“A sexual what?”

Alex Donovan raised his voice louder than he’d intended on the patio of the Makana Island Bistro while having a late lunch with Maddie. He shook his head in utter disbelief. He was sure he had heard her suggestion correctly. However, his mind had frozen for a moment.

“Sexual boot camp,” Maddie said, refilling her glass with the carafe of red wine.

Baffled, he tried to focus on her bizarre idea. “Is this carnal academy for your piece?”

“Nope.” Saluting him, she gave him a salacious smile. “Private Saunders reporting for duty, Sergeant Donovan.”

“I’m going to need reinforcements for this one.” He held his wine glass out for her to refill it. “You called me sergeant a few weeks ago.” He drank some wine. “Mystery solved.”

She gazed at him from the top of her glass through her lush lashes. “Drill sergeant’s more like it.”

He grinned at her latest shit-disturbing lark. “You? Follow orders?”

“There is that.” She speared a tortellini and a meatball onto her fork. “But I’m willing to learn. Basic training shouldn’t take too long.”

He tilted his wine glass toward hers. “I think you’ve spilled one glass too many, Saunders.”

“I only had a few ounces.” She picked up a breadstick. “I can handle the heavy artillery.” Her lips formed a delicate “O” as she bit off a small piece. “Imagine what advanced combat will be like.” With her fork, she arranged two meatballs beside each other on her plate, pushed a tortellini between them and moved the breadstick back and forth on top of the tortellini.

Well, fuck me. That’s the first time his cock had ever twitched—minor movement, but still—over a plate of meatballs and tortellini she’d shaped into missionary position—however, the breadstick was a thin and pitiful replica of a dick.

In spite of his astonishment, the animation on her flushed face drew a smile out of him. “You finished molesting your lunch?”

She trailed a long, slim finger around her plate. “I spotted a shop not far from here—Adam and Eve’s Naughty Mart.” Her voice oozed with a provocative suggestion. “Do you think they sell his and hers camo lingerie—”

“Men don’t wear lingerie.”

“We could still browse.” Lifting her glass under her upturned nose, she inhaled the wine. “I’m thinking we could use handcuffs, a whistle—”

“I don’t need props.” Shut the hell up, don’t encourage her. But damn, he was curious as to what she wanted to do with a whistle.

“You should be promoted to general then.” Her rosy cheeks lifted into a smile, reaching the mischievous glint in her eyes. “When do I report for duty? And I don’t have a problem going commando.”

He rolled his eyes, cut a piece of steak and shoveled into his mouth. “Of course not.”

“Like right now.”

Chewing the piece of meat until he was sure he wouldn’t choke, he chased it down with a generous gulp of wine. She had to be dicking around. She wore a short jean skirt, black hose and boots when they boarded in New York.

His testosterone receptors would have picked up a naked pussy sitting next to him for over ten hours on a plane, even though they’d slept for most of the flight.

“Thigh highs.” She pinched the black olives he set aside for her from his salad bowl. “And I commando’ed when I freshened up and changed clothes before we landed.”

“I didn’t ask.”

“But you were wondering.” She ate the olives and took a sip of wine. “Let’s discuss boot camp commencement—”

He wiped his mouth with the napkin, set it aside and picked up his wine glass. “Dare I ask where all this is coming from?”

She straightened in her seat and spoke into her spoon as a makeshift microphone. “I, Madison Elizabeth Saunders, am an erotic creature. It is my goddess-given right to participate in the pleasure process. I demand to experience the mini and the mother of them all, the multi-orgasm.”

In the span of a couple of minutes, she had baffled him more than once.

His extraordinary sixth sense and the built-in bullshit detector he needed to survive as a foreign correspondent usually forewarned him of any unexpected dangers. However, with Maddie, his razor-sharp instincts hadn’t kicked in. He’d tried many times to figure her out and had failed.

“Hey, sergeant, you still with me?”

He glanced around, thankful the other diners were busy with their meals and had missed her orgasm speech. “Yeah. Waiting for Scotty to beam me up.”

“You up to it?” For all her bravado, her cheeks turned a darker shade of pink. But the flame disappeared and she cranked up a wicked grin. “Literally?”

He drained the last of his wine and poured a few more ounces from the decanter. There had to be a logical explanation for her new boldness.

Clasping his hands behind his neck, he leaned back in his chair and waited for the “Gotcha, Alex.” It never came. She sat in silence, a playful expression plastered on her face. “Okay, Saunders, what’s the story? Jet lag? One of your pranks?”

