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While Preparing to Stay the Course in 2015, Have You Made New Year’s Resolutions???

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As 2015 creeps up on little cat feet, I find myself preparing to make a New Year’s resolution that I’ll never keep. There’s something so attractive about starting a brand new year and hoping for improvement in my life, I keep making those resolutions. My resolutions usually last about two weeks into the new year before I quit. This year, I decided to make myself monthly contracts, and renew every month. That way, it may seem less daunting. My resolution is simple enough, yet sooo hard, to exercise three times a week, thirty minutes a day. As you can guess, I’m already pretty overwhelmed by this resolution.

Sometimes I wish somebody would come up with ten reasons why exercise is BAD for you. I’ve been told, or had personal experiences, where, through exercise, weight loss has occurred, increased energy, lower blood sugar level, increased heart health, reduced stress, improved mood, increased bone density, increased flexibility, lessened likelihood of Alzheimer’s or dementia, and a slowing of the aging process. Whew! With all those positive reasons for exercising, why would anybody NOT exercise? Anybody, besides me, raised their hand? About the only thing exercise doesn’t promise is to make us rich!

Well, I’ve vented enough. Now I’d like to talk about some people who made far more sensible resolutions than me, who probably have a much higher likelihood of keeping their resolutions. You go girls!

Nancee’s resolution is to increase the amount of Christmas lights in her Christmas display for 2015. Now this is a clever resolution, because it’s easily measurable–and more importantly–easy to carry out!

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Becky says: I don’t make formal resolutions, but set goals I’d like to reach, such as running a half marathon, or spending more time outdoors. She seems to be succeeding already because she’s running a half marathon at Disney World in January! Okay, girls, already I’m looking bad! LOL!

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Linda, my very practical British friend, New Year’s resolution is to make a New Year’s resolution. You just can’t get more British than that. Brilliant! Thank you.

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Linda, my very American friend, has made a firm resolution to keep up on her filing on  a regular basis–like daily! Now this is a resolution I can sink my teeth into, because I suspect it will be nearly has difficult as my exercise resolution. Kudos! She’s a childhood friend, so I think we tend to think a lot alike!

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Tiff, my incredibly practical daughter, says her resolution isn’t a resolution at all, rather a goal. It’s a goal to always strive for personal improvement, but not necessarily wait until New Years to start. She suggests lifestyle changes in small increments, and make sure to be very specific in what you want to achieve. How did such a sensible daughter have such a flighty mother? Go figure! And she’s running in the Disney World half marathon as well!

I must admit I asked a few men their New Year’s resolutions, but they adamantly refused to give any. I have three reasons why I suspect they feel so strongly: I yam what I yam, and that’s all that I yam. Leave well enough alone. And, my personal favorite, why tamper with perfection. LOL!

I’d like to thank my friends and family for sharing their resolutions, and I’d love to hear from any of you, if you have a special New Year’s resolution. I know I joke a bit, but I’d like to wish you all an amazing 2015. I appreciate the time you take in stopping by, and I hope you feel the connection that I feel with you when we can share a laugh or an experience together.

Bren

 

 

 

An excerpt from my new work, ‘Someday May Never Come’

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This book is a psychological suspense. The characters are all fictional, and any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental. Mirror Key is a fictional place in Florida–but Florida is real–well, sort of. LOL! I hope you enjoy these first two chapters. Sometimes the truth we think we know can double-back on us and turn into something we never expected. Mirror Key is a place so beautiful it sometimes makes it impossible to see the reflection of the truth, even when it’s been there all along. Mirror Key reflects back what others think they see.

Chapter

1

Present Day – 2015

 

People considered him a monster, but this woman would set the record straight. Escorted by a guard, she walked toward his booth. Today was the day to begin his story, and none too soon. He waited. She walked down the greasy, gray corridor, same color as the cinder-block walls, and he imagined he heard the confident ring of her footsteps.

She reached him and he averted his eyes, but then he drew his gaze back. Her stillness of expression and the way she acted like these were normal circumstances were causes for admiration. It was obvious from letters she’d sent that she felt alone in the world, same as him. A folding chair awaited her, close, but not too near the window.

