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Sea Glass Summer is Here!

Posted by on Monday, July 4, 2022 at 1:33 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Dear Readers,

I hope you love this story about a young widow struggling to start her life over who wants to give her young son a wonderful summer in the process, as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’ll let the reviews speak for themselves. I hope you will check it out!

Thanks as always for reading the books – I couldn’t do this without you!

 

xo Miranda

Five Star Reviews!

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

“Beautifully told with characters that charm and steal your heart.”

 

“It will make you laugh, cry, and feel every emotion in between.”

 

“A story of love, loss, and second chances.”

 

“This is my absolute favorite book Ms. Liasson has ever written.”

 

**~**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**~**

Join me for Fresh Fiction’s Video Book Club July 6th!

It begins at 7 p.m. CENTRAL time, with Sara from Fresh Fiction interviewing me at 7:30, followed by a Q and A. So please come chat with me! The event is free, but you must register beforehand. See you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See you July 10th on Facebook!

I’ll be posting all day and doing some fun giveaways in the W.E.A.R. Book Club on Facebook on July 10th. Hope to see you there!

 

**~**

Happy Summer! 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Chapter 1 of Sea Glass Summer…coming June 28!

Posted by on Sunday, May 29, 2022 at 8:37 am in Uncategorized | 1 comment

 

Dear Readers,

Thank you for visiting my website!

I loved writing this book about a young widow wanting to restart her life and give her young son the best summer possible in the beach town where she grew up with her 2 lifelong best friends.

She’s not looking for love…but it just might find her anyway!

Hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

 

**~**

 

Read Chapter 1 of Sea Glass Summer!

 

Sea Glass Summer Copyright Ó 2022 by Miranda Liasson The scanning, uploading, and distribution of the book without permission is a theft of the author’s intellectual property.

Chapter 1

Oliver Wendell Blakemore looked like a cute, round marshmallow as he stood at home plate, the bright May sunshine bouncing off his helmet, a cartoon shark grinning on his bright white jersey. His teammates sat on the nearby bench, a few watching, others, being five-year-olds, wiggling and laughing and fooling around and earning a semi-sternish look from their coach.

“Go, Ollie, go!” Kit, his mother, gave a whoop and a big thumbs-up as she watched nervously from the stands. The warm day, with the promise of many more to come, and the vision of the sapphire-blue ocean sparkling in the distance beyond the baseball field belied her anxious feelings. She’d made certain her son had everything he needed. Helmet, check. Striped socks, baseball pants, and glove, check. Cleats, double check. She’d even studied the rules of Tee ball on YouTube so she’d understand what was going on. And bought herself a glove so she could practice with him.

She’d wanted Ollie’s first team sport to be a big success, even if his dad wasn’t here to cheer him on.

I miss you, honey, a little voice inside of her whispered. She felt the familiar heart squeeze that she felt every single time she thought about Carson. Which was only about a hundred times a day.

“Don’t forget to cheer,” Kit said to her best friend Darla, who was sitting next to her. “Do you think I should go sit with the dads?” She glanced down at the front row, where said dads lined up, yelling out occasional tidbits of advice and encouragement to their sons.

“Only if you want to make the other moms angry,” her other best friend, Hadley, said from her seat on the other side of Kit.

“Why would I make them angry?” Kit asked.

“Because you’re gorgeous,” Hadley said, brushing Kit’s long ponytail back, “and while you mean well, they might interpret it as flirting.”

“It’s not right that that bench is just for dads. Also, I don’t even remember what flirting is,” Kit remarked as she smiled widely and hiked another big thumbs-up to Ollie. “And I’ve been too busy to get a haircut. And I think I have chocolate icing on my shirt from the brownie I grabbed this morning on the way out the door.”

“I can barely see the icing,” Hadley said. “And maybe you’d better remember about the flirting quick because Coach Bryan keeps looking at you.”

“Coach Bryan is newly divorced and hot,” Darla said as she poked Kit with an elbow. Most people would think at first glance that Darla, who was barely above five feet tall with curly blond hair and pretty blue eyes, was demure and unassuming, but her friends knew that she was about as subtle as her elbow nudges.

The three women were as different in personality as in physical characteristics—Kit’s hair was nearly black, Hadley’s was light brown, and Darla’s was blond—but they’d been bound together as best friends since the age of five, their parents calling them the Three Musketeers.

“And his little boy is on the team. That’s sweet,” Hadley said.

“You’re missing the point,” Kit said. “I don’t want to flirt with anyone. I just want to make sure Ollie has some representation down there.” Not that she would do much since she barely understood the rules, but she was learning. Should Tee ball be this stressful for a parent?

Maybe when you were a single one, it was.

A dark-haired, well-built man walked up the bleachers to join them, smiling, joking, and fist-bumping with people on the way.

“Here comes your guy,” Kit said to Hadley. For the past year, Hadley had been dating former pro footballer Tony Cammareri, or “Cam” as they all called him. And was blissfully happy.

“My guy is currently on my Z list,” Hadley said. Okay, make that blissful most of the time.

“How come?” Darla asked.

“We’re having wedding stress,” Hadley confessed. “Tony knows so many people—football players, coaches, owners, managers, sportscasters—and he considers all of them friends.”

“Cam’s always had a big personality,” Kit said. “He does tend to like everybody.”

“Plus, with his new restaurant,” Darla added, “he probably knows even more people.”

Hadley threw up her hands in frustration. “If the guest list grows any more, we’re going to need a bigger backyard.”

“Oh, you’ve decided to get married in your own yard?” Darla said. “That will be amazing.” Hadley and Cam’s backyard was…on the ocean. Enough said.

“Maybe we’ll just elope,” Hadley said. A little wistfully, Kit thought.

