Little Gray Dress

Today I’m introducing Aimee Brown and her new release, Little Gray Dress. You can read an excerpt below. Note: there is some language, but no sex.

 

Title: Little Gray Dress
Author: Aimee Brown
Release Date: August 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Chick Lit
GoodReads: add Little Gray Dress to your to be read list

Book Blurb:

Emi Harrison has avoided her ex-fiance, Jack Cabot, for nearly two years. Her twin brother Evan’s wedding is about to end that streak.

From bad bridesmaid’s dresses, a hyperactive sister-in-law, a mean girl with even meaner secrets, and too much to drink, nothing seems to go right for Emi, except when she’s wearing her little gray dress.

When she speed-walks into Liam Jaxon’s bar, things get more complicated. He’s gorgeous, southern, and has no past with Emi. He may be exactly what she needs to prove for the last time that she doesn’t need or want Jack!

Her favorite little gray dress has made an appearance at nearly every major event in Emi’s adult life. Will it make another when she least expects it?

AmazonUS: eBook – $2.99 | print – $9.99
AmazonUK: eBook – £1.99| print – £6.99
Barnes & Noble: print – $9.99

I have the cutest Giveaway for the tour – pictured here <– & opened worldwide.
Included is a ‘create’ coffee cup, some dark & handsome K-cup pods, a cute Life is Short, Eat Cake wall art, some tiny macaroons, a Little Gray Dress bookmark & postcard!
Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Excerpt:

The Wedding of Lily & Josh

 “So why did you choose a combined bachelor/bachelorette party? How will Josh have strippers if we’re there?” I ask Lily, who still has the curling iron in her hair even though we were supposed to meet the guys at the bar twenty minutes ago.

“Because it’s fun, there will be no strippers, and we’re all friends. So why not?”

“Got it. I just hope this burrito I ate earlier doesn’t make another appearance soon.”

“What, you’re sick?”

“Not sick, yet, just… iffy.” I wasn’t going to tell her this at all and just hope it passed. Literally.

“Well, hold it together.”

When she’s finally ready we walk the few blocks from our hotel down to the bar where this magical event is to take place. I probably shouldn’t have worn heels this high for this much walking, but I hate looking an entire foot shorter than Jack.

“Wow! This place is busy!” People are spilling out of the front doors, laughing, drinking and just overall partying. “Come on.”

We push our way through the crowd and look around the busy bar for the rest of our party. Someone waving from the private balcony above grabs my attention, and I look up and see Evan.

“They’re up there.”

“Perfect! We wanted to get the balcony but weren’t sure we could at such short notice.” We squeeze through a crowd full of scantily-clad half-naked bodies towards the stairs, and the man guarding the VIP rope nods towards us without a word while letting us through.

“It’s so hot in here,” I yell to Lily over the music, following her to the top.

“It’s Mexico, Ems. It’s always hot.”

It’s so hot that I think my hair is sweating, but I continue up the stairs and hope there is air conditioning in the VIP room.

“Finally! What took you so long?” Jack greets me with a smile.

“Lily… She just had to look perfect.” I glance across the room at her and Josh already making out in a corner by themselves. “I’m not sure why we are having a party to watch them have sex in public. It’s kinda gross.”

“They’re not gonna have sex. That would be disgusting.” Evan takes a swig of his beer. “We leave disgusting to me, remember?” He winks at the only other bridesmaid that made the trek from Oregon to Mexico.

“No, Lily will be pissed if you screw her cousin.”

“Lily will never know.” He and Jack both laugh and glance at me. “Right?”

“I know you have like zero morals about this stuff, just don’t do it here, please?” I beg Evan to try and keep it in his pants, but I know he’ll never listen. He never does.

“I got you a drink.” Jack points at the Cosmo on the table in front of him.

I take a giant slurp, hoping it doesn’t go to war and piss off the burrito from earlier. “Please promise me that if we ever were to get married that we won’t have bachelor/bachelorette parties.”