She glanced at the guard, who nodded and said, “Press the buzzer along the panel on the wall if you need anything. I’ll be at the end of the corridor.”

“Thank you,” she returned.

Even with a low-pitched voice, he heard her as the guard walked away.

She fiddled with the microphone before speaking. “Good afternoon. I’m glad you answered my letters and are willing to talk. You may call me Anna.”

He sat on a wooden chair in front of a table bolted to the floor. He spoke through the speaker in the window. “Did you bring a recorder? Does it have enough memory for my story?” He refused to wipe away the beads of sweat forming on his forehead, fearful of making a bad impression.

She pulled out a disc recorder from her leather briefcase and placed it on her lap. “I’ve been searched three times on my way to see you, but my recorder’s still here. You know I’m not an attorney, and this will be considered publishable material?”

“You’re writing my story the way I tell you? I want the truth.”

“My visitation rights are based on the story I intend to write for my MFA in creative writing. I’m sure you do understand; that, being on death row, you have no rights to remuneration for any published material?” She attached the recorder to the microphone.

“I know that.” He let his eyes rake over her and locked his gaze on her slightly flat chest. “I like you. I can tell you aren’t a slut like most women.”

He smiled when she lifted her hand as though shielding herself from his gaze. She wore a lavender silk shirt and a gray slim-fitting skirt that grazed the top of her knees. Her effort to appear professional pleased him. He liked when she stiffened her spine and jutted out her chin. Anna was prepared for truth, and he’d be the perfect one to give it to her.

She pressed the button on the recorder. “Where do you want to begin?”

“They call me a serial killer, but that’s a lie. The Quinn women caused all the trouble.”

“Will you state your full name?”

“I’d prefer anonymity in this interview for now.”

“Why are you on death row?”

“I’m here for allegedly killing two women. The death sentence wasn’t for the other two who died. The truth has to be told.”

“I believe in truth, too.”

“People need to know I’m a human being—not a psycho freak who kills without a reason. People are so damn stupid, they believe whatever anyone tells them.”

She showed no reaction and nodded like she agreed. Black hair pulled away from her face and knotted into a no-nonsense bun made her look too severe—he didn’t care for it. At first, he thought she wore a diamond-patterned necklace, but then he realized it was a tattoo, obviously a mistake made when she was younger.

Even with a wall separating them, he almost smelled her. She’d smell like something clean and fresh, like gardenias. He drew closer, thinking how much he’d enjoy these talk sessions.

“Do I scare you?”

She glanced around at the visitor’s room where he sat at a long steel table, with a guard standing not far from him, and then she looked down the hallway where another officer sat a short distance away, staring at a closed circuit monitor. “Should I be scared?”

“No reason. I won’t waste telling my story unless the world hears the truth.”

“How do you want me to write it?”

“I’ll tell you everything I know. It’s up to you to interpret what I say.”

Anna tilted her head. “How can you be sure I’ll see the truth the same way?”

He didn’t like her doubtful expression. He didn’t like it one bit. “When I tell you what happened, trust me, I had a lot of sources. Meagan and Fiona confided in me plenty.”

She seemed to consider that. Then she nodded. At least she’d been impressed with his confidence. If she told his story, it was important she knew how powerful he was. He didn’t give a shit about death anymore.

“I’m not afraid to confront truth,” she said.

The flash of challenge in her eyes excited him.

“Are you implying I’m a coward?” He hung on her answer.

Her eyes hardened. “Are you ready to start or not?”

Oh yes, he liked her. He took a deep breath before beginning. He pictured the scene in his mind’s eye the moment he opened his mouth. He’d imagined this for the past thirteen years. The story spilled from his mouth, and he barely waited for the questions.

***

Tuesday Morning

August 13, 2002

 

The day her entire life changed started normal enough for Meagan Quinn; the smell of frying bacon drew her out of her bedroom. Of course, this happened before her mother met Kimberley and Gina Kraft. Meagan padded out on bare feet, still wearing her Eeyore nightgown and rubbing her eyes. She yawned and then took a piece of crisp bacon from the platter on the granite counter.

“Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey,” Fiona chimed as Meagan crinkled her snub-nose at the well-worn song.

This had been her mother’s greeting for years. She seemed to imagine Meagan enjoyed the ritual, even though it felt babyish to her. She’d soon be sixteen, but her mother hardly noticed.

Her mom flipped the bacon sizzling in the pan and pulled back the louvered shutters, letting golden light stream in, another beautiful day on Mirror Key. Meagan knew if she craned her neck hard enough, she’d see the canal with boats docked against the private boat slips and the sky that was usually impossibly blue. But instead of looking outside, she glanced down at her laptop, checking her e-mails. Her mother slid four silver dollar-size pancakes onto her plate.

Meagan set her laptop aside and poured a bit of syrup on one side of the plate, and then cut up her pancakes. She dipped each piece into the syrup.

“You remind me of your father when you eat your pancakes. You must miss him.”

“It’s been five years. Why would I?”

“You don’t get over something like a divorce.”

“Haven’t you?”

“A father remains your father after the divorce, where a husband is pretty much a done deal.”

“Is that what Daddy is to you—a done deal?”

Fiona sighed. “I meant that since the divorce, I don’t have any connection with your father except through you.”

Meagan felt a flash of guilt. Her mother’s red hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail, as if she’d hurried to get ready. Her mother always took time to straighten the house and fix Meagan’s breakfast before she left for work. There was something tired and sad in the way her mother’s stray curls wisped around her forehead and neck, trying to escape the rubber band wound around her thick hair.

Regret washed over Meagan. She wished she could think of something nicer to say about her dad. “Now that he’s gotten married, Daddy doesn’t feel much like my father. He’s too busy with Janine to have time for me.”

“I’m sorry, hon.”

“I’m okay,” Meagan said in a flattened voice, hoping her mom would let it drop, hopefully forever.

“Where did you and your friends go last night? You’re getting up late throws me off schedule.” Fiona glanced at her watch. “It’s nearly noon.”

“Where do you think we go?” Why did her mother always nag?

Fiona’s tone sharpened. “I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking. I worry.”

“You know we hang out at the boardwalk in the evening.” Meagan hated the catch in her own voice.

It made Fiona ask too quickly, “Are you all right?”

“I was with my friends, no big deal.”

“You’ve seemed distant all summer—not like you.”

Meagan sandwiched her mother’s hands into her own. “Mom, give it a rest. Ever since you and dad got divorced, you’re like an old mother hen, clucking over me all the time. I’m not a kid anymore. You and I are doing fine without Daddy.”

“What about that boy you met earlier this summer? What was his name?”

“Caleb—his name is Caleb.” Meagan’s voice notched up a scale, and she dropped her mother’s hands. “What happened to that hot Cuban detective you used to go out with? Where’s he been?” Meagan stuck her tongue out and panted heavily.

“Frank and I aren’t dating any longer.”

“Why?”

“This conversation makes me uncomfortable.”

“Check. And I don’t feel like talking about Caleb. Let’s both let it go.”

Fiona turned away and took the remaining pancakes off the grill, fixing herself a plate. Meagan hated the way her mother hunched over. It made her look—defeated. Her mother never let anything get her down.

There wasn’t anything left to say without making things worse. Meagan went upstairs and got dressed. A few minutes later, she came back. When she stepped out the front door, she heard her mother shouting at her through the screen.

“Where are you going?”

“Out,” she yelled. Her mother needed to accept she wasn’t her little girl anymore. Meagan had things she couldn’t face herself, much less discuss with her mother. Outside, the humidity was like a slap in the face. She drew in a choked breath and the air smelled like limestone and oysters burrowing into the mudflats.

 

 

Chapter

2

Tuesday Afternoon

August 13, 2002

One of the best things Fiona’s ex-husband had ever done was buy the house on Mirror Key ten years ago. Half the size of Key West, the Conchs made fun of Mirror, saying it was just a poor reflection of Key West. But it reflected a Florida reality that had long disappeared from the former Conch Republic of Key West. The finger of Mirror Key made up the handle of the mirror, and there it was connected by a long bridge to No-Name Key.

