17 June, 2019

10- Code (Rock Point #4) by Freya Barker Release Blitz and Giveaway!

Title: 10- Code (Rock Point #4) 
Author: Freya Barker 
Genre: Romantic Suspense 
Release Date: June 17, 2019 

As a forty-one-year-old mother of three boys, working two jobs, Marya Berger doesn’t have the time or energy to consider a relationship. Especially after a lifetime of poor choices in the romance department. But when the disappearance of a young boy strikes a little too close to home, and a younger man she’s tried to ignore offers his help, she doesn’t stand in the way.
Single father, Dylan Barnes, the junior member of the La Plata County FBI team at thirty-three, has his focus firmly on his job and his son, Max. He’s certainly not looking to complicate his life, when he finds himself at his son’s soccer game, sitting beside the spirited brunette he can’t get out of his mind. Fate, however, appears to have different plans.
When an unspeakable crime draws the attention of the FBI, Dylan finds himself torn between his job and his instinctive need to protect Marya and her boys.

Available in Kindle Unlimited

Freya Barker inspires with her stories about 'real’ people, perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy. 
She is the author of the Cedar Tree and Portland, ME Series, the Northern Lights Collection and the Rock Point Series. She is also co-author of the SnapShot Series.
To see Freya's complete backlist, or to find out what is coming down the pipe, visit freyabarker.com.  

All Available in Kindle Unlimited

Great Summer Reads 2019 Part 2!

Ann has been a writer since junior high, but to pay the bills she has waited tables, delivered newspapers, cleaned other people's houses, taught school, and had a stint as a secretary in a rock-n-roll radio station. She also worked as a 911 operator and a police dispatcher. 

Her fiction began to win awards during her college days. Since then she's published several short stories, novels, and novellas. She’s always reading and always writing, but even if she never sold another story, Ann would not stop writing. For her it's a necessity, like breathing. Most of the time, it even keeps her sane.

Facebook ~ Blog ~ 
Amazon ~
Goodreads ~ Twitter ~

No matter who dares you, no matter what lures you, do not go in the spooky old house…

When a small planes crashes behind Jase's rural home, the ghost of the pilot begins to haunt him. Jase can't figure out what to do until the day he sees his classmate, Stevie-girl, enter the legendary haunted house. That's when he decides if anyone can help him solve the mystery, she's the one. 

~ Universal Amazon Link
B&N ~ 

Audible ~ iTunes ~ 
Top Ten List:

1.     Writing
2.     Reading
3.     Playing with grandkids
4.     Diet Vanilla Coke
5.     Chocolate
6.     Walking off all those calories in the chocolate (on my favorite trail)
7.     Movies
8.     Live music
9.     Making music playlists

10.Mexican food

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

The Field By Tracy Richardson Book Spotlight! @authortracyrich

The Field
By Tracy Richardson
ISBN-10: 978-1-61254-301-7
Brown Books Publishing
Paperback: 200 pages
April 23, 2019
Genre: YA, Sci-fi, paranormal

Eric Horton sees fire.

When he sleeps, he dreams of a world screaming in the midst of devastating explosions. These dreams terrify him, and as more strange happenings unfold around him, he’s unable to shake the feeling that what he’s seeing isn’t just a dream.

When a new student, Renee, appears in his science class, he could swear he’s known her forever. But how could that be? As they get to know each other, he meets her father, who explains the experiments he’s been conducting involving “the Universal Energy Field” and “Collective Consciousness”—two things Eric has never heard of before. They seem to be tied to the idea that we are all connected by the same energy and are all more powerful than we realize. Eric begins to learn more about these groundbreaking concepts—but can they be real?

As his life continues to shift and his knowledge of the Field increases, Eric will be tested beyond anything he’s experienced before. He must decide whether he believes in that part of himself which ties him to the world around him, and he must access it—or lose everything he’s been working to keep.  
Tracy wasn’t always a writer, but she was always a reader. Her favorite book growing up was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. In a weird way, her life reflects the book through odd synchronicities. She has a degree in Biology like Mrs. Murry and without realizing it she named her children Alex and Katie after Meg’s parents. (Really, it was not intentional, because that would be weird)! Tracy uses her science background in her writing through her emphasis on environmental issues and metaphysics. Tracy lives in Indianapolis.

Twitter: @authortracyrich

16 June, 2019

Spirited Away (A Bay Island Psychic Mystery) by Lena Gregory Book Tour and Giveaway!

