Three more days

I can’t wait until Friday for everyone to read “Shattered”.

This book has been a different kind of journey for me. As with each of the books in the series, every member of the family is involved, but there is usually one character or family who is front and center.

“Shattered” is different.

Obviously, it begins as Desi’s story, but it’s also David’s story and therefore it becomes Bill and Julie’s story, too. They have the task of helping their son try to make sense of something incomprehensible. David is lost and angry and sad. He is looking for answers that aren’t there.

Then it becomes Brittany’s story as she deals with the memories of her own attack and focuses on being the one person Desi can truly confide in.

Tommy has been Desi’s doctor and his connection to her has already been established. Watching a patient he cares for go through something he also has a deep personal connection to will undoubtedly cause him to reevaluate things.

It could have been Sabrina.

This fact rocks Jack and Stephanie to the core and they try to help Bee handle the position she finds herself in. She has lost her best friend in David and she has put her trust in the wrong people. The effect Desi’s attack has on Sabrina is deep and powerful and she will need the help of her family to get through everything.

Ian and Cassie.

I think I am most proud of this new couple. It’s hard to introduce a new family into an established group of characters, but I needed someone who could stand up to the strength of the core families and add a new element or dynamic to the group.

I wanted to show a woman who was in a position of power in the military and a father who was keeping the home going in her absence. I wanted to establish their love and connection to their daughter and to each other, and I needed them to matter to my readers.

We don’t always connect when something bad happens to someone who doesn’t mean anything to us yet. We feel badly, of course, but there isn’t the level of buy in that we have when it’s a character we have grown to love.

I needed you to love Desi. I needed you to care about her.

Because I know Desi.

I care about Desi and I want all of the Desi’s out there to feel  hope. That matters to me.

“Shattered” begins with the aftermath of an assault, but it’s so much more than that. It is a story of survival. It is a story of life and it is full of hope, love and romance.

Desi is more than this moment. She is fun and smart and feisty and beautiful. She is strong and resilient and she really wants to be someone. She adores her father and misses her mother and she deserves to be known for all of that, and not just one moment.

That’s my job as a writer. I need to show you what I see. I need to bring her to life.

I truly hope I can do that.

In the meantime, please enjoy a scene between Ian and Cassie soon after she comes home.

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Ian sighed as he sat down on the bed. They had a nice dinner and talked about the little things that happened in the last year. They really didn’t focus on anything of substance and after they ate, Desi was exhausted. Cassie was sitting with her for a bit while she tried to go to bed in her room and he went to clean up their bedroom. He had changed the sheets and picked up a few shirts that were on the floor. He felt like he had messed everything up. She hadn’t been home in a year and he had done nothing to celebrate her return.

He acted like he wasn’t even glad she was home and that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

He took the clothes from the chair and went to hang them back up in the closet. At least his family was home. At least he wasn’t feeling so weak anymore.

But now what? Would she feel comfortable with him? Should they just pick up where they left off? Would she want him to be with her?

“Ian?”

He jumped and turned around, seeing Cassie standing there in a black jumpsuit, her long blonde hair full and wavy over her shoulders. She had on a touch of lipstick and she was absolutely stunning.

“Did I scare you? I’m sorry,” she said as she walked closer.

He was literally speechless and he saw her look worried.

“Desi finally fell asleep and I wanted to surprise you. I know it isn’t much, but I wanted you to see me out of my fatigues and sweats. I guess I needed to get them off for me, too. I haven’t been able to do anything for you since I’ve been home and I wanted to have some time to just be with you and maybe talk a little? Is that okay?” she asked, her nerves getting the best of her.

“Will you please say something?”

Ian walked to her and smiled.

“You look absolutely stunning.”

“Oh, thanks. I know I took a shower earlier but just threw on some sweats,” she said and walked to sit on the bed. “I kept finding sand all over. I think there still might be some in my hair. I scrubbed it three times,” she smiled.

He smiled and took her hand as he sat down.

“Are you doing okay?”

She looked surprised.

“Me? I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“Why do you keep asking me that? I’m fine.”

He looked at his hands.

“Things have felt different since you came home. I mean I know it’s because of everything you came home to, but I worry maybe you aren’t happy to be with me,” he said. “Maybe things have changed?”

