Teaser Tuesday – The Rock at the Bottom by Cynthia Hilston.

Lorna & Tristan #3


20th Century Historical Fiction / Romance

Date Published: 03-21-2023


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Stephen feels he is marked from day one to lose the ones he loves. His mother dies giving birth to him, and his alcoholic father makes sure Stephen never forgets it. To block out his father’s hate, fists, and belt, young Stephen loses himself in his imagination. Stories become his closest companions and barricades against a family that never wanted him. Once he can look his father in the eye, Stephen swears he will never be the monster his old man is. He vows he will become a published author, if for no other reason than to prove his father wrong.

While his dreams of being a bestselling novelist and falling in love come true, Stephen has much to prove to himself before he can write his own happy ending. Set against the backdrop of Prohibition-era Cleveland, Stephen fights the same alcoholic demons that plagued his father as he tries to begin a life free from his family. He meets equally headstrong Julie and is smitten, but their marriage is as fractured as his career is solid. He can find ten ways to write about being in love, but he has a hard time translating love on the page to love in real life. Julie slips between his fingers like sand, and Stephen sees his father staring back when he looks in the mirror.

Try as he might to rewrite his life, even going so far as to change his name, he has to wonder if he is the author or the killer of love.





My mother was the first person I killed. My father made sure I never forgot it.

I tried to forget. Oh, did I ever. As soon as I could read, I lost myself in books at every opportunity. But as a six-year-old boy, who was reminded every time my drunk old man took retribution out of my flesh, the hurled words became etched on my soul.

You’re the reason she’s dead.

You took her from me.

You’re a mistake.

You weren’t supposed to be born. To exist.

You aren’t supposed to exist.

Those words cut into my being with every laceration on my back. Or every purple bruise on my cheekbone—left or right, take your pick. Whichever side my father was on when he struck.

But he was never on my side.

I was on my side. I and I alone. Sometimes, even I wasn’t on my side.

My older brothers and sisters had their lives, and I wasn’t part of theirs. Twelve years and a chasm separated me—the unwanted—from them—the loved.

When printed words failed to cover my scars, I escaped to the only place I knew: my imagination.

About the Author

Cynthia Hilston is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married, and lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction, although she still dabbles in fan fiction.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, shamelessly watches Hallmark movies and When Calls the Heart, pets her orange and black kitties, looks at the stars, drinks wine or coffee with good friends, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.


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Week Blitz and Giveaway – Defiance and Redemption A Lifetime of Unbroken Bonds by Maria J Andrade.

Women’s Fiction/ Historical fiction

Date Published: 10-22-2021

Publisher: Clara Publishing

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Based on a true story, “Defiance and Redemption, A Lifetime of Unbroken Bonds,” brings to life the joys, dramas, and triumphs of two sisters, Eva and Victoria Alisio and their loyal friend Marta. The sisters are raised by their atheist Grandfather Marcus and religious Grandmother Maria Luisa. Eva, a proud and strong-willed young woman defies her family, society, and culture, and faces scandal and disgrace, for her actions but chooses self-determination over patriarchal dominance. The young women’s bond of love, humor and perseverance, carries them through ordinary and extraordinary losses, triumphs, and ultimately to their destiny in the United States.

An important novel about 20th Century women in Ecuador, South America, the events are as relevant today as they were one hundred years ago. Defiance and Redemption, is an absorbing epic that moves through decades and destinies. It blends personal and historical events into a collective tale of self-determination, love, and sisterhood.


About the Author

Maria J. Andrade was born in Ecuador, South America, and raised in New York and California.

After three decades, Maria retired as a licensed psychotherapist. She studied Amazonian  shamanism in the 90s and when appropriate, used the principles in her private practice in psychotherapy.

After three decades, Maria retired as a licensed psychotherapist. She founded the Wise Women’s Circle a ritualistic and transpersonal study group where women support each other in healing and growth of mind, body, and spirit which continues to today.

For over twenty five years, Maria Andrade’s books for children and adults are found in a variety of genres. This is an unforgettable first novel that reflects her imagination and creative storytelling.


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Book Tour, Review & Giveaway – When the Smoke Cleared by Bill Powers.


