Sahara Roberts caught the writing bug early in life. She enjoys writing Dark Romance and Romantic Suspense. Her days are filled with international trade issues (the legal kind) and her evenings writing steamy romance.
She is currently working on Blood Ties, a Dark Mafia Romance series, along with the first spinoff, Rise of Faust, set in South America.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys socializing on Facebook and Instagram or watching The Blacklist, Pure, and My Hero Academia.
Sahara lives in South Texas with her beloved husband and their three furry overlords. She enjoys cooking, baking, and cake decorating, but she would certainly prefer to have someone else do the dishes.
Laura Roberts writes contemporary romance and short women’s fiction, with steamier stories under the pen name Laure L’Amour. She currently lives in Sacramento, California with her artist husband and their literary kitty, Percy. When she’s not writing, she can be found editing manuscripts for indie authors, transcribing reality TV (her day job), watching rom-coms, testing chocolate recipes, or searching for more typewriters to add to her collection (a Royal Quiet DeLuxe, an Olympia SM9, and a Hermes 3000, frequently featured in her Instagram posts @LauraRobertsRomance). You can find out more about Laura and her work at her website, Buttontapper.com.
A short series of love notes to the city of Sacramento, Sacramento Love features 26 fictional meet-cute romances—each sparked somewhere within California’s state capital. Follow along as our cast of local characters meet one another in diners, dive bars, coffee shops, restaurants, parks, and at some of Sacramento’s most beloved landmarks from the American River Parkway to the mysterious Ziggurat.
A sweet (and occasionally spicy) fictional companion to author Laura Roberts’ forthcoming travel guidebook, Sacramento From A to Z, each of the Sacramento Love stories embrace the spirit of the city while travel and other activities in the real world are on hold. Lift your spirits with the joy of meeting someone new, a little romance, and a lot of Sacramento Love!
I’m originally from Colorado and I now live in Guanajuato, Mexico. On May 1st of 2016, my family and I decided to travel Mexico and a friend highly recommended Guanajuato.
I would say my relationship with my family and friends started to change when I moved overseas for the first time about seventeen years ago. Making the decision to travel long-term changes our world view so dramatically it’s often difficult to return to the same relationships and even when we do they are not the same because we have changed so much.
My belief system changed when I was 19 and on my first overseas trip to Myanmar. I’m from a very small town in rural America and I had no world view. I was raised with a few thousand people that for the most part are exactly the same. There’s not much diversity for the fact that they don’t welcome it. I saw how close minded I was and how I had been taught (mostly silently) that people who are different from me are less than or bad. I realized that there was so much more to see and experience. I realized how different and how alike we all are. I also learned that we always fear what we do not understand and that would impact me until this day. I wouldn’t say I have overcome fear. I have got comfortable feeling fear and acting anyway. Every time I do something new I feel fear. Every single time.
I returned to the U.S. ten years ago after getting malaria in Kenya. I knew Colorado would be a tough transition for many reasons including the change in climate. I decided to move to Tucson, Arizona and a few months later I met my husband on a blind date. We traveled together for a year before having kids and now we are traveling with our two sons. I feel like my husband and I have a much better relationship when we are traveling. Life, in general, is lighter and more carefree. We have more time and more fun and that’s always good for our relationship.
In some ways, our life is very similar to how it was before we moved to Mexico. Toddlers are still toddlers. We still own our businesses. My husband and I started a business together in 2008 and it has evolved into my consulting business. He does a little web design but for the most part, he is fully in his art business. He paints on the iPad and sells limited edition metal art online. I facilitate masterminds for female entrepreneurs and I have recently written a book called Success Redefined Travel, Motherhood, & Being the Boss. We still work and play. I would say the thing that impacts us the most, however, is the change of environment. We are living in a country where I feel much more supported as a mother. It’s very family friendly in Mexico. They love kids. They expect kids to act like kids here. In the U.S. kids are expected to act like adults. Parents have many pressures on them and it feels nearly impossible to do “good enough” there. In Mexico, we take more time to do fun things. Meals are longer. We walk everywhere. We spend less time working. We go with the flow more.
Because of my travels, I have changed entirely. I’m not who I was raised to be. I’m not religious in the traditional sense. After I started traveling I began an inward journey. I sought out to find what spirituality meant to me. I am pretty liberal. I’m inclusive. I believe everyone should be able to love and live as they choose. I don’t believe that anyone on the planet is illegal. I see borders as absurd. I don’t buy into the philosophy of hard work or martyrdom. I believe in living well and deliberately choosing my life. I would like to believe I have become a more compassionate and tolerant human being. I also have to say I have become more protective of my time and energy. I am incredibly particular who I allow in my inner circle and that has been very good for me. I would say the most valuable skill I have learned here (and everywhere I’ve lived) is to ask for help, to ask questions and to receive help.
