As the editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, Evan Maldonado is right on track for college next year and pursuing his dream of being a journalist. To put the finishing touch on his college applications, he’s taking an intern position with a well-known newspaper where he’ll receive a letter of recommendation from the editor. There’s just one little problem. The business intern spot he was expecting to get is taken. The only other position they have available is covering the local roller derby league.
Mari Valdez isn’t worried about getting into college. All she’s concerned with is getting through the repulsive world of high school. Sure, she has her best friend, but she still has to put up with teasing because of her multi-colored hair or bruises. The bruises are from roller derby, by the way, the only thing that Mari looks forward to. It’s been her safe haven since her world imploded.
In order to get more information on the derby league, Evan follows Mari to her practices and games. To call their friendship rocky would be an understatement, but the more Evan and Mari are together, the more they seem to connect. When Mari’s personal life boils over, she finds herself confiding in Evan. And just when everything seems to be coming together for the two, a horrible mistake may separate them for good.
Talk Derby to Me is a stand-alone, YA romance novel.
There are only a few minutes left before the bell rings for the end of lunch, so I grab my backpack, sling it over my shoulder, and head over to them. The lunch tables Vince and I sit at are under a roof, off to the side of the courtyard, but the entire thing is open air. Mari and Albie are sitting in their usual grassy spot, next to a huge tree. There aren’t many clouds above, but I feel like it’s about to rain on me. There’s no reason she’d agree to this, but I have to take the chance. I want that letter of recommendation.
Albie is the first to see me approach. “How ya doin’, Chief?” she says in the twenties flapper accent again. She really never gets tired of that joke.
“Uh, hey. What’s up, Albie?” She smiles, but Mari doesn’t look up from the book she’s reading. She has the cover wrapped around, reading with one hand.
I step closer, trying to see what she’s reading. I’m hoping to make a little comment as an ice breaker, but she gazes up at me, annoyed. “Can I help you?”
“I need you,” I blurt out, then immediately cough in embarrassment.
“Excuse me?” she says.
“Whoa, moving awfully fast there. Buy a girl dinner first.” Albie laughs.
“No, sorry.” I shake my head at myself. “I don’t mean I need you. I mean, I need an in with you.”
Her eyes widen. “You need a what with me?”
“No, like—” I growl in embarrassment and stupidity at myself. “Sorry. Okay, so, I got a reporting internship with Riverside Tribune. I was supposed to write articles in their business section, but I got stuck with roller derby.”
She scowls, curling a lip, staring at me. It takes a full five seconds for it to dawn on me how rude that sounded. “No! Not stuck, I didn’t mean it like that.”
“How’d you mean it, then, White Boy Evan?”
First of all, I’m a little caught off guard that she knows my name. Secondly, it sounds racist, so that’s what I jump to first. “I’m half Mexican. Only my mom’s white.”
“Well, I’m just saying, you said, White Boy Evan.”
“You look white.”
I hold up a finger. “The politically correct way of saying that is Caucasian.”
“Yeah? What’s the politically correct way of saying stop talking to me?”
Taking a deep breath, I attempt to gather my thoughts and figure out a way of recovering the bang-up job of an introduction and request. She stares back at me, brushing a strand of green hair from her forehead, then quirks an eyebrow. It’s like she’s daring me to say something else.
There’s no time, though. I’m just about to try again when the bell rings. She hops to her feet, grabs her backpack, and struts away without another word, leaving Albie and me behind.
“That could’ve gone better,” I say, slumping my shoulders.
“Yeah,” Albie agrees, throwing her arm over my shoulders. “You really know how to talk to the ladies, Chief.”
RH Tucker writes cute & edgy YA romance. He also lives in Southern California, consumes too much caffeine, eats too much pizza, and firmly believes Rocky Road is the best flavor of ice cream.
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