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Excerpt from WHEN IN ROME by J. Lynn Rowan

perf5.000x8.000.inddLove isn’t always picture perfect…

Kate Miller always thought of herself as the older, frumpier, and less desirable version of her effervescent sister, Sadie. Now that little sister has hooked herself a wealthy husband and seems to have landed the perfect life, all of Kate’s old insecurities rear their ugly heads. Doubting the existence of a fairytale romance, all she wants is to create her own happy ending through her Atlanta-based photography business. When the opportunity arises to join an exclusive fashion photo shoot in Rome, Kate jumps on the chance to gain international recognition of her work. But she’s not counting on an instant attraction to the charismatic, sexy, and irritatingly arrogant director of the shoot.

Domenic Varezzi is used to calling the shots and getting his own way, and his status as a well-known, prolific photographer has earned him worldwide fame. He’s long been on the lookout for a partner, someone who can work beside him as well as fill a lonely void in his life. He thought he’d found “the one”, only to have his hopes dashed by betrayal. Kate’s eye for detail in her photographs has caught his attention, and every challenge she sends his way drives him to break through her tough-as-nails exterior to reach the vulnerable heart that matches his own.

With Italy’s “Eternal City” and the Sicilian town of Taormina as his backdrop, Domenic sets out to win Kate over, and the attention he sends her way can’t be misconstrued. She’s determined to keep him at arm’s length in order to protect her own heart. But she wonders – is Domenic just looking for a fling, or is he in it for the long haul?

Buy When in Rome by J. Lynn Rowan on Amazon.


“Let’s get moving,” Domenic says, taking the boarding passes from Joe. “Pilot wants to be cleared for takeoff in twenty minutes.”

The team lines up, toes tapping, as he thumbs through the boarding passes and starts calling out our names. “Corrine. Rafe. Dave.” Each person steps forward to take their passes and heads toward the gate agent. “Lauren. Joe. Miranda.”

Then it’s just me. Domenic and me, staring at each other steps away from the jet bridge. He holds my boarding pass out to me, and a little surge of indignation heats my face. I want to hear him say my name, the way he said everyone else’s, like it’s validation for my spot on his team. My brows lower and my mouth tightens. I stride toward him, close enough to take my boarding pass.

But I don’t.

I glare at him.


A little coil of something hotter than indignation winding through my core at the amusement shining in his emerald eyes.

He thinks this is funny. My discomfort and impatience is a freaking joke to him.

“Well?” I grind out.

Slowly, he extends my boarding pass toward me. A half-grin pulls at one corner of his mouth as I continue to wait. Something else appears in his eyes alongside that irksome amusement.

My stomach flips.

“Kate.” His voice is low and sonorous, just loud enough for me to hear.

The flip, and the simmering annoyance that’s been building over the past three minutes, explodes into an eruption of raging butterflies. Dizziness threatens the stability of my stance, and my cheeks are on fire. Short of breath, I snatch my boarding pass from his artistically elegant fingers and march myself down the jet bridge.

About the author:

jlynnrowan-headshotJ. Lynn Rowan started writing stories as a small child, usually starring her favorite cartoon characters. Most of her work through middle and high school was filled with typical teenage angst and melodrama, and usually mirrored the books she loved to read. But eventually she found her own author’s voice and decided to seriously pursue a writing career.

Historical fiction remains J. Lynn’s “first love”, but she has enjoyed the journey to becoming an author of romance and chick lit. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Central New York Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society. She is also a teacher who tries to instill a love of learning, reading, and writing in her students.

When she’s not writing, J. Lynn enjoys travelling, gardening poorly but enthusiastically, studying various topics in American history for her own expertise, and channeling Julia Child every time she steps into the kitchen.

A native of Oswego, NY, she now lives in Charlotte, NC, with her own Romantic Hero of a husband and the most adorable baby on the planet.

Here’s where you can learn more about J. Lynn Rowan and her writing

| Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube | Goodreads | Amazon |


At The End of The Day by Ed Levesko – Excerpt

Please join Britbear’s Book Reviews in welcoming author Ed Levesko with an excerpt from his novel At The End of the Day.

ed levesco cover 1At The End of The Day is set mostly in Paris, a magical city that has always been a great magnet for expatriate Americans. An intense, funny, rich and unique emotional story that deals not only with the events of 1968, but also with the search by our main characters—Alex, a Vietnam veteran, turned freelance journalist; Lisa, from a set of twins, innocent but not naïve and as American as apple pie—for love, hope, self-identity, and for the place they will occupy in life. The first novel that uses the events of May ’68, in Paris, as a canvas to tell a great love story that captures, in dramatic and vivid details what happened when the City of Love is bent on crushing youth and freedom.