“I told you.” She finished the two remaining meatballs on her plate and put her fork down with a contented sigh. “I have a plan.”

He unclasped his hands and leaned forward. “I’m still recuperating from your last plan.”

She swirled the wine in her glass. “You need to keep an open mind for this one.”

Well, hell. His mind more than opened, thanks to her nookie camp idea. A kaleidoscopic jumble of snapshots reeled through his head—mouth-to-dick-combat and moisture-seeking missile maneuvers.

He shook those visions out of his head. “You and your ideas are more dangerous than dodging bullets.”

She clicked her tongue—probably mistaking his holy-fuckhorse-is-she-serious? look—for an exasperated expression. “C’mon, Donovan, where’s your sense of adventure and fun?”

“Yeah, I get it. This stunt is for Reece’s comic strip, and I’m your guinea pig. Again.”

“Those red-polished toenails did earn Reece a lot of fan mail.”

He lifted his wine glass in mock salute. “Happy to oblige. My reputation as a serious reporter, notwithstanding.”

“It’s not my fault you’re a sound sleeper. Stop napping on my couch.”

“Sweetheart.” He laced the endearment with sarcasm. “I didn’t have time to remove your artwork from my toes, and I showered at the gym that day. The guys still call me Babe.”

“Didn’t he play baseball?” The warm breeze ruffled her thick shiny hair around her laughter. “I’m sorry.” She dabbed at her eyes. “Okay, turnaround is fair play.”

Her sandal hit the wooden deck with a low thump. She swung to the side and lifted her bare foot, wiggling her toes. “I painted yours,” she said, fiddling with her hair, twirling the ends. “You paint mine.”

“Not in this lifetime.”

“I won’t tell.”


His gaze traveled from her pink-tinted toes to her well-defined bare calves. That damn kaleidoscope returned with a vengeance. He pictured himself sitting on the floor, lubing her feet with oil, her toes playing with his full balls and then wrapping her warm slippery feet around his throbbing cock, rubbing back and forth and up and down.

His dick bristled, making its way to high-noon position.

What. The. Fuck?

He did not have a foot fetish and had never fantasized about shooting his load on a woman’s toes.

“Okay.” She turned in her chair and faced him. “Let’s get back on track and talk about the hot fun we can have on this gorgeous island.”

“That joke’s over.” He drained his wine. “Everyone needs a friend to act goofy with, and God only knows why, but I’m glad you’re mine.”

He liked hanging out with two types of women: women who made him laugh–like Maddie–and women who made him horny…blonde, know-the-score babes with a big rack. He did enough thinking and committing in his career.

He tented his fingers on the table and adopted a serious tone. “Okay, what’s going on? We’ve been friends for over six years.” They had always steered clear of intimacy. He had erected an imaginary neon “Hands Off” sign over her sweet head when he had first met her. Even though their present bantering gave him the urge to bring her to bed and do her until she couldn’t walk for a week. That would suck ass big time, since he’d be performing career and friendship suicide. “You’ve never given me any indication you were interested in a–what did you call it, a sexual boot camp. Now you have this one-track mind?”

“And it’s waiting for your train to pull in.”

He poured a tall glass of ice water, downed three-quarters of it and bio-fed the ice cubes to cool him off. “You need a real vacation, not another assignment.”

“Exactly. I’ve worked my tooshie off for the past four years. If sex were a religion, I’ve been a dedicated atheist.” She finished her wine. Her expression had mischief written all over it. “Want to take a trip downtown for a boxed lunch?”

“You did not just say that.” Where did she come up with this stuff all of a sudden? “Playboy called, they’d like their porn metaphors back.”

“Oh, please.” Her lips twitched at the corners. “As if that embarrasses you.”

No, but the mental image she’d created kept his attention and cock at full mast and now he wondered what it would be like to pleasure every molecule of her being.

Damn it.


“Hell on a stick. Where’s that man I ordered?”

Jason O’Neil got out of his car and heard the dark-haired woman shouting in front of the Maple Manor Inn.

A blonde woman sat on the porch railing. Jason couldn’t catch the blonde’s response, but he heard her laughter.

 “I wonder what this guy’s excuse is?” The brunette punctuated each word with a hammer.

His cell phone vibrated in his pocket. He took it out and glanced at the name flashed on the screen. It was his brother-in-law and colleague. He pressed the answer button with his thumb. “Hey, Marco.” He shut his car door leaned against it, keeping his gaze on the ranting brunette.

“Finally,” Marco said. “I haven’t been able to get a hold of you all day.”

