Review of Eternal Flame: A Rose of Anzio Story by Alexa Kang

Eternal Flame: A Rose of Anzio StoryEternal Flame: A Rose of Anzio Story by Alexa Kang

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This story is a YA, romance, time-travel, historical fiction. And I love the premise: a soldier from 1944 and a teenage-girl from 1989 in love!

I don’t read many time-travel stories, but time travel is something that intrigues me, so I went into this novel expecting to enjoy it, and I did.

The protagonist is 16-year-old Julia Olsen, who lives in a suburb of Chicago, and is pretty much just skimming by in life, like most teenagers. Coming off a bad breakup, she’s spending her time reading teen magazines, obsessing over why Trey (her ex) dumped her, and watching her grades slip. Her family recently moved into a new old house, and among the furniture left in the residence is a New Hampshire clock in Julia’s room. She can’t wait to be rid of the clock (and the other old furniture in her room) and get some new Ikea models.

She winds the clock in her boredom, goes to sleep, and wakes to a young man in her bed–a soldier from World War II! Alarmed, she runs from her room to alert her parents, but when she returns, he’s no where in sight. When the young man returns, things get interesting. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that time travel is at play, and it involves the New Hampshire clock. The soldier tells Julia his name–Edmond Ferris, although he goes by Ed.

Before long, Julia and Ed strike up a friendship, and as the holidays approach, they fall in love. Julia not only falls in love with this handsome, brave soldier who’s putting his life on the line (Ed returns to his time and comes back to 1989 several times), but she starts feeling a confidence in herself she hadn’t in a long time.

As they grew closer, however, the stakes get higher. Julia discovers some alarming truths about the past, about time travel, and about Ed. Ed promises her that they will be together in her time after he’s done fighting in the war. He’s committed to the cause, after all, and can’t just leave the other men. But Julia worries for Ed every time he goes back to 1944.

The story is an easy read and is well-researched for both time periods. The romance is believable, and you want nothing more than for Julia and Ed to have their happily-ever-after; however, is that possible?

The end really captures the reality of what would or could happen when two people from two time periods fall in love. I cried. I won’t tell you why, but this story will stay with me for a long time.

View all my reviews

A Year in Review…and Looking Forward

In 2018, I…

  • finished two manuscripts (fifth and sixth)
  • completed about half of my seventh manuscript
  • edited my third manuscript with the help of my writers group
  • published my third book
  • attended a writers conference at my local library for the second time
  • attended the Algonkian Pitch Conference in New York City
  • got feedback from an agents and editors on my writing
  • wrote my second short story in the horror genre
  • won third place with that short story in a short story contest on A Writer’s Path
  • watched several videos through Allison Lindstrom’s Blogging Business Club
  • posted a poem and an excerpt weekly on my blog
  • posted regularly on my author Facebook page and occasionally on other social media
  • promoted my books with Freebooksy and Rachel’s Random Resources
  • gathered new readers
  • read and reviewed several indie author books
  • used buffer.com for active posting on my social media sites
  • continued attending my local library’s writer group (now for 2 years)
  • deepened my friendship with several people from my writers group
  • began attending a second writers group of women
  • participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time and wrote 52k words
  • am working on a book in a new genre for me: psychological thriller
  • read 48 books

In 2019, I plan to…

  • finish my seventh manuscript in February
  • focus on marketing and branding for a while
  • promote my published books
  • edit my fourth and fifth manuscripts
  • publish my fourth and fifth books
  • begin writing my eighth book
  • work on more short stories
  • enter more online contests
  • continue to actively engage on social media
  • continue to find new bloggers to follows
  • enrich my friendship with fellow writers and authors
  • keep reading

 

hqdefault

Excerpt from Mile Marker 139 (Unpublished) – Chapter 11

December 31, 2017 – Sunday

“You know I ain’t gonna be surprised,” Russ grumbles as Brandy drives.

“Can you at least pretend?” his sister asks.

