Guest Post: How a Song Inspired The Bad Boy Bargain by Kendra C. Highley + Excerpt!
I am super excited about today’s post. Not only is it the release day for THE BAD BOY BARGAIN (which you all should go check out), but Kendra herself is here to give us some behind-the-scenes info!
How a Song Launched an Entire Book
I find inspiration for books in a lot of places, but The Bad Boy Bargain was probably the most unusual. Last year, when she heard “Please” by Sawyer Fredericks (from The Voice), my editor, Heather Howland, had an idea for a new YA romance. She posted her thoughts on Twitter—shy guy with a tough shell—and said she wished someone would write it. When I asked when she wanted the manuscript, teasing but also dead serious, we started plotting.
“Please” tells the story of a young man who’s found a near-perfect girl, one he thinks he loves, but he’s lying to her at the same time. He’s scared to tell this near-perfect girl the truth about himself because he’s worried she’ll let him go. It’s a song about love and fear, giving and selfishness, longing and despair. All those themes show up in The Bad Boy Bargain, which lends some extra complexity to Kyle beyond the typical bad boy. He’s a guy full of secrets, pain, and shame, but he really wants someone to see through all of that and love the true Kyle. The working title of the book was called Keeping Faith—because he wants to keep Faith, but needs more faith in himself.
As for Faith herself, she’s been mistreated by one guy and has some reservations about being hurt again. The difference between Faith and Kyle is that she’s willing to continue to look for The One even though she’s been burned. She believes in true love, acting with kindness, and being her real self. She suffers from a lack of confidence and self doubt, and Kyle helps her get past that, especially when she struggles with a dance partner who refuses to do his part. Having him in her life restores her faith in love, and in herself.
Overall, this story is about two people finding each other and connecting in a way that allows them to be true with each other.
Now, for the special excerpt!
By the time she made it home, took a smoothie from Mom’s outstretched hand, and went upstairs to shower, six Snapchat notifications, all from different people, had popped up on her phone:
A sad-faced Skye: I’m so sorry about last night. I should’ve warned you. I feel awful.
An angry Piper: I’m at the mall and there’s some asinine shit coming out of Cameron’s mouth right now. Should I punch him?
A gossipy Fiona: Is it true that Cameron dumped you?
A sneering Mitchell: You as cold as Cam says?
A dumbfounded Katrina: Holly is telling everyone at the mall that she stole Cam from you because you don’t put out. Want me to dump a Slurpee in her hair?
A smirking Jackson: My car overheated. I heard you could cool it down for me. How about it, ice queen?
Tears of rage filled Faith’s eyes, especially when a new Snapchat chimed: Cameron, sending her a picture of Holly sitting in his lap at the party last night.. The message read: Trading up.
She squeezed her phone in her hand. What was she going to do? She had half a mind to tell Kat to pour that Slurpee down Holly’s shirt and Piper to punch Cam in the throat. But that wouldn’t solve anything. Not at all.
No, she needed something bigger. Faith wandered to her window, to stare outside and organize her thoughts. Except, when she caught sight of the ripped, shirtless guy in her backyard, she forgot what she’d been thinking about.
“Who’s that?” she whispered, touching the glass.
His back and shoulders flexed under tanned skin. A black tattoo—was it a bird?—was on one of his shoulder blades. There was a bruise on his side, too, but she couldn’t make herself wonder about it. The guy’s dark hair was in his face as he tugged hard at a holly bush, yanking it from the ground.
Look at those arms. Faith stared, her mouth open. Who was he?
The holly bush gave way and he tipped back, dirt flying. Faint laughter drifted up through her window as he climbed to his feet with his prize, and she caught a look at his face.
She gasped. Holy crap, that was Kyle Sawyer. The stories she’d heard about him were numerous, and if a quarter were true, he was not the kind of guy she’d want to talk to. He shoplifted, vandalized buildings, drank, hung out with college students—girls. College girls. And rumor had it he ran illegal street races with his Charger.
So why did he look like he was having a blast ransacking her backyard? He had an awfully nice smile for such a bad boy.
A thought exploded in her brain—wait a minute…bad boy. Kyle was the one guy at Suttonville High who’d seen enough action to have his own lore. His exploits were darker than sin, and being with him was an instant reputation killer for any girl at Suttonville.
This was it. Kyle would be her revenge.
Doesn’t that sound awesome? Grab your own copy today!