Spirited Away (A Bay Island Psychic Mystery) by Lena Gregory

About the Book

Paranormal Cozy Mystery 4th in Series 
Beyond the Page Publishing (May 16, 2019) 
Paperback: 218 pages 
ISBN-10: 1950461068 
ISBN-13: 978-1950461066 
Digital ASIN: B07RCKYSN2 
In the new Bay Island Psychic Mystery, psychic Cass Donovan is thrown into the middle of a macabre murder she never saw coming . . .
With the summer tourist season on Bay Island in full swing, shop owner Cass Donovan barely has a minute to breathe, and things at Mystical Musings become even more hectic when a fight breaks out at one of her psychic readings. Shaken by the fracas and discouraged that her sixth sense seems to be on the blink, Cass is even more dispirited to learn that one of the men involved in the altercation was later found dead—and that a close friend of hers is the main suspect.
Desperate to help her friend prove his innocence and consumed by haunting visions, Cass follows the clues from one possible culprit to the next, including some very mysterious tourists and not a few questionable locals. And when the police turn to Cass to help them find out who committed the ghoulish deed, she knows she’ll have to tread carefully, because her next grim premonition may be her last .

About The Author

 Lena Gregory is the author of the Bay Island Psychic Mysteries, which take place on a small island between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York, the All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries, which are set on the outskirts of Florida’s Ocala National Forest, and the Puzzle Solvers Mysteries, which take place in a small town on eastern Long Island. Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, where she still lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and five dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, jigsaw puzzles, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime. 

 To learn more about Lena and her latest writing endeavors, visit her website at http://www.lenagregory.com/ and be sure to sign up for her newsletter http://lenagregory.us12.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=9765d0711ed4fab4fa31b16ac&id=49d42335d1

  Author Links Newsletter: http://lenagregory.us12.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=9765d0711ed4fab4fa31b16ac&id=49d42335d1
  Website: http://www.lenagregory.com/ 
  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lena.gregory.986 
  Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Lena.Gregory.Author/?fref=ts 
  Twitter: https://twitter.com/LenaGregory03 
  Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14956514.Lena_Gregory?from_search=true Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lenagregoryauth/ 

  Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo - Google Play 

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June 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
June 10 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
June 11 – I’m All About Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 12 – Author Teresa Watson – REVIEW
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The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe Book Spotlight!

New York Times Bestselling Author
On Sale: June 11, 2019
Purchase Link:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Beach House series comes a heartwarming and evocative novel about the bonds and new beginnings that are born from natural disasters and how, even during the worst of circumstances—or perhaps because of them—we discover what is most important in life. 

Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only the few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together.

During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.

With Mary Alice Monroe’s “usual resplendent storytelling” (Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author), The Summer Guests is a poignant and compelling story of self-discovery, love, and redemption.


Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including the Beach House series: The Beach House, Beach House Memories, Swimming Lessons, Beach House for Rent, and Beach House Reunion. She is a 2018 Inductee into the South Carolina Academy of Authors’ Hall of Fame, and her books have received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the 2015 SW Florida Author of Distinction Award, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, the International Book Award for Green Fiction, and the 2017 Southern Book Prize for Fiction. Her bestselling novel The Beach House is also a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina. Visit her at MaryAliceMonroe.com and at Facebook.com/MaryAliceMonroe.

