Release date: 4/11/2017
Retail price: 15.99 USD
Genre/Categories: Young Adult, New Adult, College, Romance, Contemporary, Coming Of Age
Jane Austen meets New Adult fiction in this compulsively readable romance.
“Today is not the day I die.”
Ari Demos starts every day with this thought. Fresh out of high school, she’s landed a coveted role as a stunt double in a new Pride and Prejudice adaptation starring the Hollywood phenomenon Weston Spencer. But this job isn’t going to be easy: Ari will be performing complicated water stunts and driving fast cars along the narrow cliffs of Corfu. One false step and she could lose not only her job, but her life.
And then Wes Spencer, Mr Darcy himself, arrives in Greece. He’s got dirty blonde hair, a mile-long yacht and a bored look on that gorgeous face. Ari wants nothing to do with the rich actor boy, but on the day she meets him, she has an accident. One that almost claims her life. And now she can’t hide from the truth any longer:
She might be much closer to losing everything than she thought. She might be dying. And the British actor is the last person she’d expect to save her life.
She’s a hard-working island girl. He’s adored by millions.
Falling in love was never supposed to be a part of the job.
Staying alive was never supposed to be a part of growing up.
Was this story ever meant for a happily ever after?
Recommended for fans of: Pride and Prejudice, Colleen Hoover, The Fault in Our Stars, K-dramas like Boys Over Flowers, Jennifer L. Smith, Gayle Forman, Nicola Yoon.
Amazon rating: 4.7 out or 5 stars.
Goodreads rating: 4.55 out of 5 stars.
Oh the feels! What an emotional roller-coaster ride. Such a lovely, well-written story. The characters were fantastic. Loved Ari, Wes, and Ollie. And I liked that there was a Jane Austen loving dude as opposed to a girl, and that he was the one who liked to read and not her. So many sweet moments and sad moments and moments where I just had to keep reading to see what happened next. Just perfect.
–Katie Kaleski, author of A Fabrication of the truth
I wouldn’t change a single letter! I loved this book so much, it was so emotional. I couldn’t stop reading. I knew I would suffer, but I wanted to keep reading anyway!
–Alina Z., tea-books-lover.tumblr.com
Like candy for Jane Austen fans! This is too perfect. First Sentences, First Impressions. . . It’s like all [M.C. Frank’s] books are gifts for Austen fans. I love that Ari is a stunt girl, it adds a spin to the story and puts her in a unique position- close to celebrity but not a part of it, physically powerful and yet confronted with dangerous situations. I love the settings so much, they set the mood incredibly well. It’s like watching a film. And Wes is so yummy!
This book is doing dangerous things to my heart.
–Claire Palzer, velutluna.tumblr.com
Read the first three chapters for free at mcfrankauthor.com
M.C. FRANK has been living in a world of stories ever since she can remember. She started writing them down when she could no longer stand the characters in her head screaming at her to give them life.
In her books, characters find themselves in icy-cold dystopian worlds where kissing is forbidden (among other things), or in green forests ruled by evil Sheriffs.
Recently she got her university degree in physics and is now free to pursue her love of reading and writing, as well as her free-lance job of editor-in-chief. She currently lives with her husband in a home filled with candles, laptops and notebooks, where she rearranges her overflowing bookshelves every time she feels stressed.
She loves to connect with book lovers and other writers on social media. She’s found the most amazing friends and readers on tumblr and instagram, and they are what keeps her going when things get rough.
Connect with her on social media for awesome giveaways and free copies of her books! She would also love to talk to you about anything writing or publishing related!
A message from M.C. Frank about Lose Me:
“LOSE ME. is the NA (new adult) story of a British actor and a stunt girl. They meet while filming a modern Pride and Prejudice adaptation on the island of Corfu, and fall in hate at first sight!
Things aren’t as they seem, however, and soon enough sparks begin to fly. What they don’t know is that a dark, heartbreaking secret is threatening to tear them apart.
I am so excited to share this story with you guys, all of you have been so supportive through the entire publishing process, I have never felt less alone in my life!
This book is so close to my heart, because it deals with a lot of issues I myself have had to deal with. One of them is extremely serious and I haven’t read or seen any book that deals with it, and so it is even more important to me to raise awareness about it. A very special person in my life has had to deal with it, and my book is dedicated to him.
Actually, I think that’s the main reason inspiration took me to this story; it was because I needed to tell my story as well as his, and to put it out there in the world, so that more people can know that they are understood and that they are not alone in their struggle.”