Excerpt from At The End of The Day

Suddenly, Lisa pervaded my whole life. Her energy and openness were contagious. She made me laugh and made me realize happiness is possible; one does not have to sacrifice something else, just be true to oneself. Man, why is it so damn hard to be oneself? Lisa was so incredibly without hang ups it was next to impossible to get her upset or to be upset with her. One evening, I woke up and she was bending over me, observing me. I was startled.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m watching you sleep.”


“Because you’re beautiful when you sleep.”

How could I not fall in love with her?

Others fell in love with her, too. It was not that she was trying to make people notice her. She was just a vibrant young woman filled with desire for life, spirited, natural, with lots of fantasy, always looking for the best and never settling for the false or the mediocre, believing it was better and more practical to think of the glass as half-full than half-empty. I had so much to learn from her. I wanted to learn from her.

We spent lots of time just walking around Paris visiting museums, and art galleries, discovering restaurants, little bistros, special places that always seemed like havens for lovers. It was how we discovered Chez Berthillon, on I’Île Saint Louis, the best place for ice cream and marron glacés, the delicious, glazed chestnuts. And La Rhumerie, on Boulevard St-Germain-des-Prés, where they served wonderful, exotic, and delicious rum-based drinks both hot and cold—so many unforgettable and rich experiences.

Part of falling in love in Paris is exploring the city together, making it yours, letting the city encircle you with this wonderful sentiment of happiness and joy reserved only for people who are in love. The city of lovers made for lovers. I always think Paris was invented to protect lovers. Lisa wanted to see Place de la Contrescarpe, a place Hemingway had made famous in his writings about Paris, so we spent one entire evening there talking to a couple of clochards—tramps. They were touched we wanted to talk to them. We sat at a sidewalk table and shared a bottle of wonderful wine and some ham sandwiches with them.

We talked about nothing and about everything. Afterward, Lisa and I walked by the Parthenon and marveled at that magnificent monument dedicated to honor and safeguard very famous French citizens’ remains. There are some wonderful apartments around the area, and we wondered about the people who lived in them, whether they were as happy as we were. We decided nobody could be happier than we.

“I’m sure they have more money than we do,” she said. “But we have the whole city of Paris and our love for each other, and if they knew about it they would be jealous of us.”

“Do you think so?”

“I know so,” she said, and kissed me. Late one evening, we stopped by Shakespeare & Company, the bookstore in the Latin Quarter also made famous by Hemingway in his writings about Paris. He used to borrow books form Sylvia Beach, the woman who ran the store. There had been other writers, during the twenties that Sylvia helped. One that comes to mind is James Joyce, the author of Ulysses. She became his publisher. After browsing a bit, we left the bookstore. As we came out there was a guy selling paintings of Shakespeare & Company, so Lisa bought a small one and gave it to me.

“There’s a lot of history in that place,” she said. “We should have asked the man inside if one can still borrow books.”

“Do you want to go back?”

“No, we’ll come back some other time.”

“Yes, we must.”

On another occasion, we went to the Latin Quarter to see Kubrick’s latest film: 2001. The film was so overwhelming we spent half of the night talking about it. Then we had dinner at a small Tunisian restaurant. We were the only clients there. Afterward, she wanted to find a small hotel and stay there for the night and not go home. Unbeknownst to me she had made a reservation at a quaint Parisian hotel, and we pretended we were star-crossed lovers and this would be our only night together in Paris. In the morning, we would say goodbye and go back to our dreary lives.

“It will be like in Crete,” I said. “This time we’ll never see each other again.”

“Oh, no, that’s too sad.”

“Well, maybe we would run into each other around noontime,” she said, laughing.

“OK, that’s much better.”

The night clerk at the hotel gave us a pretty room on the top floor overlooking the Parisian rooftops. We slept with the curtains open so we could see the rooftops first thing in the morning. But the weather in Paris was now turning into its usual damp, wet, cold, and along with the weather I was also turning damp, wet, and cold.

I found myself looking forward to Christmas, hoping it would help me through the days, even though Christmas is not my favorite time of the year. There were moments when I woke up filled with morbid thoughts about everything; even Lisa’s presence was not enough to lift my spirits. I had asked myself so many times why I was this way. The answer always eludes me and seems to exist in another time, another dimension, out of my reach and understanding.