“Parts of the highway had bad reception,” Jason said. “What’s up?”

“You met Maple’s owner?”

“Not yet.” Jason rolled his shoulders forward to work out the kinks. “I just got here.”

“Did you connect with her on the phone for a preliminary pitch?”

“Nope. Given the background information we dug up on her, I thought it was best to do a face-to-face pitch.” Jason glanced around, taking in the historic inn nestled in Vermont’s countryside amid a forest of autumn-colored maple trees. “I’ll introduce myself after I check-in.”

“You’re staying there?”

“I don’t have a choice.”

“What happened to The Jewel of Vermont? Didn’t Francesca reserve a suite?”

“Must have been a mix-up because when I arrived, they didn’t have a reservation in my name,” he said. “And they’re booked solid.”

“I’m sending Francesca an email right now. She’ll book you into another hotel.”

“I already touched base with her. Nothing available close by.” Jason walked toward the inn, sidestepping a muddy dip in the ground. “This is the only place with vacancies.”

Jason halted his steps and paid attention to the woman a few yards in front of him.

The brunette hammered a nail into the porch railing. “I bet he’s lost.” Her words resonated loud and clear. “And too macho to ask for directions.”

The blonde let out another peal of laughter as she opened the door and went inside the inn.

“You there?” Marco said. “Is this thing on?”

Jason returned to the call.

“Dude,” Marco said. “What’s going on?”

“I’m wiped. I want to check in and get myself organized.”

“Not surprised. You emailed the Derby’s contract at five this morning, which tells me you drove straight through. You could have stayed overnight in Buffalo.”

“I could have, but the Sabres didn’t have a home game.”

“At the risk of sounding like your sister, you’re going to burn out if you don’t take time off and decompress—”

“I’m flying south after I bag this deal and get that VP promotion.

“Text me as soon as it’s wrapped up. We’ll get legal on it right away.”

The brunette distracted Jason again as she walked backward on a muddy trail, dragging a garden hose.

“Jay, you still there?”

“Yeah.” Jason blinked and refocused on the call. “I’ll be in touch soon as she signs.”

“I’m betting in a day or so,” Marco said. “I have no doubt she’ll fall at your feet.”

The brunette tripped over a rake lying on the grass and tumbled to the ground.

 “You don’t know how accurate you are right now.” Jason picked up his pace. “Gotta go.” He ended the call and approached the woman sprawled on her back a few feet in front of him.

He bent and offered his hand.

She gripped his hand, heaved herself up with his help, and stood in front of him.

He wiped his hands together to get the dirt off. “Are you okay?” He tipped his head down to look at her. He couldn’t see her expression through her sunglasses.

“I’m fine. Thanks for your help.” She kept her head down as she shook her leg to disengage the mud off her distressed jeans. “Are you the guy your New York office sent?”

Francesca must have given the inn a heads-up. It wasn’t in his game plan, but it could save him time. “Yes, I am.”

She looked up at him, cupped her chin, and with slow, deliberate steps, she circled him, stopped, and put her hands on her hips. “And you—you’re the one they sent to meet with Sabrina Monroe?”

Why did he feel he’d been insulted? “Yes, if you could let her know I’m here—”

“It’s about time you showed up.” Her tone was filled with impatience. “We expected you two days ago.”

“You did?” Puzzled, he glanced around to make sure she was talking to him.

She removed her shades and adjusted them on top of her head.

His gaze connected with a pair of eyes that brought the different shades of a sunlit ocean to mind. “Do you wear contacts?”

“Excuse me?”

“You…you contacted the mud. I was asking if you were okay after the contact.” Son-of-a-nutcracker, I sound like a moron.

She narrowed her eyes.

He didn’t need a mind-reader to translate her expression, which seemed to indicate she wasn’t buying his explanation to his asinine question.

“I’m all in one piece.” She pointed behind him. “Is that your Mustang?”

“The car? Yes.” This is ridiculous. Why the hell was he tongue-tied? “It’s mine.”

Her gaze darted from his face to the car and back to his face. Her mouth twisted in a wry grin. “You must be one of the more successful ones in your company.”

Man, she’s intrusive. “I do okay.”

This time her gaze traveled slower from the tips of his leather sneakers to the top of his head. “Obviously.”

As soon as he could, he’d untie his tongue and demand to see the inn’s owner.

She waved toward the front door. “Okay, enough talk. Let’s get down to business.”

Finally. “I agree.”

Jason turned toward the rumbling sound of a motorcycle.

