I’ve been hinting about my next story for weeks (okay, months). Yesterday, One Sultry Day went live at retailers everywhere.
There’s a contest. Scroll to the end of the post for details and a link to the entrance form.
BUT…I know it’s a risk to buy stories written by strangers. So, I’ve promised to share an excerpt from each of the stories. Each author has graciously contributed up to 500 words from their story.
Read on for an excerpt from ‘Second Chance Summer’ by Lily Carlyle:
Jason poured himself a large cup of coffee and went to the register to pay.
“Mornin’. That be all?” A t-shirt with “KDH Pier” emblazoned across it stretched tight over the cashier’s bosom and round belly, and although she did not have a cigarette dangling out the side of her mouth, both her demeanor and her voice suggested she might have just recently stubbed one out.
Jason dug three ones out of his wallet.
“You on vacation? Haven’t seen you before.” She punched keys on the old-fashioned cash register, took his proffered money, and handed him some change.
Jason hesitated, unsure whether she was being friendly or nosy. After so many years on the west coast, he wasn’t accustomed to strangers asking personal questions. “This is my first time here in 20 years. I just inherited a cottage, so I’ll be around most of the summer.”
“Yeah? Who died?”
Taken aback by her directness, Jason blinked, but was saved from answering by someone lining up behind him.
“Jake, dude, I haven’t seen you forever.” Her husky voice rose slightly as she greeted the person behind him.
Happily stepping aside out of the limelight, Jason turned and came face to face with the young man he’d seen earlier running on the beach. He blanched, realizing why the young man had looked so familiar. He was the masculine version of Summer. His hair was the same shade of rich, dark chestnut, and the high planes of his cheekbones were identical to hers. Even his gesture, as he swept the sweat-dampened hair off his forehead, reminded Jason of Summer.
He could feel his mind churning, trying to process this bit of information. Summer must have a son. Then he reminded himself, this could be a nephew. Or even a cousin.
As if to help him find an answer, the woman behind the counter interrupted his thoughts with her grating voice. “Where’s your mom? I haven’t seen her in forever.”
Jason tried to subtly lean in so as not to miss the young man’s response.
Jake shrugged and pulled on the water he’d just bought. “She’s been busy, I guess. She was at my grandparents’ a few days. Just got back last night.”
“Tell her I said hi and to stop being such a damned snob. She hardly comes around anymore.”
“Sure thing.” The young man turned to leave, rolling his eyes at Jason as he passed. He probably assumed Jason’s dazed expression was entirely in response to the cashier’s inquisitiveness.
He watched Jake walk away. Even his stride reminded him of Summer’s, not to mention his rangy build and long legs.
A husky cough drew his attention back to the woman behind the counter.
“He’s too young for you.” She straightened some straws in a container next to the register.
“What?” Then realization dawned. “Oh, God, no. He just reminds me of someone I used to know.” He took a big gulp of the bitter coffee, and although it burned from both temperature and sheer badness the whole way down, he never flinched.
“Is his last name Ingalls?” Jason tried to sound casual.
“Jake’s? Nah, he’s a Foster.”
Jason heaved a sigh of relief, but before he was finished exhaling, the woman added. “But his mom’s maiden name was Ingalls. Summer Ingalls. You might know her.”
Conscious of his quaking legs, Jason pulled out a stool from under the counter, and sat down with studied casualness lest he collapse on the floor. “How old is Jake?”
She narrowed her eyes at him, as if offended by his curiosity. “I dunno. 19, 20? I barely know how old my own kids are, let alone everyone else’s in Kill Devil Hills.”
Jason didn’t answer but pretended to watch the TV suspended behind the counter while he sipped the gut-burning coffee. His stomach churned, not so much from the disgusting coffee, but from his own suspicions.
Was Jake his son?
Can’t stand the suspense? Need to read more? Grab your copy of ONE SULTRY DAY now.
What Else You’ll Get
Since One Sultry Day is an anthology, that means you’ll get FOUR complete stories. Each one is written by a different author.
Although each one has something to do with summer, they are quite unique and distinct.
You’re a fan of escort services and accidental romances? Escorts for Hire – Heartaches for Free by Deryn Pittar
You like a little mystery or spookiness with your love story? Ghosts of Lost Summers by T.E. Hodden
Love comes in unexpected places, and those are the tales you enjoy reading. You’ll enjoy Unexpected by Sharon Hughson (yes, that’s me)
Still not sure? Come back tomorrow for a peek inside another story.
Enter to Win
There’s a little scavenger hunt. Enter your answers in the Rafflecopter form. The more stops you make and the more answers you give (pages you visit or people you follow) the better your chance to win either:
- A $10 Amazon Gift Card or
- A digital copy of One Sultry Day
Make sure you check back here tomorrow for another peek inside the anthology of sweet romances. It’s one way to insure there’s a little romance in your summer.