Cam sat next to Hadley and kissed her solidly on the lips. “Eloping is like fumbling the ball on the ten-yard line. We’ve come this far—we just have to agree on a few more things.”

Hadley smiled sweetly. “You’re not going to make it over the finish line if we can’t get this resolved.”

Cam chuckled good-naturedly.

“Oh, you two are so perfect for each other, it’s sickening,” Darla said.

“Ollie’s up.” Kit pointed to home plate. Down on the field, Ollie shuffled his feet, his eyes darting around. She made sure to send him an encouraging wave. “He looks nervous,” she said as she sat on her hands so she wouldn’t bite her nails.

“Go get ’em, Tiger!” Cam yelled. “I mean Shark. Go get ’em, Shark!”

That got a little smile out of Ollie. And a few envious glances from the other boys, who well knew that Cam was a legendary football player, born and raised right here in Seashell Harbor, their quaint Victorian beach town in south New Jersey.

Kit cast him a grateful smile. Her friends and family had done all they could to make the past two years as normal as possible for her and Ollie after Carson’s death in action as an air force fighter pilot. She was lucky to have such a wonderful support system.

Ollie wound up his bat, focusing on the ball perched atop the tee, which seemed bigger than he was.

He swung wildly, the bat hitting the tee with a reverberating clang.

A few of the kids tittered. So did one of the dads, which Kit instantly took note of. Maybe she would have to head down there after all.

“Easy, Kit.” Darla grabbed hold of her elbow in case she followed through on her obvious impulse. “Look. Bryan is walking over to Ollie.”

“It’s okay, bud,” the coach said, replacing the ball on the tee. “Try it again.”

Ollie whiffed the air.

“How many strikes in this game?” Darla whispered. “Is it like regular baseball?”

“They get five tries,” Hadley answered.

Five?” Darla exclaimed, her eyes wide.

Yes, Kit confirmed with a nod. Five excruciating strikes.

That realization made her nerves jangle. Not only because she’d wanted Tee ball to be a fun, confidence-building experience for her boy but also because it was slowly occurring to her that Ollie might be terrible at it. And if Ollie had inherited her athletic ability instead of his dad’s, they were in for big trouble.

“What’s the Admiral think about all this?” Hadley asked, nodding to the bleacher seat a few rows down from theirs, where Kit’s parents sat. Her dad, a four-star navy admiral, sat with his arms crossed, assessing.

“He made him do drills last night to get ready.”

“What kind of drills?” Darla asked.

“I was making dinner, but when I looked out the window, Ollie was doing sprints across the yard.”

“Oh.” Darla made a yikes expression.

A few more painful flails, and it was finished.

Ollie had made the third out. The game was over. And while there was no score in T-ball—the game simply went an hour and then it was called—the kids still knew.

One of Ollie’s teammates said something to him as he passed. Ollie scowled and then pulled off his helmet, tossing it to the ground, where it rolled to a stop in a puff of dust.

All Kit had wanted was for him to have fun, make friends, and fit in. Especially lately when he’d suddenly become aware of his long-standing lisp, which she’d always regarded as sweet and adorable. It never occurred to her that this could make things worse.

Kit met him near the front of the now-emptying bleachers, where he plopped himself down in the third row. “I’m not playing anymore,” he huffed, crossing his arms and sticking out his lower lip. The combination of his summer buzz cut, deeply knit brows, and soulful blue eyes all gave Kit another pang in her heart. How would she ever stop grieving Carson when their son looked exactly like him? Ollie’s bat clattered into the aisle, bumping its way down the metal steps and falling underneath the seats.

She chose not to scold him for dropping the bat into no-man’s-land because she wasn’t sure what was going on.

Carson would have known exactly how to handle this and maybe even why Ollie seemed unlike his sweet, happy self lately. Help, she sent up silently into the ether, squinting at the bright yellow sun shining so cheerfully over the seaside park.

Be brave, Kit imagined she heard back. That’s what Carson would have said. With a wink and a jaunty smile that would have made her melt a little. And she truly wanted to be brave, for his sake, because he’d been all about brave. Carson had died on a mission over Afghanistan. He’d known the dangers, yet he’d gone gallantly and done his job.

So she could do hers.

All the five-year-olds were disbanding, gathering equipment, and talking excitedly with their families. Except Ollie, who sat there very grumpily.

Darla reached under the bleachers and fished out the fallen bat, casting a reassuring smile in Kit’s direction. “It’s okay, Ollie,” she said in a soothing tone. “Everyone has bad days.”

Kit’s mother, who looked perfectly pressed in spotless white tennies, white pants, and a crisp tailored shirt, patted him on the back. “Maybe Tee ball’s just not your thing.”

“This is just the first game, Mom,” Kit said, a little more firmly than she’d intended as she sat down next to her son and gave him a little squeeze. Besides, she thought a little wryly, Ollie couldn’t quit yet. It had cost a small fortune to buy those special cleats and pants and a glove and sign up for the league. More seriously, Kit understood that making things easy for Ollie all the time wasn’t right, even though her own family had done that—for her as well—often during these past two years.

“It takes a little while to get the hang of it,” she amended, trying to convey that it wasn’t time to jump ship yet. Her parents had been a godsend to her and Ollie. But sometimes she longed to simply do things the way she saw fit.

It wasn’t their fault that they were trying to lighten the load. They’d swooped in to rescue her many a time, like in the beginning when her grief was so weighty that she could barely get out of bed, let alone take care of a toddler. Kit often felt that she was still slogging through the fog of sadness, but at least she was functional now. More than functional. But she sometimes wondered how much her grief had allowed her to give up her independence and lean on her loved ones a little too much.