There have been challenges, though. When I first started traveling I went everywhere by myself. That in and of itself was a huge challenge. I lived a very sheltered life and so this shift to independence had lots of growing pains. Looking back it was the single best thing I did for myself, my husband and my children because I know who I am as a woman. I overcame getting the deadliest strain of malaria while living in Kenya. I had always been healthy and suddenly I was bedridden for almost a year. The contrast in life helped me see how valuable good health really is. Later when my husband and I traveled together we had to overcome our clients backlash about out decision to leave the U.S. for a year. After we returned to the U.S. I had two babies in twelve months and had severe complications after birth that were life threatening. We also almost lost both our boys as babies. As a mother, this is extremely painful and yet it’s also when I found my strength. I fought for my own life and the lives of my children.
I would say the biggest challenge I face as a full-time traveler is the amount of criticism I receive. People who never travel or don’t feel the have the means to travel are the first to say my life is not good for my kids or that I am out of touch with “reality”. Truthfully I am out of touch with a reality that blames others for circumstances. In my life and business, I am passionate about empowerment. Most people don’t realize the biggest challenge standing in their way of having an amazing life is that they are unwilling to take ownership of their decisions. Spanish has also been a challenge for me. However, I’m focused on classes this quarter and I am excited to learn this language.
Professionally, the accomplishment I am most proud of is creating reoccurring monthly income for nine years in a row. Most people who start businesses dream of steady cash flow and I have experienced it. Personally, my kids make me incredibly proud. They are complete miracles and bring me tons of joy.
I can’t say I miss anything about living in the U.S. but that took time. In the beginning, I did. I missed some foods and some systems and procedures. Now what I miss is how simply my life was when I first moved overseas. There was no social media and I rarely even used email. I appreciate how technology connects me to my clients around the world and yet it was very nice to live without it.
Stuff, in general, is no longer important to me. When I moved to Tucson after being out of the U.S. for most of my twenties I thought I had missed out on something. My friends had gone to college (I did not), they were married, they had bought houses and cars and I had a suitcase of dusty clothes. My husband and I bought a house our first year of marriage and the second we did, I knew I didn’t want it. I didn’t realize how travel had given me a taste for experiences and I lost so much of my desire for status symbols in my country.
The defining moment of my life since leaving the U.S. nine months ago was when a client wrote a nasty blog post about my choice to travel. I lost clients over it. I lost friends over it. At first, it was painful and confusing and then I found my fierce, take no prisoners self. I raised the bar in my life and that was the best thing I could have ever asked for. I have a good life and a good family. I don’t need the whole world to understand it, I simply enjoy it.
I spend my free time downtown and in our favorite plazas eating street tacos and churros. When the boys are napping I sometimes sneak away for yoga, a walk or nap myself. My boys just turned two and three and the move has been good for them. They are loved by so many and are very happy. I believe kids pick up on the energy of their parents, particularly their mother in the early years and so having me happy and light is a good thing for them. My life is meaningful because it’s deliberately simple. I love a good cup of tea or playing Legos with my boys or having a nice dinner with my husband. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. It has brought me to the beautiful place I am today.
Cassie Pearse is a British writer and editor. She moved to Mérida, Mexico in 2016 with her husband, two kids and a whole lot of enthusiasm for adventure. Cassie is a monthly contributor to Yucatán Today, Yucatán’s foremost travel magazine, she has her own popular blog, mexicocassie.com and, at the end of 2020, published her first book, Moving To Mérida: How To Successfully Move To Mexico As A Family. The book details both the decisions and plans that led Cassie’s family to leave London and move to Mexico as well as information that is invaluable to making your own move.
When she isn’t exploring and writing about Mexico, Cassie is the senior editor of Saving Earth Magazine and Saving Earth for Kids Magazine, two stunning environmental magazines. She is also a freelance editor and has a small but thriving consultancy offering support to people thinking about moving to Yucatán or wanting help planning trips to the region.
Cassie loves being outside and five years hasn’t quenched her excitement for exploring the diversity of Mexico. She has a list as long as her arm of places she still *needs* to visit.
