Hi Everybody! PJ here. I'm excited to share an excerpt from Lights Out Lucy: Roller Derby 101 today. I'm about two-thirds of the way through an advanced copy of this first book in Elicia Hyder's new Music City Rollers series that releases April 24 and it is so much fun. Filled with humor, likeable characters, strong female friendships, a sweet romance, and women challenging themselves to discover what they're made of, Lights Out Lucy kept me smiling from the get-go. I don't know how many books Hyder has planned for this series but I'll be buying them all. I'm totally invested in these characters and can't wait to read all their stories!
Elicia Hyder played women’s flat track roller derby with the Nashville Rollergirls under the skater name, eL’s Bells. After a black eye, a broken finger, a severely pulled groin, and two serious knee injuries, Elicia hung up her skates to focus on a safer hobby—writing. She has fictionalized her experience in her latest novel, Lights Out Lucy: Roller Derby 101. More novels are to come in the Music City Rollers series. For more information about Elicia and her books, visit her website. For series specific information about the Music City Rollers, including appearances, visit the series website.
Lucy Cooper isn’t looking for love when she finds it—or slams into it, rather—during rush hour traffic. But her heart, like her car, is a total loss the moment West Adler steps out of his truck to inspect the damage.
West truly is the perfect guy: handsome, funny, rich. The benefactor of not one, but two children’s hospitals. And he’s the main sponsor of the Music City Rollers, Nashville’s championship roller derby team.
When Lucy discovers the Rollers are actively recruiting “Fresh Meat,” she puts her life on the line to catch West Adler’s attention. But will accident-prone Lucy skate off with the heart of Nashville’s Most Eligible Bachelor? Or will she get herself killed in a sport that promises, “It’s not a matter of if you’ll get hurt—but of how bad and when.”
Excerpt from LIGHTS OUT LUCY
There was less violence for the rest of the first half. The bout was so intense, I almost forgot the whole reason we were there. But five minutes into the second half, I saw an arm waving in the stands across the arena.
An arm that belonged to West Adler.
I looked at Olivia. "It's him."
Her mouth gaped. "Huh?"
"West Adler," I said, pointing.
She followed my finger and strained her eyes. "The guy waving, I assume?"
"Are you going to go talk to him?"
I pressed my lips together and shook my head.
"No. He can come here. I'm a lady."
She laughed and almost spit out her beer. "We're only here because you're an online creeper. You lost your lady card yesterday."
When I looked again, West was gone. My eyes scanned the crowd till I saw him walking down the stairs to the floor of the arena. He slapped hands with a few people as he walked the perimeter of the room.
I dug my nails into Olivia's arm. "Oh gosh, I think he's on his way over here."
"You need Xanax," she said, draining the last of her beer.
"What do I do?" My voice jumped up an octave.
She laughed. "I would say 'be cool' but that ain't happening."
West walked up to the team bench in front of our bleachers and shook hands with a few of the players. He paused to say something to The Duchess before patting the woman on the back and turning toward the bleacher steps. Our steps. I worried I might lose my hot dog.
He took the steps two at a time until he stopped at the row behind ours and sidestepped his way across the spectators to the empty seats directly behind us. "What are the odds, Lucy?" he asked, sitting down.
"Better than you think," Olivia mumbled beside me.
I elbowed her in the ribs as I turned toward him. "Hey there, West. What are you doing here?"
He motioned to the track. "I come to all the bouts. I love this sport."
"Me too!" I said with a little too much enthusiasm.
He blinked with surprise. "Really?"
"Sure! Well, it's my first time, but so far, I love it."
"How'd you hear about it?" he asked.
My mouth was open, but no words came out. Olivia caught my eye and glared as she turned in her seat, stretching her hand toward West. "It was my idea. I'm Lucy's roommate, Olivia."
He shook her hand. "Nice to meet you, Olivia. West Adler."
"I've heard a lot about you," she said, causing me to die a little inside. "Thanks for taking care of her yesterday."
"It was my pleasure." He looked at me. "How are you feeling?"
"So sore," I said, grimacing.
The corners of his eyes crinkled with sympathy. "I was worried about that. The next day is usually the worst. What did they say about your car?"
My nose wrinkled. "Nothing good. The car is probably totaled. I should find out for sure on Monday."
He put his hand on my shoulder. "That sucks. I'm sorry to hear it. Are you able to get around without it?"
I nodded. "My insurance company got me a rental car. How's your bumper?"
"Replaceable." He glanced at the empty plastic cup in Olivia's hand. "I'm going to get another drink. Can I buy you ladies a round?"
"Thank you," she said.
"What are you drinking?" he asked.
"Three Leprechauns Red Ale."
"Diet Coke," I answered.
He winked as he stood. "Coming right up."
When he was gone, Olivia nodded her head. "I admire a man who buys the booze. He's a keeper."
"He's cute, too, huh?"
"Yeah, he's cute. Is he single?"
I shrugged. "He doesn't wear a wedding band, and I found him on a list of most eligible bachelors, so I hope so."