Interview with MARY ALICE MONROE:
Could you sum up THE SUMMER GUESTS in five words or less? 
Hurricane. Horses. Dogs. Women. Friendships.
What inspired you to write THE SUMMER GUESTS? 
I live on the coast in South Carolina, and I've had to evacuate my home more times than I can remember in the last twenty years ahead of a threatening hurricane. And every time I evacuate, it comes with worry and stress. The last time I had to evacuate was ahead of Hurricane Irma in 2017. I was working on THE SUMMER GUESTS at the time, but wasn't far along in the writing. I was still trying to figure out exactly what the novel would be about. I fled up north to a friend's horse farm in Tryon, North Carolina. There I was taking shelter with other people who also fled their homes in Florida. They brought their horses, their dogs, even a baby. We were all there together, safe, but worried about what would happen. Strangers quickly became friends. We shared stories and bonded. And I remember in one particular moment, with the weather forecast showing the hurricane's ominous path on the television, we turned up Motown music, and danced, sipped wine, and talked and laughed for hours. This fast friendship eased the worries in our bones, and I realized, This is part of the story. To me, it felt like the 1980's film "The Big Chill", but with horses, and rescue dogs! 
Can you describe your writing process? Do you outline the plot or go wherever an idea takes you?
My stories are born from the landscape and the animal species who call it home. I am first drawn to a species, and then I do intense academic research and hands-on learning through volunteer work, and interviewing many people who work closely with the species I want to write about. After spending many weeks devoted to this learning process, I then begin to develop characters and a story line from what's inspired me and from all that I've learned. So, when I write about an animal, such as the magnificent horse, like in THE SUMMER GUESTS, or sea turtles, like in BEACH HOUSE REUNION, I want the reader to feel what I feel. It's a connection. And through the story, the reader learns to care. And once you care, you take care. And that is the heart of my novels--to connect you to the wild that is around us. May we each do what we can to take care of what we love on this big beautiful planet. 
Do you have any pre-writing rituals or routines?
I wake up early to write. It's when I feel most creative. I like to write at home, at my desk, on my computer. And coffee... I do love a good cup of coffee! When I feel stuck, I get outdoors. For me, I am inspired by the ocean, the rivers, and creeks and the gorgeous vistas that surround me at my home on the Isle of Palms, South Carolina and my home in Tryon, North Carolina. 
Do you have a favorite character from THE SUMMER GUESTS?
It's hard to choose a favorite character. They each play such an important role in the story line. I can't choose just one. But, I love when readers tell me their favorite characters and why. So, send me a note on social media or through my website. 
How is it different writing a stand-alone versus a series?
In a series, you have so many little details to keep up with, so many loose ends to tie up. Each book in a series must feel complete, yet leave enough room for further development in another book. A reader needs to feel satisfied. It's so much fun to keeps a series alive, such as The Lowcountry Summer Series or The Beach House Series. But, it is a lot to juggle! My readers remember all the details. And, I have to write a series novel in a way that no matter which book in the series you pick up first to read, it feels like a complete story. I work very hard to make sure that every book I write can stand alone. 
As fans wait for your next book, can you recommend some of your own favorite authors?
Oh, there are so many great writers! Right now, some books on my bookshelf include Signe Pike of "The Lost Queen", Patti Callahan Henry's "The Favorite Daughter" and her other hit novel "Becoming Mrs. Lewis". And Mary Kay Andrews' new novel "Sunset Beach". I greatly admire each of these authors and their body of work.
What’s next for you? / What are you currently working on?
For the moment, I'm on a wild book tour. So, not much writing happening when you're rushing from city to city. But, I will have my first children's chapter book published in 2020, titled THE ISLAND, for middle grade readers. And I'm toying with the idea of a full return to the beach for my next novel. We'll see. For now, I'm so happy to share my new book, THE SUMMER GUESTS, with readers. 

International Yoga Day Celebration!

Sponsored By: Drawing Board Shop

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

Winner Will Receive: 

A $20 Etsy Shop credit to the Drawing Board Shop Hand-painted and beautifully crafted cards! International Yoga Day is June 21st! 

International Day of Yoga, or commonly and unofficially referred to as Yoga Day, is celebrated annually on 21 June since its inception in 2015. An international day for yoga was declared unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). -Wikipedia
Open To US entries and must be 18+ to enter Giveaway Dates ~ 6/16 9:00 AM EST through 7/14 11:59PM EST
Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook, or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

15 June, 2019

This is Home by Lisa Duffy Book Spotlight! @lisaduffywriter

  • Publisher: Atria Books (June 2019)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501189258
From the author of book club favorite The Salt House comes a deeply affecting novel about a teenage girl finding her voice and the military wife who moves in downstairs, united in their search for the true meaning of home. 

Sixteen-year-old Libby Winters lives in Paradise, a seaside town north of Boston that rarely lives up to its name. After the death of her mother, she lives with her father, Bent, in the middle apartment of their triple-decker home—Bent’s two sisters, Lucy and Desiree, live on the top floor. A former soldier turned policeman, Bent often works nights, leaving Libby under her aunts’ care. Shuffling back and forth between apartments—and the wildly different natures of her family—has Libby wishing for nothing more than a home of her very own.

Quinn Ellis is at a crossroads. When her husband John, who has served two tours in Iraq, goes missing back at home, suffering from PTSD he refuses to address, Quinn finds herself living in the first-floor apartment of the Winters house. Bent had served as her husband’s former platoon leader, a man John refers to as his brother, and despite Bent’s efforts to make her feel welcome, Quinn has yet to unpack a single box.