As she rummaged around in her bag for her car keys, her fingers caught the stiff edges of a folded flyer she’d grabbed hurriedly from the library a few weeks ago during her lunch hour. She’d been drawn to it first because it was bright green. And second because its message seemed eerily targeted straight at her.

It was just a notice from the local community college making a pitch for next semester’s classes, which would start in the fall. And announcing transition help for adults who’d been out of school for a while, like her. Which included taking a summer class or two with some reorientation guidance and support along the way.

Right before Carson died, she’d signed up for classes to complete her college degree in psychology, planning to become a mental health therapist. But then her entire life suddenly derailed.

And so had her drive to finish her degree. Not to mention the means to finance it.

She was busy enough with her job as the front-desk person at Seaside Auto Body, and thank goodness she had Ollie, who she was determined to be a good mom for. But lately the numbness she’d felt for so long had been blossoming into a deep unrest. And while she would never be envious of her friends, she couldn’t help noting that Darla was a successful author of best-selling thrillers, and Hadley had found her happiness opening an animal rescue downtown. And that bright green flyer kept poking at her. So much so that she found herself scribbling a list of things on the back. Dreams, goals, wishes.

On her better days, she thought maybe that was a good thing because it meant she wasn’t numb anymore.

And on her bad days—well, she didn’t want to talk about those.

“Aunt Darla is right,” her dad said in his firm but gentle way to Ollie as Kit gathered up his sports bag. Her friends hung out nearby, waiting to walk out with them. “You just had an off day. That doesn’t mean we give up, right, buddy?” Her dad playfully knocked Ollie’s shoulder. The lip jutted out more. “We’ll just practice harder. Do some fun drills.”

Oh geez. For her dad, fresh air and calisthenics was the cure for…just about everything.

Cam, coming to the rescue, put a big hand on Ollie’s little shoulder, which sent another wretched pang to her heart. Cam was kind and so good with Ollie. He really made an effort to be an important male influence. But even an innocent, thoughtful gesture like that sent up an unnatural wellspring of anger inside of her. Why wasn’t that Carson’shand on his son’s shoulder? Something they’d all been robbed of.

“What do you say we practice some this week, huh, buddy?”

“I bought a bat and ball,” Kit offered. She’d tried to practice throwing with Ollie but she probably needed someone to help hone her pitching skills more than her son did.

“I think we might have one of those little stand thingies in our garage,” Hadley said.

“It’s a tee, Aunt Hadley,” Ollie said, and went back to his slumped-down position. Because of his endearing little lisp, her name came out Hadwey.

Ollie’s lisp gave her mother’s heart another prick. Now that he was about to start kindergarten, she feared that it would make him a target with the other kids. Plus their pediatrician had recommended speech therapy twice a week, and Ollie wasn’t very happy about it despite their therapist trying to make it fun and positive.

Kit had tried so hard to protect him these last few years from the perils of life. But life had a way of creeping in anyway, even for a five-year-old.

For the millionth time, she catalogued yet another way she was falling short. Of course she was, because trying to be two parents made her feel stretched thinner than a fruit roll-up.

That almost brought her to tears. Sometimes it didn’t take much, at the most unwelcome times. But she forced herself to think of something to distract herself. It was a beautiful day, the promise of summer in the air. That meant beach days, barbecues, and giving Ollie the best summer ever—summers like she remembered, growing up in Seashell Harbor, a magical place, with long, lazy days playing in the sand and running into the waves and the salty taste of ocean water in your mouth. Finding shells and sea glass and creatures and enjoying clambakes and fires on the beach. A place where the stars were so bright at night they looked like tiny diamonds.

That’s what she wanted for Ollie. A carefree, happy childhood. And she’d do anything for him to have that.

As for herself, her goals were more short-term. She just wanted to survive Tee ball. And maybe curl up at the end of the day with a good romance novel…which happened to be the only thing she was curling up with lately.

“I hate Tee ball,” Ollie said with passion as he walked side by side with her dad as they all headed to the parking lot. “I want to quit.”

Hadley put an arm around Kit as they walked off the field. “There you go,” she said, placing the fallen strap of Ollie’s bag back on her shoulder.

“He’s like Carson,” Kit said, unable to shake her worry. “Once he makes up his mind, it’s super hard to reason with him.”

“Ollie will be fine,” Hadley said. “This is just a little bump in the road.”

“Hey,” Darla said, jogging up beside them. “Don’t forget, we’re knocking on your door at seven tomorrow morning. Be awake. And wear your running shoes.”

“I’ve changed my mind,” Kit said. “I’m tired from work this week, and Ollie’s upset and…” She knew exactly what her friends were doing—staging an intervention. Something that she’d taken part in at various times in their lives for both of them too. But she hated being on the receiving end of one. “…and I’m meeting Carol Drake to discuss the house at nine.”

The house, known in town as the McKinnon house, was the big, behemoth train wreck that was Carson’s inheritance—aka the Ball and Chain.

“No excuses,” Hadley said. “You pinkie-swore.”

“That was after two glasses of wine.” Why had she mentioned that flyer to her friends? Because she was a glutton for punishment, that’s why. One whiff of her unrest and they were off to save her. Note to self:  no more wine!

“We’ll be done way before then,” Darla said. “Don’t forget to bring your list.” She glanced down at Kit’s hands. “And why aren’t you wearing the ring?”

Oh no. Last summer, they’d found Darla’s great-great-grandmother’s ring hidden in the toe of an old sock when they were helping her move. The ring looked like a precious stone but was actually a Seashell Harbor “diamond,” made from bits of quartz that washed up on the beach after a long journey down the Catskills. Most of them made their way into local tourist shops. But Darla’s courageous ancestor had used hers to fake a marriage and buy an old property on the outskirts of town where unwed mothers could learn life skills.

