I get asked—often—why I write stories with such large and intricate families. In my debut novel, The What If Guy, I had a father, a son, a B.F.F. who had five kids, and so on and so forth. I tend to make my cast of characters on the large side. This was a common thread in The Carny, too. My heroine, Charlotte Davenport, comes from a family with a mother, a father, two sisters, two brother-in-laws, and two nieces. My hero, Vincent Youngblood, comes from a mother, a stepfather, a biological father, a stepmother, and a half brother and sister. All of these side characters add up to a very intricate, dramatic, and sometimes emotionally draining subplot.
The Carny by Brooke Moss
At a town fair on the coast of Oregon, handsome Native American carny, Vincent Youngblood, bestows an unforgettable kiss on shy, awkward teenager, Charlotte Davenport. Then he disappears without another word, leaving her baffled and enamored.
Ten years later, Charlotte is still living in the small fishing town of Astoria, while being trained to--reluctantly--take over for her philandering hotelier father when he retires. After all, who else will do it? Her two perfect sisters are busy being married to their flawless husbands and having cookie cutter children, while Charlotte remains single, childless, and every bit as mousy as she was a decade ago.
As Charlotte struggles to climb out from underneath her judgmental parents thumb, the carnival rolls back into town, and Charlotte finds herself face to face with Vin again. He's back to run his father's carnival, walking away from a promising career in medicine he started in Chicago. Will her biased and judgmental family accept her relationship with a man who is not only a Native American, but works as a carny for a living? And what unsavory secrets bind the well-educated and seemingly superlative Vin to that ramshackle carnival?
After all, you can’t judge a carny by its cover.
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One of his hands rested on my arm, closing the space between the two of us. “You deserve better friends.”
I didn’t respond. I just stared up at those two shining eyes that were reflecting my own face back at me. His face was coming closer to mine. My knees knocked together, and I wavered in my spot before his other hand came up to anchor my other arm.
“I think I should kiss you.” He raised his eyebrows. “To really drive the point home.”
His lips touched mine before I could agree with him. They were soft and full, and tasted faintly of the soda pop he’d been drinking. The spin cycle in my stomach came to a sudden and abrupt halt, as did all activity of my internal organs.
Everything froze. The music on the loudspeakers faded away, and the crowd around us melted like crayons, blurring into an undecipherable picture. His mouth parted my lips tentatively, and his tongue brushed the inside of my upper lip, sending a shockwave of catastrophic earthquake proportions up my spine. Every hair on my body stood up and the ground swayed under our feet.
When we pulled apart, both of our eyes opened back up sluggishly, as if we’d both been dreaming. I realized that neither one of us was breathing.
“Whoa…” He stepped back, tilting dizzily. He looked at me like I’d just announced the cure for cancer. “Charlotte Davenport.”
I pressed my fingers to my lips. “Vin Youngblood.”
“Hey, can we get this love story finished up?” A kid in line called out. “There’s a line clear around the ride, and you two are sucking face.”
I was suddenly the wallflower again, embarrassed to be in the spotlight. I squeezed through the gate and tromped along the noisy metal tilt-a-whirl floor for the car where Regina and Kasey watched with open mouths. My hair slid out from behind my ear, and shaded my face once again.
Find Brooke elsewhere on the web here: www.brookemoss.com, and grab your copy of The Carny here: www.inkspellpublishing.com
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