Exclusive Excerpt: Get In The Car, Jupiter by Fisher Amelie - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Exclusive Excerpt: Get In The Car, Jupiter by Fisher Amelie

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Fisher Amelie has a brand-new book out today and I’ve got a special sneak peek to give you a delightful taste of what you can expect! Get in the Car, Jupiter is a lighthearted, fast-paced standalone novel and I’m thrilled to share this with you today!

AmazoniTunes | Kobo ✦

Synopsis

get-in-the-car-jupiterWANTED FOR ARSON. CATFISHED AT SANTA’S. ROBBED AT THE FALLS. SHAKESPEARE OR DIE. DRIVER PICKS TUNES.

I’m weird. This isn’t news to me or anything. I have lived in a UFO my entire life. This wasn’t a coincidence. My parents believe in extraterrestrial life. You know, phone home and all that crap, and they dragged my sister Mercury
and I into their mess when they named us what they named us. So it wasn’t a surprise, when after getting accepted to UW and expressing my desire to
actually attend, they lamented that college is “just another ploy for the
government to keep tabs on you, man.” In other words, we won’t be helping you out, Jupiter. That’s fine, though, because my best friend Frankie and I can be pretty clever chicks when we want to be. We found a way up there and it was in the form of a longtime crush, his equally cute cousin, and a kickin’ set of wheels.

Buckle up, Buttercup, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Excerpt

A big thanks to Vilma for hosting me today! I hope you all enjoy the excerpt!

I was asleep. No, I was awake, but recently asleep, and I was in Ezra’s car. I was awake, but recently asleep, and in Ezra’s car, but I was in the backseat? I was awake, but recently asleep, in Ezra’s car, in the backseat, and snuggled up against something hard and warm, Ezra’s blanket around my shoulders. It smelled exactly like him, so I took a deep breath.

“Peter, you let me in? Even after that one thing?” I asked heaven.

“What one thing?”

“Gah!” I yelled, bolting upright, hitting the top of my head on the car’s ceiling. I rubbed my newly forming bump. “Heh, heh. Uh, thanks for letting me sleep on that,” I said, gesturing to his chest with wild hand movements.

Ezra smiled at me and my heart fell into my stomach.

“So, are you guys, like, together or something?” we heard from the front seat.

We both turned to find a girl, maybe twenty-one, long brown hair, prettiest skin you’d ever seen on a person. A beautiful smile as wide as the Nile. I liked her immediately.

“What? No,” Ezra answered quickly, his words punching me in the gut.

“Cool,” she said, eyeing Ezra as I would a cheeseburger.

An odd feeling struck me in the chest and gut and inexplicably I discovered that, in fact, I didn’t like her at all. She seemed perfectly lovely, yet I didn’t want her in the car with us. I wanted her as far away from us as possible. She with her mature face. She with that chic, iron-straight hair. She with that flawless skin. Ugh. I was suddenly aware of my intense jealousy. I’d been jealous before. I’m not an idiot. I knew the feeling, but this time it was so intense, it felt almost foreign to me.

I shook my head to clear it. “Excuse me, but who are you?”

She smiled and stuck out a sun-kissed, manicured hand. “Hi, I’m Ruby.”

Reluctantly, I took it. “Jupiter.”

Ezra leaned forward. “How—” he began, but she anticipated his question and threw a shoulder toward Kai. “I was thumbing it up north. Kai let me tag along.”

Kai turned toward me, smiled and winked.

“You’re a drifter!” I turned toward Ezra, my eyes wide. In a move I could only explain away as a temporary loss of insanity due to the stress of the situation, I channeled my apparent inner Oscar Wilde. “Dare I say, she could be a vagabond, Ezra!” I whisper-yelled.

“A vagabond, say you?” he teased with a grin that sank me back into my seat, a little hurt he was making fun of me. I know I sounded ridiculous. I didn’t need the reminder, though.

“You seem cool,” Ezra began, my heart racing, “but what Kai may not have told you is this is my car and I’m not comfortable with hitchhikers.”

I sighed in relief and Ruby noticed. Her eyes narrowed at me so quickly I wasn’t sure if she’d actually done it. She leaned toward Ezra. “I get it. I don’t want to be that girl.” She smiled a disarming grin, one made to devastate boys, and she knew it. “Just drop me off at the next exit?”

