Mini Review: Frannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup

Frannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup
Expected Publication: May 31, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: via Edelweiss
Rating: 3/5

When Frannie Little eavesdrops on her parents fighting she discovers that her cousin Truman is gay, and his parents are so upset they are sending him to live with her family for the summer. At least, that’s what she thinks the story is. . . When he arrives, shy Frannie befriends this older boy, who is everything that she’s not–rich, confident, cynical, sophisticated. Together, they embark on a magical summer marked by slowly unraveling secrets.

My Thoughts
Where do I start with this one? At first, I thought this book was going to be about Frannie but Tru stole the spotlight. Tru comes into town after his parents send him away for the summer and when he does he helps Frannie come out of her shell. Frannie is determined for this summer to be different than any other, she wants to do things differently and she thinks her cousin is the right person to help her. There are times when I personally didn’t like Tru I just felt like all he thought about was himself. Frannie desperately wanted her cousin's approval and at times, I felt like he used her friendship when he had nothing else to do. I didn’t dislike this book but I wouldn't rave about it either. I gave it three stars because I’m literally split down the middle on this one.


Waiting On [164]: The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Waiting on Wednesday [Wow] is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Expected Publication: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Knopf BYR

New York Times bestselling authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan are back with a life-affirming Christmas romance starring Dash and Lily.

Dash and Lily have had a tough year since readers first watched the couple fall in love. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition.

With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the holiday magic of New York City in December.

Told in alternating chapters, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily reunites two beloved characters and is bound to be a Christmas favorite, season after season.

Why I Can’t Wait
Yesssss! I really can’t wait to read this one because I love Dash and Lily! I can’t wait to see what they have been up to and see where these two are couple wise. This is definitely one that will make the top of my winter time list.


Review: The Island House by Nancy Thayer

The Island House by Nancy Thayer
Published: May 31, 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Format: via publisher
Rating: 3/5

The charms of Nantucket tempt a woman to leave her established life in Kansas City—but with a piece of her heart, and a love interest, in each world, she discovers she must look within to choose the right path.

Every summer since college, twenty-nine-year-old Courtney has traded the familiarity of the Midwest for the allure of Nantucket. Now an established university professor in Kansas City, she finds herself caught between two lifestyles and two very different men. She chooses Nantucket and the glamorous life she associates with it, unaware that the summer will take an unexpected turn, and she will have to let her heart decide what it truly wants.

My Thoughts
In the Island House, we meet Courtney who gets swept up in the Nantucket life when her college roommate invites her to spend the summers with her and her family. She falls in love with the town and the family who takes her in as their own and soon she falls for their son. Summers come and go but Courtney never reveals her true feelings scared that she will lose her “summer family” if it doesn’t work out. We follow Courtney as she grows from a young girl to a woman and also see a glimpse of her life back home in Kansas with her friend Monty who has always been in love with her.

The novel mainly focuses on her recent summer in Nantucket when she is determined to find out where exactly her relationship stands…if there is anything there at all. We also meet her “Nantucket family” and while they seem perfect from the outside there are troubles they are trying to overcome. They are dealing with their oldest son’s manic depression and the toll it takes everyone. While I liked when they focused on the romance part I don’t get the whole bringing in Monty part. I mean there isn’t a real look on them as anything more than friends, so trying to make it seem as if he has a chance to steal her away is something I don’t buy. You don’t feel compelled to root for them as a couple.

All in all even though it’s a lot going on and tons of characters what I really enjoyed was when Courtney decided to go for broke. She took things by the horns and made her voice be heard. She knew what she wanted and went for it. Her doing that just showed how much she evolved and make me really root for her. While there are parts I felt dragged there all others that shined and that’s what makes this read enjoyable.


Review: People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper

People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper
Expected Publication: May 24, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Format: via NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

Everything was fine fourteen years after she left New York.

Until suddenly, one day, it wasn’t.

Emily Morris got her happily-ever-after earlier than most. Married at a young age to a man she loved passionately, she was building the life she always wanted. But when enormous stress threatened her marriage, Emily made some rash decisions. That’s when she fell in love with someone else. That’s when she got pregnant.

