Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 2015 Favorites

This is my first time trying out a monthly favorites post, but I've been away from blogging for so long that I wanted to try something fun and new that would let you guys know more about what I've been up to. I also love the idea of documenting my life and these little favorites will be awesome to look back on.

If you have suggestions for other categories I could include, let me know!

Carrie Hope Fletcher - I've been casually watching Carrie for years now, but this school year I've been watching every video of hers. This month she did VALA (vlog a lot in April, lol) so I've been getting extra Carrie in my subscription feed and really digging it. :) Here's Carrie reading the first chapter of her first book All I Know Now. I'm so proud of her and excited to get my hands on it! It doesn't come out in the U.S. until August, but if you live in the U.K. it's out now so consider picking it up!

Catch Phrase
"Thanks, man. 'appreciate it." I can't explain where this came from, but I recently noticed I pretty much thank everyone this way. On a daily basis. I'm sure my roommate appreciates it.

Robin Eggs - My roommate got a brought a bunch of these back to our hall after Easter. I ate them all.

Insurgent - I didn't watch many movies this month, but I did enjoy Insurgent. 3 stars :)

Mud Vein - Tarryn Fisher

5 stars Excerpt from my review: ...I have fallen in dark, psychotic love with her words. They are dark, maniacal, true, and emotive. Mud Vein is a shorter book (less than 300 pages) but I felt like it would never end because every word lingers, making me reread and absorb each unspoken and spoken thought, each action the characters made. Her words fill my heart and drain my soul. They make me fall in love with her flawed characters and go crazy trying to figure out what the hell is going on... Full review

"I wasn't good at saying. I was good at writing."

"That's why writers write--to say things loudly with ink. 
To give feet to thoughts; to make quiet, still feelings loudly heard."

Both quotes are from Mud Vein, which I absolutely recommend if you are looking for a crazy mystery/thriller with damaged characters. The cover looks pretty risque, but it's really not. It's an adult novel and love is a major theme, but the romance and physical relationship is very much on the DL. Anyway, these quotes speak to me so much as a writer and I'm relieved I was able to hear them now.

I've watched this an estimated 15 times and I laugh just as hard every time. If you don't want to watch any of these videos, at least watch this one. It's short and fabulously unexpected.

Procrastinating by watching every YouTube video under the sun.

Lip Sync Battle & Repeat After Me
These are the first season trial runs for segments that originated on Jimmy Fallon (Lip Sync Battle) and Ellen (Repeat After Me). Super funny. For some reason I can't insert examples (copyright perhaps?) but if you want to check out my favorites, I love Anne Hathway's Wrecking Ball performance on Lip Sync Battle and Lauren Graham's appearance on Repeat After Me.

Nightingale by Demi Lovato - Demi's voice is so strong and her vibrato is absolutely beautiful.
Landscape by Florence + the Machine - I've been a fan of Florence's songs for a while now, but haven't listened to her music in a bit. So this is an oldie but goodie that I was reintroducted to when reading Mud Vein.
Robbers by The 1975 - This is inspiration for one of my short stories. It makes me cry.
Kill Your Heroes by AWOLNATION - Also introduced to by Mud Vein. Such a crazy amazing book and this pairs so beautifully. I can't.

Thanks for checking in with me and let me know what your favorite things were this month!

Until next time,

Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

About the book:

When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat... and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.

Pages: 284
Published by: Independent
Genre: Adult Suspense/Mystery/Romance

My rating: 5 stars

My review: My first introduction to Tarryn Fisher was the novella Never Never she co-wrote with Colleen HooverAs you might guess, I didn't get a good grasp of Fisher's writing style until now.

And I have fallen in dark, psychotic love with her words.

They are dark, maniacal, true, and emotive. Mud Vein is a shorter book (less than 300 pages) but I felt like it would never end because every word lingers, making me reread and absorb each unspoken and spoken thought, each action the characters makes. Her words fill my heart and drain my soul. They make me fall in love with her flawed characters and go crazy trying to figure out what the hell is going on. I've been more reactive to these words than I have been to any other author's. I've groaned, sighed, squealed, laughed, and bawled my eyes out while reading books. I've even had to pace the room and take breaks because the emotions were too overwhelming; but the words in this novel made me do all that and more. I gasped, threw my kindle down, ran around my room, and attempted to not hyperventilate more than a dozen times. Tarryn's word speak to me as a person, a reader, a writer, and as I read, I am in awe of what she is able to breathe life, and death, into.

