Had enough of Wal-Mart yet? Too bad! Here they come! 😂
CeeCee’s back…with a new look – and Nessa in the hot seat! 😉
After a tough few days, having engaged in plenty of self-evaluation, CeeCee is ready to get back to work. Replenished by mindful meditation and yoga, she senses a turning point ahead. Gone are the theatrical costumes; today she wears a soft cream jumpsuit with a wide, tan leather belt that matches the scarf holding back her unruly red curls. This is not the CeeCee we know and love, but a business-like young woman with a point to make.
Let’s hope she hasn’t taken this transformation too far.
Whilst, CeeCee has modified her appearance, the room – although muted – still alludes to her earlier self. Back are the chiffon drapes (yellow rather than pink) and the incense sticks (this time emitting a musky scent to restore balance and order), along with soft-lighting giving the room an altogether sunnier feel.
She seems to have a plan in mind.
Nessa arrives, sniffing…
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Love in the Time of Cholera (Oprah’s Book Club) (Vintage International)
by Gabriel García Márquez
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy & Magical Realism/Caribbean & Latin America
In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs–yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.
The last time I saw Nevada Kane, I was seventeen and he was loading his things into the back of his truck, about to embark on a fourteen-hour drive to the only college that offered him a full ride to play basketball.
I told him I’d wait for him. He promised to do the same.
But life happened. I broke my promise long before he ever broke his. And not because I wanted to.
We never saw each other again …
Until ten years later when Nevada unexpectedly returned to our hometown after an abrupt retirement from his professional basketball career.
Suddenly he was everywhere, always staring through me with that brooding gaze, never returning my smiles or “hellos.”
Over the years, I’d heard that he’d changed. And that despite his multi-million dollar contracts and rampant success, life hadn’t been so kind to him.
He was a widower.
And a single father.
And rumor had it, he’d spent his last ten years trying to forget me, refusing to so much as breathe my name … hating me.
But just like a rebound, he’s back.
And I have to believe everything happens for a reason.
Yardley Devereaux, age 16
I don’t belong here.
I realize being the new kid makes people give you a second look, but I don’t think it should give them permission to stare at you like you have a second head growing out of your nose. Or a monstrous zit on your chin. Or a period stain on your pants.
At this point it’s all the same.
Not to mention, I don’t think anyone can prepare you for what it feels like to eat lunch alone, like some social reject.
The smell of burnt tater tots makes my stomach churn, and the milk on my tray expires today. I’m pretty sure the “chicken patty on a bun” they gave me is nothing more than pink slime baked to a rock-hard consistency. I’m unwilling to risk chipping a tooth, so I refuse to try it.
Checking my watch for the millionth time, I calculate approximately 3 1/2 hours left until I can go home and tell my parents what an amazing first day I had. That’s what they want to hear anyway. Dad moved us here from California with the promise that we were going to be richer than sin, whatever that means. But if Missouri is such a gold mine then why doesn’t the rest of the world move here? So far, Lambs Grove looks like the kind of place you’d see in some independent film about a mother trying to solve her son’s murder with the help of a crooked police department, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, JK Simmons, and Frances McDormand.
Okay, I’m probably being dramatic.
But this place is pretty lame. I miss the ocean. I miss the constant sunshine and the steady stream of seventy-five degree days. I miss the swaying palm trees.
I miss my friends.
Forcing your kid to move away from the town they’ve grown up in their entire life—in the middle of their sophomore—year is cruel. I don’t care how rich dad says we’re going to get, I’d have rather stayed in Del Mar, driven a rusting Honda, and paid my own way through a technical college if it had meant we didn’t have to move.
And can we talk about my name for a second? Yardley. Everyone here has normal names. Alyssa. Monica. Taylor. Heather. Courtney. If I have to spell my name for someone one more time I’m going to scream. My mom wanted my name to be special and different because apparently she thinks I’m special and different, but naming your daughter Yardley doesn’t make her special. It just makes it so she’ll never find her name on a souvenir license plate.
I’d go by my middle name if it weren’t equally as bad, but choosing between Yardley and Dove is akin to picking your own poison.
Yardley Dove Devereaux.
My parents are cruel.
I rest my case.
I pop a cold tater tot into my mouth and force myself to chew. I’ll be damned if I’m that girl sitting in third block with a stomach growling so loud it drowns out the teacher. I don’t need more people staring.
