Old Castle Secrets by Amanda Daire blitz



Book & Author Details:

Old Castle Secrets
by Amanda Daire
(Happil-TEA Ever After Tea Room, #1)
Publication date: April 1st 2022
Genres: Women’s Fiction



Synopsis:

Three generations of heartbreak. One chance to heal old wounds.

“I never want to see you again!” Khrista didn’t believe her daughter when she stormed out of her life five years ago. But every day since, her daughter’s angry words have echoed in Khrista’s mind, even as she tries to hide the truth from her chosen family–the community that raised her. Finding solace in her preschool classroom by day and her whisky by night, Khrista is forced to confront her pride and her problems when someone from her past brings news that threatens to drive her deeper into the danger zone.

Kaelyn loves the life she built–doting husband, dream home by the beach, and a baby on the way. But when her long-lost grandmother contacts her out of the blue, life starts feeling off-kilter. She’s eager to have a blood relation to love, but meeting her grandmother again uncovers painful feelings about her own mother she keeps buried.

Estranged from her daughter and granddaughter for over twenty years, Daisy hasn’t had an easy life. But with the death of her abusive husband, she’s determined to start living. Step one: find her granddaughter, whom she hasn’t seen since the child was five. Maybe a reunion with Kaelyn will lead to mending fences with Khrista, too, and allow Daisy to rectify all the wrongs and fix everything before it’s too late.

Join the O’Donnell women on their quest for forgiveness and family and love.



AUTHOR BIO:


Amanda loves spending time with her adult children and her real-life hero. She is obsessed with bookstores, trees, elephants, castles, tea, and traveling (and a lot more, but she thought this should be brief.)

Amanda enjoys writing about complicated family dynamics, flawed characters who could be your friends, and healing hearts. But no matter how emotional the story may be, she prides herself on ending in the most uplifting way possible and maintaining hope through any hardship. Amanda is a USA Today best-selling author of romance under another name.

Amanda especially loves connecting with readers and inviting people into her "chosen family" circle. She welcomes you to sign up for her newsletter and to follow her on social media.






Excerpt #1 Khrista


Careful not to spill her tea, Khrista bent to retrieve the papers from the plank wood floor, appreciating the nostalgic creak of the wood as she shifted her feet.

Clarice shook her head and chuckled as the kittens scurried under tables and over feet, causing a ripple of excitement among the tea-sipping, chattering patrons. “We only get one life to live. Might as well fill it with love.”

Her words struck Khrista in the heart, and something told her that’s where Clarice had intended them to land. Was it any wonder the people in town referred to Clarice and her community of do-gooders as the Love Warriors? She excelled at sniper attacks of nurturing.

Breaking eye contact so Clarice wouldn’t stare directly into her soul, Khrista brought the lightly steaming tea to her lips and turned to resume her task of searching for the comforts she craved—her favorite spot and the cat she adored.

Upon turning, however, she nearly choked on her tea. Luckily, the liquid slid down her throat before she embarrassed herself.

Standing directly behind her was a tall, graceful young woman whose copper hair and vivid green eyes reminded Khrista of the day Kaelyn hurried home to tell her all about the “other redhead” she had befriended and how they stood up against the other third graders who picked on them for their unique coloring. Sienna’s family had hosted Kaelyn for countless family trips and sleepovers, even though Khrista had been unable to reciprocate. Sienna’s mother baked cookies and packed nutritious picnic lunches when the girls went for beach hikes on the weekends.

Sienna had been Kaelyn’s best childhood friend. The friend Kaelyn had eventually mourned. Because of Khrista.

Ducking her head, Khrista maneuvered around her, hoping after all these years Sienna wouldn’t recognize—or maybe even remember—her.

Kaelyn’s mom—how are you? It’s been forever.”

Oh, goodness. I didn’t see you there. How are you, Sienna?” Please don’t want to make small talk. Please be in a hurry to leave.

Please don’t bring up the past.

I so wish I had time to catch up with you, but I’m meeting my parents for dinner and just needed to swing by to grab a chai latte so I can stay awake. Jet lag, ugh.”

I won’t keep you. You came to the right place for the best chai.”

Khrista started toward the bookcase, but Sienna shot a well-manicured hand out to grab her arm.

I haven’t talked to Kaelyn in ages, but I saw her birthday post on Facebook today. You must be so insanely excited to be a soon-to-be grandmom! That post was the cutest. But Kaelyn has always been so creative. Congratulations!”

Bomb dropped, Sienna didn’t wait for Khrista to respond. She tapped Khrista on her bony shoulder and went to place her order.

The room swerved, and Khrista’s hands trembled violently, sloshing tea onto her sneaker, already stained with tempera paint from her time in the classroom.

Grandmom.

Kaelyn was having a baby.

Something lodged in her throat, and breathing became as impossible as fixing her dysfunction. Her vision narrowed until all she could focus on was the exit.


Excerpt #2 Daisy


But today she was on a mission.

Daisy raised her hand to gesture for one of the young girls at the senior center to come over and help her with an email. Belle, if Daisy’s eyes were registering right as she squinted to read her name tag.

This technological stuff was coming pretty naturally to her, considering she’d never touched anything but a word processor in her lifetime.

