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Category Archives: Book Nerd

Recommendations and reviews and all things bookish

Celebrating New Releases

Mistletoe Memories: Six New Inspirational Holiday Romances

boxed-setThis past week the Mistletoe Memories bundle released and I couldn’t be more excited to share this group of stories with you. Myself and five other multi-published authors joined together to bring you six never before published novellas about love at Christmastime. The best part: right now you can snag this bundle for only 99 cents. I’m serious. You can’t beat that deal.

And I’m even more excited to share this with you because my story in the collection – It Was You – launches my new King’s Cove series. Expect to see two more King’s Cove novellas releasing before the end of the year!

The Ranger’s Texas Proposalrangers-texas-proposal

Last year my editor at Love Inspired called me, offering the chance to write a series with five other authors and I jumped at the opportunity. The Ranger’s Texas Proposal is the second book in the Lone Star Cowboy League: Boy’s Ranch series (but can be read as a stand alone). It’s the story of a hunky Texas Ranger and a tough, pregnant widow. I loved writing these characters and really fell in love with them. This one’s a tear-jerker with a warm ending. I can’t wait for it to hit the store shelves!

Small-Town Girl 

Small-Town Girl FrontSmall-Town Girl released in August and it’s really special because it was my fifth book published by Love Inspired. It is the fourth book in the Goose Harbor series and follows newcomer, Kendall Mayes, as she tries to chart out a new future and avoid relationships along the way. That is, until she meets the handsome loner Brice Daniels. This book has already received a lot of great reviews and so many of you have contacted me privately letting me know how much this story meant to you. Small-Town Girl was also recommended on the USA Today Happy Ever After blog by the wonderful Serena Chase: “Highly recommended for fans of inspirational and sweet romance, this is a story that offers many sigh-worthy moments …”

Thanks for reading! -jess

Just Keep Writing

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Supposedly it’s spring in Chicago right now but you wouldn’t know that by the snow flurries happening outside my window. But that’s part of the charm of living here – the weather keeps us on our toes. Days go by without the sun and then one day it’ll be green out and the flowers will be there, waiting for us.

My writing career has a lot in common with Chicago weather – bright spots speckled between a lot of clouds. A lot of waiting. A lot of hoping and praying. A lot of telling myself to keep my head down, ignore the snow storms and just keep writing.

just keep writing

And spring arrives, as it always does. For me that means I have book news to share with you. The fruits of months and months of head down, just keep writing.

Small-Town Girl will be the fourth book in the Goose Harbor series, it releases August 2016 and is available for pre-order right now. I can’t share the cover for Small-Town Girl yet (but I’ve seen it and let me tell you … it’s GORGEOUS!). Here’s the blurb:

_________________________________________________________

Her Small-Town Guy 

Goose Harbor, Michigan, is the perfect place for Kendall Mayes to start over and open her date-planning business. When she encounters handsome loner Brice Daniels, who is struggling to keep the shipping business he runs going, she sees an opportunity. A weekly sunset cruise catering to couples and tourists will keep their dealings strictly business. Kendall has had enough of failed romances, and Brice is too burned by love to give it another chance. But despite their reservations, they soon let down their walls. Yet when Kendall’s silent business partner is revealed to be Brice’s longtime enemy, staying together might be next to impossible.

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At the end of last year I was invited to join a group of five other authors to work on a continuity series together. Love Inspired, my publisher, planned the series and the six books will release in back-to-back months from October 2016 through March 2017. It’s called the Lone Star Cowboy League: Boys Ranch series and builds off of Love Inspired’s original Lone Star Cowboy League series. My book is the second in the series, set to release November 2016 and I couldn’t be more excited to put this one into your hands! The book is called The Ranger’s Texas Proposal. It’s about a Texas Ranger named Heath who pulled at my heartstrings from the moment I got him onto the page.

And today I found out the title for my fifth Goose Harbor book – Apple Orchard Bride. It will release January 2017. I have a feeling the cover for this one is going to be so pretty. I mean – an apple orchard and a wedding!

For those keeping track, that’s three books releasing in a six month period which is craziness in the publishing industry. I’m beyond blessed and excited. These books are my flowers after a long, dark winter and the breakneck release schedule is a reminder that “no matter what, just keep writing” is the best writing career advice I was ever given.

