Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Update

Hey Gang, I hope the holidays were fun and you all in great health and enjoying the new year. I have had an incredibly busy couple months and got a little behind on my reading. Yet I have caught up and have tons of new reviews coming your way for the following novels.

  • Addicted by Anna Wolfe
  • Heart Break Proof by William Goode
  • The World Below by Mike Phillips
  • The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith 
  • A Witch's Aura by Devon Volkel
  • Olivia, Mourning by Yael Politis
  • The Way the World is by Yael Politis
If anyone has an questions or concerns email me, or if you are interested in a review, interview, giveaway, etc.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Blog Tour: Wunder (Volume #1) by A.R. Von

SPECIAL EXTENDED EDITION *Includes Bonus Material*

Wunder isn’t your average girl in fact—she isn’t even an average human. In a world ravaged by Zombies, she was born amidst the chaos. She may have a normal life now…well as normal as a freak of nature could have. Part zombie while her job is to hunt bloodthirsty creatures to protect the innocent. It’s the dreams that haunt her and they aren’t nightmares. Wunder dreams of a man, a man made just for her. Is he real, can he be the one she‘s yearned for?
Wunder’s life has been far from perfect so far, secretly being part Zombie in a world devastated by the plague of the walking dead. Still, she knew there was something special awaiting her, someone out there who could change everything and she did find him. Pete is everything she dreamed of and more as she discovers passion and fulfillment for the first time in her life.
Pete has his own secrets to tell. His world is a lonely one as he wrestles with the reality of being part zombie. His hatred for the creatures that killed his parents drives him to patrol the streets and wipe them all out. His life would be stark, but for the dreams he’s been having; of a woman, so sensuous, so sexy. These alluring visions have become erotic and consuming. He feels as if he made her up to keep from going crazy. Is this life of hunting the walking dead, all there is? Or is she out there waiting—just for him?
Now—with the reunion; Wunder’s life turns into a journey of discoveries. Secrets from the past come full circle and her world is changed forever. In the coming chaos, can she keep her new found happiness and the man of her dreams?

(18+ only this edition contains the Wunder Prequel though book 2)

Author Bio:

A.R. was born and raised in Bronx, NY and is the oldest daughter of two girls. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Computer Science and Information Technology, which was only briefly used. She’s a mother of two entertaining teen boys (as well as a lovely fawn Chihuahua, whom she considers her furry daughter.) She’s also a wife to a delightfully handsome and amazingly funny man-beast. She loves anything dragon and fantasy related. In her free time she enjoys exercising, listening to music, hiking, cooking, dancing and writing. She also loves a great adventure in and out of a book!

She writes to free her mind of its constant wondering and clutter. She thrives on the fact she can share some of it with readers that have the same passion for a great story.

                                        Now a Special Guest Post


What are they? Well, they’re the walking dead, duh! Seriously though, the zombies (aka the infected) in Wunder have been terrorizing the planet for over 30 years.
   They are gruesome, strong, and much faster than the average zombie you see on television.
They are also a lot smarter. They know how to trap their prey and the best way to get them down for the kill. They crave protein due to its ability to strengthen their muscles and improve their physical condition. So, when they attack their prey (humans), they start off with consuming whatever blood they can get and work their way deep, to get to the marrow of their prey’s bones.

The origin of the contagion is not yet known, but it is under constant investigation. Some say it is alien based, something that was brought to the planet by other worldly beings with hopes all humans would die and the aliens would take over, live and flourish as if we were never here.

That’s not yet been proven.

Others say, that it was created as a biochemical weapon from one of Russia’s or Korea’s mad scientists that are out for destruction of anywhere but their country, so they can have all control. But those theories are… Just theories, nuff said.
One thing we do know for sure is Wunder is a rarity. How many people do you know that can actually say they are part zombie? Exactly! NONE.

She now fights alongside some others, to help all that are terrorized by the infected to stay alive and uninfected. She doesn’t see them as kin or anything of the like. She sees them as enemies, targets, needing to just be…gone. And that’s what she’s trained to do for a majority of her life. Taught by her 100% human father and his comrades. Kill or be killed!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Before The Legend by J.U Scribe Giveaway and spotlight

Official Summary:
Imagine living a life where everyone serves you hand and foot. Imagine a life that's safe and predictable. Your lot in life is determined by the time of birth. Imagine though living in a world that barely anyone knows exist except its inhabitants. Now see the world through the eyes of a 4 year old boy living in the shadow of the Roman Empire.

For young Troy, everything changes after a disturbing nightmare leaves him questioning not only his own safety but the truth about his parents. Follow Troy in this seemingly innocent tale as he attempts to find questions he wasn't meant to understand yet. However little does he know that in the next three days his world is about to flip upside down. Something bigger is coming, and it promises to rock his island home to its core.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Before the Legend- The Prologue by J.U. Scribe

Before the Legend- The Prologue

by J.U. Scribe

Giveaway ends January 13, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Blog Tour: Snow White and the Vampire by Marina Myles

Snow White and the Vampire
The Cursed Princes
Book Two

Marina Myles

Genre: Historical/paranormal romance
Fairy tales retold
Publisher: Kensington
Date of Publication: December 19, 2013
ISBN: 9781601831002
Number of pages: 244

Kensington Pub

Book Description:

Fog and Fascination

Alba Spencer thought her past in Romania and the dark magic that haunted it was behind her forever. She is one of the first female barristers now, safe in London. But London has its dark side, too. A man called the Ripper stalks the midnight streets. There are rumors that her hated stepmother has found her again, suggestions that the nightmares of her childhood are returning. And with them appears the cursed Gypsy boy she once loved, grown into a man more seductive and more terrifying than she ever could have dreamed…

Dimitri Grigorescu has become a surgeon, a gentleman—and a vampire. The lusts that drive his body are scarcely under control, and even he does not truly know what he is capable of. To fight evil and confusion, Alba must rely only on her wits—and a desire that overwhelms her doubts…

About the Author:

Although Marina Myles lives under the sunny skies of Arizona, she would reside in a historic manor house in foggy England if she had her way. Her love of books began as soon as she read her first fairy tale and eventually led to degrees in English Literature and Communications. Now, with her loyal Maltese close by, she relishes the hours she gets to escape into worlds filled with fiery—but not easily attained—love affairs.

She’s busy being a wife and a mother, but she is never too busy to hear from her amazing readers.

