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HOLY CRAP GUYS!!! I’ve done it! I’ve published my first Romance Novel. It’s approx. 50K words and the first in my Southwood, CO series!! (Anyone from Colorado? It’s based on a small town there!)
Hannah’s fate is book one in the series. I plan to do four different character’s books and each one will have 2-3 books. So between 8-12 total. We’ll know for sure when I get to writing the second books for each of their stories!
The next release will be Lauren’s Heart. Which will have a publication date of late 2019!!
I hope you all will enjoy Hannah’s Fate! It has been 6 years in the making, so this is a very proud moment in my life! ❤
Hannah Adler is on her way from L.A. to NYC for an important job interview. Well, important to her mother. Who only cares about the family’s image and how it’s portrayed by the media. Hannah isn’t even sure what she wants from life. She isn’t even sure she wants to get into fashion. While taking a detour through Colorado, her car overheats. As she pulls over to the side of the road, a tow truck driver pulls up behind her. Tells her what he thinks it is and offers to tow her to the mechanic shop in the town which she broke down next to.
Southwood, CO is a small town. Not at all like the busy, packed L.A. she is used to. The part needed for her car has to be ordered so it’s going to take a few days. She stays at the hotel next to the mechanic shop and decides to check out the diner that’s across from it. It’s small and quaint and brings her back to the 1950’s. The waitress that waits on her is amazing and Hannah can’t believe that there are nice people like her in the world. She’s not used to so much hospitality. When she leaves the diner, she runs right into a man. The man turns out to be her ex-boyfriend, Brian Oakley, from back in L.A. and the waitress? That’s his mom. Once her car is fixed, Hannah needs to decide if she is going to head on to NYC or stay in Southwood and explore the possibility that this could be fate.
Read my first two chapters here!
“Mom, it’s me, Hannah. I’m heading out now. Just thought I’d let you know I’m leaving. I’ll call you later, I guess. Bye.” I closed the trunk of my car, hung up my phone and placed it in my purse. I walked around the side of my car and got in. I felt strange as I sat there, getting ready to leave. My mom had set up an interview for me in New York City. One that didn’t sound all that appealing. But people would have called me crazy. People practically killed each other over working with Vicky Cosmos. I wished I felt that way.
I’d graduated from UCLA not even a week prior and my mom was already lining up my future and shipping me off. She’d never treat my brother, Hayden, like this. He was the favorite child; she wanted to keep him around. No matter what he did, he’d still be in her good graces. I’d had to fight her on letting me go to UCLA since they don’t have a real fashion design program. I convinced her to let me get my degree in the arts and I’d be able to figure it out from there. Let’s say, she didn’t have much faith in me.
I put my car in drive and then paused. I glanced down the street once more checking for a familiar car driving toward me. Nothing. Neither my mom nor my dad was there to see me off. It wasn’t like I needed mommy and daddy or anything like that; it was that I was possibly moving to the other side of the country and they didn’t seem to care. I wasn’t sure why I felt surprised. We’d never, in my 22 years of life, been close. They had my entire life planned out for me and yet they were never actually there for me.
“Whatever,” I mumbled, driving down the street.
I watched my childhood home disappear in my rearview mirror. I’d have to send for the remainder of things once I found a place in New York City and I’d probably have to end up selling my car. The thought of driving around the city terrified me. I wasn’t afraid to use the subway if I had to.
As I drove, I picked up my phone and called Blair, my best friend of nearly twenty years.
“Hey, girl. I’m here. How much longer do you think you’ll be?” Blair asked, upon answering.
She was a perfectionist and that included arriving 5 minutes early to every single appointment she had and getting upset with people when they arrived on time. Which meant those that were procrastinators and showed up late, would feel her wrath. I was already running late, and I could feel her seething through the phone.
“I’ll be there in a few. Sorry. I had a lot more to pack than I had anticipated.” I said.
“Did your parents show?” She asked.