Pretty amazing for 1906.

“Oh, I’m sorry about that.” Kit slid her hand along her empty finger. “I meant to give it back.”

“No, you’re supposed to be wearing it,” Darla insisted. “All summer long. That was the deal.”

“Look, it’s big and I’m constantly getting my hands in cookie dough or washing the dog or—”

“Hadley wore it last summer and look what happened.” Darla was referring to the fact that Hadley had reconnected with her first love and was now engaged.

“It can’t hurt, Kit,” Hadley, always the optimist, chimed in. “Of the three of us, you’ve always been the romantic. So wear it and see what happens.”

Kit used to believe in true love and poetry and romance. But the truth was, her romantic well was…bone-dry, thanks very much.

She was about to just tell her friends that fine, she would wear it to get them off her case, when Ollie’s best friend, Corey, and his mom Cindy passed by. Corey, who had freckles and a mop of curly red hair, ran up to Ollie and put his arms around him. “It’s okay, Ollie. You’ll get a hit next time. You want to come over and play Transformers tomorrow?”

Kit loved that kid and so, apparently, did Ollie, as his face brightened immediately. Kit smiled at Cindy. “How is it you have such a wonderful child?”

She shrugged. “Yours is pretty wonderful too. Can Ollie play? It’s my turn to host the Saturday playdate.”

“Sure,” Kit said. “Thanks.”

“Would you mind hosting next weekend?” Cindy asked. “My finals are coming up, and I could use some study time. Or nap time.” She chuckled. “I’m not sure which one I need more.”

“I’d love to have the boys over tomorrow,” Kit said. “And next weekend too so you can study. Just plan on that. If it’s a nice day, I’ll take them to the beach.”

“You sure you wouldn’t mind?” Cindy wore that sudden look of relief that moms know well.

“Not at all.” Kit shook her head incredulously, in awe of her friend. “Full-time job, full-time student, full-time mother. What’s your secret?”

“Caffeine,” Cindy said. “Anger helps too.” She gave Kit a squeeze. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Not that I’m an expert or anything, but an idiot ex is probably a lot easier to deal with than losing a great guy you genuinely loved.”

Oh geez, there Kit went, feeling like she was going to tear up again. “Thanks,” Kit managed. “And good luck with the studying.” As they all headed off the field, she felt even more unsettled.

Kit used to be a go-getter like Cindy. Determined. Hardworking. A goal setter.

Used to be. That was a terrible way to define yourself.

As she rummaged in her purse for her car keys, the flyer poked her again. Reminding her of her shortcomings, no doubt.

Hadley touched her elbow. “Hot single dad alert,” she whispered in a singsong voice. “Don’t turn around.”

Kit froze. She would’ve brushed off her friends’ teasing as bluster except that Ollie’s coach had been making a lot of eye contact with her. And she was awfully rusty at the dating game, but she wasn’t dead, and she’d definitely noticed him too. “Who is it?” she asked, hoping it wasn’t Bryan Dougherty. He was…unsettling. Handsome. A male. Single.

All the moms joked about how good-looking he was behind his back. And some of them blatantly flirted with him. Like Astrid, a mom who never showed up in shorts and a T-shirt, always had a fresh manicure, and who happened to be frowning at her from twenty feet away right now.

“Someone tall, dark, and athletic,” Darla said with a grin. “Former college hockey star, with a gorgeous smile. All teeth present and accounted for.”

Kit gave Darla a puzzled look. “Teeth accounted for?”

“It’s a hockey joke,” Darla said.

“A bad one,” Hadley added.

Darla hurriedly tidied Kit’s flyaway wavy hair, a staple of living by the ocean. Hadley pulled out her tinted lip balm and nudged her to use some.

“I’m not putting that on,” Kit said.

Hadley persisted. “Chapped lips are not attractive,” she said.

Kit rolled her eyes and took the offering, swiping it over her lips and then rubbing them together. “You haven’t done that since high school,” she said, but Hadley’s response was a quick backward wave as she turned to go.

“See you bright and early.” Darla gave a knowing nod as they both walked away.

“Hey, don’t leave—” Kit dearly loved her friends, even if they were sometimes pushy and annoying. Like now.

“Hey, Kit.” Bryan combed back his stylishly longish hair, which might require too much work for some men but looked great on him. “How are you?” His deep blue gaze swept her up and down in a way that should’ve flattered her but instead just made her feel more jittery. Yep, she was waaaay out of practice.

“Hey, Bryan,” she said. “Do you have a second?” Maybe if she talked first, he wouldn’t ask her out. Which she feared might be on his mind. Not that he wasn’t cute but…she wasn’t ready. The way her heart was beating like she was having a heart attack told her so. Maybe she’d never be ready. But right now, Ollie was foremost on her mind. As he should be. Right?

“For you, I have two,” he said with a chuckle.

“I’m a little concerned about Ollie,” Kit said.

Bryan scratched his very attractive stubble. “Hmmm, well, he is a little shy and cautious. He just needs to toughen up a little, not be afraid to take a little hit.” He playfully knocked her elbow to bring home his point.

“Oh.” A thousand questions flew through her mind. Including the phrases toughen up  and not be afraid to take a little hit, both of which made her a little uncomfortable. Carson would probably laugh and tell her that it was okay—even necessary—for Ollie not to be overly sensitive. You can’t pad the crib forever, he’d say with that wonderful laugh as he gathered her into his arms.

She couldn’t protect her son from all the bumps and bruises of life. Or the fact that his dad wasn’t here to help him—or her—through this.

“I’ll look out for him next practice,” Bryan said. “Don’t worry.”