Official Website
Official Blog

Now an Excerpt from Snow White and the Vampire:

“I’m very grateful for Teddy’s friendship—and for the opportunity to be introduced to the people he’s acquainted with.” The surgeon lowered his tone. “People like you, Miss Spencer.”
His words encouraged the spattering of nervous blotches across Alba’s chest. “You’re too kind,” she murmured. “So you find this city a pleasant enough place to live?”
“Pleasant but for the brutal murderer who lurks in the Whitechapel District.”
“Are you referring to the killer the newspapers are calling ‘Leather Apron’?” she asked.
He evaluated her with interest yet said nothing.
“I understand this monster killed two unfortunates by ripping their abdomens wide open,” she went on, making no attempt to sugarcoat her words since she was speaking with a surgeon.
“Where did you hear that, Miss Spencer?”
“It said so in the penny dreadfuls. Oh, not that I read them frequently…”
Drake raised an eyebrow.
What am I saying? She didn’t normally babble on so, but this man had lit a fire beneath her, though she couldn’t say why.
To her great relief, the doctor didn’t seem to notice her jittering nerves. “Nasty business, preying on those unknowing women,” said. “I can’t imagine a man treating any female that way. After all, women are beautiful creatures to be coddled. Admired. Cherished.”
“That’s a lovely thought.” Alba repressed a girlish sigh. “It’s a shame the killer does not share your school of thought.”
Drake wrapped his hands around his back. “I daresay the police believe this murderer will strike again.”
“I fear that is why fewer people came to your party this evening than Teddy anticipated. The city is gripped with fear.” She paused to take a sip of champagne. “Perhaps we should talk about something more uplifting than murder.”
“Yes.” The surgeon took her glass and deposited it on a servant’s tray. With his hand pressed to the small of her back, he guided her to a quiet corner of the drawing room. As she turned to face him, she could smell hot liquor fumes and the scent of expensive aftershave. Surprisingly, she found that she liked the mixture of aromas.
“Teddy tells me you hail from Romania as well, Miss Spencer. What are the
chances of that?”
“Slim, I daresay.”
“You’ve lost a great deal of your accent, but if I had to guess, you are from Bucharest.”
“I am.” How did he know?
His features darkened. “It appears we were destined to meet. And since we have, I’d be fascinated to know more about you.”
Although Alba was taken aback by his boldness, nerves propelled her to continue their conversation in a blabbering rush. “I came to London when I was fourteen—to live with a family friend who runs the dormitory apartments of the Royal Opera’s corps de ballet. Just this year, I graduated from law school. That’s where Teddy and I met—at King’s College. Recently, I’ve been assisting Teddy’s father, Harold Rollingsworth, in the hopes that—”
“—you will become London’s first female barrister.” Drake completed her thought. Tilting his head to the side, he gazed at her with admiration. “Lovely, intelligent, and a pioneer. You are a rare gem, Miss Spencer.”
The Romanian’s hungry stare closed the small distance between them. Alba’s cheeks burned. We hardly know one another!
Desperate to steer the conversation away from herself, she cleared her
throat. “I have yet to wish you a happy birthday, Dr. Griffin.”
“Thank you.” The guest of honor did a cordial bow. “But ‘Griffin’ is merely my professional name.”
Alba frowned. “What is your real name?”
“Dimitri Grigorescu.”
Alba’s limbs froze and the room started to take on a slow whirl. “That’s curious,” she murmured. “I knew someone by that name in Romania.”
“And I once knew a girl named Alba Zǎpǎda,” Dimitri said as a curtain of desire passed over his face. “You.”
His lips thinned into a familiar smile and Alba’s hand flew to her gaping mouth. Curse my poor eyesight! Now that she was this close to him she knew precisely who he was: Dimitri, the handsome Gypsy boy she’d fallen in love with at the tender age of fourteen.
Words escaped her while she gasped for air.
“Life is too short to be without the ones you love,” Dimitri purred. “Don’t you think?”
All at once, memories of the summer Alba spent in the Balkan countryside flashed through her mind:
The first kiss she and Dimitri shared amid a field of white poppies.
Simona, Dimitri’s raven-haired friend.
And the terrifying night the three of them spent in a haunted graveyard.
Her blood raced and the room spun in faster circles.
“I’ve been waiting an eternity to return this to you,” Dimiti whispered as he slipped a dried white poppy into her hand.
“But I thought you were dead,” she said before everything went black.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Review: Wind and Shadow by Tori L. Ridgewood

            Wind and Shadow Book One of The Talbot Trilogy

           Author: Tori L. Ridgewood

           Book Length: 236 Pages

A great start to a trilogy, that also makes me say it sucks having a cliffhanger but whats worse, the massive finger splitting as your dangling for your life cliffhanger that most certainly garuntees itself as a future read on my reading list. The storyline is filled to the brim with twists and turns, many of them I honestly never believed that they would have went the way they did. The characters in Wind and Shadow take on a life of their own and continue to grow and become more compelling as you get farther into the book. Rayvin is a very easy character to compare ones self too which made it that much more enjoyable. Its a fast paced novel that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat waiting for the unexpected and they forsure are not disappointed. The mix of the paranormal kept me sucked into the story, Great read will be reading the next novels in this trilogy. 

Rating: Fatal

~I recieved a copy for an honest review~

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Blog Tour: Chaos Bound by Rebekah Turner (Guest Post)

Pick Your Poison - Guest Blog

My Recipe for Creating a Sexy Hero

Legend has it that nephilim were the offspring of angels and human women. When I was expanding on my own nephilim mythology, I began with that basic idea, then tossed other ingredients into the cauldron to create merciless, single-minded heroes who live by a strict code. I gave them strong passions and ideals and mixed it with a ruthless charisma. Then there was the strong body, the quietly spoken words and shadowed eyes. Specifically, I wanted a hero who knew what he wanted and went for it, no holds barred. The guy with a deadly nightshade stare that meant trouble for anyone who crossed his goal.

These traits appealed to me, because there’s nothing sexier than a driven hero, especially when his undivided attention is on what he wants between the sheets. And when that kind of desire is juxtaposed on a hero in a military order with a deadly skill set, there’s a delicious tension between the chaste control of his outer self, and the passion he can show in private. The sense that those two worlds will collide adds black powder to an already burning fire.

Now please cue my brooding hero.