Russ glances in her direction. Her wavy brown hair is pulled up in a high ponytail, and she’s dressed up, which means her nice jeans and a new sports jersey. Brandy was a jock in high school and is the soccer mom who coaches her kids’ games. She’s happiest in a pair of sweatpants and a T-shirt. While Russ has a hard time finding enough leg room in Brandy’s Focus and his head grazes the ceiling, Brandy has the driver’s seat moved as close to the steering wheel as it can go. They share only their light brown eyes.

“I’m no actor,” Russ says, smirking.

Brandy huffs. “If I weren’t driving, I’d pop you one in the arm, bro. You know me, Ed, and the guys went through a lot to put this thing together. And on New Year’s Eve of all nights! You know places are booked months, years, in advance. The reservation fee alone’s probably more than your monthly salary.”

Russ chuckles. “You don’t know how much I make a month.”

“No, but you ain’t exactly living in high society if that hole you rent in Inwood’s anything to go by. I still don’t know why you gotta live in Manhattan. It’s a betrayal, Russ. What’s wrong with your home back in Queens?”

Russ grins. “What’s it to you? I hardly stay there. Maybe it’s time to move, but getting back to this stupid party, I never asked any of you loons to do anything.”

Brandy pulls the car into a private lot and parks. After turning off the ignition, she turns toward her brother. “Ah, Rusty, we do it ‘cause we love ya.”

Russ cringes at his childhood name. “Don’t call me Rusty. I’ll go in, act all surprised, and grab a beer. Seeing my pals is reason enough to have a good time.”

“That’s the spirit!”

They step out of the car to frigid wind whipping their faces. Russ puts an arm around his sister as they hustle toward the bar, a hopping new place called Jazzy Sue’s not far from Penn Station. Once inside, they’re packed shoulder-to-shoulder with the patrons. Brandy calls over the noise of the crowd and the music to the bartender that they’re there for a private party.

“Back room!” the bartender mouths and waves them on.

Russ and Brandy shuffle through the crowd. Arriving outside the door to the party room, Russ grins at his sister and shakes his head.

“What’s so funny?” she asks.

“You all kept teasing me about throwing an ‘Over the Hill’ party for months. No one really thinks I’m gonna be shocked.”

Brandy smiles, amused. “Point taken. Let’s just get in there and outta this body heat. Ugh, I can feel the sweat between my–”

“Don’t say it.”

Brandy laughs. “C’mon.”

She opens the door, and the crowd beyond the threshold shouts, “Surprise!”

Russ smiles in spite of himself as he enters. Hands clap him on the back, and someone passes him a beer. He knocks it back.

“How’s it feel to be an old man, buddy?”

“Amazed you’re still walking without a cane!”

“Happy birthday, man!”

Russ can’t help but chuckle. So many faces, so many voices, it’s dizzying but great. It doesn’t take long before he’s swept up in the chaos. People he hasn’t seen in years are there. After a few beers, Russ’s guard drops. He’s caught up in conversations he won’t remember in the morning, but he’s sure he’ll remember the feeling of being thought of by all these people.

After rounds of junk food and a large slice of cake, Russ leans back in a chair, full. Some of the crowd has thinned. His best buddy, Ed, pulls up a seat.

“You sure you won’t have another beer?” Ed asks, smirking.

Russ shakes his head, chuckling. “And get a beer gut like you, man? No thanks. Looks like I’ll be working out extra hard at the gym this week whenever I can.”

“You have a long way to go to beat me.” Ed pats his belly. “It’s been too long since we talked about real shit. There a special girl in your life? Time’s tickin’ away if you ever wanna settle down.”

Russ frowns. “What d’you know about settling down?”

Ed straightens in the chair and regards his friend. “Hey, be nice. That was years ago, man.”

Russ knows it’s s sore point to bring up Ed’s ex-wife. “Nah, there’s no one.” Despite what he says, and maybe it’s the alcohol talking, he half-smiles. “Well, there’s this one girl, but she doesn’t count.”

“Do tell.”

“It’s nothing. I shouldn’t even be thinkin’ about her.”

“Well, shit, buddy, now you gotta tell me.”

