Hello reader friends! Welcome to my Spring Into Reading Event! Every day this month I’m going to feature a new release (or will be released) book for you to add to your TBR. There will be guest posts, giveaways, book excerpts, and more! So make sure you come back daily and see what book is in the spotlight next! And if you’ve missed any, be sure to click on the “Spring Into Reading” tab and look at the other posts!
Today I’m sharing an excerpt from Changed Somehow, a novel by Chloe Flanagan, and Book Seven of the Potter’s House Book Series Two!! I’ve got this book on my TBR and can’t wait to read it. Chloe has offered to give away a paperback copy of the book, so be sure to read the entire post and enter the giveaway!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Is her change of heart real, or is it just another role?
New York City actress, Natalie Rivers is a taker. She found out years ago that she has to look out for herself because no one else will. But when she loses a coveted role and her home in the same day, she is forced to take a painful look at her life and attitude. She struggles through her crisis alone, until her path collides with an eccentric pair of friends who show her the unexpected beauty of caring for others.
In the midst of finding love and a sense of purpose, Natalie’s perspective is changing. But when the heartbreak and mistakes of her past catch up with her, she will have to answer an important question: is new life possible or is she simply playing a part?
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One of the rookie actors actually applauded.
Natalie had just finished her first read-through of the pivotal scene in the play where Marissa hit the rocky bottom of her self-destructive lifestyle.
Staring up at the ceiling, arms outstretched and eyes damp, she cried, “I can’t do this anymore!”
The scene ended, and the room was perfectly still—that is, until nineteen-year-old Ryan Fletcher started applauding from his place in the corner of the room.
Snickers ran through the other players and crew, but Natalie sent him an indulgent smile.
“All right, that’s enough! Let’s move on,” Marlowe barked. “Fletcher!” He turned on the young man. “Since you have everyone’s attention now, you can read next. Get over here.”
Ryan’s face reddened, but he hurried over and sat across the table from Natalie.
Her smile broadened. Normally, she wouldn’t have much patience for some kid cast in his first major speaking part in a real play, but she’d always make an exception for an admirer.
Ryan settled into his chair and role. He slouched, making his already small frame seem even more waif-like. Then he began reading his lines in a cracking voice that made him sound more adolescent. Just like that, four or five years faded away and he was Liam, the misguided teenager.
“So what if it does kill me, Marissa? It’s not like anyone will care!” he cued her, then stared straight at her, his deep blue eyes wide, pain-filled, and searching right through her.
A thick lump filled Natalie’s throat and nearly choked off her breath. Still, his piercing eyes pulled on her. Why was he looking at her like that? So expectant and needy.
Her heart began to pound violently. What was the line? How could she forget? She always worked hard to learn dialogue well enough to go almost entirely off book by the first rehearsal. Now she was scanning the script for the words as though she’d never seen it before.
Marlowe cleared his throat, which snapped her into focus enough to find her place.
“I—” It came out like a croak. She swallowed and tried again. “I care Liam. You matter to me, and I’ll never let anything hurt you—even if that means protecting you from yourself.”
It took all of her self-control not to wince at her own delivery. The words had mechanically slid out, like her tongue was a cheesy dialogue conveyor belt.
She glanced at Marlowe, who simply glared. Alec, the assistant director, cut in. “Why don’t we press on? We need to block …”
“No!” Marlowe interrupted him. “No! Natalie, do that again. Ryan, cue her.”
“It’s not like anyone would care!”
She leaned forward, not bothering to look at her script. “I care! You matter to me, Tim—Liam! You matter to me, and I’ll never let anything hurt you. Even if it means protecting you from yourself.”
“Did I miss something here? Are we putting on a high school production?” Marlowe demanded. “Do it again!”
So she did again and again, each time sounding less believable than the last, until they finally moved on to another scene with different actors. She tried to pay attention, but panic churned in her stomach. What was wrong with her? Although Marlowe’s high school drama remark stung, he’d been right.
A whole week of preparations, blocking scenes, and rehearsals went by, with Natalie polishing every part of her performance except the scenes with Ryan. For those, she could barely get through without stammering and getting panicky.
Finally, at the end of the fifth rehearsal, Marlowe pulled her aside in the hallway, leaving the door to the theater ajar such that the entire cast and crew could probably hear too. “Natalie, what is going on here? You are ruining the entire production with your performance in the Liam scenes.”
“You could always cut that part out,” she suggested.
“No, I’m not going to cut it out just because you have some kind of hang-up!”
“Then give me a little more time to work it out, please. I’ll get there. I always do.”
He crossed his arms and scowled. “No, I really don’t think you will. I don’t think you have the heart for this, Natalie.”
“W—what do you mean?”
He threw up his hands. “Am I speaking Greek or something? I mean you’re a faker, Natalie. You may call yourself an actor while you go around putting on a mask to pretend you’re a queen or a doctor, or anything else, but you’re really nothing but a faker. You don’t have the heart or soul to actually be this part.”
He pointed in the general direction of her midsection. “Something is missing there.”
His words resounded through her, vibrating on her heat and pain receptors as if he had physically struck her, instead of merely insulting her.
Her hand went to her mouth. “That’s not true. I—” She dropped her arm, whirled around, and ran for the exit.
“Where do you think you’re going? Look, you cause me any more problems like this, and I’ll see to it you never get cast in this city again!”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chloe S. Flanagan is an author, technical writer, blogger, and graduate of New York University. She enjoys exploring the Christian walk frankly and thoughtfully in her fiction and in her blog, The Candid Corinthian. When she’s not writing, Chloe loves music, travel, reading books in all genres, and spending time with family.
Connect with Chloe
Twitter: https://twitter.com/candidcorinth?lang=en Blog: https://candidcorinthian.blogspot.com
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What intrigues you about this story? Don’t forget to stop back every day this month for more great reads, and if you’ve missed any days, go back and check them out!