Happy Release Day! Ann Swann
ALL FOR LOVE:
Liz falls in love with Quinn the moment they meet in college. He professes to love her, too. She begins to think about the future, but his past rips them apart. What Liz does next impacts the rest of their lives, but she feels it is the only way… she does it all for love.
We were drinking iced tea at our favorite sidewalk café when the plastic plant exploded.
One moment Ronnie was checking my left hand to see if my wedding ring was still there, and the next thing I knew she was crawling across the blistered sidewalk in slow motion, reaching out for me.
Ronnie and I have been friends since college. She and Carol were my dorm mates. The best friends I’ve ever had. But college was a long time ago.
“How long do you think it takes to fall out of love?” I had just asked.
Stalling for time, Ronnie gazed about The Sidewalk Café. The strong breeze should’ve been cool, but it was dry and hot. Instead of our usual twelve inches of rain for the year, we’d received just less than two. The drought in our area of West Texas had been catastrophic; a simple spark from a piece of machinery could start a wildfire that might burn for days or even weeks. The weather channel delighted in telling us we were smack dab in the middle of the worst dry spell since the nineteen fifties.
In a way, it was fitting. I seemed to be smack dab in the middle of a drought myself. My nest felt as empty as the prairie, and my husband, who could’ve been the spark to light my world, was also brittle and dry. In fact, he was so dry he was practically nonexistent, like the prairie grass hiding in the earth, waiting for moisture.
Ronnie swished a fly away from her drink. “What’s going on, Lizzie?”
I hesitated. She was so good at taking the wind out of my sails. In fact, I’d swear she was using “wait time” on me, a technique we had learned in our education classes at the university about a hundred years ago.
Shrugging nonchalantly, I forged ahead. I really wanted her input. I still valued it every bit as much as when we were nineteen. “I think he’s screwing around again.” I sipped my tea. Mine was sweet, hers was not. She was usually the sensible one—at least when she wasn’t toasted on Mexican red.
She smoothed the shiny fall of hair off her face. It was still the fresh, reddish color of a blood orange.
“Are you sure?” she asked. “Or is it just suspicion?” She swirled her tea, giving me a moment to answer. The amber liquid climbed the inside of her glass like a tiny tsunami. She reached across the table to touch my hand. We weren’t very demonstrative anymore, not like when we were in school. I don’t know why, but I suspected it was my fault. A hug upon meeting was the extent of our physical relationship. Sometimes one of us would hug the other when we parted—it all depended upon our emotional altitude at the moment. But this time she wasn’t being demonstrative by clasping my hand, she was simply checking to see if my wedding ring was still in place. She turned my hand over and pushed it flat down on the table.
Ann lives in West Texas with her handsome hubby and three rescue pets. All For Love is Ann’s first romance novel. She is the author of the Young Adult books: The Phantom Series. Book One is The Phantom Pilot, Book Two is The Phantom Student, and she is hard at work on Book Three, The Phantom of Crybaby Bridge. Ann has also published short fiction in the anthologies Timeless (paranormal love stories) and Campfire Tales (spooky stories for the young at heart).