Book Details:

Book Title When the Smoke Cleared (A Murder Mystery in Malden) by Bill Powers
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18 +),  400 pages
Genre:  True Crime
Publisher:  PowersCourt Press
Release date:  Oct, 2022
Content Rating:  PG-13 Some violence some profanity
Book Description:

There is no greater distinction or responsibility for a law enforcement officer than to be selected to investigate homicides. The same is true for a prosecutor. It is analogous to a call up to the big leagues where the curveballs or slapshots are frequent and more challenging, the lights are brighter, the audience larger and louder, and the scrutiny and demand for perfection can at times be a bit overwhelming.

This story follows an extraordinary murder investigation from the crime scene through to the arrest and into the courtroom. It is narrated by retired Detective Lieutenant Bill Powers, the former commander of the State Police Detective Unit for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts: 

“When the smoke from the fire cleared and the water level receded, it was visually evident that a violent struggle, quite possibly a homicide, had preceded the fire. But where was the victim? The waterlogged bloodstains in the function room told us it wasn’t likely they stood up and walked out the door. We were confronted with an unusual dilemma. We not only had to investigate what happened and develop probable cause to make an arrest, but we also had to locate the poor soul who had spilled so much of their blood.”

​Walk the path of the investigation with Bill and his team, and then follow in ADA Adrienne Lynch’s footsteps as she guides the trial from opening statements through to the final verdict; a truly unique accounting with a bird’s eye view.

Beyond a police and courtroom procedural, this story is about the personal struggles in the victim’s life and how her death impacted her family’s lives in ways no one could have foreseen. It is a love story that grew from unspeakable tragedy.

​Bill Powers writes from the heart because he spent twenty years living the life of a homicide investigator. He went to literally hundreds of death scenes and, while each made its mark, none had more of a personal effect on him than this case.
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My thoughts…

When the Smoke Cleared  follows a real murder investigation from the crime scene through to the arrest and into the courtroom.   The author Bill Powers narrates this true crime mystery and is perfectly qualified as he is a retired Detective Lieutenant, the former commander of the State Police Detective Unit for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.

This is a well written realistic account of how investigations progress and lead to trials.  It is law and order in real life told from inside the investigation and court process.  The author draws you in with his unique retelling of the investigation process.  He takes the reader on a real life journey of what it takes to convict a murderer step by step, to the conviction and beyond, to the family and how it changed their lives. His writing is as good as his policing and detective work as the whole process is very well explained and keeps you engaged.  

I love to read true crime mystery books and I found When the Smoke Cleared impossible to put down.  It is refreshing to read a crime book with a new view of crime.  It is an amazing true story and the writing is excellent with detail, compassion and commitment described throughout.  It is definitely well worth reading and I highly recommend it.  True crime fans won’t be disappointed.

My Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Meet the Author:

Bill Powers has been active in the Massachusetts law enforcement community since he joined the Massachusetts State Police in 1974. Over time he rose through the ranks and was promoted to the rank of Detective Lieutenant. He commanded the State Police Detective Units (SPDU) in both Middlesex and Suffolk Counties, where he had direct oversight and involvement in more than one hundred homicides. His State Police career came full circle when he was named Commandant of the Recruit Training Academy. He retired as the director of the Media Relations Section. Following his retirement, Bill was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the graduate program for forensic sciences at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). For the next seven years he lectured on criminal investigation and expert testimony to the graduate students. In addition, he produced training seminars for police investigators covering a wide variety of topics. Following his tenure at the BUSM he returned to the law enforcement profession as the Director of Public Safety at Wentworth Institute in Boston. Bill earned an undergraduate degree from Northeastern University with a major in Criminal Justice and a Juris Doctorate degree from the New England School of Law.

He resides South of Boston with his wife Jane. Their two daughters and their families live nearby. He has been blessed with five remarkable grandchildren who sparkle like bright stars in the night sky.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook goodreads

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Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway- Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill by Glenn Somodi.

Book Details: Glen Somodi
November 9, 2022
Published by Glen Somodi
271 pages

Book Summary: 

Olly and his new friend, Ember, fight off school bullies, greedy mall developers, and nosey townspeople to protect their secret – that there’s a community of nature-loving creatures that have peacefully lived under Oak Hill for hundreds of years.

When Oliver (Olly) Appleton’s grandfather dies in a suspicious accident, his family decides to move to Littleton, Massachusetts, to care for the family estate. Once there, they discover they need to protect their land from a greedy mall developer, Henry Dalton.

Sitting atop Oak Hill, the estate sits in an enchanted wooded sanctuary known for unusual activities and superstitions involving mythical creatures – rumors passed down since the Nipmuc people roamed the land.

