Looks like a wonderful first week of March!!
See you then.
Thanks to these Litsy folks for today’s prompt:
Today’s Prompt: SPELL “HEART” WITH BOOKS
All have been read, reviewed, and enjoyed.
Any YOU have read?
You won't want to miss these books.
Three thrillers and one historical fiction.
Which have you read?
All are reviewed on this blog.
Clarissa left her husband and moved into a secret housing complex where you had to be interviewed before you could live there.
You had to be an artist or writer or any type of creative person.
Are they really looking for talented folks or looking for someone who won’t suspect the reason for the security and scrutiny of your life as you live there?
Clarissa definitely felt as though someone was watching her besides her virtual personal assistant. Her cat seemed to feel the same way.
Something was going on in this extremely secured building with cameras in every room. It is a futuristic building where your every move was watched.
I don’t know why Clarissa didn’t move out of the building.
The writing is excellent as always, but FLOWERS OF DARKNESS was a slow read for me even though it wasn’t very long and had a bit of a mystery.
The futuristic things which were the major gist of the book are not something I read so this book wasn't as enjoyable as I would have liked. 3/5
This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
A family with nine children, a ship in the backyard, and a house run like a drill sergeant was in charge.
We meet the Vergennes family and learn that the ship is a diversion to keep the children busy as well as teach them how to be self-sufficient and learn life skills.
THE FAMILY SHIP has a storyline that takes us into a pecking order of sorts with the oldest child being respected as the leader.
Both parents love their children deeply, but they do rely on the children to help take care of each family member.
There is a slow start that will make you wonder where this book is going.
As you keep reading, you will find out where the book was going, and what a marvelous story line.
You will fall in love with most of the characters. You will also feel the pain of tragedies as well as happy moments which were few since their father was so strict.
Their strict father was a bit much because the children always behaved and were doing their best to help each other.
I really enjoyed the family‘s interaction and how tight knit they were.
Helping out is what happens in a large family as well as having to make sacrifices for some or all family members.
Anyone who has come from a large family will definitely enjoy this book and might see some of their own family with the array of different personalities and a mother who has to make each one feel special in their own way.
THE FAMILY SHIP is a beautiful read with lovely characters, heartbreaks, and a writing style and story line that pull you in.
You won’t want to miss this book. 4/5
This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Living in a structured house, living in a wetu.
Hopefully this week is the last week of really cold temperatures and snow.
See you this week for some bookish fun.
Another Spine Poem Day.
My poem says:
Don't Try to Find Me
"AT" The Island House
"OR" Along the Infinite Sea
Delia Frost loves her job at the bank. She loves her customers, most of whom are elderly. She doesn’t love the idea of quitting her job to travel around Australia in a motor home with her husband who is recovering from a heart attack. And she can’t bring herself to tell him that she doesn’t want to go.
Days before she quits her job, she is invited to a book club meeting, run by a local celebrity. This seems like a beacon of hope, one last chance to do something for herself before she leaves it all behind.
But this isn’t a random invitation.
Delia has been carefully selected by a serial killer to play her part in the murders of elderly widows.
Finding herself caught in a web of blackmail and murder, Delia is now keen to leave this town behind. But the killer doesn’t want to let her go.
Published by: Jonette Blake
Publication Date: August 27th 2020
Number of Pages: 260
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
ONE WEEK AGO
The setting sun cast a shadow on the headstone. A cool wind blew down the mountain. Susan Johnson tugged at her long woollen coat thinking she would soon be trading this blustery weather for tropical bliss and poolside cocktails.
She placed a hand on the headstone to steady herself and leaned over to drop a bouquet of lilies on the gravesite. She regretted not being able to bend low to lovingly place the flowers in the slot provided, but if her seventy-six-year-old body tilted even a few degrees she would topple over. It was embarrassing having paramedics lift her off the floor.
“This is goodbye for now, love,” she told the ten-years-dead occupant. “Just for a little while. I won’t be visiting because I’m off on a holiday.” She smiled and nodded. “Yes, I know what you’re thinking. I never go anywhere by myself. But I’m not going alone.”
The snap of twigs pierced the frigid air. Her grip remained on the headstone for support. But she managed to twist her head to catch a glimpse of the noisemaker.
Someone was here.
“I won’t be long,” she told the man. “I was just telling Eric about our trip.”
