by Wendi Christner
In a small Southern community, inseparable lifelong friends prepare to follow their own paths, but one last summer together changes their lives forever.
And now for an excerpt:
“Why did you bring me here?”
In her palm, he placed a chain with a small silver medallion of a bare-chested man balanced on the flayed tail of a mermaid and an urn tipped over his shoulder. The silver had tarnished and the edges were rubbed with wear. Cassidy had seen the zodiac charm a million times. It had belonged to Jared’s mother. He’d worn it since they were kids, never once taking it off.
“I’m a Leo.” Her voice was as soft as the breeze that brushed the grasses on the hill.
“I know.” He lifted the medallion from her hand. “This is my sign. I thought maybe you could use it more than me.”
She swallowed the lump that had risen in her throat.
“Aquarius is the Water Bearer,” he said, reaching behind her neck to clasp the chain. His fingers brushed her skin, leaving goosebumps. The chain settled into place, and the medallion dropped like a quarter between her breasts. The warmth of his touch still lingered on the silver, and her heart swelled.
At that moment, she understood what it would mean to leave Jared behind. She fought for a witty comment, something to break the tension, something to make them laugh. But she could only stare at the gift he had given her, blurred by the tears burning her eyes.
He reached for her hand again. His thumb massaged the ridges of her knuckles, and he squeezed as if he’d never let go. “When you’re ready to put this fire out, maybe you can come back home.”
About the Author:
Wendi Christner is the author of Writer’s Digest Short-Short Story Competition winner “Throwing Stones,” a fairy self-help book, and several novels written under various pseudonyms. Her gritty, emotional stories tend to have a Southern voice born of her roots in the Florida panhandle. She currently lives in Tampa with her husband, son, and their fur family.
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