Cover Reveal. “We’ve Always Got New York” by Jill Knapp with Chapter One Excerpt
Part two of my What Happens To Men? series is coming out one month from today!
You can read Margaret Bonass-Madden’s review here. Today I have for you a sneek peek at the first chapter of We’ve Always Got New York and Amalia is back from Brazil. Now, time to find out whether you are Team Michael or Team Hayden?
”We’ve Always Got New York” picks up after Amalia Hastings returns to Manhattan from her trip to Brazil to find that life has in fact gone on without her. Fresh off the plane, she is left feeling anxious and unresolved, left alone to pick up the pieces, and deal with the repercussions of choosing her own path over Michael. Amalia finds herself without an apartment, without a job, and starting to wonder if she’s even without a best friend!
Now here’s a sneak peak at the first chapter of “We’ve Always Got New York”!!
Chapter 1- Amalia
I could tell by the look on her face that she was expecting something from me. She was expecting something to be different. For me to be, in some way, changed.
I’m Amalia Hastings, and on August 20th at 9:17 pm, I was home.
Home. The word seemed funny to me because I didn’t have a home to go back to. I moved out of my apartment right before leaving for Brazil and after my friend-with-benefits, Michael, showed up at my apartment, asking me to stay. I hadn’t thought it through properly; I just knew I didn’t want to live in that apartment anymore. Before my trip to Brazil I packed up what little stuff I owned and put it in storage for when I returned, assuming I would deal with it then. Well, “then” has become “now”. So for tonight I was staying with my best friend Cassandra. Who was currently waving at me.
I knew what she wanted. She wanted stories. Juicy ones that involved hot hookups on the sand. She wanted to see pictures. Pictures of the places I went, the food I ate, and the hot guys I met. She wanted me to run up to her in a sun dress, hair braided and skin tanned, and explain, no, to pontificate, to her how life-changing my trip was. She wanted me to playfully link her arm around mine and gush about how amazing it all was. How I was changed forever. That I had a new appreciation for life, food, and music. She wanted me to tell her that I would never be the same.
But this isn’t the movies and I’m not Julia Roberts.
The florescent lights above me flickered, making the airport look dark and ominous. I looked down at my hand as I pulled my rolling suitcase across the sticky, tiled floor. Not even my hand had acquired a tan. Three months in the Brazilian sun and my skin remained as pale as ever.
Cassandra was looking right at me with wide, unblinking eyes. I walked a little slower.
For some reason I couldn’t pinpoint, coming off the plane felt like a surreal experience to me. Although I was relieved to have landed, and I wouldn’t have wanted to stay in Brazil any longer, I still wasn’t utterly happy with being back. I wondered if it merely had to do with the fact that I had no apartment to go back to and was feeling pretty untethered from not having a proper home.
There’s an old saying. I’m not really sure where it’s from or who said it first. Kind of the proverb equivalent of The House of the Rising Sun. It proffers, “Wherever you go, there you are”, and up until about one month ago I had no idea what it meant. But now it means everything. It rings in my ears like a scolding mother, repeating itself over and over again until I submit.
I finally stood face to face with Cassandra, who was grinning like a fool at this point. She was dressed down for the night, wearing a purple racer-back tank top that showed off her summer glow, jeans, and gold flip-flops. Her blonde hair was pulled into a loose, messy bun and her make-up was minimal, apart from the extra-shiny, coral lip-gloss she was wearing. She reeked of summer.
“Hey,” I offered, looking down at my sneakers. I wished I had more energy for her, but after ten hours on a plane it was all I could muster up.
Cassandra cocked her head to the side and smiled. Her hair swung back and forth and she popped her hip out like a model in training. She looked as fierce as ever, even dressed-down in comfortable summer clothes.
“That’s all I get? Get over here!” she said, pulling me in for a hug.
I hugged her back for a moment and then pulled away, overcome with exhaustion and jet-lag. I smiled at Cassandra. She smelled like a salty coconut and I realized she had probably come straight from Fire Island, a beach not too far from Long Island and just outside of the city. That explained the dressed-down attire, but not the lip-gloss. Unless, of course, we were going straight back there from JFK airport.
I looked back at the gate. Most people I knew hated airports, but I liked them. They offered a chance to escape. Get on a plane and in six hours from now you could be across the country. You could be in a different town, in a different house, with a different group of people. I think we all took that for granted.
I could go back to Brazil right now. Or I could go somewhere else. I’ve never been to Cincinnati; I wonder what it’s like there. Or maybe Savannah. I could definitely live in Savannah! I took a step backwards, away from Cassie. Back toward the inside of the airport. She just smiled.
