Read It and Weep Online - Jenn McKinlay

Acknowledgments

Knuckle bumps to my editor, Kate Seaver; her assistant, Katherine Pelz; and my agent, Jessica Faust. They make up the best team a writer could ever hope to have. Also, a special thank-you to my cover artist, Julia Green, whose gorgeous covers make me step up my writing game to make sure my words are worthy of her brilliance. Hopefully, I’m getting there.

As always, I have to give a shout-out to the Hub and the Hooligans, Chris, Wyatt and Beckett. Your patience, support and willingness to listen are invaluable and I can never thank you enough. I love you forever.

Finally, I have to thank my favorite librarian—my mom, Susan N. McKinlay, for instilling in me a love of books and reading. Second to loving me unconditionally, you gave me the greatest gift a child like me could ever have.

1

“Of course you’re all going to audition for the play,” Violet La Rue said. “It’s the kickoff to our community theater season.”

Lindsey Norris put down her scissors and glanced across the table at Violet. Violet’s warm-brown eyes sparkled and her brown skin glowed. She was flushed with excitement for the upcoming production, which would be her directorial debut.

Lindsey knew it was going to dampen Violet’s enthusiasm to learn that the rest of the crafternooners, with the exception of her daughter, Charlene La Rue, and the children’s librarian, Beth Stanley, were not as enamored with being on stage as she was. Violet was a former Broadway actress, and her daughter was a local news anchor. They lived for being in front of an audience. As for Beth, she had been instilling the love of reading in children for ten years with her dynamic story times. She lit up in front of an audience. The rest of the crafternooners, well, it wasn’t really their thing.

This theory was confirmed when Lindsey glanced around the table and noted that both Mary Murphy and Nancy Peyton had their heads down, completely engrossed with their card-making project.

The group had decided to get a jump on the holidays by making greeting cards. It was only September but judging by the mess Lindsey was making, she was going to need the next three months just to crank out a few decent cards.

The crafternooners met every Thursday at the Briar Creek Public Library, of which Lindsey was the director, to work on a craft while they discussed the latest book that they had read.

This week they were discussing A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. It wasn’t their standard fare, but since Violet was directing the play in the Briar Creek Community Theater, they had all agreed to read it and give her their input as she was gearing up for auditions in the coming week.

“I think I have a crush on Puck. He’s so charming. He carries the whole play,” Beth Stanley said. Story time had just gotten out and she entered the room with a monkey puppet on one hand and wearing a banana suit.

It was no surprise that she liked Puck; with her diminutive stature and her black hair styled in a pixie cut, Beth reminded Lindsey of a sprite herself.

“Who in town would make a good Puck?” Nancy Peyton asked. Her blue eyes twinkled when her gaze met Lindsey’s. “I’d offer up my nephew, Charlie, but he’s too busy with the latest incarnation of his rock band.”

Lindsey winced. Nancy wasn’t kidding. Lindsey rented the third-floor apartment of Nancy’s three-story captain’s house, and her nephew, Charlie, lived on the floor between them. Usually, he only practiced once a week, but with the new band learning his material, practices had been more frequent, and both Lindsey and Nancy had taken to wearing earplugs while at home. The only one who didn’t seem to mind the noise was Lindsey’s dog, Heathcliff. As soon as he heard the bass beat of the drums, he began to wag and howl as if he were the lead singer.

“How about my brother, Sully?” Mary Murphy asked. She’d brought the food for today’s crafternoon from her restaurant the Blue Anchor, so it was a feast of crab salad sandwiches and sweet tea. Lindsey turned and scowled at her. She knew Mary had been just looking for an opportunity to bring up Sully in the conversation. Lindsey had been dating Captain Mike Sullivan, known to his friends and family as Sully, up until a few months ago, when he’d decided to give her some space—space she had not requested. And so, they had spent the summer apart.

“Did