Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Virtual Book Tour: The Billionaire's Board by Lark Anderson

Good morning! Please welcome author Lark Anderson to Full Moon Dreaming. She is here today to tell us about her new release, The Billionaire's Board. Lark will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to three randomly drawn commenters during the tour via Rafflecopter. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!



The Billionaire's Board
by Lark Anderson

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GENRE:   Contemporary Romance

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BLURB:

When Remi Stone is promoted to director at Icor Tech by the INSANELY HOT, chiseled, PERFECT 10 CEO, the last thing she expected was for chaos to ensue. Boy—she should have been more prepared.

Who would have ever thought that being 23.7 hours early for a meeting would ever lead to a series of life-changing events that would see me influencing the course of a billion-dollar corporation—but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the day AFTER my time-anxiety induced early bird mishap.

You see, I went into Icor Tech’s boardroom to present at the quarterly ‘Innovation Meeting,’ completely unprepared for all the enemies I was about to make. The board itself—and all the directors!

But that’s exactly what happened when the handsome, aloof, BILLIONAIRE CEO, Gabriel Icor himself, promoted me to director at 23 with NO FLIPPING WARNING!

Now, I have a bunch of seasoned board members thinking I’m an ‘upstart’ mouse. A bunch of employees angry their careers plateaued well before mine. And two insanely hot, crazy-successful, competitive, and ever charming businessmen courting me.
Oh, and get this—I’ve never so much as been on a date before.

What’s a girl to do? Well, I’ll tell you one thing that’s never advisable...

Accidentally blurting out you’re not wearing panties.

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EXCERPT:



This is exactly what they expect from a millennial. Shitty work ethics, entitlement, living in my parent’s basement. None of those traits fit me, but the room full of grey hairs I’m about to brief don’t know that. They don’t know that I tested out of high school at fifteen, received my Bachelor’s in Engineering at Cornell by nineteen, and my Masters by the time I was twenty-two. They just see a young, fair-haired woman and assumed I got my job because of who I know or some affirmative action bullshit.

Kibbles! I can’t forget to feed Kibbles, the aging cat my dearly departed grandmother left to me.

The cat hates me, looking for any reason to shred my bedding and furniture. She’s possessed, more than likely by my dear dead grandma, who was never very happy no matter how much I called, visited, or wrote. Not that she ever really wanted to see me, but she sure did like the checks I was writing for her. I swear, she left me Kibbles just to spite me.

It isn’t enough to leave one bowl of food out. Kibbles demands three, placed strategically around the apartment, filled to capacity. If the kibble level so much as lowers by half an inch, Kibbles goes into an angry panic. She dug up every single plant one day and shredded my shower curtain on another. The last thing I need is another Kibbles meltdown.

Oh, wonderful, the cat’s glaring at me. Don’t panic. It’s not a big deal. It’s just a cat.

Just a cat. Ha! That’s like saying, ‘Oh, it’s just Satan, Lord of the Underworld.’

Pull yourself together, Remi. You’re facing the board and a room full of directors today. Don’t blow this!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lark Anderson was raised near Syracuse, New York. She joined the USAF at 19 as a Flight Manager and eventually discharged in pursuit of a college degree, eventually achieving her MBA.

Since her years in the Air Force, she has worked as a Claimsanager, a Business Analyst, an Editor, and a Web Page Designer, filling several roles, such as Fraud Investigator, Auditor, Graphic Designer, and Marketer.

Lark’s passion for writing manifested in elementary school, but she waited until she was in her 20’s to pursue her passion. Now, she writes and assists other authors in fulfilling their dreams full time.

Lark's interests are broad. She likes her fantasy dark and her romance steamy! She plays Magic: the Gathering and LOVES going to cons and interacting with fellow geeks.

Currently, she is writing contemporary romance and is in contract negotiation to develop a sitcom she has been working on.

Twitter: @mims_words / https://twitter.com/mims_words
Twitter: @lark_anderson / https://twitter.com/lark_anderson
Instagram: @mimsthewords / https://www.instagram.com/mimsthewords/
Facebook: @LarkAndersonAuthor / https://www.facebook.com/LarkAndersonAuthor/
Link to subscribe to Newsletter: https://larkandersonbooks.net/subscribe/

The book is on sale for $0.99.