Chaos Bound
Chronicles of the Applecross
Book 2
Rebekah Turner
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Date of Publication: 1 December 2013
ISBN: 9780857991072
Number of pages: 177
Word Count: 82,000

Book Description:

The long-awaited sequel to Chaos Born takes us back into the Applecross, where Lora faces increasing threats to her survival and her chance at love. Lora Blackgoat — mercenary and smuggler — has only just recovered from the last threat on her life and hasn’t even begun to sort out the mess of having both a nephilim warrior and a reborn hellspawn as potential lovers. Work should be a refuge, but a job finding missing persons puts her in the crosshairs of a violent gang and a merchant with a taste for blood sport.   Reluctantly, Lora turns to the two men in her life for help. Roman — the nephilim — professes to be her soul mate and turns to her when he feels the darkness of nephilim madness descending. But though Lora is drawn to Roman, it is Seth, ex-lover and reborn hellspawn, who Lora must ultimately ask to protect those she loves. Can she trust Seth to save Roman and her adoptive family, or will this be a fatal mistake?

About the Author:

Rebekah lives in sunny Queensland and has worked in the past as a graphic designer. She now does freelance work when her kids are looking the other way. An avid writer since she could scrawl in her dad’s expensive encyclopedias, she has progressed from horsey stories to tales of dark fantasy with lashings of romance and a sprinkling of horror.

Her vices include eating overpriced ice cream, over analyzing 80s action and horror movies and buying stationery she just doesn’t need.

Official Website

Now an Excerpt from Chaos Bound:

Chapter 1

No one had liked Rae Dowler. His nickname had been Captain Chunky, and that was from his friends. He'd been a greedy bastard in life and now, in death, was a weight on my conscience. This was the second co-worker to die on a job with me. The first one I’d had to behead after he'd become infected at an exorcism with a demonic entity, along with the client. Thankfully, my sword had been nowhere near Rae Dowler when he'd dropped dead of an old-fashioned heart attack. Still, people liked to talk.

Spring had bloomed in the bustling city of Harken, and instead of the usual rain, or tepid fog, the narrow, crooked streets had been flooded with gentle, golden sunshine. For a city used to constant downpours and overcast skies, the unexpected weather was viewed with some suspicion and considered most unseemly.

A warm afternoon wind was blowing though the cemetery, ruffling black skirts and sending hats sailing. I watched as the coffin was lowered into the ground, only half listening as a priest of The Higher Path faith droned on about eternal life.

Dowler had been in the Runner industry for over forty years. He was the only other Runner at Blackgoat Watch that didn't mind being sent on jobs past The Weald's guarded entryways: out into the modern world, with its buzzing technology, flashing neon lights and all things deep fried. Transporting anything from the Outlands back into the hidden Weald was illegal, but somehow Dowler always managed to return with a tray of Winkie Bill's Crème Donuts. A tray he never shared, mind you. Just sat in the kitchen of Blackgoat and scoffed the lot before he had to go home to his wife. In light of his less than stellar diet, I guess the heart attack that killed him wasn't a complete surprise.

Gideon, my benefactor and owner of Blackgoat Watch, stood to my left, reeking of stale whisky and boredom. Cloete, another runner at Blackgoat, was on my right. A five-foot dynamo, Cloete was otherkin: her bloodline a mixture of succubus and goddess-knew-what other interbred, mystic race. Today she was wearing leather pants and a suede coat, her petite horns hidden under a bowler hat. Her inky-black tail wrapped around one leg, the end tapping impatiently against her thigh. Tails were tricky things, always giving away the mind of their owners. Tails never seemed to lie and I was thankful I didn’t have one.

The priest said 'amen' and people dutifully took their cue and began shuffling away. Dowler's widow, a heavy-set woman with coarse hair and fleshy jowls, tossed wilted roses into the open grave, her expression a mixture of sadness and regret, with a pinch of what looked like suspicion.

‘Thank Kianna's sacred tits that's over.’ Cloete yawned, tail unravelling from her leg. ‘Who's up for a brew at Growlers?’

‘That was the most boring funeral I've ever attended.’ Gideon copied Cloete's yawn, covering his mouth with a hairy hand. He was decked out in a long frock coat with a red carnation tucked in the lapels and a natty yellow necktie. Gideon was a full-blooded satyr, and though he made every effort to look human, today he'd forgotten a hat, and his tangle of steel-wool grey hair revealed the tops of his horns he'd had amputated years ago in an effort to fit in. He'd also forgotten the contacts that changed his slit pupils to round, and his fancy-made shoes didn't match. All this, and his hangdog expression, suggested he was struggling with a hangover.

‘It wasn't that boring.’ I tried to sound indignant on Dowler's behalf, but came off sounding guilty. I was busy praying the wife didn't notice me.

‘Before I forget, Lora,’ Gideon paused to yawn again, ‘I need you to come in to Blackgoat tomorrow to talk about a new job.’

‘You've already got me babysitting the theatre bimbo,’ I reminded him. It was a simple bodyguard gig. No real threats...low chance of beheadings.

‘Please.’ Gideon looked pained. ‘Nicola Grogan is an actress, and a fine one at that.’ He sniffed and flicked a finger at his carnation. ‘And I must say, that doesn't sound like gratitude from where I'm standing.’

My lips tightened, but I had enough smarts to pause before I spoke, giving my brain a chance to kick in. After being passed over for jobs because other Runners refused to work with me, I was in no position to turn my nose up at any opportunities. I'd only attended one other successful exorcism job since the beheading incident. That client had been high profile: the daughter of the Lord Mayor Corelli. Unfortunately, the Mayor was a staunch advocate of the Church of Higher Path, who frowned upon things such as spells and magic, seeing them as blasphemy. Blackgoat Watch had been hired by Mayor Corelli's wife, who'd sworn Gideon to secrecy, all of which meant I couldn't put the job on my brag sheet of clients I hadn't killed. As things stood now, Gideon had been forced to strong-arm Rae Dowler to work with me on a stakeout of a suspected cheating husband. The fact that the job hadn't ended well for Dowler was now going to make me a social pariah. Again.

‘Sorry,’ I muttered. ‘I'm grateful. I'm grateful.’

Gideon grunted and made a beeline for the rickshaw he'd hired to chauffeur him to and from the cemetery. Despite his dishevelled look this morning, Gideon liked to think most people couldn't pick he was a satyr, and that he was a master of disguise. No one had the heart to tell him he wasn't.

