Sunday, May 17, 2015

Excerpt from EVERY FIVE YEARS by Christine Ardigo

 Every Five Years (Fix It Or Get Out Book 2)
Excerpt from EVERY FIVE YEARS by Christine Ardigo
 Every Five Years
 I’ve already read both of Chrstine’s books, Cheating to Survive and Every Five Years.  I really enjoyed the first one and your can read my review here.  In the second book, I really liked Nicolo’s character.  You can read that review here.  I highly recommend these book, if you love romance and drama. 
After watching her parents struggle financially for years, Heather Di Pietro, a quirky, non-conformist, is persuaded by her best friend to date the rich and popular Lance Milanesi, believing he is the path to happiness. But when Nicolo, a vibrant new employee starts at her job, something stirs insides her, and she second-guesses her choice.

Nicolo has spent his entire life making others happy, while taking the back seat to his own happiness. When Heather's dynamic personality finds a way into his heart, she makes him believe he can conquer the world. A close friendship and loving bond soon develops, but it's quickly destroyed, separating them, before they reveal their true feelings for one another.
Five years later, a chance encounter reunites them, taking them both by surprise.

Torn between losing each other again, and the emotions they can no longer suppress, they launch into a love affair more powerful than they ever imagined. Spending their days on the beach and their nights in each other’s arms, Heather discovers what true love is, and knows she must leave Lance.
With love this perfect, what could tear them apart a second time?

Heather and Nicolo continue to cross paths every five years, giving them the opportunity to recover what they lost. Will they ever reach out and grasp what was meant to be, or will their fears continue to keep them apart?

Read as a Stand Alone, or as part of the Fix It or Get Out, Series.

"I was truly taken in by the author's vision for this adorable couple. A romantic love story with something for everyone." - PA

"I absolutely loved this story. I loved how the author brought it all together and how well it was written. The plot was well developed as well as the characters." - JW
Chapter 1
Heather Di Pietro sat across from Brooke Kempler in Zeke’s Pizza and watched her rip the entire slab of cheese off her slice and dump it onto her plate. Too bad you couldn’t do that with the crap in your life. One quick tear and into the garbage.

Spring air floated into Sterling Ridge, Long Island and reminded Heather that only a few months remained before she graduated from high school. The past four years, jammed with adventures and escapades, pushed the limit on her teenage restrictions, and made her the zany non-conformist.

The pizza parlor, located across the street from their high school, proved far cooler than the cafeteria. Each day, after a slice and a small Coke, Heather attempted to beat her score in Centipede, the only video game in their hangout. She was currently in second place, trumped by someone with the initials GMW.

Three freshmen boys appeared through the rear door, chuckling. They kicked and shoved each other until one boy careened into a garbage pail and knocked the lid onto the floor. Its thud onto the glazed tile turned heads. Their rowdiness caused the cashier with the blue-spiked hair to slam her drawer shut and throw a rag across the counter. Heather giggled and Bobby, the shortest of the three boys, waved at her.

A fresh pepperoni pie emerged from the oven and filled the room with its spicy scent. Heather closed her eyes, inhaled and leaned back in her booth. She would miss this place. She reopened her eyes and found Brooke adjusting her gold hoop earring.

Something stirred to her left. She glanced out the window and watched two boys in black Converse high tops and leather jackets make their way up the snaky path to the high school. It was Matt.

She redirected her attention to Brooke, who was scrunching up her hair like a giant haystack. The bigger the better. “Matt likes me,” Heather said.

“Matt who?”

“Matt Balderas.”

“Ugh, gag me.”

“What do you mean? He’s nice.”

“You’re dating Lance Milanesi. Please.”

Heather fiddled with the neon-pink shoelace on her purple Converse. She had doodled all over them with a Tri-color pen. “We pass notes between classes. He leaves them in my locker vent.”

“Are you serious? How old is he? Isn’t he like, a sophomore?”

Heather didn’t answer.

“Fuckin-A, Heather. Lance is eighteen, how can you be interested in a sophomore?” Brooke pushed her half-eaten slice away and took a sip of her Diet Coke. “Does he even have a job?”

“He’s getting his working papers next month.”

