Excerpt SUMMER OF MY SECRET ANGEL:
Tossing my notepad on the mattress, I rolled out of bed and sneaked to the door leading to the balcony. Carefully, I leaned only my head outside to peek around the corner.
Palms braced on the wood railing on his side of the balcony, Julian stared down at the vineyards. The faint shine of light from his room tinted his silhouette in soft gold. He hung his head, his shoulder blades flexing underneath his shirt. An invisible weight seemed to press down on his shoulders.
One had to be blind not to notice it was my mother’s health that concerned him. The image of Quinn ruffling my hair when I was down or in trouble haunted me for a second. Maybe Julian needed a little comfort himself, and I could be the one offering it. God forbid, no ruffling, of course.
Teeth clenched, I fought against this urge. The story about him only being Charlene’s caretaker struck me as a masquerade. Even if everyone else fell for it, I wouldn’t.
What wouldn’t I have given to find out about their uncommon relationship… Anything—but my pride. No way would I ask him about the matter. Leaning against the doorframe, I studied him silently.
“Can’t you sleep?” His words, little more than a whisper, drifted to me.
My heart thudded in my ribcage, shocked he’d caught me staring at him. “I’m not tired.” The answer came quick, yet my voice sounded like a stranger’s in the dark.
“Come out, it’s beautiful up here at night.”
“Mm-mm.” I shook my head.
For a brief moment, his eyes narrowed to slits. “You’re scared.” He said it with such conviction I wondered if he felt personally insulted by my refusal. Pushing away from the railing, he shoved his hands into his pockets and ambled toward me. “Hopefully, it’s the height of the balcony that makes you nervous and not me.”
“Why would you make me nervous?” The words shook slightly in my throat. I shifted against the doorframe as he drew nearer.
He halted before my room and leaned with his backside against the railing. “Why indeed?”
For an immeasurable moment, we stared into each other’s eyes. If I hadn’t known better I would have thought he actually wanted me to be nervous around him. Silly idea. I shoved it aside, clearing my throat. “Who are the two people Marie wants me to meet?”
“Valentine and Henri? They’re nice people.” Hands planted on the railing at either side of his hips, he hoisted himself up onto the edge.
“No, don’t!” My warning echoed across the field as I let go of the doorframe and reached out in a helpless attempt to stop him from falling backwards over the balustrade. Yet fear kept my feet rooted to the floor inside.
His arms still braced against the wood, Julian cocked his head while one of his brows arched up. Not bothered by my concern, he eased onto the insecure railing, his gray sneakers dangling two feet above the floorboards.
His gaze mocked me like it suggested I come out of my room and make him get off the railing.
Oh, for the sake of my frazzled nerves, just get down! I tamped down the anger over his ignorance and kept to the safety of my room.
He cast me an amused glance from under his lashes then continued as though nothing had happened. “Henri and Valentine Dupres live down the road. They’re an elderly couple working for your aunt and uncle in the yards. You will meet them tomorrow morning.”
At his words, pictures of tonight’s dinner rose before my eyes. Maybe now was the time to thank him for his concern, even though I cringed at the thought of letting him know how I really felt. I coughed slightly, tilting my head so the curtain muffled my voice. “It was actually kind of you to delay their introduction until tomorrow.”
“Sorry, what did you say?” He smirked, and for an instant I considered tossing a pillow at him. But that might have caused him to fall backward off the balcony. I didn’t want to take the responsibility in case he broke his neck.
“Thank you,” I said more clearly, though through gritted teeth.
His teasing grin disappeared. “You are very welcome, Jona.” His soft purr gave me chills. “Earlier, you seemed surprised I would care about you. Why was that?”
His serious words touched the spot of my mind responsible for lying or telling the truth.
“I thought you didn’t like me.” My croak clearly betrayed my unease. I dropped my gaze to the gaps between the boards of the balcony floor.
“You do your best to pretend not to like me either.” His soft, smooth tone reminded me of sand running through an hourglass. “And yet you’re worried I might fall off the balcony and get hurt.”
“Hey, buddy, who says I’m pretending?” Looking up at his face, I found something in his stare that I couldn’t quite place. It reminded me of Rottweiler Rusty when he’d ogled a bone.
My mouth was dry, a cloud of pleasant warmth expanded in my chest. A couple of seconds later, Julian slid down from the railing. A hundred tense muscles in my body relaxed, and a breath I didn’t know I was holding whizzed from my lungs.
Damn him for making his point clear.
“Sleep tight, Jona,” he said through a lopsided smile as he headed back to his side of the balcony.
“Goodnight,” I whispered, hardly audible to myself.
Julian chuckled then disappeared through the floating curtains.
r and strode toward the exit.
Ryan Hunter’s parties are legend. And tonight she’s going to be there.
Lisa Matthews has been in love with her best friend since kindergarten. They’re close as can be. They’ve even slept in each other’s bed. But they’ve never kissed. Weeks away from her seventeenth birthday, Lisa hopes that soon things will change between them. But when Tony comes home after summer soccer camp, his mind is focused on someone else. And worse, that new girl is a soccer player.
Fighting for her love, Lisa gets carried away and makes a stupid decision: Without the least bit of talent or any passion for the sport whatsoever, she goes for the co-ed soccer team.
The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter.
Get Them From Amazon
Although Angelina McFarland loves reading fairytales, she never dreamed of falling right into one herself. But that’s exactly what happens when she slips on her balcony and a flying Peter Pan catches her mid-fall.
Ending up in Neverland where no one seems to age and laws of nature are out of control, Angel has no idea how to get home. Worse, the ruthless Captain Hook captures her and keeps her trapped on his ship, the Jolly Roger, where she gets caught between the lines of a timeless battle. But the more time Angel spends with the captain, the more she sees beneath his ruthless façade.
As Angel desperately tries to find a way to return to her real life, she discovers a train ticket to London in her pocket. It won’t be any help in getting off the island, but as her memory fades away the longer she stays, this is all she has left to remind her of her former life and why she can’t give up trying.
Or is staying in Neverland forever the better choice after all?
Grab a happy thought and follow Angel on an adventure that will keep you breathless and smiling long after you read the last page…