“Chasing Happy” by Ann Lee Miller
Blurb: After an epic fail in the hetero world, Ash Jackson heads cross country to Arizona to figure out his bisexuality and make peace with himself and God.
Nashville Star Samma Templeton’s music career bankrolls her future husband’s political campaigns. But she throws up before every concert and feels relegated to an item on the senator’s calendar.
When Ash moves into Samma’s apartment building their childhood friendship resurrects, and Samma must choose between promoting a political agenda that will benefit millions or following her heart. Ash must face his inner demons for the girl who was his past and feels like his future.
Ash rolled his pickup to a stop in front of Dad’s house, his body logging every one of the 2,138 asphalt miles between New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and Gilbert, Arizona. The last decade dissipated with the crackles of the engine, and he was twelve, sitting on the tiled roof in the middle of the night dishing truths to neighbor-girl Samma because he didn’t like dares. Still didn’t. Maybe that was why he was here.
His gaze flicked to the Taco Bell-inspired design of the house Samma grew up in—like the rest of the tract homes on the street. His lips tugged into a smile—the first since Florida. She’d escaped the house with its passel of siblings, he-who-must-be-obeyed father, and remote mother. Back then, she’d had three inches on him, and now she was a Nashville Star runner-up and a lucrative recording contract above him.
He focused on Dad’s house and his jaw clenched. The sixty-four ounce tea in his gullet pushed him out of the truck. He sucked hundred-degree September air into his lungs. Every pore of his body remembered the feel of empty heat on his skin as he walked through the streetlight halo and across the gravel yard. His feet halted on the cement slab, knuckles coming to rest on the door without knocking. Touching the house where he’d lived two summers of his boyhood. Touching his father’s life.
A puff of air scraped sun-dried Bougainvillea blooms across the step, their fuchsia hue oddly preserved in the porch light.
He fisted his hand and knocked against the metal door he and Samma had run in and out a dozen times a day.
Pain spiked from his knuckles, slicing away the ghostlike state where he stuffed Dad between visits and e-mails. All he had to do was keep his emotions packed away long enough to get a job. Should be easy. He’d been doing it for years.
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**About author, Ann Lee Miller: Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t muddling through some crisis-real or imagined-you’ll find her blogging memoir at AnnLeeMiller.com. Over 100,000 copies of Miller’s debut novel, Kicking Eternity, have been downloaded from Amazon.