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Authors: Jiffy Kate

Finding Focus

BOOK: Finding Focus
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Finding Focus

Copyright © 2015 by Jiffy Kate

All rights reserved.

 

No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

Editor:

Indie Solutions

www.murphyrae.net

 

Cover Designer:

Jada D’Lee Designs

www.jadadleedesigns.com

 

Interior Design and Formatting:

Christine Borgford, Perfectly Publishable

www.perfectlypublishable.com

FINDING FOCUS

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Epilogue

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Sheridan

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE
leaving?”

“Dani, it’s no big deal. I’m just taking a little vacation—a little
me
time.”

“But it is a big deal,” I tell him, squaring my shoulders. Graham, my boyfriend of four years, is leaving the country without me—for a
week
—and he doesn't see the significance of this decision. “It's not like this is a spur-of-the-moment decision to have a vacation without me. It's obviously something you've been planning.”

He can say whatever he wants, but we both know what this is: a vacation
from me.

“You're overreacting,” he groans, rubbing his face with his hands and letting out a frustrated sigh. Did he think I'd be okay with this?

I bite my lip to keep from saying something I'll regret. This has the potential to be one of the biggest fights in the history of our relationship, but I don't want him leaving the country with our last words spoken in anger. So, I ignore the overreacting statement. “Are you going alone?” I finally ask, changing the subject.

“What kind of question is that?” he asks.

“A legitimate one.” I hate having to ask, but why else would he be running off like this? He's either traveling
with
someone or planning on hooking up once he's there. I've never had any reason to accuse him of cheating before, but what am I supposed to think? I mean, our relationship isn't perfect—who's is?—but I can't seem to wrap my brain around his urgent need to leave like this.

Well, that's not entirely true.

If I'm being completely honest, I can admit I've had thoughts of escaping, too. Escaping the city, my job, and yes, even the dull relationship I have with Graham. The difference is I'd never actually
do
it. I certainly have my selfish desires, but I'd never fully be able to enjoy myself. I'm supposed to
want
to be with him, and he's supposed to
want
to be with me.

“Don't be stupid, Dani,” he says after staring at the floor for what feels like forever. The way he can't make eye contact with me makes my suspicions grow. When he finally looks up and grabs his suit jacket from the back of the couch, there's nothing but annoyance. No remorse or sadness or second-thought. I'm more than certain he won't even miss me. And it hurts.

“I'll see you in a week,” he says, shutting the door behind him. And just like that he's gone. No
I love you
s. No
take care of yourself
. Nothing.

What an asshole.

I can’t believe I wasted my time faking an orgasm with him last night.

I dump my soggy, uneaten cereal into the kitchen sink before shuffling down the hall and unceremoniously plopping onto my bed. Letting out a frustrated groan, I throw my arm over my face to block out the sun and the world, allowing my soft down comforter to wrap around my body like a fluffy cocoon—a safe place—where negativity and shitty boyfriends can’t get to me. A place where only good thoughts and happy memories flow. While my mind drifts to blue skies and warm sunny days of a life I hardly remember, I begin to fall asleep.

Moments, or possibly hours, later, the sound of a rapper declaring his love of huge asses stirs me awake. I blink my bleary eyes, trying to gain my bearings before I realize what’s happening.

Piper.

My arms flail wildly as I untangle my body from my comforter, just barely reaching my cell before the call goes to my voicemail.

“Hey, Pipe.”

“Sheridan Reed, are you still in bed?” she asks, letting out an over-exaggerated breath. “I’ve about had enough of your little pity party. Don’t make me fly all the way up there to kick your ass!”

Piper Grey has been my best friend since the first day of our freshmen year in college. She’s spunky, artsy-fartsy, and has a tendency to take on a mothering role with me, hence her full-naming and threatening me all in one breath. I know she means well, and because I haven’t been mothered in a really long time, it’s nice to feel cared for.

“It’s not just the job thing,” I sigh, suddenly trying to keep tears at bay. “Graham is going on vacation . . . without me,” I whine. “A vacation I could really use, but he didn’t ask me to go, and it feels shady. I mean, who goes on vacation alone?”

“Whoa. That’s a douche-move—even for him. Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I guess.” I let out a deep breath and try to decide what I am. Mad? A little. Hurt? A lot. “I think I’m more shocked than anything. I mean, it takes huge balls to do that, right?”

Piper guffaws into the phone. “You know better than anyone how not-huge his balls really are, so whose balls did he steal? That’s the real question here!” Her snort-laugh in my ear works its magic, and I’m laughing so hard, I can barely catch my breath. It’s no secret my best friend doesn’t think very highly of my boyfriend. They tolerate each other. And while I should probably defend Graham and his balls, I just need my best friend’s comedic relief.

I sit up in bed and wipe my eyes, letting out a deep sigh. “Thanks, Pipe. I needed that.”

“Don’t thank me yet. I’m not done with you.” I can hear the smile in her voice.

“What are you talking about?” I ask, a mixture of apprehension and curiosity bubbling up inside me.

“I’m talking about the fact that I just got your recently-fired ass a job with
Southern Style
. As of tomorrow, you’ll be freelancing for me in the great state of Louisiana for a whole week. Think of it as your very own solo vacation. I mean, it’ll be work, but at least it’ll get you out of the city for a few days.”

Being out of the city and away from reality sounds perfect, but her mentioning me being fired causes doubt to creep into my mind. What if I can’t do this? What if she’s putting too much trust in me? I start thinking of all the reasons I should say no:

I’ve never worked on my own before.

Did I mention I’ve never worked on my own before?

And last, but not least, I’m scared shitless.

“Piper, I appreciate the offer, but I can’t just pack up and leave the city.”

“The hell you can’t. What else do you have going on? You were just fired from your job, and your boyfriend is leaving the country. Sounds like this is perfect timing and exactly what you need. Plus, you’ll get to see me!”

She’s right. Of course, she’s right.

“So, tell me about this assignment,” I sigh into the phone, already mentally packing.

The shrill sound of Piper celebrating my acceptance pushes me out of bed to pack for real.

Aside from the normal clothes and toiletries, I throw in some sunscreen, bug spray, my laptop, camera, and my two trusty notebooks. One of the notebooks has a plethora of information I’ve been collecting since college: helpful tips and tricks, shortcuts for my camera, and notes from every job I’ve done since I finished school. The other notebook is probably my most-valued possession. It has all of my granny’s recipes in it and the beginnings of something I started a long time ago . . . something that’s been calling to me lately. I decide to bring it along, just in case inspiration strikes.

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