#IndieBooksBeSeen Secret Santa Giveaway

If you’re a frequent user of social media I hope you’ve gotten a chance to see the #IndieBooksBeSeen tag. #IndieBooksBeSeen is an authors-helping-authors movement to help shine light on the indie book industry and assist readers in discovering new authors and books. Want to join the fun? Go onto Twitter and search #IndieBooksBeSeen and find your next read. My friend Mark Shaw started the #IndieBooksBeSeen movement and is kind of a big deal now 🙂

A bunch of the authors involved in #IndieBooksBeSeen got together and said…know what would make the world amazing? FREE BOOKS! So we joined together to host an epic Secret Santa Giveaway. Winners will receive a personalized paperback copy of one of the books (open to the US, Canada, and the UK). You can see all the books being offered by clicking hereWe’re using Rafflecopter to make things easy. Best part? There are 74 ways to enter.

The weatherman says we’re heading into a painful winter, so be prepared. A few good books will get you through to spring!

Happy Reading!

Jess

Celebrating a New Book!

Celebrating a New Book!

Today I’m handing out party hats and slicing the cake (oh, it’s totally okay to eat cake at before noon!) to celebrate my latest book which released this week! My newsletter subscribers are already having a lot of fun. I announced the release on my newsletter on Tuesday morning and gave them an opportunity to enter to win signed copies of both the new book Searching for Home and The Widower’s Second ChanceIf you don’t want to miss out on upcoming fun, make sure to stop by my website and sign up to receive future updates first. You’ll find the “Join Jessica’s Mailing List” box on the front page.

I also wanted to let you guys know that you may start to see some construction dust on my blog very soon. In the coming months my author website and my blog will both be revamped (design wise) and joined on one complete site. Won’t that be nice? I sure hope so.

But let’s get to the good stuff…a new book!

Searching for Home – Spies of Chicago, Book One

for websiteShe thought a dead relative ruined her life, but discovering his story will save it instead.

When the story of Whitney’s long-dead anarchist ancestor, Lewis Ingram, makes front-page news, she must find a way to exonerate her relative, or risk losing everything–her mayoral-candidate boyfriend and her job at a local magazine. Aided by Nate, a volunteer at the Chicago Historical Foundation, she digs in, determined to find a positive spin on the situation. But what awaits her isn’t spin at all. It’s truth–and it will change her life.

In the world of 1886, Ellen Ingram and James Kent didn’t intend to get caught in the middle of an anarchist spy ring. Ellen was content to leave all such intrigue to her brother, Lewis Ingram. But as the political climate in Chicago changes, Ellen and James have no choice. In the midst of the famous Haymarket Riot, both realize that they must live the life God created them for, not the one dictated by society.

Two generations encounter the same truth–and neither will ever be the same.

A Review for Destined for Doon

Destined for Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

 If you’ve been around my blog for any length of time, you know I love three things with equal tenacity: Young Adult fiction, Romance, and the Fantasy genre. Wouldn’t you know Destined for Doon has all three? Moreover, it doesn’t disappoint. At all.

DoonDestined for Doon is the second book in a four book series inspired by the musical Brigadoon. In the first book, Doon, we see best friends Veronica and Mackenna (Kenna) travel to Scotland and discover the magical, locked away land of Doon—complete with two handsome princes waiting for them, of course. 🙂

Did I mention I loved the first book in this series? I did, immensely. Well, I’m always a little afraid to read sequels—not because I don’t want more of the stories, I always do—but because usually they don’t live up to the magic felt while reading the first book. Well, that was not true with Destined for Doon, actually **leans closer and whispers** I liked it BETTER than the first book. I know—crazy, right?

Honest moment: Kenna wasn’t my favorite character in book one. I just didn’t get her reluctance when it came to love (the authors wrote her beautifully, it’s just my personal thing) so I was worried that I wouldn’t be as into the second book because the bulk of it follows Kenna’s story. Boy, was I wrong. Kenna won me over and then some. She’s strong and doesn’t always have a filter and feels deeply. She’s a good role model and lends strength to Veronica who desperately needs to believe in herself more (trusting that’ll come in the next two books).