The man driving toward them stopped, straddled his Harley, and removed his helmet. “Everything okay?”

“Oh, yeah.” The woman waved at the man. “It’s all unicorns and rainbows around here.”       

“Tink, seriously?” Biker Guy clipped his helmet to the back of his Harley. “What’s with the attitude?”

Her expression warmed toward the biker.

Ah, a lover’s pet name. Maybe her boyfriend could distract her while I check in.

Jason took a few steps back. “I’ll go ahead inside.”

“Hang on.” She held her hand up. “I have a few things to ask you before you get settled in. This won’t take long.” She walked toward her boyfriend and put her hand on his shoulder. “It’s been one of those weeks. While you’re here, can you check out my car? I’d love to get another month out of her if I can.”

“Brought the radiator pressure tester,” Biker Guy said. “I’ll give the old bird a once over and see if we can get more than a month out of her. My offer still stands. Let me give—”

She shook her head. “The only offer I want is your special touch.”

“Stubborn as ever.”

“You also left a pair of your overalls. I washed them and hung them up in the mudroom.”

He powered up his Harley. “Tonight, seven o’clock. Be ready.”

Jason tapped his foot. Now it was his turn to show impatience.

“Shoot.” She rubbed her forehead. “I forgot. How about we postpone until next….”

“You’re not bailing on me. End of story.” He spoke to the woman but stared at Jason. “And leave the overalls here along with my other stuff.”

No problem, man. I read you. I have zero interest in your cranky woman.

 “Stick around for lunch,” she said. “You can help me iron the linen and wipe down the china.”

 “And on that note,” the biker said, “I’m out of here.” He saluted the brunette and drove away toward the back of the inn.

“Okay.” She picked up the garden hose. “Where were we?” The warmth in her voice she reserved for her boyfriend disappeared.

“Need help with that?”

“I got it.” She rolled up the hose. “You’re going to be busy enough around here. Get yourself settled in first.” She leaned the hose on the side of the porch. “We have a ton of work piled up. I still need to pick apples for the apple tarts and unpack the new wine glasses.” She clicked her tongue. “We also have to replace ten pocket lights.”

It was a mystery to him as to why she shared this information. “Sounds like things are hectic around here. I’ll get out of your space and check in—”

“Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.” She adjusted the toolbelt slung low around her waist like a holster. “We’re expecting a full house in a few days for the Whitlock engagement dinner.” She rubbed her forehead, staring down at her mud boots. “I thought I explained all this to your company. Maybe they didn’t give you all the information? Anyway,” she said, “there’s a leak under the sink again, and the bartender quit yesterday.”

Am I being punked? “You’re telling me all of this because…?”                

She tilted her head skyward, expelling a loud breath. “I’m trying hard not to get irritated. Did you hear anything I said? We. Are. Busy. What can I say to get you onboard quickly?”

No wonder the business was in debt if this was Monroe’s staff’s interpretation of customer service. He ignored her scowl and gestured toward the screen door. “I’d like to continue this fascinating conversation, but I’m here to speak to the inn’s proprietor.”

“You’re speaking to her.”

“You’re Sabrina Monroe?”


So, this was the infamous businesswoman who had scared away the hard-hitting land developers. “Jason O’Neil.” He extended his hand.

She wiped her hand on her jeans and shook his.“Pleasure to meet you, Ms. Monroe.” He hoped she didn’t pick up on the sarcasm.

They had gotten off on the wrong foot, but he was confident in his skills and his ability to acquire her land in two days, three days max.

He was about to launch into a proper introduction.

She turned and, with determined steps, climbed the wraparound porch stairs, crooked her finger, and gestured him to follow suit.

Spellbound, he mounted the stairs and watched as she pointed to a wooden sign painted with bells and doves. “First thing I’d like you to do is hang this sign over the archway.” She talked slower as if she were talking to a first grader.

What the hell? “Are you still talking to me?”

Her nostrils flared. “Yes.”

“I see.” Not even a little bit.

 “Okay, I realize I may have overwhelmed you with information overload, but we don’t have a lot of time,” she said. “I’m frustrated because we’re short-staffed, and things keep piling up. Go on ahead in, unpack, grab some lunch, and then we can talk.”

Finally. “Sounds like a plan. But, before I do that, can you show me to your business office? I need to use your printer, and do you have Wi-Fi out here?”

“Wi-Fi is hit and miss. Mostly miss.” She scrunched her eyebrows. “Why would a handyman need a printer or a business office right now?”

It all clicked into place—the list of things to do and fix. She’d confused him with someone else. “A handyman?”