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Monday, December 30, 2019

Virtual Book Tour: Once Upon a Time, Bitches by Branden LaNette

Good morning! Please welcome author Branden LaNette to Full Moon Dreaming. She is here to talk about her new release, Once Upon a Time, Bitches. Branden will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour via Rafflecopter. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!



Once Upon a Time, Bitches
by Branden LaNette

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GENRE:   Self-help

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BLURB:

That’s Branden on the cover. Yes, she has a boy’s name, a Mom bod, and her tattoos are not photoshopped. She doesn’t look like your typical author and she sure doesn’t look like the next self-help Instagram sweetheart. 

However, besides being a wife, mom to six kids (plus others with fur), coach and business owner, Branden is the author of the new book, Once Upon a Time, Bitches. It’s a fast paced, in your face, expletive laced, nothing held back message to women everywhere: There is no magic fairytale, but if YOU work at it enough you can come pretty close to creating your version with a happily ever after. 

But first, no more whining and no more damsel locked in a tower, bullsh*t. Is it possible to design a fairytale life? Control your destiny? Be the hero in your story? Branden thinks there is and she wants to help you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT:




Success is different for everyone, clearly. Right now, with an 8-month-old baby in my arms as I type this, I define success as getting clothes onto both of us.

Success doesn’t have anything to do with your bank account, either. So don't think you can’t speak up in a meeting or approach someone with a business idea just because you think they’re “more successful” than you are. Fantastic Fran may be making $1 million per year and you’ve only got only $47.22 in the bank.

Your idea could be worth $10 million, maybe more, who knows? You’ll never know unless you speak up and take a chance.

Success also has nothing to do with followers, likes or clicks. And it sure as fuck isn’t about approval from friends and family.

Move the f on with that sh*t.

“Success” is what you say it is. It is waking up AF to be alive. Success is wearing your heart on the outside and sharing a gift with another human. Success is happiness in the things you do, not in the things you have.

Success isn’t ANYTHING anyone else tells you it is. It’s what you tell yourself it is. Which ultimately means that, if you’re taking my advice, you should ignore everything I just said success is and/or isn’t because, in the end, only you can define what in the fuck success is for you. Only you.

Only you.

Don’t let me or anyone else define what makes you happy. Your inner feelings define what success is, and your smile describes it to the world.

Fran thinks I am a hot mess, and she’s right. Karen thinks I’m a superstar, and she’s right, too. Neither of their opinions affect my definition. Neither of their judgements dulls my shine.

I know I’m a success because I have everything I’ve ever wanted, saggy boobs and all. I could do without some of the cellulite, but now we’re just nitpicking.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Branden LaNette doesn’t look like a typical author but she has long ignored what she “should” do, say and look like. On her own at a very young age, Branden eventually found herself with the wrong guy, the wrong job, and a bleak future. The fairytale she was promised as a child never materialized.
Finally, Branden decided that she wanted something different for her life, and realized no one was going to do it for her. Prince charming wasn’t coming to save her—she’d have to save herself.
Step by step, decision by decision, through major trials and tribulations that would stop most people in their tracks, Branden learned how to turn heartbreak into happiness and self-judgement into inner joy.
Today, Branden LaNette is an entrepreneur, coach, speaker, wife, and stay-at-home Mom to six C-section babies (ages 1-16) and way too many f-ing pets. Somehow, however, she manages to juggle all of this effortlessly (a blatant lie) while pushing her way through the kinds of fear and self-doubts that whisper within all of us (totally true) to achieve her goals. Her most recent dream come true is this book, one that is destined to have a major impact on millions of women across the globe (or at least nine people in Michigan.)
Through it all, she has found her happiness, her joy, and more importantly, her voice. 
Contact Info:

Website: BrandenLanette.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Branden.Lanette
Twitter: @Branden_Lanette
Instagram:@@Brandenlanettel
Hashtags: #OnceUponaTimeBitches #OUATB


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Full Moon Dreaming

Once Upon a Time, Bitches by Branden LaNette
Blog Q & A
1. Let me say first that I am on Day Three of “No sugar and No alcohol.” This is easy then – if I were marooned on a small island and had only one person and item of my choice, I would take my husband and a shovel. I’ll let you imagine what happens next.

2. If I had to choose a musical that best exemplifies my life, it would be “Waitress.” I’d be the waitress. Only I escape all of the negative bullshit in my life by facing it and writing about it, instead of selling pies.