She stood up and paced, all of her fears flowing out.

“There’s someone else, isn’t there? I knew it when you spoke to me on the phone. I couldn’t believe you hung up on me and I assumed it was all about Desi, but then I wondered if maybe you just moved on. Maybe you couldn’t tell me. Is that it? Are you leaving me?” she asked with fear in her eyes.

“Wait, what? Seriously? You think I would cheat on you? You honestly believe there is someone else?” he asked as he stood up.

“I don’t know why you won’t touch me,” she said brokenly. “You are keeping your distance and I can’t take it. It’s been almost a year and I miss everything about you. I miss your arms around me and your hands on my body. I miss your beautiful legs and your sensual touch and I miss being taken care of. I have been on guard for the past year. I’ve been shot at and hurt and alone and scared and all I ever wanted was to be here with you. I ache for you and I’m afraid that’s gone. I need to know the truth. I need to know if you want me to leave.”

“No,” he said as he walked to her. “No. I don’t want you to leave. I love you and I have always loved you. There could never be anyone else for me because you are my heart. You are every part of my life and I haven’t been able to take a breath without missing you. I’m hesitant because I’m scared.”

She walked closer and took his hand in hers, needing to be sure.

“Of what?”

“If I touch you, if I start, I don’t know if I can stop. I want you and if you aren’t ready, or are unsure, I’ll wait. I just want you to be happy.”

“I want you. I want to reconnect and forget everything but our love. God Ian, it’s been a year since we’ve been together. I have been waiting to be with you. I don’t want to wait anymore.”

He moved to press her against the wall as his mouth captured hers and he inhaled the smell of rose petals from her shampoo. He held her hands up over her head and she groaned as his tongue explored the warmth of her mouth.

Cassie lifted her leg to hook around his thigh and felt his arousal press against her middle. She loved when he took control and she ached to feel him with her. He was always such a passionate lover and it was a side of him she knew was just for her.

His hands moved down her arms as she held them up and he ran his fingers through her long hair.

“Turn around,” he said softly.

She did and he slowly unzipped her jumpsuit, letting the material pool on the floor around her feet. She stood there in her underwear and Ian stepped back, admiring her.

She turned around and his face immediately changed.

“What happened?” he asked, all pretense gone as he leaned in to examine her side which had a huge gash that was obviously still healing.

Shit. She forgot about that.

“Oh, it’s nothing,” she said and picked up her clothes, covering the spot by her side.

“It’s not nothing. What happened?” he asked as he took her clothes.

“It was a bullet graze, nothing special.”

“You were shot? When did it happen? Why didn’t they let me know?”

She sat down on the bed and her tears came.

“Please don’t let this ruin things,” she said. “I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to stay there, Ian. I want to be here with you and I just want to be your lover and your wife. I don’t want to go back there. Not tonight.”

Ian shook his head as he knelt in front of her.

“I need for you to look at me,” he said as he held her cheek in his hand. “I want to know that you’re okay. You don’t have to hide anything from me. I want to help you. I want to know what you’re dealing with. You don’t need to tell me what you can’t, but please let me know that you were taken care of. I will not sit back and wonder if your health is okay. I’m a doctor, Cass. I can take it.”

“You’re a large animal vet. I am not debating how I am different from a cow again.”

He grinned at her.

“You did give birth in a barn,” he teased.

She laughed and then sighed.

“We took on fire at a heavy insurgent area. One of the vehicles we were following hit an IED and exploded. We were able to get away, but some of my regiment was hit. We made it back to base and I saw the medic because of a graze wound. I took some stitches and was fine. I was lucky. Others weren’t. We lost two men that night and I’m still not sure about the regiment in the convoy ahead of us.”

He looked at her side.

“How many stitches? When was this?”

“A dozen. It was a week and a half ago.”

He sat back and sighed.

“Ian, look at me. I’m fine. I’m a tough woman and I can take it. I am home now and I won’t be going back. It’s time to get back to living our lives and making sure our daughter heals both physically and emotionally. What I want is for you to be able to look at me and know I love you and I came home. I need you. I don’t need you to worry about me, but I need you to take care of me. I missed that. I love that when we’re together, I can be a woman and not a Sergeant. I love that you kill the spiders and lock the doors and protect me from all harm. I just want to be with my hero. He has always and forever been you.”