Lisa, in her artful way, knew better than to question, though I soon learned that for her the things I brooded about were just as important for her as they were for me. She argued the difference was she did not take them to mean they were there to make her life miserable. One dealt with those imponderables within one’s own capabilities. Rome had not been built in one day. People would always be people.

Life, more often than not, was not going to change overnight. One did what one had to do and went on with the things that mattered. As for the rest, one gave it one’s own best and that was all that was required. To be brooding about it was not only unhealthy, but also made it worse. The larger picture was what one had to keep in mind.

One evening, toward the end of the year, we were invited to have dinner with José and Ulla. José, born in Puerto Rico, grew up in New York City. He was a flamenco guitar player who had come to Paris and had been living the bohemian life. He had survived by playing his guitar in the Métro, collecting a few bucks here and there until one day some guy heard him play and asked him to come to this nightclub for an audition. He was hired on the spot.

Ulla, who came from Sweden, had gone to the club one evening and met him. Since Ulla was also in the same class at the Sorbonne with Lisa, the two had become fast friends. José and Ulla came to Lisa’s birthday party. I liked him right off the bat because he was smart, fearless, and a very talented musician. The nightclub where José performed was owned by a group of musicians from Spain. José thought they were gypsies.

They were surprised by the way he played and could not believe he was self-taught. He had never taken a guitar lesson in his life. When José played, the guitar became an extension of him and after a while it was hard to tell where one ended and other began. He had arranged, as a complete guitar solo, a well- known concerto by the Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo—“Concierto de Aranjuez”— and he played it magnificently. The musicians were blown away.

“I wanted to do it like Miles Davis did with his trumpet in his “Sketches of Spain” recording and not like this French guy who had put lyrics to the music, which I hated,” José said.

“Oh, it’s not so bad,” Ulla said.

“It’s terrible. Anyway, the guys at the club hired me, though what I was trying to do was no great shakes. The fools.”

We all knew better. The people who hired José were no “fools.” Some years earlier, Joaquin Rodrigo had been a visiting professor at the University of Rio Piedras, in Puerto Rico. José read about this and convinced his parents to let him go by himself from New York and attend a couple of Rodrigo’s lectures. That was the easy part. The hardest part was convincing the university to let a non-student— a sixteen year old kid still wet behind the ears—attend any of the lectures. Nothing doing, they said.

José went anyway. And one early morning he stood by the front door of the building where the lectures were held. When he saw the composer, he introduced himself without preamble and told him why he was there. Rodrigo was surprised and impressed by the kid’s brashness, plus the fact that José spoke Spanish. So Rodrigo agreed to let the kid attend a couple of his lectures. The powers that be did not like it one bit, but they were not about to argue with Rodrigo.

When José came to Europe, he had hitchhiked to Spain to pay a visit to the composer. Rodrigo remembered him and had been surprised and delighted when José had suddenly shown up at the door. He was invited by Rodrigo and his wife to have dinner with them. They told him they admired his courage and his commitment to the guitar, to the music. He could visit them anytime. For José, this was one of his proudest moments—one of the highlights of his young life.

“Did you play for him?” Lisa asked José.

“No. He didn’t ask me. I was ready. But with someone like Rodrigo you wait to be asked. I’m sure I would have been scared, but I would have given it my best shot. Can you imagine having an open invitation to Rodrigo’s home?”

“Will you go?” I asked him. “You bet. And maybe next time I won’t be so scared about asking if I can play for him.”

He had a photo of him and “Don Joaquin” as José called the composer. Rodrigo’s wife had taken the photo and sent it to José. Rodrigo had written: “Suerte matador.” José believed that since that day his luck had indeed improved. The words were a blessing of sorts from the world famous blind composer.

The people at the nightclub kept telling José that his kind of playing only happens on rare occasions. They kidded him that it was probably one of their gypsy ancestors who went to the New World and carried the seed from which José sprang. The only problem with that theory was that his father was black and his mother was a Russian Jew who had named him in honor of the doctor who had saved his life in a complicated delivery. The group did not believe José. They preferred their own version.

He was asked to join the ensemble. So José found himself gainfully employed and part of a newly acquired and extended family made up of a wild, lovable, and talented bunch of musicians. Lisa and I had gone to listen to the group, and it was fantastic. It was hard to imagine the four guys had been playing together for just a few weeks. They had the place jumping, and Ulla told us that every night they played it was the same story.