“No,” I said. I didn’t need to say anything else. She would know I didn’t want to talk about it.
“Ok. Well, hurry. It’s getting crowded.” She said.
I laughed. Blair liked to point these things out. Even though she liked crowded rooms. She somehow always made the room focus on her. Even if there was something else going on. Someone’s birthday? The room focused on her. A wedding? People asked her where she got her dress from instead of the bride. I’d even once witnessed her get interviewed at a movie premiere as the actor of the movie walked right on by the TMZ crew without being noticed.
Blair had dark brown hair and gorgeous green eyes. They were the perfect shade and sparkled. Guys stared at her. They stared at me too, but men truly looked at her like she was the only girl in the world. Every one of my boyfriends did it and I didn’t blame them. Well, every one of my boyfriends except Brian. But Brian was different.
I parked my car and walked into Starbucks. There were quite a few people there, but not as many as Blair had made it seem.
It was strange to think I wouldn’t be meeting Blair there anymore. I thought about all the times we had spent there as I waited in line. We had been meeting there at least once a week since our freshman year of high school. It was our spot. It was bittersweet thinking we would no longer be meeting weekly or even monthly. I knew we’d leave one another at some point, but I hadn’t been expecting it so soon. I tried not to cry. Diapasons of laughter interrupted my thoughts. A crowded table of college students were passing around a cell phone and laughing.
“Miss?” The Barista said, getting my attention.
I looked at her and apologized. “Sorry. I’ll have a Venti non-fat, no-whip, iced white mocha,” I said to her.
“Is that it?” She asked.
I nodded my head. “Yep.” And inserted my black Amex into the credit card machine. I still wasn’t used to the new credit card chips and had tried to swipe it first.
“Ok! Can I get your name?” She asked and held up what would be my cup with a black sharpie.
“Hannah,” I told her.
She wrote it on the cup and thanked me.
I found Blair sitting in our usual spot toward the back of the coffee shop. There were two yellow chairs we had loved to sit in and talk during our weekly meetings. We’d usually end up staying for at least an hour just gossiping.
“Were you zoning out?” She asked as I sat down.
“Yeah.” I let out a small laugh. “I was just being sentimental.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, remember when we first came here freshman year? It’s been a weekly tradition of ours and now it’s the end. This is it. There won’t be any more of these little meetings.”
“All good things must end.” She said. Her phone rang, and she smiled upon answering it. “Hey you.” I knew it was a boy. That was her greeting for boys she was seeing or was at least – interested in.
“Henna!” Yelled a barista.
I wasn’t sure if they tried to call for me or not. But I got up to see. Sure enough, it was my drink with the word “Henna” written on the side. It had to have been a marketing ploy because I wasn’t sure how someone could get the name “Hannah” wrong. I shrugged. At least it was better than the time they wrote “Lana”.
I walked back over to our table and sat down, taking a sip from my drink.
“Listen, I’ll call you later, okay? I’m with Hannah and she’s leaving for NYC today.” She said. Then she made a funny face. “No, no. She has to leave soon. I won’t miss it, I promise.” She continued.
I raised an eyebrow in her direction, and she got off the phone.
“Sorry that was Troy. The new guy I’ve been seeing.” She said.
“You’re fine. How is that going?” I remembered three weeks prior when she told me she had met him and that she thought he could be the one. But this wasn’t the first time she had thought a guy she was dating was “the one”.
I’d had that once. Thinking a guy was “the one” and devoting all my time to and energy to him. I took another sip of my drink and pushed the thoughts out of my head. Even five years later I couldn’t think about it.
“So, are you nervous about your interview?” She asked.
I pursed my lips as I thought about my answer “Sort of. But the truth is, I don’t even think I want the job.”
“Are you kidding me? Interning with Vicky Cosmos isn’t something you want? That’s like a dream job and you are a total shoo-in.”
“Yeah, thanks to mommy dearest.” I rolled my eyes.
