The Art of Falling
by Jenny Kaczorowski
Genre: Young Adult Conteporary
Published: December 19th 2013 by Bloomsbury Spark
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For seventeen-year-old Bria Hale, image is everything. She’s a militant vegan with purple hair, Doc Martens and a permanent scowl. Kissing captain of the football team Ben Harris? Definitely not part of that image.Now with each secret kiss, she’s falling deeper for the boy every girl at Oceanside High is crushing on. Throw in a few forbidden bacon cheeseburgers and she’s facing one major identity crisis.Ignoring Ben should be easy, but when a flashy display of artistic spirit lands her in close quarters after hours with the boy she’s too cool to like, she can’t keep pretending those kisses meant nothing. With her reputation and her heart on a collision course, Bria must either be true to herself or to the persona she’s spent all of high school creating.
Song – My Name is Trouble – Nightmare of You
A note from the author:
Thanks for having me! Today I’m sharing a scene with the other boy in Bria’s world – the one she should like. I love this scene because it’s a moment when things go right, but for the wrong reasons and that’s just fun to write. This song is one I’ve had for years and when I first sat down to write Rafael, it popped right into my head – especially after Bria does steal his jacket. It’s bouncy and fun, but just kind of weird and creepy if you actually dig below the surface.
“Hey.” Rafael leaned against his motorcycle, feet crossed at the ankle. His helmet hung from the handle bar and a leather jacket hugged his body from his shoulders to his hips.
“Hi.” Bria stood stock-still.
“I’ll see you later,” Dolores said. “I forgot I told Abs I’d help with something.” She scurried away before Bria could protest.
“I didn’t see you at crew tonight,” Bria said. She expected him to come back with some cocksure comment about her missing him.
“I went to get this.” He held out a red 3/4 helmet.
“Isn’t that your helmet?” She pointed at the matte black one he always wore.
“This one is for you.” He stood and walked close enough to tuck one of her loose curls back into place. “You’re stressed. I want to help.”
“By trying to kill me?” The hopeful skip in her heart scared her even more than the bike, but it was easier to deflect than consider she might be falling for Raf.
“I’m a really good rider. My uncle is a pro and he taught me. I’d never take you out on it if I thought you’d get hurt.”
“It’s still a motorcycle. I don’t do motorcycles.”
He placed his hands on her waist, long, callous-roughened fingers rubbing circles against her back. “Do you trust me?”
“I don’t know.”
“I want to help. Can you trust that?”
She tilted her head down, trying to keep herself from overthinking. “Where do you want to go?”
A smile softened his eyes. “Up the coast. No canyons or crazy speed or anything. Just a few miles into Malibu. Totally safe.”
She shut off the nagging warning in her head. “I have to put my bag in my car.”
“But you’ll come?”
She nodded and his smile exploded, thawing the frozen shell of her heart, even if it didn’t quite reach the core.
Bria dug around the Corvair, finally finding a pair of jeans to pull on over her tights.
“You sure you’re okay with this?” Rafael asked, holding the spare helmet toward her.
Bria narrowed her eyes at the sleek metal and shiny chrome Indian balanced on two wimpy wheels. “If you’re sure I’m not going to die.”
Rafael grinned. “You’re going to love it.”
Instead of questioning the origins of her apparent death wish, she grabbed the helmet from his hands and jammed it onto her head.
“Hold still,” he said, looping the chinstrap through the other end. He pushed closer, hips pressed to hips, and slid a finger between the strap and her jaw. “Can’t have it too loose.”
His black eyes drank her in and he didn’t move his hand right away. Instead, he caressed her skin, his touch feather-light.
“Can you even feel that?” she asked, unable to move but not frozen, not rigid. “Your callouses are so...”
His fingertip swept across her cheek to her lips, lingering for a moment. “What do you think?”
Her breath hitched, but then that wicked gleam lit his eyes and he pulled away, throwing his leg over the bike.
“Come on,” he said, strapping on his own helmet. “Hold on tight.”
Bria slid on behind him, tightening her grip when he gunned the engine. With her thighs pressed to his, the vibration of the bike passed through him into her.
Almost without warning, Raphael released the clutch and they shot forward. She curled her fingers deeper into his chest and leaned her head against his back. She’d never pressed so tightly, so urgently against another person in plain sight. The sheer, naked intimacy of it brought heat to her face even with the wind whipping by.
The Pacific Coast Highway opened before them and she gasped, letting the air off the ocean rush at her.
Loosening her stranglehold on Rafael, Bria settled into the motion, the rumble of the bike, and the steady thrum of the engine chewing up the road in front of them. The sheer cliffs of Malibu rose to their right, small tufts of grass and wild flowers poking up through pinky-grey rock face.
To the left, the ocean boomed, pushing and pulling at the sand, rushing in and retreating in a frothy spray. Gulls circled, crying as they swooped toward the water.
Minutes or hours or days might have passed in the wild space beyond the city. Rafael’s body disappeared and it was only her own and the sensation of flying, suspended between the mountains and the sea.
The bike slowed and she drifted back to earth, landing with a rapid exhale on a turnout overlooking the ocean.
Raphael dropped the kickstand and turned around.
About the author
Raised in Avon, Ohio, the duct tape capital of the world, Jenny began her writing career as a featured columnist for her hometown newspaper. After earning a degree in photojournalism from Kent State University, she vowed to never spend another winter in Ohio and moved to Los Angeles, where there is far too much sunshine.
Amid working as a grant writer for Sound Art, a non-profit that teaches music in inner-city neighborhoods, and raising two kids, Jenny decided to do something with all the snippets of stories she wrote during microeconomics and began writing for young adults. She likes her heroines smart and quirky, her heroes nice, and her kisses sweet. Her debut, THE ART OF FALLING, is coming from Bloomsbury Spark in Winter 2013.
Apart from writing, Jenny is still an avid photographer, loves music despite no discernable musical talent and reads the dictionary for fun. She lives near Los Angeles with her husband, son and daughter. The four of them are always looking for their adventure.