So, if you’re considering packing it all in and moving to Mexico, Cassie’s book will tell you everything you need to know in order to start your new, exciting life in Mérida, Mexico’s most desirable city. Look out for Cassie’s second book, Yucatán With Kids: Exploring The Mexico Cassie Way. It’ll be out later this year.
Moving To Mérida: How To Successfully Move To Mexico As A Family
Cassie does a great job of laying out facts and details about moving to Merida in the Yucatan region of Mexico. She answers all the questions you have and even the ones you didn’t know you had. While this book addresses moving abroad with children, the information is still helpful if you are considering a move to the city without children. This should be required reading for anyone that is considering making Merida their home
Cassie is able to deliver information that is not only accurate, but thorough and all with her own stories and humor scattered throughout. She answers questions you didn’t know you had and lays out information in a way that is easy and fun to read. This book would not only be helpful for a move to Merida, but for a move to most any part of Mexico. While the book is geared towards families, the information and insight is perfect for anyone. Whether you live vicariously through the Pearse family or you make the move yourself you’ll be glad you did.
I read this book this afternoon and it made my day! I absolutely loved it. I am so excited to visit this beautiful city, and hopefully move there one day soon. This book provides all the necessary info to make the leap! If you’re at all curious about Merida I highly recommend it!
Moving To Mérida: How To Successfully Move To Mexico As A Family can be purchased on Amazon or Gumroad.
Hi, my name’s Nicole Salgado. I’m from Syracuse, NY but now live in Queretaro, Mexico.
I originally came to Mexico to build a house here with my husband. My husband and I met in the SF Bay Area after we both migrated there for work in 1999. He was an undocumented immigrant and we weren’t able to adjust his status in the U.S., so the plan was we would leave the U.S. for 10 years until we could submit his green card application.
Well, now I feel like an expat, someone who has left their home country. In our case it wasn’t by choice – I would have preferred to stay and live and work in the United States, where I am from. But, by honoring my marriage vows and accompanying my husband to a place where we both can be 1st class citizens, my life has changed accordingly.
One funny thing that happened to me as a result of living in Mexico is that I have an adopted a lot of cultural customs that once exasperated me – for example, I have a flexible relationship with punctuality now. I also use indirect communication more now than I ever used to – I am by nature pretty direct, but since the culture here has a different way of being in many ways, I’ve adapted.
My beliefs haven’t changed much – I still highly value friends, family, the environment, culture, artistic expression and individuality, social justice, a strong work ethic, continual improvement, and the like.
I have had to become much more patient. I have had to accept governmental corruption and non-enforcement of laws. I have had to accept less time outdoors and more time in cities and in an office. Queretaro is a pretty big city, and even though we get a little more country exposure living on the outskirts, at the end of the day it’s still a metropolis. I have also learned to embrace the Mexican culture much more than before. Although I had a grandfather who was born in Tijuana, we really weren’t steeped in the culture like I am now.
I think everyone has their stuff to deal with as a kid, in my case, I overcome typical adolescent taunts about my poor eyesight and my weight by getting into sports and being more social, and learning to ignore “the haters,” so to say.
At the university level, I overcome stiff competition at an Ivy League school and being the first in my family to complete a 4-year college education by seeking out allies and mentors, and never giving up – and also, by giving back to my community as a volunteer and in socially and environmentally conscious activities, which has rewarded me multifold. While I don’t currently volunteer, there are many worthy causes that one can participate in. I do make both in-kind and monetary donations to a variety of things such as progressive political campaigns, migrant relief, and youth empowerment efforts, and of course environmental conservation.
As a young adult, I overcame the emotional burden of being far from my family by maintaining good long distance communication, and again, relying on and trusting friends to support me in many aspects of my life.
In Mexico, many things have been hard. For one, I am a naturalist, biologist, environmental activist, and outdoor enthusiast, so it’s been strange not having immediate access to as many natural, green, or wilderness areas as I did in New York and California, where a high value is placed on environmental conservation and enjoying nature as recreation. Here, most people are just struggling to get by or build their businesses or the local economy so it’s harder to place emphasis on conservation.
Another thing that was difficult was finding myself again professionally, but again, I had to just keep putting myself out there and believing in a positive outcome, and it eventually happened.
Finally, I have had a lot of health challenges, several of which I think are related to stress and our move south, but I have tried to see the silver lining by focusing on different ways I can get and stay healthy.