“So? You still deserve it. You’ve got such an amazing skill. I don’t want to see it go to waste.” She took a sip of her drink and then checked her lipstick in her compact. “This Jeffree Star Liquid Lip is amazing. Just saying.”
I laughed. I thought about the time we went to VidCon and how she instantly connected with so many YouTubers.
Sure, I’d grown up in Hollywood with my dad owning one of the biggest movie production companies. I was accustomed to being around celebrities, but YouTubers were different. These people were my peers and something about them being considered “famous” was hard to get used to. But Blair and I had always enjoyed going to VidCon and talking with some of them.
“Seriously though, you don’t think you want the job with Vicky?” She asked.
I chewed on my lip. “Um, I’m not sure.”
“What do you want to do?”
“That’s the thing. I’m not sure. My whole life, everything’s been pushed on me. Friends, boyfriends, where I went to college, what I studied, now this job. This is going to sound lame and maybe just a little spoiled, but I’m tired of everything being planned out for me.
She set her cup down. “I get it. You’ve never been allowed the freedom to make your own choices. You need to do whatever will make you happy. Not your mom and not your dad. They need to understand that.”
“But that’s -”
“Easier said than done?” She finished for me.
I nodded my head
“I know but you are an adult now. If you don’t want to follow in her footsteps, she needs to just deal with it.” Blair said.
She was right; I was an adult even though they still treated me like a child. Why was I wasting any more time trying to appease them? I shouldn’t have been.
“Thank you, Blair. I’m gonna miss you and your wisdom.”
“I’m just doing my job. And I’m gonna miss you too. But I’ll come to visit you as often as I can. This isn’t going to change our friendship. I promise. If you need me, you can call me anytime. Noon or night, happy or sad news. I’m here for you.” She said.
“Same.” I felt tears stinging the corners of my eyes. “Oh god.” I didn’t want to cry in public.
Blair handed me a napkin.
“Thank you.” I said.
“No crying until you leave. Because if you start. I’ll start and then we will both be sitting here blubbering.” Her voice cracked.
For a moment we sat not talking at all. We were just absorbing the moment. We’d never lived so far apart before in our lives. It was a lot to handle, and I was glad to know at least someone would miss me. Even if it wasn’t my flesh and blood. Blair had been there for me more in my life than my own family had. In a way she was my only family.
The ambiance of the room changed as a more upbeat song came on the radio. I drank the final bit of my coffee and checked the time. It was 10:05. I had to get going soon if I wanted to make good time that day.
“I’m gonna miss you,” Blair said as she hugged me goodbye at my car.
“I’m gonna miss you too,” I said. Tears fell. I couldn’t help it.
“No. I said don’t cry.” She laughed as tears formed in her own eyes. “Call me as soon as you get to your first stop.”
“I will,” I promised. I had only planned on driving 8 hours a day. Anything over that and I knew it would push it for me. It would take me about five days to get there.
We said one final goodbye, hugging tightly and then I got into my car and was off. Headed out of the only city I had ever loved. Away from the only people I’d ever known. Into a future, I was still uncertain about.
I checked my phone for any sign of contact from my parents. Neither of them had even called to make sure I’d been okay on my first day. There was nothing. I should have been more used to the disappointment by then. For whatever reason, I was still holding onto the thought maybe my parents would at least pretend to care more about me. At 22, I shouldn’t have cared so much about wanting my parent’s attention, but I felt like I needed that validation, like I needed their attention. It must have been normal for children to feel that way when they grew up with absent parents.
I spent much of my childhood raised by my au pair, Tiffany. She was everything my mother wasn’t. Kind, caring, and present. She gave me the attention I wasn’t getting from my own parents and for the longest time, besides Blair, I felt like she was the only person I could talk to. She was with me the day I got my first period. I had bled through my pants and she gave me a tampon and a change of clothes. By then, I’d already known about period’s, but it was still horrifying.
My mom let her go when I turned 14. She told her I was old enough to take care of myself. I always wondered if it had something to do with how close we’d gotten and that made my mom jealous. Or if it was so she could control me more and sculpt me into the perfect replica of her.