The boys lost their sanity for a moment as they ogled her face like morons.

“I’ve been driving with her for two hours while you slept,” Kai explained, “she’s fine.”

Ezra sighed. “I guess.”

You guess?

I frantically looked around me.

“What are you doing?” Ezra asked.

“Looking for the cameras.” I patted my body. “Let’s see, I’m the virgin in this scenario, that’s painfully obvious. Kai’s the moron that ruins any plot progress.”

“Come on,” Kai yelled, offended.

I turned to Ezra, his brow raised, suggesting a “bring it.” “And you’re the hot douche who sleeps with the killer and doesn’t find out until you’re in the throes of passion and she whips out a hatchet.”

Ezra burst out laughing then shook his head. “You’re an idiot.”

I’m the idiot?” I whispered.

“Who’s the killer?” Ruby asked.

“Uh, you, obviously.” I looked each passenger in the eye. “Everyone clear on their roles? Good. Break!” I said, clapping my hands.

For twenty minutes the femme stranger charmed the boys by recounting borderline inappropriate, if you ask me, stories of her getting stuck in compromising situations. And surprise! She somehow lost an integral piece of clothing in each story! Ugh! Gag me with a spoon.

When we pulled into a gas station, I launched myself over the bench and pushed Kai out of the driver’s seat so I could get out of the car. I wasn’t gonna be the last person in there with her. The virgin is always the first to go. I barreled my way around two vacationing families and their gargantuan vans and bolted for the convenience store door. I was a woman on a mission.

I picked up a few things. “Funyuns, check. Twizzlers, check. Kit Kat, check.” I jogged over to the refrigerators and grabbed a Mountain Dew, ’cause I’m classy like that, then headed toward the register. Just as I set my stuff on the counter, the door opened and in walked Ruby, followed by Ezra. He’d held the door for her. My stomach fell to the floor. I was the idiot.

“Be right back,” the clerk told me and ran off to do something.

I listened as Ruby and Ezra, joined by Kai, meandered around the store. By the time the clerk returned to the front, they stood in line behind me.

“Oh my God, Jupiter!” Kai said, pointing at a trucker hat.

It read Beam me up, Scotty.

I rolled my eyes. “Hilarious.”

“Is that funny?” Ruby asked him.

“Yeah, ’cause Jupiter’s family are conspiracy theorists. They believe,” Kai explained.

“Oh,” Ruby commented, sarcastically, “that explains the name.”

My face flamed hot, but I held my head high as if it didn’t bother me. Fake it ’til you make it, baby.

“That’ll be seven thirty-seven,” the clerk said.

“I don’t know how you can eat all that,” Ruby said, artificial saccharine oozing from every syllable. “I’d be as big as a house in no time at all.” She laughed.

My face grew even hotter. When I get embarrassed, I get a little brazen. It’s a flaw. I know, can you believe it? I have flaws. “You know what,” I told the clerk, “throw this in there,” I said, tossing a pack of Twinkies on the counter with the rest. “And this too,” I said, picking up the trucker hat.

I paid for my crap and turned around, reached into my bag, and grabbed the Twinkies and the cap. I tossed the hat on my head as confidently as possible, fitting it snugly, and while staring at them from underneath the brim, unwrapped a Twinkie and took a gulping bite out of it.

“Mmm, good,” I mumbled around a full mouth.

I took a deep, cavalier breath, overconfident in my badassery, but I guess my bite was too big. I began to choke. Coughing, I grabbed the countertop to steady myself, but the blockage wouldn’t clear. I was starting to panic. I couldn’t breathe! All three stared at me with wide, concerned eyes. I slapped my hands on the countertop several times, attempting to gain control over the situation.

“Jupiter?” Ezra asked, stepping forward.

Coughing like an idiot, I held up a finger for him to stay where he was. He obeyed. Eventually I caught a breath, swallowed whatever I had left of my bite, and with ragged pants, stood upright.

I looked down at Ruby’s hands. Kale chips, a banana, and a bottle of water.

“Oh for Pete’s sake!” I yelled. I sound like James Earl Jones. Great. A hand went to Ezra’s mouth to keep from laughing. “See you in the car,” I crooned.

