Today is our stop on the tour for
Famous by Default by M.K. Harkins!
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About Famous by Default:Jax doesn't want to be famous. Stalked by rabid fans and the paparazzi, he dreams of better days when things were normal. But those days are gone. No one can stay under the radar if you're from the Jaynes family. He doesn't trust anymore. Sivan doesn't have a family. As a part of the foster care system, all she wants is to finish doing her time and move out and on. She doesn't love anymore. Jax and Sivan are thrust together on a small-town farm in Mount Vernon, Iowa. They take an immediate dislike of one another, trying at every opportunity to trip each other up. They don't want to acknowledge they might be more similar than they first thought. Will they stay stuck in their past, hanging on to their lack of trust and love? Or can they change before it's too late?
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“It’s just you and me, kid,” Betty said from the porch. “The girls, Emily and Alice, are at our neighbors, the Thompsons, for the afternoon. I thought it would be nice for us to have a little time to ourselves. You know, to chat.”
Ugh. I thought Sharon had stopped that train.
“Let’s go inside and get that tea. I put some on while Sharon and I had our talk.” She motioned me inside.
I stopped as soon as I walked through the front door. Wow. The foyer was three stories high with a huge multi-colored glass chandelier. Didn’t I see something like this on a YouTube video? “Is this...” I pointed to the beautiful blown glass.
“Chihuly? Yes, he owed me a favor.” She laughed and kept walking.
I followed, taking everything in. A messy look by design. Distressed wood furniture, rich patterns, and vibrant colors. Lots of throws, pillows, rugs, and tapestries. Vases and planters were placed around the windows, in corners and alcoves. It smelled like baked scones and lavender.
We entered a large farmhouse kitchen. Rustic, with white painted cabinets, vintage handles, and an apron sink. Wood countertops, mason jars that held wildflowers, and black stained wood floors. It was spacious and cozy at the same time.
Could a person fall in love with a house? I smiled a little.
She motioned me over to the long table that sat a few feet from the kitchen island. Painted a pale yellow and flanked by white chairs with painted daisies on the seats and backs. As I sat down, a cup of tea was placed on the table in front of me. Betty plunked down opposite me. “I lied,” she blurted.
My body tensed. Sharon’s only ten minutes away; maybe she could come back and get me.
“It’s nothing bad,” she said while waving her hand back and forth. “Gordon wasn’t really sick. I have your file right over there.” She moved to a built-in desk, pulled open a drawer, removed a manila envelope, and gently laid it on the table. “I haven’t read it, and I don’t plan to.”
My eyes widened a little. What? She didn’t want to read the file top to bottom, backward and forward, to make sure I wasn’t too bad or wouldn’t be too much trouble like the other foster parents had?
“Here’s the deal. I have a core belief we are not defined by our past. We are what we are now, today, and what we’ll become in the future. I want to respect the person you are today.”
“But—” I started.
“Sharon’s already told me you’re a great kid. I trust her. Also, I wouldn’t put Emily or Alice at risk. But beyond that, everything that’s happened in your life will be yours to tell. Does that work for you?”
“Yes.” An unfamiliar lightness lifted from my core. I got to skip the invasive and humiliating part. What happened to me when I was eleven shouldn’t be splashed like blood on paper. The worst part? When people found out, they either concluded I was damaged or weak—someone they could take advantage of. Of course, they were wrong. Sure, I kept a low profile, but when things went south, I was more than able to defend myself. “That works for me.”
“That doesn’t mean I won’t try to get you to talk.” She grinned. “But it will be your choice. The only downfall with this plan is if you have any triggers I may not know. You can either tell me about them now, or, if I say or do something you don’t like, you’ll have to agree to let me know.”
I loved this plan. Something warm fluttered in my stomach.