The dinner that evening was special because José and Ulla were going to Stockholm to visit her parents. Afterward, they would travel to Spain, where he and the group had been invited to play in a flamenco music festival. It was a great honor to be invited, and even more so for a guy like José who was not Spanish. It was just the kind of wonderful news that makes everyone happy. We could not believe it. José could not believe it.

“One day, this guy showed up at the club and told us we had to be at the festival. It was actually more of an order than an invitation. The other guys told me that even if I were dying, I still had to go. This is the ultimate. Manitas de Plata was once honored by them,” José said, beaming.

Manitas de Plata was a Spanish flamenco guitar player, one of the best, which is why they called him “Silver Hands.” He had a huge following in Paris. It was said, that whenever Picasso wanted to hear flamenco music he would ask Manitas to come and play—two old Spanish masters listening and learning from each other.

“How do they select you?” Lisa asked José about being invited to the festival.

“They won’t tell you. You know how gypsies are: very secretive.”

“Are they really gypsies?” Lisa was curious.

“Of course not,” Ulla said.

“Of course they are,” José said.

“He’s just saying that because now he’s a member of the group,” Ulla said. “I know they are gypsies or Roma as they call themselves. Or Gitanos as they are called in Spain. Just look at the way they live.”

“How do they live that makes them gypsies? Lisa asked.

“They’ve got this big apartment, and there are all kinds of people walking in and out day and night. I don’t know how anybody gets any sleep there. The whole building is like that—a big and happy family. All they do is talk, play their guitars, make up these beautiful, haunting songs about lost love and home in the old country. It’s in their blood. When you ask them where this old country is, they get a misty and faraway look in their eyes, and let me tell you for them it’s this mythical, magical land filled with music, love and happiness.”

“That doesn’t make them gypsies,” I said.

“Alex, if that doesn’t I don’t know what does,” José said.

“The only thing I know is that I wish I could play the guitar the way you do,” Ulla said wistfully, and I knew just how she felt.

“Only if you are a gypsy,” he said.

“You’re not a gypsy,” Ulla said.

“Yes, I am.”

“I’ve heard of Russian madmen named Boris, Ivan, Sasha, but José for a Black-Russian-Jewish-Puerto Rican gypsy?” Ulla said, shaking her head.

“That’s the ticket,” José said.

 About the Author:

logo ed levesko SmEd Levesko Served in far-east while in the army during the Vietnam War. Went to the Sorbonne, in Paris. Was a freelance journalist while living in Europe. Has traveled around the world. Speaks several languages. He’s working on another book. Lives in Los Angeles.

Learn more about Ed Levesko and his work at http://edlevesko.com/.

Excerpt from “Gone” by Stacy Claflin

stacy claflin book

Today’s Indie Lights Book Parade author is Stacy Claflin, author of Gone.

In Gone, Macy Mercer only wants a little independence. Eager to prove herself grown up, she goes to a dark, secluded park. She’s supposed to meet the boy of her dreams who she met online. But the cute fifteen year old was a fantasy, his pictures fake. She finds herself face to face with Chester Woodran, a man capable of murder.

Distraught over his own missing daughter, Chester insists that Macy replace his lost girl. He locks Macy up, withholds food, and roughs her up, demanding that she call him dad. Under duress from his constant threats and mind games, her hold on reality starts to slip. Clinging to her memories is the only way of holding onto her true identity, not believing that she is Chester’s daughter. Otherwise she may never see her family again.

Here’s an excerpt from Stacy Claflin’s Gone:

Macy Mercer sat on the swing, clutching the cold, metal chain. Soon she’d meet Jared, the sweet and adorable boy she met online. She pushed the dirt with her foot, swinging back and forth, listening to the leaves rustle nearby as a breeze picked up. The temperature felt like it had dropped ten degrees, so she zipped up her hoodie as far as it would go. She should have worn a coat, but it was too late to go back home.

A crow cawed in the distance, giving her the chills.

To distract herself, she grabbed the new smart phone she’d received for her fifteenth birthday. She checked the time. Jared still had another five minutes. Macy had been so eager to meet him that she’d sneaked out of her house a little early, eager for her first real date. Her parents had a stupid, outdated rule that she couldn’t date until she turned sixteen. There was no way she would wait an entire year. Not when her friends all went out every weekend.

She looked around the empty park once more, the swing chains groaning as they carried her back and forth listlessly. Jared was supposed to meet her after his baseball practice. He was the star of the team, and sometimes had to stay a little late because the coach expected more from him than anyone else. She scrolled through their latest texting conversation, her excitement building.