Dejected, I stood by the car door because I didn’t have the keys, and I refused to go back inside to get them.

I tested out my new rough voice. “Uh.” I cleared my throat. “Uh, hello. Hello, hello. Jeez, I sound like a radio DJ or something.” Two fingers went to an ear. “Jessie J comin’ at ya! You’re listening to ninety-seven-seven, all the hits from the seventies, eighties, and nineties! This segment brought to you by Preparation H. ‘Relax. Your relief is waiting.’”

“Uh, Jupiter?”

I jumped and a hand flew to my chest. I turned around, tried to act cool and casual, leaning an arm against the car. “Oh, hey, Ezra! What’s up, bro?”

He stuck his keys in his door and swung it wide for me. I climbed in and sat in the back, tucking my hat as far over my face as possible. Ezra got in and sat beside me, which surprised me.

“What was all that in there?” he asked.

“What was what?” I asked.

“What prompted chokageddon?”

“I don’t like her.”

Ezra pretended to act shocked. “No!”

I fought a smile.

“You just don’t know her,” he said.

“Neither do you, jackass. We literally woke up three hours ago with her in the car. And Ezra, how come every single one of her stories somehow ended with her without her shirt, or bra, or panties? I mean, come on, man!” I sat up and stuck out my chest, looping the end of my hair over and over. “Like, oh my gosh! Like, I don’t know how, but my shirt was just gone! My panties were just gone! Can you believe it?” I fake giggled. “And Twinkies? How do you eat those? Me? Why only kale chips for me, of course. I’m not a lard ass like you, Jupiter.”

Ezra smiled at me in obvious pity.

“Don’t look at me like that.”

He laughed. “Like what?”

“Like I’m just some silly female who has jealousy issues!”

Ezra shrugged his shoulders. “Well?

Oh! Oh my gosh. My gosh, Ezra.”

“What, Jupiter?” he teased. “She seems fine. I think it’s just you.”

“Have you lost your mind? She’s a stranger! Didn’t your folks ever warn you of stranger danger?”

“I’m not ten anymore,” Ezra explained.

I took in his broad shoulders and hands. No, that you are not, I thought.

“Fine. Whatever. It’s your car. I’m just along for the ride,” I huffed, crossing my arms and burying myself deeper into my seat. “I’ll just be over here with common sense, my only friend, it seems.”

I rested my knees on the back of the bench and pulled the bill of my ridiculous trucker hat down, but then remembered what it said and ripped it off, tossing it at my feet. Ezra leaned over and picked it up, dusting off little pieces of grass from the floorboard that had attached itself to the top.

Ezra placed the hat on his head and turned toward the window, mumbling something.

“What?” I asked, pissed.

He turned toward me but didn’t say anything. Eventually the heat of his gaze ate through my resolve and I looked into his eyes.

“You’re not just along for the ride, Jupiter, and you know it,” he said, pinning me with his stare and making my heart pound.

Wisely I said nothing, and not just because all the moisture had left my mouth. There wasn’t a response I could think of that would have thrown me out of the buffoon stage in which I was so deeply entrenched. I felt suddenly immature. I knew I was jealous. I’d always thought I was above such impulses, but I wasn’t. I really wasn’t. Must change that. Grow as a person, Jupiter. Grow.

“Sorry,” I whispered.

“Don’t ever be sorry for being you, Jupiter.”

“I’m not. I’m just sorry for not giving her a proper chance. You’re right. I’ll just chill.”

He smiled, removed the cap from his head, and stuck it back on mine.

Kai and Ruby started walking back toward the car. Kai stuck his head through the open driver’s window. “You okay there, Mama Cass?”

I laughed. “Shut up and drive.”

They both got in and buckled up.

We set out on the road, and I was on a mission to be cool to Ruby.

“So, Ruby, where did you grow up?” I asked.

“In Cincinnati,” she replied without turning around.

“That’s cool,” Ezra said. “I’ve never been to Cincinnati.”

She turned around with a large, bright smile on her face. “You should! You and Kai should come visit me when you’re on break, you know, when I get back that way. I’ll take you all around. Show you the sights,” she offered.

