Dear Birdy, Princess Birdzilla von MuffinStuff, Keeper of Dreams, Lover of our Fine Feathered Friends, queen of my life and light of my world, I hope this letter finds you well. If you are reading this then I am gone, and sweetheart, I am so sorry.
Chi-town professional Wren Riley is 25 and a rising star in the business world. She can eat a man alive and laugh about it to her girlfriends in seconds flat--and she does, on the regular. Behind the power suits and the flashing, flirty eyes, however, Wren has a secret, vulnerable side. Following a devastating loss and the discovery of a bird journal she and her father made together years before, Wren sets out to seek peace, closure, and something she just can't name. Is that something tied to the little paper cranes she keeps finding along the way?
Laurence Byrd grew up a lanky Hoosier kid with the good/bad fortune of having the same name as the state's perennial basketball legend. With a better affinity for dogs than sports or school, he ends up in the Army instead of the Chicago art school of his dreams. Still, his service to our country is something he can be proud of--until an argument with the girl who means the world to him results in a series of events that blows his life apart. With no one left to understand him, black sheep Laurie pours out his heart into letters and drawings he never intends to send--then he folds them into paper cranes that he leaves behind like messages in little winged bottles. He never dreams someone might be finding them.
God damn it, Sylvia, for a few moments I tricked myself into feeling really alive. I cut it off before anyone got hurt, but just for a moment or two, I really thought I might feel something again--something like trust. Something like love. Not the kind of love we had, but something new. Something like hope.
Spoiler alert: Wren and Laurie are going to meet. And when they do, their lives are never going to be the same.
He had pretty eyes. Almost too pretty, with long lashes that curled at the end. If the set of his jaw hadn’t been so square and covered with five o’clock shadow, if his grown-out high and tight haircut hadn’t screamed “Army Reservist,” I would have sworn those eyes were mascaraed and lined.
“You talking to me?” I dabbed at my face with the wet paper towels. My skin was blotchy beneath my makeup, but I’d managed to wipe up most of the mascara from my cheeks. Even with false eyelashes I couldn’t duplicate the kind of eyes the man in the doorway had. Now that my makeup was wrecked, they were like short spindly spider legs. Ugh.
“Yeah, you,” he said. He had short brown hair and a friendly face, and he extended his hand to me like he was ready to fish me out of the water instead of a restroom. “No use herding Billy outta here. He hit up the men’s room first and it was locked—I was supposed to stand guard and keep anyone from going in after him, but you moved so fast I couldn’t stop ya.”
The man in the stall contributed more sound effects to the situation. I will spare you the details.
“C’mon and bail,” the nice guy said.
I took his arm. There was something soothing about him. The thought briefly flickered through my mind that he could be a dog whisperer or a horse trainer—something to that effect. He had a gentle vibe about him, despite his height and the reservist look.
“Thanks,” I said. “I, uh, guess I better find some other place to freshen up.”
He smiled and looked down at his boots. They were work boots—the kind with steel toes and a buff leather finish. They disappeared beneath the frayed cuffs of faded jeans, and he scratched his forearm as I dropped it, beneath the sleeve of a light blue work shirt. I expected there would be a red oval with a name embroidered on the chest, but it was just out of sight at this angle.
Leslea Tash is a journalist-turned-novelist, an avid bird nerd and the happily married mom of four. She has been a professional writer for many years. This is her first romance novel.