3. A scene using the words Hammer, Saucer, and Traffic Lights?! I wish the words were hammered and sauced. But I’ll make this work.  “Gripping the steering wheel, I couldn’t wait for the traffic lights to change. I had never been so mad in my life. All I could hear was his apology over and over. It made my stomach f**king turn. I could taste the vomit daring to come up. My face was wrinkled in disgust. I looked down and saw the blood trickling down my hand. The broken saucer I picked up must have sliced it and I didn’t even feel it. I never knew a red light could last so long. I hope I wiped my fingerprints off of the hammer.” 

4. What’s my idea of romantic time with my SI? Romantic time with my husband, is probably enjoyed best during our drives in the country. Minus the kids of course. We have our best talks and come up with our biggest dreams during these times

5. When I start a new story do a start with a character or a plot. Well you just gave me three words and I came up with a story, so I think I’m very versatile. I feel like I have a character with the story and that unfolds into something bigger.

6. As far as my favorite villain, I love Maleficent. after being so broken, she still found a way to love truly and deeply. I relate to that a lot.






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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #84 (20.2)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Ryan and Ben are in St. Louis with Cassie, who welcomes them with open arms. Is this the sweet respite they need or the calm before the storm? See what's happening in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's happening with them. Their links follow my tale!  Enjoy!

In Pieces #84 (20.2)


They sat out on the patio and talked for a while, giving Ben and Cassie a chance to get to know one another. Ryan was very happy that his two favorite people in the world could finally meet. Afterward, they carried in their luggage and took it to the room they’d once shared. Cassie had made a few changes in the room in the short time Ryan had been gone, but they were good ones. She’d taken out the two single beds and replaced them with a full-sized bed with matching furniture. Ryan was just as surprised as Ben.

“This looks great,” he kept saying, and Cassie beamed.

“I was hoping you would like it,” she said with a knowing glance between the two. It wasn’t hard for Ryan to follow her logic, that the two of them would be more comfortable in one big bed than crowded into the ones they’d shared as kids. Not to mention they would be able to make new memories.

Cassie ordered pizza for dinner, and they spent the evening quite happily, eating pizza and drinking a few bottles of beer from a local craft brewery. Ben had never tasted that particular brand and pronounced it quite delicious. Cassie brought out a couple of photo albums, and they took a trip down Memory Lane. Ben appreciated the photos that were taken after he’d gone, of Ryan and Dad and Cassie. Ryan was grateful that none of the photos that predated that time included Liza. He suspected Dad had gotten rid of those a long time ago. Only pleasant memories here.

By the time they went to bed, they were exhausted from a strenuous day and fell asleep in the new bed, wrapped around one another. But they made up for lost time the next morning by making love then taking a long shower together.

“Did you have anything you wanted to do while you’re home?” Cassie asked. She’d made omelets for breakfast, filled with cheese and ham and bacon and a touch of spice, along with hash browns and biscuits. They ate in the family room, which was just the way Ben remembered it, comfortable and familiar. A photograph of Cassie and Dad and Ryan held a place of honor on the wall.

Ben and Ryan exchanged glances.

“We really hadn’t thought about it,” Ryan admitted.

“Just being here is wonderful,” Ben added. They sat side by side on the soft brown sectional, Cassie seated on the adjoining piece.

“Having you here is wonderful,” Cassie said with a smile. “I have some ideas, if you don’t mind…”

“Of course we don’t mind.” Ryan grinned. “Lead on, MacDuff.”

“The weather is supposed to be gorgeous,” Cassie said. “And I can just hear Forest Park calling to us. Can you hear it?”

Ben cocked his head, as if listening. “I do,” he said. “It says it’s waiting for us to have some fun.”

Ryan loved how easily Ben fit in with Cassie, the three of them like old friends already. The night before, in bed, Ben had confessed to feeling jealous of Cassie at first but now he realized he had no reason to and he thought she was great. “Which part is calling us?” he asked, wondering just what she had in mind, although he had a good idea. They’d spent a lot of time in Forest Park, where the World’s Fair had been held in 1904. Only one of the original buildings remained, and that one was his most favorite of all.

“The Art Museum, of course.” Cassie winked, as Ryan cheered internally. Just what he’d hoped for. 

“Then maybe some lunch in the park, by the lake. Then, if you guys are up to it, we can check out the Science Center?”

“Sounds wonderful!” Ben and Ryan both exclaimed, then laughed.

to be continued

Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!







