LET'S WELCOME JULIA GABRIEL AUTHOR OF: THIS REMINDS ME OF US

LET’S
WELCOME
JULIA GABRIEL

 AUTHOR OF: 




Rad-Reader:  What gave you the idea for this book?


Julia:  Serena's accident happened in an earlier book, Hearts on Fire, so I knew I needed to answer the question of what happened with her and Oliver. But I didn't realize until I started writing this book that she was going to wake up with amnesia. I wanted to explore the impact that situation would have on a marriage.





Rad-Reader:  What gave you the burning desire to write the book?


Julia:  All of my books are fueled by my own desire to find out what happens to the characters. Oliver has been a secondary character in the St. Caroline Series and I really wanted to see what was going to happen with him. I didn't know Serena's character as well until I really started writing this book—she's been in a coma for most of the series, after all! In addition, I wanted to explore a married relationship where two people have to navigate changes (which happen in all marriages) and come out on the other side with the marriage intact. A good marriage has to allow people the room to grow.





Rad-Reader:  Can you give us the backstory on Serena and Oliver that the blurb doesn’t give us?


Julia:  Well, Serena and Oliver are a married couple (a little unusual for a romance, I know). Oliver is the oldest of the Wolfe brothers and the most buttoned-down of the three. In Hearts on Fire, Serena is in a car accident that leaves her hospitalized and in a coma. The accident happens shortly before Oliver's mother dies of cancer. So, Oliver has the stress of his wife in the hospital, his mom recently gone, and two young boys at home to take care of. Serena is from a very wealthy family in Manhattan. When she married Oliver, a small-town firefighter, her parents essentially disowned her.





Rad-Reader:  How did you go about creating these characters or did they create themselves?


Julia:  My characters tend to create themselves. That's what makes writing so much fun for me—I get to discover who these people are and what's going on in their lives as I write the story! With the St. Caroline Series, I'm getting to know an entire town full of people as I go.






Rad-Reader:  Serena has a real fear it seems to be around her boys.  Was she may be at the time of her accident running away from her life?  Did it get too overwhelming with the new baby on the way?


Julia:  Serena's not running away so much as she's discovering things about herself. Oliver is one of those people who knew early on what he wanted to do in life—he wanted to be a firefighter and raise a family in his hometown. Serena's life was so tightly managed by her parents that marrying Oliver and moving to St. Caroline is what gave her the opportunity and the space to think about what she wants for herself.






Rad-Reader:  Oliver is starting to be a pain.  The whole passive-aggressive thing is not working for me.  Why is Mason acting older than him?


Julia:  I try not to create "perfect" characters who never make mistakes or have bad days or feel insecure. That's not realistic, right? Part of the story in these books (Hearts on Fire, Two of Hearts and This Reminds Me of Us) has to do with the ripple effect of Angie Wolfe's illness and death on her family and friends. I lost my own mom to ovarian cancer when I was 24—when I look back on my twenties, I almost don't recognize the person I was because her death totally upended my life for years. I think Oliver doesn't mean to be a pain or passive-aggressive but he's working through a lot of grief. Serena's accident and his need to keep it all together for his kids complicates that.

I liked putting Mason's point of view in this book. Young kids often see right through situations that adults can't. They're very honest and literal about things until we (society) train them out of it.





Rad-Reader:  Even with Serena coming up with a logical the most explanation he is still pulling away.  Is he even aware he is doing it?


Julia:  No, he's not aware, consciously, that he's doing that. He's trying to protect himself from something he has feared for a long time would happen—that Serena would get tired of life as the wife of a small-town firefighter and go back to 'the big city' where she came from.








Rad-Reader:  If your book was made into a movie who would you want to play…



Oliver:  Aaron Taylor-Johnson

Matt:  Sean O’Pry

Becca:  Sophie Turner

Jack:  Liam Hemsworth

Ashley:   Julia Garner





Julia:  I like all your choices! Sean O'Pry is spot on for Matt! Liam Hemsworth would make a good Jack, but when I was writing the book, I pictured a young Jason Lewis (he played Smith Jerrod in the Sex and the City TV show). https://www.instagram.com/jasonleelewis/?utm_source=ig_embed


Serena: 

Oliver: 


Becca: 


Ashley:  






Rad-Reader:  What song or songs best describes your characters or your book best?