"That's why writers write--to say things loudly with ink. 
To give feet to thoughts; to make quiet, still feelings loudly heard."

Senna is broken and so so human. She isn’t completely okay in the head, and yet, she’s the truest characters you'll ever know. Fisher ingrains us so deeply into Senna’s mind that as a reader we are given nothing outside of what she is thinking, feeling, or sensing at a specific moment. Fisher doesn’t clarify Senna’s fleeting thoughts or seemingly random questions, and I am absolutely enthralled by this narrowed character perspective. We see the grittiest, rawest side of someone who is damaged, and I love Senna for it. I love her personality and her view on the world despite everything else I've gathered about her.

There is hardly any romance in here, and yet, the entire book revolves around love. Each sentence is strung together with beautiful meaning, making Senna and Isaac’s relationship so much more. So few words pass between Senna and Isaac (in the scenes of past and present) but I still feel so many conflicting emotions. The nonverbal communication in this book is a powerful element on its own and it makes me love these characters inevitably.

In Mud Vein, time passes oddly. You can’t always keep track of it, but it is deliberate and conveys Senna’s sense of the world. The way we become a part of Senna’s mind guides the plot and mystery, which sucked me in from the get-go. I can’t tell you how many times I looked down at my reading progress and thought "I'm only this far in and all THIS has happened already?!" The plot is insane and there was no alleviation to my freak-outs. I tried to put the pieces of the puzzle together before everything was revealed and drove myself equally as crazy as Senna in the process.

Mud Vein is all consuming. Every aspect of it drew me in. Even the names that were chosen for the characters were intriguing. I honestly don’t know how Tarryn Fisher did it. Her mind operates in scary ways. This is not a happy book, but it does have moments that will make you smile. The ending is a mixture of insanity, heartbreak, and satisfaction that is just too unbearable to handle. I now know that Fisher doesn't write HEAs and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm hurting inside, but it might be a good hurt. I cannot tell. All I know is I want more. You might as well call me a masochist because this won’t be my last Tarryn Fisher experience.

P.S. I'm not a fan of playlists to match books, but when a couple songs have a strong connection to a book and are introduced to the characters, I latch to them like they're my lifeline. "Landscape" by Florence + the Machine and "Kill Your Heroes" by AWOLNATION are too perfect for this story and I'm currently listening to them, dying a little inside because the emotions are still swirling to hard and fast for me to understand them. Go read this book and listen to these songs when they're mentioned. Simply. Incredible.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover

About the book

In the follow-up to Colleen Hoover’s #1 New York Times bestseller Hopeless, the charming and irresistible Dean Holder tells the passionate story that has melted thousands of hearts.

In Hopeless, Sky left no secret unearthed, no feeling unshared, and no memory forgotten, but Holder’s past remained a mystery.

Still haunted by the little girl he let walk away, Holder has spent his entire life searching for her in an attempt to finally rid himself of the crushing guilt he has felt for years. But he could not have anticipated that the moment they reconnect, even greater remorse would overwhelm him…

Sometimes in life, if we wish to move forward, we must first dig deep into our past and make amends. In Losing Hope, bestselling author Colleen Hoover reveals what was going on inside Holder’s head during all those hopeless moments—and whether he can gain the peace he desperately needs.

Pages: 321
Published by: Atria Books (July 8, 2013)
Genre:  NA contemporary romance

My rating for Losing Hope (Hopeless, #2):

Disclaimer: I found this review in my draft archives. Why did I not post this review when I wrote it in November 2013? I might have thought it wasn't a worthy review for a book I loved so much, but I'm not sure. Here are my thoughts anyway. I still stand by what I said:

I'm going to be completely honest. I wasn't expecting to love Losing Hope on the same caliber that I loved Hopeless. I had high hopes for This Girl, the retelling of Slammed, but it fell slightly below my expectations (I still rated it 4.5 stars because the ending was so redeeming) because we were exposed to most of its scenes in Slammed, so not a whole lot of new perspective had been brought to the table. I knew Holder had a back story that would propel LH further than TG, but like I said, I didn't think it was going to be a favorite.

