Let’s get Summer started with this great summer read!
Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired. With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she’s offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage. Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia’s story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?
Lauren Clark is the award-winning author of Pie Girls (Aug ’14), Stardust Summer, Dancing Naked in Dixie, A Very Dixie Christmas (Merry & Bright), and Stay Tuned. In her former life, she worked as a news anchor for CBS affiliates in Upstate New York and Alabama. Lauren adores her family, yoga, her new Electra bike, and flavored coffee. She lives in Mobile, AL with her family.
Visit her website at
I keep my voice even. “What about Bali?” I had planned to leave for the South Pacific a week from Friday. “It’s on my calendar. It’s been on there…”
David shakes his head. “Not anymore.”
The words wound me like a thousand bee stings.
“Alabama,” David repeats.
I swallow, indignant. He’s plucked me off a plum assignment without a thought to my ability and my schedule. My new boss is sending me to who-knows-where, and he looks perfectly content. I narrow my eyes and fold my arms.
“Seriously David, you’re sending me on an assignment to…Alabama? Alabama?” I sputter, searching my brain for an appropriate retort. “I’d rather—I don’t know—dance naked for my next assignment than go to Alabama!”
The announcement comes out much louder than I intend and reverberates through the room. Dolores probably has her ear pressed to the door, but the phrase bounces off my boss like a cotton ball.
David smothers a chuckle. “Suit yourself.”
“It’s a done deal, isn’t it?” I finally manage, my voice low and uneven. The answer is obvious. The airline ticket and folder are within my grasp. I don’t move a centimeter toward them. For all I know, the inside of one of them is coated with Anthrax. For a brief moment, I picture myself, drawing one last ragged breath, on the floor of David’s brand-spanking-new office carpeting.
“It’s your choice.” David swipes at his glasses and settles them on his nose. “Deadline’s a week from today. That’s next Wednesday. Five o’clock. Take it or leave it.”
I stifle an outward cringe at his tone, and the way he’s spelling it out for me. Syllable by syllable, like I’m a toddler caught with my hand in the cookie jar.
Take it or leave it.
Not the assignment. My job.
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