Find all of M.C. Frank’s books on her website: www.mcfrankauthor.com
Twitter: @mcfrank_author | Instagram: mcfrank_author | Tumblr blog: @litlereddoll | Facebook Page: M.C. Frank | Goodreads: M.C. Frank
(one lucky reader will win a finished paperback copy of Lose Me!) – will run from April 11th to May 11th
Today is not the day I die.
I’m not even breaking a sweat as the road curves steeply upwards, and I continue to jog, my trainers slapping the cobbled stones in an even rhythm. My right hip flexor, which I’d strained a while back, isn’t even tender. Sweet.
At the very top of the road I take a right, my mind at peace as I focus on my breathing and the flexing and unflexing of my leg muscles.
I repeat the phrase over and over to myself, like a mantra. I say it in every language I know, which is three, and turn it over in my head, until the words mean nothing, until their repeated rhythm soothes me.
Until I believe it.
At least I think I do.
It’s stupid really. Stupid and silly and totally useless. As though by merely thinking it I could keep disaster at bay—if it’s about to happen, that is. Normally it’s not about to happen. Not when I’m the one doing the stunt. I’m good and I know it.
Coach taught me the mantra, back when it had no meaning for me, at least it didn’t mean what it does now. It was just a few words strung together, nothing more. He said I should repeat it during especially dangerous and complicated stunts to calm and motivate myself. I told him that was bull and he drew his eyebrows together. So I said okay and started repeating it after him like he wanted.
The man has me wrapped around his little finger.
I reach the school in two minutes, just as the bell is ringing for recess. I don’t have to stand for more than a couple of seconds outside the huge, brass doors on the cobblestone street of the little town of Corfu, before kids start flooding out of the school gates. Behind the herd, dad jogs towards me, his hair a sweaty mess.
“Am I late?” he asks me, squinting against the midday sun.
“You’re filthy,” I answer as we take off towards the car.
He runs a hand through dark wavy hair that still makes every woman in his vicinity swoon like a schoolgirl—not to mention the actual schoolgirls that imagine themselves madly in love with him every day. “I had class until. . . ” he looks at his watch “about three seconds ago.”
“Why don’t you let them do their warm-ups alone?” I say, not for the first time. We’ve had this conversation before. “Two PE teachers passed me as I waited, and not one of them had a hair out of place. Why can’t you just yell orders and watch from afar like a normal person?”
Dad puts on his serious face, but his eyes are laughing. “Cause I enjoy it,” he answers switching in English, as we cross Leoforos Alexandras. “’Sides, I need to be warmed up, the other PE’s don’t. All they’re gonna do is go home and sit in front of the TV.” He lifts his arms and cracks his elbows in a smooth, elastic movement, bringing them in front of his face. He sighs in satisfaction. “Are you ready, Ari?”
I look down at my tattered cut-offs matched with a simple dark blue tank top. To look at me, anyone would think that I was one of the leftover tourists from summer. Only my blue New Balance running shoes, worn out and sturdy on my feet, hint at the athletic nature of my job.
“My swimming suit’s in the car,” I answer and bend my head back to look at the clear sky. No hint of any clouds yet. “You’ll tell me the truth, right?” I ask my dad, as I slide behind the steering wheel in my dad’s old Ford Fiesta, which he gave me as a questionable birthday present two months ago when I turned eighteen.
He immediately starts messing with the buttons, turning the air-conditioning on full blast and wiping his sweaty brow. I slap his hand away.
“My car, my rules,” I say, adjusting the seat to fit my height. I am not what you would call short, not by any chance, but still I am a bit shorter than my six-foot-one dad—although not by much.
“Oh, who are we kidding, Ari?” he says, his voice tired but playful. “We’re going to wear this thing down if we keep passing it between us like this. We can’t share a bathroom, much less a car! I think I’ll call your mum,” he mumbles, mostly to himself, after a small pause. “You’re a grownup now, and a professional, you need a car. That would be the adult thing to do.”
Although I had just pulled into the trickling, midday traffic, I slam on the breaks.
Dad turns surprised eyes to mine and my heart squeezes at his anxious expression. He quickly bends his head down, but he can’t conceal how he feels from me. I have lived with this struggle against his personal guilt for all my life.
“No,” I say simply.
He swallows and turns away.
And that’s that.
At least I hope it is.
We arrive at the beach about twenty minutes later. That’s the beauty of living on an island. I love the feeling of being surrounded by water, even during the winter months, when the streets are quiet and most of the shops in the great tourist markets close down. I don’t mind. This is my home.