“Her name’s Shelley. Beyond that, I don’t know much.”

“How’d you meet? Online dating?”

Russ laughs. “Nope, not even gonna go there. You know it’s next to impossible to meet someone with my schedule.”

“Well, how’d you meet?”

“You ain’t gonna believe this, but she was at one of the rest stops along my route. Somewhere in Ohio, past Cleveland.”

“Sounds romantic.” Ed chuckles and finishes his beer. “Sure you don’t want another? You only turn the big 4-0 once.”

“What the hell? Why not?”

Ed leaves and returns with two bottles of some brand of Christmas ale. The liquid gold slides down Russ’s throat with ease.

“Doubt I’ll see her again,” Russ says. “She might be homeless.”

“Dude, that’s messed up. You’ve got a thing for a homeless chick? What’s her best feature? The lice in her hair or the trash bag she wears?”

Russ stops smiling. “Don’t be a jerk, Ed.”

“Sorry, sorry.” Ed sets down his beer and holds up both hands in mock-surrender. “Just a bad joke, but c’mon, pal. You don’t really think you’re gonna score with a chick like that.”

“No.” Russ smirks, but a prickle of sadness creeps into his heart. He hasn’t had any feelings for a woman in years. The long hours on the road, the time away from home–it keeps him busy and thinking about anything other than falling in love again. Or that’s the lie he feeds himself.

Ed slaps Russ on the back, snapping him out of his thoughts. “Look at the time! It’s almost the New Year. I gotta find Susan. Find a girl somewhere in here to kiss. At least give yourself that.”

“Go get your latest fling, you crazy son-of-a-bitch.”

The TV above the bar shows the ball getting ready to drop in Times Square. For how close 42nd Street is, he’s never been there on New Year’s Eve, but as the seconds count down to 2018, everyone in the room chants. Arms snake around Russ, pulling him into the fray, and he finds himself counting down with them.

“Happy New Year!”

Someone grabs Russ and lays a wet smacker on his lips. When he pulls back, he’s stunned to see a girl who’s barely legal.

“Who are you?” he asks.

She laughs and darts out of the room, leaving Russ bemused.

“Happy birthday, old man,” he mutters.

LIKE WHAT YOU’VE READ?  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG, WHERE I POST AN EXCERPT EVERY SATURDAY. ALSO KEEP UP-TO-DATE WITH MY WRITING PROJECTS!

My novel, A Laughing Matter of Pain, is available for $4.99 here.
My novel, Lorna versus Laura, is available for $4.99 here.

My novel, Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful, is available for $5.99 here.

 

Excerpt from Rocks and Flowers in a Box (WIP)

When I rested a hand on his warm back, and a snore elicited from his mouth, my lips eased into a smile. Tristan shifted, then stirred. He blinked open his brilliant blue eyes and found me.

“Lorna.” He licked his lips, thirsty, unsure. He sat up.

My hand flopped to my side. “Are you okay?”

“Is something burning?”

“What?” Then I smelled it. “The spaghetti!” I darted from the room and down the stairs to the kitchen. An over-boiling pot greeted me. I turned off the burner.

I groaned when I heard Tristan’s soft chuckle. “Was that dinner?” he asked.

“It was supposed to be. Maybe it still is.” I put on oven mitts and drained the water. “I think we can eat these. They’re not too ruined.”

Tristan peeked over my shoulder. “Just add the sauce. It’ll cover any burnt flavor.”

I pursed my lips, half-amused, half-annoyed, and retrieved the spaghetti sauce. After mixing it well, I grabbed a couple of dishes and heaped them with my attempt at dinner. When I set the plates on the table, Tristan already had the salad there, along with the utensils and cups of water.

“Thank you.”

We sat. I murmured a prayer and listened as Tristan gave his usual grunt of “Amen.”

The clang of forks on the edge of the plates and the setting of the cups on the table filled the silence that followed for the next few minutes. I was still picking away at my plate when Tristan finished and shoved his aside.

“As usual, delicious.”

My cheeks warmed pleasantly. “I know it’s your favorite.”

