Welcome to this week’s Midweek Tease. Thanks to Angelica Dawson who makes this blog hop possible each week.
Today’s my birthday, and to celebrate, I chose to release a book that is near and dear to me, one that allowed me to relive some of the bittersweet memories of my youth. This is a work of fiction. It isn’t my story, but it could be the story of any young girl who dealt with adversity during a time when women and girls, as well as many others had no rights, a time some claim was better than today. It’s also the story of falling in love and the heartbreak that goes with it.
Here’s the blurb:
A novel within a novel.
For three short weeks, Twyla Lancaster was the fairy tale princess who’d found her prince, but just like that, reality ripped them apart. Now, fifty years later, she needs to know why the only man she ever loved broke his promises. As she writes her memoir and learns more about that summer, she realizes things were not what they seemed.
Hormones raced, promises were made, but Twyla left Michael Morrison high and dry, and within weeks, married someone else. Grieving the loss of his parents and her betrayal, he turned his back on love, focusing on his military career. Now, goaded by his sister, he agrees to attend a wedding and reunion, knowing Twyla will be there. It’s time to find out why she lied to him all those years ago.
The moment the star-crossed lovers see one another, love blooms between them, but when Michael discovers Twyla’s secret, he’s devastated. Is love enough to erase fifty years of pain and betrayal?
This picks up where I left off last week.
With a trembling hand, Twyla unfastened the button flap and opened the bag, revealing all the treasures she’d been certain had ended up in the trash.
Thank you, William.
He was the only one who could’ve rescued this when he’d helped pack up her brother’s things. Had he looked through it? Why hadn’t he given it to her?
Twyla removed the items she’d hidden in it on that last morning, including her Brownie camera with its roll of undeveloped film, no doubt ruined by now. Here were the funny cards he’d given her, each signed with a silly pseudonym. Next came the rocks she’d collected on the beach the day they’d gone fishing. Beside it, she placed the dried daisies pressed between tissues she’d zipped into the compartment in the lining, along with the slip of paper with his address and phone number. Next came the small tin that had held mints and finally, the photograph. She placed each item on the lid of the box beside her except the picture. She swallowed and forced back the tears stinging her eyes.
Examining it, she realized why William had chosen to keep the bag hidden. He was every bit as handsome as she remembered. His sister had taken this picture the second Sunday she’d been there, and he’d given it to her the last time she’d seen him. As she stared at the photo, her heart began beating rapidly. How could she have missed this?
Lana stepped around to get a better look at the photograph.
“Oh, Grams! Even in black and white pictures, you’re gorgeous. I wish my hair were as curly as yours. Who is he?” Her blue eyes shone with curiosity. “He’s too young and way too tall to be Grandpa. I’ve seen pictures of the two of you together, and you were the same height. It doesn’t look like Uncle Ethan, either.”
Twyla blinked her eyelids, forcing away the sudden tears. How long would she be at the mercy of her emotions like this?
“No, just an old friend,” she answered, her voice hoarse as memories clogged her throat. “I doubt he would know me if he saw me today.”
“Don’t be silly. You haven’t changed a bit.” She scrunched up her face. “Where was this picture taken?”
“At the Colonel’s Inn, a resort along the Rideau Canal. My mother grew up in Ottawa and loved going back there whenever she could. She had a group of friends she met there each year. This was taken the last time we were there.”
“What’s he wearing?” Lana asked, her nose scrunched up as she studied the photo. “He looks like an armed bellhop.”
“An 1867 military uniform. That year, Canada celebrated its centennial, and since he worked on the locks, he had to dress up on the weekends. The tourists loved it.”
“Well, he looks kind of hot. Men in uniforms … yum, yum, yum.” Lana frowned and pulled the picture closer to her eyes, scrutinizing it.
Twyla licked her lips, suddenly nervous. Would she see it? It was hard not to. The eyes and the chin were dead giveaways.
“There’s something about this guy … he looks familiar. Has he ever visited?”
Twyla swallowed. “No. The uniform makes him look like one of your father’s Civil War reenactor friends,” she lied. “A lot of people look like others, especially when they dress the same.” She tried to hide her discomfort behind humor. “Aren’t we all supposed to have a twin or two out there somewhere?”
“Twin or not, you look as if you were head over heels in love with him.”
Twyla chuckled softly, hiding her sudden pain. Her heart or heartache?
“I thought so at the time,” she lied, “but when it came right down to it, it was only puppy love. I married your grandfather seven weeks later.”
“That was fast. Was it love at first sight?”
“Love at first sight?” Despite her efforts to stop it, the words were bitter on Twyla’s tongue. Those were the four words she’d associated with the man in the photograph, not William. “More like love on the rebound.” Although there had been no love involved, but a promise was a promise. “I was still smarting from the sting of rejection when William asked for my hand. Everything was a mess, and he offered me a port in the worse storm of my life. With both my brother and my father dead, our finances in ruin, and my mother hospitalized, I was scared and alone. He offered me a name and a home, safety and security when I needed them most. We had twenty-five good years together.”
“You married him out of gratitude? That’s so sad,” Lana said, leaning her head against hers.
“Sweetheart, don’t feel sorry for me. I’ve had a good life, and while I may wish some things had been different, I certainly don’t regret it. Without your grandfather’s support, I would never have become an author. William and I may not have had a grand passion for one another, but we were content, and your mother brought us both great joy.”
Lana smiled, but her eyes were shadowed with sadness. “If you say so, but it still sounds sad and lonely.”
She couldn’t deny that.
Lana frowned. “What happened to him?”
“He died twenty-five years ago. He was only fifty-two, but cancer isn’t selective. I thought you knew that.”
“Not Grandpa, that guy,” she indicated the picture. “What was his name?”
“Michael Morrison, and I don’t know. I never saw him again after we left the inn,” Twyla admitted. “We were supposed to stay in touch, but it didn’t happen. I had to leave sooner than I told him I did, and we never got to say goodbye. Not that it really mattered in the end. He’d gone to military college and had to spend five years in the army…” She couldn’t hide the wistfulness in her voice.
“Wouldn’t you like to know what became of him?” Lana challenged. “We could search for him on the Internet.”
Twyla frowned. Did she want to know? Yes … no… He’d broken her heart and had probably gone on to live a happy life without giving a single thought to her.
Get your copy today! https://www.amazon.com/Same-Time-Next-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B07FPWDH1T
Now, check out the rest of this week’s teasers.
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