“Love is Strong – Matt Kennon”

When Oliver got the call that his wife Serena was in a horrible car accident, he thought he was going to lose her.  He couldn’t.  She is his whole world.  He loves her more than anything.



“A Safe Place to Land – Sara Bareilles ft. John Legend”

When she opens her eyes and finds herself in a strange place, she’s not sure other than, Ollie.  She is one hundred percent sure of her husband.  He was there to protect her from the harshness of the light and the world.  She knew she was still alive.



“After the Storm Blows Through – Maddie & Tae”

When Serena comes out of the coma, she has memory loss.  She can’t remember anything after getting married.  So, she has no idea she has two boys, seven & five.  Ollie is wearing thin with his mom passing now this.  When his wife tells him, she remembers another man he shorts out.  An untrusting seed is planted.



“She’d Say – Andy Grammar”

Serena was very close to Ollie’s mom.  Losing her was a double blow as a friend and a mom.  But her wisdom she could still use her from time to time.  Although no one else from his family was speaking up she was speaking up to all his sons to the eldest for sure. Although he knew better, she couldn’t get him to see he was paying the poorest judgment in the matter of his wife.



Julia:  Those are all fantastic songs! Matt Kennon's song really sums up Oliver's story, I think. And Andy Grammer's song about his mother would have to go in the movies for all of the St. Caroline books! I really wasn't sure how readers would react to Angie Wolfe being in the books after her death, but I think it's a comfort to a lot of us to think that a loved one is still watching over us.





Rad-Reader:  What do your friends and family think about your writing career?


Julia:  Well I have to say, I don't think my brothers (I have three) have read any of my books ha! But quite a few of my friends read them—and my mother-in-law, too.





Rad-Reader:  Is this your full-time career?


Julia:  It is! I worked for many years as a writer in the business world and spend several years teaching writing at a state university. But writing novels is definitely my dream job!





Rad-Reader:  What time of day do you do your best writing?


Julia:  I like to write first thing in the morning, but at this point, I've trained myself to write whenever, wherever! Plus, I tend to get ideas for scenes when I'm driving or at the grocery store. The story kind of runs in the back of my head all the time. I'm that weirdo who looks like she's talking to herself in the car but really, I'm recording a voice note to myself, so I don't forget the idea that just popped into my head!





Rad-Reader:  Do you write better at home or when you go to a coffee shop or restaurant? 


Julia:  My normal day is to write at home. My son is at school during the day so it's quiet.





Rad-Reader:  Do you have a writer’s group that you write with to bounce things off of in your town or online?



Julia:  I have an amazing group of romance author friends—Anna James, J.B. Curry, Victoria Hanlen, and Ann Clement. We read each other's works-in-progress and then get together once a month for a potluck dinner to discuss. As we like to joke, it's much easier to plot someone else's book than your own!





Rad-Reader:  Did you publish with a publishing house or self-publish?


Julia:  At the moment, I am self-publishing my eBooks and print books. The audiobooks for the St. Caroline Series, however, are published by Tantor Media.





Rad-Reader:  What three things can’t you leave home without?


Julia:  My phone (since I'm a mom). My iPad Mini—because you never know when you'll need hundreds of books to read! Some kind of sugar—I have a wicked sweet tooth.






Rad-Reader:  What is your next project and when is it coming out?


Julia:  I am working on the next St. Caroline book, Once in a Lifetime. It's Ashley Wardman's book—Serena's best friend. She is a young widow and convinced that she had her "once in a lifetime" and that she'll never meet someone else as wonderful as he was. But of course, she will—and he made a cameo appearance in This Reminds Me of Us. But I'm not going to say who it is! Once in a Lifetime will be out later this year.






Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers buy your books?  Links


Julia:  
 HEARTS ON FIRE:








GOOGLE PLAY: http://bit.ly/2Hic8Xi





TWO OF HEARTS:








GOOGLE PLAY  http://bit.ly/2kbgHN1





THIS REMINDS ME OF US:








GOOGLE PLAY:  http://bit.ly/GP_TRM









Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers find you on the Web?  Links


Julia:  
My web site:


I'm on the usual social media places ... 

Facebook:
I post exclusive excerpts from upcoming books in my,

Coffee Break Facebook group: 

Instagram: 









Julia,
Thanks so much for being with us.  I know how time-consuming it can be.  I know we ask more than most for you to rack your brain on characters you have left behind several books ago.  I know MY fan girl loves to dig in and get to know each character I read about.  It's the writer in me.  Thanks for an enjoyable read.  Especially, for your graciousness and patience during my medical issues and allowing me to push back your date.  Thank you!
Char

A Dash of Christmas (The Montgomery Brothers #9)

A DASH OF CHRISTMAS                       SAMANTHA CHASE


Carter Montgomery broke the family mold when he went to culinary school. Now a successful restauranteur, he's at a crossroads: should he continue on his successful path or look for a new challenge? What he needs is time alone to think things through. But his matchmaking family has other ideas...

Emery Monaghan's no-good fiancĂ© has embroiled her in scandal and she needs a way out. When mentor Eliza Montgomery offers her a refugee, she's relieved―until she realizes that the deal means rubbing elbows with Eliza's son Carter―Emery's childhood nemesis.

PAT'S REVIEW


Emery Monaghan’s fiancĂ© is caught up in a scandal and instead of doing what her parents want her to do she decides to take up her friends’ idea of going to their apartment to be away from the spotlight. Carter Montgomery is in town from New Orleans for two reasons, one too works on his new restaurant and to finish the cookbook he started for his mother. When he arrives at his family’s apartment he does not know that his mother has let a family friend stay there. Emery is more than a family friend to Carter. They grew up together and went to school together. They always seemed to be in competition with each other but Carter always felt less than when he was around her. Now they find out that each one has been attracted to the other one and Cater finds that she is to work on the finishing touches of the book. Recipes get changed the past gets revisited and besides the past Carter finally finds what he is looking for in a restaurant, but what about the woman he has always thought about? Will he get the girl or let his career take first place instead of his heart. Read this wonderful story to find out. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com 


The Broken One (Corisi Billionaires #1)

THE BROKEN ONE                                 RUTH CARDELLO

Single mom Heather Ellis would do anything for her adopted daughter, Ava. Even post an online reward for anyone who found the girl’s lost stuffed animal. Who’d have guessed it’d be returned by a drop-dead-sexy man with such sadness in his eyes that she had to reach out to him? To Ava, he’s a hero. To Heather, he’s a fantasy that puts at risk the happy life she’s made for herself.
It’s been five years since billionaire developer Sebastian Romano lost his wife and unborn child in a tragic accident. Now he’s all business. No room for emotion. Until he stumbles across that damn stuffed wolf and the beautiful single mother looking for it. Is he ready to give love a second chance?
But there’s more to Sebastian, his family, and his past than Heather knows. More than even Sebastian knows. Will the life they’re building together be challenged when the truth is finally revealed?
PAT'S REVIEW

The first book in a new series for this author. It opens with single mom Heather looking for a lost stuff animal, her daughter’s. This lost wolf is what every parent or at least most have gone through. For me it was leaving my daughter’s blanket at an office, fortunately, the woman working that day know I would be returning at some point to be looking for that blanket and she had saved it! All was right in my world and our daughter could sleep. She is in college now and still has said blanket. So when Heather is retracing her steps looking and looking for this lost wolf I could relate. When Sabastian found it and wants to throw it away, I was taken by his desire to have everyone else do it but him. When he delivers the said wolf to their house he is beginning his change from when his wife died five years ago. Between the two of them, each one is learning how to be in a new or starting in a relationship. I think the author did a good job with that. Having Heather friends help her along the way makes for a good story. Also, the beginning and the end with Judy in a separate story trying to find information about her father’s family only adds to this continuing story. I really liked this book. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

Total Control (Alpha Crew #4)

TOTAL CONTROL                                    LAURA GRIFFIN

Navy SEAL Jake Heath has his eyes on Alexa Mays. The FBI Agent is whip-smart and hot as hell, but she won’t give him the time of day. So, when she calls him out of blue, he thinks his luck has changed.