And then LH blew my expectations out of the water! I think I might even love it more than Hopeless itself. GASP. It provided such an incredible perspective to the events of Hopeless and many new insights. As there is in all of Hoover's books, the romance, humor, and overall writing were incredible. Emotionally-heavy and extremely beautiful, this was everything I was hoping for in a retelling. (No pun intended, but I italicized it anyway.)

Since you already know all about the characters and plot from Hopeless, I'll just discuss what Holder's perspective brought to the table. Right from the get-go, we were introduced to new scenes. These scenes came with so much intensity (it's Holder we're talking about) that I was emotionally stricken by the end of the first chapter. We were given clarity into Holder's mysterious and moody behaviors. After Losing Hope, his actions did not seem so irrational, and seeing how the sequence of events played out for him astounded me. 

Some of the scenes that were solely from Holder's perspective could have been speculated by readers, but they were still enlightening. They were emotionally driven and they made me realize how awful/crazy things had been for Holder. I was not prepared to be more emotionally connected to the characters, but I did! For example, from the visit to Sky's house to the hotel scene, it was more powerful through Holder's eyes than Sky's. Additionally, the romance was intense, Hoover's sarcasm and quirk peeked through the pages, and the writing flowed like a beautiful waterfall (I'm so poetic).

Sometimes during the repeated scenes from Hopeless, there was a bit of repetitiveness or over-clarifying. i.e. Holder would think something and then he would say the same thing out loud. I think Colleen was a bit more careful as she tried to piece all of Holder's actions with his thoughts (as she stated many times, she had no idea why Holder reacted a lot of the ways he did in Hopeless) and perhaps that is why the thought/spoken overlap occurred. It's atypical for CoHo, which is why I question it.

The way the story ended.... just everything about it was Hopeless on steroids. I can't believe I just read such a creation and am so thrilled another CoHo book was able to top Hopeless for me! I don't think I can expand much more on this book. I simply loved it. Speechless. As fangirls say, I just can't even!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

My Michigan Bucket List: 70 Things To Do In Michigan

A large majority of the Michiganders I know want to move as far south as they can as soon as they graduate from school or retire from their jobs. Sometimes during the cold seasons (which encompass the majority of the year in Michigan) I too have noticed myself growing more and more eager to leave this place I have always called home. Tack on the wanderlust I've had since I was a little girl and some days I'm ready to pack up and begin traveling the world without a second glance. But as I've gotten older, I have also grown to appreciate Michigan for everything it offers. 

Recently, I started thinking about all the places I want to go to and day trips I want to take with my friends and as I started researching, the list of things that peaked my interest grew so long that I've now compiled my own Michigan bucket list! So today I want to share with you my Michigan bucket list, but to start off, here are some amazing things I can already check off thanks to my in-state travels while growing up:

1. Boat along Picture Rocks in Munising.

2. See the beautiful Tahquamenon Falls.

3. Touch a shipwreck at the bottom of Lake Superior

4. Pier jump in Grand Haven

5. Transport yourself to the Caribbean at Glen Lake. Honestly, folks, the lake water is the clearest and bluest I've ever seen, following the Caribbean Sea. It's plain ol' beautiful.

6. Bike around Mackinac Island.

7. Tour Fort Mackinac.

8. Climb the Sleeping Bear Dunes and 9. catch a sunset over Lake Michigan. This the most beautiful sunset I've ever captured on camera.

10. Explore the largest German settlement in the United States: Frankenmuth, MI.

11. And while you're there, eat a full course at the Bavarian Inn and Zehnder's!

12. And shop at Bronner's, the world's largest Christmas store.

13. Climb the Silver Lake Sand Dunes until you reach Lake Michigan. I'm warning you now: you'll feel like you're at the Sahara Desert. Bring a water bottle and shoes (so the sand doesn't burn your feet!) 

