Like Clockwork by Elle Strauss

Check out this new book!
Like Clockwork, a companion novel to the Clockwise series, is here!!

Adeline doesn't feel she belongs in her own time, but can bad boys from the past be trusted?

 Adeline Savoy had hoped that the move west from Cambridge to Hollywood with her single dad would mean they’d finally bond like a real family, but all she got was a father too busy with his new female friends and his passion for acting to really see her.

 Instead she finds herself getting attached to Faye, the divorcee hair dresser she befriends when she travels back in time to 1955. Plus Faye has a hottie, James Dean-esque, bad-boy brother who has Adeline’s heart all aflutter. But bad boys from the past can be dangerous. Is it possible that Adeline really does belong in her own time and that maybe the right boy lives as close as next door?

LIKE CLOCKWORK is available now at Amazon and Smashwords and soON for B&N, ibooks and other e-book retailers.

 Read on to sample the first chapter:

Chapter One
Adeline Savoy

My dad still thought I was ten. That was how old I was when my mother died, and how old I was when my father crawled into his “cave,” also known as his office on the 26th floor of the John Hancock tower. Six years later, like a bear coming out of hibernation, Dad decided his days of hiding behind a desk were over. I thought he was going through a mid-life crisis, which was why we now lived in Hollywood instead of Cambridge. And why when I spotted his reflection in a mirror at the cosmetic counter in the Shop & Save store, I almost dropped the Scarlet Passion lipstick tester I'd just smeared on my lips.

Even though I was sixteen, I wasn't allowed to wear make-up. True. With my left hand I used a tissue to wipe the evidence off my mouth, all the while watching my dad’s familiar profile move in and out of range in the mirror.

He was laughing. I crouched down and turned, my vision just missing the counter top, and watched. His hair had grown out since the “decision.” He used to always keep it so short, that I didn’t even know it was wavy before, and the lines on his face never used to turn upward in a smile.
I had to see who was causing this cosmic reaction in my father. The clerk who sold cheap jewelry, a pretty-in-a-fake way brunette, tilted her head and giggled back.

My jaw dropped and something really strange started happening in my stomach. I felt a little sick because I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. My dad was flirting!

Who was this man dressed in khakis, flip-flops and an un-tucked pseudo Hawaiian shirt? My real dad only wore pinstriped suits with starchy white shirts and a blue tie. Always. Even to bed, I was certain.

“Miss? Are you all right?” The cosmetic clerk was armed with a spray nozzle cleaner in one hand and a paper towel in the other.

I mimed as best I could, “ssh”, but apparently dad was the only one with acting skills in my family, since she wouldn’t leave me alone.

“Miss? You don’t look too good. Should I call for medical?”

The fake pretty lady stopped chatting when she heard her colleague talking so loudly. Obviously, that meant my dad’s little flirtation episode was over. And of course, my blonde ponytail was a giveaway. 

“Adeline?” he said.

“Dad!” I jumped up, feigning surprise.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

What are you doing here? I thought. “Um nothing, just looking. Thought I might buy some gum.”

Dad glanced back at the fake and I did a quick switcheroo, replacing the tester and grabbing a sealed golden tube. It tucked nicely in my fist as I crossed my arms over my chest.

“Adeline, come here,” Dad said. “I want you to meet someone.”

My legs moved toward dad and the fake without my permission.

“Adeline, this is my friend from acting class, Spring. Spring, this is my daughter, Adeline.”

Spring extended her hand. Unfortunately, the contraband lipstick was in my right hand. I wasn’t a magician. Dad would notice if I tried to switch. I opted for the awkward offering of my left hand.

“It’s so nice to meet you,” Spring gushed.

“Same,” I said, not meaning it at all. “Not that I don’t want to stay and chat,” I added quickly, before Dad could draw us into more forced intimacies, “but I’ve got to go.”

“I’ll walk with you,” Dad said. But he wasn’t looking at me; he was smiling at the fake.

“It’s okay, Dad. I’ll meet you at home.” I strutted across the floor to the cashier. He glanced back at me as I stood in line at the register. I waved the pack of gum in the air. I paid for it and the lipstick while Dad and the fake went back to making googly eyes.

I snapped the gum in my mouth while caressing the lipstick tube in my hand. It was encased in a plastic protective seal, a perforated strip running the length of it like a zipper. My thumb picked at the rim. All I had to do was rip it open and it would no longer be returnable.

But I really should return it. I’d promised myself I’d give up the greasy lip habit when we moved. It was a chance to start over, do everything new, and be a proper daughter with a proper father.

Hrumph. Like that was turning out. Dad wasn't exactly holding up his end of the bargain.

My breaths came out short and rapid, like a panting dog. I didn’t realize how fast I’d been walking. I’d hardly taken in the tall palm trees that lined the road or the sweet smell of tropical flowers I didn’t know the names of.

