Old flames reignite and new passions burn when lovers follow their hearts back to the place they once called home…
“Whale Island” by Cathy Lamb
Family secrets and imposing friends are making Chalese feel like an outsider in her very own home on beautiful Whale Island. But it’s only when a shocking revelation makes her feel truly lost that she opens her heart to the possibilities the past offers—including a chance at love with the last man she expected…
“Queen Of Hearts” by Judy Duarte
Her high school reunion is coming up, and advice columnist Jenn Kramer couldn’t be dreading it more—until she lays eyes on Marcos. Jenn hardly noticed him when they were kids, but now he’s all grown up… and how deliciously he’s changed…
“The Honeymoon House” by Mary Carter
It doesn’t get more romantic than Andy Beck’s cottage on Martha’s Vineyard. But love is the last thing on his mind—he just wants to get the cottage ready for his best friend’s honeymoon. At least that’s the plan, until he finds the gorgeous Maid of Honor ransacking his house—in the most irresistible way…
“The Marrying Kind” by
#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber
High school sweethearts Katie and Jason haven’t seen each other in ten years—and now she’s walked back into his life. With one look, the love they shared comes flooding back—only now the odds seem stacked against them. But when something’s meant to be, all bets are off… Chapter One
I could not believe I was going to climb up on Stephen’s roof
in a black burglar-type outfit so I could spy on him through his
“I have gone over the edge,” I muttered, adjusting my black
leather knee-high boots. “I’m completely whacked. Brain-
“Our mission,” Brenda whispered to me before we scurried
onto the roof, the stars our only witnesses to this sheer stupidity,
“begins right now. One for all, all for one, and don’t leave
a wily woman behind!” She shimmied her hips, then stuck both
thumbs up, her black gloves cutting through the cool night.
My sister Christie and I smothered our laughter.
“Never give up, ladies!” Christie ordered as she pulled a
black-knit hat over her blond hair and down her face, her green
eyes twinkling through the eyeholes. “Never surrender! Never
“Women unite!” I said as we high-fived each other.
Brenda fiddled with her night-vision goggles then grabbed
the gutter and shimmied her way up the roof. Her agility was
impressive, as she’d had a number of strawberry daiquiris.
I yanked my black-knit hat over my face, pulled the eye and
mouth holes into the appropriate places, tucked in my black
curls, and followed her, trying hard not to laugh. If I laughed
while I was climbing I might wet my pants.
“I’m a spy!” Brenda whispered as she climbed. She
hummed the James Bond theme song. She has a full head of
curling reddish hair, now hidden by her full-face black-knit
hat, a huge mouth, huge eyes, and a biggish nose. Men went
wild for her. “A sexy spy!”
My laughter broke free, and I had to cross my legs. Don’t wet
your pants! Brenda was wearing black leather pants and a black
motorcycle jacket, like me. My sister was wearing a black
cowboy hat over the face-hiding knit hat, which was so hilarious,
and a black coat that wouldn’t close over her stomach because
she is gigantically pregnant with twins. Normally she is
the size of Tinkerbell. Now she is the size of a small bull.
“Chalese is not a sexy spy,” I said about my sorry self as I
grabbed the gutter to hoist myself up. “Chalese has been
dumped. Damn that snaky Stephen.” I hadn’t even liked
Stephen. But I didn’t appreciate being dumped. Nothing is
worse than being dumped by someone you dated because he
was there, a breathing male, and you desperately hoped he
was more than he was but you had to quit lying to yourself
in the face of overwhelming evidence of his jerkhood.
A voice inside my blurry head said, Since you believe him
to be a jerk, why are you on his roof in the middle of the night
dressed like a burglar?
Why? Because the three of us, me, Brenda, and Christie,
together, are lethal. Daring. Truly ridiculous. And a little
drunk. Although Christie is stone-cold sober. She never
drinks when she’s pregnant.
But, really, there was no harm in seeing whom Stephen was
dating, even if I had to do it via a skylight. I didn’t care, not at
all, but knowledge is power. “Knowledge is a daiquiri,” I intoned
as I scrambled up, my black gloves offering a little traction.
“Strawberry daiquiri, lemon daiquiri, peach daiquiri . . .”
Stephen’s roof was flattish, so our climb to the skylight was
not too perilous, even in my fuzzy state. I hummed the Rocky
fight song, stopping to pump the cool night with my fists, like
Rocky did in the movies.
“What’s going on, Chalese?” my sister hissed from the
ground below, her voice coming in from the walkie-talkie on
I giggled and held my walkie-talkie to my mouth. “I’m not
Chalese! I’m a spy! A secret agent! I am on a serious mission!”
Why are you talking about a mission? Why aren’t you home
reading a romance novel?
Brenda burped. She says it’s her best quality. That is
patently not true. Her best quality is writing screenplays for
major motion pictures that make women alternately laugh
and cry like banshees. She’s living with me until she smashes
through her writing block.
Christie said, “Copy that, Ms. Bond. All right, 007, carry on.”
I carefully—as carefully as I could with two strawberry
daiquiris under my belt, well, three, actually, but who’s
counting—scuttled over to Brenda, who was peering through
Stephen’s giant skylight, quiet as a tiny drunken mouse
dressed all in black with night-vision goggles.
I could see the butcher-block island in the middle of the
kitchen. “Mission fuzzy,” I whispered.
Brenda put her black-gloved hands over the skylight to
angle a better view. “Command center, I report zero activity.”