I bit my lip. You should come too, Jupiter! I would love to show you around as well!

“That’d be nice,” Kai replied, smiling at Ruby as if she hung the moon.

Thank the Lord, Ezra didn’t say anything.

Ruby looked ahead of her at a passing sign.

“You know what might be fun?” she asked.

Ritual sacrifice? I thought.

“There’s this little swimming hole with a ten-foot waterfall about half an hour east of here. Not a whole lot of people know about it. If you’re game, we could make a little detour and check it out?”

I began to panic a little. I was eager to get to Chicago, to settle in somewhere, even if it was only for a few days. And, to be honest, to get rid of Ruby and her mysteriously disappearing clothes.

“I’m down if you are,” Kai said, looking back at Ezra.

“Sounds fun,” Ezra chimed in, disappointing me. He turned my way. “What about you?” he asked.

I took a deep breath to control my anxiety. “Uh, yeah, that’s fine,” I answered, trying for breezy, but failing miserably if Ezra’s furrowed brow was any indication.

“It’s only a few exits up, Kai,” Ruby told him.

We drove half an hour away from the interstate toward this supposed waterfall then turned onto a winding, admittedly gorgeous, pebbled drive past a sign that read Muscatatuck Park. Our tires crunched against the rock. The trees still held their summer leaves, green and rich and utterly different from Florida. They canopied over the drive, protecting us from the sun and the elements.

“Pretty,” I said absently. “How do you know about it?” I asked her.

“Oh, it’s a funny story,” she squawked before falling into yet another story about her losing her clothes on some random skinny-dipping trip with a bunch of random friends. She mentioned these friends’ first names so casually, as if to imply we should know them, or to lend them some believability, I wasn’t sure. Her intentions were strange. I knew it. I knew girls. I knew something was desperate about her, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was.

She led us to some random little offshoot of road and we followed the somewhat rocky terrain until our car could go no farther. Eventually, and much to my relief, we were forced to exit the car.

“It’s this way.” Ruby indicated with a hand.

“Just a minute,” Ezra said, heading back to the trunk. He popped the hatch and disappeared through its open frame, rummaging for something. His head emerged and he closed the trunk then locked it, bright yellow plastic ribbons hanging from his hands.

“I’ll just mark the trees,” he said.

“Oh, that’s not necessary,” she said. “I know this place like the back of my hand.”

Ezra smiled. “I don’t doubt you do, but if it’s all the same, I’d feel better.”

“Whatever you like,” she said, but her forced smile held a tinge of pissed-off girl. She’s up to something, I thought.

Ruby set off at a brisk pace, easy for her tall frame, and Kai followed along like a lost puppy. Ezra fell behind them to stay with me.

“You can go on,” I said, as he tied a ribbon around a tree trunk. “My legs are short.” I giggled. “I’ll just follow the ribbons.”

“Uh, no,” Ezra said. I waited but he offered nothing else.

We walked for at least ten minutes in silence before I couldn’t take it anymore.

“Bets on what piece of clothing Ruby loses first?”

“Stop,” Ezra said, but laughed anyway. He opened his mouth, then shut it, only to open it again. “Cash? Or favors?”

I smiled. “I was gonna say cash, but a favor seems a much more fascinating prospect now.“

“All right, Corey, spill. What do you want from me?” he asked.

My face flamed a bright red. Oooh, lawd, boy, if you only knew! I cleared my throat to regain some sort of composure. “Well, uh, let’s see how about, if I win, you let me see what’s in that bag of yours.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, wrapping another ribbon around a tree.

“I think you do.”

He switched tactics. “There’s nothing to show.”

“Ha! You’re lying, Ezra! You shut that case with a finality that told me you were hiding something and I, being the curious kitty that I am, really, really, really want to know what it is!”

“Haven’t you heard? Curiosity killed the cat.”

I wagged my brows. “What are you saying? You’d kill me if I found out?”

“No,” he said, “but I would die of embarrassment. That counts.”

“Oh my gato! Now I have to know!”

He laughed nervously. “Pick something else,” he said.

“No.”

“Come on, Jupiter, pick something else.”

“Fine,” I huffed, scaling over a collection of boulders.

Ezra stuck out his hand to help me down. “Thank you,” I told him, sliding my hand into his.