I rubbed my right lame leg and leant heavily on my goat-headed duelling cane, jealous of the rickshaw. After downing two espressos and three pastries from a local bakery, I'd walked to the cemetery as an act of contrition. Orella Warbreeder, my adoptive mother, had been lecturing me on how walking would do my joints wonders. But after standing in one place for so long, my hip had seized. I had half a mind to beg a lift with Gideon when a wink of light caught my eye, coming from the line of pine trees hedging one side of the cemetery. The light blinked again. I was no super spy, but had enough smarts to know when someone wanted my attention.


‘Eh?’ I realised Cloete had asked me a question.

‘Drink?’ She mimed throwing back a tankard of beer.

‘I think I'll just stay here a bit,’ I said. ‘Catch up with you later?’

Her eyebrows lifted. ‘Self-pity is an ugly emotion, Lora.’

‘Fuck off. I've just got things to do.’

Cloete pursed her lips. ‘You won't be bringing your boyfriend, will you?’

‘Boyfriend?’ My eyebrows arched. ‘Who would that be?’

‘Are you serious?’ Cloete snorted. ‘You think people aren't gossiping about you making goo-goo eyes at that fire and brimstone Regulator?’

I flushed. ‘His name is Roman, and we're just friends.’

One side of Cloete's mouth jerked up. ‘How very teen drama.’

‘Shut up.’

She began to stalk off, then paused, glancing back at me. ‘Just make sure you come to Growlers tonight, yeah? I want to talk to you about something important.’

‘Fine, fine.’ I gave her a surly look. ‘I'll make sure my teen drama doesn't follow me.’

Cloete chuckled as she left, striding towards the city with a smattering of other burly-looking Blackgoat Runners. I'd heard she'd flat-out refused the protection detail for Nicola Grogan. I wish I could have done the same. Spoilt actresses were bad for my health. There was another flash from the woods and I got the impression someone wanted me to hurry up.

The hairs on my neck prickled and I turned to see Dowler's wife. Her lips peeled back and she hissed at me, sounding like a kettle on the boil. I opened my mouth a couple of times before managing to mutter condolences about her loss.

‘This was your fault.’ Her eyes were slits of fury, face dry of tears. ‘My husband's blood is on your hands.’

‘I don't think that's fair,’ I protested weakly.

But the widow was already leaving, an elderly man escorting her away. She let herself be led, back stiff with anger. I watched her go, feeling miserable. How was Dowler's death my fault? A small voice told me I was a jinx, so that kind of made it my fault. I balked as the widow pulled away from her escort and stabbed a finger at me, spit flying from thinned lips. ‘You're the angel of death, Lora Blackgoat. You bring nothing but misery into people's lives.’

Her escort tightened his grip, threw me a scowl, and hurried her from the cemetery. I was the only one by Dowler's graveside now. Even the grave attendants had retreated for a break, leaning against headstones and smoking tobacco pipes.

I unbuttoned my coat and adjusted my work-belt with its heavy pockets, loaded with knick-knacks most useful in a fight. This included pouches of salt, the one medium guaranteed to act as a conduit to the ley-lines that ran under the earth and fuelled all magic. It wasn't hard to cast; took a few years of training to get the concentration right, then chuck a bit of salt, shout a few words of power in the language of your choice, and hey presto, you could set your own hair on fire. My belt was well stocked with salt, including one pouch of my own special mixture: powdered consecrated silver, salt, and half a teaspoon of gunpowder. I called it my Sucker Punch Special: guaranteed to rock your socks when you needed it. Feeling prepared, I braced my cane against my bad leg and strode towards the line of pine trees.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Blog Tour: The Seacrest by Aaron Paul Lazar

They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.‭

Finn McGraw disagrees.

He was just seventeen when he had a torrid summer affair with the girl who stole his heart—and then inexplicably turned on him.‭ ‬Finn may have moved on with his life,‭ ‬but he’s never forgotten her.

Now,‭ ‬ten years later,‭ ‬he’s got more than his lost love to worry about.‭ ‬A horrific accident turns his life upside down,‭ ‬resurrecting the ghosts of his long-dead family and taking the lives of the few people he has left.

Finn always believed his estranged brother was responsible for the fire that killed their family—but an unexpected inheritance with a mystery attached throws everything he knows into doubt.

And on top of that,‭ ‬the beguiling daughter of his wealthy employer has secrets of her own.‭ ‬But the closer he gets,‭ ‬the harder she pushes him away.

The Seacrest is a story of intrigue and betrayal,‭ ‬of secrets and second chances—and above all,‭ ‬of a love that never dies.

Official Website
Blog #1
Blog #2
Personal Facebook
Author Facebook
Authors Den

AUTHOR BIO:‭   ‬Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul.‭ ‬An award-winning,‭ ‬bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series,‭ ‬writing books,‭ ‬and a new love story,‭ ‬Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York,‭ ‬where his characters embrace life,‭ ‬play with their dogs and grandkids,‭ ‬grow sumptuous gardens,‭ ‬and chase bad guys.‭ ‬Visit his website at and watch for his upcoming releases THE SEACREST‭ (‬2013‭)‬,‭ ‬SANCTUARY‭ (‬2014‭)‬,‭ ‬and VIRTUOSO‭ (‬2014‭)‬.