The man stood with his hands thrust deep into the pockets of his trouser pants. The sunlight framed his body, and she wanted to picture him as an angel, instead the image of angry plovers at the beach protecting their nests popped into mind. The sneaky way they flew towards you with the rising sun blinding you to their attack meant you heard the click of their beaks too late.
She pushed off this sense of trepidation and the chill that followed. It was just nerves. This trip was something new for her; it was bound to give her goose bumps.
She returned her attention to her late husband’s grave. “We’re in for a storm. You’d better batten down the hatches.” She laughed gently, then her features grew serious. “My new friend has promised to take me to North Queensland. Well, to the airport at least. That’s a big help. Once I’m on the plane I’ll be fine. Ah, Eric, I’m finally going to a place where the nights are warm and I wish you could be coming with me. I’ll be gone a few weeks.”
“Susan,” her visitor called out. “I’m ready when you are.”
“We’re off to the airport,” she told the gravestone.
The day had finally arrived when she was going on holiday. Without her friend’s support, she’d never have found the courage to say ‘book it’. He’d helped with booking the flights, hotels, and the tourist destination. He’d even created a week-long itinerary. She fumbled in her pocket for it but couldn’t find it.
Where have I put it?
Never mind. Her friend would have a copy.
She was finally going to see the Great Barrier Reef. It had been a cast-aside dream until her friend had searched on the website and found a tour operator with a glass-bottom boat who specialised in trips for people with mobility issues.
“Susan,” he called out again. “We don’t want to be late.”
“I’m almost done,” she replied, though the wind snatched away her words. Once, she’d had the strength in her lungs to be heard over an earthquake, but years of cigarette smoking had reduced her voice to an almost inaudible wheeze.
She spoke to the headstone again: “I know you think he’s only using me for my money, but he’s never asked for any. He’s not like that.” She patted the headstone. “I’ll bring you back a present.”
She hobbled over with the aid of her cane to join the man.
He lifted a bouquet of flowers from a shopping bag at his feet. “I brought something to show my respects,” he said, thrusting them at her.
Yellow roses were her favourite; they’d be wasted on Eric. Her late husband wouldn’t have known a rose from a weed.
The man smiled at her. “Will you place these on his grave for me?”
“I thought you said we were in a hurry.”
“I said we don’t want to be late. We have time to say our goodbyes.”
She glanced back at the gravesite. There was a lot of uneven lawn between here and there. Her cane had sunk into the dirt already and almost tripped her over a dozen times.
“You should take them yourself,” she told the man.
“Susan, I feel downright scandalous taking his wife to the airport for the first real holiday of her life. I can’t go over there and rub this in his face. Even in death, a person has dignity. My mother used to tell me that all the time. She was a nurse at a hospital in Sydney. Saw people dying every day. A lot of elderly people, too. The stories she told me of comfort she gave them in their final years has made me the compassionate man I am today.”
Susan knew a snow job when she heard one. She was old, arthritic, deaf in one ear, probably riddled with emphysema, but she was not stupid. Still, a sense of gratitude swept over her. She would have been locked inside the aged-care facility forever if her young friend had not convinced her to do something adventurous with the remaining years of her life.
“All right,” she said. “And then we’re off to the airport.”
She gripped her cane in one hand and the yellow roses in the other and set off across the uneven lawn.
“Be sure to inhale the perfume before you place them on the grave,” the man called out. “I asked the florist to select the most delectable bunch.”
Susan stopped and pulled the bouquet closer to her face to take in the scent. This bunch was strong. Probably perfumed. Everything was perfumed these days: soap, washing powder, toilet paper, tissues. As if the big companies could convince the population that life smelled like roses, therefore it must be roses.
She took a deep breath. This was a strange scent. Stronger than most. Not rosy at all. More like yellow jonquils. They had a stink that could cause nostril hairs to fall out.
She coughed on the odour. Her cough turned into a fit, one that fifty years of smoking ensured would bring a crushing pain to her chest.
Then her head began to swim. Her vision blurred. Her chest should have gulped for air. Instead it felt like it was sealing itself shut, jam-jar tight.
She twisted and tried to run toward the man who was still dappled in hues of orange and pink as the sun set behind him. She called out for help but her voice was lost. She couldn’t move.
The cool wind raced along her body like a knife, except this wasn’t the wind. This was an invisible chill attacking her veins.
Her limbs grew weak. She lost her grip on her cane.
A stroke? A heart attack? Years of being warned about the impact of smoking did not lessen the shock that it was actually happening.