Mirror Key had the added advantage of being rumored to be the place where the Florida State Prison sent its snitches in the Witness Protection Program. That rumor had kept down on the Key’s population and tourists. Unfortunately, now some people thought that made the Key glamorous. Fiona preferred when tourists sped past Mirror Key on their way to what they considered the main attraction, Key West.

But none of that mattered to Fiona on this day. Her daughter was a bright, articulate young girl, so how could everything in Meagan’s life be okay, especially things that shouldn’t be okay at all? The harder Fiona tried to understand, the more her daughter pushed her away.

Meagan was almost heartbreakingly beautiful, with her coppery hair and lustrous brown eyes; she was like a bright, fragile flame. Teenagers were often difficult, and Meagan certainly wasn’t any exception to that rule.

Fiona threw open the kitchen window and drew in a deep breath. The jasmine and frangipani surrounding the windowsill soaked into the pores of her skin, soothing her racing thoughts. At thirty-seven, she’d expected life to be less complicated. She thought she’d still be married, maybe working at an office part-time to help save for college expenses for her daughter, but certainly not a single mother working her ass off as a bartender.

She thought briefly of the one good thing that had happened to her, but it had been three months since she’d tossed aside her chance for happiness when Frank Navarez asked her to marry him. An image of his swarthy face and those deep dimples darting across his cheeks when he smiled rose up to torment her; Meagan was right because Frank was one hot, sexy guy.

When she’d broken up with him, it had seemed like the mature, rational thing to do. She had a teen-aged daughter to take care of, and it would have been selfish to commit to a permanent relationship with Frank at such an emotional period in her daughter’s life. After all, she’d have time to live her own life once Meagan went away to college, but Fiona hadn’t counted on how much she’d miss Frank in these past three months. Still, she knew she’d made the right choice.

She glanced over at Rocky’s house and his place looked lost in their tropical paradise. Instead of rich shrubbery and luscious flowers that flowed over walled fences like the rest of the houses on the street, all he had out front were a few scruffy ferns, a lot of overgrown weeds, and one lonely royal palm tree.

After climbing into her car, with a glance at her watch, Fiona figured she’d drive by Turtle Beach, even though Danny had threatened to fire her if she was late again. Not late yet, so she was good. Meagan and her friends liked to hang out there. She wasn’t spying. She just wanted to make sure Meagan was safe.

She hooked a right on Stacia Strife, the name always making her smile, right onto Bougainvillea, and left on Coastal Highway, cruising along until she reached Turtle Beach. Sliding out of her bronze Mustang, she raised her hand against the brilliant glare of the sun, hoping to spot Meagan swimming.

Instead of seeing her daughter, she observed three young boys with sun-toasted bodies climbing up on the old wrecked freighter nearly a mile out. Like the belly of a whale, the massive rusting hull poked out from the turquoise sea, the newest wreck, compliments of the last summer hurricane.

The Coast Guard wasn’t vigilant about chasing kids away yet. Once things settled down from the damage caused by the storm, their inattentiveness would vanish, and these kids would never get away with playing around the freighter.

The rusting mast seemed to hold allure for these young boys, and she admired their fearlessness as they took turns diving off the dangling mast into the warm waters of the Gulf side. Fiona’s own terror of water made her envy their daring.

A glance at her watch warned her she’d better leave.

Right before she turned away, one boy jack-knifed off the mast, and, caught up in the beauty of his coppery body angled toward the blue-green surface, she couldn’t resist watching. The other two boys pointed as they stared into the water, while Fiona held her breath, waiting for his head to pop up like a seal. Even from this distance, she sensed when the other boys’ pleasure turned to fear. She took two steps forward, although helpless to do anything.

The other two dove into the water, and now three boys remained below the rusty hull. Fiona wiped damp palms against her blue jeans, while her heart pounded. Before considering what she should do next, their three heads bobbed up from beneath the wreck. She blew out a sigh of relief and turned to go, but couldn’t let go of the dread the scene had instilled in her.