“I’m sorry. I’m not up on the politically correct terminology.” She tapped her fingers against her puckered full lips. “Let me see. We can call you a jack-of-all-trades-engineer. Will that work for you?”

He decided to play along since it appeared he had no choice in the matter. Something told him a handyman right now was more welcomed than a land developer. She didn’t look like she was in any frame of mind to talk business—and he was game for an adventure. “Could work.”

“For the engagement party we’re hosting, I’ll need you to help tend the bar. Let’s call you the alcohol service provider. Do you think you can handle that?”

“I can pour a few drinks.” No wonder our initial conversation sounded like a screwed-up version of Abbott and Costello’s ‘Who’s on First.’ Relaxed and playing along, he pulled out a tried-and-true grin, guaranteed to defrost her icy demeanor. “Anything else, ma’am?”

She folded her arms across her chest and tapped her foot, looking even more annoyed.

He was about to halt the conversation and tell her why he visited her inn, but the part of his brain that managed and negotiated deals at lightning speed sparked an alternative plan.

This will work a helluva lot better than a sales pitch to acquire this property.

“Yes.” She leaned against the porch railing. “I’d like to ask you a couple of questions before you settle in. Is that okay with you?”


“What exactly is your position with your company?”

“Director.” That at least was the truth.

“They sent me a director?” She scrunched her nose as if she’d been served roasted roadkill. “I was told you’re highly qualified for this contract. Is that correct?”

He glanced at the dove and the wedding bell sign. How hard could it be to hang it up?

 “Yes.” A stretch, but still within truthful limits—after all, he had assisted the human resource department in hiring contractors for the Arizona resort. “I also work for the business side of the company.”

“A multitasker, huh?”

He sensed an insult in her comment.

She shoved off the railing, swung the screen door open, and motioned him inside as she placed one hand on her hip and tapped her booted foot. “For this contract, I’m only interested in your handyman skills.”

 He walked through the doorway. “How long is this contract?”

“You don’t know?”

Damn. “Slipped my mind.”

“One. Month.”

“One month? That long?” I need to shut up and go with it.


“Nan, it’s all fun and games until I look like a hooker.” Angel Montgomery stared at her image from the bedroom mirror. She swung around and faced her grandmother. “It’s too much.” She grabbed a cotton ball and rubbed some of the eye-shadow off her lids.

Nan Clara took the cotton ball out of Angel’s hand. “It’s not too much and you don’t look like the girl in Pretty Julia.”

“You mean Pretty Woman?”

“Yes that one.” Nan picked up the small brush and dipped it into the bright blue eye-shadow. “And you need more of this.” She smeared more shadow over Angel’s eyelids.

Angel closed her eyes so Nan wouldn’t gouge them.



St. Valentine’s Junior High

Highway to Heaven

“Yikes. Watch. Out…everybody!” Angel-in-Training Pippy shouted as she zoomed across Cloud 98 on her super-cosmic skateboard. “I–I can’t stop….”

Cupid waved his arrow. “Uh oh, the Pipster’s done it again.”

“Yee stars and little fishes.” Pippy wind-milled her arms, trying to stay upright. “Tasha, help me out,” she yelled at her golden retriever puppy. “Grab my robe and…slow me down.”

Tasha scampered alongside Pippy. Her floppy ears bounced as her fluffy tail twirled around like a helicopter’s blade.

“It’s not play time, Tash,” Pippy managed to say as she ducked under the rainbow. “I have to get to class on time. In. One. Piece.”

Tasha performed a front roll, landed on all fours and walked with a wiggle toward Nova, the two year old retriever and St. Valentine’s archery mascot.

“Stop strutting and pay attention. I need you.” Pippy blew strands of her bright red hair away from her mouth. “I’ll never get my wings if I don’t get an A in Derek’s Flight Class.”

Tasha yapped, caught up to Pippy and scurried behind her.

“Finally,” Pippy said. “Now, grab on to my uniform.”

Tasha bounced up and chomped down on the tail end of Pippy’s white robe. The maneuver was a good idea in theory–just like all of Pippy’s ideas–but it didn’t slow the skateboard’s wheels down.

The fleece robe flew off of Pippy, landing on her puppy’s head.

Tasha scampered and yelped playfully before she yanked the robe off her head and clasped it between her teeth.

“Aw, cheese-whiz and crackers,” Pippy said, practically out of breath. “It didn’t work.”

Pippy heard the laughter of the students lined up in the hallway below.

