Summer 2023


My life is not like I dreamed it would be. I had the foolish fantasy I would finish high school, go to college, make something of myself- maybe even become famous.

Instead, I’m the infamous kid of the father who killed himself in the family’s backyard.

How’s that for a legacy?




The day my life changed forever started like any other with Mom yelling for me to get out of bed, my sister hogging all the hot water in the shower, and my little brother peeping at me from the doorway to my room.

“Beat it, creep,” I mumble, throwing my one good pillow at his head. He grins and takes off for the stairs as fast as his gangly legs will carry him. I sigh and flop onto my back, blinking the sleep from my eyes. Dust motes float in the air through the sun’s early morning rays sneaking past my half-closed blinds. Upstairs, the floorboards creak as Mom moves around the kitchen preparing our lunches. That nagging cough of hers grosses me out. It’s a cross between a gag and a snort; real attractive first thing in the morning.

A vibration under my right shoulder blade has me doing a frantic search for my cell through the topsy-turvy mess I’ve made of my blankets. The Hello Kitty case shakes again. I turn it over to find five messages from my best friend, Trinity.

Did you decide yet?

It’s going to be a blast!!!

The biggest party of the year, and it’s your birthday

Kyle’s going

Izzy, are you there?

Kyle’s going? Oh, man. Trinity teased me, but Kyle is the cutest boy in tenth grade and nice, too. Ever since he’d turned to me in Hendricks’s class and asked for help with Canada’s social and economic growth and the connection to natural resources, I’d been dreaming of those dark brown eyes. I needed to go to that party.

What are you going to wear?

Knowing Trinity, she’d probably shopped all weekend for the perfect outfit.

I found the perfect outfit! Wait ’til you see it!!

I looked at the tired clothes hanging in my closet and sigh. The money I made working part-time after school at The Voltage, a popular coffee shop downtown, had to go toward helping Mom with the bills.

I stare at Trinity’s words, her excitement contagious. I want some of that enthusiasm. To be a teenager, just for one night.

I’m supposed to work at nine

I’ll have to lie. I hate lying. I suck at it, my eyes always give me away.

Say you’re sick. C’mon, Izzy, you’ve got to go!!

The door of the bathroom I share with my sister opens. Steam billows around Renée’s body as she sashays out in a bath towel.

“You plan on showering before school? ” she says, crossing the chilly cement floor to her bedroom on the other end of the basement. “I can smell the deep fryer on your skin from here.” The door closes and she’s gone on a whiff of the lavender body wash she adores.

I lift my arm to my nose and inhale. Yep, Ô de French fries. Lovely.

I gotta go. See you at school, k?

I roll out of bed and dig around in my drawer for clean underwear, my best pair of holey jeans, and the t-shirt Renée gave me for my birthday. She said she’d chosen the grass-green shade because it matched my eyes, then proceeded to ruin the moment by adding the sweetheart neckline would give my flat chest a boost. Mom gave her hell over it, but I didn’t care. The shirt is the nicest thing in my wardrobe.

“You girls have five minutes and then I’m coming down there,” Mom threatens.

She said the same thing every morning. One of these days I’m going to wait her out just to see if she follows through. Probably not anytime soon, though. The curse of the middle child; trying to keep everyone happy.

The shower goes from tepid to frigid just as I lather up the bird’s nest on top of my head. My hair is the bane of my existence. Renée’s sleek blond curtain does just what she asks of it. With his sandy hair and freckles, Benjamin gets a break for sheer cuteness. And then there’s me. My hair color is a cross between a penny—not the shiny, pretty ones, the old, tarnished kind—and a copper kettle. The curls came from the postman; at least that’s what Dad says.

I swipe the mirror with my hand and stare at my reflection. The girl looking back at me seems so much younger than the person living inside her body.

“Izzy, the bus is here. You want to walk to school?” Mom’s voice is louder, as though she’d dared a few steps into my sanctuary.

“I’ll be right there,” I call, anxious to have her leave.

“Well, hurry up then. I have things to do,” Mom snaps.

I turned away from the flare of anger in my eyes and methodically dress. My powder blue lacy new bra and panties I’d bought with part of my cheque, the birthday shirt, my jeans—a little snug around the hips—and a pair of flats so I wouldn’t raise too much suspicion with my mom. Because the decision is made—I’m going to the party.

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 Because the true power is love!

Jacquie Biggar

My heroes are tough, alpha males who know what they want. That is until they get gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love.

I’ve been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoy writing romance novels that end with happy-ever-afters.

Jacquie Biggar has a wonderful gift for writing hot and extremely likable military men!

Jacqui Nelson

From the time Jacquie was twelve years old, she knew she wanted to be a writer. That year she wrote a short story called Count Daffodil after spending countless hours searching for ideas. The story garnered Jacquie an A and was read aloud through the school’s loudspeaker system. Needless to say, after that she was hooked.

Jacquie grew up, married her best friend, raised a family and left her writing urges to simmer in the background unattended.

She owned and operated a successful diner in her hometown for a number of wonderful years before deciding to live her dream of becoming an author.

Jacquie’s first book, Tidal Falls, a romantic suspense novel about second chances, released September of 2014.

Connect with Jacquie here: jbiggar@jacqbiggar.com





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A family’s brush with the past will threaten the fabric of their lives.

Eight months pregnant and her Navy husband away on a mission, Grace Freeman craves the security of her childhood home in Canada.

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Did she realized just how much she looked like her mother with the same expressive, warm hazel eyes and silky chestnut hair- It hit him in the solar plexus every time she smiled.

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