“Spiders actually serve a very important purpose for the ecosystem,” he said and then grinned as she rolled her eyes.

“Nothing with no legs or more than four deserves to live in my house,” she said.

“Is that a fact?” he grinned. “Desi didn’t tell you about the snake we adopted?”

She jumped up and her face lost all color.

“She didn’t. You wouldn’t,” she said.

“We didn’t,” he laughed. “Just teasing.”

“Not funny. That is not funny!” she said and crossed her arms.

“It was a little funny,” he said as he walked closer to her.

“No it wasn’t,” she pouted.

He wrapped his large hands around her slim waist and pulled her to him.

“What can I do to make it up to you?”

She stepped back.

“You can get naked.”

He watched as she went and sat on the bed, watching him.

He unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it off before he held her gaze as he unzipped his pants and pulled them off. He took off his socks and stood in his underwear.

“I said naked,” she said as she bit her lip.

“But you’re wearing your underwear,” he pouted.

She looked at him.

“Naked.”

He pulled his boxers off and stood there, waiting.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

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Getting Excited!

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One Week to go!

One week until the release of Shattered! I can’t wait for you to read it and I truly hope you fall in love with Cassie and Ian as quickly as I did. Here is a little flashback for you…

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Ian was bored. He was bored with his friends and bored with the mundane atmosphere at school. He wanted to get out in the field and work with the animals nobody wanted to handle. He graduated top in his class at vet school and was waiting to hear if he got the prestigious Equine internship at Michigan State University.

He walked through the woods and hoped nobody would notice that he skipped out on the graduation picnic. He loved taking time to explore the world around him and he kept waiting for inspiration.

Inspiration for what, he didn’t know.

“Leave me alone.”

Ian froze when he heard a voice. It was a woman and she was obviously angry.

“I don’t care what you thought. Not everyone goes out in the woods for sex. Did you even know that sometimes, people can exist a whole day without being assholes.”

Ian smiled at her sarcasm and then a male voice entered the conversation.

“I thought you liked me.”

“Well, since you have no respect for personal boundaries, I’d say you and I are just not happening. See you around.”

Ian waited for a minute and was worried for the woman. What if the guy didn’t leave? Should he go help?

“I think I know what you’re really saying,” the male voice said. “I think I know what you want.”

There was some commotion and Ian ran towards the noise. He saw a beautiful blonde girl pinning a man to the dirt, a knife pointed at his crotch.

“Okay! I’m sorry!” he said as he got up and ran off.

The girl put the knife back in her pocket and sighed as she brushed her hands on her jeans.

“Did you need something?” she asked as she turned to stare at Ian.

“Oh, um, I was coming to make sure you were okay. You know, to save you,” he stammered.

She fixed her ponytail and smiled.

“Thanks. I can take care of myself.”

He was blushing. He was actually blushing.

The woman looked at him.

“Are you okay? You look a little red.”

Ian ran his hand through his hair.

“I’m fine.”

“Right, so can you leave? I was trying to have a minute alone.”

“That shouldn’t be a problem for you,” Ian said and shoved his hands in his pockets.

“What?”

“You’re kind of a jerk. I’m sure being alone isn’t a problem for you.”

The woman was stumped.

“You don’t know me at all.”

“Sure I do. You’re sarcastic and you think well on your feet. You carry a knife and you know self-defense. You’re also rude to strangers.”

“No I’m not. That guy was pushy and he wanted more than I was willing to give.”

“I didn’t mean him. I meant me.”

“Oh,” she said and was quiet. “Sorry. I guess I’m used to looking out for myself.”

Ian nodded.

“Me too. I don’t like to be around a lot of people. I was looking for some time alone, too. I’ll find it somewhere else. Have a nice day.”

He turned to leave and she spoke.

“My name is Cassandra, but I go by Cassie. I just came back from my first tour overseas and I’m having some trouble getting back into the swing of things. I didn’t mean to be rude.”

“You’re in the Army?”

“Yeah. I’m a Private First Class.”

“Wow, that’s impressive. How long until you’re a Corporal?”

“You know Army ranks?” Cassie asked.

Ian went and sat down on the grass.

