At ten years old, Kelly and I were two rambunctious boys who carved our initials into a tree in the forest. We promised to be best friends forever and bumped our fists to seal the deal. I never should’ve kissed him that summer before college. It was a day that buried me in shame, a day I spent the next twenty-four years regretting, a day I never told anyone about.
At forty-three, depression was suffocating me. Not even my wife and two children could lift the heavy fog. I was riddled with guilt and self-hatred, and I was starting to realize that I would slowly fade away until nothing remained. Then one day, Kelly was back in town.
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(All novels taking place in Camassia Cove are standalone.)
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Camassia Cove Series
Unlocking the drawer, I blinked away the tears and stared at the stack of photos I kept hidden. Childhood memories. I fanned them out and saw the grin I was sporting in most pictures. I was my son’s age there. Pale in the beginning of summer, tan at the end. Camps, bonfires, beach fun, stealing Dad’s boat…
Where I was, he was. His grins were cocky and full of attitude. A reckless kid. I was calm where he was wild. Born on the same day.
“Hey, happy birthday, idiot.” He leaned against the locker next to mine and smirked.
“You too, dick.” I shut my locker, turning to him. “Why do you look like you’ve just done something stupid I’ll have to bail you out for later?”
“Oh, that’s hurtful!” He clutched his heart, only to snort and throw an arm around my shoulders. “I don’t think my best friend should be so cruel to me.”
I tried not to smile. “Some best friend, eh?”
He nodded. “The worst. But at least he promised me forever.” He took off down the hall before I could whack him with my history book.
“We said that when we were ten, jackass!” I hollered after him.
“Still counts!” His laughter echoed as he disappeared around the corner. “Forever, Will! Forever my bitch!”
I crumpled and wiped my cheek with the back of my hand. Twenty-four years since he left, and I still missed him so much it hurt. If only I could take back what I did.
One of my favorites was the photo his mother took of us on graduation day. Kelly had lost his cap; I was holding mine. We wore the same stupid smiles, equally excited about summer.
It was supposed to be the best one yet, until I fucked it all up.
“I thought you were my friend!” he shouted angrily. I reeled back in horror. I’d never seen him look so disgusted. I swallowed hard while he wiped his mouth and gave me a death glare. “You fucking kissed me, you sick freak!”
I flinched. My fingers shook as I piled the photos together, tucked them away, and promptly slammed the drawer shut. It’d be another month before I went there again.
I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
I clutched my stomach and shut my eyes, and I rode out the waves of grief and shame that ultimately blurred the memories. Grins faded, dreams evaporated, fantasies were doused in gasoline and set on fire, and the past was buried once more.
About Cara Dee
There aren’t many things better than picking up my Kindle and getting completely sucked into a whole new world—where words morph into images and characters’ moods suddenly reflect my own. Aside from good plot and writing, for me, it boils down to relatable characters.
As a writer, I’m not finished until the men and women in my books come to life, until I can see them as real people, until I can connect with them. Which means I write what I want to read: everyday heroes and heroines who have the same struggles we all do. They evolve, have flaws, make mistakes and amends, learn, and find the endings they fight for.
Those are the characters who take the readers on a journey away from work, laundry, grocery shopping, and to-do lists.
When I’m not writing, researching, or brainstorming, I’m either planning my next trip (never-ending bucket list!), reading, watching hockey, or spending time with family and friends.Website GoodReads Fanpage Facebook Twitter Blog More Reviews