Unable to support herself, she fell to the ground.
“Help,” she called out, though her voice was barely above a whisper.
The sun was setting faster now. Her visitor was now a dark, ominous shadow.
A shadow that wasn’t rushing to help her.
He should have grabbed his phone and called for medical help.
He should have raced over to her and administered first aid.
He should have done something.
Instead, he stood at the edge of the cemetery with his hands thrust in his pockets, rocking back and forth on his heels.
“Help,” she spluttered in between chest-breaking coughs.
She couldn’t get enough air into her lungs.
The man still did not make any movement to help her.
At last, he walked towards her and knelt down to stare into her face. His stare was vacant, expressionless, and when he tilted his head and frowned, she realised it wasn’t a vacant stare, but one of curiosity.
As if he’d never seen someone die before.
She reached for his hand.
He reached out for her.
His hand moved to the left toward the flowers. She noticed he wore gloves.
Had he been wearing them earlier?
The bouquet of flowers were pushed closer to her face. The pungent stench had lessened, as if her senses had adapted to the stink. More likely they were numbed by something else. Chemicals.
Now she recognised the scent. It was…
Sharp pain shot throughout her body. Her muscles contorted. Her vision blurred.
She saw his shadow fade away.
And then everything went dark.
Excerpt from The Widow Catcher by Jonette Blake. Copyright 2020 by Jonette Blake. Reproduced with permission from Jonette Blake. All rights reserved.
Jonette Blake writes supernatural thrillers and suspense thrillers. She is the author of over ten books and dozens of short stories, writing as D L Richardson.
She was born in Ireland and grew up in Australia. She lived through the 80s and music is still a big part of her life. When she is not writing, she plays her piano and guitar, listens to music, reads, and enjoys the beach.
She has held jobs in administration, sales and marketing, has worked in HR, payroll, and as a bank teller. Her latest novel The Widow Catcher is based on the coastal town she lives in and her own bank teller experience.
Her books are standalone titles.
Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
They all were very good.
Can't name a favorite out of this group.
Let everyone know if you have read any of these books.
How could there be someone with the exact DNA as you?
That could happen if you were cloned.
Evelyn and Martine had the same DNA.
Evelyn was married to Nathan - both were scientists.
Evelyn and Nathan started to drift apart, but Nathan still wanted his wife. To keep her, he cloned Evelyn into Martine.
Clones were not to live long. What did Nathan do to keep Evelyn alive?
THE ECHO WIFE is way out there and the most bizarre book I have ever read.
What the characters did isn't possible in my eyes, and all the scientific information was wordy and tedious for me.
Sci-fi fans and readers who enjoy an unbelievable story line should enjoy this book. 3/5
This book was given to me via the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
When a deadly bomb goes off during a climate change debate, librarian and event coordinator Jackie Santoro becomes the prime suspect. Her motive, according to Detective Avery Wick: to avenge the suicide of her prominent father, who was accused of crimes by a city councilman attending the event.
Though Avery has doubts about Jackie’s guilt, he can’t exonerate her even after an extremist group takes responsibility for the bombing and continues to attack San Antonio’s treasured public spaces.
As Jackie tries to hold her shattered family together, she has no choice but to proceed with plans for the Caterina Ball, the library system’s biggest annual fundraiser. But she also fears the event provides the perfect opportunity for the bomber to strike again.
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0785231900 (ISBN13: 9780785231905)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook | Goodreads
A steady stream of patrons stood and edged toward the center aisle. A low murmur swelled to the sound of hundreds of people all talking at once. Soon they’d be in front of Jackie, impeding her progress from the parking garage and on the narrow, one-way downtown streets of San Antonio.
“Great job, Jackie. Looks like your boss was wrong.” Sandoval’s constituent services director, Tony Guerra, sauntered up the aisle toward her. “Climate change opponents can coexist amicably in the same space. And so can city manager and city council staff.”
“Thanks, but it took a whole host of partners to make this happen. And it’s not over yet.” Jackie stuck her hand on the door lever that would release her to the Tobin’s massive lobby.
She liked Tony, which was a good thing since he’d asked Estrella to marry him. However, he wore his political ambitions like an obnoxious neon-pink tie.
“I have to go. I want to make sure there are no last-minute snags with the reception. Then it’s back to fine-tuning the altars for the Catrina Ball. It’s only a week away, and I’m behind because of the debate.”