“Yeah. My dad was a Staff Sergeant.”

Cassie sat down next to him.

“Was?”

“He was a cop after he retired from the Army and was killed in the line of duty last year.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” she said. “I didn’t catch your name.”

“I didn’t throw it,” he said and grinned. “Ian.”

“Nice to meet you Ian.”

“You too. I’ll leave you alone now,” he said as he stood up.

Cassie watched him walk away and decided to follow him.

There was just something about him.

______________________________________________________________________________________

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Letting the good guys win…or not

Sometimes, when I write a difficult storyline or put the characters through a challenging time, I take a minute to reflect on all they have been through. I think this is one of the differences between writing a stand alone novel and a series. I have had the honor of going on a journey with these characters for years and have been with them from their first meeting to this moment in their lives.

Sometimes, I need to take a minute and remember why they are so important to me. In this case, or the scene which follows this post, Tommy and Brittany needed a moment.

They didn’t need to remember why they were together or solidify their relationship, but sometimes one needs to be reminded of their strength. Sometimes, we forget how strong we are and how much we can influence the world.

That is why I write this series. That is why I created Brittany when I was a teenager. That is why I look to her when I am feeling low. She is my therapy. Tommy is my hero.

Together, they remind me of all we can do to be better.

I don’t write tragedy to glorify it. People ask me all the time why my stuff is so dark. They want happiness. They want the good guys to win.

I do too, but I think it’s important to show how that happens. It’s in our darkest moments that we learn who we can trust. It’s through tragedy that the human spirit triumphs. All of my drama, everything the characters go through is to show how we can survive. It’s to remind everyone that when the worst happens, goodness will come through. It’s not about the tragedy, it’s about the triumph. I have experienced that. I believe that good wins out. I also truly believe that one tragic moment does not define a person.

It can’t.

How horrible would that be? We have to be able to change. To evolve. To grow.

To overcome.

That’s why I write these stories. I write to show strength and courage and dignity. I write to show love and hope and passion. I write because I need to see that those ideals matter.

I think the good guys win in this series all the time.

Brittany and Tommy and Jack and Stephanie and Bill and Julie and Mike and Jade and Evan and Liz and Ian and Cassie.

They are the good guys. They are together because they fought for each other. Their children are the best examples of that love and I know they are all solid.

They face down every challenge. Sometimes they fail. Sometimes they need a hand from someone else. Sometimes they do the wrong thing. Sometimes they lose.

Such is life.

But sometimes, and I hope more often than not.

They win.

Please enjoy another excerpt from “Shattered”

______________________________________________________________________________

They ate and drank and laughed about nothing, both needing an escape from the heaviness of life. Both of them had to handle everything they were dealing with and they would, but for now, for tonight, they were just a couple in love.

Tommy told her about his talk with Ian and they both hoped Cassie would be home soon to help try and heal their family.

“I bet my dad would have done the same thing,” she said softly. “He would have been so upset.”

Tommy nodded.

“He would have wanted to try and fix something. I can understand that. He would have felt helpless.”

Brittany nodded, her mind running.

“I’m going to go fill the tub, okay?” he said.

“I’ll be right there.”

He left and she went into the bedroom and got undressed. She brushed her hair and pulled on her robe and sat down on the bed.

“It’s ready,” Tommy said as he walked in and saw her.

“What’s going on? You okay?”

She looked at him, standing there in a towel and her eyes filled with tears.

“I’m good,” she stood up and walked to him.

“You’re a terrible liar,” he smiled and put his hands on her shoulders. “How long have we been together?”

She smiled despite her tears.

“My whole life.”

He was surprised.

“That’s not what I was expecting.”

“I know,” she sighed. “That’s my issue.”

She walked away and he was thoroughly confused.

“I was born the moment you came into my life,” she turned and faced him. “I was a shell of a woman when we met. My God, Tommy, it took me 13 years to let anyone even know what happened to me, aside from Stephanie. What kind of a role model is that? I think that’s why I haven’t told Desi what happened to me. I think that’s why I haven’t told all of the kids. I mean, if I tell her and she asks what to expect moving forward, what can I say? How can I not be a huge hypocrite if I tell her it will be okay?”