“Promised. Really aren’t they just an excuse to do something dirty right before the wedding?”

I glance back and Josh and Lily, still making out. “I thought so, but apparently, in this case, it’s just to make the rest of us feel dirty.”

“They’re just in love.” Jack smirks over at them. “Dirty love.” His scrunched-up disgusted face matches my own, even through our laughter at his joke.

Aimee Brown – author bio:

Aimee Brown is a writer and an avid reader. Little Gray Dress is her first published novel. My second novel is in the works now. She’s currently studying for her Bachelor’s degree in English Writing. She spends much of her time writing, doing homework, raising three teenagers, binge watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has been known to utter profanities like she’s competing for a medal.

Aimee grew up in Oregon but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and far too many pets.

She would love to hear your thoughts on Little Gray Dress! If you’d like to chat with her she’s very active on social media. You can find her at any of the networks below. Stop by and say hello!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Website/Blog | GoodReads | Amazon Page | Newsletter

Weds – August 2nd

Blog on the Run – Book Review/Author Guest Post after 2nd
Books and Photographs – Book Review
Judging More Than Just the Cover – Book Review/Author Interview
Nicole Evelina – Book Review/Guest Post
The Novel Girl Reads – Book Review/Excerpt/Author Q&A

Thurs – August 3rd
Chick Lit Central – Author Interview
NovelGossip – Book Review
Hey Said Renee – Author Guest Post
Romantic Reads and Such – Book Excerpt
Steamy Book Mama – Book Review

Fri – August 4th

BrizzleLass Books – Book Review
O.D. Book Reviews – Book Excerpt
He Said Books or Me – Author Guest Post
Corinne Desjardins – Book Spotlight
Where Dragons Recide – Book Review/Author Q&A

Sat – August 5th

JenaBooks – Book Review
Sylv.net – Spotlight Post
Got Books, Babe? – Author Guest Post
The Writing Garnet – Book Review

Sun – August 6th

I Read Novels – Book Review
It’s my Life – Book Excerpt
RaeReads – Book Review
Keelee Morris – Author Guest Post
GrassMonster – Book Review

Mon – August 7th

Living Life with Joy – Book Review/Giveaway/Author Q&A
The Belgian Reviewer – Author Guest Post
Book Lover in Florida – Book Excerpt
Haddie’s Heaven – Spotlight Post
Books in my Opinion – Book Review
Literature Goals – Book Review/Excerpt/Author Q&A

Tue – August 8th

Reading to Unwind – Book Review
Kristin’s Novel Café – Book Excerpt & Giveaway/Book Review
Key of Dee – Author Guest Post
FrankyBrown – Book Excerpt
Smokin’ Hot Reads Book Blog – Book Reviews (3)

Weds – August 9th

Ink, Maps and Macarons – Giveaway/Author Q&A
Heartalefix – Book Review
Tea Party Princess – Author Guest Post/(possible) Review
One Book at a Time – Book Excerpt/Spotlight/Book Review

Thurs – August 10th

ItaPixie’s Book Corner – Book Review/Excerpt
Rosa Temple Writes – Author Guest Post
Life at 17 – Spotlight Post
Daily Waffle – Book Excerpt/Author Q&A

Fri – August 11th

Pretty Little Book Reviews – Book Review
Sparkly Word – Book Review
Books and Readers – Book Review/Excerpt/Giveaway/Guest Post
Ali the Dragon Slayer – Book Review
Katie Lady Reads – Book Review
Rambling Lisa’s Book Reviews – Book Review/Book Excerpt

Sat – August 12th

Life of a Simple Reader – Book Review/Excerpt
Karlita – Goodreads/Social Media – Book Review
KD Reads – Book Review/Giveaway/Guest Post
D.K. Hamilton – Book Review/Author Q&A
20CC Reviews – Book Review
TrashyBibloBlog – Book Review/Excerpt

Reward of Anavrea Blog Tour-Guest Post

tour-banner

We all like a reward, don’t we? But, not all rewards are what they appear. That’s the case in the latest installment of Rachel Rossano’s Theodoric Saga. Rachel created an intriguing Historical-like Christian Fantasy as she tells the tale of Jayne and Liam. Find out more and be sure to check out the giveaway!