Alone in the car, she considered Meagan’s resentment. Her daughter was fifteen, going on twenty-five. Didn’t she understand Fiona wanted to keep her safe? With all the craziness in the world, Meagan needed to be alert to danger. After the horror of 9/11 last year, Fiona realized life could turn on a dime, and nobody was ever completely secure or protected. There was a fragility to life that hadn’t been there before the Twin Towers fell.

Wrapped in her own thoughts, Fiona mindlessly wove along the seaport area until she pulled into the marina parking lot, without an awareness of where she was. The heat of the wooden boardwalk burned through her sandals as she walked to the renovated old boathouse restaurant and bar. She looked down at her watch. Shit, late again. Danny would be furious.

Fiona ducked beneath the netting and dangling conch shells at the entrance. Two couples sat in the dining area, but no one at the bar yet. Fiona locked up her purse in the back room and nodded to the cook and waitress, before stepping behind the teakwood counter of the patio bar, wiping it down. Danny nowhere in sight, she hoped she’d gotten away with being late once again.

An anorexic-looking blonde sat alone at a table next to the most spectacular view of the Florida Bay imaginable. An azure sea sparkled with million dollar boats skimming the glittering surface in front of her, only the woman seemed oblivious.

Perhaps not anorexic, but compared to her own ample curves, that’s how the woman looked to Fiona. Since she had no customers, Fiona walked over. “What can I get you?”

The blonde continued to stare out at the sea, appearing almost blind to the beauty stretched out before her. She looked up, and Fiona pulled in a breath. The incredible look of sadness in those striated gray-green eyes caused Fiona to step backwards, startled by her own reaction to this woman.

“I’m waiting for my daughter. She’s jet skiing.”

Fiona fought back her natural impulse to ask what was wrong. Instead, she asked, “Do you need a food menu?”

The woman shook her head.

“Why don’t you let me get you a drink?”

“What do you suggest?”

Giving a wink, Fiona said, “I’ll make you a Mirror Key cocktail.” At the bar, using the care of a chemist, she poured cracked ice into the shaker and mixed orange, pineapple, and lemon juice in with bourbon, before putting in several dashes of Angostura bitters and sugar syrup.

“It’s not rocket science, Fiona.” Danny leaned his bullet-shaped head over her shoulder, and his eyes slit to cracks watching her.

She gave a little jump. “Relax.” She glanced out at the tiki-styled patio. “I don’t see a crowd waiting in line for their drinks yet.”

Fiona strolled back to the woman, whisked out a cocktail napkin, and placed the drink on the table.

The woman gave a gut-wrenching smile. “Thanks.”

Turn away, Fiona thought. She felt the woman’s pain through the pores of her own skin. Empathy for this woman was an indulgence Fiona couldn’t afford. Protecting her daughter was her number one priority. So why had she run so hard when Frank had offered her the chance for emotional and physical stability? Sometimes she felt like her own worst enemy.

Humidity heavy even by Florida standards; wisps of hair escaped her ponytail and frizzed around Fiona’s temples and forehead, where beads of sweat prickled like tiny needles. From the corner of her eye she kept a lookout for Danny, but he didn’t come back from the kitchen. Taking it as a sign, she sank down into the wicker chair opposite the blonde woman. “Are you okay?”

“I’ll be fine once I finish this drink.” Her chuckle sounded insincere.

“My name is Fiona Quinn. You’re not from around here?”

“My name is Gina Kraft. My daughter and I are here on holiday. We’re from Baltimore, and we’re on a mother-daughter trip before she begins college next month.”

Fiona heard the woman’s voice swell with pride. She asked the expected question. “Where’s she going to school?”

“She’s got a full scholarship to Wellesley.”

“You must be proud,” Fiona answered. “My daughter is fifteen. I hope she’ll do as well, but at the rate she’s going…” Fiona shook her head, giving a laugh that trailed off.

“What made you think something’s wrong?” Gina lifted her pointed little chin, and her eyes had a smoke-like quality.

Before Fiona answered, lightning crackled across the lead-sculpted sky, and a peal of thunder rolled. She glanced outside. Even after living on Mirror Key for ten years, it still surprised her how fast a storm could blow in, especially in the summer. Wind caused the palms to shudder, and clouds split open, weighting the bougainvillea with water, and the bay, now gray, had a wind-whipped chop with frothy whitecaps.