For Libby, the new tenant downstairs is an unwelcome guest, another body filling up her already crowded house. But soon enough, an unlikely friendship begins to blossom, when Libby and Quinn stretch and redefine their definition of family and home.

With gorgeous prose and a cast of characters that feel wholly real and lovably flawed, This Is Home is a nuanced and moving novel of finding where we belong.

Advance Praise for This is Home:
« “Authentic characters resonate throughout this engrossing novel. . . . Intensely real and deeply emotional, Duffy’s rich novel is worth savoring from the very first page.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A beautifully drawn portrait of a motherless girl and a rudderless woman both trying to find their place in the world— but who find each other instead. Lisa Duffy nails the complexities of modern relationships, and proves that she’s a storyteller that’s here to stay.” —Colleen Oakley, author ofClose Enough to Touch and Before I Go

“Lisa Duffy’s latest novel, a story of joy and struggle in a coastal New England town, is full of engaging characters you’ll remember long after you turn the final page. This Is Home reveals the truth of human nature, which seeks to heal and forgive those we love, even when they break our hearts.” —Sandi Ward, author of Something Worth Saving

“Lisa Duffy’s beautiful novel delves into that most elemental of themes—home—with insight and grace. This is a book to savor.” —Kimmery Martin, author of The Queen of Hearts

Read an Excerpt
The year I turned ten, my father shot the aboveground pool in our backyard with his police-issued pistol.

I don’t remember it, but I hear about it all the time. My father likes to tell the story at the bowling alley bar, when all eyes are on him. There’s usually Wild Turkey over ice in the glass in front of him, or maybe a bottle of beer. Sometimes both. The story gaining speed with every sip. The guys egging him on, all of them off-duty cops, remembering the fall cookout in my backyard.

My mother in the kitchen with the other girlfriends and wives and the men outside in rusty lawn chairs watching my father scowl at the eyesore of a pool taking up space on his newly purchased property. Stagnant water the color of tree bark sat high against the rim, and the entire structure leaned off center, and someone called out: Jesus Christ, that thing’s a damn cesspool Tower of Pisa.

The scum-filled pool had come with the house, and my father hated it. None of the guys remember who first joked about pumping it full of bullets to empty the water, but they all remember my father standing up, taking two steps forward, and drawing his weapon.

They say he shot that gun as if he were a cowboy in an old Western film, quick draw and from the hip, firing until he ran out of bullets and the pool was a wheel of Swiss cheese, dirty water spurting from every hole.

The story always ended the same.

The telling of it might veer in different directions, but the ending always looped back to my father saying: Who was going to stop me? I’m in the biggest gang in town.

The year my father shot the pool, I got out of bed most nights at midnight to sit with him when he got off work. That was six years ago, and my mother always said I was too young to be up that late.

But my father never sent me back to bed. He’d drink a beer, eat a turkey sandwich. Lettuce, tomato, mayo. Potato chips smashed between the bread. His gun belt on the table between us.

My night owl, he’d say as I slid into the chair across from him. Just like me.

Back then, you could slice our family crosswise like a sandwich. My mother on one side: Olive skinned. Quiet and distant. My father and I: Fair skinned. Restless and temperamental.

Then half of that sandwich disappeared. Cancer took my mother away pound by pound and then breath by breath.

Then the medical bills piled up, and our house went up for sale.

We moved into the middle apartment in Aunt Lucy’s triple-decker after that. When we had no place to live.

Now it’s just me and Rooster Cogburn and my father, Bentley, who everyone calls Bent, even me, which suits him.

We got Rooster Cogburn from the shelter. He ended up there after the police were called to his house for a domestic dispute. Bent was the one who showed up and dealt with the mess and then brought him to the shelter. When months went by and no one wanted Rooster, Bent took him home because he was a guard dog if he had ever seen one.

The vet said she’d never seen a lazier dog, but Bent ignored her, and now we have a ninety-seven-pound mutt who never gets off the couch. He sleeps on his back, with his legs in the air, like he’s been shot.

He’s no guard dog either. I’ve heard him bark a handful of times, and even then it sounds like a bored half-yawn type of thing.

Rooster and I go for a walk a couple of times a day, and we make it half a block before he sits down and stares at me. Looks at the bag in my hand, full of his stinking poop, and eyes me again. Like, What? Deal’s done. Let’s go home.

Me and Bent and Rooster don’t live far away from anything.

