When Heather asked me to take care of the Sunday Snippet this week, I immediately knew that the author I wanted to share was Jade Eby. She has such a way with words and her writing style has always drawn me in and kept me coming back for more!
Enjoy the Snippet and then go grab your copy because it’s FREE until the 11th ~ Jeananna
Kara Pierce has held onto the same dream since she was a little girl: to be the next Katie Couric.
Vince Gage, a budding filmmaker whose I-don’t-give-a-shit attitude cancels out his charm, almost ruined it for her once, and now he’s back, threatening to do it again.
When the two of them are paired together for a college competition with a $20,000 prize, the only thing they agree on is winning.
They return to Iowa where Kara grew up to research her grandfather’s service in World War II, instead they find themselves in the middle of a family scandal kept quiet for far too long.
As Kara and Vince investigate the scandal deeper, they realize the price of uncovering the truth is so much more than they bargained for.
INSIDE MY GRANDPARENTS’ BEDROOM, I dare to look around. It’s exactly as I remember it when Grandma and Grandpa slept side by side in here. I trace a line in the layer of dust on the dresser. The jewelry box, perfume bottle and antique hairbrush sit in the exact spot they did when I was little. I’d beg Grandma to let me try on her pearls. Of course, she’d oblige, gently tugging the earrings through the holes in my ears and clasping the strand of pearls around my neck.
I pick up an ornate glass bottle. My grandmother’s exotic perfume has completely evaporated from it. I twist the cap open, and an overwhelming scent of lavender and vanilla swirls past my nose, intoxicating me with memories.
The day I left for California, I packed up my car with a suitcase, a couple boxes of books and my dreams. I said one last goodbye to my grandparents’. Grandma had a hard time letting me go, and the smell of her perfume, this exact one, stayed on my clothes for weeks afterwards.
After Grandpa died, I dug through every inch of my closet to find the shirt I wore the day I left. I wanted to see if it still smelled like him. I never found it though.
My eyelids droop from exhaustion and I lie down on the bed. The springs creak in protest. It’s not the most comfortable bed, but it’ll do. I close my eyes.
“Yeah?” I say without bringing my head off the pillows.
“You okay in there?”
I groan but get up and open the door. Vince stands on the other side, a worried expression on his face.
“Your grandmother has been yelling for you for like ten minutes. I went downstairs to ask if she needed anything and she told me to march right back up here and see why you weren’t answering her.”
I grin. That sounds exactly like Grandma.
“Yeah, I’m coming.” I close the door behind me.
When I reach the kitchen, my grandmother is taking out a roast. I lick my lips. I don’t get this kind of cooking in California. I’m more of a ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese kind of cook.
Grandma wipes the perspiration from her forehead. “It’s hotter than hades in this damn kitchen.”
“Grandma, why don’t you sit down and talk with Vince. I’ll bring everything over?” I see right through her thinly veiled smile. She’s in pain and sadness creeps into my heart.
I noticed the same things about Grandpa before I left for college. I ignored it then, willed it away with my heart. I didn’t want to deal with losing him, so I pushed it out of my mind—until the day I got the call that he was gone. I will not make that same mistake twice.
“Has Parker been out of state, Grandma? It looks like he hasn’t mowed in a few weeks. And tell him to fix the shutters; they’re hanging on by a thread. He could also paint if he’s feeling ambitious.”
My grandmother looks down into her lap. Parker is Grandma’s youngest brother. The only other sibling left.
After Grandpa died, I talked with Parker at length about whether or not Grandma would be fine in the house alone. He wanted her to move in with him, but I just couldn’t do that to her. It would have killed her to leave. Parker agreed to come over on a weekly basis and do some of the hard chores she couldn’t do anymore, like mowing and shoveling.
“Dear, Parker has been at the retirement center for a couple months now. He fell and broke both of his hips. He still can’t walk.” Grandma’s voice is calm and even.
I look at her incredulously. “Why didn’t you tell me? Does Dad know?”
“I didn’t want you to worry. You’ve got enough to worry about in California, and I didn’t want you to come back and try to fix things. I’m fine. I’m a grown woman. I can do almost everything on my own. And yes, your father knows.” The edge in her voice doesn’t mask the underlying fear. She didn’t call because she’s afraid I’ll make her go to the retirement home, too.
“Oh, Grandma. Things are not fine. Have you seen the outside of the house? It’s falling apart. The grass is overgrown, and you can barely get around in this house. It doesn’t surprise me Dad hasn’t come over. I learned a long time ago not to depend on him.” The coldness I try to keep from my voice wiggles its way in anyway.
Grandma looks bewildered and humiliated. I broke her don’t-air-your-dirty-laundry-in-public rule. “Kara Mae. I’m fine, dammit. And there’s no need to talk about these things at the dinner table in front of our guest.”
I roll my eyes because it doesn’t matter what I say now, she’ll put on a fake smile and wave everything away. “Fine. But we’re talking about this later.”
Grandma directs her attention to Vince. “Don’t think you’re getting out of the hot seat either, young man. I’d advise you to start turning on the charm soon, otherwise I might be inclined to give you dirty looks the rest of your stay for messing up my granddaughter’s future. Now, where are you from?”
“I grew up on the outskirts of Las Vegas.”
“I didn’t know that,” I say as I set dinner on the table and slide into my chair.
Vince smiles at me. “It’s not really that exciting.”
Grandma raises her eyebrows and throws Vince a “Humph,” in response. “Vegas is not the place to raise a child.”
“Grandma, that was rude. Maybe Vince thinks raising a child in the middle of nowhere Iowa is not a place to raise a child.”
Before I know what’s happening, my Grandma stretches her arm and whops me on the head. “Listen, young lady. You may be on your own, but that’s no way to talk to your grandmother.”
Heat rises to my cheeks and I avoid Vince’s eyes. I mumble a “yes, ma’am,” under my breath.
Grandma changes the subject. “Now, before I was interrupted, you were telling me about where you lived. What do your parents do?”
Vince clears his throat and looks at his plate before answering. His voice is shaky. “They passed away a year and a half ago ma’am. They owned a camera supply store.”
A year and half ago we were in Jenkins’ class together!
Vince meets my eyes and the truth slams into me like a head-on collision. I set my fork down and drop my head. This admission has everything to do with why things went wrong. He had bigger things to worry about than a stupid college project. Or me.
Now, I’m the one who’s an asshole.