I’m doing a rare Sunday post today because I’m happy to participate in the book blast tour for my friend, Loni Flowers. Check out this heart-warming read that should be on your TBR list! I adored this story!
Title: Painted Memories
Author: Loni Flowers
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: January 21st, 2013
Format: E-book & Paperback
Page Length: 334
Word Count: 95,000
I’ve come to realize how much life can change with circumstance. One moment I was a happy sixteen year old girl with a great brother, Jesse, who I adored.
Then Jesse died.
No matter how much I wished it had been me in the accident, wishing will never change what happened. Five years later, my father’s eyes are still filled with hate and regret whenever he looks at me. I haven’t forgotten my mistake, but I’ve accepted it.
My father has not.
He may always see me as a failure, but I’m determined to make a fresh start in a new town where love promises to be more generous than the scorn I’ve left in my father’s eyes. With any luck, maybe some distance will make him see me as his daughter again. Until then I’ll find my own way.
It’s what Jesse would want.
Painted Memories is an original, contemporary romance about love, loss, and recovering from tragedy. Its characters are real. Between humor and heartbreak, it’s funny, touching, and full of redemption.
My apartment complex was off the beaten path, and if I hadn’t gotten lost in the first place, I might have never found Oakdale. Hidden from the main roads, tucked into a wooded area, huge oak trees surrounded the perimeter. It was a large complex, eight buildings total, two floors each. The property manager told me when I inquired about renting an apartment that there were twisted walking trails, which wrapped around one side of the pond, through the woods to the opposite of the pond. I also had access to basketball courts, tennis courts, and two swimming pools, if I preferred other activities. I was lucky there were several available units when I came across it. Oakdale seemed to be the place to live around here, but none of it mattered if I didn’t allow myself the luxury of using it. I always meant to, but never found the time. I had to start making the time, or else I could end up being a workaholic like my father. After living with him all my life, that was the last thing I wanted to become.
Sweat dripped down the back of my neck and other unmentionable parts of my body as I ran. The hot September made me realize I probably picked the worst time of day to drag myself around the track–late afternoon. I looked across the pond at my starting point and knew there was no way I’d be able to push myself all the way around without collapsing from exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke.
A noise behind me caught my attention and I stepped off the path to avoid forcing the person behind me to slow down. I jogged between the concrete track and the edge of the water before noticing a man falling into stride beside me. He nodded with a smile and I grinned at him, hearing unknown lyrics streaming from the headphones in his ears. Suddenly, I shifted forward, with only the pond and a park bench in my line of sight. I tried to reach for the bench as I fell, my arms flailing. My body’s momentum propelled me forward and I screamed before being silenced by a mouthful of water.
I struggled, losing my footing every time I tried to stand up. I’ve got to get out! I’ve got to get out! The snakes are going to get me! were my only thoughts.
Water splashing, I choked on the brackish-brown water as I gasped for breath. I was going to drown or get bitten by a snake while everyone around me watched. The guy that was jogging beside me appeared on the edge of the bank, leaning over with his hand stretched out.
“Stand up,” he said. “It’s not that deep.”
After a moment, his words sunk in and I tried to stand. When I looked down at the water, I felt like an idiot, seeing the water only came up to my waist. I took a step toward him and reached for his hand just as something slimy brushed against my leg. With a terrified scream, I leaped forward.
“It’s going to bite me! Get me out! Get me out!” I yelled, splashing water everywhere. He pulled me up the embankment and my shoes slipped over the soft, wet dirt. I coughed up pond water as I gasped for a fresh breath in the humid air. He wrapped his arm around my waist and walked me toward an empty park bench only a few feet away.
“Are you okay?” he asked, sitting down beside me.
“Oh my God! Thank you. If you hadn’t helped me, I might have drowned.” I glared at the bystanders, still gawking at me from their park benches and private picnics. “Obviously, no one else was going to help,” I said louder than necessary. They averted their eyes while I stared, encouraging them to mind their own business.
“Well, it’s a good thing I decided to come for a run when I got off work, isn’t it? My name’s Drew, by the way,” he said, extending his hand.
I shook it, breathing heavily. I didn’t bother to mention that if I hadn’t moved over for him to pass, I wouldn’t have fallen in to begin with. “I’m Lilly.”
“Oh wait… you’ve got something—” he started to say as he reached his hand toward my hair.
I saw it out of the corner of my eye when he pulled it from between the strands of my hair. It was long and green, and only one word came to mind. Snake! I jumped up, a scream trapped in my throat, but slapped my hand over my mouth when he dangled the long piece of grass between his fingers in front of me. I closed my eyes and settled back down on the bench. I knew he must’ve thought I was such a freaking idiot.
Loni Flowers lives in Eastern North Carolina with her husband; two wild toddlers, who never slow down for a second; and three couch-potato dogs, who only raise an eye when food is around. She spends her days working full-time for a well-known bank and when Loni isn’t there, you can find her playing on the internet. Chatting on Twitter and Facebook is her weakness!
She loves to read and write, though can’t see to find time to do them both at the same time! Balance… she has none!
An easy reader, Loni loves most genres, but she’s a definite sucker for a good romance story!
Contemporary romance is her writing genre of choice but she’s not opposed to writing something different should an excellent idea strike.
Some of Loni’s favorite authors include: L.J. Kentowski, Stefne Miller, Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Karen Marie Moning, Nicholas Sparks, and Jodi Picoult… just to name a few.