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?
As the sun set, the kids got a chance to use some handheld sparklers. They twirled around and tried to write out their name before the fire completely fizzled. Sallie, of course, had hers as far out from her face as possible. But we had to keep reminding Joel to try to do the same.
And then, sitting on the beachy area outside of our tent, it was time for the main event. I leaned my head against Ryan’s shoulder and watched as the fireworks erupted in the sky. I thought they were especially beautiful over the water. I had always loved the Fourth of July growing up, but the California displays far outranked those in my hometown.
Uncharacteristically, Joel decided the excitement of the noise and lights was a time to calm down. And he chose to do it on my lap. Ryan touched his son’s shoulder as Joel leaned against my chest, and we both looked once more to the sky.
“Sallie, look at that one!” the little boy cried out, amazed at the latest bloom.
When I glanced over at Sallie, who was sitting on the other side of Ryan, she wasn’t looking at the sky. She was looking at me. And she had her same look from the baseball game. I gave her a soft smile, and she buried her head under her dad’s arm. Or course, Ryan, with his face of ever-growing whiskers, didn’t notice and was looking upward.
I realized a moment alone with Ryan to talk was simply not going to happen. The kids were sleeping in the same tent as us. And even though it was supposed to be made for six people, we were a foot or two away from being human sardines. We all snuggled into our individual sleeping bags—Sallie’s with an assortment of princesses on it, Joel’s looking like a pair of jeans, Ryan’s camo, and mine—bought just for the occasion—was half blue and half yellow. We told stories, shone the flashlight around our faces and hands, and then the kids, thankfully, tuckered out. It had been a long, excitement-filled day, after all.
“Go outside with me for a minute or two?” I whispered to Ryan in the complete darkness.
He met his hand with mine. “Okay. Careful,” he noted the kids sleeping the opposite direction at our feet.
We ducked out of the tent and walked a few steps or so away. The stillness was so peaceful. There was only enough light so I could see his face—that gorgeous face with the deep blue eyes. I loved him so much. I knew we were going to be okay. We simply needed more moments like the one we were in.
“Ryan, you know I was teasing you earlier about the not-knowing-talent thing and the judging, right?”
“Well, I wasn’t exactly teasing you about your baseball skills.” He bumped his hip jovially onto mine, and I was glad to find that teensiest bit of Ryan and Bethany again.
“You totally have a right to do that,” I joshed back. After another moment of just looking out to the water, I said, “Are you all right? Is everything—"
“We need another—Oh, oh, crud!”
All of a sudden, the skies let loose. But it wasn’t with leftover fireworks. It was with buckets and buckets of rain, as if God had been holding on to his tears alongside us those past few weeks. And the “expert” weather forecasters hadn’t predicted it at all.
Ryan dipped me under his arm and onto his chest the best he could, and we scurried back into the tent. I wanted to shake off but really couldn’t in the limited space. Instead, I drip-dried a little as Ryan and I both looked at each other.
“What’s going on?” Sallie had awoken.
“Just rain, baby,” Ryan whispered back, crouching next to her as I made my way into the comfy snugness of my sleeping bag, which was acting like part towel.
“No thunder or lightning?” she questioned with obvious concern.
“No. Go back to sleep. We don’t want to wake your brother.”
Sallie looked at her dad with a head shake. “No. We don’t!”
Ryan kissed her blonde head and elongated his body into his own sleeping bag. He turned to me. “You good?”
Yes. No. I wanted to talk. I wanted to understand him and whatever was going on.
Sallie was lying in her sleeping bag, looking at us. Joel, with Eli tucked in next to him, was starting to stir. I wasn’t going to get any answers that night. And I knew I couldn’t reply to Ryan without lying or expanding the conversation. With the zippered cocoons around our individual bodies and the kids next to us, we were even farther apart than the night before lying on the living room sofa.
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Tails California is the conclusion to my Heads/Tails duet. It is a must read for those 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, holding onto love, staying true to herself, and dealing with grief. It’s like watching a television mini-series drama but in book format. And books are always better than movies, right? Perfect for a lazy, summer weekend or while the kids are at camp, pick up this two-book set today!
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Runs July 1 – July 7, 2022.
Winner will be drawn on July 8, 2022.
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=BuO6L62LrlM&t=4s