Just then, one of Nashville's blockers cut sideways toward Richmond's jammer, 6VI6. The same skater who'd leveled Medusa. With a loud grunt that echoed around the room, the blocker plowed into 6VI6's rib cage with her shoulder. The jammer lost control and careened into the crowd sitting on the floor at about a thousand miles per hour.
Whistles blew, the horn from the scoreboard blasted, and emergency workers ran across the gym. I realized I was on my feet with the rest of the crowd and didn't even remember standing.
"And that's why we call them the suicide seats, folks! They're not for the faint of heart!" the announcer said in the microphone.
The jammer stood back up on her skates, aided by the fans she'd just mowed down. When she turned in our direction, I saw blood pouring from her nose into her mouth. She pulled her jersey over her head and pressed it to her face before slapping high fives with the fans around her legs. Everyone cheered, including Medusa and the rest of Nashville's players, as she skated back to her team's bench in her sports bra.
I exhaled, gripping my chest. "Thank God no one was hurt."
Olivia held her fists up. "That was awesome. I want more blood!"
I laughed and smacked her on the back of the head. Out on the track, 6VI6 was escorted back to the locker room by two men in khakis and polo shirts.
West returned a few minutes later balancing three drinks between his two hands. He sidled his way across the row again and reclaimed his seat at our backs. "Three Leprechauns," he said, handing a beer to Olivia.
She held it up like a toast. "Thanks."
"And a Diet Coke," he said, passing me the only cup with a lid and straw.
"Thank you, West."
He leaned toward me. "Now you owe me a bumper, a ride, and a drink, Lucille."
I silently cursed myself for not having a witty comeback.
He gestured toward my cup. "You know, if you're going to hang out on the derby scene, you're going to have to learn how to drink."
"I'm trying to be kind to my liver since I'm taking a lot of pain meds. And I've got to drive home later," I said.
He cringed. "Is you driving sober supposed to make us feel safer?"
My mouth dropped open. Olivia burst out laughing and showered the row in front of us with a light spray of beer from her lips. Thankfully, no one noticed. She slapped my knee. "Oh, I like him."
I turned my eyes back to the track, shaking my head, trying not to laugh.
He nudged my shoulder with his leg. "I'm only teasing."
"You're not funny," I said with forced indignation.
He held up his index finger and thumb with a millimeter of space between them. "I'm a little funny."
I laughed and sipped my drink.
"Power jam!" the announcer yelled over the speakers.
The whole crowd cheered.
Out on the track, Medusa was flying past every member of her team and Richmond's. Two of Richmond's players were in the penalty box, including their jammer who'd replaced 6VI6 in the game. After a fourth pass, everyone was on their feet, including us, and West was cheering loud over our heads. She passed everyone again.
"That's twenty-five!" West yelled.
She passed again.
"Thirty! She's going to run out of time," someone said.
"Run out of time for what?" I asked.
The man in front of us looked back at me. "To break the world record."
Medusa's knees were bent as she stepped, right skate over left, pushing her legs out hard around the corners. The Nashville blockers kept Richmond's blockers out of her way as she sailed past them again. The crowd began counting down.
"Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven! Six! Five! Four!"
"That's forty-five!" West shouted.
"Three! Two! One!"
EARRRRRRNGGGGG! The buzzer and the crowd were so loud I covered my ears. West made up half the decibels all by himself.
Out on the track, Medusa's entire upper body was heaving with heavy breaths as she slowed and her team ran on their skates out from the bench to catch her in their arms.
The announcer turned up his volume to be heard over the fans. "Forty-five points in that power jam, and our captain reminds us all why she wears that star! Give it up for Medusa!"
Even the Richmond team was standing and clapping as Medusa skated a wide circle around the track, waving to everyone. She slid to a stop near the home team's bench, and the coach walked over and hugged her. Someone handed her a bottle of water.
"That was intense," Olivia said as we sat back down.
"What's the world record?" I asked.
"Fifty points," the man in front of us said.
West leaned down. "Medusa held the record at forty-five points for two years, but she lost it to a skater in Colorado who got fifty. The fifty-point jam even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records."
"Ouch," I said.
"And to make matters worse," Styx's dad added, "they've changed the rules since then."
West nodded. "A power jam is when the opposing jammer is in the penalty box. It used to be that penalties lasted a full minute. Now they're only thirty seconds."
"So it's even harder to collect that many points," I said.
"Impossible, if you ask me," the old man said.
West laughed. "Tell that to Medusa."
Styx's dad pointed at West. "She's the only one who's come close. I gotta give her that." He looked at me and Olivia. "Only a handful of skaters in the whole world can break forty."
Olivia sipped her beer. "The whole world? I had no idea this was that big of a sport."
"They're talking about adding it to the Olympics," West said.
"Really?" I asked, watching Medusa who was shouting at her players from the bench.
"Yep." He pointed to the track. "And when it does, Nashville will have a local on the team."
Just then, the buzzer blared through the arena again. The bout was over.
Music City had won.
Have you ever been to a roller derby bout? Watched one on TV? Is it something you would try?
Accident prone Lucy chooses Lights Out Lucy for her derby name...for obvious reasons. What name would you choose for yourself?
Two randomly chosen people who post a comment no later than 11:00 PM (eastern), April 14 will receive a Kindle copy of Lights Out Lucy.