“It’s too bad meat is so expensive. That would be the perfect complement to the rest of the dish. One day, I imagine large meatballs covered with your famous sauce.”

I quirked my lips. “Famous sauce? My sauce is hardly that good.”

He chuckled. “Let me be the judge of that.”

LIKE WHAT YOU’VE READ?  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG, WHERE I POST AN EXCERPT EVERY SATURDAY. ALSO KEEP UP-TO-DATE WITH MY WRITING PROJECTS!

My novel, A Laughing Matter of Pain, is available for $4.99 here.
My novel, Lorna versus Laura, is available for $4.99 here.

My novel, Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful, is available for $5.99 here.

Review of Cordial Killing (A Backyard Farming Mystery) by Vikki Walton

CKPreLaunch

Cordial Killing (A Backyard Farming Mystery)

Description: Anne is excited for the opening of the Brandywine Inn. Kandi and Hope are her partners in the bed-and-breakfast in Carolan Springs, Colorado, where they also provide homesteading and herbal workshops for guests.
As soon as the guests arrive, it’s plain that the five old college chums have bad blood between them. When Anne finds a threatening note, it’s clear that someone is out for revenge. Then they find a guest dead. At first, the death appears to be natural, but suspicions begin to grow.
When a blizzard threatens the Inn, will it trap them all with a killer and no way out?
Cordial Killing is a classic who-dun-it with a twist. Set in the fictional small town of Carolan Springs, you will enjoy an armchair getaway into beautiful Colorado.

NewReleaseREVIEW: Cordial Killings is the second book in The Backyard Farming series by Vikki Walton. As a cozy mystery set in a bed and breakfast, I was looking forward to reading this book during the colder weather with a warm drink and a fire going. The setting is perfect for a cozy, and Walton doesn’t disappoint with descriptions of the food and drinks that the characters often partake. However, I wanted more description of the setting. A picturesque backdrop of Colorado Rockies in the winter, the blanket of glistening snow, the way freshly fallen snow coats tree branches…these are the beauties of winter that could have been played up. In addition, I would have loved more details on the decor of the rooms in the bed and breakfast. The layout of the house is described, but I feel that more details would have given it even more of that cozy feeling I’m looking for when I dive into this type of book.

The characters who run the bed and breakfast, Anne, Kandi, and Hope, are sweet–the type of ladies you would want for friends. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for all the guests, a group of middle-aged women who were college friends and are reuniting for a weekend of learning how to make tonics, tinctures, and tisanes. The old friends (or frenemies?) are aptly and cutely called the Elizabeth Taylors, named Taylor, Liz, Lil, and Beth. The weekend is supposed to be for ladies only, but when Beth arrives with husband Edward, a womanizing cardiologist with more than one type of heart trouble, tensions build in the group, and old wounds open and fester.

I kept waiting for the first death, but it wasn’t until I was halfway through the book. I would have liked less banter between the women and for this important action step to occur much sooner, perhaps about twenty percent of the way into the story.  While the bad blood between the group is important backstory and plays into the plot, I think the story needs to move quicker in the beginning to get to the point of a cozy mystery: solving a murder or suspected murder.

Another death follows shortly, and from there, the pace really picks up. I was pleased with how the rest of the story flowed and played out. I admit I suspected the killer and turned out to be right, but as the sheriff and Anne interview the different guests, motives for each are presented and well thought-out. The ending was satisfying.

This was an easy, enjoyable read–a good book if you’re looking for something fun and not too serious.

4 of out 5 stars

Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway!


About the author:
Vikki’s first words were “I get it!” This attitude became her life-long mantra to always go after what she wants. It also helped her realize her desire to help others get what they really want out of life.
After spending years as a registered interior designer, Vikki began to write. While writing for periodicals, Vikki found herself on assignment interviewing publishers in Colorado Springs. It wasn’t long before the natural beauty of Colorado captured her heart.
After moving to Colorado, Vikki worked with nonprofits. However, she soon realized she needed more autonomy in her work.

