Spotlight on Air by Lisa Glass, Plus First Chapter Reveal & Giveaway!
Today we're spotlighting Lisa Glass's novel, Air! Read on for more about Lisa, her novel, a chapter reveal, plus a giveaway!
Meet Lisa Glass!
Lisa Glass has always lived a stone's throw from the beach, moving from Plymouth to Swansea‐‐where she took an MA in Creative Writing‐‐and finally to Newquay in Cornwall, where she now lives with her husband, daughter and dog. Lisa is part of the team behind Vulpes Libris which was selected by the Observer as one of the best literary blogs in the UK.
Last year, one amazing summer was enough to turn Iris's world upside down. She met the boy of her dreams, the super talented Zeke, and the two of them set off on a pro‐
surfing adventure around the globe.
Now, one week in Miami could be enough to tear her life apart.
When Iris and Zeke take a break from competitions to relax on South Beach, Iris feels more than just the draw of the surf pulling Zeke away from her. Something's not right, and soon Iris will have to decide if she and Zeke are really the best thing for each other after all.
Air is the thrilling follow‐up to Blue; a gorgeous story of sun, sea and first love.
Surfing is sixteen‐year‐old Iris's world, and when the ultra‐talented Zeke walks into her life, it soon becomes her passion.
Over one amazing summer, as she is drawn into his sphere, she experiences love, new friendships, but also loss, with an intensity she never dreamed of.
But is Zeke all he seems? What hides beneath his glamorous and mysterious past? When Iris decides to try for her own surfing success, just as her ex‐boyfriend comes back into her life, she will test her talent, and her feelings for Zeke, to the limit.
monday, april 20
Sprawled on the silvery sand with my face turned to the sun, I reached over and the back of my hand found the stubble of his cheek. Asleep at one fiftythree on a Monday afternoon. The sun beat down; the sea was shining like a gemstone and we were in Miami.
“Zeke,” I said, just loud enough that I would have caught his attention if he was already stirring.
I turned on to my side to make sure he was still breathing, my mind falling back into the cold water of the Cribbar, where I almost lost him.
Struggling in the swirl of sucking currents, scanning the whitewash until, finally, his surf board had floated to the surface, tombstoning, its urethane leash snagged on submerged rocks. Hand over hand, I followed that leash down into the darkness, and my fist closed around his
Now, on South Beach, his breathing was shallow and peace ful, seemingly untroubled by the fretful dreams that plagued my nights. Fast asleep, his face looked younger, and beyond the square jaw and stubble I caught a glimpse of the young boy he must’ve been just a few years before I met him; the Zeke I knew was deepvoiced and fearless.
Not just a surfer; an adrenalin junkie who’d chase any high. He wanted to explore every path, see all the different clouds and pretty sunsets, and try everything he thought looked fun, no matter the risks.
I teased him about having a severe case of FOMO, but it wasn’t fear of missing out; he collected experiences and trea sured them. With Christmas Day sun burning our backs, we’d paddled over a coral reef in Bali, swarmed by a thousand yellow fish, and he’d told me he’d keep that moment in his pocket the rest of his life and take it out whenever he needed to smile. I loved that he could do that.
Two o’clock and on he slept.
Behind us, the Miami skyline rose up jagged and stark; in front, an enormous cruise liner sailed by. Miami, it seemed to me, was built on water. Interconnected islands linked by roads carry ing the vehicles of the rich and powerful. Shops were boutiques, cars were supercars and luxury seemed to come as standard.
For a second I let myself compare it to Newquay, and thought of my predawn treks to surf a bump of swell at Fistral Beach, walking barefoot over sand dunes that were silent except for the snores of freecampers and the scuffle of foxes.
