Yesterday, I introduced the first anthology from The Solstice Publishing Valentine’s Day Extravaganza, First Love. Today I’m featuring Adventures in Love, which contains Forever and Always, my novella. Some of you may find the first few pages similar since it grew out of a Tuesday Tales Christmas story, but it’s been refined and is now part of this wonderful second anthology.
Solstice Publishing began 2016 by winning the 2015 Preditors & Editors Poll for Best Print/Electronic Book Publisher. Our authors are now going to show you why we’re the top in this field.
Summer Solstice Publishing is proud to present Adventures in Love and a bonus short story, Valentine for a Spy, for Valentine’s Day this year.
Check out the trailer:
From a western gal in pursuit of the local sheriff to a single mom running a cooking show with her small children, romance blossoms in many situations. These wonderful stories prove that love is for all ages.
A.A. Schenna, Alex Pilalis, Donna Alice Patton, EB Sullivan, Heidi Renee Mason, Johnny Gunn, Susan Lynn Solomon, Mark Newhouse, and Susanne Matthews delight romantics on this special holiday with their tales of love.
Here is an excerpt from Forever and Always. (Photograph courtesy of Mohamed Said and Unsplash)
All Brandi has ever known is ballet. From her earliest years, her time was spent honing her skills, vying to be the best, setting aside everything else that mattered in life to make it to the stage. Then, at the top of her career, she lost her dancing partner and her ability to dance to a drunk driver in an ice storm.
She’s strong, she’s tough, she’ll recover from this, but will she? She’s always lived for the dance. She is a ballerina, but once a dancer can’t dance, what’s left? Who’s left?
Finding herself won’t be easy and she may need help from others including the man she’s loved almost as long as she’s love the dance, but will she let them in?
She remembered Jarrett Sullivan all too well—him and the gorgeous blonde who’d clung to him like Velcro at the wedding and had shot invisible daggers at her from behind venom-filled eyes. But that memory wasn’t the one she cherished deep in her heart.
Jarrett, a grade ahead of her, had been her hero. She’d never forget the boy who’d carried her books home when she’d had her hands full, the one who’d stood up to the bullies who teased her about her hair color and her small stature; the only one who’d asked her to dance at the sixth grade graduation dance, firmly entrenching himself in her heart. But, three years later when she’d moved from middle school and entered high school, the captain of the football team had changed. He still spoke to her, asked her how things were going, but he teased her, calling her names, not realizing how much the loss of his caring concern and friendship had hurt—Hey, Scotch; Saw you dance last night, Bourbon; Looking good, Gin; Did you finish that math assignment, Vodka?; and of course his painful, off-key rendition of The Four Season’s Sherry—he’d called her by the name of every alcoholic beverage but her own, except at the wedding when they’d danced for the second time in eleven years.
You’ve grown into a beautiful woman, Brandi. His words echoed in her head, but then Pavel had claimed her and the blonde bombshell had whisked him away. Now, Pavel was dead as was her career as a ballerina. Her last performance had been as the Sugarplum Fairy. She’d never even finished the run—the freezing rain had seen to that.
“I don’t know. I get nervous in any car, and it’s just worse at night….”
“Brandi Alexandra Jameson, I just knew you’d pull a stunt like this, and I won’t let you ruin this party for me.”
Yeah, it’s all about you, Jane. What about me? What about my pain?
“It’s three o’clock, now,” her sister continued. “He’ll be there to pick you up at five. I suggest you get your ass in gear. He’s got orders to carry you out kicking and screaming if he has to.”
“He wouldn’t dare. I’m not ten anymore. You’re not the boss of me, your majesty, even if you think you are,” she cried, defiantly, tears welling up in her eyes. “You’re not being fair.”
“Fair has nothing to do with this. You may not be ten, but you’re acting like a child, and I for one am fed up with your little pity party. You need to put this behind you before you drown in your own sorrows. It’s for your own good, and Mom and Dad agree, so unless you want to end up here in your pajamas, or worse, get dressed.”
She winced as Jane ended the call with a satisfactory slam of the phone, something impossible to do with a cellphone, and stuck out her tongue, the childish gesture of defiance making her feel better momentarily but, knowing Jane, she’d make good on her threat.
“Damn! I should’ve stayed in Toronto,” she said, aloud, her voice echoing in the empty house.
Letting out a deep sigh, she stared at the phone. She had two choices here, neither one of which appealed to her. She could dig in her heels and refuse to budge, although she was certain that wouldn’t stop Jarrett from carrying out the queen’s orders. As she recalled, he still had more muscles in his shoulders than Pavel, her best friend and fellow dancer, ever had. The alternative was to give in, graciously, and make an appearance. The broken doll on display for all to gawk at. Surely, they would lose interest in a has-been and she could find a plant to hide behind. She’d stay for an hour, two at most, and then get a cab back to the house. It wasn’t a huge rebellion, but it would send a message. She was taking charge of her life whether her family liked it or not. Wearily, moving as if she were on the way to her own execution, Brandi climbed the stairs, remodeled so that the continuous flight now consisted of three easy-to-climb levels, and headed for the bathroom. She would soak in the tub and then do her hair and get dressed.
But I’m not going to enjoy myself, not for one minute.
Hope you enjoyed this quick taste of Forever and Always.
As an added Valentine’s day bonus, Author M.H. Newhouse presents Valentine for a Spy!
He is handsome, sexy and totally clueless, but is he a spy? A first date goes terribly awry in this humorous adventure of romance and suspicion, by multi-award winner, Mark H. Newhouse, author of The Ectos Ghost Doctor Series.