Thursday, April 19, 2018

Vangie Vale and the Murdered Macaron Now Available on Audible

About the book 
Small towns and gossip go together like flaky crust and sweet pastry cream. Between the police scanners, the coffee ladies, and the senior center, no secret is safe for long. But Vangie Vale wants nothing more than to stay under the radar...especially the police radar. So when her new bakery is linked to a murder investigation, nothing will stop the gossip mill from connecting her to the dead body. Can't have that. 
In order to clear her good name and keep her face off the front page, this bakery owner becomes extra nosy...with a little side of breaking and entering... But when she comes face to face with the sheriff, Vangie can't ignore the fact that one of her macarons was involved in a murder. She has to find the real murderer. 

And and few others are saying
A complicated story, VANGIE VALE AND THE MURDERED MACARON, introduces us to a unique protagonist with a hidden background.
~Cozy Up With Kathy
This is the first offering in a new series, and I found it fascinating.
~Book Babble
Ms. Syme creates a refreshing, unique protagonist in Vangie Vale and sets up situations that allows both the character and the plot to shine.
~Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder
…this was well written and flowed well. It was a fast read that kept me guessing and turning the pages.
~Melina’s Book Blog
Vangie is a well-written, engaging, and complicated character, who captured my interest right away.
~Jane Reads
Vangie Vale quickly became one of my favorite cozy mystery heroines.
~A Chick Who Reads
Read more reviews over at the Great Escapes Tour.  Click here to visit the tour. 
And I thought
I read Vangie Vale and the Murdered Macaron last August. 
I loved it.  I know if your a fan of Cozy Mysteries you'll love it too.
Click here to read my review. 

Buy the book 
Now available on Audible.  Click here to buy.
Also available on Kindle and in paperback.  Click here to buy.

After All by Laurie Winter-Release Day

After All

About the book 
After All (Warriors of the Heart #3)
by Laurie Winter
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Adult
Release Date: April 18, 2018
Two years after lifesaving surgery left her infertile, Molly Hernandez is running full steam toward her goal of becoming a DEA Special Agent. She won’t be distracted by falling in love with an Army veteran who’s focused on settling down and making babies.

Drew Atwater delayed marriage and family until his Army career ended. Now, he has a one-year plan to find the woman of his dreams. Unfortunately, the only woman he wants is a spirited cop determined to leave their peaceful town.

While working with troubled teens, Molly and Drew discover they make a powerful team, but their opposing goals threaten to pull them miles apart. Can the power of unselfish love prove their future together will surpass any dream they could accomplish alone?

Buy it today on Amazon.  Click here

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Farewell, My Cuckoo by Marty Wingate- Great Escapes Tour- Review

About the book (provided by Great Escapes Tours)
Julia Lanchester must defend her love nest from an invasive species: her boyfriend’s sister. And then there’s the little matter of murder . . .
“The cuckoo comes in April and sings its song in May. In June it changes tune and July it flies away.”
Wedding bells are ringing in the small British village of Smeaton-under-Lyme. Julia Lanchester’s second-in-command at the local tourist center is finally getting married, and the lovebirds are giving Julia and her live-in boyfriend, Michael Sedgwick, ideas about their own future. But before anyone can say “Will you,” Michael’s flighty older sister, Pammy, crashes the party, fresh off a breakup and lugging all her worldly possessions around with her in a tangle of plastic bags.
Before long, Julia’s cozy cottage starts feeling more like Pammy’s bachelorette pad. To keep herself from going cuckoo, Julia throws herself into her pet projects at work—until death disrupts her plans. First a body is found on the estate. Then the police discover that Pammy was the last one to see the man alive. And soon Julia gets the feeling that if she ever wants her home—or her boyfriend—back, she’ll have to get to the bottom of this mystery, even if it means breaking a few eggs.
And others are saying 
For a series that centers around birds, the mysteries are salted with a surprising number of tasty red herrings. It is all too easy to understand why Julia’s amateur sleuthing so often leads her astray – because the reader is right there with her.
~Reading Reality
This is one of those books that you read it more for the familiarity and connection to the characters than the mystery per se. Of course, we can not forget that someone has died and let me say that this is a quite twisted mystery, but when you follow a series, is because you like the characters and how the author writes, don’t you think?
Ms. Wingate is one of a very small handful of writers for which reading their latest book is ‘de rigueur’ for me. It’s like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one when I get my hands on her latest title. . .
~Back Porchervations
And I thought 
This was my introduction to Marty Wingate and The Birds 
Of A Feather mystery series.  
The main characters are Julia and her boyfriend Michael. 
In this installment Michael's sister Pammy arrives in town and settles into Julia and Michael's lives and apartment for a few days that turns into weeks.  Pammy's arrival turns everything upside down and 'crowded' in the 1 bedroom 1 apartment/cottage that Julia and Michael share. 
And then mere hours after Pammy's arrival a dead body is discovered in their little village.  