The phone buzzed, startling her. Hoping that it was Jared, she scrolled to the bottom of the screen and smiled.

Sorry, coach is keeping me late

Macy sighed, shivering in the cold Washington breeze. How long?

Abt a half hr

The last thing Macy wanted was to put the date off, but it was really cold. U sure 2day still works?

You want my dad to get u?

Macy ran her hands through her freshly-styled hair. Going with a grown man hadn’t been part of the plan. She was just supposed to meet Jared and go the mall, or maybe a movie or to the arcade. They were going to play it by ear.

Is it ok? Or u wanna wait?

It was getting colder, and no way she wanted to sit here that long. The mall was too far to walk to, but with his dad she’d be warmer and see Jared sooner.

They’d talked for so long over computers and texts. Macy didn’t want to wait more. She’d show everyone she wasn’t afraid to go out with a boy, no matter what her parents said.

She texted him back. He’s ok driving me?

He offered

U can’t come now?

No. I have to help

Ok. Your dad can pick me up

K c u soon

Sliding the phone back into her pocket, she looked around again. Something didn’t feel right, but she pushed it aside. She and Jared had known each other for a whole month, and he was sweet and funny. If he thought it was okay for her to go with his dad, it was fine. She wasn’t a little girl anymore. Macy held her chin a little higher.

A green pickup truck with a black canopy pulled into the empty parking lot. Macy squinted, trying to see if the driver looked like an old version Jared’s profile pictures. She couldn’t tell.

Buy Gone on Amazon.

Here’s how to connect with Stacy onlne:

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stacy claflin

About Stacy:

I love writing and reading a variety of genres. I’ve been writing and telling stories as long as I can remember. As a kid, my story telling would get me into trouble when I would try to convince other kids that my stories were real.

When I’m not busy writing, I spend a lot of time with my family. I run a preschool from home and homeschool my kids.


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“Starcrossed” by Suzanne Carroll – Book Giveaway and Excerpt

GENRE: Young Adult Romance
COVER DESIGN: Manuela Cardiga

Fish and chips on the pier.  Art.  Music.  Moonlit walks along the beach.  For the busker and the art student it’s the perfect summer romance. Until it ends suddenly with a savage thunderstorm.

A heartbroken Georgia thinks she’ll never see Tom again.  But Tom doesn’t give up easily and months later they find each other in the most unexpected place…
In the days before search engines and social networks, what lengths would you go to, to find the love you lost?


Suzanne lives in Sydney with her husband and children.  By day she works in an office where she quietly scribbles story ideas on yellow sticky notes and hopes they don’t accidentally end up on the departmental monthly report.  After hours she enjoys time with her family, and tries to turn those sticky notes into something readable.


It was one of those days.

The traffic was impossible and the weather miserable, all grey skies and a drizzle that reflected Georgia’s mood. The afternoon’s meeting had gone on way too long; the clients wanted to change the floor plan again, she’d have to re-do all the drawings, completely re-work the kitchen, and the Project Manager had brought the deadline forward a week.  But right now Georgia didn’t want to think about all that.  All she wanted was to get home, and find a few minutes to have a glass of wine, and put on some music. Mozart, she thought, would be nice.

The endless line of red tail lights gradually broke up and the roads cleared as she finally made her way out of the city, and deep into the suburbs of London.  The train would have been so much quicker. Some days, having a designated parking space at the office didn’t seem worth it.  But a little while later, Georgia smiled and her body began to relax as she pulled into her driveway and switched off the engine.  Leaning back against the headrest, she took a moment, breathing and deep. She let her mind wander, taking her away from meeting rooms and peak hour gridlock, down a different path.  Her thoughts led her back to the art exhibition she’d snuck out to see during yesterday’s stolen lunch break and she smiled as she revisited that precious half hour of luminous colour and subtle shadows in the small gallery next to the wine bar.  And that took her to thoughts of her old easel, tucked away in the attic, collecting dust.  It had been so long since she’d painted anything except her fingernails…

Georgia stared down at her perfectly manicured hands and remembered when they used to wear smudges of oils and inks.  Back in the days when her auburn hair was long, and her skirts were short.  Now it was the other way round.  Though her sapphire eyes still held the fire they had always had.


Georgia’s thoughts scattered, and she looked up quickly. The front door was open and Sophie stood on the top step with her panic face on, twisting her dark curls with one hand, laptop clutched to her chest with the other.  “Mum, help! I need you!”

