Today I am so pleased to welcome Jodi Payne to Joyfully Jay. Jodi has come to talk to us about her latest release, Rich Girl. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
“Here we are.”
Natalie looked at her sister’s headstone. She’d never visited the cemetery before because she didn’t really get it, and now that she was here, she still didn’t understand. What did people do when they visited a grave site? Was she supposed to talk out loud? Whisper? Think extra hard?
Was Scarlett going to hear her better here than, say, in the shower or on the ski slopes?
This was just weird.
“I don’t know why I’m here. Caleb comes every year, I know, and I guess I thought, why not? Let’s go see Scarlett and find out what all the fuss is about. But I gotta say, mostly I’m freezing my ass off out here, sis. It’s this big open, like, field, and it’s windy, man.”
She shifted her weight from foot to foot to keep warm. “I do miss you. And I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately because I ran into your girlfriend Ella in the strangest way and she told me that—look, I have to know, were you really engaged? Was she that important to you? I mean, I like her, I guess. She seems nice, and she’s pretty for sure. She has gorgeous eyes and a really great smile.” She thought about Ella, she had a picture of her at the coffee shop in her mind. “She’s kinda hot.”
God, that was inappropriate. “Sorry! Sorry. That wasn’t—I mean, it’s true, she is hot, but I shouldn’t be saying that to you, that’s not right. Although I guess you thought she was hot too if you were going to marry her, right?” She laughed. “Okay, this conversation has gotten weird now.”
It was nice to talk to Scarlett, but Natalie felt closer to her sister on skis than standing here in the snow.
“Can I carry the roses?” A voice—a little kid’s voice—said from somewhere behind her.
“Sure, buddy. Be careful in the snow, okay?”
Her eyes went wide. Oh shit, that’s Ella. Scar, I shouldn’t be here. How do I get out of here? She looked around, hoping she hadn’t been seen yet and ran behind a creepy angel statue that was sitting on top of a solid chunk of rock.
And of course, she had to peek.
Theo ran right to the headstone and stuck a bouquet of colorful roses in the snow. “Hi.” Theo waved and then stood there smiling at Scarlett’s headstone.
And that was maybe the creepiest thing ever. Dude.
“Will she say hi back?”
“I don’t know. Keep listening.”
Theo stood there patiently, and Natalie got goosebumps. Were they actually waiting to hear something?
“Hey, baby. Here we are again, year five, if you can believe it. It’s gone by fast and it also feels like forever.” Ella laughed softly. “I know, I say that every year. I guess it’s the truth, then. I’ve had a wild week, you keep popping up all over the place. It was freaking me out a little but Chloe says I’m just noticing things more because you’re on my mind.”
“Can I run, Mommy?”
“Sure, buddy, but stay where you can see me.”
“Okay!” Theo took off down the row of headstones, kicking up snow.
“He’s gotten big. He’s so smart. The older he gets the more he reminds me of you.”
Natalie frowned. Reminds… wait. What?
“It’s gotten complicated. I ran into your sister and I’m kind of losing sleep over this. I wish I knew what you’d want me to do. Whatever it is, I’d do it.” Ella tucked her coat tighter around her neck. “I just have to do what I think is best for him, right? And hope I make the right choices. I guess that’s parenting. It’s tough by myself. You’d have been so good at this.”
Natalie yelped and jumped a mile. Theo stood there grinning at her. “You’re the coffee lady.”
“No. I mean, yes. But—”
“Hello? Who’s there? Theo? Where are you?” Ella called out.
Theo jumped around her. “Right here, Mommy! With the coffee lady!”
Okay, she’d been caught. Now she had to own up to being an idiot. Wouldn’t be the first time. “Me. Sorry. I was behind the—”
“What? Have you been there the whole—”
“Sort of, but I—”
“What are you doing? Are you stalking me?” Ella pulled Theo very close and started backing away. “What do you want with Theo?”
Scarlett Lennon died in a skiing accident five years ago, leaving behind secrets she’d been keeping to protect herself, her inheritance and her fiancée, Ella.
Single mom Ella Anderson works as a dispatcher for the mountain rescue squad in Summit Springs, CO. She is doing her best to make ends meet while she raises her five year old son on her own. She adores little Theo, and although she would never complain, she doesn’t have time for anyone else.
Natalie Lennon is the youngest daughter of the Lennon family, who own Pines Peak ski resort and whose great wealth is well known in town and beyond. She has no career, no girlfriend, and no direction. What she does have is a lot of money. She’s grown up with a silver spoon in her mouth, not understanding at all what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck.
The two meet by coincidence in the Emergency Room late one night. Ella remembers Scarlett’s little sister, even though Natalie doesn’t recognize her in return. The chance meeting touches off something bigger than either woman is ready for. Not just an unexpected relationship, but a dive into the past that shines a light on Natalie’s big sister Scarlett’s secrets.
Rich Girl is a millionairess and single mom, secret heir, opposites attract, romance set in the fictional universe of Summit Springs Colorado.
Jodi Payne takes herself way too seriously and has been known to randomly break out in song. Her queer MCs are imperfect but genuine, stubborn but likable, often kinky, and frequently their own worst enemies. They are characters you can’t help but fall in love with while they stumble along the path to their happily ever after. For those looking to get on her good side, Jodi’s addictions include nonfat lattes, Malbec and tequila any way you pour it.
Jodi has brought a $5 Amazon gift card and a copy of Rich Girl to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on at Tuesday, February 13th 11:59 pm ET.
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