Leaving the reader thinking 'hmm'.  

This was an interesting read for me because it takes place in an English village.  Many of the residents live on land owned by the 
local Lord Linus.  Even Julia's cottage is part of the estate as she is the Manager of the tourist center.  

Even though the story line centers around the investigation of the murder that is a lot about bird watching.  Which is new to me but I was interested.

The plot seemed to run a little slow for me.  There wasn't a lot 
of sinister situations until almost the very end. 

There are a lot of towns people involved in the story making it a bit hard to keep up with everyone.  

Even though in the beginning I suspected that the 'Cuckoo' was Pammy and Julia was waiting to be rid of her they did become friends in the end.  And. Pammy found work and planned to 
move into her own place. 

I guess we will have to wait for the next book to see how Pammy's new job and new place works out. 

Farewell My Cuckoo  was a good read and I would enjoy reading more in the series and getting to know  some of the other characters.  

I received a complimentary copy. 
This review will appear on retail sites and Good Reads. 

Buy the book 

Visit the tour
To read more reviews, interviews and guest posts. Click here

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Hole in One- A Great Escapes Tour w/ Giveaway

About the book (provided by Great Escapes Tours)
Hoping to promote the Glass Dolphin antiques shop, co-owners Arabella Carpenter and Emily Garland agree to sponsor a hole in one contest at a charity golf tournament. The publicity turns out to be anything but positive, however, when Arabella’s errant tee shot lands in the woods next to a corpse.
They soon learn that the victim is closely related to Arabella’s ex-husband, who had been acting as the Course Marshal. With means, opportunity, and more than enough motive, he soon becomes the police department’s prime suspect, leaving Arabella and Emily determined to clear his name—even if they’re not entirely convinced of his innocence.
Dogged by incriminating online posts from an anonymous blogger, they track down leads from Emily’s ex-fiancĂ© (and the woman he left Emily for), an Elvis impersonator, and a retired antiques mall vendor with a secret of her own.
All trails lead to a mysterious cult that may have something to do with the murder. Can Arabelhe la and Emily identify the killer before the murderer comes after them?
And I thought
I enjoyed my introduction to the Glass Dolphin Mystery series. 
Riding in at book 2 didn't leave me with questions.  This book 
is written as a stand alone so if you missed book 1 like I did you'll 
be fine jumping in a book 2. 
The reader is taken on a journey to find the answers, the truth and to clear Arabella's ex's name.  The ex ends up being the prime 
suspect in a murder that takes places at a Hole In One fundraiser.
Since he was the fundraisers Course Marshall he was in the right place and the right time to be the trigger puller. 
Arabella and her assistant and co-worker Emily begin investigating a trail that leads to a weird kind of group and an Elvis impersonator 
that has a few answers but are they enough to finger the trigger puller and get Levon off the hook?
Hole In One was a great mystery that just might keep the reader guessing.  You'll definitely keep turning the pages to see how it all plays out.  

I received a complimentary copy. 
This review will appear on retail sites and Good Reads. 