Resolved to tell her husband of the affair and to leave him for the father of her child, Emily’s plans are thwarted when the world is suddenly split open on 9/11. It’s amid terrible tragedy that she finds her freedom, as she leaves New York City to start a new life. It’s not easy, but Emily---now Connie Prynne—forges a new happily-ever-after in California. But when a life-threatening diagnosis upends her life, she is forced to rethink her life for the good of her thirteen-year-old daughter.

My Thoughts
People Who Knew Me is the emotional story of Emily who is happily in love with her husband but with the stress of her husband quitting his job to take care of his sick mother she soon discovers that love can’t always conquer all. She struggles with having to put her life on hold while her husband makes his mother his top priority. In the process of it all and with her husband moving back home and her staying put she becomes lonely and takes comfort in an old acquaintance.

Emily never imagined that she could cheat on her husband when she becomes pressured to leave her husband then finds out she is pregnant she doesn’t know what to do. So what is one to do in this situation? She finds herself on Sept 11 held up in her lovers' apartment and finds out that her building has been struck by one of the planes. Her lover/coworker is in the building and never comes out. Her family and friends all try to find her but she takes this as a sign to start over and get a new identity. She feels that she can’t go back home and face the fact that she cheated and is having another man’s child. She starts her life over in California until the day she must confront her past in order face her present.

People Who Knew Me is a story that makes you think this can’t be possible. Something so out of this world that makes you wonder how bad things must be that you use 9/11 as an excuse to cover your cheating? I won’t lie I was kind of applaud by the notion of this but once you read it and discover all that happens your opinion of Emily kind of changes. You see her as a mother and the love and protection she has for her is breathtaking. I know this doesn’t make excuses for her behavior but some things aren’t just cut and dry. This is one read that is intriguing and definitely worth the time.


Review: You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour

You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour
Expected Publication: June 7, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Format: via NetGalley
Rating: 3.5/5

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other -- and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

My Thoughts
You Know Me Well is the story of Kate and Mark who have never talked but know each other from school. They “meet” one night during Pride week at a bar while Mark was with his best friend/crush. They meet up under circumstances they didn’t expect but this could end up being the best friendship either of them thought was possible.

Mark is trying to figure out his love life, he has been in love with his best friend forever but doesn’t know if he can continue living in limbo when it comes it. You see his best friend doesn’t know if he is ready to be in a relationship, so Mark being patient is willing to wait. Until that faithful night at the bar he discovers it isn’t that his friend doesn’t want to be in a relationship he simply doesn’t want to be in one with Mark. This utterly crushes Mark but with help with his new friends especially Kate he is determined to put his heart on the line once and for all.

Kate is there to finally meet up with a girl whom she has been crushing long distance when the girl finally comes back in town she is so scared she backs away like she always does. Kate is an artist and lives her life painting and is afraid to tell her parents she doesn’t want to go to college, this is really a crossroads in her life and she doesn’t know want she wants to do. In meeting Mark that faithful night she finds a confidant, someone who can really listen to her and give her an honest point of view when it comes to her life.

What I loved most about this book was the actual friendship between Mark and Kate. While they attended the same school they have only know about each other from afar and in some cases that made it easier for them to be so relaxed and free with each other. Like they say sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger than those who are close to you.

You Know Me Well is a great coming to age read that shows us while we can be confident about somethings we all have those doubts when it comes to finding out who we are and what we want out of life. That we should never be too scared to put everything on the line when it comes to getting what you want especially in love.


Waiting On [163]: Falling by Jane Green

Waiting on Wednesday [Wow] is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Falling by Jane Green
Expected Publication: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Berkley

When Emma Montague left the strict confines of upper-crust British life for New York, she felt sure it would make her happy. Away from her parents and expectations, she felt liberated, throwing herself into Manhattan life replete with a high-paying job, a gorgeous apartment, and a string of successful boyfriends. But the cutthroat world of finance and relentless pursuit of more began to take its toll. This wasn’t the life she wanted either.