Pulling my notebook from my messenger bag, I pretend to focus on homework despite the fact that it’s the first day of spring semester and none of my teachers have assigned anything yet, but it’s better than sitting here staring at the block walls of the cafeteria like some loser.
Pressing my pen into the paper, I begin to write:
Monday, January 7, 2008
This day sucks.
The school sucks.
This town sucks.
These people suck.
After a minute, I toss my pen aside and exhale.
“What about me? Do I suck?” A pastel peach lunch tray plops down beside me followed by a raven-haired boy with eyes like honey and a heartbreaker’s smile. My heart flutters in my chest. He’s gorgeous. And I have no idea why he’s sitting next to me. “Nevada.”
“No. California. I’m from Del Mar,” I say, clearing my throat and sitting up straight.
The boy laughs through his perfectly straight nose.
I can’t take my eyes off his dimpled smirk. He can’t take his eyes off me.
“My name,” he says. “It’s Nevada. Like the state. And you are?”
“New,” I say.
He laughs at me again, eyes rolling. “Obviously. What’s your name?”
My cheeks warm. Apparently, I can’t human today. “Yardley.”
“Yardley from California.” He says my name like he’s trying to memorize it as he studies me. I squirm, wanting to know what he’s thinking and why he’s gazing at me like I’m some kind of magnificent creature and not some circus sideshow new girl freak. “What brings you here?”
He pops one of my tator tots between his full lips, grinning while he chews.
Nevada doesn’t look like the boys where I’m from. He doesn’t sound like them either. He isn’t sun kissed with windswept surfer hair. His features are darker, more mysterious. One look at this tall drink of water and I know he’s wise beyond his years. Mischievous and charismatic but also personable.
He’s … everything.
And he’s everything I never expected to come across in a town like this.
A group of girls at the table behind us gape and gawk, whispering and nudging each other. It occurs to me then that this might be a set-up, that this beautiful boy might be talking to this awkward new girl as a dare.
“Ignore them,” he says when he follows my gaze toward the plastic cheerleader squad sitting a few feet away. “They’re just jealous.”
I lift a brow. “Of what?”
He smirks, laughing at me like I’m supposed to ‘get it.’
“What?” I ask. If this is a joke, I want to be in on it. I refuse to add butt-of-the-joke to the list of reasons why this day can go to hell.
“They’re jealous because they think I’m about to ask you out,” he says, licking his lips. Nevada hasn’t taken his eyes off me since the moment he sat down.
“Should I go inform them that they have absolutely no reason to shoot daggers our way?”
His expression fades. “Why would you say that?”
“Because …” I laugh. “You’re not about to ask me out.”
I peel my gaze off of him and glance down at my untouched lunch. “Why are you doing this?”
“Why am I doing what? Talking to you? Trying to get the courage to ask you on a date?”
I glance up, studying his golden gaze and trying to determine if he’s being completely serious right now.
“You’ve never seen me before in your life and then you just … plop down next to me and ask me on a date?” I shake my head before rising. If I have to dump my tray and hide in the bathroom until the bell rings, then so be it.
“Where are you going?”
My lips part. “I … I don’t know. I …”
Nevada reaches for me, wrapping his hand around my wrist in a silent plea for me to stay. “Do you have a boyfriend back in California? Is that what this is about?”
“What? No.” This guy is relentless.
“Then go on a date with me,” he says, rising. “Friday.”
His expression fades. “Why?”
The bell rings. Thank God.
“I was new once. So I get it,” he says, fighting another dimpled smirk. God, I could never get tired of looking at a face like his. “And, uh … I think you’re, like, really fucking hot.”
Biting my lower lip and trying my damnedest to keep a straight face, I decide I won’t be won over that easily. It takes a lot more than a sexy smile, some kind words, and a curious glint in his sunset eyes. If he truly wants me … if this isn’t a joke and he honestly thinks I’m “really fucking hot,” he’s going to have to prove it.
“Bye, Nevada,” I say, gathering my things and disappearing into a crowd of students veering toward two giant trash cans.
I don’t wait for him to respond and I don’t turn around, but I feel him watching me—if that’s even possible. There’s this electric energy pulsing through me from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I’m not sure if it’s excitement or anticipation or the promise of hope … but I can’t deny that it’s real and it’s there.
Making my way to the second floor of Lambs Grove High, I find my English Lit classroom and settle into a seat in the back.