She probably looked like a Lifesaver roll on steroids with the clothes she always wore under her uniform robe–tangerine capri pants, a cherry red blouse, lime green sweater and neon yellow runners.

Tasha leaped-frogged over Pippy and raced ahead of her.

“Show off.”

Feathered sheets flew out of silver-sparkled gloved hands and scattered over the white vapor hallway when Pippy zoomed by Halo-Creation teacher, Victoria. In Heaven, the student angels called their teachers by their angelic given names.

“Oops.” Pippy turned her head and yelled, “Sorry, Veeeee…”

“Pippilina?” The deep voice and teeth that looked like white lightning belonged to Principal J.P.

Since his pearly whites were blindingly shiny, that meant he was smiling. J.P. was cool for a principal.

Even cooler when he smiled.

A smiling principal was a good thing.

Pippy surprised herself by staying upright on the skateboard as it slowed down long enough for her to talk to the principal. “Yo.” She waved. “How’s it going, Sir?”

“Yo?” he asked. A frown colored his voice. She could tell. It didn’t sound like he was smiling now. “Pippilina, what is going on?”

“Alternative transportation project, Sir.” Pippy wasn’t sure if the principal heard her, because the skateboard had spiraled out of control and had now rocketed over to St. Valentine’s air hockey arena on Cloud 99.

She skate-boarded right in front of the Red Wing’s goaltender. The yellow star-shaped puck narrowly missed her head.

“Hey, Pip! You blocked my shot,” the Ninety-Niner’s superstar center yelled.

“Sorry, Wayne.” Trying to stay upright, she managed an apologetic smile. “See ya.”

She looked straight and took in the thousands of purple, yellow and pink diamonds against a background of mother-of-pearl marble, glittering up ahead.

The Pearly Gates.

“Uh-oh,” Pippy said in a shaky voice. “This is not good.”

The doors were shut and two turtle doves held up a white poster. Written in bold, blue lettering the sign said: Back in One Hour.

She still couldn’t slow down her skateboard nor make it stop. “Oh, this is bad. Real bad.” She clasped her hands together and prayed it wouldn’t hurt too much. This time.

The gate loomed a mere foot from Pippy’s freckled nose. “Yikes. This is gonna be painful.”

She squeezed her eyes shut and inhaled a large dose of heavenly air.

Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven…She counted down in her head, knowing she’d soon make contact with that gate.

The heavy, locked gate.

She counted down to two and suddenly couldn’t feel the skateboard beneath her feet any longer.

The air trapped in her lungs swooshed out of her, sounding like a set of out-of-tune bagpipes.

She drifted up.

High up.

Way, way high up.

Pippy opened her eyes and gasped. “Huh? What just happened?”

She wasn’t going to crash because she was flying.

Flying! On her own, and it wasn’t a dream.

Tasha’s yelps echoed from miles below. Pippy looked down as she soared high above Soft Cloud Café, where the high school angels waved and giggled.

“Yup, that’s right. I’m flying. Woo hoo.” Pippy held two thumbs up. “I totally rock.”

A sweet scent drifted in the air. Pippy inhaled the delicious aroma of pink cotton candy. Pink as in Lucinda’s–or as Pippy liked to call her, Lucy’s–curly hair. “Nah, I can’t be that unlucky.”

A hand tugged gently on Pippy’s collar.

She turned her head upward and met the twinkling blue eyes of the Divine Guidance Counselor, Lucinda.


“Um, nice catch?” Pippy said with a nervous hitch in her voice.

Lucinda frowned as she tucked Pippy’s skateboard under her arm.

Wrong thing to say.

Double gulp.

“What I really meant…well, thanks for rescuing me, Lucy,” Pippy said then corrected herself. “Sorry, I meant to say, Lucinda.”

“You’re welcome,” Lucy said, guiding Pippy to the feather-weaving class. She dropped Pippy off outside the classroom door.

Pippy peeked through the stained glass window. Weaving class had started. She was late.


Pippy stared down at her toes. “Guess my wheels are grounded, huh?”

“That’s a given,” Lucy answered, floating upward.

Oh, how Pippy longed to get to high school so she could learn how to float like a grown up angel. Like her idol, Lucy.

“Meet me in my office tomorrow morning,” Lucy instructed. “After the New-Day-Candle-Lighting Ceremony.”

Lucy pointed to the gold door knob on the classroom’s door, nodded and drifted toward her pink crystal office.

Pippy’s cheeks grew hotter than a mini-cloud-smore.

Excerpts: All rights reserved. Copyright: Selena Robins

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