14. Go apple picking at one of Michigan's many apple orchards. The one I went to happened to be my grandpa's. ;)

15. Go camping. There are so many state parks there is no excuse not to go camping in Michigan! 

16. Lay on the rotunda floor of the Capitol Building in Lansing. Fourth grade field trip boo-yah!

17. Climb the waterfalls of Munising. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure there are signs telling you not to do this, but everyone does.

18. Visit one of Michigan's many zoos. I have been to two, the big one being the Detroit Zoo.

19. Snowmobile. You can't live in Michigan during the winter and NOT snowmobile at least once.

20. Enjoy a day of fun at the "two parks for the price of one" Michigan's Adventure Amusement Park.

21. Rent a cottage/cabin "up north" in the summer. There are very few things better than spending summer on a Michigan lake.

22. Watch the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show & Balloon Festival.

23. Traverse the dunes of Saugatuck on dune buggies.

24. Take a look at the history of cars and other technological advances at the Henry Ford Museum.

25. See the grand ledges of Grand Ledge.

26. Educate thy self at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Point.

27. Experience every river adventure possible. Canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and white water rafting opportunities are everywhere and my personal favorite activities!

28. Experience every lake adventure possible. Boating, tubing, water skiing, surfing, paddle boarding, sailing, jet skiing. 

I have half of this last goal completed (I haven't successfully stood on water skis, nor have I ever surfed, paddled, or sailed) which is why I have it as the last bullet before I cover the things I've yet to do and see and want to do someday...

29. Participate in a Polar Bear Plunge. For those who don't know, this is a fundraiser for Special Olympics where people strip down and jump into the lakes during the winter. Sounds fun, right?

30. Camp at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park. It's one of six dark sky parks in the U.S.; one of ten in the entire world! I LOVE THE STARS SO MUCH.

31. See the Leland Ice Caves.
Photo credit: Nicole Wamsley | Flickr

32. Road trip around the LP's coast.

33. Swim in all five Great Lakes. So far I've swam in Michigan, Superior, and Huron (which leaves Erie and Ontario left).

34. Walk along the Ice Curtains of Grand Island.
Photo credit to

35. Go to all five national forests. Whether it be through camping, hiking, or sightseeing, there five national forests within Michigan that preserve its natural beauty.

36. Attend a football game at the Big House or Spartan Stadium. I'm not a huge football fan so it doesn't matter which of the rivals I go to but I feel like I should experience one D1 NCAA game.

37. Explore Tulip Time and Dutch history in Holland.

38. Spend the night on a beach.

39. Go to Holly, MI and 40. Attend the Michigan Renaissance Festival. Because why wouldn't I want to go to a town named after me and dress up like I'm from a different century?

41. See a musical/stage performance in one or more of these great venues: Detroit Opera House, Royal Oak Music Theatre, Fox Theatre, Masonic Temple, or St. Andrew's Hall. 

42. Go to the Zehnder's Snowfest in Frankenmuth. This is an ice and snow sculpture festival that I've missed every year but one of these days...

43. Take on the challenge of of traveling the Shore-to-Shore trail. A 220-mile long trail that stretches from Empire on Lake Michigan to Oscoda on Lake Huron. It's open to horseback riders and hikers only.
Michigan Shore To Shore Trail Map.svg

44. Go wine tasting at one of Michigan's many vineyards: Kalamazoo, Grand Haven, Traverse City... they're everywhere!

45. Go to ArtPrize in Grand Rapids.

46. Experience the fun of the Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven.
Photo credit:
47. Drive around Leelanau Peninsula.

48. Climb a lighthouse. Most lighthouses are closed to public access now for safety and preservation, but there's still a few out there that allow visitors in!

49. Make it to both ends of the earth and back - Paradise, MI and Hell, MI.

50. Frolic through a sunflower field.

51. Go to Belle Isle and Isle Royale. Michigan has dozens of little islands and these are two of the most popular.

52. Attend the Cherry Festival in Traverse City. This is before the streets are flooded by thousands of people.
Photo credit: Joey BLS Photography
53. Visit the National Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills.

54. Make it one of each major league Detroit games: Lions, Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons.
55. Cliff jump in Marquette. My friend goes to school at Northern and they do this at their college orientation! Come on!
Photo credit:
56. Go to a car show/car race. One of my uncles is a VW Bug fanatic and I would love to go to one of his car shows or races some day!