I wondered how Tiffany was doing as I loaded my car up with the overnight bag, I brought into the hotel with me. I had made it to Green River, Utah the night before and was almost 2 hours ahead of my schedule. If I kept up with that pace, I’d be in NYC on Thursday. I had planned to be there by Friday so I could have the weekend to recover from the long drive. But a day earlier would be even better. I was already feeling over this trip.
I looked at the hotel and laughed. My mom would have lost her mind had she seen that I was staying in a 2-star hotel. I wondered where the paparazzi was, I could have used my picture being taken outside that hotel.
After leaving my room key with the receptionist and checking out, I left Green River and headed onto the next leg of my trip. I’d be staying in Julesburg, Colorado that night.
I’d been to Colorado a time or two for skiing in Aspen and I’d always loved the state. There was so much natural beauty to it. I had never driven through the state and I was excited to see parts of it I never had before. As far as I had known, Colorado would be one of the most beautiful states I’d be driving through.
After less than two hours of driving, I saw the “Colorful Colorado” sign and got excited. I couldn’t wait to be driving down I-70 toward Denver. The mountains there seemed so different, so much more beautiful than anywhere else in the Rocky Mountains, let alone the world.
I reached Grand Junction, Colorado at 9:47 A.M. and stopped for breakfast at a place called “Starvin’ Arvin’s”. I almost wished I would have driven the extra hour and a half so I could have stayed there the night before. It was a gorgeous city surrounded by mountains. I got out of my car and took a deep breath, breathing in the Colorado air. The air there was much thinner than I had remembered.
“Just one?” The hostess asked when I walked into the restaurant.
“Yes, please,” I said.
People thought it was weird to eat at restaurants alone, but I’d always done it. I was constantly around people. Family, friends, celebrities. Sometimes it was just nice to be alone. To go eat a meal in peace. I’d sit and listen to people’s conversations. I learned a lot about the world by doing this. It allowed me to ground myself before having to submerge myself back into the everyday bustle. Over the years, I had found out that a lot of older, married couples were having affairs. Mostly the bored housewives in Beverly Hills who would be off with their pool boys. But there were also the CEOs that would take their secretary out and think they were fooling everyone by having a “business” lunch yet at the same time, they’d be talking about their extracurricular activities as if no one was around.
“Would you like a booth or a table?” She asked.
“Either is fine,” I said and followed the girl to a table near the back. She handed me a menu when I sat down. “Thank you.”
She nodded her head and walked away, going back over to the hostess station.
I looked over the menu, my mouth watered at the selections. I was starving and I hated the feeling.
“Good afternoon I’m Tanya. I’ll be your waitress” a short, dark-haired woman in about her early thirties introduced herself.
“Hello,” I responded, smiling at her and not getting one in return. I was used to this.
“Can I get you started with something to drink? A coke or an iced tea?”
“I’ll take coffee, thank you,” I said to her. “And I think I’m ready to order.”
I gave her my order, and she jotted it down. Letting me know she would have it out soon, she disappeared toward the back of the restaurant. Which was tiny and there weren’t very many people inside. It felt cozy as George Michael’s voice crooned the lyrics to Careless Whisper. I felt like I could stay, and people watch all day long.
A lady was sitting near me, a few tables away with her son. He looked to be about five years old. He had a mess of blonde hair on his head. He was coloring with the provided crayons and coloring sheet and his mom was staring into her phone. I wondered what their story was. Was she married? Was she happy?
Tanya set my coffee down in front of me and steam poured from the cup. I opened two packages of sweet n’ low and two creamers, stirring each in as I added it. I liked my coffee a little sweet. My food came out soon after which surprised me.
