Speaking of irony, the Oberon series is all about coming home, and here I am all week complaining because I was home and didn't want to be. So since we're talking about being careful what you wish for, today's excerpt is a scene from the beginning of A Taste of Honey (book 4 in the series).
But first, please, please, please, download your FREE copy of Such Fleeting Pleasures. I'll be pulling this offer as soon as the limit is reached, so if you want it, don't delay!
In a lot of ways, Oberon is typical of any one of several small towns to be found along California’s Central Coast. Clinging to sheer, corrugated green cliffs above a windswept strand of pale, golden sand, it lacks a little of the endless sunshine boasted by its neighbors to the south, enjoying instead a milder, more temperate climate and, for much of the year, a lot of fog.
The area surrounding the town lacks one other very important California mainstay as well: the plethora of freeways that grace most of the rest of state arelargely absent here. Bounded on the west by the broad, brilliant blue crescent of San Bartolo Bay, and to the east by the majestic bulk of Mt. Totawka, the ‘sacred mountain’ of local lore, Oberon is virtually isolated. Set amid a tangled network of canyons and creeks, undeveloped wilderness and--wherever the landscape and the environment have cooperated--acres of agricultural fields, it’s a hard place to get to. It can be an even harder place to leave behind.
But if Oberon was ever the type of funky beach town where teenaged girls with sun bleached hair, driving station wagons with surfboards tied to the roof was a common sight, it certainly is not that way anymore. So when Lucy Greco-Cavanaugh did happen to spy one, rolling down Main Street one sunny morning late in April, followed only a few minutes later, by a longhaired young man in a VW convertible rabbit, also with surfboard, she knew something strange was up.
Perhaps someone was making a movie, she reasoned. Or maybe--and being a lifetime resident of Oberon this was of course the theory she favored--a sudden tear in the fabric of space-time had inadvertently allowed her to take a nostalgic glimpse back in time to the California-dreamin’ fantasies of an earlier age.
Not coincidentally, this time displacement theory was one that she found herself applying to more and more events of late. She was thirty seven
years old, and she had memories
that spanned most of those years, albeit, with varying amounts of clarity. But somehow, lately, it was almost as if all
those memories didn’t quite add up the way they should. For several months now, she had been aware of
a vague sense of dissatisfaction
growing within her, coupled with a worrisome preoccupation with the past. As if some invisible anchor line that had
once kept her mind tethered in the present had been cut. No matter how hard she tried to stay focused,
her mind kept drifting back to places it had already been.
Perhaps it had to do with the fact that while everyone around her seemed suddenly immersed in fresh new lives and new loves, she’d had to content herself with more of the same old same old. Not that there was any part of her life that she wanted to change, she reminded herself sternly. She took a moment to rap her knuckles against the side of one of the wooden half barrels that served as planters on the terrace of the tea shop where she and her two best friends were having breakfast. The same old everything she had was pretty damn great.
She had two wonderful kids, satisfying work, a comfortable house, and she’d been happily married to the love of her life for the past sixteen and a half years. It was just that, after all those years, everything seemed to have gotten the slightest bit stale. She couldn’t help but remember how things used to be--
“Okay, Lucy,” Marsha snapped, “What’s wrong? You’ve been sitting here sighing to yourself for the past half-hour. You’re driving me nuts.”
Lucy frowned as she reached across the table for the pot of lavender honey. “Nothing’s wrong,” she answered.
She could feel both Marsha and
Scout eyeing her curiously as she occupied herself for several minutes
deliberately drizzling the honey over the buttered French baguette on her
plate, but she refused to return their gazes.
“And anyway, I was not sighing.”
“You were sighing,”
Marsha insisted. “Wasn’t she sighing, Scout?”
Lucy looked up impatiently as Scout turned weary hazel eyes in her direction. “What can I say, Lucy? It sounded like sighing to me, too.” Scout shrugged, absently stroking her baby’s head. Three week old Cole, who was turning out to be one of those preternaturally alert infants who have to be held all the time, had finally fallen asleep at her breast.
“Well, you’re wrong. Both of you.” Lucy took a big bite of bread and honey, and stared defiantly at her friends: Marsha with her new boyfriend, and Scout with both a new husband and a new baby. There was no way she was ever going to discuss what was bothering her with either of them.
She couldn’t believe that, with everything she had to be grateful for, she could still be so petty. She couldn’t believe that she would actually begrudge her two best friends a little happiness. But the plain fact of the matter was that she was so jealous of both of them, it was a wonder she wasn’t as green as an avocado. She saw the way Sam acted around Marsha, the way Nick looked at Scout, and she knew that once, she and Dan had been that way, too. Somewhere along the way it seemed they had lost that.
And she wanted it back. Oh, how she wanted it back! But, after all these years--
wasn’t sure that was even possible.
You couldn’t recreate newness could you? You couldn’t expect to discover anything too different about the same old person you’d been regularly and intimately exploring for almost two decades. And how could anyone ever hope to recapture the exquisite torture of doubt and uncertainty that so often accompanied the first stages of
love? She wasn’t even sure she wanted to--except
when she remembered the way the agony transformed into ecstasy…
Be careful what you wish for, a soft voice seemed to whisper in her head. She shivered as a
gust of wind swept across the
terrace setting the wind chimes to tinkling in the trees around them. Lavender spikes swayed on their long stems
and the tiny pink Cecile Brunner roses that covered the arbor over their heads
shed a few more petals onto the table.
Cole whimpered slightly. Lucy
watched as Scout wrapped his blanket more snugly around her baby and Marsha
picked the petals out of her teacup.
“So...I think the honey turned out pretty good, didn’t it?”
asked as she swallowed the last of her bread, and determinedly pushed any other
thoughts out of her mind. Beekeeping was
a recent sideline she had started, she’d needed something new to occupy her
mind, after all. This lavender honey had
been one of her first forays into flavored honey.
“Good? Lucy, it’s sensational!” Scout assured her.
Marsha chuckled. “I think Sam thought he’d died and gone to heaven when he first tasted it. He can’t get enough of the stuff.”
Lucy poured honey on another slice of“Lucy!” Marsha glared at her in exasperation
bread and felt her mood plummet
again as she registered the suspiciously rosy pink color that suddenly tinted
Marsha’s cheeks. Besides the lavender,
she’d also experimented with rosemary, ginger, vanilla, sage and white truffle
honeys in recent weeks. And although Dan
had expressed his approval of all of them, he had yet to take any of them
beyond the kitchen. She heaved another
sigh. No doubt about it. Something was seriously amiss in her
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