When Olly and his new friend, Ember, run into trouble with school bullies, the creatures known as Spores step in to protect them. Through their adventures, Olly and Ember build friendships with members of the Spore community and discover a common goal. They must work together quickly to protect Oak Hill from Henry Dalton or lose their homes forever.

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My thoughts…

Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill follows Olly Appleton and his new friend Ember as they try to protect a secret community of nature-loving creatures that have lived under Oak Hill for hundreds of years.  They are under threat from school bullies, greedy mall developers and nosey townspeople.

This is a fantastic fantasy for all ages and I found it an enchanting and entertaining read.  It takes you on an adventure and you find yourself taking the journey with the characters and rooting for Olly and his friends as they discover a common goal and a cause to stand up for.

The book is well-written with great character introduction and development, a creative storyline and each chapter keeps you entertained.  I loved the characters and found them genuine and relatable.

I really enjoyed the journey with Olly, Ember and the Spores.  I was totally engrossed with the story and didn’t want it to end.  It took me back to my childhood and brought back memories of the books that started my wonderful reading journey.  It is a great book and a fun read for everyone no matter your age and I didn’t want it to end.  

Olly & The Spores of Oak Hill is definitely worth the read and I absolutely recommend it!

My Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Book Tour, Review & Giveaway – Chris Crossed Murder by Lauren Carr.


Book Details:

Book Title Chris Crossed Murder (A Chris Matheson Cold Case Mystery #4) by Lauren Carr
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +) 
Genre:  Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:   Feb 22, 2023
Content Rating:  PG-13 (Lauren Carr’s books are murder mysteries, so there are murders involved. Occasionally, a murder will happen on stage. There is sexual content, but always behind closed doors. Some mild swearing (a hell or a damn few and far between). No F-bombs!

“Carr is a master at creating unique, complex plots and colorful characters, both evident in her latest cold case mystery featuring  Chris Matheson and the geezer squad. The plot is twisted, the mystery unique and the ending a surprise. A must-read!” – Review of CHRIS CROSSED MURDER (A Chris Matheson Cold Case Mystery, Book Four) by Marilyn R. Wilson, Author, Speaker, Book Reviewer

“Lauren Carr is among my favorite mystery writers. She knows how to write a fun tale while keeping readers engaged. …I would give Chris Crossed Murder one hundred stars if I could. I believe readers who enjoy reading well-written and clean cozy mysteries will most definitely want to read it. I have no doubt they will enjoy it as much as I did. The fifth installment from A Chris Matheson Cold Case Mystery series is on my radar for when it releases.” – Review of CHRIS CROSSED MURDER (A Chris Matheson Cold Case Mystery, Book Four) by Amy Campbell, Locks Hooks and Books

Book Description:
It proves to be a Christmas to remember when the Matheson family receives the horrendous news that Chris Matheson’s body has been found in the woods near an international airport.

Everyone is stunned—especially Chris Matheson.

The mystery deepens when they discover the victim has Chris’s federal agent badge and appears to have been investigating one of his old cases.

The Geezer Squad’s latest case is not only a whodunit but who-got-dun. Is this a case of mistaken identity? Was Chris the intended victim? If not, then they must identify the murder victim to find his killer.

With Christmas days away, join the Chris Matheson and the Geezer Squad as they race to piece together the clues to their most puzzling case yet.
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Release Blitz & Giveaway – Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: Ten Steps from Baker Street by Thomas A. Burns, Jr.


Date Published: 03-01-2023

Publisher: Tekrighter, LLC

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Return to the streets and alleys of Victorian London, where the game is afoot once again! The Great Detective, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, and his steadfast companion Dr. Watson are back for ten new cases, spanning the length of the quintessential detective’s illustrious career. Beginning while Holmes was still a green investigator in Montague Street, this collection encompasses the 1880s and the 1890s, up to the dawn of the new century.  Walk with Holmes as he puzzles over the problem of a drunken teetotaler, celebrates an old English Christmas at the Red Lion, tracks down the Camberwell poisoner, and experiences the horror in King Street. If you’ve been pining for new traditional, canonical Sherlock Holmes tales, Ten Steps from Baker Street is the collection you’ve been waiting for.