And Duncan. Can we please talk about Prince Duncan (Kenna’s romantic interest) a little? Duncan has been my favorite character since he walked onto the page in book one. Many of my friends like Prince Jamie (Veronica’s romantic interest) better, but I’ve never been one for the moody, mysterious man. I’d rather have a heart on his sleeve, loyal to a fault, Duncan any day.Destined for Doon

The romantic tension and angst needed in a YA book is so well done in this one. I have no clue how the authors’ craft these things so seamlessly and believably—I wish I could sit down with Carey and Lorie for lessons in this to strengthen my own YA writing.

Both Carey and Lorie are skilled authors, their writing complements each other well. The setting of Doon comes alive. As someone who has never traveled to Scotland, the book transports me there and fills in all the gaps with beautiful description.

Beyond the romance, the conflict and mystery in this book are very good and kept me as a reader guessing how exactly Veronica and Kenna could possibly overcoming the thing that is threatening to destroy the entire kingdom of Doon and everyone who lives there. High stakes—yeah, I pulled a heart-pounding all nighter because I couldn’t put turn the pages fast enough for the last 120 pages. Man alive. These women know how to craft a story. I have said that already, haven’t I?

Lastly, I really appreciate that the authors take the chance to show two teen girls in an uplifting friendship. Kenna and Veronica always have each other’s’ backs. Their first instinct is to encourage and challenge each other. And they are constantly risking all for the other. When so many YA books only show girls gossiping and hurting each other, it’s refreshing to see the bond for friendship in the Doon series.

I am avidly awaiting the next installment and am considering bribing Carey and Lorie with cookies and musical tickets in order to read book three w-a-y ahead of time. Thankfully, we have two more books to look forward to. More adventures. More Doon. And more Duncan.

read the book

Jess

A Review for The Butterfly and the Violin

The Butterfly and the Violin – by Kristy Cambron

I’m going to be honest—I usually pass right by any book that I think will be depressing or things that cover heavy subject matters. I get enough real life shock value in my day job; I don’t need it during my relaxing time when I’m reading. Going off of that, you’re probably confused as to why I’m recommending a book that centers around Auschwitz—but The Butterfly and the Violin is brimming with hope and holds a story as breathtakingly beautiful as it’s cover.

The book follows both a contemporary and a historical storyline. Sometimes a book that has both can feel jarring when we transition to a different time period, but Cambron expertly weaves the two together. Both characters are written uniquely and I cared about both heroines.The Butterfly and the Violin

Sera James is an art gallery owner in Manhattan. As a young girl she saw a painting of a woman with a shaved head playing a violin and the image has stayed with her, haunting her into adulthood. When she has the opportunity to locate a copy of the painting, Sera jumps at the chance and heads to California where her life becomes entangled with a man who wants the painting as well.

I found Sera to be a realistic character who I enjoyed. Scars from Sera’s past threaten her hope for a relationship with William. Is he worth trusting? Sera’s past tells her most men aren’t.

Adele Von Bron has become Austria’s darling as a violin prodigy, but when she is caught attempting to help Jews escape during the Nazi reign, her prestige, nor her father’s high position, can save her from being sent to the concentration camp. Adele is broken and alone and finds the only way to save herself is to join the orchestra which plays for the laborers and at the whim of the Nazis. Adele proves to be remarkably brave—her story touched me deeply.

The historical sections are powerful, heartbreaking, and full of every emotion available. Cambron does a good job of showing us the horrors of the concentration camp without becoming gory or gruesome. Historical details in this book were so well researched. I had no idea there were orchestras or art in the midst of all of this.

One of the things I appreciated the most is that a story that could have been a downer, was instead stamped with hope on every single page. There is friendship that saves, romantic love offering new chances, and the eternal love of God that gives a future.

This story is deeply spiritual at its core containing messages about pushing beyond our mistakes, clinging to God even when evil is all around you, and urges you to see the beauty in every day of life.

The Butterfly and the Violin is a must read (and I just checked, its only $3.99 for Kindle right now!). It’s one of those stories that brands itself on your heart, coming back into your thoughts for years afterwards.

Jess

I’m Alive! An Update and Review of The Hesitant Heiress to Prove it!

Widowers Second ChanceI’ve been hopelessly absent from blogging and I’m very sorry about that fact. Truth be known, I really enjoy posting things for you and would like to get into a more regular schedule. I’m currently trying to figure out what that looks like, and what sort of content would serve you all best.

What have I been doing? Besides working at my day job and playing with a very giggly 20 month old, I’ve been writing. My latest Love Inspired book, The Widower’s Second Chance, released in August—it launches a new series called Goose Harbor which follows the lives of people who live on the sandy shores of a tourist community on Lake Michigan.