I ate the rest of my Reese’s Pieces, drank my Dr. Pepper and looked at him again. Giving in, I touched
his hair, which had fanned out on his towel, and I wondered what the week would bring. Whatever the answer, I wasn’t afraid. Traveling for so many months, so far from home, I’d got used to uncertainty. Before, I’d wanted to know where I was going, who would be there and what time I could leave. After six months on the road, as long as I had snacks and access to a working loo I was happy. In some ways, it occurred to me, I’d turned into Zeke.
My phone began to buzz. Zeke stirred a little and turned on to one side.
“You sounded rather American just then,” she said, when I answered with a whispered, “Hello.”
“I said one word.” I got up and moved down the
Zeke wouldn’t be disturbed.
“You’ll be calling me ‘Mom’ next, I suppose, and turning on a ‘faucet.’ How are you? How’s Miami? ”
“All right. Busy.”
“I don’t like the thought of those sixlane expressways. It’s not natural. Good lord, I can only imagine the road rage. And, of course, onethird of motorists in Florida carry guns in their cars. A third! You could pick up gunshot residue just walking down the street, and don’t get me started on the serial killers.”
I looked around the beach and saw young families, pension ers and gym bunnies. Out on the water, people were paraglid ing, kitesurfing and playing around on jet skis. Hardly a crime scene.
“There’s some Feelgood Festival going on here,” I said. “We’ve come a week early, to take a few days to chilout and get baked.”
“You’d better not be getting baked, Iris Fox.”
“Iris, the ozone layer resembles Swiss cheese you are using suntan lotion? ”
Suntan lotion. My mum still called it that, despite me cor recting her, the same way she called hot chocolate “drinking chocolate.” She was set in 1978 and always would be, no matter how far into the future the rest of the world moved.
“Yes, I’m using sunscreen,” I said, walking down the beach and trying not to gawk at a ridiculously ripped bloke jogging down the steps from the lifeguard booth.
“Excited for your birthday? Only three more sleeps!” “I can’t believe I’m gonna be seventeen,” I said. “Feels so old.” My mum scoffed at this. “What about this launch party? Will there be press? Can I see it on YouTube?”
Florida was splashing on to the scene. It was going
to be a stop on the following year’s World Surf League champion ship tour, and the official announcement, with all the details, would be wrapped in a huge celebratory media launch. A Miami socialite had organized this party at a flashy hotel and appar ently a few slebs who surfed were coming: Cameron Diaz, Chris Hemsworth, that Sam guy from True Blood. There were also going to be some supermodels and NBA stars I’d never heard of, plus the mayor, the governor, and tons of other Miami power players. Oh, and a bunch of scruffy surfers, including me and Zeke.
Florida had been home to some of history’s greatest surfers, including the legendary Kelly Slater, who grew up on Cocoa Beach, so it seemed only right for it to be represented on the
“Not in the marijuana sense. Catching rays.” world surfing stage. I was looking forward to seeing how it all went down.
“Yeah, I reckon. And don’t forget the contest on Saturday will be going out live over the webcast, so you can watch that too.”
Mum didn’t say anything, probably not wanting to commit to doing something she hated, so I said, “Hey, you should see our hotel here, Mum. It has linen art.”
“Linen art? ”
“Where they twist your towels into swans or bears or what ever. Ours were alligators.”
“Good grief. You wouldn’t want that near your undercar riage, would you? ”
I was still grinning at “undercarriage” when she went on with, “Aunt Zoe said you did smashing in California. She watched every one of your heats. What was this camera she was telling me about a hundred frames a second? ”
“A thousand. Phantom cam.”
A zip wire had been strung across the lineup at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz and the Phantom camera chased each surfer down the wave, catching every moment of the ride, to be replayed in slow motion for the people watching over the Internet.
“Did you see any of my heats, Mum? ”
“I had a Mont Blanc of marking, more’s the pity, but Aunt
Zoe told me all about it.”
I don’t even know why I was disappointed. My mum
hardly ever watched me surf. She said it was because she didn’t know what she was looking at, couldn’t appreciate all the maneuvers,
but I knew that was rubbish. She couldn’t bear to see me try so hard, only to lose.