57. Dog sled in the U.P. I didn't even know this was something Michigan offered until I looked I came across it on Pure Michigan. I don't even need to go to Alaska to dog sled? How cool is that?

58. Ice skate at Campus Martius during Christmas time.

59. Visit Hitsville USA.

60. Venture Boyne Mountain.

61. Hunt the shores of Petoskey for Petoskey stones.
Photo credit: Nicole Wamsley | Flickr

62. Explore Detroit's Riverfront.

63. See the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie.

64. Take a day trip to Torch Lake. This is a hot spot for summer days and it seems like everyone has been here except me. I'll make it there someday!

65. Visit Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. I've heard this is slightly overrated but I have to see it because hello, Meijer is amazing.

66. Take a ferry to Mama and Baby Bear a.k.a. North and South Manitou Islands.

67. Electronic Forest Music Festival.

68. Road trip M-22.

69. Take a peek at what is now known as the Heidelberg Project.

70. Stay at the Big Bay Point Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast. It's the only operational lighthouse and bed & breakfast out there today. There also seems to be some haunted stigma tied to it, which I personally believe means it is a must stay.

I know I'll add more to it in the future, but I think this a long enough list to start off! Do you have a list of things you'd like to do in Michigan? Let me know so we can discuss! :)

Disclaimer: I glanced at some other Michigan bucket lists for inspiration, but this list contains things I personally want to do. Why do I want to do all these things? I don't know. They seem awesome and I like doing awesome stuff. The pictures are either mine, I have been given permission to use from the owner, or I cannot find the proper source. 

This bucket list has been Pure Michigan approved. Just kidding, it's really not. But if our Pure Michigan marketing team knew about it, I'm pretty sure they would be all for it.

What Am I Currently Watching?

This is a running tally of all the movies/shows I'm watching. I try to update as frequently as I watch them, so y'all can see a little bit of what I've been up to. Now. Here's the confession: I don't really watch TV shows. I sometimes browse Netflix for a new TV series if I'm desperate for something to watch while I'm knitting or suffering in bed from illness, but apart from my new found love for a certain hilarious reality TV show, I opt for movies. Frankly, they hold my attention better.

As far as ratings go, I rate movies and books according to how much I enjoyed them, and not so much how well they were made or how original they were. I'm definitely not a critic or movie expert by any means. At the end of the year, I will elaborate why I loved my favorites so much. Let me know your thoughts on any of these films/shows so we can start a discussion!


  1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 - 4 stars
  2. The Martian - 5 stars
  3. The Visit - 2 stars
  4. The Intern - 4 stars
  5. After Earth - 0.5 stars
  6. A Beautiful Mind - 4.5 stars
  7. Thor: The Dark World - 4 stars
  8. Captain America - 4.5 stars
  9. Deadpool - 3.5 stars
  10. Selma - 3 stars
  11. Goosebumps - 0.5 stars
  12. Gilmore Girls: Seasons 1-6 - 4.5 stars
  13. The Bachelor: Season 20 - 3.0 stars
  14. Steve Jobs - 2 stars
  15. Before We Go - 3 stars
  16. Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List - 3 stars
  17. The Hunting Ground - 3 stars
  18. Creed - 4.5 stars
  19. Room - 5 stars
  20. Miss You Already - 5 stars
  21. Everest - 4 stars
  22. Sisters - 4 stars
  23. Zootopia - 4.5 stars
  24. Before We Go - 2.5 stars
  25. Begin Again - 3.0 stars
  26. Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List - 1.5 stars (did I watch this last year? idk)
  27. Shadowhunters: Season 1 - 2.5 stars
  28. Little Boy - 4.0 stars
  29. Finding Dory - 4.0 stars
  30. The Bachelorette: Season 9 - 
  31. Bachelor in Paradise - 5.0 hilarious stars
  32. The Bachelorette CA: Season 1 - More substantial than USA version
  33. Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates - 4.0 stars
  34. Secret Life of Pets - 4.5 stars
  35. Purge 3 - 2.0 stars
  36. Sausage Party - 0.5 stars
  37. Jane the Virgin: Season 1-2 - 3.5 stars
  38. Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World - 2.0 stars
  39. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them - 4.5 stars
  40. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life - 5.0 stars

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fisher Amelie's Fury Release Date & Seven Deadly Series New Cover Reveal!