Saturday, December 21, 2019

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 11 by Tite Kubo


Bleach, Vol 11         

Author: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: February 7, 2006
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/208 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Ganju is still running from the beauty-obsessed Yumichika as Ichigo deals with Ikkaku. Having defeated him, Ichigo waits for him to awaken so he can question him. Ikkaku is surprised to find himself alive. All Ichigo wants to know is where Rukia is, which makes Ikkaku laugh. But he tells Ichigo where to find her, although he doesnt have a chance of succeeding. Especially if he runsinto Ikkaku
Speaking of which, that same captain is on the trail of Ishida and Orihime. But his directional skills are faulty, as are those of the small lieutenant who rides on his shoulder, and they escape detection. Ganju has exhausted himself running from Yumichika, who savors his impending victory just as they hear a voice screaming for Ganju and realize its Ichigo. Ganju points out that if Ichigo is there, he must have defeated Ikkaku, which Yumichika claims is impossible. Ganju manages a few slick maneuvers, finally drawing Ichigos attention.

Ishida and Orihime find themselves facing Jidanbos brother, Jirobo. He seems to be targeting Orihime, for some reason. Ishida shows how much he has progressed during his recent training.

After leaving Yumichika, Ganju finds himself running once more, chased by a number of soul reapers. Hearing Ichigos voice, he thinks everything will be fine now, only to discover that Ichigo is also being chased by a pack of soul reapers and theyre headed right toward Ganju! Can this end well?

Things are really getting exciting in this volume of Bleach. Ichigo is determined to rescue Rukia, no matter who gets in his way. He has that mindset that predetermines that he will succeed and that failure is not an option. Watching him fight the various members of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads is epic! Also, its fun to be introduced to characters who will turn out to be very crucial to the story, ones we will come to know and love. Ive learned, from watching the anime, that first impressions dont always count, and that the people you think you hate and/or despise often become favorites with time. Similarly, not everyone you like will stay liked, and thats all Ill say for now lol

I love the dynamics between the members of the squads as well. They are not all friends just because they work together, as evidenced by Kenpachi and Kurotsuchi. Yes, Kurotsuchi is very odd, you have no idea how odd yet, but there is also something about him that I like. Ditto with Kenpachi and Yachiru. Ichigo is growing and developing all the time, as a person and as a soul reaper.

Renji Abarai has already grown on me, and the glimpse of his backstory with Rukia is priceless.

Another great volume, cant wait for the next one!




Thursday, December 19, 2019

Virtual Book Tour: To Weave a Highland Tapestry by Mary Morgan

Good day everyone! Please welcome author Mary Morgan to Full Moon Dreaming. She is here to tell us about her new release, To Weave a Highland Tapestry. Mary will be awarding a$25 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour via Rafflecopter. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!





To Weave a Highland Tapestry
by Mary Morgan

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GENRE: Time Travel/Scottish Historical/Paranormal

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BLURB:

Patrick MacFhearguis, hardened by battles won and lost, desires what he can never have—peace within his heart and soul.  Yet, the ever-meddling Fae weave a new journey for him to conquer—a task this highlander is determined to resist.

When skilled weaver, Gwen Hywel, is commissioned to create a tapestry for the MacFhearguis clan, she embraces the assignment. While seeking out ideas, she finds herself clutching the one thread that can alter the tapestry of her life and heart.

A man conflicted by past deeds. A woman with no family of her own. Is it possible for love to unravel an ancient past, in order to claim two badly scarred hearts? Or will the light of hope be doused forever?

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EXCERPT:


Straightening, Patrick started forward. “I can help ye pick more mushrooms. Are they for the Midwinter feast?”

“Yes. Apparently, they’re for an onion and cabbage dish. Sounds delicious. I’m amazed at how all the women have managed here in this time-period.”

“I had heard it was a struggle in the beginning for them.” He glimpsed sideways at her. “How do ye find being here? I cannot fathom what ye must miss.”

She shrugged. “There’s simplicity here. I’d almost call it serenity. I’ve learned a lot this past month. Whereas, in my town you can go crazy trying to keep up with everything.” Gwen waved a hand outward. “And don’t get me started on city life. Traffic congestion, speedy drivers, people always on their cell—” She giggled. “Sorry. Too confusing for you.”

