Excerpt from “Keeping in Line” Novel

Drew was not surprised when he saw J.D. waiting at his car that evening. The drum major had to wipe the smile from his face before J.D. knew something was up. Dumping his book bag in the trunk, he asked gruffly, “Can I help you?”

J.D. crossed his arms and said, “I hear you’re interested in someone in my section.”

“Who told you that?”

“So it’s true? I don’t hear you denying anything.”

Drew shrugged and responded, “Well, sort of.”

“And you want to ask her to Homecoming?” Given there were only three young women in the entire section, there was no need to mention the “her” by name.

Drew kicked a tire, “I’m going to kill—”

J.D. grinned evilly, “Listen, don’t ask how I know. I have my sources. I was wondering if you wanted to make a bit of a side bet on the situation?”

“I don’t like the sound of this…”

“Trust me, Bronwyn never has to know. Just a gentleman’s wager.”

“That’s pretty low, J.D., even for you.”

“She won’t find out. Anyway, what do you care? You’ll be at college next year and not worried about some pathetic high school girl.” Drew waited a moment before asking, “Alright, I’ll consider it. What are the odds?”

“She says yes…I’ll personally pay for your entire ‘delightful’ Homecoming evening together.”

“Sounds good.”

“She says no…you admit personally to my section that you have no leadership abilities or any sort of dominance over them.”

“Isn’t it bad enough that she will say no?”


Drew scuffed his shoe on the pavement, “Let me think about the terms. In the meantime, do not tell anyone the plan. If I find out that Bronwyn or anyone else in the Line knows…everything is off. Comprende?”

“Yeah, just don’t keep me waiting.” J.D. walked off towards his own car.

As soon as the snare player was out of sight, Drew called Bronwyn and hoped that she was home. When he heard her voice, he said, “It worked.”

“He actually bought it?”

“Sure did. So, if I ‘win’ he’s going to spring for our entire Homecoming night.”

Bronwyn didn’t know how to respond. While she was glad Drew had been able to accurately predict how things were going to go, she was also a bit sad J.D. would so eagerly bet on her. Finally, she said lightly, “Awww…too bad for ‘us,’ I guess.”

Drew laughed, “Yeah, I guess so, and when I lose, I have to admit to the Line that I don’t have any control over them blah, blah.”

“J.D. certainly knows how to play hardball, doesn’t he?”

“Yeah, I don’t mind so much. As long as I’m telling just the Line and not the entire band, then I think we’ll all be a big happy family again and then we can go onto winning some competitions this season.”

“Thanks again.”

“Hey, no big deal. With the show going the way it is, it will be a nice distraction. I’m sure by next week it will be old news.”

“Well, thanks for calling and letting me know. Night, Drew.”

“Night, Bronwyn.”

Bronwyn hung up the phone and sighed.

Read more about “The Line” series at www.thelinebook.com.

About author

Courtney Brandt

Courtney Brandt is an American author and expatriate living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. As a former drumline and marching band member, Courtney enjoys bringing a fictional voice to band geeks worldwide. She has written numerous young-adult and adult novels as well as adult fiction under her pen name, Ann Benjamin. In her free time, Courtney enjoys travel, writes about food on her culinary and travel blog, A to Za’atar, and speaks about social media on her podcast, CSR of One.

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