“And working where? McDonalds? You’re actually considering dating a sixteen-year-old with no job and no car. Are you totally ill?”

“We talk for hours on the phone. He’s interested in what I do.”

“Of course he is, remember? No job, no car.”

“I don’t have a car.” Heather gulped the last of her soda.

“That’s what Lance is for. Do you know how many people would kill to date him? You got yourself a preppy little boy-toy.” Brooke examined her teeth in her pocket mirror.

“Matt’s getting tickets to see Depeche Mode this summer at Jones Beach and he made me a few tapes of his Ramones records.”

“You’re gonna make me ralph, you know that? Put your punk rock days behind you. You’re lucky Lance even asked you out. Do you understand? He saved you.”

“Saved me?”

“Fer sure. You were buying your clothes in the village at consignment shops. Fluorescent jewelry, purple lipstick, oh, and that ridiculous Boy George hat you used to wear. Still not sure what he saw in you.” Brooke shook her head. “Stick with your Guess jeans, Heather. You’ll be much happier in the end.”

Was she happy? Her classmates certainly looked at her differently. They watched with amazement when Lance and she drove out of the school parking lot together. She also caught them whispering when she entered one of the popular kid’s parties with her arm around Lance.

Brooke dug into her bag and then pulled out her gold shimmering lip-gloss. “Heather, think about it, what could a space cadet like Matt possibly offer you?”

“It’s just nice to hear someone ask about my day. And he’s funny.”

“Funny? Funny doesn’t pay the rent. You wanna go back to the days of walking everywhere on foot? Begging your dad for rides? You’d be in deep shit. Besides, the prom’s just around the corner.”

“The old days were awesome. Remember when we went to—”

Bobby strolled toward his table holding a tray overflowing with two slices of pepperoni pizza and a large cup. One of his friends locked his foot around Bobby’s ankle. He stumbled and his tray tipped to the right. The cup of orange Crush soda toppled and splattered over the white tile like a mutilated pumpkin.

Brooke, splashed with three whole droplets, sprang from her chair. “Stupid freshman. These are suede boots, you asshole!”

Heather lurched from her seat and dashed to the counter. She snatched a pile of napkins and hurried back to the mess.

“Oh, thank God.” Brooke held out her hand. Heather spread the napkins on the floor instead, covering the spill.

“Thanks,” Bobby said. His face flushed.

An employee arrived with a cotton-string mop, dispersing the mess and the scene.

Heather plopped back into the booth, took a huge bite of her slice and gazed out the window.

Brooke scowled. “Look Heather, this is exactly what I mean. Enough of this nonsense. We’re graduating and have to look sophisticated next year.”

“You’re going away, I’m not. Sweatpants, hair in a ponytail, then off to work.”

“Well, that’s one smart choice you made.”


“If you went away, you’d lose Lance for sure.”

“I’m not staying on Long Island for him. I’m just not into all that sorority, rah-rah garbage. Besides, I have a good job, getting my dad’s old car this summer...”

“You won’t need to work once Lance gets his degree.”

“I like working.”

“What are you majoring in again, cooking?”

“Nutrition. We don’t cook.”

Brooke’s head jerked toward the window. A gold metallic 300zx pulled into the pizzeria parking lot. The passengers climbed out and Brooke stuck her finger in her mouth. “Barf me out. Look who’s with your Lance.”

Lance emerged from the car with Robin Levine and her posse, all from the Crystal Lake section of town. Gold earrings, thick chains and matching bracelets shimmered in the sunlight. Lance donned his aqua Ralph Lauren shirt, collar up, and a pink sweater tied around his neck. His khaki pants cuffed to show off his brown leather loafers and argyle socks. Heather’s eyes narrowed.

“Told you he’s a wanted man. Robin will steal him right from you.”

“As if. She won’t put out.”

“You barely did.”

Heather glared at Brooke.

“Take a chill pill, just stating the obvious. You don’t make guys like Lance wait.”

“I had to be sure he was the right one.”

“Trust me, he’s totally rad.”

Lance had laughed when she told him she was still a virgin at seventeen. Afraid of losing him and terrified of her classmates finding out, she consented one night when his parents went out to dinner.