Tommy let her talk and knew he was her safe place. He had to swallow the anger and sadness he felt at how her life always seemed to go back to what those pigs did to her. He hated how she was reminded again and again of what happened.

He walked to her and took her hands in his own.

“When we first started dating, or whatever you would call it,” he smiled as she chuckled. “You were so worried that I would be disappointed. You kept telling me you weren’t worth it. You said you might never be able to be intimate with me. You told me to leave you alone and to go be happy on my own.”

She reached up and stroked his cheek.

“You didn’t listen to me.”

He kissed her palm and shrugged.

“I couldn’t. I couldn’t because life doesn’t work out the same for each person. I’m profoundly sorry you spent all that time being so hurt and alone. I’m horrified that the people who hurt you spent so many years free to walk this earth. I would do anything in my power to take away the hurt you experienced,” he said softly and kissed her fingers.

“But somehow, and some way, life brought us together. We met, and no matter what, that changed my entire world. You changed my entire world. You always tell me that everyone experiences the aftermath of trauma in a different way, and for you and in a way for me after the accident; what we did worked for us. We did what we had to do to survive. You didn’t have someone to hold your hand and tell you how amazing and strong and worthwhile you are. Desi has that. You exude strength because you created it from the depths of despair. Desi will look to you as a beacon of hope; not for what you did in the days after your attack, but for the life you have led every day since. You are simply the most amazing woman and I still can’t believe you are my wife.”

Her tears spilled over her cheeks and she pressed her mouth to his.

He slipped his hands inside her robe and pulled her to him, his tongue playing with hers and his hands resting on her buttocks.

“I love you so much,” she said passionately as he pushed her robe off.

“I know,” he grinned.

She laughed and pulled his towel off.

“You got ready before me,” she frowned as she looked at his excitement.

He shrugged.

“I can’t help it when you kiss me like that, but I might be able to help you catch up,” he gathered her in his arms.

“Give it your best shot,” she said as he carried her to the tub.

“Ooh, a challenge,” he said as he vowed to give her a night to remember.

 

 

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Why write about rape?

Rape.

Why write about it? Why put characters through such horrific situations? Why choose to focus on such heavy and heartbreaking material in a series considered a romance?

These are all questions I have asked myself a lot over the last few months.

I’d like to explain myself a little and maybe give my readers (you) a little glimpse ‘behind the scenes’ of Shattered.

I have always tried to write this series with an element of realism along with fiction. I know my characters are a little too perfect at times and a little too beautiful. I know they have overcome issues that in real life would never be medically possible. I know I write marriages that seem too good to be true and for that, I won’t apologize.

I write to escape real life. I write to escape the reality that life isn’t so pretty all the time. I write to be able to see the world in a way that gives me hope. Much of that comes from real life and real stories.

So did Shattered.

Now before I decided to take the characters down this road, I had a lot of hesitations. I teach high school. What would happen if a student read my book and had questions? I teach 16 year old girls and boys and I am writing about a 16 year old who is raped, at a high school dance.

Was this something I should even attempt? Why write something so heartbreaking. Why bring this arc into the series? It’s not like the characters have been void of drama.

So I sat down and wrote out the pro’s and con’s. I looked at each character and mapped out the immediate consequences for them.

That’s something I never do. I write without an outline. I’m what they call a ‘pantser’. I write by the seat of my pants.

But this was different. If I was going to do this, I needed to be sure there was a reason. There needed to be movement in the story and growth for the characters.

So I went through each adult and each child and I thought about how this would affect them. I thought about the characters could be brought together and how they may be torn apart. I thought about the questions this would bring up and who would be best to answer them.

Then I sat down with Desi and explained it to her.

I hear how that sounds. I’m not crazy, but these characters are very real to me and I needed to hear more of who she was. I needed to know that she could handle the burden of carrying this story. I needed her to be my voice.

I had been watching the news a lot when I first fleshed out this story and I was particularly moved by a woman who was raped by a college student while she was unconscious. The woman made such a powerful victim statement that I was thrust back into a sense of anger and despair that this kind of injustice will keep happening until we all stand up and protest. Protest for longer and harsher sentences. Stand up to eliminate the ‘victim is wrong’ mentality.

So I made a decision. I decided to go there.

And I was terrified. I still am, because only a select few have read the chapters.

