Today we're spotlighting Saah Nicole Lemon's book, Done Dirt Cheap! Read on for more about Sarah and her book, plus a How To, an excerpt, and giveaway!
Meet Sarah Nicole Lemon!
Sarah Nicole Lemon spent the first fifteen years of her life doing nothing but running wild in the woods and books. She has yet to outgrow either. When not writing, you can find her drinking iced coffee in a half-submerged beach chair near her home on the Chesapeake Bay.
Her debut novel, DONE DIRT CHEAP was published in 2017 with Amulet/Abrams. A second novel, VALLEY GIRLS, will be published spring 2018, also from Amulet.
Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens.
Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of a local lawyer: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline.
But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.
How To Ride A Motorcycle.
Decide you want to ride a motorcycle. This usually takes the longest. It also involves arguing with your mother.
Sell a book, pay your taxes, think about buying the YSL purse you’ve spent your entire life dreaming about, and instead troll craigslist for the next three weeks until you find the perfect old, black, Honda that is equal parts cool, nostalgic and small enough for your feet to be flat on the ground (sort of).
Put it on your porch for a while.
Drive in wobbly circles around your cul-de-sac.
Repeatedly explain to your confused neighbor this bike isn’t your dad’s or husband’s, it’s yours.
Drive down the road. Shift into second gear. Be exultant at this milestone.
Sign up for a Harley Davidson Learn to Ride class.
Show up and try not to be totally mortified when no one laughs at your jokes about wrecking.
Try to stay awake during the safety portion.
Try not to knock over any bikes on the showroom floor.
Arrive to the riding portion in new jeans from Wal-Mart that smell like plastic off gases but you won’t cry if they rip when you lay the bike down.
Spend an entire day learning to turn in a radius smaller than a jetliner turns.
Take the test in the rain (RAIN! shake fist at motorcycle gods)
16. Be relieved and overjoyed and take your best DMV photo ever. You failed your car driver’s test four times, but you nailed the motorcycle in your first try!
17. Look at your bike on the porch for a few more weeks.
18. Take it out for a ride. Panic the entire time.
19. Take it out again. Panic some more.
20. Keep panicking for the next five or six rides. Especially when you’re over 45 mph.
21. Figure out how to give the secret motorcycle rider wave without dying.
22. Think about all the ways you will die.
23. Take out the bike and realize you are panicking less. That maybe it’s fun. A lot of fun.
24. Realize this is a false sense of security and double down on paying attention so you don’t die.
25. Nope. It’s real. This is fun. This is so much fun. 26. Post on Instagram.
SOMETHING told Virginia Campbell that Tourmaline Harris was the type of girl to arrive even to prison exactly on time, which meant Virginia was late.
Keeping a hawk eye turned to the thin streams of people flowing into the prison, Virginia sat on the truck bumper, thighs perched off the broiling chrome. If she had to wait until visiting time was over, she might as well get breakfast. Frowning, she glanced at her phone, looking up just in time to catch Tourmaline huffing against the flow of people in the parking lot.
The moment was so perfect it was as if Virginia hadn’t planned it. “Tourmaline?”
Tourmaline—pretty, blond, blue-eyed Wonder Bread–with–mar- garine girl, despite her father’s reputation—turned and gulped like a goldfishwearingLilly Pulitzer. “Virginia?”
Virginia smiled and pushed off the truck.
In all her years working for Hazard, Virginia hadn’t once crossed paths with the
Wardens of Iron Gate, but she knew plenty.
When motorcycles roared past her on the road, she’d seen the empty-eyed stare of the horned and crowned skull sewn on the backs of the riders’ leather vests. She’d heard their stories told like ghost stories—cloaked in fog, late into the drinking hour. She’d heard of their appetites. How their tires ate up the road and spools of darkness tangled in their spokes, sucking up damned souls and women alike, like air for the engines.
Thanks to Hazard, the secretive motorcycle gang was now her secret to gather. Make friends was the order. For what, Virginia didn’t know. She’d been too focused on the how. Hazard hadn’t said outright, but he’d sucked his lip and looked her over in a way that was plenty clear enough. It was a testament to Hazard that he’d waited this long to use her to her best advantage.
Maybe he’d waited too long. A year ago, she wouldn’t have balked, and she wouldn’t have ended up six hours from home, trying to lie her way into Tourmaline Harris’s life.