The much anticipated release of Fisher Amelie's third standalone installment of The Seven Deadly Series, FURY, finally has a release date! Stay tuned below for the reveals of her new covers for VAIN and GREED, a chapter from FURY, as well as the heart-stopping trailer for FURY, due out May 4th, 2015.

Prepare Yourselves.

About FURY:

Revenge is an euphoric thing. Trust me on this. Nothing compares to the release you get when you ruin someone’s life. When they’ve stolen important things. Things that didn’t belong to them. Things I revel in making them pay for.

What? Have I offended you? I’m not here to appeal to your delicate senses. I have no intention of placating your wishes or living within your personal belief system nor do I care if you hate me. And you will hate me. Because I’m a brutal, savage, cold-blooded murderer and I’m here for my revenge.

I’m Ethan Moonsong...And this is the story about how I went from the world’s most sacrificing man to the most feared and why I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Fury May 4

The new cover for the first standalone in The Seven Deadly Series, VAIN:


Amazon | Barnes and Noble

The new cover for the second standalone in The Seven Deadly Series, GREED.


Amazon | Barnes and Noble

And now for an excerpt from FURY, due out May 4th, 2015...

I heard a snap and the light cracked on, piercing through my closed lids. My head pounded and I groaned then rolled over, pulling my cover over my head to drown out the source of my pain.

“Get up,” a deep voice commanded. “Get up,” he continued, kicking my shoe.

“Dad,” I rasped. “I’m hungover and feel like shit.”

He was silent for a moment so I pulled the cover down just enough to see his face. He was not amused.

“Ethan, watch your language, get your butt up, and find a job.” I didn’t answer him. I had nothing to say that would please him. “And while you’re at it, stop this ridiculous drinkin’, son.”

I sat up, ran my hands through my long black hair and wrapped the length around my fist. I sat back against the wall, reveling in how cool it was, and tried not to vomit.

“Did you see them today?” I asked him, unable to help myself.

My dad removed his hat and leaned against the jamb, scrubbing his face with his free hand. “You like to torture yourself,” he said, shaking his head then sighing. “You remind me so much of your mama.”

The mere mention of my mother sent me spiraling down once more in depression. We’d lost her a few years before and I was still in agony. That, coupled with the fact that Spencer Blackwell stole my girl right out from underneath my nose, was enough for me to drink to excess every night. I hate him.

“Are they,” I swallowed, afraid of his answer, “are they together now?”

My father sighed again. “Ethan, get dressed.”

“Are they?” I asked again, letting my hand drop to my side. My hair slid with it and cascaded down my back.

“You are a stubborn boy. Yes, okay? Yes, they’re together. All the more reason to move on, son.”

My body suddenly weighed a thousand pounds and I felt my head reeling. So it was true then. They were together and they would probably get married and I was going to have to sit there in that godforsaken small town and watch it all happen. I was going to get a front row seat to my own misery.

I nodded once, rested my hands on my knees for a brief moment, then ran past my dad, shouldering him as I did so and nearly knocking him over before making it to the small bathroom across the hall and retching everything in my stomach into the toilet.

My dad stood in the bathroom doorway shaking his head in disappointment. When I was done, I fell back into the wall. That look shamed me to my core. Any time my dad felt let down, I felt the weight of my disgrace so heavy the only thing I could think to dull the ache was to drink myself into a stupor. It was a vicious cycle.

I let my hair cascade over my face. I heard the old wood floor creak beneath his feet as he left without another word and jumped when the front door slammed. My eyes closed as my head pounded.

The claw foot tub sat to my left so I leaned up and turned on the water, slowly removing my clothing one piece at time. Each movement felt like a hammer slamming into my head.

“God,” I groaned. “I am an idiot.”

I stood then stepped underneath the warm water and just stood in silence, letting the water absorb into my hair and seep into my skin. I breathed in the steam deeply. I was miserable. Not just physically but my heart was the heaviest it’d felt since my mom passed and I had no one to blame but Spencer Blackwell for that.

