Nearly a decade has passed, but Mags can’t forget what she did. Now at 17 years old, the shame continues to haunt her, coloring her world. She throws herself into every worthwhile project available, struggling for redemption.
Andrew can have any girl he wants — and he wants them all. He revels in his reputation as player. Or so everyone thinks. Nobody knows what lies beneath the façade.
When Mags takes it upon herself to fix Andrew’s reputation, she doesn’t count on falling for him. Nor is she prepared to have her own carefully reconstructed reputation smeared.
Will either of them trust each other enough to reveal their true selves or their true motivations? Will Mags ever be forgiven for what she did?
by Brenda Maxfield
Santa rides his sleigh through the snowy clouds and lands on everyone’s rooftop. Then he squeezes his fat belly through the chimney to plop down into your living room and leave delightful surprises.
Everybody knows that…
Well, I learned differently when we moved to Grand Cayman in the Caribbean. There, Santa didn’t drive a sleigh. He came to town on a jet ski. And there was no snow, only the burning sun beating down on hot white sand.
Years ago when my husband and I moved our family to Cayman, our kids were four and seven years old. It was to be their first Christmas without grandmas and grandpas, aunts, uncles, and cousins — just the four of us that year. Paul and I were a bit concerned, wondering how our kids would react to such a drastic change. So when we heard that Santa was going to arrive on the beach one December day, we were there with bells on – hoping he would bring some special holiday cheer.
Our two little ones stood in their flip flops, waiting on the sand — their silly plastic sunglasses perched on their noses, and their little bellies protruding from wet swimsuits. As the crowd grew, they started to jump up and down, yanking on our arms with excitement.
I shared their enthusiasm, but it all felt a bit surreal. Where was the frozen air? The hanging icicles? The boots and scarves and mittens? And what would Santa be wearing? Surely, in this heat, he wouldn’t arrive in full costume…
I was wrong. Not five minutes later, we saw a small disturbance over the sea. It zoomed closer and the crowd on the beach erupted in cheers. As the blur came into focus, I saw that Santa indeed was wearing the full regalia, his beard whipping behind him in the wind.
“Mommy! It’s Santa!” my littlest one cried.
My daughter watched, stunned, her mouth open in a perfect “O.”
Santa proceeded to drive the jet ski right up to the lapping shore. He hoisted himself onto the sand and opened his bulging sack to begin handing out candy canes to kids and adults alike. (He even had on shiny black boots; although, I’m pretty sure the sea water splashed right over the tops!)
As my husband and I observed our kids laughing and crunching their candy canes and shyly shaking Santa’s hand, we realized we’d been worried for nothing.
Santa does indeed cross all latitudes to bring joy to children everywhere. And in full costume, no less!
Here’s a beach story I hope you’ll like! No, it doesn’t take place on a Caribbean beach — we jump over to the Pacific Ocean for this one!
EXCERPT FROM BURIED TRUTHS
Longacre High’s annual junior class beach bonfire had once again lived up to everyone’s low expectations. I stepped back from the blistering heat and watched the crackling sparks fly upward like disappearing flashes in the night sky. Beside me, Brianna jabbed a gooey marshmallow stick near my face.
I jumped and knocked into Courtney Phillip’s elbow. “Sorry, Court.”
Being Bri’s friend was like serving combat duty. Duck, hide, defend yourself. You needed to do it all.
“Ooo, sorry, you guys. Mags, did I poke you?” Bri plunged the marshmallow stick into the sandy dirt at my feet.
“No, I’m fine.” Through the shadows, the stick vibrated back and forth like it was alive. “Uh, no one’s going to want to use that. Dirty s’mores aren’t exactly appetizing.”
Her dark eyes widened, and she pulled the stick from the ground. I grabbed it before she flailed it in somebody else’s face. “I’ll take it. No worries.”
I needed an excuse to walk over to the picnic tables anyway — Andrew was over there. Nobody surfed on this stretch of the Pacific Ocean, but Andrew still had the body of a surfer and a smile that made my legs turn to gummy worms. I held the stick point down and drifted over.
Andrew looked up, and his eyes roamed over me. At his half-smile, my knees went weak and my breath quickened. I tossed the stick on top of a wobbly stack of campfire supplies. To prolong my stay, I fussed with some graham crackers and chocolate.
“Not much of a s’more without the marshmallows.”
Andrew’s deep voice rolled easily above the joking and laughing around the fire. I opened my mouth, hoping for a smooth reply, but my voice stuck to the sides of my throat. I slapped some broken squares of chocolate onto the crackers and kept my eyes down.
“Are you getting s’mores ready for the entire junior class?”
One sentence and a question. Even though our school wasn’t huge, Andrew and I had never really talked, had never really become friends. The most I’d ever gotten from him was a hey or a what’s happening — not that I kept score.
I raised my gaze to his and even in the flickering shadows; I saw the mischievous glimmer in his eyes. I stifled a strange impulse to reach up and touch the rugged stubble on his face, but thank God, I kept my hands on the chocolate and crackers.
Buried Truth: http://tinyurl.com/nwojo8e
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/mxs5fke
ABOUT BRENDA MAXFIELD
I’m a teacher so I spend most of my waking hours with young people. I love chatting with them and hearing their views on love and life. My students are magical, and I am honored to be part of their lives.
I’ve lived in Honduras, Grand Cayman, and Costa Rica. Presently, I live in Indiana with my husband, Paul. We have two grown children and three precious grandchildren, special delivery from Africa.
When not teaching, I love to hole up in our lake cabin and write — often with a batch of popcorn nearby. (Oh, and did I mention dark chocolate?)
I enjoy getting to know my readers, so feel free to write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit me to learn about all my books and some smart and sassy, clean teen reads: www.brendamaxfield.com Happy Reading!
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6570620.Brenda_Maxfield
Amazon author Page: http://tinyurl.com/psj82bj
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