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Old Castle Secrets
(Happil-TEA Ever After Tea Room, #1)
Publication date: April 1st 2022
Genres: Women’s Fiction
Three generations of heartbreak. One chance to heal old wounds.
“I never want to see you again!” Khrista didn’t believe her daughter when she stormed out of her life five years ago. But every day since, her daughter’s angry words have echoed in Khrista’s mind, even as she tries to hide the truth from her chosen family–the community that raised her. Finding solace in her preschool classroom by day and her whisky by night, Khrista is forced to confront her pride and her problems when someone from her past brings news that threatens to drive her deeper into the danger zone.
Kaelyn loves the life she built–doting husband, dream home by the beach, and a baby on the way. But when her long-lost grandmother contacts her out of the blue, life starts feeling off-kilter. She’s eager to have a blood relation to love, but meeting her grandmother again uncovers painful feelings about her own mother she keeps buried.
Estranged from her daughter and granddaughter for over twenty years, Daisy hasn’t had an easy life. But with the death of her abusive husband, she’s determined to start living. Step one: find her granddaughter, whom she hasn’t seen since the child was five. Maybe a reunion with Kaelyn will lead to mending fences with Khrista, too, and allow Daisy to rectify all the wrongs and fix everything before it’s too late.
Join the O’Donnell women on their quest for forgiveness and family and love.
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Careful not to spill her tea, Khrista bent to retrieve the papers from the plank wood floor, appreciating the nostalgic creak of the wood as she shifted her feet.
Clarice shook her head and chuckled as the kittens scurried under tables and over feet, causing a ripple of excitement among the tea-sipping, chattering patrons. “We only get one life to live. Might as well fill it with love.”
Her words struck Khrista in the heart, and something told her that’s where Clarice had intended them to land. Was it any wonder the people in town referred to Clarice and her community of do-gooders as the Love Warriors? She excelled at sniper attacks of nurturing.
Breaking eye contact so Clarice wouldn’t stare directly into her soul, Khrista brought the lightly steaming tea to her lips and turned to resume her task of searching for the comforts she craved—her favorite spot and the cat she adored.
Upon turning, however, she nearly choked on her tea. Luckily, the liquid slid down her throat before she embarrassed herself.
Standing directly behind her was a tall, graceful young woman whose copper hair and vivid green eyes reminded Khrista of the day Kaelyn hurried home to tell her all about the “other redhead” she had befriended and how they stood up against the other third graders who picked on them for their unique coloring. Sienna’s family had hosted Kaelyn for countless family trips and sleepovers, even though Khrista had been unable to reciprocate. Sienna’s mother baked cookies and packed nutritious picnic lunches when the girls went for beach hikes on the weekends.
Sienna had been Kaelyn’s best childhood friend. The friend Kaelyn had eventually mourned. Because of Khrista.
Ducking her head, Khrista maneuvered around her, hoping after all these years Sienna wouldn’t recognize—or maybe even remember—her.
“Kaelyn’s mom—how are you? It’s been forever.”
“Oh, goodness. I didn’t see you there. How are you, Sienna?” Please don’t want to make small talk. Please be in a hurry to leave.
Please don’t bring up the past.
“I so wish I had time to catch up with you, but I’m meeting my parents for dinner and just needed to swing by to grab a chai latte so I can stay awake. Jet lag, ugh.”
“I won’t keep you. You came to the right place for the best chai.”
Khrista started toward the bookcase, but Sienna shot a well-manicured hand out to grab her arm.
“I haven’t talked to Kaelyn in ages, but I saw her birthday post on Facebook today. You must be so insanely excited to be a soon-to-be grandmom! That post was the cutest. But Kaelyn has always been so creative. Congratulations!”
Bomb dropped, Sienna didn’t wait for Khrista to respond. She tapped Khrista on her bony shoulder and went to place her order.
The room swerved, and Khrista’s hands trembled violently, sloshing tea onto her sneaker, already stained with tempera paint from her time in the classroom.
Kaelyn was having a baby.
Something lodged in her throat, and breathing became as impossible as fixing her dysfunction. Her vision narrowed until all she could focus on was the exit.
Amanda loves spending time with her adult children and her real-life hero. She is obsessed with bookstores, trees, elephants, castles, tea, and traveling (and a lot more, but she thought this should be brief.)
Amanda enjoys writing about complicated family dynamics, flawed characters who could be your friends, and healing hearts. But no matter how emotional the story may be, she prides herself on ending in the most uplifting way possible and maintaining hope through any hardship. Amanda is a USA Today best-selling author of romance under another name.
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