Title: Eight Goodbyes
Author: Christine Brae
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance
“One universe, nine planets, 204 countries, 809 islands and 7 seas, and I had the privilege of meeting you” ~Unknown
When Tessa Talman meets Simon Fremont for the first time, not only is she attracted to him, she’s intrigued by how different their lives are. He’s a dedicated scientist, practical, pragmatic, and grounded-while she’s a head-in-the-clouds romance author. As their relationship grows, they agree to meet in places around the world, while continuing to live on opposite sides of the globe.
Though their feelings for each other deepen, their priorities remain the same. Simon is in a hurry to be financially sound and settle down, but Tessa is enjoying her freedom and newfound success. Neither is willing to give in, but as each goodbye gets harder, Tessa beings to wonder whether fame is the path to happiness, or if she has everything she needs in Simon.
Just as Tessa finds the courage to go after her own happily ever after, the unthinkable happens, separating them in ways they never imagined.
To move forward, she must let go of the past, and determine once and for all if love is truly more powerful than the pain of goodbye.
About the Author
Christine Brae is a full time career woman who thought she could write a book about her life and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of so many women with the same story to tell. Her second book, His Wounded Light was released in December, 2013.
Christine’s third book, Insipid, is a standalone that was released in June, 2014, and her fourth book, In This Life, released in January 2016.
When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Christine can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago.
Christine is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin Literary Management.
Excerpts From Eight Goodbyes
“Who Knows You’re here?” she asked.
“You mean, specifically here? In Hong Kong?”
“No one. My family and friends think I’m traveling for work”
“Ah. So if anything happened to you, how do they know where to look?” she asked, her chin resting on the palm of her hand.
“Well, when they find my phone and the one thousand pictures of you, they’ll know,” he said.
She laughed. Rather uncomfortably. This is what having an affair feels like. It’s you and him and no one else.
“Adrian doesn’t know I’m here.” This time he leaned forward, closer to her. “Does Riley know you’re here?”
“She has to. Even if I don’t tell her directly, Jake knows. He’s very protective that way. Needs to know where I go, who I’m with.”
“You seem so attached, the two of you.”
“He’s the only constant in my life.”
He stayed silent. She hadn’t intended to offend him with that comment. But then she decided that it was too soon to even think of his role in her life.
That was the real crux of the matter, and she wanted to keep it top of mind.
“What about you, your parents? Do you see them often while you’re home?”
He laughed. “As a matter of fact, I have dinner with them every Sunday. They don’t live far from my old apartment. I’m moving to Chelsea when I get back which is a little further away, but I know my mum will find every excuse to come and visit. I’ll be too close to the shopping area for her to resist. She likes to get out sometimes. Leave the farm.”
“We’re lucky we have family we can count on,” she said.
“But none of them know we’re together,” he said, his tone lowered, quiet.
“Why does anyone need to know? Who care?” she asked in defiance. She observed the way he picked up another dumpling with his chopsticks and shoved the whole thing in his mouth. “Okay, let me rephrase that,” she said. “In time, they’ll know.”
He smiled. “Better”
He looked at his watch. She could tell that he wanted to change the subject. And she didn’t have to try. A round of applause filled the room. Tessa and Simon turned to see a man on one knee with his arms in the air, proposing to a very embarrassed woman.
“At a dimsum restaurant?” Simon smirked.
“Hey! You’ll never know! Maybe this is a special place for them,” Tessa said.
“Must be,” he answered, pulling his wallet out at the same time. He motioned for the dimsum man to bring the check over.
The man counted the different colored plates, each with a code for the food they ordered, wrote with lightning speed on a pad of paper, tore it off unevenly and handed it to Simon.
As he examined the bill, Simon said, “I forgot that your Twitter profile says ‘hopeless romantic.'”
“Love makes the world go ’round!” she said in response, pausing to follow up with an afterthought. “At least in Romance books!”
The sound of the shutting door as Will and Ciela leave the house is music to her ears. Time to sit in silence and savor that one cup of coffee, to revel in the comfort of a hot shower before starting her day.
She looks forward to this on most mornings, when dreams don’t consume her and sleep eventually gets its way. Today, she feels fresh and hopeful. Like every other time she’s decided to start over, begin with a clean slate. As she sits on the fourth step of the winding staircase, her unlikely refuge, she gives herself the luxury of time. For the last two years, since her return from Paris, since her decision to settle down, she has sat on this step – it allows her to look over the expanse of her home, admire the things around her, everywhere a sign of her accomplishment and proof that she had made the right choice.
To the far left of the living room is a massive stone shelf filled with books, trophies and awards. The walls of that area are plastered with movie posters and paintings. Her heart on display, a story all too familiar to her. She smiles as she turns her head towards the family room. What she sees pleases her, makes her heart ache with love. Dolls in pink dresses, a shopping cart filled with plastic groceries and actual packages of food from her pantry.
Work, career, motherhood.
There’s a man’s black leather jacket slung across the armchair in the family room.
Because Love. She has that too. It’s beginning to take the form of a tall, dark and handsome man. One she’d just met the year before. He hadn’t stolen her heart. Someone else did that and ran the hell away with it. And although she’ll never get that heart back, she thinks this new guy might give her a new one.
Who would have thought she would settle down? Find a home, stay in one place? In a forgotten time and in a place far away, she left that life and started over.
Through the tall bay windows, she sees the sun. It’s trying with all its might to break through the clouds. There’s snow everywhere, ten feet of it, and all signs of summer – the grill, the deck chairs, the potted plants – are buried underneath the massive lumps of ice.
The shrill ringing of the phone startles her, causing her to rise to her feet. It’s a strange sound, and because no one ever calls on her landline, it astounds her. She hops down from the staircase and runs into the living room. What is it about phones? You can never find them if your life depends on it. She knows that she’ll eventually stumble upon one of the cordless phones strategically planted around the house. She remembers Ciela using one the other day while playing house.
Ah, here it is, she thinks, as she fishes one of the cordless phones from under the fluffy couch cushions in the family room. She’s too late, the call goes to voicemail. It’s a 617 area code,
She can’t think of any association with that city. At least not for the past few years. It must be another insistent telemarketer.
She has no business thinking about Boston. Or who used to be there. Or what that meant to her at a time in her life when all she wants is to move forward.
With the phone in her hand, she begins to tidy around the living room, alarmed when it starts to ring once again.
“Hello?” she answers, glancing at the clock on the mantel. She has thirty minutes to get dressed before she has to be out the door.
It’s a man’s voice. The accent is unmistakable. But it’s the way he says her name that sinks her. It was the way he called her name when she saw him last. Full of sadness, of longing. She doesn’t remember much, but she remembers the way he called out to her before she looked away.
Impossible, she thinks. He left me. Walked away and left me.
“Who is this?” she says.
“Tessa. It’s me.”
She’s reluctant to say his name. It took two years to cast that name out, eradicate the feelings brought about by those two calamitous syllables.
Happy joyful reading everyone!