Guest Post From Rachel Rossano:

Avoiding Mush

One of the first responses I get from people when I say I write romance is that they personally don’t like reading romance. If they are referring to straight romance novels where the whole plot is about the relationship and nothing else, I would completely agree with them. I avoid those kinds of books too. No romance happens in a vacuum.

I am a firm believer in realistic romances. Yes, I know that sounds strange coming from a fantasy writer, but it is true. Although my settings are completely made up, with generous inspiration from history, and a bit fantastical at times, my characters are realistic. They are people, or at least I want my readers to believe they are. They work hard, struggle, and grow just as real people do. They have strong points and flaws, some more than others. That said, like real people, they don’t live in a vacuum where relationships with the opposite gender consume their lives and nothing else matters.

In my books, my characters live in their worlds. They have jobs, they have to feed themselves, and they struggle to secure their place in their world. When the other main character stumbles, falls, rides, or otherwise encounters them, the main character is almost never not looking for love or romance.

Realistic romance begins with friendship. I don’t believe in love at first sight, though I do believe in attraction at first sight. Stolen kisses, though they can be an interesting beginning to a book, should never be the basis of a relationship. The elements I advocate are friendship, interaction, and time (though, I have been known to skimp on that last one).

Also, logical and careful thought are necessary when choosing a mate, which also goes for my characters choosing their mate. Yes, warm embraces and spark-inducing touches are part of the magic of a romance, but the cold hard reality of asking yourself if the man/woman you are embracing is going to be there when times are tough is a necessity. Also, above all else, spiritual maturity is a must in any mate.

All that said, I must say that a good novel, romantic or otherwise, needs a large dose of both logic and reasoning as well as chemistry and magic. One without the other only gives half the picture when it comes to any relationship, romantic or otherwise, and only representing one half will make the whole will fall flat. Without the magic, the story will be cold. Without the rational, the story will be mushy. Balance is key.

About the Book

web2-rossano-reward-finalShe couldn’t hide forever.

A hard life taught Jayne to avoid men, powerful men most of all. When a new nobleman arrives to take over the vargar, she takes her family and hides. But the new baron seeks her out and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: protection. However, once they were sheltered behind the dark stone walls of the vargar, who would protect her from the new master?

His reward isn’t what it seems.

King Ireic of Anavrea charges Liam, a former bodyguard, with the task of retaking and taming a corner of the northern wilds. Upon arrival at Ashwyn Vargar, Liam finds challenges beyond his military experience. The keys to the vargar are missing and so are the field hands who should be harvesting the fields. Once he finds the keeper of the keys, she raises more questions than answers.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N2JATTB/

About the Author

profile3

Rachel Rossano is a happily married mother of three children. She spends her days teaching, mothering, and keeping the chaos at bay. After the little ones are in bed, she immerses herself in the fantasy worlds of her books. Tales of romance, adventure, and virtue set in a medieval fantasy world are her preference, but she also writes speculative fantasy and a bit of science fiction.

Giveaway

anavrea-giveaway

Rachel is giving away one of her favorite CDs to listen to while she writes. If you’ve ever wondered what kind of music she likes to listen to, you can check out the CD on Amazon and then come back here and enter the giveaway. https://www.amazon.com/Piano-Guys/dp/B009EAO38C/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

January 2
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Intro and Book Review
Julie Coulter Bellon-Review
Bokerah-Guest Post

January 3
The Overactive Imagination-Guest Post
Queen of Random-Book Spotlight
Rachel Rossano’s Words-Book Spotlight

January 4
Stephany Tullis-Book Spotlight
Ember’s Reviews-Author Interview and Review

January 5
Frances Hoelsema-Book Spotlight
Laurel’s Leaves-Author Interview
Author Franky A Brown-Guest Post