“I’m sorry, what did you say?” Fiona focused back on the woman instead of the weather.

“I wanted to know why you thought something was the matter.”

“It was in your eyes. Sorry. Sometimes I get too personal. It comes with the job.” Fiona forced a smile. “Are you used to our liquid sunshine yet?”

“Don’t worry. I wasn’t offended by your question,” Gina returned. “I just hope my daughter wasn’t caught in the downpour out on the bay.”

Fiona wiped a hand across her sweaty forehead. “Are you staying with friends or family?”

“We’re at the Royale Hotel. It was cheaper staying here than on Key West. So, you have a teenage daughter, too?”

“Yeah, she’s at the age where she can be a real pain in the…”

Gina ran her long fingers through brittle, over-processed hair. “Don’t I know it? We’re staying here a few more weeks. Kimberley would love talking to someone besides me.” She paused a moment before saying, “I know it sounds crazy, being a complete stranger, but could you and your daughter meet up with us tomorrow night, maybe grab a bite to eat?”

Fiona’s first impulse was to say no, it was too much, too soon. But somehow she saw a reflection of herself in this hollow-faced woman, making total refusal impossible.

“Meagan might already have plans, but I get off at eight tomorrow evening. Let’s meet here then.”

“Thanks.” Gina’s upper lip trembled when she smiled.

Just then, a lean, leggy young girl walked in with her black hair rippling down to her waist and dripping puddles onto the patio floor.

With a relieved look, Gina’s smile widened. “Looks like you got drenched, Kimberley.” She smiled her pride. “This is my daughter.”

Fiona blinked her surprise. The girl’s haunted almond-colored eyes made her wonder what was up with this family. Then she spotted Danny walking out of the kitchen, frowning in her direction.

Fiona leapt up and scooted behind the bar. She glanced across the patio and saw a familiar figure loom inside the entryway. He looked around, while the silver-gray rain poured down, creating a beaded curtain behind him.

“Hey Fiona, how are things going?” For a moment he looked at the woman and her daughter, before his gaze rested on Fiona. The man strode over to the bar and sat down.

She smiled. “Hey, Rocky, you’re off already?”

He smoothed his thinning locks across his forehead. His laughter rumbled. “Not much market for vacation resorts today in this downpour.”

“Do you want the usual?”

“Sure. When are you done working?”

She turned away from his penetrating gaze, measuring the rum and Drambuie, slipping in lime juice and Scotch the way she’d been taught. She counted aloud and shook the silver shaker back and forth, all the while ignoring Danny’s scowl.

“Will you get on with it?” Danny said. “I can fix four drinks to your one.”

She poured the mixture in a chilled highball glass, before adding club soda.

Rocky took a sip, and smacking his lips, he said, “Perfect as always. You make the best drinks in the Keys.” He smirked at Danny, who stormed into the back room.

Gina and Kimberley strolled to the bar. Gina placed a ten on the counter. “Thanks. We’ll see you tomorrow night.”

Rocky whistled softly. “Whoa—hold on just a minute. Who are these beautiful goddesses?” He turned the full battery of his smile on them.

“This is Gina, and her daughter Kimberley.” Fiona nodded at the two women. “They’re on vacation from Baltimore. This is my neighbor Lee Rockford, but everybody calls him Rocky.”

“So it’s true what they say,” Rocky said.

“What’s that?” Gina tossed her stringy blonde hair away from her face, while a flirtatious smile played about her narrow lips.

“All the beautiful women live in Baltimore.”

Fiona raised a palm outward and laughed. “I thought you told me they all lived on Mirror Key.”

“That, too,” he answered, giving Kimberley a wink.

Kimberley smiled for the first time. She displayed small, glistening white teeth, before she turned and walked away in one fluid motion. Puppy-like, Gina trailed behind her daughter.

Danny yelled, “Fiona, did you get the snacks set out for happy hour? Amy Louise has been busting her ass back here getting them ready.”

“They’re here on the bar. I’m putting them out now. The specials don’t start for another fifteen minutes.”

