Relatively Famous by Jessica Park
Freshman in high school Dani McKinley lives with her mother, Leila, in a modest house in Michigan. Dani adores her mother’s long-term boyfriend, Alan, and her best friend, Samantha. Life is pretty uncomplicated, right? Not for long . . .
As Dani is walking to school one day, paparazzi pounce on her and claim that she is the daughter of Hollywood icon Mark Ocean. The news immediately changes Dani’s life. Leila confesses the truth to her daughter and agrees to let her spend the summer in California so that she can get to know Mark. But who leaked the story to the tabloids? After a nasty fight with Alan in which Dani announces that she finally has a “real dad,” Dani heads to the West Coast.
Armed with credit cards, club memberships, and a new wardrobe, Dani learns that what Mark Ocean has in wealth, he sorely lacks in parenting skills. The fatherly interest Mark shows has more to do with changing his public image than with connecting with his daughter. Dani tries to teach her father that parenting is not just about supplying her with Prada bags and trips to movie premieres, and against his own instincts Mark slowly starts to see Dani as more than a career booster.
Her new California friends take Dani under their wings and school her in everything from attaching hair extensions to managing the paparazzi. She meets Jason, a gorgeous young personal trainer who is easy on the eyes and wildly flirtatious . . . But is this smug hottie the one for Dani? Or will she ignore her friends’ eye rolling and go for the goofy but sweet surfer?
So while juggling her own newly complicated love life, Dani also tries to set her father up with someone less likely to appear on an MTV reality show, and someone more... well, normal. And age-appropriate. And dressed in anything other than a thong bikini. But whether Mark is able to heal old wounds and move forward with anything more than a meaningless fling remains to be seen.
Can Dani fit in with this new fast-moving California crowd without losing herself? With the world at her fingertips and hot boys now after her, staying grounded gets tough. And can Mark drop his egocentric approach to life and learn how to appreciate how wonderful his daughter truly is? As driven as he is to get that A-list acting role, he's willing to do whatever it takes to get there, even it means using his daughter. Mark and Dani's relationship hits a few highs, but the question becomes whether the lows are too much...?
In honor of RELATIVELY FAMOUS now being available on Amazon's Kindle, I'm posting some excerpts of the book. Today you've got a sneak peek at Chapter 3.
“I think the pink is too girly and obvious. I don’t want my Steven Meyer to think I’m trying too hard.” Sam held up one of the shirts Dani brought for her to try on and had to yell over the music to be heard.
Sam’s parents had already left for work and Sam was used to getting herself up, eating breakfast, and packing her own lunch. It had been this way for as long as she could remember. Her parents were so grouchy these days that it was easier not to have them around in the mornings anyway. That’s why she spent so much time at Dani’s: the family atmosphere, the mother who wasn’t too distracted by the mountain of bills to check homework . . . Sam slept over at her friend’s house at least twice a week, and it just felt better to wake up to the comforting smells of coffee, eggs, and pancakes. The morning smell at Sam’s house was burnt toast.
Dani eyed the shirt in Sam’s hand and shook her head. “I disagree. Pink says you are feminine and the V-neck cut is revealing but not too revealing. Try it on.”
Sam shrugged. “All right, I’ll give it a go. Cover his eyes,” she said, gesturing to the massive poster on the wall.
“Sam, honestly?” Dani laughed.
“It’s not just any poster, my dear. It’s Mark Ocean. I don’t want him to see me naked.” Sam grinned slyly and ran her hands down her torso. “I’m not fully formed.”
Dani shook her head. “I think it’s your brain that’s not fully formed.”
Sam’s obsession with Hollywood actor Mark Ocean drove Dani crazy. Dani thought his movies were lame and found their plots completely implausible. (An ex-insurance broker finds himself caught up in an elaborate scheme to lure aliens to earth for scientific study…When the plan goes horribly awry, only our hero can save the world!)
But it was the poster itself that totally gave Dani the creeps; the thirty-something actor was shirtless and his well-muscled body had clearly been covered with what she guessed was olive oil. Granted, Dani couldn’t deny that Mark Ocean was an attractive man. Who could help noticing those dark, smoldering eyes, full lips, and perfectly styled jet-black hair? But, man, his movies were such crap. As far as Dani was concerned, if he wasn’t so handsome, he probably couldn’t have even landed an infomercial gig. It didn’t take a genius to pretend to fight aliens, did it? This loser was photographed with every dumb model and rising starlet out there and Dani knew for sure that he wasn’t discussing great literature of the twentieth century with them.
But Sam adored him, so Dani dutifully played along. “Coast is clear. Mark won’t see your A-cups. Now hurry up and pick a shirt or we’re going to be late for school.”
“Ta da! Okay, you were right. This pink shirt is totally cute.” Sam admired herself in the full-length mirror. The deep pink did look great with her short blond hair. Dani always envied natural blonds, but Sam wasn’t conceited about her good looks so it was impossible to resent her. She was very pretty and even her limited wardrobe couldn’t hide her attractiveness. Sam had the same no-makeup rule Dani did, but she often got away with eyeliner and mascara since her parents were home in the mornings to see her. Even with no makeup, Dani’s best friend had the quintessential girl-next-door cuteness that boys found irresistible. Sam gazed longingly at the poster. “If Mark Ocean could see me now—“
“He’d drop his idiotic L.A. lifestyle and rush out to Little Springs, Michigan to suck face with you?” Dani asked.
“Exactly right,” Sam said. “I am the woman for him.”
Sam had lofty visions of moving to a large city and hobnobbing with the rich and famous. Dani, on the other hand, was pretty happy where she was. True, Little Springs was not known as the nightlife capital of the world, but at fifteen, she was satisfied. The town had a big mall, plenty of good restaurants (Alan’s was at the top of the list), and decent schools. The grocery store was a major chain and not some mom and pop country store. And, they had real seasons here. Dani loved winter and liked nothing better than curling up by the fire with cocoa and a book during a raging snowstorm. The birds in the backyard always seemed to know when a storm was coming and would flock to the birdfeeders Dani had set up in the yard. Snowbuntings, Waxwings, Sparrows… Oh, and the stunning red of the Cardinals against the backdrop of crisp white snow. What the heck did Mark Ocean do at Christmas? Spray expensive, fake snow on his expensive, fake lawn?
But, considering how stressful Sam’s home life was right now, Dani couldn’t blame her for dreaming about another life.
Sam cranked up the stereo to full blast and spun around the room. “One more song and we’ll go. Come on, Dani, dance with me! How can you resist Def Leppard singing ‘Photograph’?”
Sam began shaking her hips and shimmying her shoulders.
“You asked for it!” Dani grabbed a hairbrush from the dresser and joined her pal. “Sing it with me, Sam!” She held the hairbrush like a microphone.
Dani might not have the most spectacular singing voice, but Sam was majorly tone deaf. The girls collapsed on the bed, exhausted from their rendition of the ‘80s classic.
“I should have been a child of the ‘80s. I would’ve loved it.” Sam squealed. “All that neon and crazy music and big hair…”
Dani turned to her. “If you’d been an ‘80s kid then I wouldn’t have you. And I wouldn’t trade my best friend for anything. Atrocious singer or not.”
She rolled out of the way before Sam could whack her with a pillow.
The hardcopy version of Relatively Famous will be available soon. If you'd like to know when you can buy your very own copy, shoot me an email and I will let you know as soon as it's available.
Check back soon for a neat giveaway involving Relatively Famous!!