Buy the book 
                 Amazon Barking Rain Press B&N Kobo

Visit the tour

To read more reviews, interviews and enter Giveaway visit the 
tour.  Click here

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Three Strikes,You're Dead by Elena Hartwell-Great Escapes Tours

About the book 
Private investigator Eddie Shoes heads to a resort outside Leavenworth, Washington, for a mother-daughter getaway weekend. Eddie’s mother Chava wants to celebrate her new job at a casino by footing the bill for the two of them, and who is Eddie to say no?
On the first morning, Eddie goes on an easy solo hike, and a few hours later, stumbles upon a makeshift campsite and a gravely injured man. A forest fire breaks out and she struggles to save him before the flames overcome them both. Before succumbing to his injuries, the man hands her a valuable rosary. He tells her his daughter is missing and begs for her help. Is Eddie now working for a dead man?
Barely escaping the fire, Eddie wakes in the hospital to find both her parents have arrived on the scene. Will Eddie’s card-counting mother and mob-connected father help or hinder the investigation? The police search in vain for a body. How will Eddie find the missing girl with only Eddie’s memory of the man’s face and a photo of his daughter to go on?
And others are saying
This series has quickly become one of my favorites. I love that Eddie is an unconventional character.
~Brooke Blogs
What I enjoy so much about this series is the characters. Eddie is a tough cookie but also vulnerable. Her mother, Chava, is a hoot. Another tough cookie but a bit on the zany side.
This is definitely a story you can’t put down and will lead readers to an unexpected ending.
~Texas Book-aholic
Right from the beginning, we see the relationship between Eddie and Chava (a.k.a. “Mom,” a word Eddie is gradually learning to use) developing and maturing as they find themselves more able to enjoy each other without trying to change each other. But lest the relationships be all the book is about, we also dive quickly into a hair-raising bit of adventure and a murder.
~The Ninja Librarian
The author has given us a wonderful PI by the name of Eddie Shoes, and from the get-go we get non-stop action, and you have to wonder if she going to make beyond a few chapters.
~Maureen’s Musings

Interview with the author
Hello Elena.  Welcome to the blog!  I am glad to have the
Chance to chat today!
 Thank you so much for having me!

Before we get into the new book let’s have a little fun with
some quick fun questions.

As I am writing these I’m thinking about lunch.  Mine is a BLT.
What’s your favorite sandwich?
 This is really hard. I love sandwiches. Who doesn't love food you can eat with your hands? I think I'd have to say a Turkey Club is my go-to - but I usually request it with only two pieces of bread. That makes it "healthy" right?

So let’s talk about chocolate!  Dark or Milk Chocolate?  With nuts?
Dark. Yes to nuts, though I have to say, my absolute favorite chocolate candy is fudge, for which I am a purist, no nuts, no fancy flavors, just chocolate.

Let’s pretend (maybe we don’t have to) it’s been a long day of writing
and your settling in for some peace and quiet.  Your pour yourself _______.
I'm married to a wine collector, so usually this would be "... whatever is open on the counter." We drink a lot of reds (I love a good Zin!) but when I do drink white, it's usually a Sauvignon Blanc (big fan of Oyster Bay) or a Riesling (shout out to our local Chateau Ste. Michelle).

I  am glad your back touring with Great Escapes again.  What is your favorite
part of the tour?
So much to enjoy on a Great Escapes tour. I love the chance to interact with bloggers, so answering questions is a lot of fun. I enjoy guest posts as well, especially character posts. I love writing from my characters' point of view outside a novel.

If you could go anywhere in the world to write your next Eddie Shoes
mystery where would you go?   How long do you think you would stay?
You have hit on one of the great dilemmas of my life. I LOVE to travel, but I hate being away from my animals. If I could have a total dream escape, it would be to a sprawling ranch in Wyoming, so I could bring both my horses and my dog along with me. I would probably stay about a month. I could get a lot of writing done and have time to hang out with my favorite boys. (Plus hubby, I'd bring him along too).

Let’s get into the book!  How does it feel to have #3 published? 
Totally surreal! It feels like just yesterday I was launching book one and wondering if I could actually finish book two. But surreal in a wonderful, joyful way.

Of all 3 of the books in the series which one was the hardest to write?
Definitely book three. I never realized how hard it would be to support the current books and write the next one. With book one, there was no pressure, as I didn't have a book deal until after it was written. Then, I had a lot of time to write book two, mostly before book one was actually on the market. But with the launch of book two, I was already into promotion for both those books while writing book three.  I'm not very good at promotion and marketing, so learning how to do that aspect of being an author was challenging. Lots of different hats to wear and everything happens at once.

I love the location.  How did you choose the location? 
I knew I wanted to send Eddie and her mother on vacation for book three. I didn't want to always have to keep them in Bellingham, I wanted a little flexibility. The Leavenworth area is so beautiful, and the "Bavarian Village" is such a fun, touristy spot, it felt like a great fit. I like that it's both close to Bellingham, in terms of driving there, but also has a remoteness to the landscape. It gave me a lot of options to play with.