“Very funny, Amalia!” she said through perfectly white teeth. “Don’t sneak away from me now. I’m so glad you’re back, I really missed you.”
Cassie threw her arm over me and smushed our faces together. She whipped out her iPhone and flipped the camera application around so the front lens could be used and snapped a picture of the two of us. Before I knew it, she uploaded the picture to Facebook with the caption “So excited, Amalia is officially home!”
Without glancing back, she walked a few feet in front of me and remained glued to her phone. The back of her Havaianas smacking onto her heels echoed throughout the now nearly empty hallway. I let out a long sigh that Cassandra didn’t hear and pulled my suitcase toward the exit.
Yep, it was official.
I was home.
Standing on Roosevelt Island, New York (Where my character Alex Carlson lives), with my sister who happens to be a grad-student at NYU
We’ve always Got New York is published by Harper Impulse, HarperCollins on 20th of Nov 2014
My novel, What Happens To Men When They Move To Manhattan? is FINALLY being released in paperback on October 9th!
In preparation for this, HarperImpulse added a few final touches to my cover including two fantastic quotes! One from actress Shiri Appleby (Roswell, HBO’s Girls) and another from award winning author Emily Liebert (who’s quote is featured on the back cover of the book.) Her new novel, When We Fall is out now!
You can pre-order the Paperback version of my book here on Amazon.com in the US… or Amazon.co.uk in Great Britian.
Here is what the front of the novel now looks like!
Also, some more great news, book #2 has been given a release date of November 20th!
Thank you for everyone who has supported me this past year, you are all wonderful!
One of my fellow HarperImpulse over has popped in today!
Thanks for inviting me over Jill.
There’s one thing I’ve always loved about being part of the horsey set in Cheshire, apart from the men, and that’s the great girls. If you want to meet some strong minded women, who are independent and capable, then head for almost any stable yard or country estate.
In Stable Mates I had the ideal opportunity to introduce lots of athletic, good looking guys – from the fit eventer Rory, to the older Billy and ex-model Tom, with a lot more in between. But, I also had the chance to create some wonderful female characters. The type that make a great and loyal best friend, the type you know will always be there for you. The type that don’t have to have a man lurking in the background all the time.
Lottie is slightly scatty, very disorganised and often forgetful, but she’s reliable and more than capable of handling a big horsebox or a stroppy horse. Then there’s Pip, the journalist who is as well groomed as any of the horses, and as happy with the country set as the models, footballers and WAG’s in nearby Kitterly Heath. Lady of the Manor, Elizabeth, has a penchant for a strong gin and tonic, but she isn’t half as batty as she like people to think, even if she is decidedly eccentric. And although she might appear to be a bit of a trouble maker – she knows exactly what she’s doing and why. There’s loveable Sam who knows just how to keep her superstar other half happy. And then of course there’s Tabatha, the goth teenager who already has a good idea of how to wrap her easy going father round her little finger…
Without all the strong female characters there wouldn’t be a story – the men might think they’re in charge, but we all know the truth, don’t we?
Tom only half heard. None of this was turning out quite how he’d planned. Not that there had been any big master plan, but it definitely hadn’t involved hitting the national headlines, landing a two-page spread in the local rag and getting the best shag of the decade followed swiftly by the hangover from hell. Nope, it had involved obscurity in the countryside. Yeah, great to be settling in, who the hell had coined the phrase rural idyll? Except, for some strange reason, he actually couldn’t feel upset about it. Although the primary aim had been to settle Tabatha, and right now she didn’t look that settled. Even with her precious four-legged and furry friend in tow.
‘Are you going to come or not, Dad?’ She was glaring at him.
‘Sure I am, poppet.’
‘I told you not to call me poppet.’
So much for the happy phase, that had lasted about five minutes, at a push. Maybe once she got the animal bedded and boarded she’d admit to being slightly satisfied.
‘Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. Mom rang this morning.’ And with a satisfied smirk on her face, mission accomplished, she turned and strode off after Lottie.
His own happy phase exploded into the ether as he stared after her, his mouth open, with a new churning in his stomach that had nothing to do with vodka.
Bestselling author Zara Stoneley lives in deepest Cheshire surrounded by horses, dogs, cats and amazing countryside. When she’s not visiting wine bars, artisan markets or admiring the scenery in her sexy high heels or green wellies, she can be found in flip flops on the beach in Barcelona, or more likely sampling the tapas!
Zara writes hot romance and bonkbusters. Her latest novel, ‘Stable Mates’, is a fun romp through the Cheshire countryside and combines some of her greatest loves – horses, dogs, hot men and strong women (and not forgetting champagne and fast cars)!