Virginia tossed her waist-length dark hair behind one shoulder and drew herself up to her full five feet ten inches. “Well, you’re the last person I expected to see. What’re you doing? Some church thing?” As if she and the rest of their small high school hadn’t followed along on that whole fiasco Tourmaline went through with her mom.
“No. I— What are you doing here?”
“What else? Visiting unsavory relations.” Virginia pulled a cigarette out of a pack and squinted in the bright sun. She lit the smoke, giving the moment space to breathe as she looked Tourmaline up and down. “You’re Tourmaline Harris, right? As in, the Wardens?”
If asked outright, everyone in Alleghany High could say who Tourmaline was, but Tourmaline seemed to do her best to make every- one forget it in the day-to-day—where all Virginia had ever seen was a studious, preppy blonde passing by in a clump of church kids in the hall. Whatever might have been dangerous in Tourmaline’s prettiness was always fast asleep underneath prim day dresses, or jeans and blouses. Her hair was the only thing that seemed to fit—long and languidly unstyled, where the Lilly crowd would have a shiny blowout. “I always forget. You’re not what I would expect,” Virginia said over a long exhale.
“The leather bikini top and assless fringed chaps aren’t really dress code approved,” Tourmaline said. “What are you doing here, again?”
Virginia turned to the prison complex as her hair whipped across her
face. Hooking a finger, she dragged the hair back behind her ear.
Everyone in her class would be shitting around at boring jobs all summer, hoping to get laid and wasted before they went off to school. Except her. She would be doing the Wardens. Suddenly, she wanted to run. Instead, Virginia exhaled a long breath of smoke and glanced at Tourmaline. “Can I trust you to keep a secret?”
“About as far as I can trust you.”
Virginia bit down on the smile. “My brother is here,” she lied. “You have a brother?”
“You have a half brother no one knows about?” Tourmaline put her hands on her hips. “Did you just discover him?”
“He lived in Tennessee. Made it easier.”
“I need your skills,” Tourmaline said, stuffing her hands into her pockets and scuffing her pristine white slip-ons against the asphalt. “I mean, do you really not know why I’m here?”
Virginia pulled the cigarette from her mouth, a sudden and real smilestretching across her face. “I know.”
“Exactly.” Tourmaline sighed.
“What are you doing out here already? I was just on my way in,” Virginia said.
Tourmaline lifted her chin. “I got caught attempting to smuggle in socks. I was escorted out in cuffs, so you can take a wild guess how that went for me.”
That was the most basic, dumbest shit Virginia had ever heard. She put the smoke to her mouth to hide the lurking laughter. This could work. “Why socks?”
“I figured if I got caught with socks, I could explain my way out of it easier than say . . . methadone. It probably would have been fine if I’d made it past the CO. But . . .” Tourmaline shrugged, cheeks sucked in like she was biting them.
Pure kitten. “Why didn’t you just give it off to someone?” Virginia asked. “What?”
“Give it to someone . . . ,” Virginia trailed off. She’d heard rumors about the Wardens beating a man nearly to a pulp in state prison, but on the off chance it was solely a rumor, Virginia wanted to tread carefully. If Tourmaline couldn’t get to her mom—or get things to her mom—she would need Virginia.
Tourmaline narrowed her eyes, staring at Virginia as if trying to fig- ure out what language was being spoken. Suddenly, her eyes widened and she gave a bitter laugh. “Shit, you think because of my dad? Oh, no. No, honey. You been watching too much television.”
“What? No, that’s not what I meant. Your dad?” Virginia frowned, shifting and crossing her arms. Don’t blush. Don’t blush. Her face stayed clear, but her chest burned hot and panicky. “What are you talking about? Oh my God, did you think I was talking about your dad’s motorcycle gang?”
“Yeah, um.” Tourmaline rubbed her forehead. “First of all, it’s not a gang. It’s a club.”
“Oh. Sorry. Club.” Like there was a difference.
“Second,mydad’sclubisnotaone-percenter.Theydon’tdoprison shit.” Virginiablinked.“Huh?” “They’re not
Virginiasnorted.“Yeah,okay.”Shegrinnedandputthecigaretteto her mouth.
“I mean, I get it if this is the party line. But how dumb do I look?” “It’s a club with criminals, maybe, yes. But not a criminal club.”
