Want a hilarious romcom, enemies-to-lovers, soul mates romance? Here is extract #1 from my upcoming romance book, Romance By The Book, coming September 14th!
Pre-order your copy today.
I fell in love when I was eight years old, and it was the best and the worst day of my life. My mom always said, in a town like Romeo, you’re guaranteed to find your true love, it’s not a matter of if, only of when. For me, the when happened early.
Some (okay, everyone) might say I live in a fantasy world, that no one can find their soul mate when they’re eight years old. But I did. And Miss Erma is about to confirm it.
That’s right. Romeo, New York’s number one star, Miss Erma, official soul mate psychic, finally saw my true love.
I always promised myself that if Miss Erma ever predicted my soul mate, I’d pursue him with a single-minded passion. I’d do anything for that kind of love. Romeo, the town where I grew up, inspires this kind of thinking. We have more happily matched couples and true love than any other town in the Western Hemisphere. Our small town has a Cupid festival, a Valentine’s Day parade, a Sweetheart’s Day baking contest, and a 30, 40, or 50 year wedding anniversary practically every week. If the cobblestone streets, the overflowing flower baskets, and the cute stone bridge over the river doesn’t convince you, then our charm will—Romeo, Official Town of Love USA, is the place where true love finds you.
Needless to say, I’ve been dreaming of this moment for practically my whole life.
“You’ve seen him?” I ask Miss Erma.
She gives me a smile that on anyone below twenty I’d call mischievous, but Miss Erma is over eighty, so I’ll call it conspiratorial. “I have,” she confirms. “I saw him this morning.”
My stomach does a flip and I clasp my hands together to keep from jumping up and down and shouting in glee. We’re in a library after all. Miss Erma is here for the class I teach, a seniors’ computer skills class. There’s no jumping around or shouting in libraries.
But still. This, this is the moment I’ve been waiting for.
Miss Erma told my friends Chloe and Veronica their soul mates in the last year, and I just knew my time would be coming soon. Well, if not knew, then hoped.
Miss Erma adjusts her silk shawl over her shoulders. It has pink cherry blossoms on ivory colored fabric. Then she leans back in her computer chair and beams at me.
“I’ve finished the internet search assignment. I looked up travel plans for New York City. Wanda and I are planning a trip,” says Erma.
What? This is the most important moment of my life and she wants to talk about the computer class assignment? I look around the library community room. It’s a big, bright room, with a long table filled with computers and comfy desk chairs. The walls are painted cream and the carpet is sage green. Everyone in the class is still at work, ignoring my conversation with Erma.
“Miss Erma, please. My soul mate. Who is he?” I ask, and then I hold my breath.
But a horrifying thought enters my mind. What if she says William?
Please not William. Please not William. Please not William.
Please don’t say William Williams IV.
“It’s that Williams boy.”
The breath I was holding shoots out in a loud exhale. I cough and hit my chest.
Wanda, Erma’s best friend, looks over from her computer. “Are you alright, dear?”
“Fine. Fine.” I wave at her. Everyone else in the class is absorbed in their internet search assignment. They haven’t noticed Erma and me talking. I cough again and clear my throat. My stomach feels like it’s on a roller coaster, it’s being tossed around and I can’t get off the ride. “The Williams boy?” I ask. Please be Gavin. Please be Gavin. Please be the boy I’ve wanted since I was eight years old, not his awful, horrible brother.
“That’s right,” says Erma.
She winks at me and then digs around in her purse. It’s on the floor next to her chair. When she comes up she’s holding a cookie tin. She opens it and holds it in front of me. “Have an oatmeal raisin cookie. I baked them this morning.”
I look down at the pile of cookies in the red tin. How can Erma offer cookies at a time like this? My stomach is still looping around my abdomen. Doesn’t she realize there are two Williams boys? One is perfect and wonderful and everything I’ve ever wanted and the other is…Will.
She waves the tin under my nose, and the scent of cinnamon and raisins wafts up to me.
“Um, alright. Thank you.” I take a cookie chock-full of raisins from the top of the pile, then I force myself to take a bite, chew and swallow. “Mmm. Really good. Thank you.”
I set the cookie down on the table, there’s no way I’ll be able to force myself to swallow another bite. Not until I know. Is my soul mate the man I’ve always believed it was, or his awful, horrible, rotten brother.
“Miss Erma? Which Williams boy? There are two of them.”
“Hmm. Are there?”
She puts the lid back on the cookie tin and pops it into her purse. When she comes back up, her black hair is messy. She pats it down and re-straightens her shawl. She’s fine boned and petite, and some people say she looks like a little bird. She definitely has the energy of a bird. And I’m beginning to see why Chloe always insists her great aunt is full of mischief.
“Yes. There’s Gavin and there’s William.”
My stomach rolls again and I press my hand against it. Please don’t say William, please don’t say William. She couldn’t, she wouldn’t.
“He just came back to town,” she says.
“Yes. Which one? Which one is my soul mate?”
Miss Erma studies me as if I’m missing the point. She gives me the same look that Chloe gives me when I can’t visualize one of her greeting card illustration ideas. I’d laugh if I weren’t so frustrated.
“Jessie. Dear. You already know who your soul mate is.”
“I do?” I try to swallow down the dry cookie crumbs still sticking in my throat. “Does that mean…?”
Miss Erma nods. “Your soul mate is the Williams boy you’ve loved since you were a little girl.”
Not William Williams IV. Not Will.
Thank you, God. Thank you.
It’s Gavin. His twin.
“He’s my soul mate,” I say with wonder.
Erma’s eyes twinkle. “That’s right. You’ve known he was for years.”
I grab Erma’s hands in mine and then I start jumping up and down and squealing. I can’t help it. This is the best day of my life.
Miss Erma laughs and shakes her head. She’s probably used to this reaction. But me, this is my one and only time to learn the name of my soul mate, and it’s Gavin.
“What is it? What’s happened?” asks Wanda.
She hurries over. But I can’t answer, I’m too busy spinning in a circle. I feel like Maria in The Sound of Music. Any minute, I’m going to stop spinning and start singing to the mountains.
I’ve been transported to my own personal heaven. It’s finally happened. After five years, Gavin Williams is finally back in Romeo, and according to Erma, he’s mine.