Under his covers, her B-52’s T-shirt still on, he rammed her repeatedly despite the pain. When he finished, he vaulted off the bed, pranced around as if he just finished a marathon, then stared at himself in the mirror and stretched. She found the condom inside her two days later, the pain lasted three.

Brooke lost her virginity at the end of ninth grade. So desperate to fit in, she begged her brother to take her to one of his senior parties. A senior named Victor supplied her with a steady stream of kamikaze shots and Bacardi and cokes, until she couldn’t see, then led her to a vacant bedroom. The next day, Victor walked past her as if he had amnesia.

Brooke never told her. She only graced Heather with good news, leaving all the horror stories tucked under her mattress. News of her casual sex with a senior spread around the school, though, leaving only hormone-crazed boys to ask her out. One by one they used and dumped her.

Lance strode in with Robin and her sidekicks and their phony laughter echoed through the pizzeria. The cashier glanced up from her register and then made a face as if she was forcefully vomiting. The employee with the mop snickered.

Robin spotted Heather at the corner table and her face lost its color. She recovered, adjusted her posture, nose upturned, and then jabbed her fingers into Lance’s ribs tickling him. He keeled forward, holding his side and snorted. Robin cackled loud and obvious like a hyena on crack. She motioned to her friends, alerting them to Heather’s presence. The three girls circled Lance and took turns poking him.

“You’re not going to just sit there, are you?” Brooke asked. “Fight for your man.”

Lance wriggled in a fit of hilarity and then made eye contact with Heather. His laughing ceased. Heather smiled, but her throat tightened, corking the glob of pizza in her stomach. She quickly hid her red-leather spiked bracelet under her sleeve. Lance sauntered over and she stood to greet him.

“Why are you here? Shouldn’t you be in math?” he asked.

“Mr. Roesler’s out, we had the period off.” Heather gripped her wrist and covered the spikes that forced their way through the cotton material.

Lance crooked his neck toward Brooke and leered at her. “Hey, Brooke.”

“Hey, Lance. Looking good.”

He put his arm over Heather’s shoulder then noticed her sneakers. He frowned. “I thought you said you wouldn’t wear those anymore.”

“I had gym today.”

“Can’t you buy yourself a normal pair of white Reeboks?”

“I don’t do aerobics.”

Lance huffed. “You know nothing about style. You should hang around girls like Robin more. Then you’ll fit in.”

The soda she gulped returned in her mouth. She re-swallowed and glanced at Robin, who stared her down. She had the same stupid pair of Guess jeans on as Heather. The ones that cost her two days salary.

Heather grabbed the sweater from Lance’s neck, drew him in and kissed him, mouth wide and exploring, fervent, she rubbed her pelvic bone between his legs. Lance didn’t pull away. Instead, he welcomed her unusual aggressiveness.

She pulled away and smirked. “Still care about my sneakers?”

“What?” His voice hitched.

“I’m going to play Centipede, get yourself some lunch.” She strolled over to the machine and ignored Robin’s glare. Heather inserted a quarter, her three middle fingers positioned on the trackball, and began her battle. The centipede made its way back and forth across the screen, spiraling down, further, faster. The spider appeared and sprang at her. She twirled the ball to avoid it. She swooped up and to the left and then back down before ambushed. She rolled back to the right and then they surrounded her.

“You think you’re so smart, Heather, don’t you?” Robin snarled. She leaned on the arcade game and her two friends shadowed her, blocking the sunlight. Lance ordered his Calzone unaware of their threat. “Listen, you may have Lance now, but not for long. Not sure what he sees in you, but soon he’ll realize he should be dating someone of my caliber.”

Giggles erupted beside her. She continued to twirl the sphere.

“Mark my words, Heather Di Pietro, I’ll be going to the prom with him, and we’ll be prom king and queen. Not prom king and quack.” Robin thrust her hand over the trackball, then walloped Heather in the shoulder as she departed. Her cohorts followed. 
Heather’s gnome player piece knocked dead.

She grumbled, cracked her knuckles, and then reached into her pocket and found another quarter.

HDP, the new initials to take first place.

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