My next book with Phantom Ship Press will release in October. Searching for Home launches a three book series called Spies of Chicago that follows both a historical and contemporary storyline. Isn’t the cover gorgeous? And then at the end of November a historical Christmas novella titled Hear on Christmas Morning will release.

SearchingHome_CVR

Other than that I’ve been catching up on one of my favorite activities—reading. Let me tell you, I’ve found some AMAZING books in the last few months and discovered some authors that went directly onto my pre-order every book they ever write list. With that in mind I’m going to post a book review/recommendation every day this week.

The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall

 If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would. It’s easily the best historical fiction I’ve read in many years (and I’m a 100+ book a year reader). The second I finished The Hesitant Heiress, I wanted to start rereading it and I’ve been thinking about the characters long after finishing it because they are so well written they felt like real people.

The main character, Amaryllis Brigham, has lived a lonely life and would rather spend time with books and music than with people. The day her mother died is wrapped up in mystery and she hasn’t had much contact with her father since she was whisked away to a boarding school straight from the funeral. Adding to that is an over-riding sense that every terrible event in her life has been influenced by Bram Everstone—the man who once loved her mother.

Upon her grandmother’s death Amaryllis learns that she’s set to inherit a fortune as long as she marries within the year—something she’s not willing to consider. The story opens with Amaryllis being expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, which leads her to living with her well-to-do aunt in Boston, forcing her to attend parties and hob-nob with those in high society.

Amaryllis meets Nathan Everstone and sparks fly before they even exchange their first words. Nathan is a hero worth cheering on. A man who is both dreamy, yet believable—yes, I said dreamy. Nathan doesn’t give up easily and yet completely respects the space Amaryllis needs. Their love story is beautiful, full of tension, and kept me reading late into the early morning hours.

The Hesitant HeiressPoor Amaryllis can’t trust that Nathan loves her though because a misunderstanding leads her to believe that her aunt asked Nathan to pay attention to her. That—and he’s the son of her greatest enemy.

The Hesitant Heiress is told in first person, which I love. I wish more inspirational fiction—especially historicals—were written like this. It often felt like I was reading a contemporary of the book Rebecca or Jane Eyre (two of my all-time favorites). It’s that good. Seriously.

Crandall is masterful at crafting characters who have believable motivations. I completely understood why Amaryllis thought and acted and reacted the way she did to everything because I felt her past hurts and the lies about herself she believed so deeply.

As an author, I can usually guess most twists and turns that are going to happen in a story because that’s how my mind works when I dive into a plot—but with this book I was able to turn that off and just be along for the ride. That’s high praise because I can so rarely engage with a book on that level. I have to adore the book and characters to do that, but Crandall made that easy for me. She’s now on my preorder-every-single-thing-she-every-writes list. There were elements of mystery and plot twists in the book that I didn’t initially see coming.

Crandall expertly drew me into the Gilded Age setting with well researched details and authentic dialogue. I felt like I was there. She also didn’t fall into a mistake that many historical writers make of too much detail—sometimes that’s just as distracting.

More than anything, I can’t get Crandall’s characters out of my head. Amaryllis and Nathan are real. They live and breathe on the page and will do so in your heart and mind long after you’re done. Happily, the next two books of the series are releasing quickly so we all don’t have to wait long for the rest of the stories!

I can’t recommend The Hesitant Heiress highly enough. It deserves far more than 5 stars.

**I bought this book with my own hard earned money and am reviewing it because I think everyone should read it**

Jess

Celebrating Indie Authors – Enter to Win: Gift Cards, Original Art, a Mug, and LOTS of books!

Indie Extravaganza: New Book Releases You Should Check Out – PLUS Gift Card Giveaway!

Looking for some great NEW indie reads?
All of these books are New Releases in the last few months. Skip to the genre you love, sample a new indie author… and enter the giveaway at the bottom! (Also check out the FREE books associated with these New Releases at the bottom.)
And THANK YOU for supporting indie authors!
(click on covers to learn more)p.s. is it me, or are these indie covers amazing?