It still affects me and depresses me that American immigration laws and public perception are just getting more and more xenophobic, and they are making our country less and less welcoming to immigrants worldwide. The prospect of never being able to (or wanting to, due to our perception of how unwelcoming the U.S. is getting for immigrants and brown and black people) go back to the U.S. is a little frightening. Not because our life here isn’t good, but because I would like to be closer to my family in the States, and I always dreamed of my daughter experiencing the culture and wonderful things I grew up with at some point – and all the anti-immigrant rhetoric just is really threatening to my family and our prospects in general. I miss all the time outdoors and spending time with family and friends in the States.
My father once said one of my worst characteristics is also my best, and that is that I am very stubborn, or headstrong, so to say. That’s how I persevere.
My family, my friends, my coworkers keep me going. So does my conviction that there is a better way. I believe in myself and others. Having contributed directly to many positive outcomes in the past convinces me that I/we can do so again in the future, with the right approach, or mindset, and sometimes even surrendering to divine will.
It is hard to say what accomplishment I am most proud of. I am quite proud of my education and profession, but I am also very proud of my marriage, and my daughter.
I still laugh when I think back to my teenage years and how much I coveted material items, fancy dresses, cars, big houses, etc. I think a lot of that was because of marketing, advertising, and catalogs. Seeing ads and comparing it to what you have makes you feel almost incomplete, inadequate. I no longer feel that my status or quality of life is determined by what I don’t have. That’s not to say I never like to get new things, but I do believe the mantra “live simply so others may simply live” can inform our lives if we let it.
While living in Mexico, there came a time when I had to let go of toxic relationships – with certain in-laws, with certain friends/acquaintances, etc. I had to realize the role I was playing in continuing negative thought processes and/or relationships with negative people. By starting to meditate, and distance myself from toxic or dysfunctional individuals, although at first, I felt guilty as if I were neglecting something/someone, I actually found a lot more freedom to be myself, make progress, and experience less drama.
I work full time for Peace Corps Mexico, whose office is in Queretaro. We have a team of a couple dozen staff and over 70 volunteers serving in over 9 states in Mexico. I am in charge of the environmental education program, I help to select sites, train, and provide follow-up support for EE volunteers, who do a lot of really great work in conjunction with our partners in the SEMARNAT (National Protected Areas Commission, National Forestry Commission, others). I am pretty much exclusively working with and for Peace Corps Mexico at this time, due to the full-time schedule. Previously, I offered workshops on urban gardening and a few other speaking engagements on environmental topics and my two books.
A couple things have changed that affect how I spend my free time. I have very long work hours and travel a lot, so on the weekends I am pretty tired out and spend a lot of it recuperating. Before, I used to garden and do yoga more, but now I like to read, spend time with my family, be in touch with friends, and cook if I have the energy. I also enjoy ecotourism and “puebleando” (visiting quaint small towns in Mexico) as they call it and luckily I can still do that when we get long weekends or I take vacation time. Photography is a pastime I have always been able to maintain and enjoy, luckily. I have also recently taken up learning piano.
To me, it’s important to balance opportunities for work, free time, and friends and family. It’s also very important for me to express myself creatively, whether through art, writing, or currently, I am learning about music through the piano. I also like to think that I am part of a movement for sustainability on this planet, although I’m aware we could always be doing more. I have co-authored 2 books in Mexico. In 2009 I self-published “The Bajio’s Bounty: Home cooking for the Queretaro, Mexico Region” which is essentially a collection of family recipes (my husband’s family were farmers, and his father still is) and fusion recipes. In 2011 I began co-authoring “Amor and Exile: True Stories of Love Across America’s Borders” with Nathaniel Hoffman, Boise-based journalist and friend/colleague from Cornell. We published under our own imprint, Cordillera West Books, in 2013. The Kindle version is available here. Even though our project was self-financed, we did have a successful crowdfunded kickoff campaign where we raised enough funds to take our book to Washington, DC and deliver a copy to every Congressperson, Supreme Court justice, and the President and First Lady. You can read about that here. We still blog from time to time and recently launched a new project, #buildbridgesnotwalls which we are hoping will gain more participation.
A wise midwife friend once told me: fear is F.E.A.R.: false expectations approaching reality. I think I was less fearful and more adventurous as a young adult. Now as a mother and wife, I have to remember I am thinking for the rest of my family. But on the other hand, letting fear get the upper hand can cloud your decision-making ability or prevent you from making positive changes in life, so you have to find a balance in your relationship to things that intimidate or frighten you.
I am inspired by people who live their principles. People who rise out of poverty, abuse, or addiction, and break cycles of negativity and/or violence. People who dedicate their lives to serving others.
I am angered by people who don’t appreciate their blessings. Greedy, violent people. I especially am angered by those who take advantage of others, especially those who hurt women and children. People who don’t respect Mother Earth or their neighbors. Hypocrisy, double standards, disrespectful attitudes bother me a lot.
The most important thing for me right now is to continue putting food on the table for my family, making sure my daughter gets a good education. I am currently pretty happy with what I am doing, but I am also interested in working for myself again, more with plants, art, writing, and maybe helping my husband to grow his own business. We’re not sure where the future will lead in terms of geographical locations, so any future plans have to have a certain level of flexibility built into them.
There are a number of misconceptions about the process of legal immigration to the US. Amor and Exile not only provides personal accounts of couples trying to negotiate the shaky and ever-changing landscape of immigration but also provides a history of US immigration and explanation of current laws. Find out more on Nicole’s blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages.
Author Erma Note is originally from the suburbs of Chicago. After moving to Mexico to volunteer with an orphanage, she ended up meeting her husband and becoming a permanent resident in Mexico. They are raising three children in Mexico City, and they love visiting the myriad of museums, archaeological sites, markets, churches, and other beautiful, historical places Mexico has to offer. Erma felt compelled to share her love for the beautiful capital city of Mexico in her children’s book “Travels with Grace.”
Travels With Grace
Grace is a bicultural, bilingual girl living in Mexico City who loves to travel and learn new things. She is excited because her cousin, Connor, is coming to visit from the United States. Grace and her mom put together a plan to teach Connor about this city in Mexico: its language, food, culture, and important places. What new things will they do and see? A portion of the proceeds of this book will be donated to Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage.
Is the title of your book significant?
“The main character’s name is Grace, but there is another meaning behind the title. It’s also about traveling gracefully… Being a gracious traveler, to me, means having respect for the local people, their traditions, their language, and their values. In addition, one of the most important things about traveling to a new country, in my opinion, is really getting to know the people and places that are the heartbeat of that country. I love having conversations with local people and learning from them, whether that is an artisan in Santa María del Río talking to me about her woven textiles, or a Yucatecan cigar vendor telling me his story as we share a soda in the sunny downtown square. Learning to speak Spanish has opened a lot of doors for me, and that is one part of traveling gracefully…being able to communicate with the local people whose guest I am,” said Erma.
Canadian author Mima (aka Michelle M. Arsenault) is known for complicated and diverse characters, her dark style, and for never shying away from controversial topics. She writes for people who enjoy being a little bit shocked focusing on the counter-culture. A writer with a social conscience, Mima often touches on homelessness, indigenous issues, racism, and other issues.
The Hernandez Series
A former Mexican narco transitions into Canadian life with family, politics, and business while holding tight to his ruthless, criminal ways. Meet Jorge Hernandez.
Starting with We’re All Animals we follow naive Chase Jacobs from small-town Alberta to the big city, where he unknowingly is employed by a group of sinister characters. The truth slowly starts to reveal itself in Always be a Wolf but a horrific tragedy rocks Chase’s world and he quickly discovers that his new family will do anything for him. Anything.
Jorge Hernandez takes over as the protagonist in the third installment of the series, The Devil is Smooth Like Honey. The beloved character is bold, blood-thirsty and always gets what he wants because he sees no boundaries. Nothing and no one stands in his way.
In A Devil Named Hernandez Jorge is muscling in on the Canadian legalized pot industry but is distracted by enemies that crop up to threaten someone he loves. Do they really want to dance with the devil?
The collusion, corruption, and murder continue right through to And the Devil Will Laugh where he successfully takes over the pot industry despite a few obstacles that get in his way…but isn’t there always some collateral damage?
In The Devil May Lie, Jorge Hernandez is groomed for Canadian politics with hopes of saving one of the major political parties after a public uproar. Will the Canadian political landscape ever be the same again?
In The Devil and his Legacy, Jorge Hernandez starts to questions his own legacy after one of his foot soldiers is murdered. He opts for a simple life but will the simple life opt for him?
In She Was His Angel, Jorge uses his political influence to cripple his nemesis Big Pharma while simultaneously backing the incriminating docuseries Eat the Rich Before the Rich Eat You. Jorge might win the battle but can he win the war?
When a cop has the nerve to show up at his door and harass Jorge in We’re All Criminals, his fury quickly ignites. While Jorge wants to exhibit his power and publicly taunt the police, his family fears that this time, he may have pushed too far.