Georgia sighed and climbed out of the car, bracing herself for whatever new drama had befallen her teenage daughter.

“What’s up, sweetheart?”  She kissed Sophie’s forehead before hanging up her coat and dropping her bag onto the hall stand.  “Something happen at school?” 

“You were alive before the internet, right?”


Georgia bit back a smile.  “It wasn’t that long ago, Soph.”  Although, Georgia knew that, at forty-three, she probably seemed almost elderly to her seventeen-year-old daughter.  “Why?  What’s happ…”

“You’re not going to believe what my English teacher, Mr Gormsby, has done,” Sophie interrupted, then paused, taking a deep breath before announcing, “He’s set us an assignment and we’re not allowed to use or refer to the internet or social media, at all.  In any capacity.  Apparently, according to him, my generation is too dependent on search engines and social networking, can you believe it?”


Actually, Georgia could believe it.  Sophie’s head was almost permanently bent over her phone or laptop and it was the same with her brothers, Alec and Max. Though this afternoon it sounded like the fifteen-year-old twins had their video games fired up; the faint sounds of a zombie apocalypse floated down from upstairs. But Georgia kept her traitorous opinion to herself and hid another smile before calling out hello to her sons and asking if they’d had a good day.  They called hello back, and yes they had.  Then Georgia suggested she and Sophie go to the kitchen for a cup of tea and a chat.  Mozart and wine would have to wait. 

While Georgia filled the kettle and got out the mugs and teabags, Sophie pulled up a stool and set her laptop and her phone on the counter, glaring at them like they’d offended her somehow. “You know,” Georgia said,  “Your father and I survived school and university without the internet.  It’s not that hard.”

Oh!  I nearly forgot.”  Sophie looked up suddenly and glanced at the phone on the wall.  “Dad called a while ago.  He’s going to be late tonight, but he’ll pick up a curry for dinner on the way.”


Georgia paused at the fridge, milk carton in her hand, and wondered why her husband had rung the home number, and not her mobile like he usually would.  “Did he say why he’ll be late?”

“Something about…I can’t remember. Picking something up?”

“Something apart from the curry?”

 “I think so.  I don’t know.  Maybe.”

“Sophie…” Georgia shook her head as she moved to the counter and splashed a small amount of milk into each cup.  “How hard is it to take down a simple message?”

It’s not my fault he was so vague.  If it was important he would have texted.”


Georgia rolled her eyes.  That was the way with Sophie; if it wasn’t in a text, it wasn’t worth remembering.  Mr Gormsby definitely had a point.  “What’s the assignment about?” Georgia
asked.  Her question was answered with another dramatic sigh.

“Short essay on popular culture in modern fiction.”


“Without using the internet for research?  That shouldn’t be too diffi…”

Sophie held her hand up sharply.  “Wait, that’s not all.  We also have to write a short story about searching for something and it has to be set before 1995, so the characters can’t turn to the internet for help. No Google, no Facebook, no Twitter.”

“Searching without search engines, huh?  Actually, that sounds like fun.  And you like writing, you’re good at it.”

Sophie groaned and rubbed her hands over her face.  “I know but this is…ugh.  Jenn’s doing a detective piece.  Rex is writing about someone looking for their birth parents and I have no clue what to do.”

Georgia chuckled as she passed Sophie a steaming cup and stirred some sugar into her
own.  “And I suppose that’s where I come in?”

Sophie gave her a hopeful smile.  “Yes, please,” she said eagerly.  “Tell me what it was like before the internet. Did you ever have to search for something?  Or someone?”


Georgia stopped stirring.  Goosebumps prickled her skin as memories began to stir, taking her back over twenty years, to a boy on a beach. She wondered how different things might have been, if they’d had smart phones and Facebook back then.

“Actually, I did try to find someone, once,” she said quietly, staring down at her tea. Even now, her heart fluttered as she remembered.  “But my search started with a necklace.  And a TV talent show.”

Sophie’s eyes widened, and she leaned forward. “Oh my God, really?  Who were you searching for?”

“A boy.”  Georgia hesitated a little.  “He…he was called TJ.”


“TJ.” Sophie tried out the name.  “Who was he?  What necklace?  What

“It’s a long story.  And you’d have to turn your phone off while I tell you.”

Sophie’s face reflected a brief internal struggle, but she did as her mother asked.  “Okay, phone’s off, and I’m listening,” she said.  “When was this?”


“In 1991.  It started on a Sunday night, when I was supposed to be studying…”