The first four pages of An Undisclosed Vocation
The floor shook and the explosion sent them diving to the floor, arms over head, his body over hers. It took half a minute to realize that nothing had actually happened to them, or to the bookstore. Charlotte’s heart pounded, and she felt a tremor in Donovan’s hand as he helped her up.
“You okay?” he asked. She nodded.
They went to the storefront window, where they had been leaning against the checkout counter and sipping coffees just moments before.
Dust billowed from the ground-floor windows of the building on the opposite corner. The coffee shop.
Oh my god— “Jimmy!” She started for the door, but Donovan held her back.
“Charlotte, no—there might be another one.” He had his phone out, dialing 911, but she could hear the sirens already.
They stood in shock as the dust slowly dissipated and the emergency vehicles arrived, watching as the streets were blocked and the area around the coffee shop cordoned off. Then she saw Jimmy open a window in his loft on the second floor and was almost faint with relief as she pointed him out to Donovan.
“Oh, thank god.” His voice almost broke.
But the dust had also cleared enough to reveal the debris strewn across the street—glass, wood, bits of furniture, fabric—
And a tan leather peaked cap, one she had noticed on its wearer seconds before the explosion.
The mayor of Elm Grove was dead.More
The first two pages of An Unexamined Wife
Bags packed. Gifts wrapped. Flights confirmed. Charlotte Anthony took a deep breath, satisfied that all was in order for the trip to Aspen, and settled in comfortably at the coffee shop. The others had already arrived and the conversation was, as usual, all over the place and in full gear.
Their nook in the bow window looked like a snow globe, except the heavily falling snow was outside the glass. On the sidewalk, children were making the most of being on vacation, running and laughing, while the adults leaned forward to keep the snow off their phones as they texted and walked at the same time. More
The First two pages of An Uncollected Death
Charlotte Kleid Anthony took a big red mug of black coffee out to the deck, and the first cold barefoot steps in the morning dampness shocked her head clear. The hot mug felt so good in her hands. She took some deep breaths of fresh air, just making out the first ripe tang of autumn, and heard the crows calling to one another in the pines behind the house. Back in the kitchen the letter from the lawyer sported several purple rings from the Merlot she drank the night before. Her mouth was dry, she’d burned her breakfast bagel, but, all in all, it had been worth it.
She squinted from the bright reflections of the sun off the lake, and off the bank of windows at Helene’s old house across the way, where it nestled amid the tiers of other hillside houses and trees. It was almost time to go to Olivia’s, but she took a few more moments to ground herself, her fingers stroking the bleached cedar deck rail. More