On the move again, Emma settles in the picturesque waterfront town of Westport, Connecticut, a world apart from both England and Manhattan. It is here that she begins to confront what it is she really wants from her life. With no job, and knowing only one person in town, she channels her passion for creating beautiful spaces into remaking the dilapidated cottage she rents from Dominic, a local handyman who lives next door with his six-year-old son.

Unlike any man Emma has ever known, Dominic is confident, grounded, and committed to being present for his son whose mother fled shortly after he was born. They become friends, and slowly much more, as Emma finds herself feeling at home in a way she never has before.

But just as they start to imagine a life together as a family, fate intervenes in the most shocking of ways. For the first time, Emma has to stay and fight for what she loves, for the truth she has discovered about herself or risk losing it all.

In a novel of changing seasons, shifting lives, and selfless love, a story unfolds—of one woman’s far-reaching journey to discover who she is truly meant to be.

Why I Can’t Wait
First off I love Jane Green and secondly I find these books on starting over so amazing. To be able to rediscover yourself and maybe even find love again is so great that it gives us hope that we can all be able to do that.


Book Blitz: Because I Love You by Tori Rigby

Because I Love You by Tori Rigby
Publisher: Blaze Publishing
Published: May 17, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Eight weeks after sixteen-year-old Andie Hamilton gives her virginity to her best friend, “the stick” says she’s pregnant.
Her friends treat her like she’s carrying the plague, her classmates torture and ridicule her, and the boy she thought loved her doesn’t even care. Afraid to experience the next seven months alone, she turns to her ex-boyfriend, Neil Donaghue, a dark-haired, blue-eyed player. With him, she finds comfort and the support she desperately needs to make the hardest decision of her life: whether or not to keep the baby.
Then a tragic accident leads Andie to discover Neil’s keeping a secret that could dramatically alter their lives, and she’s forced to make a choice. But after hearing her son’s heartbeat for the first time, she doesn’t know how she’ll ever be able to let go.
BILY Teaser April 19
No matter how much I needed him, I couldn’t let Neil throw his future away for me. He would do anything to keep me protected, comforted; I knew that like I knew the sky was blue. But I had to show him the same selfless love, or I’d forever regret holding him back. Which meant one thing: I was on my own.
My stomach turned to stone. But what about Ethan? Even if I did manage to drop out of high school and find a job that paid a decent wage, I couldn’t provide for a baby by myself. I couldn’t raise a baby in poverty—I wouldn’t. My son deserved so much more. But how the hell was I supposed to let him go?
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Author Bio:
Adopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay at home mom, Tori Rigby grew up with her nose in a book and her fingers on piano keys, always awaiting the day she’d take her own adventure. Now, she goes on multiple journeys through her contemporary and historical romances. She longs to live in the Scottish Highlands, and her favorite place in history is Medieval England—she’d even give up her Internet and running water to go back in time! Tori also writes high-concept genre fiction as Vicki Leigh, and when she isn’t writing, she’s kicking butt in krav maga or attending classes to learn how to catch bad guys.

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Review: First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
Expected Publication: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Format: via NetGalley
Rating: 3.5/5

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first-grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.

As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.

Emotionally honest and utterly enthralling, First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.

My Thoughts
First Comes Love is the story of two sisters who are as different as night and day. Meredith is the responsible sister who has the family and career anyone would wish for. Josie, on the other hand, is the carefree sister who is a teacher but recently has decided she wants a child…right now! The story focuses on their relationship as sisters and as individuals but also is dealing with the aftermath of the death of their brother Daniel decades ago.

Meredith is dealing with being a mother and also a lawyer though she questions if this is what she wants to do with her life. She is also at a crossroads when it comes to her marriage. Though she's married to the perfect man any woman would wish for she isn’t sure if she still loves him, or even if she ever did. She also wonders if she would’ve ever married Nolan if her brother never died, Nolan and Daniel were best friends and they wonder if they truly wanted to be together or if they were just brought together because of the tragedy.