The asshole who rode into my life under the guise of helping his sister only to yank what I thought was a stable foundation right out from underneath me. He stole from me, a bona fide thief, and I wanted to make him pay. No, I needed to make him pay.

But how?

I finished showering and threw a towel around my waist, stepping from the tub and toppling onto my bed when I reached my room and fell to sleep, not even bothering to dress myself. I fell quickly, fantasizing about my revenge.

I must have slept for hours because when I woke, it was pitch black outside. I rolled onto my side and checked my alarm clock. Eleven o’clock. Perfect timing, I thought.

I sat up and tucked my towel around my waist a little tighter, stood and went straight for my dresser. I grabbed a pair of boxers and socks and put those on before heading for my closet and tossing an old, worn pair of jeans on, a thermal and an old tee. I brushed my teeth, grabbed my wallet and keys, threw on my boots and headed toward my piece of shit truck.

I knew exactly where I was going because it was where I planned on going every night until I forgot about Caroline Hunt.

My truck started but barely and I tore out of our driveway not bothering with my seatbelt, kicking up dust and rocks as my tires spun against the loose gravel. I’d replaced my stereo because I couldn’t stand radio, at least not Kalispell radio, and plugged my phone into the audio cable. Bastille’s Dreams remake blasted and I turned it up, letting the painful lyrics wash over me, fueling my desire to get plastered as quickly as possible.

I entertained myself with thoughts of strangling Spencer Blackwell with both hands then beating the crap out of him with my fists. Bastard. I pulled into the local pub and put my piece into park before tucking my left foot into the emergency brake.

I disconnected my phone and the stereo went silent, reminding me of how alone I really was. I turned the engine off and absolute silence surrounded me. I couldn’t take it. My door creaked with age as it swung open and I slammed it shut, unable not to. The fury raging in my blood was more than I could contain.

Before heading inside, my hand went to the empty space between the cab and the bed and searched for the bottle of whiskey I always had wedged in between. I took a large swig, not wanting to spend too much of my savings on the liquor inside the crap establishment. After all, I was going to need it. Revenge was a costly business.

I took one more swig for good measure and wedged it back in its usual place then wiped my mouth on the back of my sleeve. My hair swung heavy in my eyes. It was still a little wet from my shower and I thought about tying it back with the extra leather tie I usually kept in my glove compartment but thought better of it. It helped me hide and I wanted to hide.

I looked around me. The lot was full but I only recognized a few cars this time which was good because I had no intention of making conversation. Regardless, most of Kalispell had stopped trying because I’d rarely done any responding since Cricket cut out my fucking heart and ate it raw. The hair was only insurance.

I took two deep draws of air, gulping it down, desperate for it to soothe me but, of course, it didn’t. I let each escape my lips in shaky breaths and clenched my fists over and over before deciding to head inside.

My boots crunched the gravel beneath my feet as I headed toward the door. When I entered, I ducked my head toward the floor and let my hair cover me, not that it did any good other than to conceal me. I could still feel the heat of their stares, though, still feel the pity in their gazes. I wanted so badly to yell at them to fuck off but I kept as much composure as possible. I couldn’t get kicked out of the only real bar in Kalispell.

I picked a stool at the end of the bar, the same stool I always did in the corner and in the back because it was dark. I sat and met Vi’s eyes. She sauntered over to me, placing her elbows on the bar top, giving me a clear view of her generous chest. I held back my eye roll.

“Hello, darlin’,” she drawled. “You look like shit.”

“The usual, Vi,” I told her as quietly as I could.

“How ‘bout a kiss then first?” she asked, leaning in a bit more.

“Christ, Vi, how many times? Huh? Just get me the gosh damn drink.”

She laughed. “Already worked up then, I see. I like it,” she said, winking.

Vi, or Violet, was thirty-nine years old, had lived in Kalispell her entire life, and had worked as a bartender for over fifteen years. I could tell at one time Vi had been a beautiful woman but I could also tell she had heard many hollow promises from equally hollow men and that she obviously believed them all. Otherwise, why would she still be there? I watched her tired eyes and her slightly too-forced smile. She had the look of someone who used to be chased but had graduated to the chaser. She looked miserable.

