Today is our tour stop for GIRL CODE. Check out this sweet contemporary anthology and grab your copy today!
About Girl Code:Four best friends struggle with decisions that affect their lives, their hearts, and their futures. As sisters, they embrace the Girl Code. HOPE Josephine "Joey" Lockhart escapes her past, herself and her home town of Pearl, Ohio to Florida after high school. Years later, she meets a man that refuses to let her hide behind her camera lens and encourages her out of her shell. Will he be the one to push her to feel for the first time? LIVE After seven years in drug hell, detoxing Juliette "Juls" Carrington returns to her hometown Pearl to attend her grandmother's burial. Once more rejected by her family, she has a swim in a pond nearby when a mysterious camper, an ex-drunk, coaxes her to come to his hut in the woods. Together they must fight their inner demons for a chance to love...and live. FAITH Selena Bodine escaped into the United States Air Force to leave behind a painful past and the one man who she refused to let herself love. Years later, an urgent call from her father brings her back to Pearl, Ohio and face to face with the man she still loves. But will the secret that Cullen is investigating her threaten their second chance? PERSISTENCE Laydi Michaels has been running away from her past and bad memories for years. Finding herself wasn’t an easy task, but she’s managed to finally get to a point to where she wants to be. Only to wake up married to her boss….who fired her the night before. Wrapped in a case that puts her life in danger, and dealing with a grave situation back home in Pearl, Laydi figures out she wasn’t close to finding herself, and now, she’s risked everything.
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She strolled around the edge of the barn, taking in
the beauty of the property. Hundred-year-old oak trees surrounded it, filled in
by thousands of slash pines that shaded the various shrubs from the autumn sun.
She clicked several shots of the colorful sky and turned the camera on the big
red barn, nicked and faded from years of enduring the Florida sun and heat,
capturing it from various angles.
She squatted for a shot. Her cell buzzed in the back
pocket of her jeans, indicating an incoming text. Instantly, her pulse kicked
in her throat. Perspiration misted her brow. Letting the camera dangle around
her neck by the strap, she rubbed her clammy hands on the front of her
Should she look at it? It could be one of her
“sisters” from back home trying to catch up with her. She hadn’t spoken to any
of the girls in over a week. She missed them like crazy.
It could also be her boss, making sure the wedding
photography was going off without a hitch.
Of course, it
could be her mother informing her of the results of Daddy’s latest test. After
all these years of drinking to the bottom of every whiskey or bourbon bottle he
could put his hands on, his liver had finally waved the white flag. He’d been
in and out of the hospital for testing the last several weeks. None of the
results were positive and she dreaded getting the message of more bad news.
There had been
a time when she was daddy’s little girl. He’d let her curl in his lap to watch Sesame
Street or the evening news or take her for piggyback rides in their backyard.
He’d drank during that time. She remembered the pungent smell of whiskey on his
breath, but he’d still desired to be home with them and he hadn’t been so
angry. She’d come to learn that’s what people called a functioning alcoholic.
Around the time she turned five or six, something happened. She didn’t quite
know what it was, but he lost interest in her and her mother entirely, and his
moods shifted. It had broken her heart—it still did. Now he was sick and the
doctors weren’t certain his liver would recover.
long and slowly, trying to regain her composure. Even though she’d never
classify her relationship with her father as close or strong, tears welled at
the thought of him sick or suffering.
On the other hand and as big of a reason not to check
her phone, it could be the anonymous creep that had been texting her for the
past seven days. Always a number she didn’t recognize. Always a comment on what
she wore, her location, or activities. Someone had their eyes on her. She’d
felt it for days—a prickly sensation down the spine that came with the
awareness when someone was watching her. The constant urge to look over her
shoulder. The texts just confirmed it.
Regardless of who it was, she had to check it. What if
it was about Daddy? Even with her anger at him for the years of emotional abuse
and absenteeism, he was still her father. A part of her longed to be daddy’s
little girl again. She stood, tugged her phone out of her pocket, and tapped
her password. An unrecognizable number floated on the screen, and Joey squeezed
her eyes shut briefly.
I see u!
Sucking in a breath, she jerked her head up and
scanned her surroundings. A good seventy-five yards of grass separated her from
the edge of the wooded area, but even at that distance, the hair on her neck
Her stomach roiled with nerves and her skin itched
like it had for the last week whenever she’d received the prior texts. Keeping
her focus on the wooded area, she scooted backward toward the barn until the
rough wood scraped against her skin exposed by her sleeveless shirt.
She glanced around the perimeter of the property
again. Why her? Why was someone bothering her? She kept to herself. Some might
even call her a loner. She had a handful of friends. Her presence in Florida
these last seven years had been under the radar. She didn’t go clubbing or
barhopping or socialize much at all, except for Talon and one or two
acquaintances she’d kept from school. She hadn’t been involved with a man since
college and she graduated three years ago. Her main contact with the world
around her was on assignment for work. She couldn’t recall anyone in the last
several weeks that had struck her as strange, creepy, or worrisome. Whoever this
was had turned her simple existence into a rollercoaster ride.
Something moved beyond the brush. Her breath hitched.
The crack of a branch under the weight of something heavy splintered over the
soft sound of dinner music. Her heart raced. Her grip on her phone tightened.
Panic seeped into her veins.
“Joey,” a rough voice barked next to her, and if she
could have jumped from her skin, she would have left it like the molting black
racer snake did on her patio earlier in the week. Her vision blurred. Her chest
vibrated with the fierce beat of her heart. Fear of coming face-to-face with
the unknown overtook and everything faded to black.