“You never let up, do you? Are we still on for the Spurs game tomorrow—”
A powerful force knocked Jackie from her feet.
Her skull banged on the hardwood floor.
Sharp projectiles pelted her face in a painful ping-ping.
Estrella? Tony? Bella?
Muffled screams and even her own moaning seemed strangely distant. “Estrella? Tony? Bella?”
If they answered, Jackie couldn’t hear them. She dragged herself onto her hands and knees. Glass and sharp metal pierced both. She forced open burning eyes.
Heavy black smoke shrouded the hall. Metal and debris like deadly confetti showered her. She raised her arm to her forehead to protect her face from the remnants of folding chairs and electronics.
Warm blood dripped from her nose. The acrid taste of smoke and fear collected in her mouth. Her stomach heaved. Her pulse pounded so hard dizziness threatened to overcome her.
No, no, no. Do not pass out. People need help.
Shrieking alarms bellowed.
Water, like torrential rain, poured from above. Rain, inside? Her ricocheting thoughts made no sense. Jackie shook her head. Neither the smoke nor the clanging in her brain subsided.
The smoke had triggered the sprinklers.
Where there’s smoke there’s fire. The old cliché ran
circles in her mind like a children’s nursery rhyme.
Estrella’s mama and papa would never forgive Jackie if something happened to their sweet daughter. Mercedes and Mateo always saw Jackie as the instigator of trouble. And they were usually right.
Ignoring pain and panic, she crawled forward. Sharp metal bit into her skin. Where were her shoes?
Finally she encountered a warm, writhing body. “Tony?”
“What happened?” He struggled to sit up. Blood poured from an open wound on his scalp, his nose, and a cut on his lip. “I have to get to Estrella and Diego.”
He might have yelled, but Jackie could barely make out the words. She leaned back on her haunches. “You’re hurt. Does anything feel broken?”
“No, but I can’t hear anything.” He wiped at his face. Blood streaked his once crisply starched white shirt. “Why can’t I hear?”
“It’ll pass. We have to get everyone out.”
With a groan, Tony leaned over and vomited on the floor. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve. “Okay, let’s go.”
“Everyone out. If you can walk on your own, evacuate.” One of the contract security guards hired for the debate loomed over them. “The bomb squad is on the way. Go, go.”
“We’re fine. We’ll help get the others out.”
“Negative. Get out, there could be more bombs.”
Excerpt from Her Every Move by Kelly Irvin. Copyright 2021 by Kelly Irvin. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins. All rights reserved.
Bestseller Kelly Irvin is the author of 19 books, including romantic suspense and Amish romance. Publishers Weekly called Closer Than She Knows “a briskly written thriller.” The Library Journal said of her novel Tell Her No Lies, “a complex web with enough twists and turns to keep even the most savvy romantic suspense readers guessing until the end.” The two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist worked as a newspaper reporter for six years on the Texas-Mexico border. Those experiences fuel her romantic suspense novels set in Texas. A retired public relations professional, Kelly now writes fiction full-time. She lives with her husband professional photographer Tim Irvin in San Antonio. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two ornery cats.
Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
Title: She Wore a Yellow Dress
Author: John R. Cammidge
Release Date: Feb. 16, 2021
Publisher: Gatekeeper Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: ebook, Paperback
Price: $6.99, $15.99
John is preoccupied with building a career at Ford of Britain whereas Jean Louise teaches and expects to receive his dedicated attention, spontaneous affection and unquestioning loyalty because of the sacrifices she has made for him. When that does not happen, she seeks help from a fellow teacher.
The challenges of cohabitation, however, extend well beyond their domestic disagreements thanks to the chaotic conditions existing in Britain during the period 1965 to 1975. They struggle to adapt financially and socially, not helped by their opposing political beliefs, and the disruptions brought into their household by government and the behavior of trade unions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Finally, because of the passion for bird watching in She Wore a Yellow Dress, the Author’s Blog has been used to expand on the author’s interest in ornithology.
On Sale Date: February 9, 2021
Fiction / Family Life / Women
Find buy links and author information at the bottom of this post.
But when MacKenzie discovers she's pregnant, walking away to begin a new life isn't so easy. She never could have anticipated the changes it would bring to the relationships she cherishes most: her relationship with Barbara, her mother-in-law and partner at Bel Apres, Stephanie, her sister-in-law and best friend, and Bel Apres, the company she's worked so hard to put on the map.