Subplots, conspiracy theories, and a cast of characters that will jump off the pages.
Like so many foreigners, Leigh Ann Thelmadatter came to Mexico to spend a couple of years and never left. Teaching English paid the bills and supported an obsession with traveling throughout Mexico to learn about its culture, particularly its folk art. Her “apprenticeship” came in the form of writing Wikipedia articles, then a blog called Creative Hands of Mexico, which lasted for 5 years (until the pandemic).
Both projects have brought home the severe lack of documentation of Mexico’s handcrafts, especially the more regional and innovative ones. Fortunately, the blog led to a column of the same name in the Vallarta Tribune. Since 2019, she has been writing regularly about cultural topics in Mexico News Daily, which is now working on a series of Mexican artisan profiles. She published Mexican Cartonería: Paper, Paste, and Fiesta with Schiffer in 2019 and currently works on two more books. One on cloth dolls in Mexico and one about foreign artists who live in the country. The first is to give credit to the housewives whose creative talents and economic contributions are often overlooked. The second is an outgrowth of many years of contact with Mexico’s fine arts community.
The work on Creative Hands led her to learn about Mexico’s highly developed but almost completely unknown paper mache crafts, collectively called cartonería. They are figures made almost exclusively for the many festivals on Mexico’s calendar. The best known of these is the piñata, but also include effigies of Judas Iscariot for Holy Saturday, skeletal figures for Day of the Dead, and more.
In the past 20 years or so, modern cartonería artists have been looking to push the craft as a true “folk art,” not only creating pieces that will be used for the festival, then destroyed/thrown away but as collectors’ items.
The book begins with a definition of cartonería and its history in Mexico, themselves somewhat controversial as cartonería fulfills many, but not all, of the country’s definitions of “traditional handcraft.” The following chapters profile important figures such as Pedro Linares and the Lemus family, traditional items made with the technique (and how they are used), modern masters, and what the present and future hold for the craft.
Having spent a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate Larkindale settled in Wellington, New Zealand fifteen years ago. A film marketing executive and mother to two sons, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much. As a result, she can usually be found hanging out by the nearest espresso machine.
She is the author of contemporary YA novels Chasing The Taillights, The Sidewalk’s Regrets, An Unstill Life and Stumped along with several others that no one is allowed to see. Yet. She has also written one very bad historical romance, which will likely never see the light of day. She is working on several more YA novels that may or may not ever be finished.
Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Kissed Anthology, Just Me Anthology, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others.
The Latest Release
Find Chasing the Taillights by Kate Larkindale at:
Excerpt from Chasing the Taillights by Kate Larkindale
And then he’s there.
He steps into the room, his huge frame filling the doorway. He starts toward the bed then stops, his lips pressing together into a thin, white line. He drops his brilliant blue-eyed gaze to the floor for a moment and swallows hard before he looks up again. The scruffy beginnings of a beard shadow his chin.
“Hey, Lucy.” He tries to smile as he crosses to the bed, but his lips tremble too hard for it to be convincing. A muscle jumps in his jaw like a tiny fish trying to escape. “Thank you for being here, Peter.”
“I wish I didn’t have to be.” Peter gets up and gives Tony a brief hug. My brother’s arms don’t move, just hang stiffly at his sides, hands clenched into fists.
Peter lets go and moves aside to let Tony sit next to me. “I’m going to get some coffee. I’ll be back soon.”
Tony watches him go, not turning back to me until Peter’s tall, lean figure has vanished into the hallway. When he does, his eyes are red-rimmed and exhausted. Purple crescents lie beneath them. He looks like shit, but something about the way he’s studying me makes me certain I look worse.
“Oh, Jesus, Lucy.” He shakes his head, a pleading expression on his face. “I have no clue what I’m supposed to say right now.”
I blink up at him. I need him to tell me what happened. I need him to explain it to me. I try to form the words, but they won’t come. My mouth, stitched up like a quilt, won’t shape what I need to say.
“Dad?” I manage after a long battle. “…Mom’s…” I can’t say it. If I speak it aloud it’ll be true.
I’m holding my breath. My chest aches and I let it out in a gasp. The pain is back, sharp and stabbing at my side, a dull throb in my neck and shoulder. Tony reaches out and touches the side of my face. I flinch, hating myself for it when his fingers are as gentle as rain.
“They’re dead, Lucy. They’re both dead.” His eyes lock onto mine and I know he’s telling the truth. The bleak, stunned look on his face tells me more than any words could. A sob escapes him and he starts to turn away.