Josie is the sister that is fun and carefree who always did what she wanted damn anyone else. So when she decides at almost 40 that she wants a child by god that’s what she’s going to do. She sets her mind on looking for a sperm donor but is sidetracked when she meets a funny guy on a random online dating site. So when he offers to help her out she figures why not but her best friend/roommate doesn’t feel that a random guy is the right one but that maybe he is. Josie is also dealing with the fact that she can’t shake the feeling that maybe she had something to do with her brother’s death all those years ago.

I’m so on the fence when it comes to this read! I went into this thinking it was about one thing but it ends up being about something different. I liked the whole sister’s relationship thing but what I didn’t like was the whole Daniel topic. I see where it comes into play but I feel like they’ve based their own lives around him even though he isn’t here. In the end, I gave it a solid 3.5 because I loved the dynamics between Josie and Meredith.


Review: Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica
Expected Publication: May 17, 2016
Publisher: MIRA
Format: via NetGalley
Rating: 5/5

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she's the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected. 

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl's spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

My Thoughts
In recent months, I’ve been so into mystery/suspense novels that I can’t seem to get enough of them. In the process I became introduced to Mary Kubica and man am I so glad I found her! Her novels are the best they leave you glued to every page and throw you for a loop every time!

In her newest novel Don’t You Cry which is told in alternating storylines we met Quinn who wakes up one day and finds her reliable roommate Esther gone with no explanations. We see Quinn take a look back on their friendship while she tries to find out what happened to Esther and if it was by choice or was there foul play in her disappearance. We also met Alex who lives in a tiny town with its own haunting past as he finds a new girl in town and is intrigued by her actions and is drawn to her for some reason. Alex has his own demons to deal with, between an alcoholic father and a mother who left him as a child he has had to deal with a lot growing up so when he sees this new girl he is instantly taken by her and is determined to learn what she is all about and why she is there.

You think by having alternating storylines one would get confused but this is hardly the case. As you read you think you have things figured out but then in the next chapter everything you thought was true isn’t and that’s what I love most about Mary Kubica’s novels, she gives you everything and nothing at the same time. I‘ve come to realize with her books you can’t take things for what they are, there is always something lurking around the corner.

In Quinn and Esther, she gives us complex characters that are not only smart but have layers of emotions that play into who they are and how they react to those around them. I don’t like giving away spoilers so I won’t but all I can say is wow! This book will have you doubting everything you just read when you reach the end. This is one book with so many twists and turns you just can’t wrap your mind around it all and that’s the main reason why you have to read this!


Waiting On [162]: In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch

Waiting on Wednesday [Wow] is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch
Expected Publication: July 1, 2016
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure—until the death of their ringleader and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at that same house on the eve of what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday.

But along with the return of the friends come old grudges, unrequited feelings, and buried secrets. Catherine, the CEO of a domestic empire, and Owen, a stay-at-home dad, were picture-perfect college sweethearts—but now teeter on the brink of disaster. Lindy, a well-known musician, is pushing middle age in an industry that’s all about youth and slowly self-destructing as she grapples with her own identity. Behind his smile, handsome plastic surgeon Colin harbors the heartbreaking truth about his own history with Bea. And Annie carefully curates her life on Instagram and Facebook, keeping up appearances so she doesn’t have to face the truth about her own empty reality.

Reunited in the place where so many dreams began, and bolstered by the hope of healing, each of them is forced to confront the past.

Why I Can’t Wait
I love these kind of books that focus of life-long friendships and seeing how they have changed over time. This sounds like a really good storyline and I can’t wait to get the chance of reading it.


Release Day Blitz: Love After Marriage by Mia Kayla

Love After Marriage by Mia Kayla
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 10, 2016
Bethany Casse Plack has everything she has ever dreamed of -- a prestigious career, an inherited fortune, and a doting hot husband who treats her like a queen. 

But not all things can be bought, especially not the one thing she wants most in the world.

