It was published a few years ago through InkSpell Publishing, and my journey with ISP was lovely. They're still supportive of me, even though I've moved on to self publishing. Which is more than an author can ask for.
I adore the characters of Vincent and Charlotte. This story was so tender to write. It covered some sensitive topics, and was set in one of my favorite places. I still get a fluttery-heart and misty eyed when I read through it's pages...
Have you read The Carny yet? If not, here's an excerpt to wet your whistle....
“The lighthouses close at sunset. Don’t they?” I pointed out as Vin took my hand and helped me out of the truck. The wind lilted up from the surf a few hundred feet below the lighthouse, blowing a tendril of my unruly hair across my face.
Vin caught my hair on the wind and tucked it behind my ear. “The sun hasn’t gone down yet.”
Glancing westward, I scrunched up my face. “I’d say we’ve got about forty five minutes.”
“Ah, yes. But I know the groundskeeper. His name is Hal, and his son, Logan, runs the cotton candy booth for me.” Vin put his arm around my shoulders and guided me towards the sloping sidewalk that led to the lighthouse. “Let’s just say that Logan has been caught skipping off early on his shifts, and Hal’s begged me to keep him on staff. So he owes me a favor.”
I looked up towards him. “What do you mean?”
Vin smiled, the skin on the sides of his eyes crinkling happily. “I get to stay here after sunset. All night, if I want to.”
I looked down at my shoes as we walked. “Sounds like he’s a good person to have owing you favors.”
“I won’t complain. I like escaping from my dad’s place once in a while.” He chuckled. “Come on, I want to show you something.”
I followed Vin down the walk and around the lighthouse. Its white paint gleamed in contrast to its black roof. I couldn’t help smiling. This really was a picturesque setting for a date, but where were we going to eat?
“Oh, wow…” All of the air hissed from my lungs as soon as we crossed around to the front of the structure.
There, on the tiny bit of earth before the rocky slope down to ocean below, was a tiny round table topped with a white tablecloth. There were several candles flickering in the center, and a bud vase bearing one single stem of bright blue delphinium that shuddered in the wind. The two folding chairs on either side of the table were covered in white cloth, and then tied back with strips of bright red fabric, which I recognized from the windows of the ticket booth at the carnival. On one of the plates, there sat a small box, ornately wrapped and tied with a silver bow.
“Vin! You didn’t have to go to this much trouble!” Tears pricked at the backs of my eyes. “I…you…I mean….I…”
He kissed my knuckles. “You deserve it. Just say thank you, Charlotte.”
“Thank you, Charlotte.” I smirked at him. “This is spectacular. How did you manage to light those candles in the wind?”
Vin scooped one of the candles off of the table, and touched the inside. There was a tiny bulb flickering on and off inside. “Check it out. Electric candles.”
“Well played, sir.” I pulled out a chair. “May I sit?”
“Wait.” He dashed around the table to pull out my chair. “Here you go.”
I sat down, grinning to myself. “Thank you. So what’s for dinner?”
“Actually, I borrowed a recipe from my stepdad.” He went over to the foil hot and cold bags that were sitting nearby. “I made smoked salmon risotto, and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto.”
I nearly swallowed my tongue. He’d just blown my chicken salad out of the water, and upped the ante all in one. “Wow.” I cleared my throat. “You went to some serious effort. I’m really impressed.”
“My stepdad hired me in his kitchen when I was in college.” He set a warm dish between our two plates. “I started off washing dishes, then worked my way up to a line cook. That’s how I paid for my first apartment. I would have become a chef if I’d not had a fondness for medicine.”
I breathed in the heavenly aroma. “Is this local salmon?”
He winked at me. “Of course. I bought it off of a guy on the reservation. He makes the best smoked salmon around.”
At the mention of the reservation, my stomach pitched. The look on Martha’s face earlier flashed through my mind, and I took a deep breath. “Have you spoken to Martha today?”
“Um, no. It was her day off.” Vin dished the risotto onto our plates. “Why?”
“I ran into her today. She was with her granddaughter.”
He served a couple stalks of asparagus to me. “Loralei? She’s a cute kid.”
Nodding, I began to slice the vegetable thoughtfully. “That she is. I ran into an old friend while I was with Martha, too.”
“Did Martha give everyone free passes to the carnival?” He asked, passing me a roll. “She’s always doing that. She’s too nice for her own good.”
“I agree.” I took a bite and felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up. “Holy cow. This is incredible.”
“It’s nothing compared to my stepdad’s. His will make you weep with joy.”
I tilted my head at him. “Just say thank you, Vin.”
The corner of his mouth tugged upward. “Thank you, Vin.”