Not all responses have been positive. This is not easy material and for some people, it’s not what they choose to read.

But I hope, in reading this story, I might begin to make my message clearer. I have always felt that publishing something, putting my words out there in the universe, had to serve a purpose.

Sometimes it’s just to entertain.

Sometimes it’s to see the world through different eyes.

In this case it’s to make a statement.

You are not alone.

In your worst moments, the best of humankind can be uncovered.

Shattered begins with a horrible moment in time for Desi.

It continues with the discovery and the resulting domino effect for every member of the family by choice.

It also gives me a chance to really show the growth of the characters and the development of the children.

Desi is an amazing young woman. She is dealing with more than anyone should have to handle. She has cancer. Her mother is serving overseas. She lost her best friend when Katie’s parents took her away.

Ian is numb. He is her father. He is supposed to protect his little girl. He can’t wrap his mind around what has happened. He is truly destroyed and his need for his wife is compounded by the fear of what she will be coming home to. He is at a crossroads and there is a surprising person who finally gets him to see things from another perspective.

Jack and Stephanie will have their hands full with Sabrina and the idea that this could have easily been her. She will deal with the realization that her relationship with David has been forever altered.

David is one of the most seriously effected. He has fallen hard for Desi and his sense of guilt for what happened will be paralyzing.

Bill and Brittany need to come clean with all of the children about what happened in the past. There will undoubtedly be a trial and David will be questioned about his involvement with the boys. Bill and Julie are aware that Chris will most likely be brought up.

They need to tell the kids before a reporter does.

Bill can’t bring himself to explain to his children just who his father was.

Brittany is the one to care for Desi, but it hits very close to home. Ian reminds her a lot of her own father and she wonders if Nate’s reactions would have mirrored Ian’s. She tried her best to keep the past in the past, but sometimes you simply don’t have control over your demons.

From Mike and Jade to Evan and Liz to each and every member of the family by choice, their lives will forever change because of this moment.

When Cassie comes home, an entirely new dynamic opens and we learn of her story and how she came to be a soldier.

I am proud of Shattered. I am proud I challenged myself to do something I wasn’t comfortable with. I am hoping you will go along on this journey with me and appreciate the message.

There is still humor and romance and passion. As with every single book in this series, there is a balance. There is hope, and there is love.

Here is a part of the first chapter of Shattered.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter One:

“I don’t understand where she was,” David said to his dad as they drove to the school. Nobody was home at Desi’s house when they got there and she wasn’t answering her phone.

“I called your mom and she said she hadn’t seen her, but she would look.”

“We weren’t that late. What if she thinks I punked her? She was really worried about going with me. She has a really low opinion of herself and I don’t want her to think I would do something like that,” David rambled and Bill smiled at his son.

“Don’t make a whole story up in your head. It’s entirely possible her dad dropped her off and the lines got crossed. Let’s just go to the dance and see if she’s there.”

David looked out the window and couldn’t get Bee’s words out of his head.

“He went after me to hurt you and he might do something else.”

Nobody knew he was seeing Desi, so she should be safe.

That’s what he kept telling himself.

They pulled into the parking lot and made their way inside.

******

Julie looked everywhere and asked around, but nobody had seen Desi.

It’s possible she just wasn’t there.

Julie smiled as a bunch of girls came out of the bathroom and she walked in to make sure there weren’t any problems. She was assigned to stay by the bathrooms for now.

She was dying to know what Bee and David talked about, but judging from Bee’s demeanor on the car ride here, she didn’t think it went well for her.

She knew her son was smitten with Desi.

Julie really liked Desi. She was spunky and sweet and funny and she carried a lot of heavy burdens.

Julie recognized herself in Desi and she hoped that a friendship with David might help her to smile a little more.

“I asked around, but nobody has seen her,” Sabrina came up and sighed. “I am going to look a little more and see if I can find any of her friends.”

“Okay, thanks. I know it’s weird, but David is worried.”

Bee smiled.  “It’s what I should be doing. He deserves to be happy and I owe him more than simply looking for his date.”

Julie squeezed Bee’s arm.

“You don’t owe him anything other than being his friend.”

Bee sniffed and nodded before she walked through the mess of teens.

