THE FIRSTS & FAVES OF EVA & ALEX is an 80,000-word YA contemporary romance in alternating, dual-POV. Interspersed with offbeat humor and family intrigue comparable to Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ Little White Lies, this story will appeal to fans of Jessica Pennington’s Love Songs and Other Lies.

With a supermodel mom and rock-star family, seventeen-year-old Eva often disguises herself to avoid the media circus surrounding them. Invasion of privacy is her worst nightmare, so she keeps most people at arm’s length. But, when she moves to Austin and meets a college freshman named Alex, she can’t get the hot cowboy off her mind. Hoping he’s trustworthy to conceal her identity, she lets him into her unconventional life.

Irresistibly drawn to Eva, Alex promises to protect her secret and has one of his own—the fling he had with an older woman who turned out to be a politician’s wife. He scraped his boots clean of that mistake months ago, but then the woman pops back on the scene and won’t leave him alone. Alex is afraid if word gets out about them, it’ll humiliate his small-town, conservative family and jeopardize Eva’s perception of him.

As Alex tries to rein in his ex, a gossip reporter hell-bent on revealing Eva’s identity also catches wind of Alex’s past affair. Their worst nightmares prove different from what they thought. Secrets push them apart, forcing them to face the truth together or let their feelings for each other be swept away by a media storm.

I’m active in SCBWI’s Austin chapter as a critique group facilitator. One of my contemporary YA novels was selected as a finalist for the Joan Lowery Nixon Memorial Award at the 2018 Houston SCBWI conference.

Thank you so much for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Tonya Preece

 

Chapter 1

Out of habit, I pick up the brunette wig and lift it over my blond hair, but then I hesitate. There’s no reason to look like someone else when I leave the house today.

It’s time for people to see me. The real me. Whoever the hell that is.

As I lower the wig back onto its stand, a Guns N’ Roses song starts blaring from my brother’s room. I breathe out a sigh of relief, tension draining from my shoulders. The music is a good sign that Lor’s physical therapy session just ended on a better note than last time. There was a lot of cursing that day, and I’ve dreaded a repeat.

I climb the marble stairs to peer through his open door. More good signs: open curtains and sunlight streaming in. He’s sitting up in the hospital bed, singing “Welcome to the Jungle,” and his shaggy blond hair is mussed from headbanging. All this brings a smile to my lips, but my heart clenches as he plays air guitar. His arms are thin and jaundiced. They used to be strong and could hold a real guitar for hours onstage. The last time he tried to play, he became so enraged at his hand spasms that the acoustic wound up on the hard floor beside the bed, its neck cracked.

“Hey,” I call out from the doorway when the song ends. “I was going to ask how you’re feeling, but it looks like—”

“I’m fan-freakin-tastic.” He gives me the smirk I know so well. Not much else resembles his former self, though. He’s twenty years older than me and wasting away from liver disease, plus added complications of multiple sclerosis.

Motioning for me to come in, he moves a magazine aside and I perch on the edge of the bed. “What’re you still doing here?” he asks. “Thought you had plans today.”

“I do, but can I borrow a car?”

“Hell, yeah.” His gaunt face lights up. “You should take the Lamborghini.”

Wide-eyed, I shake my head. “Too recognizable.” With so many celebs in my family, it’s hard enough to avoid their fan and media attention by association. I don’t plan on being spotted in his Lamborghini. Same goes for the Porsche, Ferrari, and Hummer. They’re all poison green, his signature color from a career of playing lead guitar for Polly’s Poison.

“Eva, you’ve let Mom freak you out about staying anonymous for too long.” His shoulders sag now. Like he used up what little energy he had. “She isn’t here to call the shots. I say do what you want.”

“I want to be unknown.” Invasion of my privacy is one of my worst nightmares. “The black Challenger won’t stand out. And hey, I’m finally going somewhere. Solo.”

“About damn time,” he says, nodding. Our mom doesn’t like me going anywhere sans chauffeur or security but, like Lor said, she isn’t around. She’s on hiatus from modeling, and she travels with my dad and uncle’s band, The Fabulous Undertakers, aka FU.