“Third place is fantastic. Well done, darling.” “Thanks, but, you know, it was out of only ten girls . . .” “Fantastic end of story. When did you say the contest was?” “Saturday at New Smyrna Beach.”
“Is that in Miami? ”
“No, it’s a few hours away. We’re going to get the coach there.”
“Well, I promise I’ll watch some of that one.” “Thanks, Mum,” I said, almost certain that she
wouldn’t. “I’m a bit nervous about it. There are only two other contests after this, and if I’m not top of the board, I probably have zero chance of sponsorship.”
“Is that even possible? From fourth?”
“Yeah, everyone’s expecting a leadchange, because me Beth, Leilani and Jilene are superclose in points. Any of us could take the title.” Which was as stressful as it was exciting, because it meant that the pressure was always on. Everything was up for grabs, and one bad day could mean the difference between tak ing the trophy at the end of the tour, and having a real shot at a life as a professional surfer, and getting nowhere.
When Zeke had encouraged me to run for the Face of Billa bong UK, he’d told me it was going to be a huge deal. Billabong was looking for ten girls internationally, one from each partici pating country, and the winner would receive a check for five grand, magazine coverage and entry to a series of new girls’ contests that would run parallel to the Qualifying Series. The idea was to use the same locations and dates as the main events to guarantee an audience. They were apparently spending a lot of money, seriously investing in the future of women’s surfing. But it felt like everyone, including Billabong, had been disappointed in the lack of interest from the surf community. Sometimes it felt as if our contests were an afterthought, something that had to be shoved in, but never when the best waves were breaking. A pity contest. I didn’t know how much of that my mum had picked up on already, but I didn’t want to be the one to spell it out to her.
“How do you know I’m in fourth?”
“Oh, I saw it on your athlete page on Facebook. I do like that picture of you and Zeke on the Hawaiian mountaintop with your arms in the shape of a heart. Very sweet.”
Facebook? Apparently my mum had changed in my absence. “What happened to social media being the downfall of civiliza
tion as we know it?”
“Naturally I only joined for the hotties.”
I laughed. My mum hadn’t had a boyfriend in the ten years since my dad left. Even if she was actually checking out blokes, I doubted she was talking to them.
“Why haven’t you accepted my friendship thingy? ” she asked. “Kelly accepted within twentyfive minutes of me sending the invitation.”
My best mate was friends with her own mum. And her grand parents. She didn’t care what they found out about her. The way Kelly saw it, there was no point trying to hide anything, because it all came out in the end. She was weird like that.
“I’ll check for it later.”
10 Lisa Glass
The phone went silent and I thought we’d been cut off.
“I’m here. Oh, before I forget: I need you to be available for Skype on Thursday at 1 p.m. your time. They’ll all be here, including His Highness.”
“Dad’s coming over? Like, actually into the house?”
My absentee father, not quite a deadbeat but nearly, was the comedy nemesis of my mother. They walked in circles around each other, eyes blazing, waiting for the other to make the first move.
“I can hardly leave him outside like a garden gnome,” she said, adding under her breath, “much as he deserves it.”
I stopped to adjust my new bikini bottoms, retying the knot at my hip and trying not to flash the young woman with a baby strapped to her chest. “Good morning,” I said, doffing my base ball cap at her.
“Why the big thing though? It’s not like I’m gonna be eighteen.”
“Your aunt and I have been planning this party for months. We’re not canceling, just because the guest of honor is too busy to attend.”
“I’d have come home if I could’ve,” I said, feeling guilty, “ but I have the contest, and Anders said we have to go to this media launch party, no excuses. And then Zeke booked us a fancy hotel to make a birthday present of it.”