Julie smiled at the appreciative stares Bee garnered. She was like her father, commanding attention wherever she went. Sabrina was also kind and compassionate, like Jack and Stephanie.

Bill walked up to her and she smiled at him while she filled him in.

“David is looking for her, too. I wish I had her dad’s number. It’s possible he took her out for dinner to soothe what she thinks is a broken heart.”

Julie grinned.

“You’re right, I didn’t think of that.”

They stood at their post by the bathroom and looked around.

*******

“I’ll be back before you know it,” Desi’s mom told her the night before she left. 

“I don’t want you to go. I know I should be strong and brave but I need you, mom. I don’t want anything to happen to you,” she said and wiped her eyes. 

Cassie held her daughter’s face in her hands and nodded. 

“I know, baby, but I will do everything in my power to come home to you and daddy. You are my best blessing and I adore you. We will be able to talk and skype and I will be home before you know it.”

Desi nodded. 

“Okay.”

“I love you,” Cassie said. 

I love you, too, mom,” Desi said and hugged her tightly. 

Why was she remembering that right now? Why was her mom running through her mind?

Desi wondered where her mother was at this moment. Was she safe? Was she hurt? Would she be home soon? Would she know what happened?

She lay there in the dirt and looked up at the sky.

Maybe she was looking at the same stars tonight?

Maybe she would know that it was time to come home.

She really needed her mom.

She needed help.

******

The dance was ending and most of the kids were leaving when David sat with Sabrina and ran his hand through his hair.

“I’m sorry I messed things up. You were late because of me and I promise I’ll tell Desi that when I see her.”

David smiled at her.

“It’s not your fault. I appreciate you telling me everything. I’m just worried about her.”

Bee nodded, the pang in her heart growing.

David was really into Desi.

They both heard a loud commotion and saw Derek and Drew and Jacob coming in from the back of the gym. David stood up and Bill and Julie walked over with some other chaperones.

The smell of alcohol was overpowering.

“What were you doing out there? Those doors should have been locked,” Principal Lock said. “Are you all drunk?”

The boys seemed to sober up quickly when they were in the presence of the adults and none of them said anything.

“Sit down while I call your parents,” he said and David and Sabrina looked at Bill and Julie.

“Have any of you boys seen Desi?” Julie asked them.

Drew stood up and proceeded to vomit on the floor.

“Dude, that’s nasty,” Derek said as he stood up, his clothes disheveled and his fly down.

“Why are your pants undone?” Bill asked him.

Derek zipped his fly and said nothing. T

hey looked up when Ian walked into the room.

“Julie? Hi, I was waiting outside for Desi, but she never came to the car. Is everything okay?”

“Ian? Did you drop Desi off earlier?” she asked.

He looked at her and then at David.

“Yeah. She got a text from David to meet her here instead of him picking her up. I dropped her off at 7 and then went to check on some patients. She never texted me to come get her earlier, so I figured she was having fun. Is everything okay?”

“I never sent her a text,” David muttered to himself.

“Sure you did,” Derek snickered and then cleared his throat.

David looked at him and ran out back, through the doors the boys had come in from.

“David, wait,” Bill called after him and followed.

“What’s going on? Where is my daughter?” Ian yelled as he followed after Bill and David.

Sabrina was frozen in her seat, a million terrible thoughts running through her mind.

Julie went to her and they waited while the other chaperones dealt with the three boys.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Shattered will be released on September 23. I will be posted more previews in the next few weeks, as well as more of my thoughts on this story line. I would love some feedback and if you have questions on what will happen or about anything I wrote above, please let me know. Click the image below to preorder.

Amazon Kindle                                               Nook

21 Shattered21 Shattered

 

 

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A little more info

Here is the complete cover. I will be posting an update soon which has a little more detail about the book. Shattered is going to be difficult for some people and I really want to explain why I am choosing to move the series in this direction. It might be a bit spoilerish, but with the ending of the last book and the new cover, I think some things are clear.

Check back soon and don’t forget to preorder Shattered.

(click on the image to enlarge it)

21 Shattered print

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More links!

Please click the image to preorder for ITunes, Nook and Kobo.

21 Shattered

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Preorder now available!

Click the image to preorder for your Kindle 🙂

21 Shattered

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Introducing… Book 21

So… What do you think?

21 Shattered

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