From NYT and USA Today bestselling author Julie Ann Walker comes an epic tale of sacrifice, friendship, and the awe-inspiring power of love.
Maggie: Ten years ago, Cash Armstrong stole my heart. Then he promptly joined the army—dragging my best friend with him—and left me crying on the front porch in a red sequined prom dress. Now he’s back. They’re both back. Cash, the one who still has my heart. And Luc, the one who saved my life.
Cash: How do you know if you’re at the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end? That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out since a traumatic brain injury made me “unfit to serve.” I’m back in New Orleans, and picking up the shattered pieces of my past means I must confront where my life’s journey began… and where it all might end.
Luc: Long ago, Maggie May was mine. Not mine in the way you might think. She was mine because she was my only friend. Then Cash came along and we became brothers by something stronger than blood. We became brothers by choice. When tragedy struck, I was forced to make a decision that changed all our lives. I thought, after ten years, it was safe to come back home. I was wrong…
Sneak Peek #15 from In Moonlight and Memories
“You didn’t tell me you were aiming to do that.”
I turn to find Luc leaning against the doorjamb, his arms crossed, his eyes seeing… too much.
I clench my jaw. “Didn’t think she’d make such a big deal about it.”
Light glows around him in the open doorway, making him look bigger and bulkier than he already is. “It’s her folks’ wedding bands. If finding them isn’t a big deal, I don’t know what is.”
“I wanted to give her something special. I wanted…”
I glance out into the street. Most people are tucked in with their families tonight, visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. Consequently, the Vieux Carré is eerily quiet. So quiet that, even above the ringing in my ear and the dulcet sounds of Eartha Kitt echoing from the jukebox inside, I can hear the soft rumble of the Mississippi racing by more than two hundred yards away.
It’s weird. Lately, I’ve been noticing the little things. Hearing and seeing and smelling details that I never did before. I don’t know if I’ve become more cognizant of life’s little minutiae, or if it’s something else. If it’s something to do with my brain.
When I’m quiet for too long, Luc prompts, “You want what, Cash? ‘Cause damned if I can figure you lately. It’s like you’re beckoning Maggie May close with one hand and pushing her away with the other.”
“I know.” I stare at the cracked sidewalk beneath my work boots and try to think past the crushing sensation of a past that promises no future.
“You gotta make up your mind, man. This push and pull isn’t fair to her.”
“For fuck’s sake! I know!” I glare at him. “I’ve worked out a plan to fix that.”
He snorts. “There you go again. Talking up your plan. Well, I gotta tell you, from what I’ve seen of it so far, it’s complete and utter pig shit.”
Before I can respond, Maggie appears beside him in the doorway. Silhouetted as she is, the garland sticking out from her sweater makes her look furry. A pint-sized Sasquatch.
“Are you leaving already?” she asks.
“Sorry, Maggie. My head is killing me.”
She rushes toward me, placing a hand on my arm. Then she immediately wrenches it away. “Sorry. Old habits.”
I sigh. Why the fuck does it have to be so complicated?
“I don’t mind you touching me, Maggie. As long as we both agree on what it means. As long as we both know the rules.”
“I thought you always said rules are meant to be broken.” The night is clear, and the stars shine in her angel eyes.
“I was young and dumb when I said that.”
“Well, at least you’re not young anymore.” She mimes a three-beat drum solo.
As far as jokes go, it’s pretty lame. But I play along. “Hardy-har-har. When’s your next show? Midnight?”
She winks. “I’m here all week.”
I reach up to rub the scar above my temple. Beneath it beats a vicious heart.
Her expression turns from teasing to concerned. “You should go home and get some rest so you can enjoy Christmas with Luc and Helene tomorrow. But thank you for coming. And thank you for the gift.” She clasps her hands in front of her chest, making a few of the rhinestones on her sweater gleam in the streetlight. “It means the world to me. Truly.”
“You’re welcome.” I allow myself to hold her gaze, knowing this will likely be one of the last times she looks at me with such unconditional love. “Merry Christmas, Maggie.”
I give in to impulse and bend to kiss her cheek. Her skin is so warm and smooth. It entices me to linger. But I remind myself to feel grateful for what was and forget what will never be.
Then I turn away from her.
The “In Moonlight and Memories” trilogy debuts July 1st!
And always remember, “The greatest of loves can begin in the simplest of ways…”
About the Author:
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Julie grew up in a house full of women – she has three older sisters. As you can imagine, there was no lack of drama… or romance. Her mother enrolled her in a book club as soon as she began to read and it was the small spark that ignited her voracious appetite for the written word.
Because of Julie’s early immersion in literature, she found writing came quite naturally. In high school, she won multiple writing contests and was the proud senior editor of The Tiger’s Tale – her school newspaper.
During her college years, however, she longed for a challenge. “Reading and writing felt like second nature to me, so I looked for a way to flex my mental muscles,” she recalls. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree, Julie began teaching advanced high school mathematics.
“I loved working with the students and facing the challenges of the classroom, but I longed for the occasional snow day when I could race to the local book store, buy two or three new novels, and curl up in front of the fire to read.”
It wasn’t until a fortuitous move to Chicago that Julie once more returned to her first passion.
Now Julie loves to travel the world looking for views to compete with her deadlines. When she’s not writing, she enjoys camping, hiking, cycling, cooking, petting every dog that walks by her, and… reading, of course!