Sunday, September 30, 2018

Excerpt time!

In my contemporary romance, About That Summer, Molly finds herself at the same summer camp where she met her future ex husband, Jamie. They've been brought together for their mutual friend's memorial service, and neither one is particularly happy about it.

Except that they still love each other.



I ducked back under the water and started to kick, propelling myself away from the rope divider. Those blasted lily pads hadn’t done anything for me. They bound me to the boy who eventually became the man who dumped me for having a bum uterus. If I thought they’d catch fire, I would’ve ignited the whole patch out of principal. But for now, all I could do was paddle away. With a burst of energy from deep within, I swam toward the dock in the butterfly, my weakest stroke, barely slowing down to draw a breath. My muscles burned in protest, but I kept swimming. Burning muscles and tight lungs felt infinitely better than an aching heart. After approximately twenty-three laps between the ropes and the dock, I finally breast-stroked my way back to shore.
Crawling back onto the beach, I pushed myself onto my feet, breathless and exhausted. I needed a nap and some food. Something fattening and bad for me. Sue’s barbeque ribs sounded better than a Thanksgiving feast. Tilting my head forward, I shook my hands through my hair, sending droplets onto the beach at my feet as I walked back to my towel. Maybe Sue wanted some help in the kitchen. All I needed were dry clothes, and then I’d wander to the mess hall to check in with her. When I reached the overgrown tree line, I bent down to retrieve it, and cracked my head on something solid.
“Ow! Mother f—”
Every hair on my body stood on end, and I stood bolt upright. “Jamie!?”
Kneeling in the brush by my towel, looking sweaty and angry as he hurriedly tied his shoe, was my ex-husband.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Try Breaking Girl Code on for size...

Still haven't grabbed your copy of the Once Upon a Summer Anthology? 

Read an excerpt of my new adult contemporary, Breaking Girl Code, below, and see if it wets your whistle...



Peeling his antagonizing gaze off of me, he propped his arm around her shoulder and gave her a quick squeeze. I noticed how his upper arms stretched the sleeves of his fitted grey t-shirt, then jerked my eyes back in a forward facing direction.
“Liza.” That’s all he said. Like some sort of royal acknowledgment, or something. Douche bag.
I shook my head. This was going to be a long night.
“Thanks for inviting us.” Liza grinned at me over her shoulder. “Aubrey, don’t be shy. Did you find a date for my friend?”
Liza.” My face scalded.
Preston drug a hand through his sun-streaked hair, standing it on end. Between the sexed up tresses, the khaki shorts slung low on his hips, and his tanned skin, Preston looked as if he’d stepped off a commercial set. It was aggravating. And sexy. But mostly aggravating.
“Uh, my friend, Jeremy, is going to hang with her.” Preston shifted his gaze to me. “Hey.”
“Hi.” I swatted at a mosquito. “Listen, I don’t—”
“Oh, good! He found a friend for you!” Liza batted her eyes at her date. “She’s very excited.”
I grunted. “No, I’m—”
“Aubrey, right? Glad you came.” Preston nodded at me. “Do you want a beer?”
Liza’s smile faltered. “She’s my DD. But I do!”
I shifted in place. His gaze was heavy, and it made me want to kick him in the shins. Or purr. One of the two. “Aubrey Snow.”
His full lips pulled back, revealing that prize-winning smile. Somebody give that boy a blue ribbon. “That explains a lot.” Preston took Liza’s hand. “Come on, I’ll introduce you to my friend, Becker. This is his step-dad’s cabin.”
“Hey, wait.” I shoved my way through the crowd of partygoers. The scent of barbequed burgers and beer were heavy in the air, as we rounded the side of the house and strode onto a wraparound deck which faced the water. “Whatexplains a lot?”
“You’re kind of an ice queen,” Preston replied, pulling my best friend along. “Get it? Snow? Ice? By the way, you smell great, Liza.”





Saturday, September 15, 2018

A moment for the books.

I am not close with my family. Without going into the ins and outs of why, we'll just say I'm not, and I'm okay with it.



That said, I have always had a soft spot in my heart towards my nieces and nephews, my two brother's children. There are three nieces and three nephews, and they're all extraordinary and brilliant in their own way, and despite not having done a good job maintaining my relationship with them (because of the aforementioned non-closeness,) I have always, always adored them, and would pretty much jump in front of a train for them.

Last weekend, I was given an opportunity I hadn't expected. I was asked to arrange flowers for one of my nieces' wedding in Hood River, Oregon. (In case you didn't know, I was a florist in another life, and so often when someone in my family gets married, I do the flowers.) But because I have an estranged relationship with much of my family, I had originally planned on simply taking the flowers to the venue, sitting quietly in the back at the ceremony, wishing my niece well, then hitting the road to GTFO.

But instead something magical happened.



My oldest niece, the bride's sister, asked me to drive wagon-train style to Oregon with her little family, where we stayed in the same hotel. I was able to play with her six year old, and cuddle with her four month old, and share a dinner with she and her husband. These small acts made me feel important and needed, in circumstances where I needed that reassurance badly. The way those two little kids smile and hug me fills my heart in a way I didn't think possible.

And as if that weren't enough to fill my soul for a good long while, my second oldest niece, the Bride-to-Be, asked my daughter (a gifted makeup artist) to do her makeup, and then asked if she could spend the morning of her wedding with us in our hotel room, getting ready for her ceremony.



I was flabbergasted. Utterly flummoxed in the best possible way.

Instead of hanging with friends, she chose to be with me--the aunt nobody likes, the family black sheep. We spent hours (her, her sister the Matron of Honor, her niece, my mother, my daughter, and me) in our hotel room doing makeup, giggling, talking, and gossiping. We discussed silly topics and serious ones. I got to know my nieces more than I ever have before, and I discovered that they are some of the kindest, most loving young women I've ever met. It felt like they were seeing me, and I was seeing them, 100% clearly for the first time. I loved every second of it.

I never would've thought that I would be the person my niece--and her sister, for that matter--would've wanted to spend such a special morning with.



And my heart overflowed as a result.

Literally never been so happy. And it was in the midst of one of the most awkward and uncomfortable weekends I've ever had.

And you know what? I learned something, too. I am important to people. I haven't believed that for a long, long time. I've been living my life under the assumption that I am very, very disposable to folks. That my presence is neither wanted, nor required amongst most people. But for some reason, I was not only wanted, but needed, and it. felt. great. You know what felt equally great? I realized that I needed them right back. *shuddering sigh*

What a cool experience.

I loved being a part of such a special day.



I will always, always be grateful for the experience, and for the love my oldest niece has shown me lately. It really is something to feel like I have a place in the crazy, dysfunctional, whackadoodle puzzle that is my family. Maybe someday I'll find my place with the rest of my nieces and nephews, too. If I don't, that's okay. Like I said before, I'm okay with the way things are. But if I do, I can't imagine how full my heart will be.

Thank you, Ry and Bean.

xoxo
(Aunt Sissy)
Brooke