MacKenzie has always dreamed of creating a vineyard of her own, a chance to leave a legacy for her unborn child. So when the opportunity arises, she jumps at it and builds the Vineyard at Painted Moon. But following her dreams will come at a high price—one that MacKenzie isn't so sure she's willing to pay…
“Not that what you’re wearing isn’t great, but the party starts in an hour.”
Mackenzie Dienes looked up from the grapevine she’d been studying, her mind still on the tight clusters of small, hard grapes that would, come late September, be ripe and sweet and ready for harvest. Between now and then, she would monitor their progress, willing them to greatness and protecting them from danger, be it mold, weather or hungry deer.
She blinked at the man standing in front of her, tall and familiar, with an easy smile and broad, capable shoulders.
“Party?” she asked, letting her thoughts of the vineyards go and remembering that, yes, indeed, it was the evening of the annual Solstice Party, hosted by the Barcellona family. As she was a Barcellona, by marriage if not by name, she would be expected to attend.
Wanted to attend, she reminded herself. It was always a good time, and Stephanie, her sister-in-law, worked hard to make it a perfect night.
“The party,” she repeated, her voice slightly more panicked this time, then glanced down at herself. “Crap. What time is it?”
Rhys, her husband, shook his head. “You really don’t listen when I talk, do you? We have an hour. You’ll be fine.”
She pulled off her gloves and shoved them into the left front pocket of her coveralls, then stepped behind Rhys and gave him a little push toward the flatbed truck he’d driven out to the west vineyards.
“You say that because all you have to do is shower and get dressed. I have to do the girl thing.”
“Which takes you maybe ten minutes.” He put his arm around her as they hurried toward the truck. “Happy with the grapes?”
“I think so,” she said, glancing toward the healthy vines growing on either side of them. “We might have to do some thinning in a couple of weeks, but so far, so good.”
As they slid onto the bench seat of the old truck, he glanced at her. She smiled, knowing there was a fifty-fifty chance he would call her out on her thinning statement. He was, after all, the vineyard manager. Technically all the decisions about the vineyard were made by him with her input, but not her instruction. As winemaker, she managed the grapes from the moment they were picked until the wine was bottled.
But at Bel Après, areas of responsibility often overlapped. Theirs was a large, boisterous family in which everyone had opinions. Not that Mackenzie listened to a lot of other ideas when it came to her wines, although as Rhys often pointed out, she was very free offering hers when it came to his work.
He drove along the dirt path that circled the vineyard, stopping by her truck. She slid into the cab, then followed him back to the family compound. The main road leading into Walla Walla was thick with tourists who wanted to enjoy the longest day of the year. She merged into the slow-moving traffic, doing her best to keep from glancing at the clock on the truck’s dashboard as she inched along.
Vineyards stretched out on either side of the road, flat on the left and rising toward the hills on the right. Bright green leaves topped sturdy trunks that had been carefully trained to grow exactly as she wanted them to. The rows were long and neat, and the spaces between them were filled with native grasses that held in moisture and protected the roots from the heat.
Looking at her healthy crop kept her mind off the fact that she and Rhys were going to be desperately late.
Twenty minutes later, she followed him off the highway onto a less crowded secondary road—a back way home. Five minutes after that, they parked the trucks by the processing buildings behind the big tasting room. Rhys had already claimed one of the golf carts the family used to get around. She slid in next to him and they took off toward the center of the property.
Bel Après Winery and the surrounding land had been in the Barcellona family for nearly sixty years. Rhys and his siblings were third-generation. The original main house had been updated several times. When Rhys and Mackenzie had married, Barbara, Rhys’s mother, had suggested they build themselves a house close to hers, rather than commute from town. Eager to stay in the good graces of her new mother-in-law, Mackenzie had agreed.
A large two-story home had been built. Barbara and Mackenzie had decorated every room, the act of choosing everything from light fixtures to doorknobs cementing their affection for each other.
A few years later, Stephanie, the second of Barbara’s four children, had gotten a divorce and moved back home with her two kids, requiring another house to be constructed. When the youngest of the three girls had married, the last house had been added. Only Lori, the middle daughter, still lived in the original home.
All four houses faced a huge central courtyard. Mexican pavers were shaded by vine-covered pergolas. The extended family used the space for big dinners and as a kids’ play area. If one of the women baked cookies, a cookie flag was hung out the front door, inviting anyone to stop by. At Christmas, a large tree was brought in from Wishing Tree, and for the annual Summer Solstice Party, dozens of long tables were brought in to seat the two hundred or so guests.