She writes for Harper Collins and Accent Press.
Find out more about Zara:
Secrets and scandals, love and lust – when the ‘Cheshire Set’ are up against the ‘Footballer’s Wives’ the only common ground is carnal…
Flirting and fun seem the perfect antidote for Lottie’s battered heart, and where better to find them than back in tranquil Tippermere, home of sexy eventer Rory Steel, the smiling Irish eyes of hunky farrier Mick O’Neal, and mysterious newcomer, model Tom Strachan?
But when landowner Marcus James drops dead unexpectedly, and the threat of his waggish wife Amanda selling the heart of the village out from under them looms large, things look like they’re about to heat up in and out of the saddle.
With tensions running high, and the champagne flowing as freely as the adrenalin, is it any wonder that love catches more than one of them unawares?
Buy links –
How did you become a writer? It’s a question which I am often asked. The truth is that from as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to write stories. But the problem was that it wasn’t the kind of career you could easily train for like a teacher or a scientist.
I grew up in a place called Harrow Weald, a ‘green belt’ area about forty minutes away from London on the Metropolitan line. Despite its proximity to the capital, there were woods and fields which I would often walk through, making up tales about people and places I knew.
My school was one of the first girls’ schools in the country – very academic - and because I didn’t consider myself to be particularly bright, I took refuge in novels like Jane Eyre. I also longed to be one of the bubbly party set but that wasn’t to be! So I threw my angst into writing poetry. It seemed quite natural to read English at university – the only subject I was interested in – and then to become a magazine journalist. Again, it was the only job that seemed to have any relation with my ultimate ambition – to write a novel
But life has a habit of de-railing you! I married young and left my job on Woman’s Own to bring up my three wonderful children. At the same time, I freelanced furiously for a wide range of magazines and newspapers – mainly specialising in family features and celebrities. I was lucky enough to interview all kinds of famous people including Julie Walters and Barbara Dickson. Sometimes if I was desperate (childcare wasn’t easy), I would take my children with me to these interviews . Pam Ayres was particularly kind when I brought my then two year old along.
By the time my youngest son was three, I realised time was running out for that novel. So I wrote 100,000 words about a housewife who swapped place with a journalist. It was called Amersham Wives. I found an agent through the Writers & Artists Yearbook and thought I was made. However, although the novel had nice rejection letters, no one took me up. So, on my agent’s advice, I wrote another noel – and another. Finally, after writing a novel a year for ten years, I got my first contract. The book was called ‘The School Run’ and the publisher was Hodder & Stoughton. My agent suggested writing it under a pen name – Sophie King - in case readers mistook it for a non-fiction book (I’d already written quite a few of those by then).
My fifth Sophie King novel ‘ The Wedding Party’ was shortlisted for Love Story of the Year by the Romantic Novelists Association in 2010. That was wonderful!
Then I changed publishers to Random House and they wanted to re-launch me with a new name. So I became Janey Fraser (‘Janey’ is actually my real name although ‘Fraser’ isn’t). It’s rather odd having a pen name. In some ways it protects your privacy but in another, it makes you feel like someone you aren’t.
My fourth Janey Fraser novel is called ‘After The Honeymoon’ and has just come out. It’s about one honeymoon destination; thee couples; and six secrets. The first half is set in gorgeous sunny Greece and the second in a small English town where the couples come to terms with the first six months of married life!
In real life, I’ve had two honeymoons. My first marriage came to an end after twenty seven years which was very hard for all of us. Three years later, I went onto marry a family friend who is also the Godfather to my children. It means a lot to me that he’s known them since they were babies. My first husband has re-married too. My second honeymoon was more of an extended wedding reception in a beautiful country house hotel, set in the Lake District. I didn’t want to go away after that, as I wanted to be around for my then 16-year-old son.
Writing, for me, is a mixture of being a mum – even though the children are much older now – and having time to myself. My husband is very good at that. He never minds when I go up to my study for ‘a few minutes’ and come down several hours later…
If you want to write, I’d advise you to keep your eyes peeled for a situation that grabs you. Then think about what kind of people might find themselves in that situation and what problems they could encounter. Picture the place they’re in – use magazine pictures as a prompt – and smell it. You might also like to look at a book I wrote called ‘How To Write Your First Novel’ by Sophie King, published by How To Books.
Good luck! If you’d like to email me, I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AFTER THE HONEYMOON by JANEY FRASER. PUBLISHED BY ARROW, RANDOM HOUSE.
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