Once I finished my meal and paid, I got back on the road. As I approached Denver, I had a last second idea. I had never been to Wyoming in my life and I could get to NYC driving through it. I pulled off the highway and looked at my map to see. According to Google Maps, I could take a two-hour detour into Wyoming and then to Julesburg. I got back on I-76 and headed north on I-25. I had always wanted to see all 50 states and knew I, realistically, wouldn’t have another opportunity like this again. But as I drove north, I noticed a dark storm cloud looming, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with it. When I stopped for gas in Loveland, I checked the weather. There was a terrible thunderstorm with hail in Cheyenne. I didn’t want to deal with that. I figured I could skip Wyoming this time. I’d just have to make the time later on to visit all 50 states. I found a different way on Google Maps and headed that way.
Thirty minutes later, just as I had gotten through Greeley, Colorado, my car overheated. The temperature gauge shot up and my car lost power. Steam poured from the hood and up my windshield.
“Fuck!” I yelled. This was just what I needed. I put on my flashers and pulled to the side of the road. I banged my fist on the steering wheel. Of course, I’d have car issues when I was making good time. Luck must have still been slightly on my side as a tow truck pulled up right behind me.
“Hey you okay?” The guy asked when he reached my window and I rolled it down some.
“I think so. I’m just not sure what is going on with my car.” I said.
“Pop the hood.” The guy said. “Pretty sure I already know what’s going on.”
I did as he asked and got out of the car. I stood with him at the front of my car as he lifted the hood. Steam was still pouring out.
“Looks like your water pump went out. Happens a lot with these cars. I can tow you to my uncle’s shop and we can fix it for you.”
I didn’t have much of a choice, so I agreed to let him tow it. I climbed into the tow truck with the guy. my pepper spray tucked into my purse in an accessible place. I knew I could never be too cautious. Or maybe it was my mother coming out in me. She was always being overly cautious. Especially if surrounded by people that weren’t to her social standing.
“What brings ya to good ole’ Colorado?” The guy was handsome. I could admit that. He had dirty blonde, short hair, and bluish green eyes. He didn’t dress like the guys back in California.
“I have an interview in New York City. I was just driving through.”
The guy whistled. “Damn. What kind of interview?”
“Fashion.” I didn’t think he wanted to hear all the details about my job interview. I was right as he only nodded his head. We drove past a Peterbilt truck center and it reminded me of the movie “Cars”. I’d gone to the premiere with my parents when I was a child.
Five minutes later we pulled off the highway and onto a small road that was taking us toward a town called Southwood. It seemed small; a lot smaller than I was used to. And a lot less busy. He pulled into the mechanic shop. It sat next to a Family Dollar, a hotel called “Southwood Inn was on the other side of the Family Dollar and there were a small diner and a gas station across the street.
“Got a bad water pump.” The tow truck driver told his uncle.
“Ah.” The uncle looked at me. “They are notorious for that.”
“Really?” I asked. I never paid attention when I was buying the car. But that’s because money wasn’t a problem and if my car had issues, I had the cash to get it fixed right away. I supposed most people didn’t have that kind of life.
“Yep. Now I don’t have this part on hand. I’m gonna have to special order it. I think I can have the part here in three days’ time.” He said.
“I’m not sure that will work. I need to be in New York City on Friday.” I told him.
“I’ll see if I can get the part overnighted, but I can’t make any guarantees.”
“Okay. Thank you.” I told him. I figured I could leave Friday and drive for 13 or 14 hours each day and get there Sunday night. I knew that would make me exhausted but at least I’d make it for my interview.
“In the meantime, you can stay at The Southwood Inn right there next door.” He said pointing in the direction behind me.
“Lucas, give her a ride to the hotel, will ya?” He said.
“Thank you, but that’s unnecessary. I can walk, really.” I said.
He put his hands up, “No, no. I insist.”
I went to my car and took out the bags I would need for the next few days and then handed my keys over to the older gentleman. Then I got into the car with Lucas.
“We’ll take good care of it.” He said when he dropped me off.
“Thank you,” I said and closed the truck door before heading into the hotel to get a room.
Thanks for all of your support! ❤