I am excited to share a glimpse into my debut novel, Lost and Found in Aspen. This is an excerpt from Chapter 19. Here’s the setup:
After a night out on the town, dancing and partying and making out with a stranger, Hope Martin wakes up with a terrible hangover. She decides the perfect remedy would be to ski a few runs on Aspen Mountain. But first Hope stops at a café to fill up her rumbling, hung-over stomach.
I grabbed my pastry and hot brew, took a seat facing the window overlooking the sidewalk, and buried my head in the newspaper to hide from seeing anyone I might know. Images of the night before were haunting me. I never should have mixed the alcohol and the edible on an empty stomach.
Within a few minutes, the server put the piping hot plate of food in front of me. “Wasn’t last night great?” he asked.
I had never seen this man before in my life. I flashed him a bewildered look.
“The Spazmatics,” he said.
“Oh, yeah. It was fun.”
“David is my roommate. He was super bummed that you ran out without saying goodbye.”
Heat rose through my face. “I wasn’t feeling well.”
“It happens to the best of us,” he said before walking away.
I hated myself in that moment, but the hunger pang tugging at my belly, along with the smell of the food, was begging me to eat. I doused Cholula hot sauce all over the meal and cut into the egg, letting the yolk ooze over the plate, saturating the cheese and vegetables. Inhaling the tasty food, I ate every morsel. After I finished the last sip of my coffee, with my belly feeling full, I walked outside into the fresh, snow-filled air, and made my way toward the mountain.
Happy to see that a line hadn’t formed in front of the gondola yet, I took a seat on an empty bench and quickly buckled my ski boots. When I stood up and grabbed my skis from the ski rack, a small rumble of pain pierced through my abdomen, making me feel like I should head to the bathroom. But I was too anxious. The sky was dumping white flour. I had to get up there before the other skiers. Visions of myself floating through the light and creamy snow made me giddy. In that moment, the urge to ski was greater than the urge to relieve myself.
Running toward the gondola, I hopped into an empty car, praying that I could ride solo. Just as the door was about to close, a man wearing a one-piece ski outfit jumped in and sat across from me. Annoyed that he had poached my ride, I could feel my blood pressure rising. I wasn’t in the mood for idle conversation. He smiled at me, showing off his large white teeth that glowed against his bronze-colored skin and scruffy dark facial hair. He looked like a stereotypical ski bum in his late forties, who had moved here after college and never left. Guys like this tried too hard to maintain their youth, particularly by wearing ski clothes intended for young twenty-year-old rippers.
Turning away from him, I looked out the window, trying to decide where I would take my first run of the day. The gondola ride felt like it was moving at a snail’s pace. Midway up the mountain, the cramping in my stomach started tightening again, steadily increasing in intensity and causing tiny beads of sweat to form along my hairline underneath my helmet. The pain was shooting inside of me like it was slicing my belly open. I’m such an idiot. Why didn’t I just go to the bathroom before I got on the gondola? I bent over slightly to push back the achy feeling. It didn’t help. A gas bubble was growing larger by the second, making its way down toward my asshole. I squeezed my sphincter as hard as I could to keep it from coming out, but the force was so great that I had no control. The volcano erupted. A loud, wet fart shot out of my butt. It was more than flatulence—it was a shart, a fart and shit combination. The smell hung in the air like a black cloud. My face turned beet red. I wanted to jump out of the gondola. My poison was sucking all the oxygen out of the tiny space. I wanted to open the window, but I was afraid to move. Instead, I grabbed my phone and pretended to stare at it, ignoring the hot, wet feeling in my underwear.
As soon as the gondola door opened, I pulled my skis off the rack and sprinted to the bathroom in the Sundeck. Once inside the stall, I ripped off my ski pants and long underwear and saw a large shit stain on my panties. When I sat down on the toilet, explosive diarrhea came blasting out of me. The violent pain in my stomach was masking the mortal embarrassment I had just experienced in front of the guy on the gondola. When I finally felt better, I took my lacy underwear off, threw it in the garbage, and realized that today was not my day. I needed to get the hell off the mountain and go home.
After clipping my boots into my bindings, I made my way down the mountain, carving wide ski turns through the heavy layers of waist-deep snow. Tears streamed down my face and wet snot dripped out of my nose. Why couldn’t I get my life together? Living in Aspen was supposed to be better, a chance to start over and get my life on the right track, but I was a disaster.
Find out what happens to Hope next by picking up a copy of Lost and Found in Aspen, available at your favorite online bookstores.