Title: Diary of a Rocker’s Kid
Series: D.O.R.K. #1
Author: Haley Despard
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Published: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Limitless Publishing LLC
||Madison Daley’s father has concealed the truth from her for seventeen years…
Raised on a Kentucky farm, Madison is stunned when a conversational slip reveals her father Michael is a famous ’90s rock star known as the Grim Weeper. Michael left the spotlight and his mansion behind when Madison was dropped off on his doorstep by a woman in a black mask. A dark past is revealed, and the only thing Madison isn’t allowed to know is her mother’s name.
The answers Madison needs can only be found in Beverly Hills…
Though she does hope to persuade her dad to return to the stage, Madison’s real mission is to discover the identity of her mother.
But she is slightly distracted—literally—by the boy next door. Giovanni Abate’s father is an action film star, his stepdad is a major designer, and Gio has his own claim to fame. Madison catches the handsome, young Italian actor’s eye, and their mutual attraction makes for a hotter summer than she ever could have imagined.
Madison hasn’t set foot in California since infancy, but a lot of people are certain she has…
After Madison has a makeover, people are sure they’ve seen her somewhere before, and she is extremely curious about the identity of her supposed doppelganger. As she looks into this strange situation, she’s unaware that Gio is hiding a potentially devastating secret.
Could finding the answers she seeks change Madison’s life forever?
Or will it just lead to more questions to fill the…
Diary of a Rocker’s Kid
D.O.R.K. #1 Excerpt © Haley Despard 2015
We’re let in a gate that’s remarkably similar to ours, and I cling to Ana’s arm as we soak in the showcase of grandeur that looms in front of us. The stucco towers are even more impressive up close, and they give the home a sense of character and elegance. There’s a bright blue fountain out front that is already lit for the night. Impeccable landscaping and natural-colored floodlights liven up the front, and their balcony railings are black cast iron that is twisted into charming, traditional designs. We approach an ornately-carved cherry wood door and Cass rings the doorbell.
A distinguished, middle-aged Italian man opens the door, and I immediately start freaking on the inside.
Oh my God, it’s Alfonzo Abate…oh my God, it’s Alfonzo Abate…
He sees Cass and a big, toothy grin appears on his face. “Ciao, bella!”
“Ciao, Alfonzo!” Cass replies, and they kiss each other’s cheeks like Europeans do. “This is Mike Daley, his daughter Madison, and their friend Ana. Everyone, this is Alfonzo Abate.” We all mutter our “hellos.” Even Dad looks a little nervous. I guess he never got to meet him before we left.
“A pleasure to meet you all,” Alfonzo says in a thick, charming Italian accent. “Please, come in.”
We walk into the entryway, and I hear a door close and footsteps padding down a hall upstairs. My heart picks up speed and time slows down when a younger, hotter version of Alfonzo saunters down the stairs into their grand entryway. It’s Giovanni Abate in all his glory: tall and tan, with piercing silver eyes and black hair so thick you could bury your hands in it and lose them. He’s wearing a white polo and jeans that are a little tight on him, and I have to try hard to bring my eyes up from his perfect body.
His gaze is intense as he fixates on me, and even after he touches down on the floor, his eyes don’t leave mine. “Come va? I’m Gio…” He stops, still staring at me. I’m not sure if he lost his train of thought, or if that’s really his nickname. I squirm under his scrutiny, and then I feel a huge sense of relief when Steph dances in from the kitchen.
“Oh, perfect, you’re all here,” Steph says, gleefully clapping his hands. “Let me tell you, you’re all in for a treat. Alfonzo prepared dinner himself, so everything you’re eating tonight is authentic. We’ll start off with a 1965 Pinot Grigio and—”
“Take your glasses off,” Gio suddenly interrupts. Everyone falls silent, awaiting my response.
“Giovanni!” Alfonzo roars with a scowl. His deep, bellowing voice echoes off the high ceiling and the walls. “Attento a come ti comporti!” I have no idea what he just said, but it seems like he was telling his son not to be rude.
Gio softens and rubs the back of his neck like Alfonzo just cracked a whip on it. “Sorry…never mind. I just thought you were someone I know.”