If you could choose any of your characters to spend the day with
Who would you choose?  What would you do?
Definitely Franklin. We'd go to the dog park with my dog Polar so those two could play together and end up later in a big pile on my bed to watch BBC mysteries.

So can you give us a little peek and fill us in on how things are
Going with Eddie and Chance?  Are things heating up in the romance?
I LOVE that people are engaged in the dynamic between these two. It's a challenge, because the unresolved nature of it is part of the intrigue, but simultaneously, at some point, they have to make a decision. Let's just say ... I don't think readers will be disappointed.

And one last one.  Can you give us a sneek peek of book 4?
Excellent question! I can tell you, it does take place back in Bellingham and a nearby community, and we may see some development in the relationship between Eddie and Chance.

Thanks for taking the time to chat! 
Anytime! I love chatting with you.

And I thought
There are some series.  There are some plots.  And then there
are some characters that just 'get and ' pull you into their lives and 
and stories and won't let you go. 
Eddie and of course her quirky mama 'Chava did do that to me.
Just riding along with them on a new adventure that intends to be a nice weekend retreat and turns into a mystery to solve is a twisty road and keeps you on the edge of your seat. 
When Eddie finds herself involved in a couple of murders  and then daddy comes  in to help out and keep his girls safe 
The story is fast paced and will keep you turning the pages and trying to catch the curve balls thrown out to keep you off track to figuring it all out until the end. 
A perfect cozy mystery!
Although Three Strikes, You're Dead is book 3 in the Eddie 
Shoes series you won't be left in the dark or playing catch up 
to what is going on!  
Pick up any of the series and enjoy a few hours of mystery solving. 
This is one of my favorites series.  Check it out. 

I received a complimentary copy. 
This review will appear on retail sites and good reads

Buy the book 
Visit the tour
To read more reviews, interviews, some great guest posts and to enter Giveaways visit the tour.  Click here

Friday, April 13, 2018

Ice by Lauren Carr-Book Review/Giveaway-I Read Book Tour

ICE by Lauren Carr

About the book 
The clues for a close-to-the-heart missing person’s case heat up when Chris Matheson starts chipping away at the ice on the cold case.

When Sandy Lipton and her unborn child disappear, the court of public opinion finds young Chris Matheson guilty. Decades later, the retired FBI agent returns home to discover that the cloud of suspicion cast over him and his family has never lifted. With the help of a team of fellow retired law enforcement officers, each a specialist in their own field of investigation, Chris Matheson starts chipping away at the ice on this cold case to uncover what had happened to Sandy and her baby and the clues are getting hot!

Interview with the author
Hello Lauren.  Welcome to the blog.  I am so excited to chat again!

And this time about an entirely new series.  It’s gonna be hard not
to talk about Mac and Gnarly but I just know you have lots to tell us about

I know we’ve visited before but it’s been awhile lets settle in with a few just silly random questions! 

When you get a chance to sit and read a new book what do you cuddle
up with? (glass of wine, can of soda, sweet tea)
A mocha latte.

Favorite snack? I am munching on Fritos He He
Hershey’s chocolate. But it has to be milk chocolate. I know dark chocolate is healthier for you, but I am really partial to milk chocolate and I love Hershey’s. I’ve traveled in Europe and tried the real authentic Swiss chocolate and it just doesn’t measure up to good old American Hershey. 

One more random one.   Do you have a favorite sport?
I’m not a fan of watching any sport. As far as participating, I would have to say hiking. I love horseback riding, but I’m not allowed to do that anymore. More about that later.

I know you are a dog lover.  But I notice horses have a way of getting into
some of the stories.  Are you maybe a horse lover too?  
I absolutely love horses. I grew up a farm girl. When I was a little girl, I had a pony. When I was in high school, I had an Arabian. Through the years, I took some horseback riding lessons, but timing never worked out to buy a horse, which I would have to board since we don’t have room at our home.

A few years ago, a friend invited me to ride one of her horses, which was a jumper. Being the daredevil I am, I encouraged the horse to take a jump. I made the jump, which I’m told was beautiful. But, when we turned around to go back, I fell off and suffered a concussion and ended up in the hospital. My husband has forbidden me to ride ever again. I can look. I can pet. But I’m not allowed to ride.