But instead of meeting up for a romantic dinner, Alexa needs Jake for a very different reason. Her counterterrorism team is hot on the heels of the extremist that Jake’s task force has been tracking for months, and now he’s on American soil. The only way she can take him down is with Jake’s help.

Alexa knows Jake is tough and relentless...and that the chemistry between them is electric. Although she’s risking her heart—and maybe even her career—by bringing him onto the mission, she doesn’t have another choice. Together, they’re an unstoppable and powerful team.

As the hours tick by and a lethal enemy gets closer to launching an unimaginable attack, Alexa and Jake need to fight fire with fire before the clock runs out. The only question is: will their own flames get in the way?
 

PAT'S REVIEW


Jake Heath a Navy Seal is very surprised when he sees FBI Special agent Alexa Mays who called him after he was working out. Wishing that she was finally coming around and they could actually try and date he is shut down when all she wants is his help to look for a terrorist who is believed to be in California. He says no and leaves, later when she arrives home he is there getting after her about how easy it was for him to get into her house and that he will help her. The beginning of their working together is not as easy as she would like it for he knows people who are off the beaten path and of course she looks like an FBI agent so she must stay outside. She, of course, wants to take them down as well but this would get them off point. This goes on for a while and they get back on course looking for the suspect and Jake wants to be with Alexa. She wants to be with him but she also wants to capture this guy and focus on her job for it is difficult for a woman to promote. Just when everything looks like it is a dead-end it begins to pick up again. This is an action pack story and sees how it ends. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 4 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com 

Her Deadly Secrets (Wolfe Security #2)

HER DEADLY SECRETS                         LAURA GRIFFIN

Private Investigator Kira Vance spends her days navigating the intricate labyrinth of Houston’s legal world, and she knows all of its shadowy players and dark secrets.

On a seemingly normal day, she’s delivering a report to her top client when suddenly everything goes sideways and the meeting ends in a bloodbath. Twenty-four hours later, the police have no suspects but one thing is clear: a killer has Kira in his sights.

Fiercely independent, Kira doesn’t expect—or want—help from anyone, least of all an unscrupulous lawyer and his elite security team. Instead, she launches her own investigation, hoping to uncover the answers that have eluded the police. But as Kira’s hunt for clues becomes more and more perilous, she realizes that she alone may hold the key to finding a vicious murderer. And she knows she must take help wherever she can find it if she wants to stay alive.
 

PAT'S REVIEW


Kira Vance Private investigator is delivering information to her boss at a client’s house at night. When in a matter of seconds her boss is dead, the client is shot, and the package is gone. Now also being shot at and being investigated by the police like she had something to do with it is only pissing her off. This is the way the book opens and the action and story does not stop until the end. With all of the twists and turns you as the reader are taken for a ride and wonder who is wanting this person killed. You follow Kira through the streets and back alleys of Houston using her street smarts and finding the people that knew her boss and using his contacts to help find who killed him and why? There is a romance with her and a Wolfe security person that is watching her, but for the most part, it is on the back burner and Jeremey actually helps her. Overall a very good book and I liked the characters. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com 

HERE TOMORROW 7 PM PST. JULIA GABRIEL AUTHOR OF: THIS REMINDS ME OF US (SEE NEW EXCERPTS)


HERE
TOMORROW
7 PM PST.
JULIA GABRIEL
AUTHOR OF:






He's waited four months for this day … for his wife to wake up … for everything to go back to normal … a normal life she can’t remember … a life that might not have been as perfect as everyone thought ...

Deputy fire chief Oliver Wolfe had everything he ever wanted. A beautiful wife, two adorable (if rambunctious) sons, a job he loved, a comfortable home, and family and friends in his hometown of St. Caroline, Maryland ...

… until the day he has to stand by helplessly and watch his wife’s unconscious body gets cut from the mangled wreckage of her car.