He stormed back to the bar. “Of course, you never have time for the stuff that needs doing. You come in late all the time and take forever to make a simple drink.”

“I’ve got plenty of time.” She darted a look at Rocky, who had turned a furious red.

“You’re always too busy making the perfect drink, or psychoanalyzing everybody in the joint.” Danny’s Adam’s apple bobbled in his bullfrog-like throat.

Fiona noticed Rocky clenching his fist and moving toward Danny. She slipped from behind the bar and stepped between the two men. She faced her boss. “What are you saying?”

“I’ve warned you about being late, and I’m tired of all the bullshit. You’re fired.” He tossed his dishrag on the counter.

It took a minute before his meaning penetrated. Fiona pointed her finger in his face. “I’m fired? That’s not fair. Everyone knows I’m the best worker this bar’s ever seen, and I make the greatest drinks in the Keys. I know why you want to get rid of me. You want that skinny, parrot-faced girlfriend of yours to get my job just because she puts out and I don’t.”

Then she did something she would never have imagined herself capable of doing. She raised her hand and slapped her boss across the face. She’d never struck out in rage at anyone before in her entire life. The red imprint of her palm stood out against his sallow cheek.

Danny looked stunned. “What the…?”

Fiona raced into the kitchen, unable to face Amy Louise, who lowered her eyes and let her purple-streaked hair fall across her face. The cook calmly flipped hamburgers on the grill. Neither had ever worked half as hard as she did. She grabbed her purse from the locker and stalked out.

Unaware Rocky had followed her, Fiona jumped when he tapped her shoulder.

“What happened in there?”

“Danny is an absolute moron, but that didn’t give me any excuse to hit him.”

A vein in Rocky’s forehead throbbed. “He’s always been on your case about something. You’re right about him wanting to hire his stupid girlfriend, Sidra. He had it coming. You’re in no condition to drive. Let me take you home.”

Drenched from the downpour, she shoved back the hair forming ringlets around her skull. “Do you think I’m crazy enough to get in a boat in this weather? I’ve got my car.”

Rocky dropped his hands down to his sides and lowered his head.

Fiona patted his arm. “I do appreciate the offer though,” then she sloshed across the flooded parking lot, leaving him behind.

She opened the car door and a warm hand came down on hers. Her pulse raced and she whipped around, looking up into a face with a pair of liquid brown eyes that sent a familiar tingle of pleasure down her spine, canceling out her fury at Danny.

“What’s wrong?” Frank asked, as he walked around and climbed into the passenger side.

She slid into the driver’s seat. “It’s complicated. Why are you here?”

“I just got off work and decided I’d come and see you.” His fingers grazed across her wet cheek. “Have you been avoiding me?”

When she tried to turn away, he caught her arm and forced her to face him. Ever since his proposal, she had tried to stay away from him. It took a moment to collect her thoughts.

“I didn’t mean to avoid you, Frank. I felt you couldn’t deal with us just being friends. The last thing I wanted was to hurt you.”

“Sometimes friendships can turn into something much more. I’m not letting you run away from me.” Frank’s thumb traced the firm angle of her jaw, and his black eyes glistened with determination.

She stared at his buffed body, emphasized by the black T-shirt and jeans he wore. The urge to rest her head on his broad shoulder washed over her. There was strength in those shoulders, if she would only allow herself to trust enough. She pushed the thought away. “I’ve got a teen-aged daughter to consider. It’s not the right time for me to get involved in a relationship I can’t commit to.”

Impatience hardened his voice. “You’ve been divorced for five years now. I’d say that’s plenty of time. When will you realize I’m not your ex-husband? I am trustworthy.” He slipped out of the car.

She leaned over and stretched out her hand. “Wait, Frank.”

He paused and looked at her expectantly.

“Just please wait, that’s all I ask.”

“Someday may come sooner than we expect.” He disappeared into the rain.

Suddenly, Fiona realized that she might be asking for too much after all.

These are the first two chapters of “Someday May Never Come.” Hope you enjoyed them. Fingers crossed, my new book will be out end of January or mid-February. As always, thanks for dropping by.

Bren

 

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