Excerpts from The Seacrest by Aaron Paul Lazar,‭ ‬copyright‭ ‬2013

Chapter‭ ‬1
July‭ ‬2,‭ ‬2013

Life can change in the blink of an eye.‭ ‬This blink came when a cop car cruised up The Seacrest’s white shell driveway on a hot Saturday in July.‭
I’ll never forget the moment.‭ ‬You know how folks remember where they were when John Lennon died‭? ‬Or when President Kennedy was assassinated‭? ‬It was like that,‭ ‬every detail stamped into my brain,‭ ‬forever.‭
A fresh breeze laden with the scent of the sea rustled blue flowers in a nearby hydrangea hedge.‭ ‬Hot and sweaty,‭ ‬I stood in the blazing sun,‭ ‬feeling like a fool.‭ ‬I’d just finished weed wacking around the paddock fence posts.‭ ‬Unfortunately,‭ ‬said weed wacker had spooked Libby Vanderhorn’s favorite mare,‭ ‬Serendipity,‭ ‬who I secretly called Dippy,‭ ‬because she was such a loose cannon.‭ ‬She’d bucked three times and knocking down several fence boards.‭ ‬Libby was a good rider,‭ ‬but this time she’d landed in a sprawling heap on the soft dirt,‭ ‬swearing at me.‭
The boss’s gorgeous,‭ ‬stuck-up daughter didn’t mince words,‭ ‬and the sting of her accusations still sounded in my head.‭ ‬How stupid can you be,‭ ‬Finn‭? ‬What’s wrong with you‭?
Libby’s father held great power on Cape Cod.‭ ‬Rudolph Vanderhorn sat on so many boards,‭ ‬I’d lost count.‭ ‬His father’s fish canning company made a fortune back in the eighties,‭ ‬and he and his daughter had enjoyed the spoils ever since.‭
I stooped to pick up a hammer from my toolbox,‭ ‬planning to reattach the fence boards before any of Libby’s horses got hurt on the protruding nails.‭ ‬Curious now,‭ ‬I watched the Brewster Police car circle the long drive,‭ ‬heading toward the mansion.‭ ‬The local authorities stopped by every few days to discuss town matters with my boss.‭ ‬But today the blue light was flashing,‭ ‬which didn’t look like a casual visit.‭
A shudder went through me,‭ ‬and I turned cold.‭ ‬Something bad had happened.‭ ‬I sensed it.
The front door opened,‭ ‬and Rudy watched them approach,‭ ‬one hand shading the sun from his eyes.‭ ‬Like a majestic lion,‭ ‬he stood broad-shouldered and strong,‭ ‬his longish white hair lifting in the sea breeze.‭
Libby stopped hosing down her big white mare,‭ ‬who thankfully hadn’t hurt herself in the fit she’d thrown earlier.‭ ‬The horse snorted and rubbed her big head against her owner’s arm as if to scratch an itch.‭ ‬Long,‭ ‬dark hair blew around Libby’s face,‭ ‬and she stared with open curiosity at the cruiser,‭ ‬rhythmically combing her fingers through the mare’s curly mane.
Time froze.‭
I stood still,‭ ‬gripping the hammer,‭ ‬studying the patrol car as it drove past the front porch with its impressive columns and portico.‭ ‬It didn’t stop for Rudy,‭ ‬but passed the six-car garage,‭ ‬followed the driveway to the barn,‭ ‬and rolled to a stop ten feet from me,‭ ‬lights still flashing.
Police Chief Kramer and Deputy Lowell stepped out and ambled toward me,‭ ‬their eyes somber.
I dropped the hammer,‭ ‬letting it thud to the grass near my feet.‭
“Finn‭?” ‬Kramer said,‭ ‬approaching slowly.‭ “‬I’m afraid we have bad news.‭”
There is nothing worse than hearing that bad news is about to be delivered.‭ ‬My brain went wild,‭ ‬imagining the worst scenarios.‭ ‬But somehow I didn’t quite picture what he was about to tell me.
‭“‬There’s been an accident,‭” ‬Kramer said.‭
Lowell,‭ ‬a high school football star in his day,‭ ‬kicked the dirt at the edge of the path.‭ “‬Car went over the cliffs,‭” ‬he said,‭ ‬avoiding my eyes.‭
“For God’s sake,‭ ‬guys.‭” ‬I looked from Kramer to Lowell.‭ “‬Who was in the car‭?”
Kramer pulled out a piece of paper.‭ “‬I regret to inform you that your wife,‭ ‬Cora Mae McGraw,‭ ‬and your brother,‭ ‬Jaxson Robert McGraw,‭ ‬have been killed in a vehicular accident.‭”
Deputy Lowell touched my sleeve,‭ ‬then awkwardly stepped back.‭ “‬We’re real sorry,‭ ‬Finn.‭”
“Car went into the ocean,‭” ‬Kramer said.‭ “‬We believe they were dead on impact.‭”
I stared at them,‭ ‬numbness creeping up my spine.‭ “‬What the hell‭?”
“Er,‭ ‬look,‭ ‬if there’s anything we can do...‭” ‬Lowell seemed remorseful,‭ ‬and he offered a hand when I lost my balance and grabbed for the fence.
Libby and her father appeared at my side in seconds,‭ ‬but in the dreamlike state of denial and shock,‭ ‬I caught only brief snatches of their words,‭ ‬as if the wind had grabbed them,‭ ‬teasing me with the bits and pieces.
‭“‬What happened‭?”
“Bad accident.‭”
“She died‭?”
“Who was with her‭?”
And so on.‭
Libby guided me across the lawn and around back to the mansion’s cavernous kitchen.‭ ‬I leaned woodenly against the refrigerator while the family’s beloved cook,‭ ‬Fritzi,‭ ‬bustled her big,‭ ‬ample self about the kitchen making coffee and pushing fresh corn muffins at the officers.‭
Someone guided me into a chair.‭ ‬I sat,‭ ‬dazed and unmoving.‭ ‬The voices warbled around me and now my brain began to pick through the new knowledge,‭ ‬still not comprehending.
Cora’s dead‭?
It wasn’t real.‭ ‬Couldn’t be real.
Jax is dead‭?
I hadn’t seen my brother in ten years.‭
Ten years since I’d even‭ ‬talked to him.‭ ‬I sometimes almost drove past the blueberry farm,‭ ‬thinking of my old life.‭ ‬But I never actually stopped there.
Ten years since my parents died in that fire.‭ ‬Since I lost my little sister,‭ ‬Eva.‭ ‬Ten years since my family burned because of that cigarette smoldering in the couch.
Ten freaking years.
I didn’t even know what Jax looked like anymore.‭ ‬Had he lost hair‭? ‬Gained weight‭? ‬Turned prematurely gray like our father did at age thirty‭?
Ten years.
A shudder passed through me.‭ ‬A great gulping sound sputtered from my throat.‭ ‬I think I started to hyperventilate.‭
I locked eyes with Libby,‭ ‬whose mouth was moving.‭ ‬I couldn’t hear her.‭
Cora is dead.
Jax is dead.‭
Laying my head on my arms,‭ ‬I silently convulsed.
One thought wandered around the edges of my brain,‭ ‬refusing to go away,‭ ‬in spite of the enormity of what had happened.
What the hell was Jax doing with Cora‭?
Chapter‭ ‬2
‭ ‬July‭ ‬2,‭ ‬1997