Most years I am glad to see the tourists board the ferry that leaves the port of Corfu every half hour. I love the quiet and the space they leave behind. I feel safe in my daily routine, which I’ve kept since I was little with very small variations: school then gym, practicing my stunts with dad and, in the last two years, with Coach as well. Working at grandpa’s shop on the weekend and going out with girlfriends on Sunday evenings.
That’s all I need out of life, at least all I needed until a few months ago.
At the beginning of the summer, my academic career at the Greek primary educational system ended. I graduated from high school, and suddenly I had to face the very real dilemma of what I would do with her.
It always boils down to that, doesn’t it?
Well, not this time.
I snap my hair out of the tight band that kept it securely in a bun at the top of my head. I jog over to the little white beach cabin at the farthest corner of the tourist parking lot, under the fig trees, to change into my Billabong spring wetsuit. Coming out, I toss the car keys to my dad and run on the burning sand towards the water.
“Hey!” he calls behind me, “your car, your responsibility!”
As I dive in one swift movement into the clear water, behind me I hear the beep of the car doors being locked. Dad runs after me, calling my name in frustration, and I dip underneath the surface, blocking out all sound except the water in my ears.
I resurface just as the sea becomes really deep, its color darkening slightly under the sparkling rays of the September sun, and take a few deep breaths, only to discover that my dad, damn him, has almost overtaken me.
“Will you stop doing that?” I yell, frustrated.
He seems to hear me even though he was underwater, because he lifts a wet head next to mine. “What?”
I splash him and we race each other towards the huge rock rising from the water far into the distance. He visibly holds back, and we arrive at the same time. “Ars, are you okay?”
“Just fine,” I gasp in return.
“You did warm up, didn’t you?” his eyebrows meet and he lifts a hand to grasp the lower part of the rock that sticks out and hoist himself up. “You would have told me if you didn’t, and we’d do it now.”
To listen to him talk anyone would think that I was an irresponsible teenager, out for a swim with her daddy, instead of a trained stunt actor, getting ready for her first gig on a low-budget film featuring the famous dystopian pirate Wes Spencer.
Which I totally am. Not a famous dystopian pirate. The other thing.
“We can’t all be like you,” I say through clenched teeth.
I’m not struggling to catch my breath, I say to myself.
Yeah, like that would work.
Dad waits until I’m ready for the climb, and turns around to stare at the impressive villa perched high atop the cliff that drops straight into the sea, right ahead of us.
Rumor has it that the illustrious film director, Tim Something, is planning to evict the family that owns the place, in order to use it in his new film, First Sentences. I see some kind of movement through the dark green windows, but it is too far high above me to see if it is indeed the film crew already at work or if its occupants have refused to leave it.
And suddenly it hits me.
I am so incredibly lucky to have this opportunity.
I mean, it’s like this film practically fell into my lap. Of course, I know that she arranged it all, but still, it is the greatest opportunity in the world. People like me don’t get breaks like this. And even with the coach she hired for me two years ago straight from Hollywood, and with all the interminable hours of practice—torture—that I put in, I know that there have to be hundreds of better-trained and well-connected stunt actors out there, far more eligible for this role.
You can’t blow this, Ari, I say to myself.
Dad watches me from his perch with something like amusement in his eyes, as though he can sense the struggle within me.
“Shut your face,” I tell him and start climbing.
“Nice way to talk to the guy who raised you.”
For once, I beat him. I reach the top first, quick as a cat, and dive headfirst into the water. When I surface, he is still watching me from above.
“How was it?” I shout.
The rock is more than twenty meters high, and although the sea is absolutely calm right now, still he has to bend down to hear me.
“A bit slanted,” he shouts back. “I think your concentration was off.”
I am already climbing back up, my tangled hair dripping down my back, cooling my skin.
I take a deep breath and concentrate. I close my eyes and focus on listening to my heartbeat. At the last moment, I open my eyes and dive, my body a straight line, arms outstretched before my head, toes curled tightly so that there will be minimum splash.
“Perfect,” my dad whoops. “Again.”
The sun is in the middle of the sky.
It’s going to be a long day.
My dad raised me all alone; it’s been just the two of us for as long as I can remember. He gave me his mother’s name, Ariadne, which I quickly abbreviated to Ari, especially when he tried to start teaching me to speak English before I had a chance to master my mother tongue, Greek. He later explained to me that English was my mother tongue as well, or at least my mother’s mother tongue, and that he felt I should be brought up with the choice of speaking it as well as Greek, should I want to.
Turns out I do want to.