If I lean out my bedroom window far enough, the tips of my fingers touch the dirty siding on the house next door.

Paradise is like that, though: everything stuffed in tight.

On the other side of town there’s a four-lane highway that runs straight through to the city. There are stores and houses and restaurants up and down both sides. Like the folks who first came here couldn’t decide if Paradise was a town or a city or an interstate, so they threw up their hands and made it all three.

Bent calls Paradise the groin of Boston. He used to call it the armpit, but then everyone argued with him and said, No, no, no, the armpit is Allston, which made sense because it’s tucked in close to Boston, and Paradise is farther out. Bent changed it to groin, and whenever he says it, folks get riled up, especially at the bowling alley with all the locals standing around. They’ll whip their heads around and mutter things like Whoa! or What did you just say? even though they heard exactly what he just said.

Me and Desiree just look at each other and shake our heads because it goes the same every time, and Desiree swears Bent says it just for the reaction.

Plus, it doesn’t make any sense because Paradise is north of Boston and out by the ocean, so technically if this town is a body part, and Boston’s the heart, then we’re something like the left eyebrow.

Maybe an earlobe.

Aunt Desiree lives in the apartment above us with Aunt Lucy, and even though they’re sisters, they look nothing alike. Mostly because Desiree is several shades darker than Lucy even in the dead of winter because she’s in the tanning booth twice a week. Desiree’s a former fitness model who bartends at the bowling alley.

She moved in last month after she broke up with her boyfriend. It was only temporary, she told me while I helped her carry boxes into the back bedroom. I didn’t mention that me and Bent living here was only supposed to be temporary too.

You have to be careful with Desiree—she has a way of taking things the wrong way. Not with me, because I keep my mouth shut about most things.

Bent and Lucy never do, though.

Just yesterday, Desiree said she was so hungry she could eat a horse and Bent said, “Well, what’s new?,” and Desiree put her hands on her hips and snapped, “Is that some sort of fat joke?”

I knew all he meant was that she’s always hungry because she never eats. Bent just shook his head and walked away. Which is pretty much his standard response when Desiree gives him her attitude.

I don’t blame him. Desiree has fingernails that could gouge your eyes out—bright red and long and sharp—and an edge to her that rubs people the wrong way. Nobody messes with her. Like ever.

Bent’s a policeman in Paradise, and even though he’s the worst bowler in the police league, he always gets a spot on the team. Desiree thinks it’s because he always buys the first round of beers, but I think it’s because he came up with the name Ball Breakers and had all the shirts made with last names printed on the back, and now they can’t kick him off without feeling bad about it.

Lucy’s the only woman on the team, and she always gives Bent a look when I tag along. The first night I showed up with him, she walked right up to us and pointed to the clock on the wall.

“Nine o’clock, Bent. She has school tomorrow. She should be home doing homework or taking a shower. Doing teenager things. Not sitting in a crappy bowling alley.”

“It’s not crappy in here,” Bent answered, sounding offended from the tone of his voice. “And stop overreacting. You know Lib’s not your typical teenager.”

“Well, maybe she wants to be,” Lucy snapped. “Did you ever think of that?”

“Well, maybe I want to be Cinderella,” Bent said, and went to the bar to order drinks for the team.

Lucy narrowed her eyes but let it drop. Probably because how do you argue with that kind of logic?

Bent Logic, me and Desiree call it.

The kind that makes no sense.

Lucy just put her arm around my shoulders and brought me over to the team, fussing over me and bringing me more snacks and water than I could consume in a week’s time.

For the most part, Lucy, Bent, and Desiree all get along, but living in a house together isn’t always easy, and even though they’re all adults in their thirties, they play their parts perfectly.

Lucy’s the bossy oldest, Bent’s the free-spirited middle child, and Desiree, the baby, doesn’t listen to a word either of them says.

In this case, though, with me showing up at the bowling alley on a school night, Bent wasn’t altogether wrong telling Lucy she was overreacting. I’m at the pediatrician every single time Lucy gets involved.

A small splinter is relayed to Bent as a tree limb wedged in my hand.

A low-grade fever means I’m on the verge of a seizure.

And forget about the time I tumbled in the waves at the beach and couldn’t figure out which way was up or down, so by the time I surfaced, I was gasping and blue lipped. We went straight to the emergency room for that because Lucy was convinced I was drowning from the leftover water in my lungs. She kept shaking my shoulders on the ride to the hospital, while Bent gritted his teeth and stared straight ahead, telling her to calm down every time she shouted Libby, stop closing your eyes! Don’t fall asleep because you WON’T WAKE UP.

