycee put her hands on her hips and looked up into his blue-gray eyes— “who the hell told you I was a lady?”
“Sorry. My mistake.” He resumed walking and was about to open his car door when she tapped him on the shoulder.
“Gonna offer me a ride? Or didn’t your mama also teach you not to leave girls stranded in dark parking lots?”
“As a matter of fact, she did. Get in and I’ll take you home.”
“There you go assuming again.” Jaycee slid over to the middle of the front seat. “Who said I wanted to go home?”
“Okay, then where to?” He got in and started the car. “And do you have a name, or do you just go by Trouble?”
She held out her hand. “Jaycee Laine Stevens, and you can take me wherever you want as long as it’s secluded.”
His eyebrows went up slightly as he shook her hand. “And why would we need to go somewhere like that?”
Jaycee looked into his eyes again without a trace of facetiousness. “Because I’m gonna lose my virginity to you, Cole McGee.”
She was rewarded by his shocked expression, but then he smiled.
“I think I know just the place.”
About the Author:
JOYCE SCARBROUGH is a Southern woman weary of seeing herself and her peers portrayed in books and movies as either post-antebellum debutantes or barefoot hillbillies á la Daisy Duke, so all her heroines are smart, unpretentious women who refuse to be anyone but themselves. Joyce has three published novels as well as several short stories available as Kindle downloads. She writes both adult and YA fiction and is active in her regional chapter of SCBWI. Joyce has lived all her life in beautiful LA (lower Alabama), she’s the mother of three gifted children and a blind Pomeranian named Tilly, and she’s been married for 31 years to the love of her life—a superhero who disguises himself during the day as a high school math teacher and coach.
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