As for her, well, I know little about her and care to learn even less. Not that it’s easy to forget about her, with her face showing up in every gossip magazine almost once a week. But anyway, that’s all I know about the woman. I’ve never met her, if we don’t count the one time I came out of her womb. If I met her even then, which I very much doubt.
I’ve lived on the island all my life, and not regretted one moment of it.
There isn’t a more precious place on earth. I love Corfu, with its fragrant olive branches, brown cliffs that drop into sparkling blue waters, narrow winding roads and salmon-colored houses at the harbor. It’s home.
We’re driving home at about five in the afternoon, when I get my first glimpse of the ‘star’. The first time I see Wes Spencer, he’s climbing down from his obnoxious yacht.
I know yachts don’t have personalities, but this one certainly does. I mean, who names their boat ‘Laurel&Hardy’, for crying out loud?
Or L&H, as Young People magazine’s column calls it:
Kept very much under wraps, Tim Hall’s new project is said to be in production as we speak at some unnamed destination in the Mediterranean, where one or two of the stars will be arriving on Weston Spencer’s yacht, the L&H, named after celebrated comedians Laurel & Hardy.
The working title has been announced as First Sentences, a play with words on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice’s original title, First Impressions, is a modern-day remake of the famous literary work.
Elle Burke, the actress who is set to portray the modern-day Elizabeth Bennett next to Spencer’s Mr. Darcy, has been romantically linked with him in the past, mostly during the years of their costarring as Tristan and Kat in the TV series that made them both famous, THE WATER WARS, where Burke was playing Spencer’s love-interest in seasons 6 and 7. Though rumors as to whether these two lovebirds are still together differ, we did hear from a source that an engagement (?!) isn’t far off in the future for these two.
Yep, I read it.
I had to, Coach—smirking—said it was part of my training. How I kept from gagging I’ll never know, but now I am more than sufficiently up-to-date with who my fellow-actors will be. Although I’m pretty sure I won’t be acting in fellowship with any of them, because I’m not a real actress. I’m just the stunt girl.
My part is anything that is too dangerous, unpleasant or unnecessary for the real actors to do. Exciting, isn’t it? If it weren’t for the kickboxing and climbing and snorkeling and diving and driving around in fast cars I would be the saddest person on earth.
But the truth is, I am the luckiest.
So let Wes Spencer climb out of his yacht with his white college sweater wrapped around his manly shoulders and his Ray-Banns balanced on top of his golden curls all he wants. Give me my rock any day over having to talk to him in front of a camera with a crowd of curious fans around.
A few hours later, it’s time for the first ‘event’ with the film crew. It’s supposed to be an informal meeting, just so that we’ll get to know each other. Everyone is dressed to the nines, cocktails and canapés are being served on the roof garden of one of the most expensive hotels on the island, and you can only get in with an invitation. Informal my ass. Anyway, I meet the director and producer, among others.
The famous Tim Something.
He didn’t look as intimidating in person as he does on TV, but still, my knees were wobbly the whole time. He’s this eccentric, incredibly rich man, who loves his job, so he has all this energy emanating from him, like a live wire. He’s short and twitchy, a bit ordinary really, or he would be if it wasn’t for his clear-blue stare that can stop your heart if you’ve done something to annoy him.
He says we will try to fit in the relevant stunt sequences along with the actual filming of the actors, because he doesn’t want the lighting of the water or the sky to change, which would make the scene appear unrealistic. He wants me there every day at six. In the morning.
So basically my work will have to be squeezed in-between the shoots of the actual actors, and I’ll have two directors over my head instead of one. Easy peasy.
Now I get why he is so successful. The guy is a complete control freak. I suppose he has to be, if he wants his film to be ‘perfect’. I’ve never heard of anyone doing things quite like he’s planning to. If it’s not chaos on day three I’ll take my hat off to him.
Then he takes me aside and tells me that his star, Elle Burke, doesn’t do water.
“I beg your pardon?” I say and he winces. Uh-oh.
“I know,” he shrugs.
His thin, suntanned face, gleaming under the lights (he has no hair, like not even one) takes on a what-can-you-do expression. “You’ll have to film all the water scenes for her. But don’t worry, Wes always does his own stunts. You’ll be with him, he’ll show you the ropes.”
Wes ‘does-his-own-stunts’ Spencer walks by right that second, and Tim Something is kind enough to try to introduce me.
“Mate, are you going to introduce me to every gaffer in this place?” The actor dude says to Tim, looking right through me as if I wasn’t there, and turns to ask the person next to him—Elle Burke—in a bored voice where the nearest ‘pub’ is. He’s dressed in a white shirt over tapered trousers. Damn him, I’d swear he was a fashion model, with his golden locks swept back from his forehead and those chiseled cheekbones, but the expression of utter disdain on his face makes him look the opposite of charming.
