Author: Laury A. Egan
Publisher: Spectrum Books, UK
Release Date: August 12, 2023
Genre: lesbian romance/coming-of-age
A short while later, Robin shuddered awake. She shook her head, which felt heavy and on the verge of aching, and lifted her gaze toward the lake. To her amazement, the lantern was lit on the dock. Standing by it was the Firefly, dressed in white, her blond hair bright against the darkness of the water and the forested hill beyond.
Robin rubbed her eyes. She must be having drunken hallucinations, but when she looked again, the beautiful vision remained. Excitement shot through her, and she lurched to her feet, using the railing for balance. Grasping the bottle, Robin descended the stairs and walked down the grassy hill to the path, afraid to blink and lose sight of the enchanting image that lay before her. As she stepped onto the dock, the Firefly circled the lantern and offered her hands in invitation, her long fingers sweeping through the air with elegant fluidity. It appeared the girl was smiling, but perhaps this was what Robin hoped.
She made her way carefully. Some of the boards were uneven, and she didn’t trust her steadiness after drinking so much. Her ears also seemed filled with a pulsing sound, or was that the loud beating of her heart? Nearing the girl, Robin knew the figure was Stella because of the strong resemblance to her brother, Kieran—the same yellow hair, slender build, neat features, and gracefulness. But Stella was more magnetic, more enchanting. Instantly, the dinner with Kieran was forgotten, as if it had occurred a year ago and an impenetrable curtain had fallen over all memories, recent and past. This moment was all present, all now.
Dazed, Robin stopped and stared at this beautiful apparition, one she struggled to believe was real. Almost afraid of breaking the silence with words, she whispered, “Hello.”
“Hello,” the girl replied.
The water lapped against the dock pilings, and a bird called from a distant tree. Above, the dark sky shrouded them in an illuminated enclosure.
They smiled at each other.
Robin inched closer, reveling in the sensuous figure before her. Stella had blue eyes. Perhaps a paler shade than Kieran’s or maybe the lantern’s glittering reflections were creating the appearance of translucence. Her skin was unblemished, smooth, and creamy. And the fragrance of Jean Naté, the cologne left on her mother’s pillow, floated in the air.
“I hoped you’d return,” Robin said.
“I’m glad. I waited until Kieran and his friends left.” Her expression was amused, flirtatious.
Robin sighed. “I don’t think the dinner went well. I mean, the meal was fine, but Kieran is hard to understand.”
Stella laughed. “He’s perfected the fine art of being secretive.”
“And you? Are you the same?”
“Yes, I suppose so. You’ll have to find out.”
This sounded like a teasing challenge. “I will,” she answered in kind. “Would you like some wine?”
Stella accepted the bottle, drank, and wiped her mouth. Her lips were perfectly cut, pink, and alluring.
“Thank you.” She handed the wine back to Robin, who took a swallow. “Good. Now, it’s a warm night, Robin. We should swim, don’t you think?”
Without waiting for a response, Stella began undressing. Underneath her blouse, against her tanned skin, a lacy white bra was revealed. Robin noticed that Stella’s breasts appeared to be larger than hers, but Stella was two years older.
When Stella leaned down to unbuckle her sandals, Robin set the bottle on the dock and took advantage of the girl’s momentary inattention to remove the house keys around her neck, thrusting them into her pants’ pocket. Then, as she unbuttoned her own shirt, Robin was overcome with shyness. Although she showered with girls after gym class, Robin had never exposed herself like this. She fixed her eyes on Stella, who had dropped her pants and stepped clear. The girl was slightly taller than Robin, with legs and arms that were lean and strong. Clad only in cotton underpants and a bra, Stella gave her a captivating smile, turned, and dove neatly off the dock. For what seemed like a minute, she stayed underwater until she resurfaced about fifteen feet away. Stella brushed back her short hair and watched as Robin took off her slacks and sandals and executed a clean entrance into the black water. Rising near Stella, the two swam closer to each other and kept upright by paddling their arms.
Robin felt a wave of dizziness pass over her. Because of the wine or because of the nearness to this radiant being? She waited for the girl to speak, to act. Instead, Stella laughed, the sound reminding Robin of wind chimes blowing in a light breeze.
“You’re wondering what’s next?” Stella’s face was alive with merriment. “Well, first we must have fun.”
“And then?” Robin asked.
Stella chuckled. “And then we’ll have more fun.”
This remark was coupled with a suggestive look that promised what Robin was hoping for but didn’t dare to imagine. A sense of blissful joy spread through her.
About the Book:
1964: A dark summer night on a still black lake. A lantern is lit at the end of a dock. A blond girl in white appears and begins to dance, her body illuminated like the fireflies surrounding her. A second girl emerges from a house and is beckoned forward. The two meet, swim, and then kiss, beginning an ethereal romance and a young woman’s journey into adulthood.
Robin Bennet, 14, has been accidentally abandoned at a lakeside rental in the Pocono Mountains. Her parents argue and leave, each believing the other has remained with Robin. Alone, Robin discovers that someone has been sleeping in the house and stealing vodka and snacks. A fifteen-year-old boy, Kieran, the charming intruder, invites himself to dinner. He is the brother of the beautiful girl who magically appeared on the dock the night before. After he departs, the “Firefly” returns, lights the lantern, and circles around it. Robin joins her; the two swim and make love. When Robin awakens, the Firefly—Stella—has disappeared, and Robin’s mother arrives, announcing a return to New Jersey because she’s divorcing Robin’s father. Frantic, Robin tries to find Stella, a search that continues while Robin builds a career as an architect in Manhattan, fails in marriage, and struggles with her sexual identity.
“Egan’s novel is a compelling read that draws the reader to it, like a firefly in the night. Will Robin and the Firefly ever meet again? Will it all turn out to be illusion, a trick of the light?”—Richard May, author of Because of Roses
“The Firefly is Robin’s story about her search for her elusive lover, who she nicknames The Firefly. It is a wonderfully written coming-of-age novel that kept me turning the pages as Robin never wavers from her quest. Egan is very skilled in bringing the reader into the moment with Robin. We accompany her on her journey, we are in the room with her, and we despair and rejoice with her!”—Edith Zeitlberger, author of Fractures and Hinges: A Romance
“I ate it up! Brilliant pacing. I adored Robin! The entire book is endearing. Tenderness. I’m charmed. It unfolds perfectly across life’s passages!”—Karla Linn Merrifield, author of Psyche’s Scroll
“The Firefly expertly follows the vagaries of a young girl’s life as she tries hard to direct her soul back to an unconditional love that fascinated her at one of her lowest points. This is an excellent, complex work and may well reign supreme alongside Egan’s other works.”—Nat Burns, author of Rosemary
Purchase link: https://mybook.to/thefirefly
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/175628088-the-firefly
About the Author:
Laury A. Egan is the author of eleven novels, The Firefly; Once, Upon an Island; Doublecrossed; Wave in D Minor; Turnabout; The Swimmer; The Ungodly Hour; A Bittersweet Tale; Fabulous! An Opera Buffa; The Outcast Oracle; and Jenny Kidd; and a collection, Fog and Other Stories. Four limited-edition poetry volumes have been published: Snow, Shadows, a Stranger; Beneath the Lion’s Paw; The Sea & Beyond; and Presence & Absence. She lives on the northern coast of New Jersey.
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