My book releasing is Fling Club, sort of like Fight Club but with romance.
The fabulous main characters are Cherry and Ashley, an unlikely match. It’s opposites attract to the extreme. Cherry is a spoiled rich girl with a serious problem, how to get revenge on the mean girl ruining her life. And Ashley is a sexy, geeky MIT scholarship student who doesn’t fit in her world. He doesn’t even want to. He can't stand the rich elite and makes no bones about sharing that opinion.
Cherry’s from a rich family and went to school at a private, well known academy where the expectations from parents are demanding. She is demure and reliable, a doormat like most of her friends. Letting parents and guys take the lead in their lives.
After summers of the boys running the shore and parents ruling their lives, the girls decided to take back the power. One girl in particular. She created Fling Club, a fun way to control the dating and socializing the young women were expected to participate in. The head mean girl who runs it, Cait, is every young woman’s nightmare. Controlling, conniving, and completely self-centered. If you have a social life and friends, it’s because Cait allowed it. She has all the parents and every guy on the shore fooled, while all the young women are terrified of crossing her.
When Cherry catches Cait in bed with her boyfriend, the fake friendship is off just as the summer is beginning, meaning Cherry has to come up with a plan for revenge against her frenemy.
With the help of her sarcastic and judgmental brother, Andy, and her pessimistic and evil genius sister, Ella, Cherry is about to wreak havoc on Fling Club, and Cait.
This is where Ashley comes into the plan. He is the bait. Sexy, funny, sarcastic, and just arrogant enough that they don't have to worry about him falling for Cait while she is falling for him. But after a couple weeks together, the plan is threatened when Ashley and Cherry start falling for each other.
He desperately wants Cherry to see that she is so much more than she pretends to be, and that fitting into her world isn't worth the price she is paying. And once she starts seeing herself the way he does, she realizes how much she hates the person she has always pretended to be.
Fling Club, which used to be called The Exception to the Summer Fling, is an old story I wrote a decade ago but never published. It came to me when I was driving. I was crossing North America, moving from the West Coast to the East for my husband’s work in 2008. My girls were watching movies in the backseat, kid's movies. So I got to listen to that the entire six day drive.
I don't even remember the movie they were watching, I think it was a Barbie movie, maybe Princess and the Pauper, but it got me envisioning the moment Cait marched back and forth in front of the new recruits, cruelly telling them the rules of the summer fling club. (Being a HUGE fan of Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl, of course I already had a stable of possible plots for mean rich girls.)
The story really formed when I got Cait down in my head, thanks to the long drive and the kids movies.
Cait needed to be that sweet and powerful girl the parents would respect and want their daughters to emulate. But she also needed to be terrifying and controlling so the girls went along with whatever she demanded of them. Even if it was disturbing. Of course, Cait is similar to Kathryn from Cruel Intentions, she is calculating and cold. Almost sociopathic in her nature. But I decided to spin the story a little and make our poor little victim, her equal in social rank.
Cherry might be the weaker link at the start of this story, but she comes from a good family with a lot of money. And as the story progressed she evolved from the damsel in distress who can't cope with anything into a strong young woman. I wanted her to be victim of the story but then I also wanted her to be the savior. Her own savior. I like that love helped her find herself, but she needed to do the work.
I think we nailed that, and the way the characters are meant to make you hate them. I wanted the readers' feelings to grow and change as the characters did. Cait is unbearably horrible and yet somehow relatable once we have all the facts. Cherry is weak and pathetic to start but grows into someone we liked in the end. And we made the bad guy someone you didn't expect.
I love the idea that there is an underbelly in the wealthy world, a place we don't see because they hide it from us. And I adore the meet cute we have created for the entire series of standalone novels, the Post-it Note Wall.
Welcome to the Serendipity Series, starting with Fling Club.
Fling Club Excerpt
I called my brother. “Hey, Cherry. Look, I can’t talk—”
“Cait’s sleeping with Griffin,” I blurted out, cutting off whatever excuse he was about to make.
“What? Who?” It took him half a second to connect the dots. “Seriously? How do you know?”
“I just caught them.” My words had turned to a whisper. I was ashamed of my former friends for betraying me, and of myself for having been so naive. I knew Andy would call me stupid and tell me I deserved what I got for dating a Griffin, and that I was a sheeple like Mom and Cait, and—
“Oh, Cherry. I’m so sorry. Neither of those asshats deserves you.”
That reaction, I didn’t expect. Andy’s kindness broke me. Angry tears flooded my eyes, and before I could help it, I was blubbering and ranting in front of a platform full of strangers. I’d called Andy because I needed his sarcasm to toughen me up and put me on the defensive. I needed to be strong, like him. But instead he gave me tenderness, something I couldn’t handle at the moment.
