Please read if you have recently downloaded “It Pours”.
Please see update as of May 16th below!
There has been a mistake in the ebook manuscript with Amazon. The book currently being sent out to readers and those who ordered a pre-order copy is the working draft Word document that was submitted to Amazon for the purpose of posting pre-order availability. This was a working Word document draft copy and unfortunately this is the copy you may be currently reading.
You will recognize it as it has no copyright page, title page, table of contents, dedication or blurb for my next book at the end.
When the first reader contacted me, I immediately checked my account with Amazon. The finished final copy is the only one present in my account. Thus, the only one I can revise. Yet, it is not the one being sent. Eight emails and one phone call later, Amazon has accepted full responsibility and is working to correct the situation. Although, I think the best outcome they are pushing for is to send the corrected copy to readers, which will essentially be asking them to read a book twice. For this, I am truly sorry.
Beyond quality of the writing and professional appearance of the finished book, I do not think you as a reader will have too many differences in the story itself except for a small addition to the end and the blurb for “After the Storm“.
If you have received one of these unfinished copies, please do contact me. I am terribly sorry for this and would like to try to make it right. My proof of the print version is correct. So I am hoping those will be correct.
As of Thursday, May 16th, three weeks after I contacted Amazon about the incorrect push content for the book, I’ve heard back again. This time from the technical support team that is having trouble seeing the mistake. They have requested I list the location of each variation, change or difference between the version that is sadly still being sent to readers and the correct, current version I have uploaded into my Amazon bookshelf. As you can imagine this is virtually impossible! I did however send a detailed email of the forefront pages that are missing and the last pages. As for the inner content, I truly don’t know how to send every single change as the copy being sent out was a working copy and has been saved over many times since the pre-order posted. What I do have trouble understanding is that the print version is correct, yet the ebook is not. There is only one bookshelf where I can download the book. There is only one copy there, so how can the print and ebook differ? I have to admit I am terribly frustrated and disheartened at this point that it will ever be fixed and am helpless to do anything. I’ve contemplated deleting the whole book, waiting a week, and then republishing it. But as it is listed with Kindle Unlimited, I can not do any thing for 90 days.
So, for my readers, what possible solution can I offer you? That is what I keep trying to find the answer to. I considered emailing the ebook version to those who contacted me but yes, you guess it…this is against Amazon’s agreement with Kindle Unlimited. I can not offer the ebook version anywhere outside of their site for the 90 day period. I then thought about trying to find an affordable way to offer signed print copies to those readers who would like them but who wants to pay for a book twice? For the large majority, the biggest story addition is the end. The book you read was missing a small piece at the end. Small but big. Ha! I was contacted this morning by a reader who has both the Kindle ebook version and the corrected version. She recommended to post the ending on this post as the small addition at the end changed her entire feelings toward the ending of the story and anticipation for the upcoming books. As I do listen greatly to my readers and those who take the time to reach out or review, I am listening now. Please see the complete last chapter further down the post after the blurb for “After the Storm”.
In the meantime, one of the elements missing from that version is the blurb for After the Storm. I am going to post it below for those who did not see it.
After the Storm
The weight of her heels carried on her fingertips grew exponentially with each step Samantha LeJeune took walking away from the only woman she ever loved. She wanted to turn back, take Rayne Storm into her arms and run away from everything that would keep them apart. The problem was Rayne wasn’t ready to give her what she needed to make a life with her. If she couldn’t runaway with her, she would at least runaway from her and all of the memories of Alabama. Without a clue as to her destination, she hit the road with nothing on her mind but healing her broken heart strong enough to never fall in love again.
Gentry Bell didn’t really have a home like others would describe. For her, home was a small town filled with suffocating memories of painful abuse and betrayal by those who were supposed to love her. There were only two woman who kept her from moving as far away as possible. The sudden passing of one of those women and a new job with the National Park Service, were her signs that it’s time for her to move on. She’s never feared being on her own or venturing out into the unknown. Actually, it has always been her breath of life. But this time, she isn’t alone. Maybe the silence of the wilderness will have the answer she needs to decide what to do about the baby she is carrying.
An immediate connection develops when these two broken women meet on the road that carries them away from the life they were living. But will it be enough to open their hearts to trust again? And if so, will they be strong enough to hold onto that connection when an unborn child seems to be pointing them to return back to a home where memories of trauma and a first love are still everso present in each of their hearts?
If you have not read “It Pours”, please stop reading now. SPOILER ALERT. The last chapter, Chapter 27, is below for those who received the wrong version of the book.
I had been to the cabin this time of year. Not many times, but enough to where I wasn’t expecting it to feel as differently as it felt today. I suppose December in the south was different than many other states. Our December most likely felt like their fall season. The leaves had browned and dried but many still remained attached to their branches. The sound from them was coarse when the breeze rustled them.
The sun’s light was bright with enough warmth to keep my body comfortable as I sat out on the dock. The drive here had reminded me of those long before I had left for medical school. The days when I drove with Memaw to our place on the bayou. The days when I tried wholeheartedly to soak up every ounce of the feel of my home. I felt the pull of losing the one place that centered me in this world. The one comfort I had when all else was lost.