About the Author

Thomas A. Burns, Jr. is the author of the Natalie McMasters Mysteries. He was born and grew up in New Jersey, attended Xavier High School in Manhattan, earned B.S degrees in Zoology and Microbiology at Michigan State University and a M.S. in Microbiology at North Carolina State University. He currently resides in Wendell, North Carolina with his wife and son, four cats and a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. As a kid, Tom started reading mysteries with the Hardy Boys, Ken Holt and Rick Brant, and graduated to the classic stories by authors such as A. Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, John Dickson Carr, Erle Stanley Gardner and Rex Stout, to name a few. Tom has written fiction as a hobby all of his life, starting with Man from U.N.C.L.E. stories in marble-backed copybooks in grade school. He built a career as technical, science and medical writer and editor for nearly thirty years in industry and government. Now that he’s retired to become a full-time a novelist, he’s excited to publish his own mystery series, as well as to contribute stories about his second-most favorite detective to the MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway – She, You, I by Sally Keeble.

She, You, I
Sally Keeble
Publication date: January 11th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary

An emotional page-turner of a story about a family torn apart by the legacy of war that asks the question: what happens to the hurt we can’t forget?
When Skye Stanhope returns to her grandmother’s childhood home, she’s searching for the roots of her life story. Why her tough-minded granny ran away to war. And why her brilliant mother died.

Behind the women’s successes, lies deep trauma. As Skye strips away the layers of secrecy, she confronts their inner torments: forces that bound the women together, but also tore them apart. It’s a journey from a poverty-stricken tenement block to an airbase in wartime Suffolk, through boom-time London to a coffee cart beside the sea.

Woven into the women’s lives is Tseng Hsiao Ling, a feisty, enigmatic seamstress whose fortunes become inextricably linked with theirs.

It’s a sweeping tale of love, war and family secrets over three generations.

Through each woman’s story, “She, You, I” holds up a mirror to the complexity of family relationships: mothers, sisters, daughters, and the unexpected twists in Skye’s search for closure.

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Maisie’s story

She was safe under the bed. Metal strips above, bare boards below, her father’s tin trunk behind—name, rank, number engraved on its lid. “All you need to know about a man,” her father said. A blanket hung over the edge of the bed. Maisie lay behind it and clenched her fists against her chest to keep in the fear.

Tonight was bad.



Shouts from the kitchen. Them fighting. She curled up and squeezed her eyes shut, covered her ears to make it stop. Anything to make it stop.

“You’re my wife.”

A scream from the kitchen ran through her body. And then another, and another, until the whole night became a scream. She tried to block it out, but she couldn’t. It was inside her ears, inside her head. She was the scream. And then it stopped. She took her hands from her ears and listened. Nothing. Silence.

Maisie lifted the blanket and peered into the room. Gaslight from the street spilt over the tattered strip of net curtain nailed across the window. It glinted off the broken mirror above the empty fireplace, touched the two best chairs on their square of worn carpet, and lit up the locked front door out to the landing of the tenement.

In the far corner was the door into the other room, the kitchen. A spindly table stood next to the door, with a piece of lacey cloth draped over it, “To hide its legs,” her mother said, and on it was china figurine of a man in a kilt with a lamb around his neck and a dog at his feet.

Beside the figurine was a photograph in a round frame of pleated cloth. Her mother, Flora, her hair swept up into a chignon and set with glittery jewels—only glass, she said—sat on a chair and behind her stood a soldier, uniformed, his face unmarked, handsome, with jet-black hair and a wide moustache that curled up at the ends like a smile. Her father, Simon. One arm was crocked behind him, the other stretched along the back of the chair, cradling her mother, and the greys of their clothes swirled around the whites of their faces and blended into the beige of the fabric that enclosed them.

The night the glass in the frame got broken wasn’t as bad as this.

Author Bio:

Sally writes novels about the things she’s passionate about—the triumphs and tragedies of people’s lives, their families and life stories.

It’s what originally took her into journalism and then politics, in the UK and beyond. She spent her early years in the USA, Switzerland and Australia, returning to the UK after working as a journalist in South Africa. After serving as an MP, she worked in international development and travelled widely, especially in Africa and South Asia.

“She, You, I” is her first novel. She’s written nonfiction previously. Sally splits her time between Northampton and Bawdsey, a village in coastal Suffolk.

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AudioBook & Book Tour (Review) – Fool Her Once by Joanna Elm.

 Book Details:

Book Title Fool Her Once (A Novel) by Joanna Elm
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +), 416 pages 
Genre:  Thriller
Publisher:  CamCat Books
Release date:   Feb, 2023
Content Rating:  PG-13 + MThere’s adultery, language, some sexual content, and violent crime, but no explicit descriptions of the crimes.
Book Description:

Some killers are born. Others are made.