January 6
Zerina Blossom’s Books-Review
Shout outs-Guest Post
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae-Book Spotlight
Rebekah Lyn Book-Character Spotlight

January 7
Bookish Orchestrations-Giveaway Winner

Save

A Mighty Fortress Birthday Bash

mighty-fortress-birthday

Who doesn’t like a birthday party? Faith certainly does. November 19th was the third birthday of her debut novel, A Mighty Fortress. To celebrate, she has all sorts of fun going on. First, she’s released a newly revised version of A Mighty Fortress. Second, she has most of her published books on sale. Third, she’s releasing the box set of all five of her novels for a special discounted price. And fourth, but not least, she now has the audiobook of her AMF available! Read on for more party fun and a special giveaway.

mightyfortresscover“Stay back!” Joshua ordered.  He kept his eyes on the scene below while waving his arm in Ruth’s direction.  “Get deeper into the woods and stay down low to the ground.”

Joshua hazarded a glance behind him.  He could no longer see Ruth and breathed a sigh of relief.  In one swift move, he grabbed his rifle and lay flat to the ground.  Extending the rifle, he aimed at the shorter man whose gun was pointed at Bradshaw. 

Joshua and Ruth Brookings are traveling by stagecoach to finally join their parents in Montana. Attacked by murderous outlaws, the teens barely escape with their lives and must survive in the barren Wyoming and Montana territories and escape the man who’s hunting them.

Seven years ago, Jed Stuart ran away from home and joined Tom’s gang. Jed is tired of the lawlessness and wants out. The only problem? He is the boss’s right-hand man and will never be able to leave. And what’s one more stagecoach robbery, anyway?

Can Joshua lean on God’s strength to keep himself and his sister alive until they find a town?   Will Jed be able to face his anger or will it consume him completely? All three are running–the hunter and hunted. What will happen when they meet?

Faith also just released her first box set, the complete Hymns of the West series. It’s available for a special discounted pre-order price until November 26th and will stay at that price until November 30th.

hymns-of-the-westHymns of the West: The Complete Series

Two Families…
The Brookings family move from Illinois to Montana to start a horse ranch. Their journey to Montana has hazards of its own, as does their life in Castle City, affecting each of them in various ways.

The Stuarts have been living a secluded life in Tennessee since the matriarch of the family died. When Jed runs away, they seclude themselves even more until a letter arrives that changes their lives—one at a time—forever.

Two Worldviews…
One family has believes in God with their whole hearts, living out their lives to the glory of God. The other family believes in God in a general sense, but they have no commitment toward Him or His ways.

One Providential God.
A stagecoach robbery instigates their meeting. Two years later, they meet again. Another year and their lives cross paths again. What happens when God’s providence brings two families with two different worldviews together in ways only He could have planned?

Mega-Sale

Every eBook in the Hymns of the West series is on sale. A Mighty Fortress is permafree, and the other eBooks in the series are $0.99. In addition, the spin-off novella series has a book on sale as well.

Links:

A Mighty Fortress

Be Thou My Vision

Amazing Grace

Lily of the Valley

The Solid Rock

Hymns of the West: The Complete Series

Life and Salvation: Hymns of the West Novellas 1-3

Faith also has the paperbacks on sale if you buy them from Createspace with the discount codes.

A Mighty Fortress

$2.00 off (8.99) with code: MBJB3XSY

Be Thou My Vision

$2.00 off (6.99) with code: GQ3KTJYY

Amazing Grace

$1.50 off (9.49) with code:93LQLRJ8

Lily of the Valley

$2.00 off (11.99) with code: TJXAYXD2

The Solid Rock

$1.50 off (10.49) with code: 7626YZAK

Life and Salvation

$2.00 (6.99) with code: V4Y5K46D

giveawayFaith is offering three prizes!