Kent Plack dropped his bachelor-for-life status when a certain green-eyed beauty captured his heart. He made vows to make her the happiest wife, and he's determined to give her the world. But when an unexpected turn of events flips him from his axis, the one thing that Bethany wants from him is the only thing Kent is unsure he can give her.

Insecurities, the past, and their different views on their future will test their marriage. Love bears and endures all things, but when their worlds are turned upside down, will their marriage survive, especially considering it was originally based on convenience?

Other books available by Mia Kayla 
Marry Me For Money

The Scheme

Everything Has Changed

Follow Mia Kayla on:

#LoveAfterMarriage, #MiaKayla, #NewRelease, #ContemporaryRomance


Giveaway: Mary Kay Andrews Prize Pack

Hi Everyone!

I’m so happy to be teaming up with Tandem Literary to give you a chance to win a fabulous Mary Kay Andrews prize pack! This is in honor of Spring Fever hitting mass market paperback and Beach Town hitting trade paperback.

Here’s a list of what will be in the fabulous goody bag:
         Copy of BEACH TOWN in trade paperback
 Copy of SPRING FEVER in mass market paperback
             Two different Mary Kay Andrews bookmarks
          A recipe card featuring two recipes from MKA’s kitchen
        BEACH TOWN sunglasses
    BEACH TOWN lip balm with SPF 15

Also, be sure to be on the lookout for MKA’s newest read The Weekenders sure to be a top summer read this summer. It hits stores May 17, 2016. 

To learn more keep in touch with MKA’s via social media:


Waiting On [161]: Flight Patterns by Karen White

Waiting on Wednesday [Wow] is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Flight Patterns by Karen White
Expected Publication: May 31, 2016
Publisher: NAL

Georgia Chambers has spent her life sifting through other people’s pasts while trying to forget her own. But then her work as an expert of fine china—especially of Limoges—requires her to return to the one place she swore she’d never revisit...

It’s been thirteen years since Georgia left her family home on the coast of Florida, and nothing much has changed, except that there are fewer oysters and more tourists. She finds solace seeing her grandfather still toiling away in the apiary where she spent much of her childhood but encountering her estranged mother and sister leaves her rattled.

Seeing them after all this time makes Georgia realize that something has been missing—and unless she finds a way to heal these rifts, she will forever be living vicariously through other people’s remnants. To embrace her own life—mistakes and all—she will have to find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past and the secrets she was forced to keep.

Why I Can’t Wait
I love reading stories about family and the dynamics that are within them. So this one sounds like something that I could really like. Plus Karen White is an amazing writer so I know I won’t be disappointed.


Blog Tour: Infinite Dolls by Emalynne Wilder

Infinite Dolls by Emalynne Wilder
Expected Publication: May 3, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Add to Goodreads



Born to be the best.
Head of his class.
No strings attached.
The third year of medical school is supposed to be the hardest, but Callum Trovatto has no idea what he’s about to face when Everly Anne Brighton stands between him and a passing grade, shaking up his world with her secrets, and digging into his dark past.
Trapped by her father’s rules.
Longing for freedom.
Expected to die before her twenty-first birthday at the hands of a rare medical condition, Everly Brighton begins to defy the carefully crafted routine her father enforces to keep her alive, despite the fact that it could kill her.
INFINITE DOLLS is an emotionally charged love story about finding faith, coping with loss and living in the preciousness of Now.

