Excerpt: I’d never seen Val so upset before. I’d flustered her on a regular basis back in
the day. I’d always pushed her to her limits on purpose, trying to get her strong façade
to crack and she never once had. She was the strongest person I’d ever met. It said
something about her emotional state of mind that she’d asked for a few moments to
collect herself before having to do the signing with me.
I knew she probably wanted these few minutes alone, but I couldn’t pull myself
away. I couldn’t leave her like this. I cleared my throat to gain her attention, and she
jumped at the intrusion. She whirled around, hastily wiping away a tear or two as she
forced her emotions down and reverted back into the calm, controlled woman I’d seen
She opened her mouth as if to explain herself but shut it again, realizing that there
was no hiding what I’d just witnessed. Instead she decided to ignore it. “Kyle Hamilton.”
It was a warm greeting and a sigh at the same time.
Her smile was sincere, and her eyes held genuine pleasure, but there was a
wariness about her that made me afraid to approach her. We stared at each other in
silence, both cataloging the changes four years had brought. I wasn’t sure what to do or
how to break the silence between us, so Val took the initiative. “I didn’t think I’d ever see
you again,” she said with a small shake of her head.
“Me, either.” I finally broke from my stupor and managed a small smile. “Hug for
an old friend?”
I held out my arms, still not taking any steps further into the room, letting her
come to me on her terms. It took her a moment to decide, but eventually she pushed her
smile up into her eyes and crossed the room to me.
Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which family and friends still tease her. She’s obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and loves to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and four children.
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