Zeke had seemed so happy to surprise me with the hotel reservation. We’d stayed in a lot of grim hostels on our trav els, and slept on the battered couches of friends and strangers. It wasn’t that we couldn’t afford to stay somewhere nicer; at some of the more remote beaches there weren’t any better options, and we made do, just like all the other surfers who traveled with us. In Spain we’d slept in sleeping bags under the stars.
“I know. We miss you, that’s all.” She paused and added, “I wish you’d come and visit, if only for a week.”
I’d heard this a few times over the past months, mostly before contests with heavy waves that broke over coral reefs the sort of breaks that could break me. I knew she missed me, and worried about me, but I was locked into a strict contestand training schedule, and when I wasn’t training or competing I had publicity and advertising commitments.
“What are you doing today, Mum? ”
“Pub quiz at the Red Lion. One hundred pounds in the kitty, and there’s a meat raffle. Iris? ”
“You are safe there, aren’t you? ”
“Mum. Be real. I’m knocking around the Art Deco
district and South Beach. Caffeine overdose and an empty bank account are the main dangers here.”
She stagecoughed, delicately, which was some kind of code that I still hadn’t totally figured out, although I had a feeling it was related to her finely tuned bullshitometer. “Be careful.”
At the water’s edge I waded into the shallows, shuffling my feet to ward off any stingrays lying in wait. The wind was warm and I took off my cap and felt my hair swish out behind me.
“It’s not like I’m here alone. I’m here with Zeke.”
“You are indeed. The only word I’ll say on the subject is ‘butterflies.’”
We’d first had the butterflies conversation a week before I left Newquay. She was worried I couldn’t count on Zeke, thought his freespiritedness made him unreliable.
“He’s looking out for me. Actually, we’re looking out for each other. Stop worrying. He’s not a bloody butterfly.”
I kicked at the water and sent an arc of spray through the air, marveling for a moment at microrainbows.
“Are you surfing today? ”
“Maybe, but there’s only a couple of feet of swell.” “Do keep a weather eye open for bull sharks. They
have more testosterone than a charging bull elephant.” “Mum! Stop worrying!”
“I’m just saying. Anything with that level of
testosterone needs to keep away from my daughter.”
I heard the faint ring of the doorbell and my mum shuffling across the room. She was probably still wearing her knackered raccoon slippers a Mother’s Day present from my sister, Lily. I pictured her twitching the net curtain to peer out of the living room window, and I couldn’t help smiling.
“Must dash. Renie’s waiting.”
Kelly’s mum did not seem like the pubquiz
type. “Why is Renie—”
“I’m setting her up with a new member.”
When it came to boyfriends, Renie was the opposite of
my mother; she liked to have at least one on the go at all times. Said being single felt like going to work without lippy.
“Are you now? ”
“Of the Historical Society. You get that filthy mind from your father.”
I walked back to Zeke, who was still lying in the fetal
posi tion, sound asleep.
I read two pages of my book and, as a reward, logged
on to Facebook. Some of my mates back in the UK were gearing up for a night out on the town and had tagged me in their selfies. Kelly pouted in electricblue lipstick, our friends since primary school Rae and Maisie on either side of her; all three looking glam in slinky club outfits.
Cass, I noted with relief, was nowhere to be seen. But then, she was probably busy with my exboyfriend Daniel.
I wrote a few “Wish I was there with you lot” comments and loaded up Spotify. I whacked up the volume and went back to sunbathing, but I couldn’t get comfortable. The sweat from my face was running past my ears, pooling at the back of my neck and dripping on to my towel.
How was Zeke still out for the count? It wasn’t like we’d had some rager the night before.
I sat up and stroked a tiny scar on his forehead, and thought about the other scars that littered his body; painful wounds delivered by unseen rocks, heads of coral, the needlenose of highperformance surf boards. The knife of my exboyfriend.
“Zeke,” I said. He didn’t stir. “Zeke.”
I felt panic rise and shook his arm. Nothing.
By: Lisa Glass
Release Date: June 6, 2016
Three winners will receive a copy of both Blue and Air (US only).
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