Young Adult Science Fiction

 
 


Science Fiction/Dystopian
  
  
 
 

Young Adult Fantasy
    

  


Fantasy
 

Young Adult Contemporary Romance
  

Contemporary/Historical Romance
  
  

Young Adult Suspense

Middle Grade
 

Steampunk/Alternate History

Thriller/Suspense
  

FREE Books
Connected with New Releases Above
  
 
 

Giveaway includes Gift Cards, Original Art, paperbacks, ebooks, and a mug!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Why I Write Young Adult Fiction

“Since it is so likely that (children/teens) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.” –C.S. Lewis

Beware: Spoilers for Allegiant, The Fault in Our Stars, and possibly Lord of the Flies and the Harry Potter series (but if you haven’t read or at least know the ending to those last two…please come out from under that rock pronto).

Like many others, I was excited to get my hands on Allegiant, the final book in the wildly popular Divergent series. I loved book one, tentatively liked book two, and looked forward to the last installment.

allegiant

All to my utter and complete disappointment.

Allegiant and subsequently its author, Veronica Roth (who, for the rest of this will be known as VRoth) failed readers on so many levels, but more than anything it/she failed a generation of teen readers who are looking for a new brand of hope.

See, when an author writes a book they can’t just willy-nilly send it out into the world. They must keep in mind that their words have the power to shape and affect people. An author, especially someone with a huge readership, has a responsibility to their readers. They must offer hope within the pages of their book or it’s a pointless waste of time for the author and more so, the reader.

Author William Faulkner said in his acceptance speech for his Nobel Prize, “The writer’s duty is to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past.”

Does there have to be an “and they lived happily ever after” ending? Absolutely not. Suzanne Collins’s (author of The Hunger Games series) editor put it best when she said that young adult books don’t need a happy ending, but in the end, there must be “a window left open”—a way where we can see that the characters we’ve grown to love can move on from tragedy.

There must be hope.

Teens today are growing up in a far different world than the one I grew up in (and I’m not that old). I’m of the Harry Potter generation. The books of my youth were stories of teens that could rise up and save the world. My generation was the one told that if we go to college and work hard then we’ll get good jobs and we can accomplish anything. I’m the generation just in front of today’s teens—and the teens of today have watched as the bottom dropped out of my generation’s lives. Where going to college hasn’t landed many of my friends a job, instead it has left them drowning in debt. Where many parents are divorced and a significant amount of people I know have watched their family home seized by forecloser.

Teens today have grown up watching this all unravel. For all of the aware part of their lives, our country has been at war. Think about that. They don’t know of an America not at war. Polls show that their vision of success is very different than my teen generation (which is only ten years ago). Today’s teen sees success not as owning a home, graduating college, having a family, or starting a business, instead the number one measure of success in recent polls showed them wanting to be debt free “at some point in life.” That’s it.

Contemporary teens aren’t looking for books about teens saving the world. They only ask for the small hope of saving their small corner of it. So popular books for this generation are ones that in the end show that in the midst of a messed up world, you can find your own peace/hope, even if it’s just between you and one other person.

Fiction has always been meant to combat the reality of life. VRoth failed us here. She didn’t show us what could be possible. Instead she smacked us in the face with what is. And we don’t need that. Because we’ve all dealt with more than enough loss and hardship and heartbreak. We don’t need books that repeat what we live every single day, we need books that show us that in the midst of a heartbreak world, we can find our own little pod of happiness/joy. That just because the world we live in is going to pot, doesn’t mean we have to lose hope.

Whatever her purpose, VRoth showed teens with Allegiant one horrible thing: their life, their struggles, their fight for right…none of it matters in the end. Which leaves teens asking: what’s the point? If nothing I’m working for matters…why try? I know that’s not the message she meant to send, but when an author is careless with their responsibility to readers, this is the kind of thing that can happen.

I’ll admit I spent a good amount of time reading Amazon reviews for Allegiant in order to see if I was the only one left disillusioned. I wasn’t. Sadly, I’m in the majority with the one star reviews.

Most of the five star reviews I read were people who applauded VRoth on her bravery in “giving a realistic ending.” To this I say: there is a whole genre dedicated to realism. If you want stories that make you feel like someone has stabbed your heart on the last page with no chance for recovery, then feel free to read that genre. But for the ninety-five percent of people that read for enjoyment and escapism, sorry, we want some glimmer of a happy ending. If the Divergent series was meant to belong in the realism genre then it was marketed terribly because right now, all we have are broken promises to readers.