Grand Prize:

  • Audiobook of A Mighty Fortress (MP3 download)—Could be a short delay
  • The Solid Rock Notebook

1st Prize:

  • Feather Quill Necklace

2nd Prize:

  • eBook set of Hymns of the West: The Complete Series

a Rafflecopter giveaway

91Z74YdeT6L__UX250_Faith Blum started writing at an early age. She started even before she could read! She even thought she could write better than Dr. Seuss. (The picture doesn’t show it well, but there are scribblings on the page of Green Eggs and Ham). Now that she has grown up a little more, she knows she will probably never reach the success of Dr. Seuss, but that doesn’t stop her from trying.

When she isn’t writing, Faith enjoys doing many right-brained activities such as reading, crafting, playing piano, and playing games with her family. One of her dreams is to visit Castle City, Montana, someday to see the ghost town she chose for her characters to live in. She currently lives on a hobby farm with her family in Wisconsin.

There are many ways to connect with Faith online. All of them can be found in one convenient place: http://FaithBlum.com. On her website you can find links to her various social media sites and both of her blogs.

Tour Schedule

November 19

Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Introduction

Author Franky A Brown-Book Spotlight

Rachel Rossano Rambles-Guest Post

November 21

Writing Dreams-Author Interview

God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae-Character Spotlight-Joshua

Zerina Blossom’s Books-Author Interview

November 22

Precious Moments-Giveaway

The Overactive Imagination-Review of Be Thou My Vision

Perpetual Indie Perspective-Book Spotlight

November 23

Frances Hoelsema– Book Spotlight

Thought of Anna S. Brie-Author Interview

November 25

With a Joyful Noise-Guest Post

Bookish Orchestrations-Candid Author Interview

Firethorn Blog-Author Spotlight

November 26

Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections-Character Interview with Ruth

Ladies in Defiance-Guest Post

November 28

Once Upon an Ordinary– Author Interview

Written Rest-Character Spotlight -Anna

November 29

The Overactive Imagination-Review of A Mighty Fortress

Jaye L. Knight– Character Spotlight-Caleb

November 30

Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Wrap-up and winner

Swim Season Blog Tour

swim-season-launch-blog-header-copy

Welcome to the blog tour for Marianne Sciucco’s new release, Swim Season. By the way, my name is in the book!

Sometimes winning is everything.

swimseasonChampion swimmer Aerin Keane is ready to give up her dreams of college swimming and a shot at the Olympics. As she starts senior year in her third high school, Aerin’s determined to leave her family troubles behind and be like all the other girls at Two Rivers. She’s got a new image and a new attitude. She doesn’t want to win anymore. She’s swimming for fun, no longer the freak who wins every race, every title, only to find herself alone.

But when her desire to be just one of the girls collides with her desire to be the best Two Rivers has ever seen, will Aerin sacrifice her new friendships to break a longstanding school record that comes with a $50,000 scholarship?

Excerpt:

Aunt Mags didn’t say a word on the way to the high school and neither did I. We were up and out too early for anything more than, “Got everything?” “Uh huh,” and “Let’s go.” We’d left the house before her first cup of coffee and she was not in a talkative mood.

It was just after dawn, the moon still visible as the sun peeked out over the horizon. A chill in the air hinted at summer’s end. I regretted leaving my sweatshirt behind, although after swim practice the sun would be shining and we’d be back to the mid-August heat.

We arrived at the school and a deserted parking lot. Mags parked her minivan at the athletics entrance.

“Are you sure it starts at 6:45?” she asked.

“Positive,” I said.

She yawned. “Looks like you’re the first one here.”

“I doubt it.”

Today was the first day of swim season. Tryouts started at 7 a.m. The coach had instructed all wannabe swimmers to be on the pool deck no later than 6:45. My experience as a varsity athlete told me that anyone with any degree of competitiveness had already arrived. I had five minutes to spare.

“Want me to walk in with you?” Mags asked.

My horror at her suggestion must have been all over my face, because she said, “Sorry. Having a teenager is new to me. My girls would beg me to walk them into that big, scary building.” We looked at the three-story hodgepodge put together to house Two Rivers High School.