I leaned on the skylight a smidgen, balancing most of my
weight on the roof. I could smell Brenda’s perfume, sultry
Brenda said, “Holy Tomoly.”
It was Alanna. Alanna Post.
I had known Alanna the Man-eater for years. I avoided her
at all costs. She was perfect. Blondish hair, highlighted just so,
curling under right at her shoulders. Heavy, but annoyingly perfect,
makeup. Thin. Oh, I hated how thin she was! Probably
a size six. Designer clothes. And always, always, a condescending
sneer or raised eyebrow to make it clear that she thought I
was a chubby spider beneath her feet. An awkward orangutan
with a poofy butt.
And there she was in Snaky Stephen’s house, the doctor
that I was going to dump anyhow! I leaned over the skylight,
scooching toward the center, then hissed, “It’s the female
Why are you spying on Stephen on his roof ? What about
that romance novel? How about getting down?
I gurgled as Alanna the Man-eater slipped off her dress.
Underneath, she was wearing a red negligee, black fishnet
tights, and black heels.
This I could not have! Stephen had dumped me a month
ago. I hadn’t even slept with him, and already he was getting
in the flesh with Alanna the Man-eater?
“She has deplorable taste!” Brenda whispered. “If I had an
outfit like that on, I would have added a halo and tail.”
“That patronizing witch,” I muttered. “Did I ever tell you
Stephen has a flabby bottom?”
We leaned over for better viewing angles.
“Those boobs!” Brenda said, dismayed. “They have to be
fake. No one has boobs that upright, do they?”
“No one should have boobs that bouncy-ball perfect, even
if they’re fake. It isn’t fair. It’s against the sisterhood of
women, the Society of Decent Females.”
Brenda and I scooched a bit more onto the skylight. Alanna
had stretched out in front of the fire on the fake thick white
fur. If I was wearing that red getup my stomach would be
slouching over like a bag of red flour, with the wrinkles
etched through my thighs doing little for my sex appeal.
“I wanna be up there, I wanna be up there,” my sister whined
from the ground. “Why don’t I ever get to do any of the fun
stuff with you two?”
“That’s easy,” I snapped. “It’s because you’re always
pregnant, Fertile Myrtle!” Christie had three kids at home
with her husband, Cary, the nicest man on the planet.
“Well . . . well . . . well!” she sputtered. “Poop!”
I sucked in my breath as Stephen with the flabby bottom
stepped into view. He paused when he saw Alanna the Man-
eater. I could see his shock. I pushed my feet hard into the
roof so I wouldn’t fall off of it.
I’m thirty-five, and I’m climbing on roofs to spy on my ex-
boyfriend. What’s wrong with this picture?
“I have got to use this in my next movie. Do you mind,
Chalese?” Brenda asked, pushing her night-vision goggles on
top of her head.
“If I said I did, would you not use it?”
“Silly lady. I’d use it anyhow.” She winked at me.
“Brenda,” I snapped, “how do you think I feel seeing
myself in your movies? All the dumb things we’ve done?
Everything stupid I’ve said in my life since we were kids
streaming out of some actress’s mouth?”
“Think of it as being famous without the fame. You’re never
mobbed by paparazzi, are you? There’s something to be said
for that, sweetie. And you don’t need to hire bodyguards.”
I grunted and tugged at the eyeholes in my hat. Brenda and
I wrote wild, crazy, thrilling, romantic stories, sometimes
with talking animals, when we were kids. She went on to
write screenplays, and I went on to be a children’s book writer
and illustrator. Who knew we’d end up clinging to a roof?
We moved onto the skylight a smidgen more when the
Man-eater stood up.
“Can’t he see the piranha beneath the makeup?” I asked.
“Nope. He’s a man. All he can see is the negligee and
“Men are beasts.” I growled for effect, slashing the air with
my claws. Brenda growled back at me, gnashed her teeth.
It was at that beastly second that I heard a crack beneath
my hands, then another one.
My face froze in terror.
“Oh no. Move slowly,” Brenda panted. “Slowly.”
I felt the crack beneath my knees. I couldn’t breathe.
Couldn’t move. This couldn’t be happening. The skylight was
not breaking, was it? What was I doing on top of a skylight
I watched the alarm in Brenda’s eyes grow to free-flowing
fright as another crack ripped through the night. My mouth
went dry as stone, and my body started to shake.
“Back up, Chalese!”
I tried, I did, but panic turned my bones to liquid.
Another crack. As Brenda and I locked mortified gazes,
the skylight shattered completely, the noise deafening, and we
went smashing through it, our fall broken by Snaky Stephen’s
butcher-block counter below.
Brenda swore. I screamed. Then she screamed. I swore.
We landed hard, on our knees, but I did not hear any bones
crack, any heads splitting open, any limbs disengaging. A
piece of glass conked me on the head and splintered.
I groaned. Brenda moaned.
I heard the Man-eater screeching and Stephen yelling
“What the hell? What the hell?”
Perhaps he wouldn’t recognize us with our black-knit hats
on? Our black leather biker jackets? Our leather pants?
The Man-eater was still at it with her high-pitched, earsplitting
I turned to Brenda and whispered, “Let’s get out of here.”
“Ya think, Sherlock?” she whispered back.
We scrambled off the counter, averting our covered faces,
hoping we could slink right out of that house. I’d pay Mervin
Tunnel to come in and clean up the mess tomorrow. He’d keep
his mouth shut; he owed me a favor anyhow.
We had almost limped our way to the kitchen door, glass
trailing in our wake, when I heard Stephen say, incredulously,
“Chalese, is that you?”