When I did this, when his warm palm met mine, I forgot what we were talking about. We stood, both of us silent, staring down at our connected hands. Eventually Ezra let mine go and continued walking, but not before squeezing my fingers so slightly I barely registered it, but it was there. I knew it. Because I was aware of even the minutest cells in my body when I was around him. It was an awareness of myself I’d never felt around anyone else but Ezra Brandon.

He cleared his throat while tying yet another ribbon. “And the favor?”

“I want you to read something, Brandon.”

“Um, just read something?”

“Well, read something out loud.” I followed his lead and cleared my throat, cleared the hesitation. “To me. Without questions after.”

He laughed. “Okay, I guess.”

“Can you do a British accent?” I asked.

“Huh?”

“Nothing.”

I have to fess up to something. In eleventh grade, after reading Sense and Sensibility, when I remembered that Ezra’s last name was Brandon, I almost swooned with giddiness. Why, you ask? Because I was a fan of the incomparable Jane Austen, and Austen, of course, conjured the enigmatic yet strangely steady Colonel Brandon. In other words, Ezra Brandon’s personality doppelgänger, and that astounded me. It was like this blinding moment of profound perception, like Austen knew a previous version of Ezra personally or something. Both are quiet, constant, gallant, and unapologetically masculine. They are both remarkable yet unassuming representatives of their gender. Colonel Brandon is the sort of character most readers find underwhelming at first glance, but when Austen peels back his layers, she reveals the most extraordinary person, much like Ezra.

I sighed like an idiot.

“So, um, I know what favor I’d like,” Ezra said quietly, as if he were afraid of his own voice.

I sidled next to him as we continued walking. “Oh yeah? What’s that then?”

“When we get to Seattle, you have to remain my friend.”

I didn’t know what to think of his “favor.” It was confusing because I didn’t think he would have cared one way or another if we stayed friends. Ezra wasn’t in the habit of being active socially, as you well know.

“Define friend,” I begged, sort of desperate to know what his definition was.

“You are strange,” he commented, but continued. “You know, someone to hang with, someone to study with, watch films occasionally, maybe grab a bite to eat?” He ran the palm of his hand over the back of his neck. “I don’t know.”

“Is this because I’ll be the only one you’ll know in Seattle?”

He laughed, but I didn’t think he found it funny. “You overanalyze the shit out of things sometimes, Jupiter.”

“Well?” I asked.

“No, okay? Damn. I just thought it would be cool if we stayed friends with one another is all.”

I felt stupid. I don’t know why I questioned everyone’s motives all the time. I mean, I kind of knew why, but  since I was aware of it, I hoped to outgrow that part of myself, but obviously it bubbled up, and usually at the most inopportune times. My family was weird, I was weird, everything about me was weird, and I was constantly called out on it. Naturally I became defensive, and usually by calling out motives aloud. Nothing made people more uncomfortable than having to answer for their behavior.

“Sorry,” I told him. “Of course I’d love to hang out with you in Seattle, but that can’t be your favor. I’m not letting the fact of whether we remain friends in Seattle hang upon the stripping abilities of a hitchhiker named Ruby.”

Ezra laughed and meant it this time. “Deal. Let me think of something else then.”

“What are the terms?”

“What do you mean?”

“I say she loses the bra first,” I said.

Ezra blushed, making me giggle. “I feel like an idiot, but her shoes?”

“Boring!”

“Listen, I’m trying to win, and logically, losing the shoes seems the most feasible option.”

“Fine. I’d say let’s shake on it, but I need to know what I’m risking.”

“Okay, let me read your texts to Frankie.” I didn’t respond, didn’t know how to really. “I know you’re talking to her about me, and it’s driving me crazy not knowing what’s being said.”

I felt my face sober, but my heart started to race at the mere thought of him reading those texts. “Have you lost your damn mind?” I finally asked.

“I take that as a no?”

“That’s a big hell to the no!”

“Come on, man.”

“Okay,” I said, and his face lit up. I was going to enjoy this next bit, “but only if you let me see what’s in the bag.”

“No way.”

“Exactly.”

“All right,” he said, tying another ribbon, “then karaoke. On a date of my choosing.”

I smiled. “Deal.”

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