Serena Wolfe was a blissfully happy newlywed with a tall, dark, and handsome firefighter for a husband and a honeymoon baby on the way …

… until the day she wakes up from a coma to discover that she’s actually thirty years old and has two adorable (if rambunctious) boys, a house, and friends … none of which she can remember.

That’s alarming enough. But Serena might have had a secret former life … which she also can’t remember …





“I’ll take that as a compliment.” He smiled a wary smile. He’d rehearsed a thousand things to say for when this moment finally came and now he couldn’t remember a single damn one of them. 
She looked around at the room, taking it in. “I’m in a hospital,” she said. She locked eyes with him. “I didn’t lose the baby, did I?” 
Ah damn. He had hoped to avoid this particular conversation right off the bat. 
“Yes,” he answered quietly. “We did. But we can try again.”
She closed her eyes for a moment. When she reopened them, they were full of sadness. “But we’ll never have another chance at a honeymoon baby.”
He threaded his fingers through hers, gave them a gentle reassuring squeeze. “Well, no.” He was puzzled by her comment. “But we already have our honeymoon baby.” Another reassuring squeeze.
“I thought you just said that we lost the baby.”
Oliver leaned toward the bed and brought their clasped hands to his lips. He kissed her knuckles, trying to collect his thoughts and arrange them into some order that made sense here. 
“We lost the new baby. But Mason and Cam weren’t in the car with you, sweetheart. They’re at home right now, safe and sound. Mattie is watching them.”
“I’m not talking about those kids. I’m talking about our baby. We got pregnant on our honeymoon. Accidentally, but still …” Her eyes brimmed with tears. “Don’t you remember?”
He felt the earth begin to shift beneath him, the bottom starting to drop out of what was left of his life, of what he had come to regard as his normal life. 
He scooted the chair he was sitting in as close to the bed as he could get it. “You were in a car accident, love. Almost four months ago. You just woke up.”
“I was out … for … four months?”
He nodded. 
“But we haven’t been married much longer than that.”
“We’ve been married, eight years. Mason is seven and Cam was born five years ago.”
She shook her head back and forth on the wrinkled pillow. “No. That’s not—”
“They can’t wait to come, see you. They miss you. I’ve missed you, too.”
In her dark eyes, he saw a spark of fear ignite. It matched the spark of fear in his gut. She just woke up. That’s all. She’s a little disoriented. 
“Four months ago?” She shook her head. “I don’t remember being here that long … I don’t remember being here at all.” The fear in her eyes was more than a spark now. 
“You’ve been in a coma all this time.” Oliver stood over the bed and gently cupped her face in his palms. “Baby, I am so glad you’re awake.” I was beginning to think it wasn’t going to happen. 
He leaned down and kissed her, tentatively at first but then deeper, fueled by the desperation and fear that should have disappeared with her waking. He forced himself to break the kiss before the desperation and fear became obvious. He looked into her eyes. Months in the hospital had not been kind to her. She was thinner than he’d ever seen her. Her glossy black hair was dull and matted about her head. But she was beautiful to him. Their life together had been beautiful. Their family together was beautiful. Until the day of the accident, Oliver Wolfe had nary a complaint in the world. 








GOOGLE PLAY:  http://bit.ly/GP_TRM













Becca Trevor’s life is falling apart. She’s lost her job, her boyfriend’s in jail, and her mother’s quilt shop has just caught fire — with her in it.

To make matters worse, town golden boy Jack Wolfe has returned — looking better than ever … but can their budding relationship survive the secret Becca’s been keeping for years?

Becca never intended to come back to pretty little St. Caroline, Maryland and her family's quilt shop. Growing up, she was 'the wild child' … and the black sheep of the family … and the girl who couldn’t get anything right.

And she definitely never intended to see Jack Wolfe again. Those fifteen minutes she’d spent with him at a graduation party seven years ago? Unforgettable—for a whole lot of reasons.