Patrick smiled, trying to perceive everything the lass was saying. Each time she spoke, her face would light up. There was a musical lilt to her voice that soothed him. He found her enchanting, regardless of the words spewing forth from her.

Noting a group of mushrooms, he moved away from Gwen.

“Since you have lost, what about my end of the bargain? I believe I can claim something of value.”

Patrick froze in his steps. Glancing over his shoulder, he stared at her in disbelief. “Ye wish to claim a reward?” Hope soared within his heart as if the sun’s rays stoked the emotion.

Her tongue darted along her lower lip. “Absolutely.”

He turned slowly around. “Name your reward.” Tension coiled within his muscles.

She approached him in an unhurried fashion. “You might have requested one kiss as your reward, but I’ll take four—the same number of times you skipped the stone over the water.”

His heart hammered against his chest. His mind refused to understand the magnitude of her words. “Four?” he uttered in a hoarse voice.

“Four,” she affirmed, stepping closer. “Do not keep me waiting.”

In one swift move, Patrick crushed her to his chest. Her soft curves were warm against his body. “Start counting, leannĂ¡n.”

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The Questions – 
Mary Morgan

1) You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have? A Fenian Fae Warrior and a magical crystal. He’d be able to transport us anywhere. Enough said.

2) Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life – and which character in that musical are you? The Sound of Music and I’d be Maria. I’m spiritual and had to overcome a few obstacles in my life. I’m not a singer, but I can play the piano and flute.  

3) Take these three words and give me a 100 word or less scene using them: hammer, saucer, traffic lights
In a mystical world ruled by the ancients, a rogue warrior was determined to flee from the tyranny of his king. In a moment of clarity, he smashed through the gates of the outer realms with his mighty hammer. The destruction was severe. When the dust and debris had cleared, the skies opened to reveal glittering traffic lights directing the survivors to a safe haven. Once there, each was given a golden saucer where they consumed fresh water flowing from a waterfall.

And so begins the saga of the rogue warrior who became the new king.


4) What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other? A quiet picnic and a good bottle of cabernet at the ocean, or in front of a fireplace, or out in our garden under the stars. And yes, we’ve done all three.

5) When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot? It always begins with a character. They step into my mind waiting for me to acknowledge them. First I choose a name. It has to feel right for them. From there, I’m fleshing out their characteristics and begin to plot out the story. Often times, I’m 60% plotter and 40% pantser. Yet there are times when the reverse happens.









AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Award-winning Celtic paranormal and fantasy romance author, Mary Morgan, resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.

Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. It wasn't until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling by writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.

If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.

Social Media Links:

WEBSITE/BLOG:  http://www.marymorganauthor.com
TWITTER:  http://twitter.com/m_morganauthor
FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/MaryMorganAuthor/

GOODREADS:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8271002.Mary_Morgan
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:  http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Morgan/e/B00KPE3NWI/
PINTEREST:  www.pinterest.com/marymorgan50/
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/marymorgan2/
BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mary-morgan

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-morgan-2634a77a/

AUDIBLE AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.audible.com/author/Mary-Morgan/B00KPE3NWI

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Weave-Highland-Tapestry-Dragon-Knights-ebook/dp/B07Z2ZWQW7/

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Weave-Highland-Tapestry-Dragon-Knights-ebook/dp/B07Z2ZWQW7/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Weave-Highland-Tapestry-Dragon-Knights-ebook/dp/B07Z2ZWQW7/

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Weave-Highland-Tapestry-Dragon-Knights-ebook/dp/B07Z2ZWQW7/

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/to-weave-a-highland-tapestry/id1483415813?mt=1

Book Page: https://www.marymorganauthor.com/to-weave-a-highland-tapestry



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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #83 (20.1)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

After an unfortunate encounter with Cameron, Ryan and Ben are on their way to St. Louis to spend some time with Ryan's friend/stepmother Cassie. Maybe this is just what they need, a chance to get away from things, focus on themselves. Will it last? See what's going on in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #83 (20.1)


The flight to St. Louis was uneventful. Cassie had managed to book them a non-stop flight, luckily. It seemed as though they had barely left New Orleans when they were already arriving at Lambert. Cassie picked them up in the parking garage for Terminal One, where arrivals were being diverted due to construction. Ryan spotted her car immediately as she pulled to the curb and jumped out, squealing excitedly at the sight of him. Rounding the front of the vehicle, she enveloped him in a warm hug, then turned to Ben and did the same.