“Okay. Thanks.” There. That wasn’t so bad. Maybe that’s why he was approaching her. To discuss his concerns about Ollie. She turned to go but his voice. Made her turn back. “Say,” he said, suddenly at her side, “I had a crazy idea.”

He was smiling in a nice, easy way. Her guy radar, rusty as it was, sensed what was coming. “Oh. What was that?”

He dropped his voice. “It’s actually not about the boys. I was wondering if you’d like to grab some dinner sometime. Whatever you can work out with your babysitter.”

Kit’s stomach churned. She imagined Carson standing behind her shoulder, chuckling softly. I don’t trust him, Carson would say. His teeth are too perfect.

She wished he was standing behind her.

If she was ever going to get a date, she had to stop picturing her dead husband laughing at the guy who was asking her out.

And that almost made her laugh. Starting over seemed impossible. And she was an absolute disaster.

“Kit?” Bryan flashed a winsome grin. “Did I say something wrong?”

“No, not at all.” She took a breath and smiled. Yes, that was how it was done. A nice smile and say yes.

She managed the first part. But the words did not come.

They both stood there, the silence stretching on. “I…That was sweet of you. Let me…check my schedule.” She felt like someone could fry a hamburger on her cheeks. “That’s really nice of you to ask,” she added.

“Well, I really hope you can,” he said. “I’ll catch you tomorrow at practice, okay?”

“Sure, great.” Her family and friends still stood down the field a ways, waiting for her.

She didn’t want to be stuck forever. She didn’t want her friends feeling sorry for her. She wanted her life back.

People could help her with a lot of things, like watching Ollie and forcing her to wake up early on Saturday to go jogging, but the hard work of living she would have to find the courage for all by herself.

“Bryan,” she called after him.

“Yeah?” he said, turning around.

“I’d love to go out.”

“Terrific.” He walked over and asked for her phone, which she gave him to add his number. “Text me a potential day, okay?”

“Great,” she said, but she didn’t feel great. Or excited.

She felt terrified.

But she did feel that she’d accomplished something. Because if she wasn’t brave, how could she ever expect Ollie to be?

 

 

READ CHAPTER 1 OF THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES, COMING HOME TO SEASHELL HARBOR,

Read Chapter 1 of COMING HOME TO SEASHELL HARBOR

Posted by on Monday, April 25, 2022 at 4:57 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Read Chapter 1 of COMING HOME TO SEASHELL HARBOR

COMING HOME TO SEASHELL HARBOR is being  re-issued  in mass market format on April 26th. If you missed it last year, you can grab it now before SEA GLASS SUMMER, the second book in the series, releases June 28th!

 

Please check it out if you enjoy:

🌞Women’s Friendships

🌞Second Chances

🌞Lots of (Rescue!) Dogs

 

Chapter 1

 

 

"Welcome to Seashell Harbor" by Contemporary Romance Author Miranda LiassonHadley Wells managed to pee, buy two large chai tea lattes, and grab her luggage from the carousel before racing to her grandmother’s usual pickup spot at door 7 at Philly International Airport. She tugged off her big sunglasses and her floppy hat, blowing out a sigh of relief when no one looked her way. Then she took a seat on her Big Daddy Samsonite and chugged a gulp of her latte. Her phone told her that she was early, with a minute to spare. Good, because Gran had no tolerance for lollygagging.

Hadley couldn’t wait to wrap her arms around her grandmother. And she couldn’t wait for her grandmother to wrap her arms around her, enveloping Hadley in that wonderful lavender-scented squeeze, the cure for all heartaches.

Grandma’s hugs might not be a magic bullet for heartbreak like they’d been for her many skinned knees, but they sure would help. Hadley was excited to spend the summer with her family in their quaint Victorian seaside town, where she planned to relax and read escapist fiction on the beach. And eat real food. Maybe then she’d have a chance to recover from the stress, exhaustion, and heartache that had marked the past few months.

Hot tears stung her eyes. She was getting emotional again. Breathing deeply, she reminded herself that she was just thirty-five, even if the tabloids were calling her over-the-hill with no prospects. Getting over a break up was one thing, but her high-profile split with Cooper Hemsley, the beloved A-list actor, hadn’t made that any easier, that was for sure. Just more public. She’d watched all her dreams of love and a family of her own disintegrate with millions of people watching.

But in Seashell Harbor, she’d just be Hadley, not Cooper Hemsley’s jilted ex. She’d get some full-scale pampering from her family, reunite with her two best friends, and help out Gran at Pooch Palace, her dog boarding business, Hadley’s favorite place in the world. Because dogs didn’t cheat on you, run away with their costars, or publicly embarrass you.

And PR firms that you worked for didn’t insist you take an entire summer of paid leave because the damage from your giant, scandalous breakup couldn’t be repaired any other way.

Twenty minutes later, she’d unconsciously gulped down her latte and half of Gran’s but still no sign of her grandmother.

Gran had a cell phone for emergencies only, but Hadley didn’t want to call while Gran was driving. She was just about to text her parents when they pulled up to the curb in their black Lexus.

Her mom got out of the car, a book tumbling from her lap and hitting the pavement with a thunk. The big, dusty tome on Victorian something-or-other was no doubt for her research as an English professor at Rutgers. Then her dad also got out, in the no-parking zone no less, which completely freaked her out. As did the too-cheery smiles on their faces.

“Hey, Pumpkin,” her dad said, preparing to envelop her in a hug, but her mom got to her first.

“Hey, Mom, hey, Dad,” she said, now too nervous to fully appreciate the hugs of her loving but very type A parents. “Where’s—”

“Aw, honey!” Her mom gave her a big squeeze, then held her at arm’s length to examine her with shrewd eyes. “You’re too thin. And you look exhausted.”