Jack was the golden boy of St. Caroline. Smart, Ivy League-educated, law school-bound. He’s home from California for a family emergency, a situation that would not be improved by the news that he’s not the hotshot corporate attorney everyone thinks he is. If he can keep his real job a secret until the end of summer, he’ll still be golden and no one else will be the wiser.

But Becca has an even bigger secret of her own ... one that will change Jack's life forever ...





The smell of smoke tickled Becca Trevor’s nose. Not again. There was no smoking allowed in the bar but the jerk down at the end seemed to believe he was above the law. Just like Brandon had thought he was, right up to the minute he was arrested for embezzling money from the custom motorcycle shop he worked for. That was last week and hell would freeze over before she borrowed money to bail him out.
She sauntered down to the end of the bar. She wanted to be casual about this, non-confrontational. She paused halfway down to wipe up a non-existent spill on the bar top.
“Sir, there’s no smoking in here.” She smiled prettily at him.
He waved his lit cigarette in the air. “You don’t have an ashtray.”
Of course, we don’t. It’s no smoking.
She pulled another bar glass from beneath the counter and filled it halfway with water. She set it on the bar in front of him. Water splashed out of the glass when he rammed the cigarette into it. She calmly wiped it up and took away the glass. This was the second time tonight she’d done this; a third time and it would be a comedy routine.
“Can you at least get me another beer?” he growled at her.
“I sure can.” She pulled another draft of what he was drinking and slid it in front of him. After all this trouble, he wasn’t going to tip anyway. The troublemakers never did.
She tried her best to ignore him for the next fifteen minutes until a young woman climbed up onto a stool two seats away from him. It was the only empty spot at the moment or Becca would wave her elsewhere. The bar was busier than she had expected for Memorial Day. From what she could glean from snippets of conversation here and there, the baseball game at the stadium a few blocks away had been called for rain in the fourth inning. It looked like a lot of people had come here instead.
“What can I get you?” Becca asked the newcomer. She wasn’t a regular. After three months working here, Becca knew all the usual folks.
“Just a sparkling water with lemon, thanks.” She glanced worriedly at the door every few minutes. Clearly, she was waiting for someone. Maybe a blind date.
Somehow Becca wasn’t surprised when the smoker leaned around the man sitting next to him and tried to strike up a conversation with the young woman. “They don’t let you smoke in here, you know.”
The woman nodded and gave him a weak smile. “I don’t smoke anyway.”
He dropped down off his seat and squeezed into the narrow space between her and the next patron. Becca could see the woman’s posture tense. “Let me buy you a drink. What’s that, soda? You need something better than that.” His words were beginning to slur. He waved at Becca.
“No thanks,” the woman said firmly. “I’m waiting for someone.”
“Well so am I, sweetheart. Don’t mean we can’t enjoy a drink while we wait.” He waved at Becca again. “Two more beers down here, barkeep.”
Barkeep? How about wench while you’re at it? Becca pulled another draft and placed it in front of the man.
“I’m fine,” the woman said, holding up her barely-touched water. “I don’t want one.”
“Just one, sweetheart. Your date will thank me later.”
Out of the corner of her eye, Becca saw a businessman-type vacate a seat at the other end of the bar. “Why don’t you sit down there?” she said quietly to the young woman.
“What the hell!” the man shouted. “Can’t you just mind your own business and pour drinks? That’s what you’re being paid for.”
The young woman slipped off the stool and practically ran to the empty seat. Becca watched her until she heard the sound of breaking glass and then a sharp prick on her upper arm. She spun around. The entire room was still now, every conversation in the place paused.
“Look what you made me do now, bitch!”
People were backing away from the bar quickly, leaving Becca and Asshole Man in a standoff. The man had slammed his empty glass onto the bar, shattering it. Shards were scattered everywhere. That was what she’d felt prick her arm.
“Joe!” Another voice broke in.
“About time you got here. Your bitch of a bartender won’t pour me the drink I ordered.”
Your bitch of a bartender? Becca looked at the large man walking down the length of the bar. Shit. It was the owner, a man she’d never been introduced to but knew by sight. The sight right now was not that of a happy man. There was also, for Becca’s immediate prospects, an unhappy familial resemblance between the owner and the asshole grinning ear to ear at her now. Across the room, the assistant manager hovered by the hostess station, too chickenshit to intervene.
