More from this series
Read an Excerpt
Every fall in grade school I dreaded the first-day assignment. With a big smile plastered on her face, the teacher would say cheerfully, “Write an essay on what you did during your summer vacation.”
Writing the danged thing wasn’t the problem, but not one of those women ever let us just turn the paper in and head out for recess. Oh, no. That would have been far too easy.
We had to stand in front of everyone and read what we’d written, which would be when the comparisons started.
There was always that kid whose parents had taken them someplace fabulous like Disney World or maybe Europe. Someone inevitably stayed with grandparents who had a pool or went to a fancy schmancy camp where they learned to weave baskets on horseback blindfolded while singing opera.
Okay. I made that last one up, but you get the point.
Paradoxically, I loved summers, filling my days and nights with stacks of books from the library. Tori and I tramped around the woods or camped out in front of the TV for old movie marathons.
But the best summer days were the Saturdays I went to the river with Dad and his fishing dogs. I didn’t care a bit about catching perch or catfish, I just wanted the uninterrupted time with my father.
He told me stories about his childhood and cussed freely in my presence, confident that I wouldn’t rat him out to Mom. We both agreed, with complete sincerity and no small degree of fear, that making sure she didn’t get upset was more important than splitting hairs about honesty.
Sometimes I look at my mother now and can’t believe she’s the same woman who raised me. This Kelly Hamilton would never refer to her sister as “your Crazy Aunt Fiona” or accuse anyone of being on the road to hell for imagined sins. She would never discourage me from learning new things or stand for me living my life in a small way.
But then a lot has changed for her and me — for all of us really. Now I could write a summer vacation essay that would knock the socks off those stuck up kids from way back when.
Since May I’ve been confronted with one change of plans after another, something I usually hate. I’ve dealt with gossip, challenges, and difficult decisions. Life has pulled me between new duties in the Fae world and old responsibilities in Briar Hollow.
Now, with the chill of winter turning the last days of November crisp and clear, I can take the time to tell you everything that’s happened. This summer changed my life — even more than last summer, which is when I discovered I’m a Fae witch and there are beings and realities I never dreamed existed.