For the tiniest sliver of a second, I imagine the two of us together. We’re laughing and happy and so in love that it physically hurts—the kind of thing I’ve never had with anyone else.
The tardy bell rings and a few more students shuffle in. My teacher takes roll call before beginning his lecture, but I don’t hear any of it.
I can’t stop thinking about that beautiful boy.
Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi.
And if you’d like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list here —> http://eepurl.com/bfQU2j
I move to sit up but my limbs feel off-kilter. Since waking, I’ve known something is wrong with me. I don’t know what, but something’s happened to my body. It takes me a few minutes to work up the courage to look down, and when I finally do, I’m greeted with a shock that nearly kills me for the second time today.
I scream. I want to run. But it’s hard to escape when the only thing you’re running from is yourself.
In place of my arms, white, feathered appendages stretch out to my sides: wings. And where my feet once were, orange flaps of rubbery skin now take their place. I appear to be some kind of . . .
“Ah, Princess. I see you are awake.”
My eyes—feeling strangely out of proportion on my new face—narrow at the familiar voice. Only one person I know uses that nickname.
“Elward,” I say. Well, that’s what I mean to say, but what comes out is more of an angry honk. “I should’ve known you’d be behind this.” I still have little control over my new body, but manage to turn my head towards the man in the velvet waistcoat. His face is twisted into the same smug smile he gave me at the guillotine. He understands my animalistic noises just fine.
“Behind what?” He raises a straight black eyebrow. “I believe I have just saved your life, Princess.”
“By doing what?” I squawk back. “Turning me into some sort of . . . duck?”
Elward rubs at the stubble on his chin—a gesture I’ve always despised. I wish he wasn’t so young—then I might hate him a little less. As it is, our proximity in age only heightens my dislike for him. To think I might have anything in common with the sorcerer is enough to make me want to retch.
“The term, my dear, is swan. There is a big difference. I transferred your soul into its body. I found it dying on the bank. Some sort of heart disease, I think. Be thankful it wasn’t a skunk I saw first.”
“You turned me into a swan?” I blink. “A dying swan?”
If I still had hands, they would be clawing through my hair by now. Well, feathers. Curses, has my whole identity been stripped from me?
Title: Feathered: Swan Maiden – Book 1
Author: Rachel Wollaston
The light and the dark were never meant to be separated.
When her bargain with a malevolent wizard goes terribly wrong, Marion DuVal finds herself trapped between two forms: a beautiful but darker parallel of herself, and a swan. Somehow, she must adhere to the wizard’s wishes, but it’s hard to perform epic magic when your feet are flippers and your neck’s the length of a small fishing pole. Caught up in a lie of royal proportions, her task is to get close to the queen, and such a thing is difficult when a certain handsome prince keeps getting in the way.
One girl; two identities. Marion must stop the darkness inside her before it’s too late.
Based on the classic tale of Swan Lake.
Born and bred in Gloucestershire, UK, Rachel Wollaston is a huge lover of all things fantasy. From an early age, her dream was to be a fairy, but the pay was no good, so she decided to become a writer instead. A Creative Writing student, Rachel is the author of young-adult fantasy and loves to build worlds that she wishes she could be a part of.
Besides writing, Rachel also enjoys a range of other artistic hobbies, including dancing, drawing, and an unhealthy amount of arts and crafts. You will almost always find her with a cup of tea and a cat watching old ‘70s comedies.
Marriage isn’t always forever—but what about love?
In this journey into second-chance love, author Cheryl Robinson invites us to ponder whether we would rekindle a romance with someone who had broken a promise to forsake all others.
Meet Ray and Sarita Saint. In 1987, they pledged to love, honor, and cherish each other until death. When Ray goes missing a year later, Sarita wonders whether he’s dead or alive. While she was dreaming of their happily ever after, Ray was exploring greener pastures, a new relationship. Sarita—a virgin until marriage—took her vows seriously and believed Ray did, too. Instead, he left their marriage and their life in Detroit to reinvent himself. Sarita always held out hope that he would return one day. And he does. It’s twenty-seven years later, and Ray is determined to find his one true love. What he discovers has him question everything he thought he knew about Sarita, as well as himself.
Cheryl Robinson has the Until Ray trilogy set in her beloved hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Cheryl currently resides in Central Florida. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State University. This is her eleventh book. To learn more, please visit cherylrobinson.com, untilraytrilogy.com, or Facebook.com/untilraytrilogy.
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