I’ll never forget the day I fell in love with her.‭
There she stood,‭ ‬all tall and lanky,‭ ‬dark hair blowing in the breeze as if it loved caressing her face.‭
She held a beach ball and faced the sea.‭
She was sixteen.
That’s all it took.‭ ‬That one salty,‭ ‬sandy,‭ ‬sunshiny day—forever staked in my memory.‭
Her father had claimed a spot on Paines Creek Beach,‭ ‬right next to ours.‭ ‬They laid out a red-and-white striped blanket and matching umbrella with beach chairs,‭ ‬a cooler filled with watermelon and soda,‭ ‬and white paper bags that smelled of fries and burgers.‭
I’d settled on a beach towel next to my grandfather,‭ ‬Dex McGraw,‭ ‬surreptitiously watching them.‭
Gramps sat beside me,‭ ‬drinking from a cold thermos of gin and ice,‭ ‬his favorite.‭ ‬He sat with his shirt off and long legs stretched out,‭ ‬his head back and shaggy silver-blond hair glinting in the sun.‭ ‬He always told me his time was‭ “‬before the hippies,‭” ‬but I had a feeling he would have made a good one.‭ ‬He was one helluva rebel.‭ ‬And he always stood up for what was right,‭ ‬no matter what.‭
He saw me watching the girl and casually appraised her,‭ ‬gray eyes slit and his head nodding in approval.‭ ‬With a low whisper,‭ ‬he turned to me.‭ “‬Pretty girl.‭”
I know I blushed,‭ ‬because at sixteen that’s all I seemed to do when girls were involved.‭ “‬Yeah.‭ ‬I guess.‭” ‬I traced circles in the sand with my forefinger.‭ ‬The sun burned the skin on my back and shoulders,‭ ‬although I’d slathered plenty of sunscreen on earlier at my mother’s insistence.
He didn’t say anything for a few minutes,‭ ‬but closed his eyes,‭ ‬soaking in the sun and soft breeze.‭ ‬I wondered what he was thinking about.‭ ‬Adventures at sea‭? ‬Lost loves‭? ‬I knew he had many,‭ ‬and that some of them had died awful deaths.‭ ‬Once in a while he talked about it.‭ ‬But it seemed I never got enough of his stories.‭ ‬I always wanted more.
“Yes,‭ ‬Gramps‭?”
“I want to tell you something.‭” ‬He opened his eyes,‭ ‬and caught me watching her again.‭ ‬She’d dropped into a chair while her father dutifully rubbed white suntan lotion on her shoulders.‭
 “I’m listening.‭” ‬I stared up at his leathery skin,‭ ‬his eyes so full of wisdom.‭ ‬He didn’t look like my friends‭’ ‬grandfathers.‭ ‬Lean,‭ ‬muscled,‭ ‬and strong,‭ ‬he didn’t use a cane,‭ ‬or bend over when he walked.‭ ‬His body boasted scars earned from long-ago adventures.‭ ‬I bragged about those badges of courage to my friends.‭
He leaned in close to me.‭ “‬Grab life with both hands.‭ ‬If you love someone,‭ ‬put your whole heart into it.‭ ‬Give it your all.‭ ‬Your everything.‭” ‬He glanced sideways at the girl,‭ ‬and a wistful expression crossed his face.‭ “‬Nothing is forever,‭ ‬my boy.‭ ‬So enjoy every single second.‭”
“Okay,‭” ‬I said.‭
He locked eyes with me.‭ “‬I’m serious.‭”
I nodded.‭ “‬I got it.‭”
“Why don’t you go say hello‭? ‬I think she’s looking for someone to toss that ball with.‭”
I nearly froze,‭ ‬but he gently urged me with his eyes.‭ ‬Summoning my courage,‭ ‬I stood up,‭ ‬brushing sand from my legs and arms.
‭“‬Go on.‭ ‬You’ll have fun,‭” ‬he said.
I glanced at her.‭
Now her father rubbed lotion on her back.‭ ‬Creamy skin.‭ ‬Soft skin.‭ ‬Touchable skin.‭
She held her hair aloft with one delicate hand.‭
Piano playing fingers,‭ ‬I thought.
Be strong.‭
Be brave.
You can do this.
As if reading my mind,‭ ‬Gramps nodded in her direction again.‭ “‬You’ve got this,‭ ‬Finn.‭”
“Right.‭” ‬With heart thumping,‭ ‬I took a deep breath and headed toward her.

