Genre: Sports Romance
Publication Date: June 21, 2016
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About the Book
When he won his first World Title at eighteen, they said he’d be the greatest professional surfer to ever compete. Fourteen years later, Dean “DeBaz” Bazner is inching towards retirement having never clinched another Title. This year he’s pushing limits to prove his beginning wasn’t a fluke, and it’s working. Until she comes along.
You don’t have to know anything about surfing for it to change your life. Travel writer, Azure Thomas, can attest to that. She was navigating the changing world of freelance journalism when she took this gig. She wasn’t prepared for a man that connects to her profound loss and sacrifices everything, except his soul, to live his dream. He’s more than a hot magazine cover, and surfing is more than a hobby. The dangerous diversion, in and out of the water, forces Dean to accept there’s more missing from his life than another trophy.
Amongst tropical breezes, in the most beautiful locations on earth, CHASING SWELLS is an absorbing journey about riding the waves of life, overcoming childhood loss, and letting go of the mistakes that barricade us from our potential.
Chopes Pirate (invasion of the man snatcher)
“Where did all those people come from?” Oh my god! Azure moves towards the middle of their boat to take photos of the crowd. The boat unexpectedly goes vertical, as the waves get more aggressive. She grips onto the canopy, nearly dropping her camera to the deck.
“I gotcha,” Pilson says, scooping his shoulder under her arm. “Hang on. It’s gonna get real wild out here.” He laughs before his smile drops. “Holy shit!”
Azure’s head whips around, unable to breathe. At first, she doesn’t grasp the direction of his shock is towards the shore, not Dean. She’s lost until the small yacht aimed directly for them blows a horn. “Are they going to hit us?” she asks Pilson. The Captain skids the boat sideways, and the yacht occupants cheer with crazed delight at his skills.
“No,” Pilson says. “They’re just going to ruin our day.”
Azure’s eyes land on a familiar female body. The woman walks gracefully onto the bow pulpit, her black string bikini barely visible against her dark skin. “Is that—?”
“Unfortunately,” Pilson says, stomping his foot. “What the fuck are you doing here?” he shouts, making Azure jump. The woman turns her large black sunglasses and huge rimmed sun hat towards them, flashing her award-winning smile. Her wave is not even slightly intimidated by his tone.
Abigail fucking Leland? Is this happening? What was left of Azure’s stomach just jumped overboard, and their boat is steadily drifting closer to the yacht in the building current.
A loud laugh escapes Abigail’s lips as she grips the pulpit railing, dangling over the large swell. “Hey, Pilson! How ya doing baby?”
Pilson moves towards the railing near the stern and hangs over, as if two feet will give him a more private realm for discussion. “Seriously, what are you doing here?”
“I scheduled the New Zealand leg of my tour around this last year, remember?” She waves for her captain to get even closer while she moves towards their side of the yacht. The current does the hard work, and soon Azure realizes just how much taller the obscene vessel is. A telescoping gangway, or plank, starts extending above them, as her crew rushes to manually adjust its trajectory. She poses along the railing, provoking whistles from the crowd. The ramp settles against the deck of their now diminished boat, and before Azure really grasps what’s happening, Abigail Leland prances aboard.
Pilson reaches out to help her while Hamilton and his friends gather around. Azure can hear Lennox, still at the bow, cursing loudly under his breath. “For fuck’s sake.”
“Surprise!” Abigail says before hugging and kissing the guys. When she gets around to Azure, she says, “Hey there. I’m Abigail. But you probably already know that.”
A simper crosses Azure’s lips at the singer’s ego-filled laugh.
“We’re missing him!” Abigail runs to their bow.
Lennox looks back at Azure, moving to a new spot along the railing, away from Abigail. All Azure can really do is shrug and throw her arms up in defeat. Hamilton and Pilson instinctively reach for her hands. They escort her back to the bow just as Dean drops and grabs rail. Positioned deep inside the huge tunnel of water, he looks completely in control.
“Whoahoo!” Abigail shouts, her arms wide. “Your good-luck charm is here baby!”
All eyes not gawking at the Grammy star seem to stare at Azure.
Deleted Scene #1 – The original prologue for Chasing Swells was longer, with two scenes that further developed the relationships between Dean and his parents. It also gave a glimpse into the loss of his father. It was written from his father’s POV, which didn’t fit into the rest of the book, so even though it broke my heart, we cut it.
On the way up the hill to their cozy, little Malibu home they stop by a flower stand. When they walk in Beverly’s dancing to the Nirvana CD she’s practically worn out, already wearing her favorite Doc Martins with black tights and a floral dress. Seeing her boys with two bundles of local-grown wildflowers makes her smile. Dean can tell she’s been chewing on her fingernails again waiting for them to return. She won’t make an issue of it, but he knows she’d rather Dad took him hiking or to play catch.
“We still going to the movie?” Dean asks digging through the fridge for some juice.
“You ready to hit the theater?” Randy asks, wrapping his arms around her.
Beverly arranges the flowers in an old milk bottle with an eye roll just like Dean’s. “I guess.”
He laughs at her aversion to Dean’s movie choice, but next weekend they’ll be trapped in a Meg Ryan movie he’ll want to puke through. The boys get changed and race to their Subaru wagon, anxious for popcorn and sodas. By the time they get there Beverly’s humming the Spin Doctors and being as corny as a young mom can be. On their way out though, she can’t help but gloat for being right.