​As a rookie tabloid reporter, Jenna Sinclair made a tragic mistake when she outed Denny Dennison, the illegitimate son of an executed serial killer. So she hid behind her marriage and motherhood. Now, decades later, betrayed by her husband and resented by her teenage daughter, Jenna decides to resurrect her career—and returns to the city she loves.

When her former lover is brutally assaulted outside Jenna’s NYC apartment building, Jenna suspects that Denny has inherited his father’s psychopath gene and is out for revenge. She knows she must track him down before he can harm his next target, her daughter.

Meanwhile, her estranged husband, Zack, fears that her investigative reporting skills will unearth his own devastating secret he’d kept buried in the past.

From New York City to the remote North Fork of Long Island and the murky waters surrounding it, Jenna rushes to uncover the terrible truth about a psychopath and realizes her own investigation may save or destroy her family.


My Review…

Fool Her Once follows Jenna who, as a rookie tabloid reporter, made a tragic mistake when she outed the illegitimate son of an executed serial killer.  Decades later she suspects that he has inherited his father’s psychopath gene and is out for revenge after her former lover is brutally assaulted outside her NYC apartment building.

This story grabbed me from the start and I couldn’t put it down.  The twists and turns were excellent and they keep you guessing all the way through.  You have a flawed protagonist you can’t help but root for and a complex antagonist with a tragic past.  It is a gripping story with lots of tension and an enjoyable plot and storyline.  It is well- written with strong supporting characters and a nice twisty ending.  There are many issues explored in this novel and the characters are well developed and believable.  It is a stunning  thriller!

Fool Her Once is a riveting multi-layered tale told in the third person perspective with alternating timelines set in the present with flashbacks to the past.  It has a slow building and tension filled storyline interwoven with a dysfunctional family dynamic, flashbacks to the past, and a tangled web of secrets, lies and betrayal.

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy a really good thriller.

My Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Meet the Author:

Joanna Elm is an author, journalist, blogger, and attorney. Before the publication of her first two suspense novels (Scandal, Tor/Forge 1996); (Delusion, Tor/Forge/1997), she was an investigative journalist on the London Evening News on Fleet Street in the U.K. She also wrote for British magazines like Woman’s Own.

Then, she moved to New York where she worked as a writer/producer for television news and tabloid TV programs like “A Current Affair.” She was also the researcher/writer for WNEW-TV’s Emmy-award-winning documentary “Irish Eyes.” In 1980, she joined the Star as a reporter, eventually becoming the magazine’s news editor and managing editor before moving to Philadelphia as editor of the news/features section of TV Guide.

After completing her first two novels while living in South Florida, (Nelson DeMille described Scandal as “fresh, original and unpredictable”) Joanna returned to New York, enrolled in law school, graduated summa cum laude, passed the NY Bar exam, and worked as a principal law clerk for an appellate division justice in the prestigious First Department. She has been married to her husband Joe for 35 years and has one son.

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Spotlight Book Tour & Giveaway – DAWGS by Diane Trull with Meredith Wargo.


Book Details:

​Book Title:  DAWGS: A True Story of Lost Animals and the Kids Who Rescued Them by Diane Trull with Meredith Wargo
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+),  256 pages
GenreNarrative Non-Fiction 
Publisher:  Citadel Press – Kensington Publishing Corp.  
Release date:  March 2020
Content Rating: This non-fiction book is rated PG. There is one scene in which the shelter was broken into and several puppies were killed. The author does not go into any gory details, but this information may trigger some sensitive readers. 

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Freebie Blitz & Giveaway – The Second Time Around by Kelly Collins.

The Second Time Around
Kelly Collins
Publication date: June 2nd 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

A swoon-worthy second chance romance with all the feels.

Brie Watkins had loved two men in her life. One abandoned her at the altar twelve years ago, and the other died in the war. She is no stranger to loss, but she’s still learning how to move on. When her sick aunt asks her to come back to Willow Bay to help at the family resort, Brie says yes. After all, she’s a southern girl at heart, and a southern girl never turns her back on kin. Brie sells her beloved home, quits her job restoring historic properties, and goes back to the last place she wants to be, only to find her aunt healthy, The Brown Resort thriving, and the man who left her at the altar living next door, looking as handsome as ever. Why can’t life be fair?

