Today’s 25% excerpt is from Fortune’s Choice, a Christmas contemporary friends-to-lovers story – and I’m offering one lucky reader a chance to win a copy of the book. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me the name of the house Keith is considering selling? The contest if open until midnight on Monday and I’ll post the result on Tuesday morning:)
“Kyle, how many times have I told you to stop teasing your sister like that?” The little boy stomped away back towards the tree he had been looking at with Dale. He folded his arms and stood with his back to them. “Sorry, guys,” Malcolm added, taking his daughter’s hand, “I better take these two in hand. We’ll go and choose a tree, you two fill in the gaps.”
Keith had been so sure the children were Dale’s he could hardly believe they were Malcolm’s and he couldn’t help but glance from Dale to his brother as Malcolm herded the children together. Kyle and the girl, whose name he now heard was Lucy, were still bickering and Malcolm’s sharp “Enough!” silenced them both immediately.
Dale smiled to himself as he walked slowly away from his brother’s family, all too aware of Keith’s confusion; he could hardly blame the man for the mix-up.
“So, you’re here for what, to see about selling Briar Hill?” Dale asked over his shoulder as Keith hurried to catch up.
“To be honest, I don’t know,” Keith confessed. “I’m in two minds. I always loved that house, if you remember, but I have a life in LA now. And there are other considerations.”
“Yeah, Amelia did say you had landed a job in media. Said you had everything you wanted. Why would you want to move back here, even if you could?”
“When exactly did Amelia tell you that?” Keith asked.
“Er, not sure. A few years ago I guess, but whenever I saw her, which admittedly had been less and less in the last couple of years, she always said you were doing well and were happy.”
“I suppose it’s true from a certain standpoint.” Keith smiled wryly. “My job in media didn’t go quite the way I hoped but it did lead to other things. I ended up helping in the script department — in a small way, you understand — but I did discover an interest in writing I never knew I had. I began trying to write scripts but I didn’t have the knack for it. However, one thing led to another and I did discover a talent for novel writing.”
“Really? How exciting. Are you telling me you’re a writer? No wonder I could never find your name in any of the…”
Keith interrupted, “What, you tried to keep track of me?”
Dale flushed a little, glad that Keith had interrupted; it wouldn’t do to let Keith know how small town he felt compared to his old friend. That was the only reason, honest. “Well, you had gone to the capital of entertainment, the only person I know who had done that. I wanted to bask in the reflected glory,” he added with a grin.
Keith laughed. “No, my venture into the world of entertainment was anything but glorious. It paid the bills while I was a struggling writer and when the time came I was very relieved to get out.”
“So you make a living out of your writing?
“I do. Now. It took a while. I still have to write magazine articles and I do the occasional stint as a ghost writer, but that subsidizes my fiction, which is my first love. Which is one of the reasons I’m in two minds. I could move here and still continue with my work. The only question is, do I want to?”
“What about your family? Wouldn’t they have a say in this? Unless — did you bring them with you?”
Keith shrugged. “No family to bring. It’s entirely up to me. And you, you have a wife and kids?” Keith couldn’t help but note how subdued Dale seemed. Dale had always been larger than life for Keith. He wondered what had changed.
“No, I kept running fast enough to avoid it,” Dale admitted with a shrug. Then quickly added, as if he wanted to change the subject, “I know I’m not the world’s most dedicated reader but I never remember seeing your name on any books. What sort of stories do you write?”
Keith stared at Dale and thought quickly. If he was going to move back here, he needed to know how things might stand with Dale.
If you want to read the full story it is available for purchase from these sources: