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Authors: Maria Murnane

Cassidy Lane (37 page)

BOOK: Cassidy Lane
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Not just professionally
but personally.

She’d kept going
and she’d come out on the other side, with a novel that made her feel proud, one she’d written not just for her readers but for herself.

And for Brandon.

And most of
all, for what could have been.

By channeling the
intense feelings she’d once had for Brandon into the world of Melanie and Andrew, she’d given those emotions a meaning, a purpose, and that was something for which to be thankful, even if she never saw Brandon again.

She returned to
the bar stool and picked up her lightweight wrap, then slung her purse over her shoulder and took one last look at the entrance.

She’d lingered long
enough.

It was time
to go now.

He wasn’t coming.

Real life was
calling.

She made her
way slowly to the door. Once outside she walked through the parking lot toward her mom’s SUV, then turned for one last glance back. Though it had been bubbling with activity just an hour earlier, the place was now quiet and still.

She got in
the car and headed south on El Camino. When she reached the left-turn stoplight at Embarcadero, she glanced over at Palo Alto High School on one side of the street, then at Town & Country Village—and Mayfield Bakery—on the other.

To the right
buzzed a massive, blurry memory of being a teenager, too many individual moments to count or even categorize.

To the left
hovered a single vivid memory from adulthood, of the day she’d met Brandon for coffee. The last time he’d held her hand, the last time he’d kissed her. That story hadn’t had the ending she’d hoped for, but she was happy again, and that was all that mattered now. And who knew what would happen this weekend? Maybe life would imitate art, and she
would
run into a college classmate at Danielle’s wedding. Maybe the irresistible promise of romance would call her name again.

Or maybe not.

Either way she’d
be just fine; she knew that now.

At least Danielle
had gotten a fairy-tale ending, and after quite a shaky beginning, to say the least.

The stoplight switched
from red to green, and for the briefest of moments Cassidy hesitated before turning onto Embarcadero Road.

High school to
the right.

Heartache to the
left.

She squeezed the
steering wheel and drove straight between the memories on either side, trying her best to keep focused on the road ahead.

She had just
parked in her parents’ driveway when her phone began to ring.

She dug it
out of her purse and caught her breath when she saw the name on the display.

Brandon
.

Thanks!

After pouring my
life into four Waverly Bryson novels, to describe crafting something brand-new as
daunting
is an enormous understatement. The simple truth is that I couldn’t have written
Cassidy Lane
without the help of a few trusted friends, whose early feedback and encouragement helped shape a story I hadn’t imagined at the outset. Thanks to the following people for their candid advice and unwavering support throughout the process: Tami May McMillan, Patti Castaneda Bennett, Alberto Ferrer, Katie Mahon, Terri Sharkey, and Lori Rosenwasser. A special hug goes to my lifelong pal Peggy Prendergast, whose valuable ideas for authenticity included throwing in a reference to the quintessential “mixtape,” a lost art of which the sheer mention will forever stir up pangs of teenage angst for countless Generation Xers.

I openly admit
that at this point in my career I would be lost without my editor, Christina Henry de Tessan. Sometimes when I’m writing the first iteration of a story I feel like I’m pushing an enormous boulder up a mountain and fear I’ll never reach the top. Christina helps me get there with her brilliant insight and suggestions, and then together we nudge the manuscript over the crest and joyfully watch it roll down the other side as a fully developed novel. Christina, at this point I trust your opinion as much as I do my own, and it’s a sheer honor to work with you. Thanks as well to Terry Goodman and Alex Carr at Amazon Publishing for encouraging me to stretch my literary wings—plus to Jessica Poore for her tireless efforts to keep Waverly’s world alive and well! And kudos of course to the most loyal (and free) proofreader in town, my dear, sweet, beautiful mother, Flo Murnane. Mommy Dearest, you will never know how much I love you.

I’d also like
to thank a handful of friends whose own life experiences, observations, and expertise influenced this book in various ways: Lauren Battle, Steph Bernabe, Kathy Carter, Diane Fishman, Joe Guggemos, Rob Henderson, Ariel Hoffman, Jenny Jongejan, Kristin Law, Courtney Carroll Levinsohn, Jen Livingstone, Mitch Miller, Manny Palugod, Brett Sharkey, and Anh Vazquez. Thanks for the insight, information, and inspiration!

About the Author

© Evi Abeler Photography

A former PR
executive who abandoned a successful career to pursue a more fulfilling life, Maria Murnane is the bestselling author of the romantic comedies
Perfect on Paper
,
It’s a Waverly Life
,
Honey on Your Mind
, and
Chocolate for Two
, which garnered a starred review in
Publishers Weekly
. Originally from California, she now lives in Brooklyn.

BOOK: Cassidy Lane
9.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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