“I can take it from here.” I was sure I’d remember the meandering route to the pool area from the tour we took when we registered for my senior year.

She still looked anxious. “Sure you’re all right?”

“Don’t worry. I’ve got this routine down pat.” Two Rivers would be my third high school. I played the role of new girl so well I deserved an Oscar.

I opened the door and hopped out. “Don’t hang around waiting for me to call for a ride home,” I said, reaching back to grab my bag. “I’m not sure when I’ll get out, and I don’t want to mess up your day. I’m okay to walk.”

Aunt Mags nodded, and I shut the door.

“Don’t forget we’re going back-to-school shopping later on,” she said through the open window.

“Got it.”

“Go get ’em, Aerin.” She gave me a thumbs-up.

I shot her a grin, hoisted my bag over my shoulder, and went off to join the Two Rivers High School Girls Varsity Swim and Dive Team.

***

Minutes later, I stood on the pool deck with an odd blend of girls vying to earn a place on the team. I spotted the usual huddle of newbies benched together at the far end of the bleachers, glancing at each other nervously and at the seasoned swimmers with something like awe. On the opposite end were the members of last year’s championship team, all wearing team T-shirts and chatting like old pals, ignoring everyone else. In the middle was a bunch who looked like they wanted to go back to bed, the ones whose parents pushed them into a sport and who chose swimming because we did it indoors and it looked easy. Most of them wouldn’t make it.

I found a place to stand against the wall and blocked out the curious glances shot my way, using the time before practice began to check out my surroundings. Aunt Mags had said the natatorium, built just a few years ago, was state-of-the-art.

Banners hung from the rafters and on clean white walls, touting the team’s success, and an enormous leaderboard listed all of their champions and their accomplishments.

A wall of windows on the farthest side and a ceiling loaded with skylights filled the room with light.

The six-lane pool had blue and white flags and lane lines, and the Trailblazers logo – a torch – was laid out in blue tiles on the bottom.

The floor tiles were a mosaic of white and three shades of blue.

The air was thick with the smell of chlorine.

I checked my expression, not wanting anyone to catch me gaping over the finest natatorium of any team I’d joined. The thought of swimming in it, of calling it “home” for the next few months caused a thrill of excitement in my belly. Around me, the other girls talked and laughed, none of them seeming to appreciate the beauty of the pool and the privilege to use it.

“Good morning girls.” A man’s voice cut through the chatter, and each girl sat up at attention. “Let’s get started.”

The voice belonged to an older man, with bushy white hair and bifocals, dressed in the school’s colors: navy blue shorts and a white polo shirt. Coach Steven Dudash. I hadn’t met him yet – he was out of the building when my father and I visited the high school – but Maggie and her husband, Pat, gave him high praise. He’d coached the Two Rivers boys and girls swim teams for more than twenty years, and they were both winning teams.

He pulled a chair behind him, positioned it in front of the bleachers, sat down, and organized the pile of paperwork on his clipboard. “Good morning,” he said again, studying us over the rim of his bifocals. “I’m happy to see last year’s team back for another year. And welcome to those of you here for the first time. I’m glad you decided to give us a try.”

He took a swig from an extra tall cup of coffee before continuing. “For those of you new to the team, meet Coach Denise.” He gestured toward the young woman who accompanied him. “She’s my daughter. I coached her for six years when she swam for Two Rivers and got her name on the leaderboard.”

I checked out the leaderboard and saw she held the record in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke. Good creds.

“This is her second year as assistant coach,” he said. “She did a terrific job last year so I invited her back.”

The young blonde smiled at him and the swimmers cheered.

“Yay Coach D!” a few seniors shouted.

“It’s great to be back,” she said. “Ready to win another championship?”

The shouts and applause were deafening.