“You’re lovely and sweet and kind. And you would never do something like that to anyone. Not even an enemy. I’ll come get you; tell me where you are.”
“I—I’m going home. I’m at the train. I feel sick.” My words were coming out in gasps.
“Screw them both. Let them have each other. I never liked that idiot. He’s like Mom and Cait. He thinks his blue blood earns him the right to everything—clearly. They’re selfish people, Cherry. Selfish and stupid and blind. I’m glad he showed his true colors before you got too invested in him.”
Not wanting Andy to know I was as invested as I could be, I stayed silent while he shouted and ranted all the things big brothers said to sad little sisters. “I should beat the piss outta him! Want me to kick his ass? I’ll go find a couple of friends and we can make sure he doesn’t show up for—”
“No.” I sniffled. “I just—” What did I want?
“Listen. Go home and take a hot bath, drink a bottle of wine, and try to get some sleep. I’ll come get you in a week. We’ll go to New York and get trashed, and you—”
“Sleep!” I snapped, finally losing the hold I had on my ferocity. “You think I could sleep right now? I’m not Mom, Andy. I can’t just take something and coast through shit like this.”
“Okay, don’t sleep. Try eating a whole sheet cake and plotting their deaths. They aren’t worth the energy you’re putting into being pissed off. I’ve never understood how you were friends with her. Or part of her club. Which, by the way, she only started because Wendell cheated on her with that chick from Derby. It’s ironic, because then she turns around and does this to you.”
“Andy, I don’t care why she started it,” I groaned, wiping my eyes. “I don’t care that someone cheated on her in high school. I care that she’s currently sleeping with my boyfriend—”
“Cherry, take a breath. If you’re crying, you’re losing it.”
I heaved, realizing I was blind with rage and tears.
“If you can’t get past this with a simple cake, then I don’t know what to say. If I ever make the mistake of falling in love again, it’ll be with some girl in a different financial bracket. This is why we don’t date our kind.”
“Yeah, great advice now!” I spit my words, feeling the fury building.
“Don’t lose control! You’re in public, and you’re a Kennedy for God’s sake. We don’t lose it in front of strangers. Plus, you’ll be upset you didn’t cry in the shower like a winner.”
“Shut up!” I hated him sometimes.
“Cherry, getting upset and ruining your summer is pointless; you’re the only one who suffers. They’ll win. They’ll ruin your last summer before college is over and the real world hits. Don’t let them do that to you.”
“What should I do then?” I burst again, sobbing.
“I don’t know. Maybe take her down. Get revenge. Just whatever you do, don’t go back to that moron, Chatsworth.”
“I won’t.” I sighed. “I can’t talk about this anymore. I’ll text you later.”
“Trust me, eat the cake. It will make you feel better. Do that before you do anything else. My friend Angela swears by it.” He laughed bitterly and hung up.
But I didn’t focus on the cake or the bath or the wine. My mind was stuck on the one thing Andy had said that was useful, on repeat.
And I would.
Title: Fling Club
Author: Tara Brown
Release Date: August 14, 2018
For the young, rich, and beautiful, summertime in the Hamptons means one thing: Fling Club. Only this time, Cherry Kennedy won’t be selecting a boy for a fleeting romance. Nope, this season, Cherry is out for revenge. Her target? The Fling Club founder and society darling who slept with Cherry’s now-very-ex-boyfriend. And all Cherry needs is the perfect guy for her plan… Ashley Jardine can’t afford to refuse. He scored almost a full ride to MIT. But that almost still costs a lot. And this is so much money for a little game of revenge and a chance—albeit short—to live the high life. Here, rich girls rule the shore, and everyone has a role to play. Only nothing in the job description warned Ashley that the redhead who’s running the scheme would be so crazy. And cute. Or that he wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about her. Now, everything is going according to plan—until an unexpected attraction raises the stakes. It’s enough to turn the perfect payback into absolute heartbreak.
The international bestselling author of Roommates and the Puck Buddies series, Tara Brown writes in a variety of genres. In addition to her comedic Single Lady Spy series, she has also published popular contemporary and paranormal romances, science fiction, thrillers, and romantic comedies. She especially enjoys writing dark and moody tales, often focusing on strong female characters who are more inclined to vanquish evil than perpetrate it. She shares her home with her husband, two daughters, two cats, an Irish wolfhound, and a Maremma Sheepdog. Find out more about Tara by visiting www.TaraBrownAuthor.com.
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