Becca knew what was coming. She could see it unfolding in the minutes ahead of her like a slow-motion scene in a movie. She was going to be unceremoniously fired in three … two … yep, one. Strangely, all of a sudden, she really didn’t care. First Brandon. Now, this. She calmly grabbed her purse from beneath the bar. Right as she pushed open the heavy door to the street, she heard the owner say, “We can manage with just the other bartender tonight.”
What other bartenders, idiot? He was too cheap to have more than one per shift. But whatever. She was out of there.
Outside the bar, it was raining cats and dogs. Becca raced to where her car was parked down the street. Inside, she let her body sink into the cloth seat and closed her eyes against the sight of rain sluicing down the windshield. No good deed goes unpunished. Story of my life, starring Becca Trevor. Once again, she was unemployed. Her boyfriend—well, ex-boyfriend now—was in jail. Also the story of my life: poor choice in men.
She opened her eyes, inserted the key into the ignition and pulled out onto the rain-glossed street. She had packed a lot of mistakes into twenty-five years on this earth. What was one more? She’d go home, heat up a package of ramen noodles and fall into bed. Plenty of time to worry about her lack of gainful employment tomorrow.
She turned the final corner into her neighborhood—and slammed on the brakes. There was trash strewn all over the street in front of the apartment building. She glanced at the beige brick building’s tiny lawn. Boxes and furniture sat on the swampy grass. A television. Piles of soggy clothes and … Becca killed the ignition and burst from the car.
… and quilts.
All of her quilts had been dumped onto the lawn. In the freaking rain!  And the television … that was her television, and the furniture too. She’d been evicted. Shit! Brandon always paid the rent. She gave him her half in cash, he deposited it in the bank and then wrote a check to the landlord. She was going to have to do that now since Brandon was in jail, but the rent wasn’t due for another two weeks. Unless Brandon hadn’t been paying the rent. And why did that idea not surprise her?
She gathered up an armful of her clothes and ran it back to the car, dumping it all into the back seat. They’d have to be washed later, but no time to worry about that now. She raced back to the grass, her sodden shoes squishing with each step. They’d been evicted! Damn him! She picked through the mess on the ground, searching. Most of it was ruined. The television, certainly. The toaster. The box of now broken dishes. She picked up the book she’d been reading to relax and decompress before bedtime, then let it drop from her fingers. It, too, was soaked clean through.
She kicked at a mound of fabric, Brandon’s favored brand of boxer briefs and athletic socks. Laundry, done! A bitter laugh escaped her lips before she remembered the one thing she absolutely needed to find. Her breath caught in her throat as she leaned down to dig frantically through piles and boxes. She owned nothing of value in the first place. Even if she did—and even if it weren’t totally waterlogged by now—there wasn’t enough room in her compact car to fit everything.
But the quilt. She needed to find the quilt she was making as a thirtieth wedding anniversary gift for her parents. She was so close to having it ready, and the anniversary party was in two weeks. Only a third remained to be quilted, then the binding sewn on and it was done. Not that Becca was planning to go to the party. She couldn’t afford to take the time off, but she could spring for shipping it.
She wasn’t finding it here in the mess on the lawn, though. She ran into the building and took the stairs two at a time, not caring about the noise she was making. It didn’t really matter now if other residents complained to the building manager.
Damn it all. The locks on the apartment had already been changed. She leaned her forehead against the cold steel door. She’d never be able to get another quilt done before the party. It took her eighty to a hundred hours to complete one. She slumped down onto the floor and buried her face in her palms. When had this happened? They must have been waiting around the corner for her to leave for work that morning.
She sat in the hallway, listening to the rain pound the sides of the building and considered her options. No job. No apartment. No boyfriend. No reason to stay in Ohio. She pushed herself up from the floor. It was just after two in the afternoon. If she hit the road now, she could be home in St. Caroline before midnight. 








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LET'S WELCOME JULIA GABRIEL AUTHOR OF: THIS REMINDS ME OF US

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