I had the pleasure of editing the lovely and lyrical Sisters of Spirit Anthology (Lachesis Publishing). The anthology features four stories about four very special friends. Written by four real life friends: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Annette Blair, Lynn Jenssen, Christine Mazurk (Lachesis Publishing author of Passion’s Race) and Jeanine Duval Spikes (also known as J.D. Spikes Lachesis Publishing author of The Possession).
What It’s About:
Four life-long friends face the biggest changes of their lives.
Four sisters—not related by blood—but by spirit, each embark on a quest
Four women find out what they’re truly made of, and what love really means.
In “New View” by Lynn Jenssen, a couple’s vow of “for better or worse” is tested to the max under the threat of overwhelming work stress, and marital misunderstandings. But when a danger threatens to tear them apart for good, they face their biggest trial of all.
In “Identity” by Christine Mazurk, a young woman embarks on a complete life-change after losing more than 100 pounds, and through a twist of fate finds herself training for a marathon under the guidance of a super sexy coach. But when she starts falling for the hunky trainer, can she trust her new-found confidence to take her to the finish line?
In “Shaman’s Shell” by Jeanine Duval Spikes, a spunky young woman finds a mystical Native American artifact that could change the course of an archeologist’s career. He wants what she’s got. She doesn’t know if she can trust him. But as an attraction builds between them, the mysterious artifact propels them to discover what they both truly need.
In “Moving Pictures” by Annette Blair, a down-but-never-out woman lands a much-needed job working for one of the top advertising agencies in the country. Her boss is an award-winning exec whose focus has been solely on work for the past few years, to the exclusion of everything else. She doesn’t know why, and he isn’t prepared to tell her. The more reclusive he is, the more determined she is to draw him out, but how can she fight the haunting ghosts of his past?
SOS. Her Sisters of Spirit. Whenever they got together, they giggled, and shared, teased, and played. Good times with good friends.
Marina laughed as she put on her whimsical beachcombing find—a pair of red children’s sunglasses with heart-shaped eyepieces—and modeled them for her friends. “How’s this? It’s a new look for me.” She primped her hair and struck a pose.
“Stunning! Who’s the designer?” Bryce teased.
“Seein’ life through rose-colored glasses?” Clara threw out a line.
“What about ‘blinded by luv?’” Anastasia added her quip.
Marina laughed and followed her friends as they made their way to the car. But the good-natured chatter between the friends soon faded as her vision fogged over and a scene flashed in her mind. Cameron, her husband of seven years, as white as the sheets he lay on, unmoving, unconscious. Fear and panic sickened her stomach and stole her breath. The antiseptic smell of a hospital stung her nose. The emotion-laden picture burned itself into her memory, then faded, and the buzz of her friends’ banter returned.
She took a deep, shuddering breath. What happened? She dared not tell the girls. They’d ask questions. They’d guess the truth.
The vision clung to her psyche, though she hid the disquiet behind a smile to her friends who continued the quips back and forth. She flipped the glasses onto her head, holding her hair away from her face, and concentrated on navigating the dirt road to avoid the biggest of the potholes. She listened as the others talked about their finds, but remained distracted by more than the road conditions.
Once they returned from their outing, the friends separated. Clara and Anastasia walked to the small market in search of ingredients for an impromptu dessert while Marina and Bryce stayed home to start dinner. She suspected they contrived the dessert trip to leave her alone with Bryce, who poured them each a glass of wine.
“Mare, what’s going on? I’m getting turmoil from you. Are you the one who sent the SOS?”
She sipped her wine, taking time to choose her words carefully. “That’s the problem. I don’t know what’s going on. But Cam and I . . . we . . . it’s not the same.” So much for careful word choice. Come on, Marina, be specific. She took another sip. Bryce waited. “We’ve always shared stories about our day when we get home. We laughed together. We listened to each other as we went for a walk or got dinner started.” That’s how it had always been.
She covered the salad and put it in the refrigerator. With the steaks marinating and the salad made, they moved to the deck to enjoy the spring breeze. Bryce prodded, “It feels like there’s more to the story.”
Marina sat on the chaise lounge and curled her legs up under her. “Since Cam got his promotion, things have changed. He comes home later, so we miss our chance to walk together, and I’ve already fixed dinner, sometimes eaten mine without him. He’s quiet and tired. We don’t share our day’s happenings. When I ask or try to talk, his response is minimal, like I’m an effort to talk to. He travels more than ever, and that’s been a strain, too. It’s getting worse. We’d hoped this new promotion would give us the financial stability to do the things we want and be together more. Instead we’ve grown apart; everything feels distant.”
She hated that her voice wobbled—she took another sip of wine to collect herself, but the liquid burned her throat as the tears pricked in her eyes. “I miss the old Cam. The one who laughs at my silly jokes, who makes me smile with a simple wink, the one who sends tingles down my spine with a single look. What’s happened to us?”
“I felt something troubling you.” Bryce reached over and took her hand. “I understand. What are you going to do?”
“Keep talking to him. I don’t know what else to do.” Sadness sat in the pit of her stomach. Bryce squeezed her hand and nodded. But Marina wondered about the vision. Did it symbolize his love for her had died?
Laughter and chatter came from the walkway leading to the house, so they knew the others were back from their mission, ending the conversation.
She took a deep breath and pulled herself away from her friends and quickly texted Cam. Marital concerns aside, she needed to know he was okay. A quick response—‘All’s well.’
With her friends on the island, she planned to enjoy their company and get re-invigorated by her writing. Tough writing romance when your own lacked. She didn’t want to dampen the mood, so she tried to hide her worries by smiling and keeping the attention focused on the others.
It didn’t work with Clara, who cornered her in the kitchen after dinner while they were washing dishes. “Are you okay? You seem kind of quiet this weekend.”
“Things with school, Cam’s new job is hectic, and a little overwhelming. We’re still trying to find a balance.” All true statements, but not the whole truth . . . though she wasn’t even sure what that truth was.
“Have faith. It’ll work out. Remember why you fell in love in the beginning. Keep that first in your heart.”
Later on, Anastasia rubbed Marina’s back and shoulders. “You’re tense. If you want to talk, you know I’ll listen.” Each of her Sisters recognized her heart’s disquiet and each in her own way offered support without prying.
As she tidied the house after their weekend on the island, the red sunglasses she’d found fell out of her jacket pocket. She smiled. “Seeing life through rose colored glasses . . .” She put them on her writing desk in the office. Maybe they’d inspire a happy love story next time she came out to the island to write.
They rushed to close up the house and catch the evening ferry. Marina had one more look around before locking up. “Bye, Mom. I’ll be back soon.” A touch of melancholy hit her. Still home.