“During the next two weeks,” Coach said when the noise died down, “you’ll all be working hard, doing drills both in the pool and in the weight room, four hours a day, six days a week. During the season, you’ll be practicing from after school until five or six every weekday, and four hours on Saturday. Sunday is a resting day. And, of course, you will compete in swim meets at least twice a week. So, if you don’t think you can make it through the first two weeks, you might as well leave now.” He paused, waiting for anyone to opt out before we even got started. No one moved.

“Okay,” he continued. “Most of you know that Two Rivers won the Division Championship last year, and the two years before. I plan to win again. When we do, and I say when, not if, we will be the first team in the division to ever win four consecutive division titles.”

Last year’s team broke out in wild applause and cheers. Coach waited for the outburst to die down before he continued.

“I need performers,” he said, “swimmers who aren’t afraid to push themselves, to try new things and discover where they best support the team. So, in practice you’re all going to swim every stroke, you’re all going to swim distance, and you’re all going to swim sprints. Each person will do all she can to defend our title.”

Silence filled the pool deck as the girls looked each other over, wondering where each would fit in.

“That’s the good news.” He paused for effect. No worries. He had everyone’s riveted attention. “But I’ve got some bad news. For years, the school board has been supportive of our team, and we’ve reciprocated by working as serious athletes and turning in winning records. Most years, the team can support as many as thirty-eight swimmers. This year, due to a budget crisis in our school district, our funds have been cut, and I can only put twenty-eight girls on the team.”

Raised eyebrows and shocked inhalations followed this bit of news. I counted bodies: thirty-six.

“Yeah, eight of you will be cut, either at the end of this week or the end of next. Anyone want to leave now?”

Again, no one moved.

Coach Dudash smiled. “I like your level of commitment. Let’s see if you can keep it under pressure.”

He spent the next half hour reviewing team policies and the season’s schedule. I’d heard such talks before from other coaches and tuned him out while I studied the other girls, trying to figure out what their positions might be.

Most of them focused on Coach’s every word, but last year’s champs ignored him and whispered among themselves. One of them, a lanky girl with sun-bleached hair and a killer tan, looked over the group of wannabes and held up her fingers one to five, scoring them, I guess, on whether or not they had a chance. Her friends snickered, trying to act as if they were paying attention to Coach instead of fooling around.

At last, the lanky girl’s frosty blue eyes rested on me, and I met her gaze straight on. We stared at each other for a few seconds before she looked away first, then held up three fingers. It seemed she was ambivalent. I could go either way.

I was ambivalent too. I joined this crowd as a walk-on, someone with no history with the team and questionable ability. In their eyes, I was no better than a wannabe who needed to prove herself to gain a spot on the team and the other girls’ respect.

I showed up because it’s what I did at the start of every school year. Swimming was my only sport, and I was good at it. Really good. Still, I almost skipped tryouts today. The truth was, I didn’t have the energy to join a new team, in a new school, for the third time. If anyone found out I’d won championship titles in club and varsity last year they’d expect great things from me, and I didn’t want the pressure. Swimming was no longer the focus of my life. It was my therapy, and I wouldn’t let anyone mess that up.

The glimmer of challenge in the way the lanky girl looked at me caused a stirring in my gut, and I shot it down. I didn’t come here to get involved in any personal challenges. I came here to swim, and not make any waves. My plan was to get through the senior year and go away to college, away from my troubles, and on to a new life that I could control.

 

marianneDuring swim season, you can find Marianne Sciucco, a dedicated Swim Mom for ten years, at one of many Skyline Conference swim meets, cheering for her daughter Allison and the Mount Saint Mary College Knights.

Sciucco is not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, she dreamed of becoming an author when she grew up but became a nurse to avoid poverty. She later brought her two passions together and writes about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues.

Her debut novel Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story, is a Kindle bestseller; IndieReader Approved; a BookWorks featured book; and a Library Journal Self-e Selection. She also has two short stories available on Kindle, Ino’s Love and Collection.

A native Bostonian, Marianne lives in New York’s Hudson Valley, and when not writing works as a campus nurse at a community college.

 

Swim Season is currently only available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.