“Stay.” Her hand was on my arm for such a brief second, I couldn’t even reply. As she let go, I came back to the real world where the theater-café was filling with customers to watch the show Noelle hosted in honor of my mother. The show Everly wanted me to watch with her, though she was clueless of its purpose.
“I can’t.” I stepped away.
“Okay.” She glanced to the door then back to me. “Did you do that to Logan’s face?”
“Logan’s mouth did that to his face.”
“Stop hitting people because of me, Callum.”
“It wasn’t about you.” She seemed surprised by that, and I stepped closer. “Should it have been about you?”
“The only time you’d ever hang around Logan is if you were forced to—like in study group or class—so I’m not sure what you could be discussing that would get you angry enough to punch him in the face, unless it had to do with me...” She looked toward the window where my group still sat inside. “But maybe I’m being a little too hopeful.”
“Or ridiculous.”
“Kind of the same thing.” She smiled shyly.
“I didn’t punch him because of Cecily, either.”
She nodded. “But you knew who I was wondering about.”
“I’m not dating Cecily. I’m not even interested in Cecily.”
Everly looked up at me. “You don’t owe me an explanation. I’m just the girl you’re studying.”
A dagger through my chest would have hurt less.
I held her gaze. “Clearly.”
“Don’t hit strangers for me. I can take care of myself.”
I leaned into her face. “Clearly.”
“Why are you being so rude to me tonight? Did the doctor gene finally kick in?”
“You know what, Everly Anne? Tell your friend, your boyfriend, whoever the fuck is having surgery, that sending you to watch some stupid show at night all alone isn’t the brightest idea in the world. If he had an ounce of feeling and respect for you, he wouldn’t ask you to do such stupid shit. P.S., the show sucks. Most people choke as soon as they step on stage. There was only one person who nailed it, and she’s been dead for ten years.” I shoved my bag higher on my shoulder and said, “Goodnight.”
I lost her in the crowd of people as I walked away, and when I turned back, she was gone.
The urge to rewind my footsteps had never been greater.
The café was packed with people as Noelle stepped on the small stage in the left side of her café. I could only watch from the door as she revealed that the act tonight was Saint Valentine.
And who was playing her? Everly Anne Brighton, of course.
She looked so much different on stage than she had in class as the main attraction. This Everly was an exclamation versus a question. But she was still her: the bright hair, the underlying shyness, the curious eyes. The way she moved as if she was following music no one else could hear, with measured steps and thoughtful rhythm.
“Fucking hot!” a person from the crowed cursed as they sipped their coffee too fast.
“Well, thank you,” Everly replied without missing a beat. They ate it up; clapping and laughter resounded.
“Are you in love?” someone called out.
“I am love, so I am always in it, because I am always myself.”
“Will I find my soul mate?”
“Find your own soul first, and then worry about its mate.”
“Why are men such shits?”
She found Logan, stared him in the face. “Some questions just answer themselves.” They loved it, offering her a round of applause.
“Have you ever fallen in love at first sight?” Noelle called out.
“Yes.” She sighed. Her eyes roamed the room until she reached me standing in the doorway. She paused as we searched each other again, for reason, for answers, then flicked her attention back to Noelle suddenly and said, “Snickerdoodles.”
Noelle stood and whooped up the crowd to applaud her efforts.
Everly stepped off stage, her bravado shrunken down to miniature size as someone else became the star in her place.
In the shadows, she wrapped herself in that same yellow sweater from class.
Our eyes met again, but she was different, displaying a wholly other concept of beauty as she shyly turned away to thank the girl behind the counter and graciously took a cup of coffee. I moved away from the door and back to where I had waited for her earlier, outside against the brick wall. But she didn’t search for me when she exited this time. She took her cup of coffee across the street and sat on a bench in front of a delicatessen. She was alone, with eyes that didn’t look up. There was no wondering or hopefulness. She traced her finger around the plastic rim of her cup and didn’t lift it to her mouth.
I felt like a traitor walking away, leaving her unprotected and doubtful; especially when I had the warmth of her hand still on my arm. But I did walk away only to have her ghost follow me home. Her warmth remained on my arm as I tried to study and ignore the emptiness in my gut. But I kept seeing that man’s hand reaching for her. His finger trailing up her leg. Her looking at me in the doorway with love on her lips. Her looking at me let down that I might have stood up for Cecily when Logan had harassed her in class every day. Walking away from her because I couldn’t deal with words like love on theater night.
But she remained beside me when I turned off the lights and closed my eyes.
Her hand was right there on my arm, asking me to stay.

Emalynne Wilder is the voice of the Broken-Hearted. The Forgotten. The Unheard. Painfully shy in person. Unapologetic on paper. She’s the girl listening to your dirt from the corner of the room as she plots how to turn tragedy into triumph.

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