That was the last straw for Bent. They got in a big fight over that when we got home, and Lucy said if Bent thought he could raise me better all by himself, then he should go ahead and do just that and she’d mind her own business.

Which really meant she took her extra toothbrush out of our bathroom, stomped upstairs, and then texted me: supper here when ur ready unless u want chef boy-r-d at ur place.

When Bent says I’m not your typical teenager, what he means is we’re not your typical family.

Bent keeps the craziest hours because he’s a cop and a workaholic. If he’s not working the night shift, he’s picking up a detail. Most nights, Lucy or Desiree sleep in the spare bedroom.

And now some creepy lady lives downstairs. She moved in a couple of days ago, but she hasn’t left the apartment yet.

Like at all. Well, that’s not true. I saw her leave in the middle of the night dressed all in black. Pants and a huge sweatshirt with the hood up, even though it’s a million degrees outside.

I’ve decided she’s a serial killer.

Which is what I’ve been explaining to Bent for the last ten minutes.

It’s Wednesday. The first one in August.

The heat is making Rooster Cogburn hang his tongue out and pant, even though he hasn’t moved since I took him out for a walk an hour ago.

Bent is still in his uniform, and there’s a crease in his forehead. He keeps looking over at his bedroom, and I know he’d rather be sleeping than listening to me. He’s just coming off a double, and he’s working a detail in six hours, so I have to talk to him before he goes to bed. He knows this, so he’s doing his best to stay awake and listen to me.

“You said we were going to move to a real house,” I tell him. “Just us. No people upstairs or downstairs.”

“Those people are your aunts. And they help me with you. I can’t be at work and home, Libby.”

“I don’t need anyone to stay with me. I’m almost seventeen. Besides, Lucy snores and Desiree turns on the blender for her protein shake before the sun’s even up.”

Bent clears this throat again and ignores me.

Rooster Cogburn rolls over onto his back, and suddenly there’s a dead smell in the air. On top of being the laziest dog in the universe, he’s also the smelliest.

“Now there’s a serial killer downstairs. She’s going to chop me up and take a bath in my blood.”

“What?” He gives me a look and eyes Rooster. “Get up, bud. Come on.” Bent nudges him with his toe and waves at the stench in the air between us.

Rooster sleeps straight through the nudging and the smell.

“It was on TV the other night. Some crazy Hungarian lady killed a hundred girls.”

“I told Desiree I don’t want you watching horror movies.”

“It was the History channel.”

I don’t mention that it was after midnight when I watched it on my laptop with headphones because Desiree was in the bedroom next door arguing with her ex-boyfriend.

Rooster’s sitting up now and rubbing his head against Bent’s leg, leaving a strip of gray fur on his uniform. I can tell by the way Bent’s jaw is jutting out that he’s had enough of this conversation, and when he snaps his fingers at Rooster to get him to stop getting hair all over the same pants he has to put back on in six hours, I know enough to shut up already.

Bent goes into his bedroom, and I hear him change out of his clothes, and then the bed squeaks.

Rooster Cogburn walks over to me and puts his head in my lap.

When we got Rooster from the shelter, he was a day away from dying. He was on the euthanize list until Bent heard about it and decided he could stay with us. It was supposed to be only until we found him a good home. That was more than a year ago.

“You hate it here too, don’t you?” I whisper to Rooster, but he only wags his tail so hard it bounces off the back door, thumping against the wood and making so much noise that Bent calls out that me and Rooster need to hush or leave if he’s ever going to get any sleep.

I want to call back to Bent that we should leave. And go back home.

But I don’t.

I just sit in the heat with Rooster’s big head in my lap, his stench filling the air around us, and don’t say a word because I know what Bent’s answer will be.

This is home.
Photograph by Sharona Jacobs
Lisa Duffy is the author of This is Home and The Salt House. Lisa received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts. Her short fiction was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her writing can be found in numerous publications, including Writer’s Digest. She is the founding editor of ROAR, a literary journal supporting women in the arts. The Salt House was named by Real Simple as a Best Book of the Month upon its June release, as well as one of Bustle’s Best Debut Novels by Women in 2017, a She Reads Book Club selection and Refinery 29’s Best Beach Reads of 2017. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and three children and currently leads a fiction workshop through 24PearlStreet, the online component of The Fine Art Work Center in Provincetown.


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