Tourmaline said it in this infuriating, deliberate way—as if explaining something to a child. “They’re a club because they really like motor- cycles, and brotherhood, and riding together. They support local charities.TheNetworkforAbusedChildren. That’s their whole thing.” Did Tourmaline really believe this? Virginia couldn’t tell. “Oh.” She tried to make it not seem sarcastic.
“Thisisallpublicknowledge.Youcantellbecausetheydon’thave thediamondpatch on the front of their cut, and anything they really do is charity runs.” Tourmaline tapped her left shoulder with a manicured nail.
Half a second later Virginia realized that by cut, Tourmaline meant the patch-covered leather vest and jacket they all wore. The one with the monster staring back at her as they disappeared around the moun- taincurves.“So,that’sjustyouwiththesmuggling, then,huh?”Virginia winked.
“Just me,” Tourmaline said flatly.
If they weren’t criminals, what on earth did Hazard want on them? He didn’t concern himself with civilians except when they were paying fifteen hundred an hour plus a three-thousand-buckretainer.Virginia clawedherhairawayfromherface,stomach
sinking.Noneofthismade sense. “So, you’re saying they’re a bunch of motorcycle grandmas?”
“I’m saying whatever you’ve heard is bullshit. They aren’t crimi- nals.” The side of Tourmaline’s cheek worked as if she were clenching and unclenching her jaw. “How’s everything going? Still doing the pag- eant thing?”
Virginia exhaled. This wasn’t going well. “Yep.” “You won Miss Virginia last year, right?”
“Miss Teen Virginia last year. I quit, though.” Retired was the more accurate word. Hazard had found a younger girl who could still travel around to the out-of-state pageants that brought in the money.
It was unclear whether Virginia was being promoted or demoted. A shudder rolled deep in her stomach.
“Where are you going to school, again?” “Not going.”
Tourmaline looked surprised, but she hid it quickly and nodded. “Oh . . .”
“So your dry run failed. And now you’re banned. That blows. How long?” She sucked a deep breath of the cigarette. Come on, Margarine Girl.
“Six months? I don’t know.” Tourmaline’s eyes narrowed. “Your question about the Wardens . . . Do you have someone who can get things to your brother?”
“I mean. Not socks.” Because who risked that much over socks? “But yeah. And I have help speeding up the process.”
“If there’s. Um.” Tourmaline shifted. “Anything I can do. Maybe we could help each other out. If there was something I”—she paused— “could help you with.”
“I am a little curious about the whole biker club-not-gang thing,” Virginia said lightly; like the idea was a lark she’d always wanted to try.
Tourmaline’s expression was suddenly tight. The tail of her pink gingham shirt flapped in the breeze, but she still didn’t respond.
“Givemeyournumber,andifIhavesometime,I’llgiveyouacall,” Virginia said, pretending not to notice. “We’ll hang out.”
“Do you have your phone? Or a pen?” “You can just tell me. I’ll remember.” Tourmaline’s eyebrow rose.
No one believed Virginia could remember, which was half the rea- son Virginia never wrote anyone’s number down. Hazard assumed it wasa trick.Thatshehadarecordofnumbershiddenawayandregularly consulted it. But she didn’t—once a number was in her head, it was there forever.
“I’m good with numbers. I’ll remember,” Virginia said. “Don’t you have a phone?”
Virginia shrugged. “For work.”
Tourmaline sighed and relented. She gave the number and gath- ered her hair off her neck. “I work during the week, but I’m off in the evenings and weekends.”
“Where do you work?” Virginia asked.
“With my dad. He owns a landscaping and construction business. Waterfalls and ponds are his specialty. I mostly do the lawns.”
“Is that where all the Wardens work?”
Tourmaline looked at her like she was stupid. “No, most of them have regular jobs.”
“Your nails are pretty nice for a person who works landscaping,” Virginia said dubiously.
“You don’t believe me?”
Virginia smiled. “Not saying that. Just wondering how much shit you’re made of.”
A grin finally crossed Tourmaline’s face and she took a step back toward her truck. “Less shit than you, I’m sure. And I wear gloves.” Two steps away, she called back, “Call me.”
Flower gardens? Not a gang? What the hell did Hazard want with them?
By: Sarah Nicole Lemon
Release Date: March 7, 2017
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