I have Lux 2 finished. I’m just waiting for a good time to load it onto Amazon. First, I loaded the short fiction for Muddy River: Survival. Muddy River’s the series that I write because it’s quick and FUN. Then I finished the anthology I shared with 6 fellow authors. I’m inordinately proud of that. Every story they sent me was topnotch. On Sept. 22, my 5th Jazzi Zanders mystery becomes available. I have a soft spot for Jazzi and her crew. They remind me a bit of my own family. And maybe sometime after that, I can publish Lux: Heirlooms To Die For. I can hardly wait to get feedback on that. Lux let me spread my wings and try a few new things.
Anyway, Lux is still in the back of my mind, so I thought I’d share a bit of her story with you, so here’s a snippet to entice you:
Tyson, called. Unusual during the day. He was always busy at the community center where he worked, handing out lunches or driving people to free clinics, even tutoring them if needed. “What’s up?” I asked.
“I only have a minute. I’m at work, but I don’t have any plans tonight, and Mom and Dad are going to the monthly get-together for our condos, so I was wondering if you’d like to offer me a free supper. I’d like to talk to you about something.”
Hmm. Curious. He’d turned his life around since moving to Summit City. As far as I knew, everything was going smoothly for him now. He didn’t intend to tell me any more at the moment, though. He was going to make me wait. “Keon works tonight, so I’d love company. What are you in the mood for?”
“I never turn down a steak.”
My mouth watered. I hadn’t had a ribeye for a long time. “Does six work for you?”
“See you then. And thanks, Lux.”…….
I was covering the steaks with foil to let them rest when Tyson beeped at the gate for me to let him in. A few minutes later, he walked into the kitchen.
He sniffed the air and grinned. “I smell garlic and beef. No wonder you’re my favorite sister-in-law.”
“You say that to whichever sister-in-law you happen to be with.” I moved the steak platter to the kitchen island and dished the spinach into a bowl.
He plopped onto one of the stools and reached for the bread. I watched him smear it with butter. “I hope I’m good company,” he told me when I joined him. “Mom and Dad hit me with crappy news today. That’s why I called you.”
I frowned. “Are they all right? They only retired and moved here a short while ago.”
“They’re fine, but they won’t be for long. Dad’s mom fell and broke her hip. Or else her hip gave and she fell. No one knows for sure. But whatever, Dad’s having her come to live with them.”
“Permanently?” A knot formed in my stomach. I’d heard horror stories about the boys’ grandma for years.
Gloomy, Tyson nodded. “I’m moving out. I know a guy who rents a big apartment over a shop close to the community center. That’s how we met. At a nearby bar. He’s been looking for a roommate, so I called and asked him if he’d found one yet. His place has two big bedrooms and a big kitchen. He’s happy to split the costs with me.”
My brain was trying to keep up with all of his news. “But your parents loved having you in the basement of their condo.”
“I loved it, too, but I’m not staying in the same place as Grandma. Dad isn’t too happy I’m leaving, and Mom’s broken up, but none of us liked that woman. I’m not even sure Dad does, but you know how he is.”
I nodded. Mr. Johnson is a generous, loving man. How he got that way with the mother he had is beyond me. I’d met his mother once when she came to stay for a holiday. She was sourer than a lemon. Bitter, too, always complaining. Maybe that’s why Mr. Johnson married the most upbeat, positive woman he’d ever met. Gabbie took after her mother.
I shook my head. “I feel sorry for your mom.”
“We’re all going to have to invite her over a lot. Dad’s mother never has anything good to say to her.”
Or to anyone. Keon wasn’t going to be thrilled to hear this news. “Have you told your brothers and sister?”
He shook his head. “You’re the first to know. As soon as they told me, I called about the apartment and then came here for sympathy and food.” He gave me his best poor me look. “I thought I could count on you to call the others.”
“You just don’t want to be the bearer of bad news.”
His lips lifted into a naughty grin. “That, too, but I really can use the time to start packing. Grandma’s coming as soon as she’s released from the hospital. I’m moving as soon as I can.”
“Can’t blame you. I’ll pass on the word after you leave. I’ll wait to tell Keon until he gets home. I don’t want to ruin his night.”
“Smart decision.” He used another slice of bread to clean the last of the juices off his plate. Then his gaze shifted to the coconut cream cake I’d bought. “Is that for me?”
Laughing, I got up to get dessert plates. “Want coffee with it?”
“With cream and sugar.” Tyson loved his sweets.
We made small talk while he enjoyed the cake, and I sent a big slice home with him. After he left, I called Cornelius, Terrance, and Gabbie to tell them the news. They all took it badly.