Striking A Chord (Out of Tune Prequel)

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In the build up to the release of my third novel with Random House, Out of Tune, I've written a short prequel to it which I'll be uploading on Wattpad over the next few days, and this is the first instalment!

Out of Tune is out on July 3rd in paperback and ebook (paperback in the UK and Commonwealth, but you can ship it elsewhere, and the ebook should be available worldwide).

Hope you enjoy!


Chapter One


Allie flinches as I slam her locker shut - after making sure I'm not gonna shut her fingers in the door, of course - and she turns to me with her brown eyes wide. 'Why do you look like a crazy person right now?'

Okay, so maybe my grin is a little manic, but I can't help it!

I draw in a deep breath and try to tone down the crazy-person look. 'Josh asked me on a date.'

Allie just stares at me, mouth hanging open, until she recovers enough to say, 'You're kidding, right? Like, a date-date, not just a study-date?'

I nod, still beaming. My voice comes out more like a squeal, and I know I sound just like those girls who stand gossiping and shrieking in the hallways. Hell, I am one of those girls right now, and I don't care! 'Yep, a date-date! We're going bowling. Can you believe this? Josh Parker asked me out on a date. Me! Ashley Bennett!'

My best friend starts to laugh, and grabs my shoulder to stop me bouncing about. The bell rings, telling us that lunch is over and we should be on our way to class by now.

As Allie opens her locker back up to get out her Chemistry textbook I realize I forgot to pick mine up. But I've got more important things on my mind. Telling Allie my news was way bigger than getting my book.

Once she's wrestled it into her backpack between a ring-binder and her Advanced Spanish notes, we weave through the throngs of students to make our way to the science labs.

'So tell me exactly what happened. I want details, Ashley.'

'You know how we were in the library to work on that presentation for English class?'

She nods.

I'd sent her a text at the start of lunch to tell her that we were going to be spending lunch in the library. I hadn't cared, since it meant I got to spend time with Josh. I'd had a huge crush on him for a while now and had yet to pass up the opportunity to spend time with him. 'Well, we were packing up our things and he just said, totally out of the blue, "What are you doing Friday night?" And I was like, "Nothing, why?" And then he said that maybe we could go to the bowling alley, if I was interested.'

'Which you obviously are.'

'Of course. Anyway. I just sort of stared at him for a really long time because I was convinced I'd heard him wrong. Then I realized I was staring and not saying anything like a total loser-'

'Oh my God.'

'I know. And then I said, "Sure". Oooh, and he gave me this really big grin and said he'd catch me later.'

'So just bowling? Are you meeting him there, at the alley? What time?'

My grin finally falters. 'Um, he didn't say.'

'You have English tomorrow, though, right? You can ask him then, if he doesn't say anything before then.'

I nod, and pull open the door, letting Allie in ahead of me. 'Yeah. Yeah, you're right.' But now she's mentioned it, I wished I'd been able to get a hold of myself back in the library and had asked him then.

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