Belle returned to the computer area of the large room and directed her full attention toward Daisy at last, pulling Daisy back to the task at hand. “Yes, Daisy dear. What can I help you with?”

First, you can tell me why all you young girls are always calling people ‘dear’ and ‘honey’ and ‘sweetheart.’ I know you mean well, but it makes me feel like a child.”

Belle’s cheeks reddened, and she looked down at the keyboard.

Daisy cursed herself for her bad manners.

I’m sorry, Belle. I didn’t mean it.”

No, it’s okay. You’re right, we don’t tend to think of how those endearments might make someone feel. But I suppose it’s a little like you referring to us as young girls when no one here is under the age of thirty-five.” Belle winked and Daisy got the hint.

I guess we all have a lot to learn.” Daisy grinned and gestured to the computer. “I heard some of the other ladies talking and they said something about being able to find people’s email addresses on the computer. Can you help me do that?”

Belle put a hand on her hip and cocked her head to the side, studying the screen. “Sometimes it’s possible to find addresses, phone numbers, and things like that. Email addresses are a little trickier. But we can try.”

Daisy straightened her shoulders the slightest bit. If she could find her daughter’s email address, then maybe Khrista would be impressed enough to believe that Daisy had changed. Maybe then she would give her another chance.

Who is it you want to find? An old boyfriend?” Belle’s teasing voice sent a shiver down Daisy’s back.

Goodness gracious, no. I never had another beau, and I’m certainly too old for that now.” And why would she want to imprison herself again when she finally had the chance to live free?

So often, people assumed that a fifty-year marriage meant happiness and love.

She didn’t have the energy to dissuade them of their fantastical notions.

Belle crossed her arms over her chest. “Nonsense. There’s an entire market out there where people are trying to set up older couples. You’re not dead, you know what I mean?”

I may be very much alive, but that part of me is most certainly dead.”

Well, if you change your mind…”

I won’t.”

Belle leaned over the computer desk, her long necklace dangling as she studied the screen.

Okay, so who are we searching for?”

My daughter.”

Belle stood upright.

You don’t already have her email address?”

No.”

Can you call her and ask?”

No.”

Belle studied Daisy’s face as if she were waiting for an explanation. Daisy was not ready to oblige.

Oh, right. Why would you have her email address?” Belle chewed her lip as she tried to backtrack out of the dangerous territory she had inadvertently wandered into. “Since you’re just learning the computer and everything. Okay, let me type in her name and age.”

Belle’s perfume—a mix of something sweet and something a touch spicy—wafted into Daisy’s nostrils as Belle leaned over her to type on the keyboard, leaving her unasked questions lingering in the air.



Excerpt #3 Kaelyn


Always in tune with her feelings, even when she wished he wouldn’t be, Oliver reached out his hand and gripped Kaelyn’s bare knee. The sensation of his rough fingers on her freshly shaved skin sent chills throughout her body, but mostly his gentle and comforting touch quieted her mind momentarily. If only she could bottle him up—his very essence—and take him like Xanax.

Hey, love, you seem distant today. Is everything all right?”

She continued gazing out the window, not wanting to alarm him, but not sure how to express that everything could not be okay when so much of the world was falling to decay around them. He would laugh at her if he heard her thoughts and tell her that one nearly condemned property in an area of million-dollar homes did not mean something would go wrong with their baby.

She knew he would offer this assurance, and she knew she should believe him.

Instead of letting him into her thoughts as she normally did, Kaelyn muttered that she was okay. She hoped he would drop it and continue buzzing about the upcoming ultrasound. She needed his excitement. Needed his positive energy.

Be honest with me, love. Are you having doubts about the baby?”

She gasped. “Of course not!”

Her sharpness made him jump, his shoulders rising in reaction to the startling noise that had emanated from deep within her body and cascaded out of her mouth in a roar.

She softened her tone and tried to smile. “This is the happiest accident ever.”

They had wanted kids together; they just hadn’t talked about when. She had missed a few birth control pills when things were crazy at work, but she hadn’t thought it would be a problem.

Her hand moved to her belly.

It wasn’t a problem. She was delighted. Nothing could keep her from feeling happy about this new life blossoming inside her. This baby may not have been planned, but he was far from an accident.

It’s okay if you’re having worries or concerns. People go through all sorts of emotions when they find out their lives are going to change.”

Are you having doubts?” She didn’t want to believe it could be true, but maybe Oliver’s questions were a way for him to open the door to admitting he thought going through with this pregnancy was a mistake.

As much as she loved him and practically worshiped him and his goodness, she would leave him if it meant saving her baby.

My turn to say, ‘Of course not.’ I’ve never been happier. But if the daggers you’re flinging at me are any indication, I fear suddenly that my place in this family may be in jeopardy and you may kill me in my sleep if you sense I could have doubts.”

He laughed and squeezed her knee, and she so badly wanted to laugh as well.

A small chuckle may have wiggled its way from her throat, but if she actually did laugh, it was a product of being on social autopilot and not a reflection of joy or good humor.

Where was the joy and good humor she normally had?

She was happy, darn it! She had everything. Everything.

And yet...


















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