“I must look like someone,” I say with a nervous giggle. “Steph said the same thing.”
“You really do,” Gio says. “You look extremely familiar.” His dark brows shadow his eyes, and his gaze intensifies again, like he’s trying to get me to confess something.
“Well…I guess there’s one way to straighten this out,” I say, and I take the glasses off. Alfonzo and Steph gasp, and Gio’s eyes widen.
“She does look like…” Alfonzo mutters.
“My God, the resemblance is…scary,” Steph says in horror.
“What resemblance?” I ask.
“You, uh…” Steph glances at Cass, who makes a throat-cutting gesture with her finger. Dad’s glare is practically melting him. “You just look like someone we know, that’s all.” Steph shakes it off, and his joyful smile returns. “Anyway, I’m simply dying for some antipasto, so let’s show them the dining room, Alfonzo.”
Dammit! When am I going to know who I look like?
Alfonzo and Steph lead us into the traditional, luxurious Italian dining room. “Everyone help yourselves to the antipasto,” Alfonzo says, gesturing to the appetizer as Dad, Cass, Ana, and I pull out our fine upholstered mahogany chairs and sit down. “Gio, take the Pinot and serve it to our guests.” Alfonzo disappears into the kitchen with Steph so they can bring out the rest of the food.
“’Kay,” Gio says in his deep, cute voice. He takes the bottle from the table and moves around to pour the wine for Dad and Cass. Then he pours wine for Ana, too, and I raise my eyebrows at Dad, like, “Are we allowed to drink this?” He holds up a pinky, imitating the teacup hold Nana tried to teach me as a kid, and I laugh quietly behind my hand. That’s his secret code for, “Be polite.” Manners have always been a huge deal in the Landers-Daley family, so I guess I’ll get to sample wine just this once.
Gio pauses again to stare at me when he brings the bottle around, and I reach for my cold crystal wine glass and hold it out to him. I was trying to make it easier on him, but he gets distracted by me again while he’s pouring and accidentally spills some on my fingers.
“So sorry,” he says, reaching for my crisp white napkin, but I set my glass down and get it myself.
“It’s all right, really.” I give him a reassuring smile. Funny, I thought I would be the nervous one tonight…
So what do you say about a book that has you laughing, cheering, crying and then you find out that you have to WAIT until March, 2016 for the second book? Did I mention that its a YA book and you know that I don’t review that many YA books. Grrrr…
Yes, grrrr….I finally find a book/series that I fell in love with and I have to wait. Everything from the plot, lead characters to even the secondary characters are extremely well thought out. Sure where some things glosses over after they were revealed? Yes but you have to keep in mind that its a YA book and believe this is or not…its not full of the usual angst that is drawn out to infinity and beyond. Its a sweet story of hidden identity and finding the truth for yourself.
What sets this apart, for me, are the characters. Madison in particular is the best character in the book. With or without your love interest Gio, she makes the book. Her relationship with her dad (Grim Weeper LOL!) and her grandmother. What a spitfire. Michael (Grim Weeper/Madison’s dad) was also a well drawn character. I understood why he kept Madison from knowing the truth all those years.
The last thing that I will tell you about the book is once Madison lands in California its a wild ride. Hang on because there are twists and turns that you don’t see coming. I like when an author can surprise me, especially a YA author and Ms. Despard did just that. She has finally turned this YA “not loving” reader into a fan for life.
Why o why do I have to wait until March? I will definitely re-read this before I read Madison’s continuation. Oh and yes, Gio is hot! 😉
||Haley Despard (HD) was born and raised in small, yet ever-expanding Simpsonville, South Carolina. She discovered a love of writing at age fourteen and hasn’t been able to turn off the motor fingers since then. Today she lives just a stone’s throw over in the country side of Greer, SC with her husband, son, and Boston Terrier. Her hobbies include amateur photography, designing teaser graphics for her novels, and composing piano music.
Haley’s current project is a YA Contemporary Fiction series, but she also loves writing fantasy, romance, and occasionally horror fiction. Defying standards and norms and thinking outside the box is Haley’s strong suit, and she plans to write something that makes it big someday. Until then, she’s content with her growing author family and a head full of ideas.