“I’m so happy to meet you at last, Ben! I’ve heard so much about you from Ryan!”

Ben seemed much more relaxed, now that they were out of New Orleans. He returned Cassie’s hug without hesitation. “I’ve only heard nice things about you. Thank you for allowing me to stay with you.”

“Well of course, you’re family too! Those all your bags?” She pointed to the luggage at their feet.

“Yeah, I have it,” Ryan quickly interjected. “Can you pop the trunk for me?”

“Sure, sweetie.” She clicked her car fob, and Ryan opened the lid, stowing their things.

“Let’s get out of here,” Cassie said. “You guys want a drink or something?”

Ryan and Ben exchanged glances. Ryan knew just what Ben was thinking. “Coffee sounds good, if that’s okay with you.”

“Coffee it is,” Cassie said cheerfully. She waved them toward the front seat. “We can all fit.”

Ryan sat between Cassie and Ben. He took Ben’s hand in his and held it on top of his leg.

“How’s the tour going?” Cassie asked. She’d taken the interstate that led to the area of St. Louis County where she lived, where Ryan and Ben had both lived. Although early evening, the summer sun held sway, and a number of people were out and about, taking advantage of the warm but not overly warm August weather.

“The tour’s going well,” Ryan said. “I can’t wait for you to hear the band. They’re amazing. And Ben has the most amazing voice.”

“You might be a little prejudiced,” Ben said modestly, but Cassie stopped him.

“No, he’s right. You have an amazing voice. I bought a copy of your CD, been listening to it.”

“Thank you, I’m flattered,” Ben said. Ryan glanced at him to find the color rising in Ben’s cheeks. Without his make-up and contacts, he still looked incredibly sexy, and at the same time somewhat innocent. Just looking at him made Ryan’s heart swell.

“I can’t wait to hear you live,” Cassie continued. “I’m not sure if I can wait till the tour gets to St. Louis, though. I might just have to take a road trip or something.”

“Are we playing St. Louis?” Ryan asked. He’d never seen a full copy of the itinerary, he realized. It had never mattered to him where the band went, just as long as he could be with Ben.

“We are,” Ben confirmed. He cocked his head to regard Cassie. “How did you know? I didn’t think there was any advertising yet?”

“Oh, a little birdie told me.” Cassie gave them a swift glance and a quick wink before turning back to the road before her. She signaled a turn and exited the highway. “I know just the place. You guys want coffee or something else? They make a really good Frappuccino. Sea salt caramel with a touch of fudge and lots of sprinkles.”

“Frappuccino sounds good,” Ben said, and Ryan agreed.

“Then three Frappuccino it is.” Cassie turned into a nearby coffee shop and headed to the drive-thru, where she placed their order. Within a few minutes, they’d received their drinks and were on their way.

When they reached the old neighborhood, Ryan cast an anxious glance at Ben, wondering how he would be affected after all these years. He seemed to gaze with interest at their surroundings. Some things had changed, of course, over the last ten years, but he didn’t seem troubled by anything. Not even when Cassie pulled up into the driveway of their childhood home.

“Want to drink these on the back patio?” she asked. “We can bring in your bags later, if that’s okay.”
That sounded like a good plan. Carrying their Frappuccino, they followed Cassie inside the house and through it, to the back. She unlatched the sliding glass door, and they stepped out onto the patio. A white wrought iron table with a glass top sat there, with matching chairs beneath a pale blue umbrella.

“This is new!” Ben exclaimed.

“Dad and Cassie did this,” Ryan said. “Cassie planted all the flowers and bushes too. There’s a pond in the back, with a little bench beside it. Just perfect for two.” He gave Ben a significant look he couldn’t possibly miss.

“I can’t wait to see it,” Ben said. “This is so beautiful, Cassie. You’ve done wonders with this.”

“Thanks,” Cassie said with a smile. “I’ve become very fond of this place. For many reasons.”

Ryan knew just what she meant. He couldn’t imagine what his life or his dad’s would have been like without her. He thanked his lucky stars that they had met and made her part of their lives.

They took seats around the table, Ryan and Ben pushing their chairs close together, across from Cassie. Ryan was grateful that the humidity was uncommonly low for August in St. Louis. A pleasant breeze was blowing, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and all was right with the world. He couldn’t help but wonder how long would this last?

to be continued

Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!