Vikki started her own business as a nonprofit consultant and grant writer. She has helped nonprofits across the U.S. to receive millions of dollars for  their work. Yet, she realized doing one thing wouldn’t satisfy her for long.

Vikki became a Work Quilter™ combining her many passions to create multiple income streams. She started speaking and teaching adults on myriad and diverse topics around her knowledge, skills and passions.   She’s taught and spoken on Creative Writing, Design for Heart and Home, Fundraising Fundamentals , Suburban Homesteading, Permaculture, How to Get What You Really Want, and of course, Work Quilting. Two words that continually appear on instructor and speaker feedback forms are “engaging” and “knowledgeable.”
Born in Chicago, Vikki lived outside of Paris for a few years as a small child. That may account for her love of travel. She moved to Wichita with her parents before going on to live most of her life around the San Antonio, Texas area. She is the founder of #girlswantago and you can connect through Facebook or www.girlswantago.com 
Vikki is also an experienced, professional  global house and pet sitter.  
Vikki’s favorite genre is mystery so it wasn’t long before she had begun her first cozy mystery series.  Incorporating her love of suburban homesteading, or as some call it, backyard farming, Vikki’s first book is Chicken Culprit. 

You’ll most often find Vikki out hiking with her dog, outside gardening, traveling abroad, house or pet sitting, or writing her next book.

FirstinSeries
Marie’s Elderberry Cordial Recipe

Items Needed

  • Quart canning jar with lid
  • Funnel (large mouth)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Label or masking tape
  • Sharpie
  • Cheesecloth (optional)
  • Strainer (optional)
  • Decorative Bottle (optional)
Ingredients Amounts needed Comments
Elderberries 1.25 cup dried or 2 cups fresh For fresh, remove from stems.
Brandy 3 cups Can also use other alcohol but brandy is most commonly used.
Honey ¼ to ½ cup (or to taste) Vegans or those who don’t have access to good local raw honey can substitute maple syrup. Acquiring local honey will provide your cordial with its own unique flavor.
Optional
Cinnamon stick One Flavor along with Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory properties
Rosehips ¼ cup Extra Vitamin C
Ginger 1-2 tbsp grated fresh ginger Flavor along with Antioxidants

Instructions

  • Place elderberries (and any optional ingredients, if using) into quart jar.
  • Cover with brandy.
  • Add honey.
  • Stir with wooden spoon or put lid on and shake.
  • Place in dark, cool space (usually a cabinet will do) for three to four weeks.
  • If desired, strain with cheesecloth and using a strainer, put into a decorative bottle.
  • Or you can leave ingredients in jar.
  • In winter take 1-2 tbsp daily for immune-boosting. If ill, take 3-4 tbsp (basically a shot glass) a few times a day until symptoms improve. This cordial can also be used as a base for poor-tasting tinctures such as osha.
  • Can last for a year with fresh berries and longer if made with dried berries—if you have it that long!

Notes

Elderberry is a wonderful plant to have in your yard or on your property. It has many medicinal benefits and uses. The elderberry plant most commonly associated with immune-boosting and flu-fighting properties is the dark berry plant (Elderberry Sambucus Nigra). Elder flower is also used in elixirs, teas and food.  Elder was the International Herb Association’s Herb of the Year in 2013. It’s usually harvested in September.

This Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


Character interview:

Hope, can you share with our readers about yourself?AvailableFavBookstore

Certainly. I live above the shop of an herbal apothecary I own in Carolan Springs, Colorado. I’m also a medical doctor.. My mother, Faith, lives with me and I care for her. I’m an only child and I moved back to care for my mother when she started having health issues. I love living in a small town and I love Colorado. I’m in the perfect place for the life I want to live and the work I want to do. I have a new intern, Autumn, so that’s helping me to expand into other areas of interest.

You’ve recently opened a bed-and-breakfast with your friends. Can you tell us about that?

