Release Boost: Forever Love by J. Lum
Title: Forever Love
Series: Forever Series #1
Author: J. Lum
Genre: Contemporary/Second Chance Romance
Release Date: August 2, 2018
To appreciate the sun, you have to withstand the storm.
Free-spirited, poetic Casey Loughlin has had her fair share of rain, and she always manages to see the silver lining. During her teenage years, when she met Toby Cardona, she learned everything she ever needed to learn about love and loss—all in one year.
When Toby lost Casey, everything changed for him. The once caring and endearing boy, with dreams and hopes of his own, became the cold, broken, money-hungry man he swore he'd never be. Now, with Casey back in his life, it's up to her to show Toby that the second time around, love can still hurt, but it's worth every painful prick. Will Toby weather the storm, and embrace a second chance, with the woman he’s always loved?
“Have you thought about what we talked about? Yer beach house won’t be open forever.”
“Gran I ... It’s not my home anymore—”
“Casey Jo Loughlin, yer momma did not raise a fool, and right now, you’re bein’ one!” she shouts into the phone, like she’s at the Kentucky Derby. I knew anything but a yes would get her upset. My last visit, she’d been pretty insistent that I take her up on her offer. Everyone has been handling my parents’ death with kid gloves on. Eventually they’d stop; I just didn’t think they’d wait so long. So here we were.
“Jesus, Gran. Just calm down, please—”
“Now, don’t you take that tone with me, girl. I would give you a good lickin’ if I were there, so you won’t be disrespectin’ me by taking the Lord’s name in vain, you ’ear?”
“Yes, ma’am. I’m sorry, Gran. I just … It’s just too hard,” I spit out.
“Life’s hard, Babygirl, but you got to be brave. Take life by the balls, because I won’t lie, you got some big ones swingin’ right in front of you. I don’t want you goin’ through the rest of yer life regrettin’ you didn’t grab ’em. We all know, Danny and I know, you’ve been dodgin’ ’em.” She goes quiet for a moment, giving me a nice reprieve because all I can see are big hairy balls flying in front of my face, now that she’s brought them up.
“Balls are nice, grab ’em, Babygirl. Not for me or yer parents, God bless ’em, but for yerself. I want you back, and enough is enough,” she says resolutely.
“Can we stop talking about balls, please, I just—”
“What?” she says innocently. “Babygirl, I ain’t gettin’ younger. If you’re afraid of balls, maybe …”
“Nope, stop. Please, just stop.” Big hairy balls are now flashing through my mind, and I wince as I hear my gran whispering something about big balls being nice. Leaning back, I take a few breaths as I stare at the ceiling. I make a mental note that I need find a way to wipe the corners of the dust bunnies collecting.
“Babygirl, you there?”
“Yes Gran, I’m still here.”
“I mean it, you can’t keep doing this to yourself. They wouldn’t want that.”
“William was a wonderful father, and I know what yer gonna say, but I will tell you, he wouldn’t want this from you.” She pauses, taking several breaths, as if she were running a marathon. I shouldn’t be arguing with her. “Babygirl, he wanted the best for you, but most of all, he wanted you to be happy. Yer father was strict, and I hate talkin’ about people who don’t really know, but he didn’t know better. He loved yer momma and you. Sometimes it came off like he was restrained but, by golly, Babygirl, he wouldn’t want you to hold onto some illusion of perfection. Holdin’ on to the very worst memories you have of ’em.”
Dropping the phone in my lap, I furiously try to wipe away the tears that seem to be falling freely down my face. I can hear my gran’s voice through the phone. She’s going to be upset at herself that she brought up stuff that I don’t want to talk about. She’s my anchor. They all were. I grab the phone, taking a few deep breaths to compose myself. “Gran …”
“Are you okay?” she asks worriedly.
“I’m sorry, I just—”
“I know, Babygirl. I know.” She sighs. We don’t have to say much; she knows me well enough to understand how this all works.
“Just go to the house. I rented it for you, I talked to Avey, and she agrees this is the best time to go. She said something about students gonna want a place to study soon.”
“I rented the house for you, everything has been taken care of. And if anything, this will be a little vacation, plus maybe some closure you need. You were never at fault, sweetie. You owe it to yerself to take a break. I’m so proud of you. I wish I could’ve been there for the openin’,” she says quietly.
A FREE Forever Series Novella
J. Lum resides in the Northern Virginia area. While she calls Virginia home, she is constantly on the go. She’s got a constant case of #Wanderlust; most of the time, you can find her traveling around the world to see her book besties, or checking off her bucket list places. Her second home away from home is Hawaii, where her family is from. The love for the ocean runs through her veins. She also has a love of pugs, unicorns, and anything chocolate. She and coffee have been having a love affair for many years. And, if you don’t find her wandering around the world, she’s more than likely hanging with her pug, Lani.
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