Chapter‭ ‬3
‭ ‬July‭ ‬5,‭ ‬2013

On the day after Independence Day,‭ ‬I stood beside the grave,‭ ‬staring at the casket.
Oh my God.‭
The pain spread through me like hot oil in a frying pan,‭ ‬searing my insides and coating my brain with sticky,‭ ‬gooey nothingness.‭ ‬For the past two days,‭ ‬I’d been disconnected from the world and had rarely responded to people’s questions.‭ ‬I hadn’t met anyone’s eyes.‭ ‬And when they’d finally left me alone,‭ ‬I stayed in my dark bedroom for hours.‭ ‬No lawn mowing,‭ ‬no weeding in the Vanderhorns‭’ ‬gardens,‭ ‬no stall mucking.‭
It was embarrassing,‭ ‬really,‭ ‬in that part of my brain that still connected tenuously with normal thought.‭ ‬But the double loss of Cora and Jax,‭ ‬coupled with my unresolved anger at him,‭ ‬was quite simply—unbearable.
My wife’s coffin lay in the rectangular hole covered with fake green grass carpet,‭ ‬sparkling white with lavender flowers.‭ ‬With a detached inner smile,‭ ‬I thought she would have liked it.‭ ‬That is,‭ ‬had she been standing here beside me and able to ignore the issue of her own death.
Maybe she‭ ‬was standing beside me‭? ‬Maybe her spirit lingered in the salty sea breeze.‭
I wasn’t so sure.‭ ‬Because in the end,‭ ‬I didn’t even know if she still loved me.
Libby and Rudy Vanderhorn stood on either side of me,‭ ‬alongside a small group of our friends who crowded around the grave overlooking the cliffs,‭ ‬the very spot where my wife and brother had plunged to their deaths.‭
It was too much.‭ ‬Seeing those craggy bluffs,‭ ‬imagining—over and over again—the car bursting through the guardrail and plunging into the deep green water.
But I had no choice,‭ ‬really.‭ ‬The Shady Pines cemetery hosted the plots my parents bought long ago,‭ ‬and I didn’t exactly have enough pocket cash to buy two new gravesites.‭ ‬Okay,‭ ‬I’ll admit it.‭ ‬I didn’t have enough money to get the muffler fixed on my old Jeep.‭ ‬Or pay for that stack of overdue bills on the kitchen table.‭ ‬Worst of all,‭ ‬I didn’t have enough to cover the cost of flowers or funeral services.
Cora and I had sunk everything into paying off school loans.‭ ‬Me with my useless degree in fine arts,‭ ‬she with a performance degree in cello.‭ ‬Together we’d owed almost a hundred grand.‭
We both tried for years to get jobs in places like museums and orchestras.‭ ‬Occasionally,‭ ‬we’d get part time gigs.‭ ‬I sold some of my watercolors once when I lowered the price at the town sidewalk sales to ridiculous levels.‭ ‬But it was never enough to pay the bills,‭ ‬and over time,‭ ‬both Cora and I had given up our elusive dreams and fell into the jobs as groundskeeper/groom and housemaid at the Vanderhorns‭’ ‬mansion by the sea.‭
The Seacrest wasn’t a bad place to work,‭ ‬and part of the deal was free use of a one-bedroom cottage on the far side of the barn.‭ ‬Where I used to sleep every night with Cora.‭ ‬Every night with Cora.‭ ‬Never again with Cora.‭ ‬Never.
I surveyed the contiguous plots beneath the tree.‭ ‬Beside the graves of my parents and little sister,‭ ‬there was a space for me,‭ ‬a plot for my brother,‭ ‬and two adjacent spots for our wives.‭ ‬Jaxson’s wife had left him years ago,‭ ‬so I had no idea who would end up buried between him and me.‭ ‬My brother and Berra had produced no kids,‭ ‬thank God.
Cora and I had no little ones,‭ ‬either,‭ ‬although I’d always wanted a family.‭ ‬She’d said we‭ “‬weren’t ready‭” ‬every year,‭ ‬for the past eleven years.‭ ‬It always came down to finances,‭ ‬the fact that we had no home of our own,‭ ‬and her insistence that she wasn’t ready to be a mother.
Now she’d never get the chance.‭ ‬And I’d probably never be a father.
Another stab of pain hit me hard in the chest.‭ ‬I’d really wanted a family.
I clutched at the tie I borrowed from Rudy,‭ ‬loosening the choking fabric.‭ ‬The sun blazed overhead,‭ ‬and I’d broken into an uncomfortable sweat since we left the shelter of the cool limousine.‭ ‬I wore the same dark suit I’d bought for the triple funeral when my parents and sister died in the fire.‭ ‬It hung loose on me now,‭ ‬especially since I’d worked all day,‭ ‬every day for the past five years outdoors.‭
Today Rudy and Libby flanked me,‭ ‬also dressed in black.‭ ‬Rudy had kindly arranged for the funeral details for both Cora and my brother.‭ ‬Somehow,‭ ‬the flowers and service were ordered and paid for.‭ ‬Jax’s funeral was yesterday,‭ ‬a complete blur.‭ ‬I was certain it had displaced a number of July Fourth barbecues.‭ ‬I remembered very little,‭ ‬except some of the hymns we used to sing in church when we were a whole family.‭ ‬A complete family.‭ ‬A living family.
How can I be the only one left‭?
Reverend Mitchell droned on and on,‭ ‬but I didn’t process his words.‭ ‬He hadn’t known Cora.‭ ‬His words were hollow,‭ ‬and I almost resented the way he talked about her as if they’d been best friends.‭
I watched his mouth move,‭ ‬his hands holding a worn bible.‭ ‬His wizened mouth puckered and turned to a frown when a crow tried to compete with him and yammered in the white pine overhead,‭ ‬seeming to mimic the pastor’s words.‭
I almost laughed out loud.‭
I hadn’t stepped foot in the quaint little Presbyterian Church where he preached since the deaths of my parents and sister.‭
I was still mad at God for that one.
But I was also equally mad at Jax.‭ ‬I was certain it was his cigarette that started the fire.
‭“‬Finn‭?” ‬Libby took my arm and guided me toward the car when the coffin was lowered.‭ ‬Someone’s hand—maybe my own—had dropped a handful of soil on it.
I held in my grief like a man.‭
My father would’ve been proud.‭ ‬My mother would have wept.‭ ‬And my little sister would have comforted me,‭ ‬holding my hand and telling me she loved me with those big green eyes.
But I felt it welling up in my throat,‭ ‬and if someone approached and was too nice,‭ ‬I was afraid I’d lose it.‭
“Finn‭? ‬Come on.‭ ‬Let’s get you home.‭”
Libby had been kind for the past three days,‭ ‬sparing me her usual quips and complaints.‭ ‬Her father had treated me with respect and kindness,‭ ‬also out of character.‭ ‬Yet both of them had tactfully avoided the question I still agonized over.‭
Why had Cora been in Jax’s car‭?
I didn’t think they’d ever met.‭ ‬She’d asked about him,‭ ‬of course.‭ ‬Wondered why he inherited the farm and I got nothing.‭
She’d treated me like I lost my mind when I told her I’d rejected the inheritance and told him he could have it.‭ ‬All of it.‭ ‬The three hundred and fifty acres of blueberry fields and woods.‭ ‬The house and barns.‭ ‬The stand for the berry picking operation.‭
I’d given it all up to flee the horror of that night.‭
With a sigh,‭ ‬I slumped in the back seat of the limo.‭ ‬Libby touched my hand,‭ ‬and I felt my resolve crack.‭
Just five more minutes.‭ ‬Hold on for five more minutes.