My father, Ralph Rogers, passed away, and I inherited his house. I didn’t know for years that Ralph was my father,  so it surprised me when he left me the home in his will. The house is a huge, old Victorian that probably stood by itself for many years before the other homes went up around it.  Anne, who has become a good friend, and Kandi, another friend, talked about the possibility of opening a bed-and-breakfast in the house. As they live on either side of the house, it works well for them. Anne has written and taught about suburban homesteading while Kandi is a great cook. Plus, I get to do teaching on herbs through workshops we hold there. It’s called the Brandywine Inn as Ralph was a big fan of Brandywine tomatoes. In the summer we open it up primarily for tourists and those who come for the homesteading fair. Then we can hold workshops in the spring and fall.

Tell us about where you live.

I live in the small mountain town of Carolan Springs in Colorado. (Don’t try to find it on a map as it’s only in the author’s imagination). I have to say the weather here in Colorado takes some getting used to. There can be a snowstorm in the morning and by the afternoon, lots of bright sunshine and warm temperatures. The key is to wear layers at any time of the year! I finally learned that after living here for a few years. I’m excited about spring because it’s that shoulder season when it’s normally crisp morning and sunny days. It’s a great time for hiking and seeing all the early wildflowers popping up and sometimes even mushrooms. We’re incorporating hike opportunities for our guests.

Can you tell us a bit more about Carolan Springs and its inhabitants?

It’s a fairly small town—around 3500 people—and just like everywhere else, you have many characters. My shop is along the main street filled with little shops and everyone is usually nice though we have some cranky folks just like any other town. I think Sheriff Carson and Anne should just get on with it and become a couple because they’re both so stubborn that they’d be a perfect match. But don’t tell them I said anything. Problem is they’ll probably end up with others. Oh well, what can you do? I’m sure you’ll find out more about the town’s residents in future stories.

You mentioned the author, what can you tell us about her?

Well, she was born in Chicago but spent most of her life in Texas—around the San Antonio area. But just like me, she loves Colorado’s mountains. She grows and uses herbs and making her own tinctures, tonics, and salves. She loves the basic edible herbs like basil, cilantro, dill, and others. A few of her favorite medicinal herbs are astragalus and osha for tinctures along with comfrey she uses in salves. In addition to writing mysteries, she’s also written nonfiction books. She loves everything about being a suburban homesteader or what some call backyard farming. She’s a certified permaculture designer, has chickens and beehives and gardens of various types.

Hope, can you tell us what’s next for the series?

We’ve all been talking about getting beehives for the property, so we can offer honey to our guests. Having bees on the property will also help with all the gardens we want to install. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of those being a part of the next book in the series.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I can’t think of anything. Though my mother (Faith) says she has a bad feeling about our opening weekend at the bed-and-breakfast. She has second-sight so that’s a bit disconcerting that she says she has a bad feeling. But I’m sure it’s nothing. I hope.

Excerpt from Rocks and Flowers in a Box (WIP)

When Macy showed up at my side door with a large pot and an equally big smile, a subdued John standing behind her, I let them in graciously.

“What did you bring?” I asked. “It smells wonderful.”

Macy set the pot on my stove and turned on the burner. “Just some of my infamous vegetable soup, ingredients courtesy of my little garden. It needs a few minutes to reheat, but then I think we’ll be good to go.”

We hugged.

“Thank you. I’m sure Tristan will appreciate it. Your cooking was always better than mine.”

John, who stood just inside the door, smiled and patted his slight paunch. “She’s not too shabby.”

Macy and I exchanged amused looks, laughing.

“Thanks for coming over, John,” I said, giving him a quick hug.

“Not a problem.” He glanced toward the doorway to the dining and living rooms, where Tristan’s snores entered the kitchen. “If Macy keeps bringing your husband food, you might need to put him on a diet.”

Macy rolled her eyes. “You need to get back to playing on the men’s baseball league and not just coaching Johnny’s little league, dear. As for poor Tristan, I think he just needs to take it easy.”

I took some bowls out of the cupboards and set the table. “Sorry the kitchen’s such a mess.” I gestured at the stacks of boxes on the floor along the walls.

Macy waved me off. “Well, that’s why we’re here, darling–to help get your house set up. Just think, once all of Tristan’s stuff is moved in, you can start decorating and making it your own.”