No signs of autumn in sight. In Cambridge the leaves would be showing signs of turning color, bright reds and yellows. A little twist in my stomach. I was homesick.

And angry.

He was supposed to change, but not like that. He was supposed to notice me, spend time with me, not some flake called Spring. What kind of name was that anyway? It sounded like a made up actress name. Her last name was probably Storm or Wind. My thumb picked the plastic a bit more.

“Hi, there.”

I turned my head. Some guy riding a pink bike with a sparkly white banana seat and matching tassels that hung off tall, wide handle bars slowed down to keep pace with me.

“Hi,” he said again. This time there was no mistaking he was talking to me.

“Hi?” I said, not slowing down at all to do so. I may be entering my junior year, but I still didn’t talk to strangers. Janice, my babysitter/pseudo mom in Cambridge, had drilled that lesson into me good.

“My name's Marco. I live next door to you.”

Okay. I slowed a little. “Why are you riding a girl’s bike?” Did he steal it? Why didn’t he care about how stupid it made him look?

“It’s my sister’s. I sold mine to buy something else, but riding this is better than walking.”

“I’m walking and you’re not making any better time than me.” I was annoyed. Why didn’t he just keep going? I preferred to sulk alone.

“You’re new, so I thought with school starting tomorrow, you’d like someone to ride the bus with.”

Good point. Who knew what kinds of Hollywood weirdos would be on the bus? I looked Marco up and down. He was average height, shaggy hair, and wore a graphic t-shirt and surfer shorts with fat, loosely tied skate shoes on his feet. No socks. He had nice, tanned skin and warm brown eyes that squinted to almost close when he smiled. He wasn’t hard to look at.

And he looked trustworthy enough, I guessed. Plus, he was right. I didn’t really want to go to Hollywood High alone.

I stopped and turned to him. “I’m Adeline Savoy.” I wiped the sweat on my right hand off on my skirt—sky blue, slightly flared and to my knees—and offered it wanting to start my new friendship off on the right foot.

“Cool,” Marco said as we shook. “You like to make things official. I like that.”

The sun must’ve glinted off the gold tube in my other hand because Marco nodded toward it. “What’ya got there?”

“Oh, it’s just lipstick. I bought it, but now I’m not sure. I might take it back.”

“I don’t know why girls wear that vile stuff,” he said. I was surprised by the strength of his statement.

“It makes us feel good. Pretty. What’s wrong with that?”

“For one thing, you’re already pretty without it.”

He thought I was pretty?

“Besides,” he continued, “it’s made out of horse urine.”

“It is not! That’s so gross.”

“It is. That’s why it has that sticky consistency. Have you ever seen dried urine around a toilet?”

“You’re disgusting! How would you know about lipstick, anyway?”

“I have three sisters, though one is only six years old and hasn’t discovered the evils of make-up and this culture’s drive to sexualize young girls. It’s too late for my older sisters, but you can still be saved.”

Who was this guy? And how did he get off talking to me like that? He didn’t even know me. I felt my lips settle into a tight line and my pace picked up.

“Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.”

How long was he going to walk with me? “Where did you say you lived?”

“Right next door to you.”

“Right next door?” This annoying person, who happened to be my only friend, lived right next door?

“Yeah, the two storey. My bedroom window faces yours.”

“You see in my window!”

“No. I don’t…” His face flushed red.

“You do, you do look in. You peeping Tom!”

“Adeline, I didn’t see anything. I just heard your music.”

“Huh?” I stopped and spun to face him.

A grin tugged at the corners of his mouth. “And your singing.”

“What?” I was mortified. He probably heard me singing along to  Feist, or even worse, he saw me doing my Michael Jackson impersonation. I bet he saw me doing the Thriller dance the other night. Ugh!

“Everyone can hear you. You have your window open.”

“You know what? Don’t talk to me.”

Marco seemed truly taken aback, and yet he didn’t get the hint. Not even one as direct as that. He was not only a peeper, but he was dense, too.

“I live in a house full of women. Three sisters and a mother. I get what’s going on here. It’s PMS, isn’t it?”

Was he kidding me? As if I would talk about something like that with him! I stopped and stared hard into his eyes. I produced my new tube of lipstick and slowly peeled the perforated strip, letting the plastic wrapper drop to the ground. I dramatically popped off the lid and twisted the base until the bright red dried horse urine was in full view.

Then I put it on my lips, slowly, purposefully, first the top and then the bottom, smacking them in Marco’s direction when I was done.

Take that, Mr. I Know Women.

Marco bent down, picked up the plastic wrapper and pushed it in his pocket. He straddled the bike and pushed off, turning back long enough to say, “I’ll pick you up at 8:10 tomorrow morning for school.”


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