Today, I drove here again with the same looming need to once again absorb every facet of Brennin. It wouldn’t be something taking me away this time but something pushing me away. I lay back against the wood and stared at the cloudless sky. The blue called me to remember the other comfort I once had. There had been two sets of blue eyes that had held me with the tenderness I had grown up to know. Two sets I would undoubtedly never see again. Two sets that would hold the key to shaking the pit of loneliness I felt myself falling into.
My whole body was startled with the shadowed darkness of the sun no longer being cast upon my face. I opened my eyes to see a larger-than-life-looking Flossie standing over me.
“Hey, baby girl. I knew’d you’d be out here.” She shifted her weight and I squinted to the brightness of the light no longer shielded by her body. “Mind if’n I take a seat?”
“Not at all.” I sat up to scoot over so she would have enough room on the edge of the dock.
“How you doing?”
“I’ve been better.”
“Yep, I imagine dat’s ‘bout right.”
“How did you know I was here? Did Charlie Grace call you?”
“Nope. I hadn’t heard a peep outta her until I went over there dis morning.” She wiggled her feet as they hung off the edge of the dock. “And truth be told, it tweren’t her dat told me a thing. It was Jacques. He’s mighty upset with’n her. Mighty upset. In fact, dat man left right behind me. Said he had to get away before he done said words he can’t take back.” She looked at me. “Dat man worried about you. He just ‘bout bust with love for you. Plum near broke dis old lady down to see dat much hurtin’ in his eyes. He asked me to find you. I didn’t think you’d a wantin’ me to bring him out here tho.”
“No. You’re right. I like this place being my own and I don’t think he could keep it from Charlie Grace. I wouldn’t want to ask him to keep a secret from her. That wouldn’t be right.” I pulled at a piece of splintered wood underneath my finger. “So, you didn’t see her or talk to her?”
I felt a tightness in my throat. I was unsure as to how much Flossie knew. How much anyone or everyone knew. “What all do you know?”
“From what I can piece together, it done sound like you got caught with’n yo’ hand in the cookie jar.”
“Something like that.” I pulled the splintered wood completely free and played with it in my hands. “It was horrible, Flossie. If ever there was a wrong way to come out, that was it.”
“Ah hell, sis. None of us gone have life figured out and ‘bout the time we done think we do something gonna slap us in the face. You can plan all you be wanting, don’t mean it gonna happen dat way.”
“This would definitely fall into that category. Do you know she told Grant?”
She turned from gazing at the water and squinted at me. “Yep. Dat little piece right der part of the reason old Jacques fit to be tied. He done tired of her sticking her nose in yo business.” She put her hand over the top of mine. “It look like to me with these here old eyes dat it all in place fo you now.”
“What do you mean?”
“It all out now. Maybe not the way you were a’wanting but it all out. You free to do what you want. Free to live the way you be wanting.”
“Yeah. Free to be alone. Free to not have a home to come back to anymore.”
“What you spouting off?”
I threw the piece of wood out into the water. “I’m not welcome here anymore, Flossie. Charlie Grace told me she couldn’t love me like this. That she couldn’t love a daughter who was going to hell.” I covered my eyes with my hands and rubbed the tears away.
Flossie straightened the slump in her back. “She said dat to you? She said dem words to you?”
“Well, she didn’t say the word ‘hell’ but, yeah, pretty much everything else. She said she couldn’t love me if I was like this. Said she wouldn’t see me in eternal life. Didn’t leave much to the imagination that she was basically telling me I was going straight to Hell. She said she wished she had never given birth to me.”
The paper-thin skin of Flossie’s hand tightened across her knuckles as she balled her fingers into a fist. “Oooooh. Dat woman gone bring a hurtin’ on herself she speak dem words around me. Addie done turning over in her grave right ‘bout now. Charlie Grace done said dem words gone make me face her.” Her voice was elevated and shook with emotion.
I placed a reassuring hand on her arm. “Don’t get worked up about it. You know she probably feels like most will feel when all of this comes out. They aren’t going to think like you and Meems.”
She turned her body to face me. “How you know’d dat? You ever talked to any of dem ‘bout dis? You ever given any of dem a chance? Yo momma ain’t speakin’ for dis town, sweet girl. She ain’t the voice of dis town. I’d say many a folk gone be might pissed off they ever know dem words she done said to you.”
“Flossie, I have to face facts. Face the truth. I can’t pretend it’ll all be okay and I can just move back here as if nothing has changed.”
“And what done changed?”
“I’m a lesbian!” I didn’t mean to yell.
“What? You tweren’t no lesbian when you were home for Thanksgiving? What, you all of a sudden dis woman? You gone tell me you not have these same feelings…been dis same woman last Thanksgiving when Addie and I done watched you with your friend? Dat you not been dis same women that growed up in this town?”
“No.” I ran my finger over the roughened wood I had pulled the piece from. “I’m not saying that.”
“We all done loved you den. We all gone love you now. You ain’t no different den the girl we done watched grow up into a fine young woman.”
I looked up into her eyes. They weren’t blue like the ones I had thought of a few minutes ago but they were tender. “Do you really believe that?”
