My rom-com, Crazy Bao You, comes out on June 6, 2023, and you can get a sneak peek right here! What’s it about?
Can an Etsy shop owner in Oklahoma and a FDNY firefighter make things work when he doesn’t know what she really looks like?
Kimmie Park has finally met a man who gets her and laughs at her jokes. Matt West is kind, compassionate, and he’s a smoking hot FDNY firefighter. There’s just one (or many) problem. They’ve never met in person because he lives in New York and she’s in Oklahoma. He also doesn’t know that her life recently imploded when she very publicly quits her retail job and becomes a meme in a viral video, known as the woman who twerked as she tells off her boss. And he has no idea what she really looks like.
After quitting her job, Kimmie focuses on her Etsy shop designing purses and accessories. She’d posted pictures of her best friend Alicia with her merchandise, not realizing people would assume Alicia was Kim from My Crafty Bao. That’s fine with Kimmie since she’s still hiding out from her recent unwanted internet fame. But as the chemistry between her and Matt sizzles and their every interaction threatens to set them both on fire, she knows she needs to tell him the truth. Especially since Matt’s father, the CEO of a huge retail store, sees Kimmie’s shop and wants to partner with her.
As Kimmie prepares to visit New York City for the first time, she grapples with the sorrows of her past which have kept her in Oklahoma ever since her parents died when she was sixteen. Will she be able to let go of her fears and embrace who she really is, or will it cause her to lose the man of her dreams and the opportunity of a lifetime?
And here it is, the first five pages!
There was nothing like having a very public breakdown and insulting my boss (well, ex-boss) at my place of work to bring my best friend and beloved aunt flying to my front door. I sat on the couch where I’d planted myself for the past forty-eight hours and didn’t move, listening to them pound on the door and ring the bell repeatedly.
“Kimmie! Open this door right now or I’m going to kick it down.” Aunt Hana’s voice was sharp, and I groaned. Hana was petite, two inches shorter than my five-four frame, but she was the toughest person I knew. I had no doubt she really would kick the door in like the Terminator, so I reluctantly got off the couch and shuffled to the front door.
I flung it open and stared at Hana and Alicia. “You’re supposed to be in New York,” I said to my best friend, Alicia Colgan. I pointed to Hana. “And you’re supposed to be in London. What did you do, meet up in New York to fly in together?”
Hana nodded, her short bobbed hair swinging. “Yes, we coordinated it.”
I sighed. “I guess you’ve heard, since you’re on my doorstep?”
“Kimmie,” Alicia said, her eyes wide. “Everyone has heard. Didn’t you read my texts?”
“And listen to my messages?” Hana added as she wheeled two suitcases into the foyer with Alicia trailing behind.
“No.” I stepped aside and watched them take note of my faded yoga pants and the ratty T-shirt I wore with the tomato stain on the front where I’d dribbled pasta sauce last night. My frizzy black hair was shoved into a topknot anchored by a scrunchie and I was pretty sure I had potato chip crumbs stuck to my lips.
Hana’s eyes swept over me from head to toe. “Michelle called me. She’s really sorry.”
“Michelle?” My forehead wrinkled in confusion. What was my co-worker sorry about? She wasn’t the one who’d gone off on our boss. And why would she call Hana in London?
“Why didn’t you answer us? We’ve been trying to reach you for the past two days.” Alicia dragged her two suitcases, a carry-on, and a backpack into the living room and turned to survey me.
“I threw my phone in the garbage.” I hadn’t really, but I wanted to. I walked back to the couch and flung myself onto it, staring at the TV, where I’d been binge-watching cooking shows for the past two days. I preferred food over people. Food never let you down. Food didn’t disappear from your life, leaving you to fend for yourself. I ignored the looks Alicia and Hana were exchanging.
Alicia walked over and threw her arms around me, hugging me tight. “What happened?” she asked. “This isn’t like you at all.” We’d known each other since we were little because our mothers were in the same book club. Alicia’s family lived on the ranch where her father worked, about twenty-five minutes from the town where I lived.
I shrugged in her embrace. “I just kind of lost it. I couldn’t take that jerk anymore.”
“But you . . . danced. You don’t dance.” Alicia pulled back to study me.
I buried my face in my hands. “I don’t know what happened. It was like something inside me snapped. And he was being so mean to Hallie, the new girl.”
By “he” I meant my pig of a boss, Rip (yeah, that was really his name; who named a baby Rip?), owner of a boutique in town called Let Her Rip (what a stupid name) that carried clothing, accessories, and home décor. I’d been working there for the past five years. I’d always loved to sew and thought it would be a fun place to work and gather inspiration. Well, it would have been, if not for Rip.
“You twerked. I didn’t know you could twerk.” There was awe in Alicia’s voice and I peeked between my fingers at her.
“I do not twerk.” I dropped my hands and met her gaze dead on.
“Kimmie. You twerked.” Alicia pulled her cell out of her purse. “Look.” She scrolled through her phone and then shoved it at me.
I took it and stared at her screen. My mouth dropped open in shock. It was a video of a woman twerking. She was shaking her butt and thrusting her hips, legs bent, tongue hanging out of her mouth. And that woman was . . . me.
“Where did you get this?” I dropped the phone as if it was a hot potato.
“It’s all over the internet. You went viral.” There was no mistaking the admiration in Alicia’s voice.
I glared at her. “The fuck?” Alicia took social media very seriously. She was always posting gorgeous photos of herself. Me, not so much.
“There’s more,” Hana said, walking to my side. “Michelle got you yelling at Rip, calling him all kinds of names.” She tousled the top of my head as if I were a little girl. “I didn’t know you had it in you.”
“I don’t understand.” I sputtered, trying to form coherent thoughts.
“Michelle took that video. She posted it because she wanted people to know what a jerk Rip is and that you’re her hero for standing up to him. She doesn’t have much of a following so she thought only people she knew would see it.” Hana paused for breath as I stared at her, speechless. Michelle had taken that video?
“She didn’t mean for it to go viral,” Alicia said. “But some YouTube sensation saw it and shared it and it just went nuts from there.” Alicia picked up her phone. “Want to see the whole thing?”
“No. I do not.” I turned and fell facedown onto the couch. This was bad. How could a video of me losing my shit be all over the internet? First of all, it was so unlike me. I was a rule follower. I didn’t make waves. I hated drawing attention to myself. I was a private person. And second, how was it that the one time I lost control, it would end up on the internet?
Intrigued? Pre-order the paperback from my local bookstore, The Village Bookstore, and get a box of Bao related swag. Pre-order here.
Or order the eBook or Audiobook here.
I can’t wait to share this story with you!