Great. Her mom had seen through the concealer and fresh lipstick, neither of which apparently hid her heartache.

“But you look as beautiful as always,” her dad said. As she hugged him, she could feel his phone vibrating in his pocket, which was pretty typical in his role as a high-powered financial advisor. “We’re thrilled to have you home for the summer.”

“Me too. But where’s Gran?” she asked, a creeping sense of dread ruining her chai tea zen. Plus she had to pee again.

“She’s fine,” her mom said as she inhaled deeply, “but she had a little…accident. We didn’t want you to panic, so we decided to tell you in person.”

Accident? The loud no in her head exploded at full volume. She didn’t want to think of Gran getting older. Of bad things happening. Not when she needed her sage counsel, her advice, her love, and her killer double-chocolate brownies.

“She’s fine,” her dad repeated in a reassuring voice, still holding on to her. “Breathe.” He waited patiently while she took several breaths. “Atta girl.” When he seemed convinced she wasn’t going to lose it right there at the pickup entrance, he continued. “She was chasing after Mayor Chaudhry’s dog this morning and fell and broke her hip. She’s going to be fine and the dog is fine. Except she’ll need to go to the rehab hospital for a few weeks because the break is a little complicated but she should do just fine.” He glanced at his watch. “Her surgery’s at five.”

“I could’ve caught an Uber—”

“She insisted we come and get you,” her mom said. “We’re going to head right back to the hospital.”

Hadley’s heart sank. It was an hour-and-forty-minute drive back to Seashell Harbor. And Gran was alone while Hadley and her parents were here.

“Paul’s with her, but he has to work at four,” her mom said, reading her mind. Paul Farmer was Pooch Palace’s next-door neighbor and ran the local ice-cream shop, Scoops. Gran and he were great friends. “She even wrote you a note.” Her mom pulled a bright yellow pack of sticky notes out of her purse.

Hadley instantly recoiled, then caught herself. She still despised sticky notes after all these years, ever since her high school boyfriend had broken up with her on one, serving up her first big heartbreak. Silly, she knew. But to this day, her hatred of sticky notes was still fierce, extending to all colors of the rainbow.

Gran’s practical, no-nonsense tone rang out loud and clear:

Hadley, honey, sorry for sticky note but it’s all I’ve got. Listen, I’m going to be fine. Don’t worry yourself. All I want is to see you (cont.).

Hadley had to peel that note off to get to the rest of the message:

And maybe you can ask Paul to bring me a chocolate banana milkshake? We’ll split it when I’m out of surgery. xo

P.S. You’re so much better than that phony scoundrel. Glad you dumped him. Gran

Gran was an optimist if, one, she believed she was going to be hungry for a milkshake post-op, and two, she made it sound as though Hadley had done the dumping when the whole world knew that wasn’t true. She’d just pocketed the note when the airport police pulled up and signaled to her dad to move his car or else, thank you very much. Her mom hooked her arm through Hadley’s elbow and whisked her to the back seat.

For the next hour-plus, Hadley had no choice but to sit back and watch the familiar sights of her home state. The Garden State Parkway ran right along the ocean, displaying the picture-perfect summer day, the sun hitting the water and scattering it into a thousand diamond sparkles. It was the kind of day for heading down to the beach with a book and a folding chair and sticking your toes in the sand, your cares blowing away like the puffy little clouds that sailed by.

She’d envisioned coming home as a vacation: her grandmother spoiling her with all her favorite foods, taking her window-shopping along Petunia Street. Having lunch together at one of the cute outdoor restaurants with an ocean view, lounging at the beach in front of Gran’s little oceanfront bungalow, and reading good books, her most strenuous activity of each day being the reapplication of sunblock.

But now all that seemed self-indulgent.

She’d hoped, too, for a chance to reassess her life. When she’d moved to LA five years ago to handle PR for an animal rights agency, she’d dreamed of making a difference. But then she’d gotten an offer for a “better” job in celebrity PR, with so much more pay and a certain amount of…prestige.

The work had been fun, exciting, and glamorous…at first. The parties! The stars! And, of course, that was where she’d met Cooper Hemsley III at a post–award show interview junket. He’d approached her and she’d almost had a heart attack and swooned on the spot, instantly smitten with his charisma and charm.

And everyone back home had been so proud—her family, the neighbors. Nearly everyone, except her grandmother, who’d never cared for Cooper. While Hadley had enjoyed the money and the perks of her new job, handling damage control for celebrities with too much time and money on their hands was a far cry from her passion to make the world a better place.

At last, Seashell Harbor’s beloved downtown came into view, as comfortable as a favorite sweater. Hadley took in the seaside park, the quaint Petunia Street shops with their overflowing baskets and pots of flowers, the Pooch Palace sign that said We Treat Your Pet Like Royalty, the massive white banner flapping indolently in the sea breeze that read Welcome Home, Cam!—

Wait, what? Better rewind that one. Hadley blinked and confirmed that, yes, the banner was real. Seashell Harbor’s famous—or rather infamous—gridiron hero was back? She closed her eyes, but she still saw a billowy white sheet with Cam in bold black letters burning into her brain. At one time, Tony Cammareri had loomed as large as that obnoxious, flapping banner in her life. But that was long ago. She had fresh, adult heartbreak to deal with. And Gran. Gran was all that mattered now.

She tried to enjoy the rest of the sights but it was futile. That awful banner was blocking everything out, including her common sense.

“Tony—I mean, Cam—is back?” she found herself asking. Unlike the rest of the world, she’d never called him Cam.

But as far as she was concerned, Tony, the boy who’d been her first love, was long gone. So Cam he’d be.