Rhys swung the golf cart behind the large main house, circling counterclockwise. Normally he would cut across the courtyard, but with all the party preparations, he had to go the long way. He pulled up at the rear entrance to their house and they dashed inside.
Mackenzie paused to unlace her boots and left them in the mudroom. Rhys did the same. They raced up the stairs together, separating at the landing to head to their individual en suite bedrooms.
Once in her bathroom, she started the shower. Thankfully, she’d already picked out the dress she would wear. She raced through a shower. After she dried off, she wrapped her hair in a towel and dug out the scented body lotion Rhys had given her a couple of years ago. Why anyone would want to smell like coconut and vanilla was beyond her, but he liked it.
She walked into the large closet and opened her underwear drawer. To the right were all the sensible bikini panties she usually wore—to the left were the fancier ones for special occasions. She chose a black pair and slipped them on, then went to the second drawer and looked for the matching push-up bra. When it and the pads were in place and doing the best they could with her modest curves, she pulled on a robe and returned to the bathroom.
After plugging in her hot rollers, it took her only a few minutes to apply eyeliner and mascara. She was flushed from the day working outside, so she didn’t bother with any other makeup.
Her hair took a lot longer. First she had to dry the dark red shoulder-length waves, then she had to curl them. While the rollers were in place, she searched for a pair of black high-heel sandals that wouldn’t leave her crippled by the end of the night.
Those found, she opened her small jewelry box and pulled out her wedding set, sliding both the engagement ring and the wedding band into place on her left hand. Diamond stud earrings followed. She’d barely stepped into her sleeveless black dress when Rhys walked into the closet, fully dressed in black slacks and a dark gray shirt.
She sighed when she saw him. “See. You have it so much easier than me.”
“Yes, but in the end, you’re more beautiful. That should be worth something.”
“I’d rather have the extra time.”
She turned, presenting him with her back. He pulled up the zipper, then bent to collect her shoes. They retreated to her bathroom and together began removing the curlers.
“We’re late,” Mackenzie said, catching sight of his watch. “Your mom is going to be all snippy.”
“She’ll be too busy welcoming her guests.” The last of the curlers was flung onto the counter. Mackenzie fluffed her hair, then pointed to the bedroom.
“Retreat,” she said, reaching for the can of hair spray.
Rhys ducked to safety. She sprayed the curls into submission before running into the bedroom to escape the death cloud. Rhys was on the bench at the foot of the large bed. She sat next to him and quickly put on her shoes.
“Done,” she said, pausing to reacquaint herself with the seldom-used skill of walking in heels.
She grabbed her husband’s wrist. “Seven fifteen. Barbara’s going to kill us.”
“She’s not. I’m her only son and you’re just plain her favorite.”
“We weren’t ready exactly at seven. I can already hear the death-march music in my head. I want to be buried on Red Mountain.”
Rhys chuckled as he led the way downstairs. “In the vineyard? I’m not sure your decaying body is going to be considered organic.”
“Are you saying I’m toxic?” she asked with a laugh as they walked toward the front door.
“I’m saying you’re wonderful and I’d like us to have a good night.”
There was something in his tone, she thought, meeting his gaze. She’d known this man her entire adult life. They’d met over Christmas her freshman year of college. Her roommate, his sister Stephanie, had dragged Mackenzie home to meet the family.
Grateful not to have to spend the holiday by herself, Mackenzie had gone willingly and had quickly found herself falling not only for her best friend’s hunky older brother but for the entire Barcellona family and the vineyards they owned. Barbara had been like a surrogate mother, and the vineyards, well, they had been just as magical as Rhys’s sexy kisses.
Now she studied her husband’s expression, seeing the hint of sadness lurking behind his easy smile. She saw it because she hid the same emotion deep inside herself. The days of stealing away for sexy kisses were long gone. There were no lingering looks, no intimacy. They had a routine and a life, but she was less sure about them still having a marriage.
“I’d like that, too,” she murmured, knowing he wasn’t asking them not to fight. They never did. Harsh words required a level of involvement they simply didn’t have anymore.
“Then let’s make that happen,” he said lightly, taking her hand in his and opening the front door.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives―family, friendship, romance. She's known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages. Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.
Mailing List: https://susanmallery.com/join-mailing-list.php