Tim just laughs and tells him not to be a word that I’m not sure what it means, but it can’t be good, and then Wes curses even more colorfully and asks again about the pub.
Elle Bourke, who is indeed stunning as far as looks go, smirks—and believe me, that is as far as her looks go, because immediately she looks like a weasel. And Oliver Sikks, Wes Spencer’s best friend who, apparently, who will be playing Charlie Bingley in the film, gives me his hand and asks me to call him “Ollie” with a sunny smile.
I look up and the dreamiest pair of blue eyes meet mine. I suck in a breath. How are these Hollywood guys so gorgeous in real life? You always see them on screen and think, well, he’ll be too short or too skinny or too pimply in real life. But this guy isn’t. He is too perfect in real life. He has a fop of dark hair hanging tantalizingly over one eye, and as he runs his hand through it to clear his vision, a muscle bulges on his arm and I can’t take my eyes off him.
He sends another heart-stopping smile in my direction and asks me to ‘join them’. I mumble something intelligible, and then Tim brings over the stunt coordinator and everyone leaves us alone to chat.
I take one look at the guy. And that’s it. Everything is a blur after that.
All I remember is my mouth hanging open and my eyes bulging out of my head. I must have turned beet red, my cheeks flaming, my hands trembling, staring like a complete idiot. The coordinator looked less than impressed. Much less. Not that I blame him.
But . . . I mean it’s him. He’s my idol. I’ve been following his career for years.
His name is Matthew Lee, and he’s been described as the Brad Pitt slash Jack Nicholson of stunt actors. Every single actor, producer or crew member here treats him with so much respect, even though he’s much younger than my dad. But the guy’s a prodigy.
He gives me his hand, and introduces himself as ‘Matt’. Are you for real? I want to say. Am I supposed to work with my idol, and on top of that, just call him ‘Matt’?
Not that I can say any of it out loud. My brain has totally frozen.
He looks impossibly tall, now that I meet him in person, that’s all I can think. He’s towering a head and a half above me. His face doesn’t show in any of the movies he’s been in, but I’ve seen it online in articles. Up close, though, he looks so extremely hot, which is weird. I’ve never thought of him as anything but stunt performer goals.
But this is totally the opposite from how I’d fantasized meeting him. He purses his lips as he looks down at me, and his face is expressionless, observing me in silence. He must not be very happy with what he sees, because he stands patiently next to me for a few seconds, and then, with an abrupt flick of his glossy black ponytail, he’s gone.
I knew he was Korean, but actually he’s Korean American, they tell me afterwards. He’s brilliant, that’s what he is.
Tim Something certainly didn’t skimp on the stunt coordinator, let’s put it that way. Matthew Lee has won everything but an Oscar, since they don’t nominate stunt performers for them. He’s now in his mid-twenties, but he’s been working since his pre-teens, having performed some of the most famous stunts of all time.
That action movie with the blonde guy who jumped on and off trains to rescue trafficked children? Yep, that was him. And the other with the water Olympics where an outbreak of some disease breaks out and they have to be isolated in the stadium? He’s in practically every stunt in that movie, doing just about everything that can—and can’t—be done. Somersaulting, diving, swimming, jumping, holding his breath for ages below water to support the actors who didn’t know how to swim. The film practically shows more of him than of the star. And it won about a billion Oscars.
And now he’s a director.
No, he’s my director. He’ll be directing my stunts.
I can almost see the words forming in his brain as he walks away: ‘Ari Demos, the girl who lost her tongue. My new stunt girl. Can’t wait to start shooting.’
Send me a few questions for an interview, I would love to answer them!
Examples: (from Goodreads)
Ask the Author: What kinds of questions can I ask authors?
You can ask any kind of question related to a specific book by that author or general questions about that author’s writing. You can ask questions about:
• The author’s writing process
• The author’s favorite writers or influences
• Questions about specific characters or moments in books
• Anything about the author’s life as a writer
Some examples of questions readers have asked authors include:
“How would you respond to people who say Hazel and Augustus are unrealistic characters because they are intelligent?” –Destiny, asking author John Green
“You often write about relationships among sisters. Do you have a sister and how would you describe your relationship with her?” – Keanes, asking author Liane Moriarty
“Why did you choose to include the Philippines in your book The Five People You Meet in Heaven?” – Grace Ramirez, asking author Mitch Albom