Carpenter Carter Kessler left Willow Bay a dozen years ago and never looked back, but he never forgot his first love, Brie. He’s spent the rest of his life regretting his decision to leave her all those years ago. After his father’s death, he reluctantly returns to find his family’s resort a mess. But it is not a total disaster – Brie is next door and as beautiful as ever. He talks her into helping him refurbish The Kessler Resort, but first she lays out the ground rules: they aren’t friends, they’ll never be lovers, and she’ll never stop hating him. As far as Carter is concerned, it’s a start.

But as summer heats up, so does their relationship. As they peel back the layers, what will they find hiding beneath the surface? Can what they started all those years ago be restored, or are some things better left buried in the past?

Find out in The Second Time Around…

Goodreads / Amazon

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She leaned on the suitcase. Even in the moonlight, and despite her frown, she still had the most beautiful blue eyes. Eyes as blue as the bay. The Texas coast wasn’t known for its clear waters. It didn’t have the blue of the Caribbean, but the way the reef protected the shore gave it a unique environment, and it had the bluest water. He’d forgotten how he’d thought of the bay as Brie blue, and paired with her chestnut hair, she was one of the prettiest girls in Texas.
He started back to the porch and his beer, but he caught sight of her out of the corner of his eye, trying to stand. She stumbled over the suitcase and fell on top of it.

He raced toward her. “How much of that bottle did you drink?”

She looked at it and shrugged. “Not sure. Four or five.”

“Four or five what? Sips? Gulps? Gallons?” She rose and tottered back and forth. Her back end was high in the air. All these years later, she still had the finest derriere he’d ever seen. “Let me help before you hurt yourself.”

She wagged a finger behind her. “Stay away from me.” She shifted and grunted and righted her suitcase, only to lose her balance again. This time she landed on top of it like it was a lounger. She squeaked, then smiled and let out an “Oh, this isn’t so bad.” She opened the bottle for another drink.

“Is that wise?”

“What do you care?” She laid back and looked up at the twinkling lights of the willow tree. “Did you know when I woke that morning, Mama got me ready? She used an entire can of Aqua Net. I smelled like Ms. Cricket but looked like Miss America.” She ran her hands through her hair and sighed. “I had the prettiest braids going in every direction, but they all came together in the back.” The whiskey bottle fell into the sand, which was probably a good thing. “So pretty.”

“You were always beautiful, Brie.”

“Oh, what would you know? You didn’t even show up.” She blindly searched around for the bottle but gave up quickly.

He sat a few feet away from her. He had a lot to say, but all he’d do was listen.

“You know what the funniest thing of all was?”

“Tell me.” He scooped up sand and let it sift through his fingers. It kind of felt like how life was. It just got away from you.

“Mama wanted me to wear those fancy jeweled shoes. Those heels were four inches high and pinched my toes. I’m telling you, she had me practicing for days, and I was in pure agony. I refused to wear them and hid them at Tiff’s house, because I knew with the humidity, my feet would swell, and I wanted to dance under this tree with you. I didn’t want to have achy feet on my wedding day, so I bedazzled my Keds. I had the perfect shoes for running, and I wasn’t the one who ran.” She turned on her side, showing her back to him.

He thought about how he’d apologize. He wasn’t sure what she knew or didn’t know. It had been so long, and both her parents were gone. Did she know her mother had been unfaithful? Did she believe until their dying days that they’d been hopelessly devoted to one another? Her father had died of a heart attack on a yacht filled with half-naked drunk coeds. Though he’d been gone, gossip traveled fast, and he’d gotten the condensed version every time his mother talked to someone from town.

“Look, Brie, I did what I did for a lot of reasons, but mostly it was to spare you pain and embarrassment.”


This was going far better than expected. “I’m sorry for hurting you, but if you’d known what I did, you would have been hurt so much more. I was a coward for many reasons. I should have stayed and let the grenade explode. At least then, maybe we could have worked it out, but I didn’t have the maturity to face them or you.” A loud sound startled him, and he scooted closer. “Brie.” He reached out and touched her leg, only to realize she was snoring.

Author Bio:

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International bestselling author of more than thirty novels, Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping love alive. Always a romantic, she blends real-life events with her vivid imagination to create characters and stories that lovers of contemporary romance, new adult, and romantic suspense will return to again and again.

Kelly has sold more than a quarter of a million books worldwide, and in 2021 she was awarded a Readers’ Favorite Award Gold Medal in the Contemporary Romance category for A Tablespoon of Temptation.

You can learn more about Kelly at http://www.authorkellycollins.com.

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