Before we get too far into Chris and the new book. How about
a couple background questions. 

Has Chris and his story been rattling around in your brain long?
Last year, I saw a documentary about a group of former classmates investigating the cold case of their teacher, who had gone missing, only to be found murdered months later. I was inspired by these women, all in their fifties and sixties, combining their talents to solve this cold case. I was working on another book then, so I just tucked the idea into the back of my mind. Every now and then I would bring it to the forefront and massage it for a while. That’s what I do with every book. I start thinking about it months before I actually sit down to start writing it.

Did the idea of Chris’ character come before the idea of the series?
Chris Matheson came about the same time. I wanted to do a somewhat ensemble cast—the Geezer Squad. But, I needed an anchor character. I decided to make him an outsider. The reader meets and learns about the Geezer Squad at the same time Chris does. Chris is an outsider because he’s a young retiree. I myself have a few friends who either joined the military or went to work for the federal government right out of high school—making them eligible to retire in their early to mid-forties. Technically, Chris is able to join the Geezer Squad. But because of his youth, he’s an outsider who has a lot to learn.

Did maybe Gnarly try to make an appearance?
No, not really. This is Sterling’s book. Gnarly has a very special place in my heart, but Sterling has his own spot and I really wanted to give him his own series. Gnarly is standing by for the next Mac Faraday mystery which will be coming out later on this year!

Did you face any challenges as you began to write this series?
Since this is a new series with different characters, I focused on making sure that the characters were distinctive enough for readers to see that Chris Matheson and his family and friends lived in a world that was separate and different from the Mac Faraday mysteries.

Did you have to do any special research when you were writing
Some. But I can’t really go into it without giving away any spoilers.

How did you choose the location?
For years friends have been encouraging me to place a series in the Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, area, which is where I live. I just needed the right inspiration. The eastern panhandle of West Virginia is close enough to Washington, DC, to be considered part of the metropolitan area—along with all its intrigue, but far enough away to have just the right amount of a rural homey atmosphere.

What genre category would you place Ice? 
Primarily, I would place it in police procedural and cold case. I have become known for crossing genres with a mixture of mystery, suspense, thriller, a double helping of cold case, and a sprinkling of romance for good measure.

Bedroom scenes?  Language?  Violence?
One bedroom scene, but I close the door. Language is PG. A couple of hells or damns. That’s it. As for violence—it is a murder mystery. There is violence, but it is not graphic as in dismembered body parts and fluids.

How much alike or how different is this new series than the
other series that you write?
 The Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries is similar in that it is a mystery series and will have my usual twists and turns. It will also have a healthy dose of humor as well.
The difference will stem from Chris Matheson being a totally different character. Mac Faraday is a rich powerful man. He’s in charge. His children are grown and he’s got the independence that comes from wealth and position.
Chris is a single father with three little girls. He lives with his mother, who is a strong, take charge type of woman. Notice, he’s surrounded by women, which he calls his “girls.” Due to his circumstance, he’s gentler—but he’s still a strong loving man.

I have to ask I hope it’s o.k.  chapter one seemed to ‘hit close to home’ maybe a bit of a dedication?
That’s okay to ask. I knew that anyone who has followed me and my books would notice that.
Ice opens with Chris Matheson scattering the ashes for his beloved German shepherd Winston, who had passed away of old age. Actually, it was not just a dedication to Gnarly, but to all of my beloved pets who I had lost throughout the years.
There was a real Winston. He was our first German shepherd who passed away at fourteen years of age. Sadie and Mocha, Doris’s entourage, are based on a Newfoundland (I made Sadie a Doberman) and a golden lab we had for many years.
Thor the rabbit is based on my sister’s German shepherd, who was Gnarly’s half-brother. He’s still alive and well and well over a hundred pounds. He’s a really big guy! I felt like I had too many German shepherds in my books, so I made Thor a female rabbit.

Let’s switch gears with a couple more questions.  Let’s talk about the
book tours.   

What is your favorite part of the tours? 
Interviews with bloggers! I also love getting feedback from readers about my mysteries. 

I love getting a chance to interview authors.  I think it’s my favorite part.

