Title: Tails California
Author: Grea Warner
Genre: Women’s Fiction/New Adult
The week was supposed to end with a white dress and promises. It didn’t. Instead there was a black hearse.
Bethany and Ryan’s dream day is marred by the unexpected news of someone close to them passing away. More than ever, they need to lean on each other to help get through this devastating loss. But it won’t be easy.
Grief has its own timeline and also has a unique way of assigning blame … warranted or not. Not only is Bethany struggling with her own emotions, but she feels helpless when it comes to her role in the family. Is Ryan pulling away? Are the kids acting differently? And why would a fantastic career opportunity cause such anger and stress?
Will their coin flip bring a happily ever after or a sad goodbye?
Even though I was upset, I was responsible and considerate enough to let Ryan know where I ended up, and to reassure, true to my word, that I was not bailing. I just needed a break. I found myself in a dark movie theater ten-plus minutes into the actual film. It was really ideal—no one could see me, and I didn’t need to focus. I could let my mind go blur.
Movie? Was his text reply to mine. When a screenshot was my only response, he texted back, OK. Thx for letting me know. C U after. And when I didn’t reply, he followed with, For Real.
I looked at my phone screen and then buried it into my purse … deep down. I shouldn’t have been texting during a movie. And … I didn’t want to.
Silence in the Thompson abode was a rarity. Between the kids, dog, music, and much more, we normally lived in a lively residence. But silence was exactly what I returned home to much later that evening.
Figuring everyone was asleep, I started toward the staircase, only to spot the light coming from the floor lamp in the living room. “You’re still up?” I asked as I entered the room and spotted Ryan on the sofa softly petting Lyric. “And with the dog.”
I wasn’t really shocked. Ryan pretended Lyric was an annoyance, but he loved the puppy as much as the rest of us did. And even though Lyric loyally followed me around—especially during my early-morning-rise routine—and was so sweet with the kids, he constantly looked for Ryan when the music mogul wasn’t home and lavished up his approval when he was.
He looked up at me. “Yeah. He seemed a little lethargic … a little whiney. And, I needed someone to listen to my woes.”
As if knowing we were talking about him, Lyric made his way off Ryan’s lap, onto the floor, and to me. I picked him up and gave him a cuddle. He did seem a little sleepy but loving just the same … most likely picking up on all the sadness and confusion in the household around him.
“How was the movie?”
Ryan’s question was an obvious effort to keep everything between us on an even keel. And I played along. We had learned over the year-plus of being together that the tactic worked best with us.
“You would have liked it—good old-fashioned chase scene.” I hesitated but then went for it, knowing it would surely break the niceties, “And the couple had more problems than us. Can you believe it?”
When he stood up to meet me, I noted he had changed clothes since I had left. He no longer had on the plaid shirt and slacks he had been wearing at Kari’s condo, the bar, the station … He was now wearing a casual, all-black ensemble, which I hoped didn’t represent his mood.
“I’m sorry.” He nodded slowly and methodically before really explaining why he was apologizing. “Not just for the fight at the bar. But for worrying you that I was hurt. And for making you think you aren’t enough or you have to rival her. I need you to know …” He dipped his head so his eyes would exactly meet mine before he started again. “I need you to know I love you.”
I answered immediately, not only because I had no doubt but because I realized he truly did understand why I was so upset. “Ryan, I do. I know you love me.” I expected to see his shoulders drop a little … to ease the tension, but they didn’t.
Instead, he said, “And … you feel the same way, right?”
“Yes.” Of course, I loved him. “Why would—"
“You’ve never not ‘for realed’ me back,” he spoke of our texting, and I placed the dog on the floor. “You did it on purpose. You know you did.” Even though it was accusatory, he didn’t say it in a mean way. He was just hurt.
“I did,” I admitted with a puff of regretful air. “I was upset and, yes, coming down from being scared about you.” I made sure to meet his eyes, wanting him to know the sincerity in my words. “But it’s not at all how I feel … will always feel. I’m sorry. I guess I’m not the person you told Maks I was. I’m not a rock or even a pebble. I allow myself to break and be weak when it comes to Kari. I always have a little.”
That was the truth. My insecurities about not being good enough definitely festered and multiplied like nothing else when it came to being compared to an international singing superstar. And, even worse, a woman Ryan had loved.
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What’s the first binge-worthy book you read and why was it a must-read?
The first binge-worthy series and author I remember reading goes back to childhood. I devoured the words of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series, wanting to travel in my mind with Laura, Pa, Ma, Mary, and Carrie. I remember going to the store and getting the next book, and then the next one, etc. etc. As a young adult, it was anything written by S.E. Hinton. The Outsiders, Tex, Rumble Fish, That Was Then This Is Now were all read quickly and stuck with me for a long time. What drew me to those books were the characters. They weren’t one-dimensional or glossy. They experienced deep emotions and traumas. But even when they felt lost, scared, or alone, you knew they had someone to count on, whether it was family or the bond of friendship.
What makes your featured book a binge-worthy read?
Tails California is the conclusion to my Heads/Tails series. Heads Carolina and Tails California are ideal for readers who like an emotional, heartfelt story told in a current day setting. Experience Bethany’s world as she struggles with making it in the music industry, finding love, staying true to herself, and dealing with grief. With it only being a two-book set, Heads/Tails is perfect for binge-reading over a lazy, summer weekend or after the kids go back to school. It’s like watching a television mini-series drama but in book format. And books are always better than the movies, right?
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon (US) gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US account to win.
Runs August 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on September 1.
Grea Warner wants you to cry. She wants your heart to break a little, too. Why? Because that means you feel her characters as if you were one of them. With a background in daytime dramas and a realistic approach to life, Grea writes novels that blur the line of Women’s Fiction and Romance. If you’re a fan of binge watching a TV series or have a passion for the arts like Grea, then you’ll love her fictional serials.
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YouTube trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrz9DjROoIM