“One thing at a time, Mace.” I grinned and went into the living room, where Tristan slumbered. I watched the steady rise and fall of his chest for several seconds, contemplating whether to wake him.

I returned to the kitchen. “I think we should eat and let Tristan grab a bowl when he’s ready. I’d hate to disturb him.”

“Fine by me,” John said, taking a bowl off the table and going to the stove to fill it.

Macy and I gave each other knowing looks that said the same thing: Men.

LIKE WHAT YOU’VE READ?  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG, WHERE I POST AN EXCERPT EVERY SATURDAY. ALSO KEEP UP-TO-DATE WITH MY WRITING PROJECTS!

My novel, A Laughing Matter of Pain, is available for $4.99 here.
My novel, Lorna versus Laura, is available for $4.99 here.

My novel, Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful, is available for $5.99 here.

Excerpt from Rocks and Flowers in a Box (WIP)

I filled two glasses and placed them on the table. We drew up mismatched chairs and drank. Tristan finished first and sighed with pleasure.

I eyed him over the top of my glass. He gazed out the back window toward his house, the line between his eyebrows deepening. I put my glass down and asked, “So?”

“So, what?”

“Really, Tristan? Do you enjoy playing these guessing games?” My mouth hitched up on one side.

“Maybe.” There was a teasing undertone in his voice, but the crease between his eyebrows was still present.

“We’re married now. I think you can tell me anything.”

He whisked his eyes away from the window and met mine. “There’s nothing I could tell you that you don’t know already.”

“I find that hard to believe,” I joked, then grew serious. “But something’s off about you today.” As happy as I was, doubt poked at me.

“To be honest, I never thought I’d be married again.”

I took his hands in mine. For a moment, I stared at his large, rough hands–hands that could fix anything, from a house to a car, but also had typed and penned thousands of poetic prose, weaving those threads into the fabric of three novels. I met his eyes. “I think this will taking adjusting on both of our parts. We weren’t exactly social butterflies before we met.” I laughed.

The line between Tristan’s eyebrows lessened, and crinkles formed around his eyes as he smiled. “That’s the understatement of the century.”

After the moment of levity passed, I said, “So, enlighten me, O Talkative One.”

“Going through all my things, it’s like digging through the past.” His eyes shifted to the box on the table. “Maybe it would be better if I got rid of most of these things and be more like you. You know, completely start over.”

The tea kettle whistled. I stood and went to the stove, turned off the burner, and added a teabag. I gave a little snort. “My house is filling up quickly, but throwing away everything from your past isn’t the answer, Tristan. You can see how well that served me.” I joined him at the table.

“My stuff is taking over in here. I’m letting go of the house. It’s time I let go of other reminders, too.”

“Of Julie?” I asked quietly.

“Yes, of Julie.” He stared out the window toward his house again, as if his wife’s ghost were looking back at him out one of the windows.

“Hey.” I placed my hand on his arm.

He slowly turned his head, but his eyes were on the table.

I moved my hand to his cheek. “You wouldn’t be forgetting her.”

Eyes so empty and so full lifted from staring at the tabletop. “I know that here.” He pointed to his head. “But here, well, that’s another matter.” He gestured toward his chest.  “Pain and pleasure mixed.”

My lips quirked. “We make quite the pair, don’t we? I can hear Macy asking now, ‘Why can’t you two just be happy? Why do you always have to complicate things?’”

Tristan half-smiled. “Your best friend doesn’t know the half of it. Messy people are like that…complicated.”

Note: Rocks and Flowers in a Box is the sequel to my second novel, Lorna versus Laura.

LIKE WHAT YOU’VE READ?  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG, WHERE I POST AN EXCERPT EVERY SATURDAY. ALSO KEEP UP-TO-DATE WITH MY WRITING PROJECTS!

My novel, A Laughing Matter of Pain, is for $4.99 available here.
My novel, Lorna versus Laura, is available for $4.99 here.

My novel, Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful, is available for $5.99 here.