If you could choose any of the characters in the new series to have dinner
with who would you choose.  Where/What would you eat and drink.
Doris Matheson, Chris’s mother. She is such a strong woman, but people are attracted to her. There are strong people who repel those around them, and then there are those who are strong in an attractive way.

As a character, Doris just sprang to life. She’s had a very exciting background, which readers will learn in Ice. I discovered while proofing the book that she had a lot of my late mother’s personality in her.  

Where would we eat? The Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. We’ll have chocolate mousse and champagne.

If you could choose any of the characters to bring over to the blog
for a visit and a chat/interview.  Who would you suggestion?
I would suggest Elliott Prescott. He’s had the most interesting life. The only problem is that after he answers your questions, he’ll have to kill you.

Insert smile.  This has been so fun.  I would love to have you back
anytime and I’d love for you to bring a friend.

Congratulations on the new book and Best Wishes for the tour. 

And I thought
They just keep getting better and better.  I was excited to begin this new series with Lauren.  I didn't know what to expect.  
A whole new series without Mac Faraday and Gnarly and all the others?
But Lauren never disappoints and she surely didn't with this new
fabulous series. 
From turning page one all the way to turning the last page I was 
involved and on the edge of my seat. 
The characters as always are charming and funny.  The dialogue
keeps you laughing and giggling on almost every page. 
From Sterling the 'goofy' retired police dog who turns on the truck radio to Country music much to Chris' chagrin.  This reader was cracking up.  
The members of the 'Geezer Squad' are just as funny.  They are all a but quirky hiding their investigating from their families. 
Upon meeting Chris he shares with them his guilt about the disappearance some 20 years earlier of a young woman he took to prom.  This cold case becomes the 'Geezers' priority and as everyone begins digging into files and records and doing research on their computers a possible serial killer begins to emerge.
Lauren Carr brings us a variety of characters that are charming, funny and like able. 
And then an old girlfriend of Chris' is murdered and her house is set fire.  The serial killer is back or is he?  

Chris his new/old girlfriend Helen and the Geezer squad keeps the heat on and discover the real criminal.  

If your a fan of cozy mysteries you will love Ice!

I am looking forward to reading the next one in this new series!  

I received a complimentary copy.
This review will appear on retail sites and Good Reads. 

Buy the book 

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

My Unexpected Love by Heidi McClaughlin-Spotlight-A Buoni Amici Tour

About the book 

Ben Miller met the love of his life the day he crossed paths with Elle James in their high school cafeteria. New to Beaumont, he took a chance when he approached her. Their first encounter was everything his mother ever read to him about fairy tales. He saw the girl who would be his forever.
From the moment Elle James met Ben Miller they’ve been best friends. Everything they did, they did it together, from late night study sessions, family vacations, throwing bottles off the water tower, going to prom and finally moving to California for college.
However, after the almost tragic accident where she nearly lost her twin sister, Elle’s life hasn’t been the same, and neither has her relationship with Ben.
One fateful decision changes the scope of Ben and Elle’s relationship. For one, it means a new beginning. For the other, it means change.