“With all my heart.” She shook her head with emphasis and pulled me in tightly for a hug.
Brown sugar and honey.
“You gotta give us a chance,” she whispered. “Give yo’ people a chance. Dis town a chance.”
The vibration of my phone interrupted her hug. My heart leapt into my throat for fear it was Charlie Grace’s name on the screen. I doubted I could handle anymore of her words.
Flossie’s eyes followed mine to the phone in my lap. “Dat one of your new friends?”
Mo’s name flashed on the screen and I felt a smile try to take over the hurt. “Yes, it is.”
She smiled back at me. “Den why don’t you answer dat while I go call Jacques and get these groceries cooked up.” She pointed to the pickup truck pulled up next to the house.
“You’re staying with me?”
“Always.” She stood up. “Now you best be gettin dat phone.”
“I think I will.” I pushed the button to accept the call while I let the happiness of seeing her name, the excitement of hearing her voice soar through me. It was quickly followed by a nervousness as to why she was calling.
“Hi. Jaz told me you went home.” She sounded nervous too. “How are you doing?”
“I’m hanging in. How are you?”
“I’m hanging in too.” She paused. “So, how bad is it?”
“Probably as bad as you could imagine.”
“Are you coming back to Birmingham?”
A large oak leaf drained of its color floated in the breeze that blew high in the trees. I watched its stem hold firmly onto the branch as the wind lifted it up within its current. “Not right now. I’m drained. Physically. Emotionally. I’m just drained. I honestly don’t think I could make the drive until I can get a little bit of rest.”
“Do you have friends there you can stay with or are you staying with your mother?”
“Oh no. I’m not welcome there. If I have any doubts or confusion in all of this, that’s one thing I can hold certain. I’m not welcome in my home.” I watched Flossie carry grocery bags from the truck into the cabin. She caught me looking at her and waved. “But I’m not alone. I’m staying with a friend.” I paused. “No, I’m staying with family at my cabin.”
She was quiet except for her breathing. “Hey, Rayne?”
“Do you have doubts and confusion?”
“Well, yeah, of course I do.”
“About being a lesbian?”
I watched the leaf take another ride in the force of the wind. “Not about being who I am. Not about that. I have my doubts as to what the road ahead will be but not about who I am.”
“And what are your thoughts about me? Do you have doubts and confusion about me?” Her voice was even more nervous than it was before.
“Well, to be honest, I’m a little confused. I’m surprised you called.”
“Can’t say I blame you there. And doubts?”
“No. I can’t say I have those. In fact, I’ve actually never been surer of what I want from you.”
“This that you want, would it be the same you asked me for in your apartment?”
“The very same.”
She took in a deep breath. “What if I disappoint you?”
“And what if I disappoint you, Mo? We don’t know what each other will need in the future. We don’t. How can we possibly know if we are going to be all they need when those times come? But what I do know is, you’re here. You called me. You’re here now. That’s what’s important to me. For once, I want to live in today and not my carefully planned out future.”
“Well, alright then.” I heard the smile in her words. “So, what are you doing tomorrow?”
The breeze was becoming cooler as it lowered closer to the water. I drew my legs up against me to try to overcome the damp chill of it. “Tomorrow? I’m not sure. Why? What do you have in mind?”
“I was thinking maybe you could drive over to Baton Rouge and pick me up at the airport.”
“You’re flying into Louisiana tomorrow?”
“I thought maybe you could use some company driving back.” She hesitated for a moment. “And besides, I miss you. I need to see you.”
The smile I had felt when I saw her name as the caller was nothing compared to the smile I was wearing now. “Watch out, Mo. You’re getting dangerously close to acting like a girlfriend.”
She laughed. “I know. It’s pretty scary, huh?”
“Not to me, but how are you handling it?”
“I think it might look good on me.”
I caught sight of the leaf as its stem gave away from the branch to be carried gently in the air until it landed on the surface of the bayou. Its ripple altered the mirrored reflection of the trees lining the water’s edge. It floated away until it was lost in the brilliance of the sun on the water. It was free to drift into parts unknown. There wasn’t a way to know what was beyond the future immediately in front of me. There wasn’t a way to see past the sun’s light. Yet I was free of the branch that held my stem. Free to set my own path as I drifted into the next phase of my life.
I held the phone against my chin and thought of the woman whose voice had brought me happiness and security at the height of the next phase of my life. I thought of the woman in the cabin who had come to make sure I wasn’t alone in the first steps of this new life. I thought of Jazlyn’s calm, friendly voice of comfort in my ear at a time when I felt my world spinning out of control. Then I looked up into the sky and thought of the woman who had loved me unconditionally.
It was these things I would hold on to. It was these women who would give me strength. And it would be these women that would walk this next path with me. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t alone. I turned from the sun as it dipped lower in the sky and let the heat warm my back as I walked toward the cabin. Tomorrow was a new day.
My phone vibrated again in my hand. I chuckled at the thought of Mo calling me back so quickly.
“Wow. You really do miss me.” I didn’t look at the screen before answering.
“Yeah.” There was a long pause. “Can you talk?”