“I told you it would be terrible. Mountain climbing movies are all the same contrived story and so unrealistic.” She tosses her cup into a trash can ten feet away and throws her arms up. Her bright green eyes glow from an all-around victorious afternoon.
“So you think the Charlie Sheen movie would’ve been better?”
“It would’ve at least made us laugh on purpose.”
“Some of those climbing scenes were awesome though,” Dean says. “It would’ve been cool to shoot that.”
“You’re just like your father, always thrill seeking.”
“Hardly. I’d never climb that high,” Randy says with a wink. He looks at Dean who’s bursting at the seams to talk about surfing. “That was a thousand times more dangerous than surfing.”
“Well, yeah,” she agrees, quickly realizing the topic hasn’t come up by chance. She starts to shift gears. “But the ocean is more unpredictable than a mountain.”
Randy cuts through the small talk and moves closer, placing his hand on her lower back. “Honey, he’s got real talent, and he’s not rattled when he gets pulled under for a few seconds. I’ve seen him hold his own for years now.”
“I can’t think about that,” she says, slapping on her shades as they exit to the parking lot.
“Mom, I’m a great swimmer, and I can really shred.”
“I know you can. You kicked that kid’s butt in Orange County last year! My heart literally stopped when you went in the air.”
Dean explodes in a frenzy. “It was sick, right? And I can do it again. And again. You gotta see my airs, floaters to reverses, all that. I’ve got it down. I bet I could beat Christian Fletcher.”
“Christian Fletcher is a punk, and you’re a nice kid. I like you that way.”
“I don’t wanna start being a jerk mom, I wanna win contests.”
She looks at his deep blue eyes, so much like his father’s, and melts. Randy gives her a reassuring nod. “I’m not getting out of this, am I?” she asks.
He shakes his head and kisses her temple, wrapping her in his arms.
“Okay, okay,” she throws a hand up in defeat. “I’m done fighting you both. Let’s go win some Heats!”
Suddenly every muscle of Dean’s face quivers with emotion. He becomes so consumed with excitement, pumping his fists and jumping over parking stumps, that he misses their car and keeps on going. When he realizes it, his parents are holding their doors open, watching him with amusement. He runs to kiss his mom’s cheek and then dives into the backseat with a giddy bounce.
For the rest of the day he’s boisterous and loud, especially through the Scrabble game he lets his mom win. He’s caught dad doing it a few times, but he never thought it could feel so good to lose. Only a sugar coma eventually takes Dean down, passing out from exhaustion on the couch. Randy carries the boy too old to carry into his bed of surfing dreams.
“Hey, Dad?” Dean says just before the door shuts. “Thank you.”
“Your welcome. I just want you to be as happy in your life as I am in mine.”
Dean’s eyes are too heavy to open, but his smile is permanent. “You’re so corny.”
“You love it,” Randy says laughing. “Good night son.”
The next morning a knock on the front door wakes him. The clock says 6:40am. Too early to be for me. Dean turns his head back into his warm pillow. It’s too early for anything unless the waves are pumpin’.
He jumps up, his heart pounding with hope for the swell of his life. But by the time his fingers feel the cold brass doorknob her wailing cry echoes down the hall. Floating as if above the ground, Dean’s life becomes a series of flashes, incomprehensible to time or place.
Is that a police man? No, a CHP officer. Mom’s crying on the floor. I can’t reach her. I can’t help her. He’s looking at me. Why’s he looking at me? Is he crying too? Where’s Dad? What’s going on?
Stop talking to me. You have no idea what I’m feeling. I have no idea what I’m feeling. Go away. Why are these people here? I haven’t seen Pilson cry since he broke his foot trying to ollie in that pool. Dad got him to stop crying. He fixed him. He fixed everything. This is all such bullshit!
I’m floating on my surfboard. It’s sunny. There’s a breeze. Guess I paddled here. I don’t remember. The waves are small. I don’t want to be here. My right hand is in my mom’s, my left one is holding Greg’s. Greg is Dad’s best friend. Was Dad’s best friend. He’s been trying to get me out on my board all week, now he’s got flowers in his teeth. He said this was how we say goodbye. I don’t wanna fuckin’ say goodbye.
They swing my arms, splashing the water forward, but I break free. I don’t splash, but instead dig my hands into the water, shifting me forward. I’m in the circle now. I don’t wanna be. I want out. There’s so many people. I didn’t know my Dad knew these many people. Didn’t know Gramps could still sit on a surfboard. Is that my school principal?
Here comes Greg again. Why can’t he leave me alone? What’s he doing?
“He wanted to be part of the ocean that lives far beyond us. With these ashes he will forever be here,” Greg says.
He’s just tossing him like trash. They’re singing, hand in hand again. I’m in the middle. Flowers are flying towards me, but I’m too far to catch. They splash violently, but I barely feel a mist. I turn to hear his laughter, goading me to a paddle battle. Goading me to go again. Goading me to stay. They’re hugging. They’re starting to leave. I’m not leaving him. I’m not leaving him here.
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About the Author
A. L. Goulden has a BFA in Film Production from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Her love of a good story came way before college, but when numerous instructors and peers praised her dialogue she realized her creative writing hobby was a skill worth honing. Her 18 year career in interior design, production design and art direction for film and television have spun a unique perspective on visually emotional tales of relationships and the thread that ties all things together.
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Date: July 25 – Aug 7, 2017
Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card
Tour hosted by Book Unleashed