Read an excerpt
With Ben on my mind, I make my way over to the cafĂ© where he has work-study. When he first got this job, I teased him only because he went from working at Whimsicality to the Java Spot, and had a slew of other jobs he could’ve applied for. He said working here made sense, it’s what he knew and could easily do the job without much training. He was right, and this quickly became our hangout, except right now he’s not here when he should be.
“Hey, Tim. Do you know where Ben is?”
He shakes his head. “Nah, he’s not on the schedule today.”
Odd. I smile. “Okay, thanks.” It doesn’t make sense that he wouldn’t be here. He’s always working at this time, but maybe he had a final scheduled. I pull out my phone and send him a text, and then scroll through the barely answered messages. When he does answer, it’s one word, and usually, it’s a yes or no, which is vastly different from a few weeks ago.
I try not to let it bother me as I head back home. Traffic is light, and when I get there, Peyton and Quinn are in the midst of a heated battle over whatever video game they’re playing. They don’t acknowledge me, and that’s okay. This is something they share, although if you look at Quinn, you’d think he wouldn’t be a sports fan. However, this is where his friendship with Noah comes into play. And probably Quinn’s love for Peyton. While they bond over video games and sports, Quinn and I have our music. Well, more his than mine. I’m the least musically inclined one of the bunch, even though I can play the guitar.
“Let me know when it’s safe to walk in front of the television.” I stand there, waiting. I’ve been on the receiving end a time or two, getting yelled at because I walked in front of the TV at the wrong time. Over the years, I’ve learned to wait.
“You’re clear,” Quinn says. Instead of passing by, I drop my bag and take the spot in between them. Both lean toward me as if they know I need their comfort, but neither wanting to bring attention to the fact.
“Who’s winning?”
“I am,” Peyton says.
“She cheats.”
Peyton throws her hands up in the air. “How, Quinn? We’re playing on a console. It’s impossible to cheat.”
I look at Quinn, who shrugs. The game starts back up, and it’s easy to tell who Peyton is. I start to laugh as she controls her future husband on the screen and when things don’t go her way, she yells at him, almost as if he could hear her.
“Poor Noah. He’s not even here to defend himself,” I direct at Peyton. She rolls her eyes and continues her onslaught of Quinn, while I sit there, sandwiched in between my siblings.
When the game is over, Peyton jumps up and does a little cheer before sticking her hand out. “Pay up.”
“You made a bet with her?” I look at Quinn.
“I’ve been practicing,” he laments.
I point at Peyton. “And you don’t think she has? Geesh, Quinn, she lives with a quarterback. I’m sure they play all the time.”
“Noah loses too.” Peyton is very nonchalant about beating Noah as she pockets the money from Quinn. “Go grab your stuff, Quinn will take us to the airport.”
The beauty of having a private jet at our disposal is we don’t have to book tickets. Our dad works with the pilot to file the flight plan, and the pilot tells us when to be at the landing strip. Last night, I packed everything I would need, which isn’t much, and rush off to my room to grab my bag.
Peyton and Quinn are waiting for me, ready to leave. Outside, I stare at Ben’s door, wondering if I should text him one more time or wait for him to respond. Maybe I need to step back and give him some space, even if it hurts me.
The drive to the airport takes longer than anticipated because of traffic, the only thing I hate about this area. You have to time your departure right, or you could get stuck for hours, all because someone put on their brakes at the wrong time.
When we finally arrive, we tell Quinn to have a fun week without us and thank him for dropping us off. The desk agent is laughing at us when we enter the facility. She tells us the pilot’s waiting and to have a fun trip. The both of us run to the plane and climb the stairs. I come to a complete halt even with Peyton crashing into me.
“What gives,” she says. “Oh.”
“Yeah, oh.” There are red and white roses spread everywhere and a bottle of champagne on the table. “You’re so lucky.”
“It’s our first time really apart like this,” Peyton says. I’m not even sure they’re from Noah, but who else would do this.
“What about during the season?”
“He’s home a couple of days a week, and I fly to him on Fridays.”
“I see.” Somehow, I knew this, but it didn’t really register. Peyton and I sit across from each other and buckle up. Our flight attendant has notified the pilot that we’re on board and ready and before I know it, we’re off the ground and soaring toward paradise.
The stewardess pops the cork on the champagne for us and pours us each a glass. “Thank you,” we both tell her. I reach across the table and tap my glass to my sister’s. “Here’s to a week of sun, sand, and whatever else we may do.”
“Like plan my wedding, talk about boys and eat our way through Aruba.”
I’m all for two of the three options she said, but talking about boys is something I don’t want to do. As I look around the cabin, I realize Peyton is living most girls’ fairy tales. I mean, what guy thinks about sending flowers ahead to decorate the inside of a plane? Noah does because he’s crazy in love with my sister. I’m happy for her, beyond happy actually, but jealous all the same. I want what they have. I want the all-consuming type of love where we each know what the other is thinking or where we may be in a room full of people.
“I want what you and Noah have.”
“What do you mean?” Peyton asks. I realize I hadn’t meant to say that aloud, but now that I have, Peyton’s looking at me expectantly.
“I want a guy who looks at me the way Noah looks at you. I want this”—I spread my arms out—“I want to walk in a room and search the crowd, only to feel my man coming behind me and when he touches me I know… I just know.”
“You have all that.”
“Pfft, with whom? I’ve never dated seriously since we were allowed to date. It’s not like my knight in shining armor is someone I know.”
“But he is,” she says.
“Who are you talking about?”
“Ben, of course.”
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