- N. N. Light
Season of the Fawns by @JeanAnnWilliams is a Best Books of '21 pick #newadult #bestbooks #giveaway
Title: Season of the Fawns
Author: Jean Ann Williams
Genre: Action & Adventure, New Adult
Vale and Caleb are twin cousins. Born on the same day, they’ve been raised together since Caleb’s parents’ death, and Vale feels a strong responsibility for her cousin. Especially after Caleb survived a mountain climbing accident, and now suffers from debilitating migraines.
Days before their annual hunting trip, Vale finds Caleb unconscious in his cottage. After he’s transported to the local hospital, she discovers how severe Caleb’s pain has become. As the cousins enter a new season of change, will Vale’s grit be enough to carry Caleb through the most difficult time in his life? Of both their lives?
1~I SHALL NOT WANT
A RUSTY, BULLET-RIDDEN stop sign leaned at a precarious angle on the side of the road. Vale shifted her Jeep CJ7 into first gear and slowed to a halt. She checked the watch fastened on her freckled wrist. I hope he didn’t have a bad night. After his climbing accident months ago on Watch Tower Mountain, her cousin Caleb suffered from monster headaches caused by his head injury.
She rolled into Caleb’s weed-infested driveway and halted next to his pickup. The swinging bridge their grandpa Papa had built long ago stood as a guard, yet welcomed her. Her western boots hit the ground with a thud. To better enjoy the smells of the last days of autumn, she drew in a deep breath. There was nothing like dried leaves, grasses, and pine needles to permeate the air. A sudden breeze swished her russet brown hair across her high cheek bones. She giggled at the tickle.
She walked around the Jeep and opened the passenger door. From the passenger seat she grabbed a woven basket filled with Caleb’s favorite foods and nudged the door shut. Vale glanced at her keys and threw them in the air. The sun glinted off them as they soared over the roll bar and plopped on the driver’s seat. Perfect toss.
The basket’s weight pulled at her arm, and she readjusted it. Their annual birthday hunting trip was next week. She couldn’t wait to talk about the details with Caleb.
Vale’s boot twisted sideways on pine cones, and she whirled her arm to gain her balance. “It’s time to rake Papa’s walkway.” Well, now it was Caleb’s. At a hurried pace, she reached the swinging wooden bridge. To steady herself, she grabbed onto the taut, rusty logging cable Papa used as a rail. At the sway of the bridge, her memories flowed. She was a little girl again at her grandparents’ cottage when she used to dangle her bare feet off the bridge and stare at fish in the creek below. She always waited for a flash of silver-blue on their fins. Now as her boots crunched on pebbled ground at the other side, the past swaddled her like a thick quilt.
When Grandma Nana and Papa had passed away and gone to the Great Beyond, Caleb became owner of the cottage. Vale was more than okay about that, because their grandparents left her the hunting cabin.
She stomped up the porch steps and stood before the rough-hewed wooden door. The knob wouldn’t budge. “Hey, Caleb.” Her eyes adjusted to the dark interior as she peeked through the door’s crisscross windowpanes. Clothes were scattered across the floor and sofa, and her gaze landed on Jimmy Bird’s now-vacant cage. Even a canary can’t live forever.
Her short fingernails tapped on the glass. “Hey, Cuz, I made your favorite pastrami on a French roll.” She paused and raised her voice. “Extra mustard and Ma’s pickled cucs.”
Vale glanced at the redwood floorboards as she sat their lunch basket down. She jogged back over the bridge and fetched her key ring. She stuck the key in the door, twisted, and pushed with her hand. The old wood groaned on its hinges. The smell of must and wisdom—reminding her of grandparents—met her nose. The scent widened the ache in her chest—much like a giant hole in the earth left by the exposed roots of an old growth tree. Would her heart never heal?
She propped the piggy door stopper against the kickplate, one of dozens of pigs from Nana’s collection. Vale set the lunch basket on a small entryway table and gasped. “Gross.” When did Caleb become such a slob?
Her once-tidy cousin now lived in clutter, cobwebs, and leftover moldy food in to-go containers. The word slob was too harsh for someone who had been meticulous. Just one more change in his character since the fall on Watch Tower Mountain. Even worse, Caleb, the mellow guy, seemed overrun by cranky mood swings. She kicked a trail with her boots and moved clothes, a few to-go containers, and stirred more than the scent of wisdom through the cottage. She plugged her nostrils. What she really wanted was to kick Watch Tower Mountain into a pile of rubble.
The click of clawed toenails came from the kitchen, and a short, dark shape appeared in the living room. Kippy dog. Caleb’s tri-Aussie whined and barked before she ran past Vale and disappeared outside. “Well, a fine howdy to you too.” She chuckled. That dog always had places to go and in a hurry. But Kippy acted more wound-up than usual.
Vale moved to a closed door. “Caleb?” She pressed her ear near the door jamb. “Are you ready in there? Did you remember our picnic?” With a tsk of her tongue, she twisted the glass knob and shoved against the warped door into Nana’s old sewing room. Closed shutters over the bay window let in slants of light that magnified the dust particles. The large sofa Caleb used as a bed filled the room, though bare of sheets and blankets. Vale furrowed her brows in a worry wart dance, stepped over his sawdust-covered jeans, and opened a door to their grandparents’ bedroom.
Vale rushed to where he lay on the floor next to the bed—Caleb. Twisted blankets encased his body and exposed only his head and shoulders. “Caleb?” His eyes fluttered, and he murmured slurred words she did not understand. Then a moan escaped his lips. A pent-up breath whooshed from her lungs. Get him up. After she lugged him onto his pillow, she nudged his shoulder. “Caleb, what happened?” He shivered. She fished her cell phone from the pocket of her western-riding skirt, while her other hand laid on his light-brown hair. She punched buttons as her thumb trembled.
“911. What is your emergency?”
“My cousin needs an ambulance. 2020 Rifle Creek Road, fifteen minutes past Forest Glen Retirement Center in Forest Glen.”
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GoodReads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14840858.Jean_Ann_Williams
What makes your featured book a must-read?
We need to reach more of the New Adult audience, which is around 18- to 25-year-olds. And my book is choked full of action with a forest setting which is needed for readers hungry for the outdoors adventure.
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Jean Ann Williams lives on the coast of Oregon with her husband Jim. She began her writing career in 1994 by reading a stack of books on the craft of writing. Since then, Jean Ann has published over 300 articles and short stories on the topics of Christianity, health, travel, friendship, relationships, family life, Sunday school take-home papers, and the loss of a child by suicide. In her free time, Jean Ann enjoys Tunisian crocheting, reading inspirational books, gardening, and playing Scrabble with her grandchildren. Sometimes they let Nana win.
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