Also, even within realism, hope is usually the end game.fault

Take the book The Fault in Our Stars which falls in the realism genre, the teens in the story who fall in love both have terminal cancer. In the end of the book (I said there were spoilers…) Augustus dies. Why weren’t readers rioting over that? Because a promise wasn’t broken—when they picked up the book they knew they were going to read a story about dying teens so a teen dying at the end of the book was something they were braced for, if not expecting.

Even still, The Fault in Our Stars ends with hope. Hazel realizes that although Augustus has died, her love for him doesn’t have to. Death doesn’t have to change the definition of relationships. My grandfather, who is deceased, is still my grandfather because I’m living and can claim him as such. The last line of the book is in present tense whereas the rest of the book was in past tense. Meaning life goes on. This is a hopeful message.

VRoth killed her main character which is just hard to do well, especially in young adult fiction. Unless the author brings the character back after death (like Harry Potter), a theme/point is better demonstrated through killing a beloved secondary character like Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars or Piggy in Lord of the Flies (how’s that for old school). Otherwise, just save it for realism or adult fiction. Period.

All of this spurs me on to write the young adult stories that keep running around in my head—the ones full of turmoil and struggles and hurt, but all of which are covered in and end with “an open window” one that blatantly leads my readers to hope.

Jess

Original Chapter One – Part Two

Yesterday I talked about how sometimes when your manuscript gets in front of your editor big sections get cut. So I’m sharing the original first chapter of Home for Good. If you missed the first chunk just press here. Part three will go live on Friday.

Original Chapter One – Home for Good – Part Two

Jericho Freed’s gut clenched. Even from the distance of the bleachers, the sight of little Ali Silver made his heart stampede like a fired up bull. Guess she wasn’t so little anymore. Eight years. He did the math as he passed his hand over his jaw. Well, twenty-seven sure looked good on her. From where he watched, the pink long-sleeved button-down brought out the summer blush of her cheeks, and those leg-huggin’ jeans verified she wasn’t a girl anymore. Fully woman. The woman he’d come home for.

“Why, if it isn’t young Mr. Freed.” Jericho’s sophomore year science teacher, Mrs. Casey, tapped his shoulder. She still wore the purple framed glasses around her neck with a string. “I didn’t think you lived in these parts anymore.”

He touched the front of his hat. “Well, Ma’am, I’ve been away awhile but I’m home now. For good.”

“I was so sorry to hear about your father. How is Abram doing?”

“Thanks for that, Mrs. Casey. He’s just down the road at Valley View Estates. They’re telling me the stroke left Pop without the use of his right side. Got in last night myself so I haven’t made time to see him yet.” Not that he was in any spit-storm rush to go see his father, but Mrs. Casey didn’t need to know that.

Jericho shifted on the bleacher, scanning the stands for Ali. Down the way, he spotted her kid sister Kate sitting with a cute little boy, but no Ali. He pulled off his straw hat, crushed it in his calloused hands then watched as the straw popped back into shape, like a sponge.

Had she seen him? Was she avoiding him? Could he blame her? Nope.

“Is that what brought you home, son?” Mrs. Casey slipped on her glasses and peered at him from over the top of them.

Jericho squirmed. He felt like a fifteen year old again, struggling to remember the chemical formula for salt. “For Pop? Sure. And I completed my tour of duty. And there’s some other…stuff.” A lump formed in the back of his throat as Ali climbed the steps and sauntered towards Kate and the child. She ruffed the boy’s hair. Jericho swallowed hard.

Mrs. Casey raised her eyebrows. “Whatever happened with you and her?”

“Me and Ali?”  He rubbed his clammy palms on the thighs of his jeans.

“In school, why, you two were a matched set. I don’t remember ever seeing one of you without the other around town neither. Then I heard…. Well, listen to me go on about other people’s business.”

I happened.

“Matched set?” He mumbled more to himself than to her.

“Well, whatever you’re here for, I wish you luck, Jericho.”

He lifted his chin. “Thanks. I’ll need a good dose of luck.”

She patted his shoulder again. “You’ll be fine. If I remember right, there isn’t an ounce of quit in your bones.”

Ha. If only Mrs. Casey knew. ‘Cause there was a pretty lady with hair like bottled fire on the other end of the stands that would say ‘quit’ was his middle name.

*          *          *

_______________________________

Jess