She left and returned with an empty glass and a bottle of Jack. She set the glass on the bar and filled it to the brim. She was being generous. She was always this way. She told me once she hoped I would drink it all away and decide to take her up on her offer. I told her that would be a cold day in hell, to which she only laughed.

“Drink up, buttercup,” she said, smiling lasciviously.

“I will,” I told the bar top.

I watched the world around me through the breaks in the hanging strands and six glasses later, I was starting to finally feel numb. I lifted my head a little feeling slightly relieved, feeling like I could breathe a little deeper now that the ache wasn’t so severe. I continued to search the crowd, not knowing who I was really looking for.

A quiet but persistent nagging awareness took residence in my chest for some unknown reason as I watched a girl dance on her own in the middle of the dance floor. Others around her paid no attention to her but she was the first person my eyes were drawn to. I studied her.

Her hair was tucked into a blue scarf, little tendrils peeking through and grazing across her neck whenever she moved. She was extraordinarily tall and her hips and rear end were more indulgent than I’d ever considered before. She turned slightly, giving me her silhouette. Her stomach was flat and her breasts were full. She was beautiful, I could tell, even if I couldn’t see her fully through the low lights.

“Jeez,” I said, swiping a hand down my face. “I’ve had too much.”

But I still couldn’t stop watching her. She wore worn jean cut offs, a fitted button up with the sleeves rolled up her forearms and ankle boots. She rolled her shoulders playfully, enticing someone she knew just off the dance floor. Another girl joined her side and they did the robot. She threw her head back and laughed.

This shocked me almost sober. “That laugh,” I whispered to myself. “That laugh,” I repeated. I knew it but couldn’t quite place it.

She took her friend’s hand and twirled her around the floor vivaciously. She was so full of life. So my exact opposite.

She lightheartedly skipped in place and raised an arm in salute to her friend before turning toward me.

That’s when I got a good, clear look at her. I gasped out loud and placed my hand on the back of my head, my elbow on the bartop, ducking my head down lower to hide myself further.

Please, please, please do not recognize me, I thought, still watching her from the corner of my eye.

She stood two seats down from me. “Vi!” she said, laughing a little. “Vi!”

Vi turned toward her. “Hey, baby! What’ll it be?”

“Can I have a water, please?” she asked, sitting down and releasing a breath of exhaustion. She continued to smile, though, and it ate a little at my gut.

“Of course,” Vi answered and started to pour water into a clear plastic cup. Vi’s eyes pinched a little. “Hey?” she said.

“Yeah?” she asked.

“How come I never see you drink anything harder?”

Her face fell a little but picked right back up. No one would have noticed it but me. “I’ve never had good luck with alcohol,” she admitted a bit sadly.

Vi was quick enough to recognize something there that didn’t want to be said and let it go with a nod, handing over the water without another word.

“Vi!” someone else called out and she walked their direction.

She took a long drink from her water and set it down, turning toward the crowd and surveying the dancers. A small smile tugged at the corner of her mouth, some private joke she shared with herself.

I looked on her for a long time. Long enough for my heart to calm itself. Long enough to struggle with myself in an internal argument. Finally, I decided that I wasn’t watching her because I found her attractive, though I knew she was. Only that I was wondering what she was doing there.

She turned around in her seat after catching her breath and glanced at me. For a moment, I believed she didn’t recognize me but I was wrong. A second scan confirmed it for her. She leaned in and narrowed her eyes. Shit.

Ethan?” she asked. “Is that you?”

“Hello, Finley,” I answered.

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About Fisher Amelie:

Fisher Amelie resides in the South with her kick ace husband slash soul mate. She earned her first 'mama' patch in 2009. She also lives with her Weim, 'Jonah', and her Beta, 'Whale'. All these living creatures keep the belly of her life full, sometimes to the point of gluttony, but she doesn't mind all that much because life isn't worth living if it isn't entertaining, right?

Fisher is the author of The Seven Deadly Series, The Sleepless Series, and Leaving Series, and was a semi-finalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award.

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