Her mom turned in the front seat. “He’s been back since his injury, rehabbing his knee. Such a shame, isn’t it? Suddenly ending his career like that. I’m sure you two will run into each other.” Her voice was just a touch higher than usual, the tone she often used when she was nervous. Well, they were all nervous about Gran.

“I don’t want to see him again,” Hadley said, a little more adamantly that she’d meant to. She waved her hands dismissively. “He’s ancient history.” Ancient teenage heartbreak. That was all.

Her parents exchanged knowing glances, which made her nervous. Then her dad spoke. “Honey, there’s something else you need to know.”

Hadley white-knuckled her seat as she imagined even worse news. “What is it?”

“Well, your grandmother’s thinking of selling the Palace. Actually, she’s been considering retirement for some time.”

Gran, retire? For a woman who’d once vowed to take her last breath while sitting in Pooch Palace and petting the dogs, Gran’s sudden pushing of the panic button to sell her business just seemed off. The dogs were her life, her love, her joy.

“I’m sure after the accident she’d have some reservations,” Hadley said. “But I’m here all summer. I’m happy to help until she gets back on her feet.”

There went another knowing glance. Geez, she felt like she was twelve again, trying to read her parents’ private language from the back seat.

“Actually,” her mom said, “she’s thinking of selling the building…”

“…to Cam,” her dad finished.

She could not have heard right. “Come again?”

“He’s offered her quite a nice price,” her mom said.

“Wait. Gran wants to sell Pooch Palace to…to him?” She couldn’t say either of his names. She kept blinking but the furious scarlet before her eyes would not be erased.

“Business isn’t what it used to be.” Her dad turned onto the road that led to the hospital. “Even before the accident. Gran’s older and it’s getting harder for her to chase after all those dogs. Cam’s planning to use the building to open a sports bar/restaurant. The money would tide your grandmother off really well for retirement.”

Pooch Palace re-created as a sports bar? Gran retiring? It was like Hadley had landed in an alternate universe that looked like home but really wasn’t. Because the Gran she knew had vowed to never retire. And would never, ever consider selling her building to Tony Cammareri. Before he was Big-White-Flapping-Banner Cam, she’d known him as the One Who’d Crushed Her Tender Teenage Heart and Left It for Roadkill. On a Sticky Note. That Cam.

Why would Gran even be friendly with him?

Coercion, that’s what this was. Putting pressure on Gran when she was vulnerable. Cam was using his many charms to bamboozle Gran and her parents. Because clearly they were eating the Cam candy as well.

Her mom and dad exchanged looks again. “The business needs restructuring and rebranding. The new pet hotel near the interstate has taken away a lot of business.”

“I could help,” Hadley piped in. “That’s what I do. I could even ask for some unpaid leave if I needed to.”

“Honey,” her dad said, “your job is way too important for you to come back here and run a dog boardingbusiness.”

He’d said it like Pooch Palace was an amateur lemonade stand, the kind that she and her best friends Kit and Darla used to set up at the bottom of the driveway as kids. Something that an educated Wells daughter would never stoop to do.

“Hadley,” her dad continued, “maybe you can stop by Carol Drake’s office tomorrow and tell her we want her involved.” His phone buzzed with another call.

Carol Drake, Super Realtor, could sell a falling-down shack as a vintage charmer with potential, and every year she won the top-selling Realtor award. Her office also happened to be two buildings away from Pooch Palace. But Hadley would rather have a dental extraction than ask Carol to handle this deal.

Hadley’s mom patted her knee as they pulled into the hospital parking lot. “We’ll drop you off so you can run up and say hi. I know you’re upset, but now’s not the time to get into this with her, okay?”

Hadley restrained herself from a snarky teenage comeback: I know. Geez, Mom and Dad. “I get it,” she said instead, climbing out of the car and walking through the sliding double doors into the hospital. Somewhere in the floors above, her grandmother was lying in pain, anxious for surgery.

Gran was in the hospital. The villain of her teenage life was back in town, waiting to get his big baller hands on Gran’s building. Hadley’s beloved Pooch Palace was going under faster than a king tide. This was not the welcome home she’d imagined.

* * *

A few minutes later, Hadley burst into Gran’s hospital room, out of breath from climbing six flights of stairs because she hadn’t wanted to wait for the elevator. But her grandmother was asleep in her bed, looking a little aged and frail. Her hair had gotten whiter, creases lining her face a little more prominently than she’d noticed in their frequent FaceTime sessions.

She sat down on the vinyl chair in the corner next to the window, trying not to tear up. Flower arrangements adorned the sill despite the fact that Gran hadn’t even gone into surgery yet. Hadley randomly flipped up the tag on the most beautiful one, a massive bouquet of yellow roses.

Thinking of you. Tony

“Show-off,” she mumbled. It would be just like him to send flashy displays of flowers. “But where’s the chocolate?” Cam had always been an overachiever.

“Did someone say chocolate?” A weak voice emanated from the bed. Hadley took one look at her grandma and forced back tears again before going in for a hug.

“Oh, sweetheart, I’m so glad you’re back.” Gran leveled her gaze with Hadley’s. “You’re thin and wan. But nothing we can’t fix.”

“Don’t worry about me,” Hadley said. “Worry about you.”

“Tony was here,” Gran said instead, a little groggily. “He told me to tell you hi.”

Hadley smiled for her grandmother’s sake, but secretly thought she’d like to tell him a few things too. However, hi was not high on the list.

“Hadley, I have to tell you something.” Gran took both of Hadley’s hands in hers. “I’m sure you’ve heard that Tony wants to buy my building.” Hadley started to speak but Gran shushed her. “You must promise not to judge him too harshly.”