Chapter‭ ‬4‭
July‭ ‬2nd,‭ ‬1997

We played with the beach ball for about an hour,‭ ‬laughing and churning up sand three hundred yards up the beach,‭ ‬away from the sunbathers and family picnics.‭ ‬After the first few nervous minutes,‭ ‬the whole thing felt very natural,‭ ‬as if we were just kids and there were no boy-girl elements to be embarrassed about.‭
But there certainly were boy-girl elements.‭
I watched her tawny arms as they flailed and whapped the ball and marveled at her long,‭ ‬delicate legs when she ran back and forth along the quiet stretch of sand we’d chosen.‭ ‬Her eyes had a way of widening in mock horror when I tossed it too high and she missed it,‭ ‬quickly followed by a wide smile that dizzied me.‭
She had a nice figure,‭ ‬with slim legs,‭ ‬a narrow waist,‭ ‬and pretty shoulders.‭ ‬Her one-piece black suit covered areas I tried not to stare at,‭ ‬but couldn’t help wanting to.‭ ‬I wondered how it would feel to touch her.‭ ‬Probably softer than silk.‭ ‬Her hair cascaded along her back,‭ ‬bouncing dark against her summer brown skin.
We collapsed on the sand with the ball between us,‭ ‬breathing hard and laughing.
‭“‬You’re pretty good at this,‭” ‬she said.‭
I leaned back on my arms and chuckled.‭ “‬So are you.‭ ‬For a girl.‭”
She sat up and hit my arm.‭ “‬What‭? ‬For a‭ ‬girl‭?”
Afraid she’d storm off,‭ ‬I took her hand and pulled her close to me.‭ “‬I’m just kidding‭! ‬Really,‭ ‬you’re good,‭ ‬even for a guy.‭”
She smiled that lazy,‭ ‬sweet grin again and I felt my heart melt.‭
“Okay.‭ ‬That’s better.‭”
“What’s your name‭?” ‬I asked.
“Okay.‭” ‬I sat up,‭ ‬furrowed my brow,‭ ‬and placed fingertips against my temples,‭ ‬staring at her.‭ “‬I’m getting something.‭ ‬It’s coming.‭”
She laughed and poked my chest.‭ “‬Oh,‭ ‬really‭? ‬What do you see‭?”
I gave it a shot.‭ “‬Jennifer‭?”
She snorted.‭ “‬No‭!”
I tried again.‭ “‬Sarah‭?”
She giggled.‭ “‬Heck,‭ ‬no.‭”
I tried to think of the most popular names of our generation,‭ ‬hoping it was one of them.‭ “‬Allison‭?”
“Uhnt-uh.‭” ‬She shook her head.
‭“‬Give me a hint.‭”
“Oh,‭ ‬come on‭!” ‬I frowned.‭ “‬How can I guess‭?”
“You have to.‭”
“Okay.‭ ‬Hannah‭? ‬Jessica‭? ‬Carly‭? ‬Jenna‭? ‬Lisa‭?”
“No,‭ ‬no,‭ ‬no,‭ ‬no,‭ ‬and no.‭”
“Hey.‭ ‬How‭ ‘‬bout if I tell you my name‭?”
“What is it‭?”
I hesitated.‭ “‬It’s a weird one.‭”
“Tell me.‭”
“Okay.‭ ‬It’s Finn.‭”
She tilted her head.‭ “‬That’s not weird.‭ ‬I like it.‭ ‬Finn.‭” ‬She seemed to taste the letters on her tongue,‭ ‬enjoying the feel of it.‭ “‬It’s different.‭ ‬But nice.‭”
“Okay.‭ ‬Your turn.‭” ‬I sat forward expectantly.‭
“Nope.‭ ‬I’m not telling.‭ ‬You have to keep guessing.‭”
I ran through all the names I could imagine,‭ ‬and didn’t hit on it.‭ ‬Frustrated now,‭ ‬I flopped back on the sand.‭ “‬Okay.‭ ‬Then I’m gonna make up a name for you.‭”
She made a face.‭ “‬Really‭?” ‬Quickly,‭ ‬she leaned over me,‭ ‬her face blocking the sun.
In a sudden rush of feeling,‭ ‬I wanted to pull her to me,‭ ‬to smother her in kisses,‭ ‬to taste the salt on her skin.‭
“Okay,‭ ‬what’s it gonna be‭? ‬What’s my new name‭?”
“Let me think.‭”
Her hair danced over my bare chest.‭ ‬I caught it and played with it.‭ “‬You are sweet.‭ ‬I could call you Honey.‭”
“Boring,‭” ‬she said.
‭“‬How about Candy‭?”
“Sexist,‭” ‬she pouted.
“Even worse‭! ‬I’m not a playboy bunny‭!”
“Okay,‭ ‬Well,‭ ‬you look delicious.‭ ‬How about Cupcake‭?”
She hissed.‭ “‬That sounds like a chubby girl.‭ ‬Or a pony.‭”
“Okay,‭ ‬okay.‭ ‬Let me think.‭ ‬Maybe I need some inspiration.‭ ‬How about a kiss‭?”
At first I thought she’d reel back and hit me.‭ ‬But to my surprise,‭ ‬she lowered her lips to mine,‭ ‬stopping just an inch apart.‭ “‬Okay.‭ ‬Just a little one,‭ ‬though.‭”
I reached my arms up to her neck and pulled her toward me.‭ ‬At the last minute,‭ ‬just as I felt the soft sweetness of her mouth brushing mine,‭ ‬she pulled back.‭
“Nope.‭ ‬Too soon.‭” ‬She got up and laughed,‭ ‬twirling around with the ball.‭ “‬Come on.‭ ‬What’s my nickname‭?”
I sat up,‭ ‬trying to control the heat surging beneath my bathing suit.‭ “‬Okay.‭ ‬I’ve got it.‭”
“What‭? ‬What is it‭?”
She pranced toward me.‭ “‬I love that‭! ‬Okay.‭ ‬From now on,‭ ‬I’m Sassy to you.‭”
Her father appeared out of nowhere,‭ ‬his face a study in disapproval.‭ ‬I think he hated me from the moment I’d asked her to toss the ball around.‭ ‬I also figured he’d probably seen us lying near each other,‭ ‬and got nervous.‭
He glared at me.‭ “‬Time for lunch.‭ ‬Let’s go.‭”
There was no arguing with his stern tone.‭ ‬She tossed him the ball and wiggled her fingers at me.‭ “‬See ya‭ ‘‬round,‭ ‬Finn.‭”
I grinned like an idiot.‭ ‬God,‭ ‬she was cute.‭ “‬Okay,‭ ‬Sassy.‭ ‬See ya.‭”
I watched her link arms with her father and sashay away from me.‭ ‬The sun winked on the brilliant sand,‭ ‬almost blinding me.‭ ‬As if hypnotized,‭ ‬I stared with slack jaw until I could barely make out her figure among the crowded,‭ ‬colorful throng of beach-lovers.‭
Oh,‭ ‬Sassy.‭ ‬You’re the one for me.‭

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Smashwords ISBN:‭ ‬9781301029730‭
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