Hadley pursed her lips before she said something upsetting, like How could you? Instead, she squeezed her grandmother’s hands. “Don’t worry, Gran. I’m going to be here all summer to help you with the business and to help you recover. You know I love the Palace just as much as you do.”

Gran pointed to the little table between her bed and the wall. “He left you something.”

Hadley’s gaze followed to where Gran pointed. No. It could not be. Hanging off the edge of the bedside table, right underneath the flowers her mom must have brought from her garden, was a sticky note, rippling slightly in the current from the air-conditioning.

A yellow sticky note.

Bile rose in her throat as she reached forward and snatched it.

Hadley, feel free to call me. I’ll be at Pooch Palace tomorrow morning at 10. Talk soon, Tony

Underneath the words, he’d scrawled his phone number. She calmly pocketed the note, but pure unmitigated anger made her crumple it into a little ball inside her pocket.

Just then, her parents walked in, along with Gran’s nurse and a tall guy in scrubs with a kind smile. “Hi, Mrs. Edwards,” he said. “I’m Nasir. I’ll be taking you down to surgery.”

“Let’s get this over with so I can dance the two-step again,” Gran said as the family all kissed her. Her voice was cheery, but Hadley detected a tinge of bravado. Just before she was wheeled out the door, she gave Hadley a wink and whispered, “Don’t forget the shake.”

As Hadley and her parents prepared to trek down to the surgical waiting room, her mom stifled a yawn. “It’s been a long day already,” she said. “At some point I’ve got to run home and grab some overnight things.”

“I’d love to stay with her,” Hadley said. “I’ve already got all my stuff with me.” She glanced at the ugly beige chair in the corner. Not exactly the bed she’d planned on sleeping in, but it would do.

As she walked out of the room, her fingers brushed against her pants pocket, reminding her of the note. She pulled it out to analyze one last time, struggling to tamp down her anger.

Two things came to mind. One, Cam’s handwriting was just as bad as ever. And two, he was not getting Pooch Palace. Not now, not ever. She’d make certain of it.

~*~*~*

Coming June 28th…

A moving, uplifting novel about motherhood, starting over, and an unexpected summer romance…

Kit Blakemore is ready to live again. After her husband died while serving in the military, she was in a haze of grief. Now she wants to reclaim her former self—finish her degree and find a better career to provide for their sweet little boy, Oliver. To do that, she’ll need to sell her late husband’s dilapidated Victorian in Seashell Harbor. But first, Kit intends to give Ollie the kind of unforgettable seaside summer she had growing up, making lifelong memories and friendships.

Of course, nothing goes exactly as she planned. Ollie is struggling with his confidence, and frankly, so is Kit. But everything changes when her husband’s best friend, Alex de la Cruz, returns to town, offering to help her renovate. She doesn’t expect Alex to temporarily move in…or for him to bond with Ollie…or for her numb heart to begin thawing. Slowly he’s helping Kit and Ollie heal, and it scares her to death.

Kit swore she wouldn’t leave herself open to the pain of loss again. But if she’s going to teach her son to be brave and move forward, Kit must first face her own fears.

Don’t Miss This Sale!

Posted by on Monday, April 11, 2022 at 5:58 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Dear Friends,

The e-book of THE WAY YOU LOVE ME is now on sale for a short time in the U.S. and Canada. Please check it out at the links below.

E-Book Sale!

Amazon
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Apple Books

Google Play 

Kobo

EBooks.com

 

SEA GLASS SUMMER Releases June 28

Don’t forget to enter the 50-copy Goodreads Giveaway for SEA GLASS SUMMER, my upcoming June book. This book is about a woman starting over from loss while trying to give her little boy the kind of magical seaside summer she had growing up. I really loved writing this book, and I hope you enjoy it too!

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DON’T MISS THE SWEETHEART DEAL, Recently Out!

 

The Sweetheart Deal, Sometimes the perfect business plan stats with "I do". by Contemporary Romance Author Miranda Liasson

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Have a blessed Easter or Passover if you celebrate!

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Take care! xo

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THE SWEETHEART DEAL is out today!

Posted by on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at 5:00 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Dear Readers,

THE SWEETHEART DEAL is out today! I can’t wait for you to meet Tessa and Leo, my two enemies-turned-lovers who together will find the perfect recipe for success.

It’s also a story about the bonds of sisters and friendships, things we definitely don’t take for granted lately. Hope the story makes you unwind, relax, and have a good laugh or two on me. 

Love, 

Miranda SignatureMiranda SignatureMiranda

**~**

 

Let me tell you about the book in less than 60 secs…(Click on image to play video).

 

**~**

 

Out Now!

 

🌷

“An absolute sweetheart of a book!”

– USA Today bestselling author Amy Andrews

🌷

“The chemistry and snark between the two main characters is off the charts.”

– Katy Budget

🌷

“Liasson brings her idyllic small town to life with a close-knit, engaging cast; humor; and sparkling romance.”

– Publishers Weekly

🌷

“Liasson nails small-town romance: Blossom Glen itself comes alive with every endearing description, and Montgomery baked goods and Castorini dishes are presented in mouthwatering detail. The plot is a lovely contemporary take on a tale as old as time, with two equally strong leads and a colorful cast of parents, siblings, aunts, and uncles.”

– Kirkus Reviews

 

**~**

Upcoming Giveaways

I’ll be on Writerspace on 1/26 and Harlequin Junkie on 1/31.

And I’ll be chatting live with Tawna Fenske and Marissa Clarke on Friday, Jan. 28, at 7 pm EST in the Entangled Insiders Facebook Group, which is open to the public, but you must request to join beforehand.

 

Hope to see you there!

 

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