More Than a Song
Paperback: 227 pages
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
by Chris Paynter
A year after Dani Roberts's girlfriend infamously broke up with her on Twitter, Dani attempts to live a quiet life running her bookstore in Francis, Georgia.
Sexy blues singer C.J. James rolls into town for a limited engagement at the local gay bar. Without warning, C.J. slams into Dani's life, writes a song about her beautiful eyes, and offers a wild and scorching ride.
Veterinarian Liz Springer has returned to her hometown to mend a broken heart. Liz wants no drama in her life and longs for the peaceful time needed to heal. But when Dani brings her beagle, Frodo, to the clinic, tamped-down desire begins to simmer.
A firestorm is in the making, and Dani is right in the middle.
“I think you’ll enjoy this,” Dani Roberts said as she slid the newly purchased book into a “Dani’s Den of Books” bag. “It’s one of the author’s best.”
“Oh, yeah?” The blonde gave her a cocky grin, her dark eyes appraising Dani’s body. “You know something about romance?”
Dani willed her body not to respond to the woman’s blatant flirting.
“I know something about good writing. I hope you enjoy the read.” She held out her hand for the next customer’s book.
The blonde took the hint and left. Dani was completing the other customer’s purchase when she felt the presence of her assistant, Tina Dewey. Never subtle, and certainly hard to ignore, Tina was polite enough to wait until the customer walked away.
“What is it, Tina?”
“Uh, have you checked Twitter today?” Tina shifted her short, stocky frame, obviously nervous about something.
Dani forced herself not to roll her eyes. Although she was well aware of how important marketing and social media were to the success of her store, it didn’t mean she had to like what she felt was an invasion of her privacy.
“You know I don’t read that shit unless I have to. You do most of our twitting.”
“It’s called tweeting.”
“All right, tweeting.” Dani scrutinized her friend a little closer. Tina’s Atlanta Braves hat was slightly askew with her curly brown hair sticking out at all angles. Yeah, something was definitely off. “What is it? Did someone diss our shop?”
Tina glanced down at her smartphone.
Dani held out her hand. “Let me see it. It can’t be that bad.” She grabbed the phone, but Tina didn’t loosen her grip. “T, you need to let go if you want me to read the tweet.” Dani still found it hard to believe that adults freely used the word “tweet.” She felt like a second-grader. Tina relinquished the phone.
Dani saw it wasn’t the bookstore’s Twitter account. It was her personal account, the one Tina had talked her into opening. The tweet was from her girlfriend, Katie:
I hate to break up on Twitter. It’s the only way you’ll take me seriously. I’m moving back to Indiana. I don’t love you anymore, D. I’m sorr
“Oh. My. God. She did not just break up with me on Twitter.” Dani sank onto the padded stool behind the register. “And couldn’t she have left some of this other crap out and at least finish her apology?”
“Well, you only have 140 characters.”
Dani glared at Tina.
“Sorry. Look, the woman isn’t right in the head.” Tina raised her hands when Dani started to speak. “She’s not.” Tina thrust her finger at the phone. “That proves my point. What kind of sick bitch breaks up on Twitter?”
Dani stared down at the words again. “I guess the woman I’ve lived with for the past two years.” She tried to feel sadness over the loss, but what she really wanted to do was hit something. Hard. Maybe that gave a clue about the state of their relationship.
Tina gently pried the phone out of her hand. “I don’t want my phone to become a casualty. You looked like you were about to spike it, and this thing ain’t cheap.”
“I knew there was a reason I hated social media,” Dani mumbled. She walked to the large, plate-glass window overlooking the street and watched as couples, straight and gay, strolled hand-in-hand in front of her store. A quaint, gay-friendly town, Francis, Georgia, lay on the outskirts of Atlanta. She and Katie had moved there two years earlier.
Tina joined her at the window. She draped her arm around Dani’s shoulders. “It’ll be okay.”
Dani didn’t answer. What was there to say? Tina moved away to greet another customer. Dani spent the remainder of the day in a fog, alternating between anger and sadness. Tina seemed to sense her need for privacy. At least she didn’t broach the subject of Katie anymore.
When closing time came, Tina volunteered to shut down the register and drive the day’s deposit to the bank. She clapped her hand on Dani’s shoulder. “Why don’t you go home? If you want, Barb and I can drop by later to check on you.”
Although Tina and her partner, Barb, were her best friends, Dani felt the need to be alone—well, alone with her two-year-old beagle, Frodo. He always seemed to make things a little better. Even when they’d gone to shit, as they had today.
“Thanks, T. I think I’ll be okay tonight.”
“You’re sure?” Tina looked worried.
“I’m not really sure of anything right now, but I think tonight I’d like to be alone.”
“Well, call us if you need us.”
Dani left by the back door, slid behind the steering wheel of her red MINI Cooper, and headed home. Usually, she felt pumped up when driving her car, as if she were a different person behind the wheel. Today, she felt none of that. Her anger from earlier had dwindled into a lingering sadness.
She flipped on the radio and searched for something to drown out the voice in her head that berated her for staying in a relationship that ended with a breakup on Twitter. Maybe she should’ve seen it coming, but how could she possibly think it would end this way?
A song came on that seemed to be written for just this moment in her life. The singer, C.J. James, had a raspy voice that reverberated in Dani’s brain as she reached the chorus of the song:
You kissed me, then said goodbye. I thought you were mine.
Now all I have left are your lies.
Yeah, all I have left are your lies.
Dani pulled into the drive of her modest brick home. Normally, she hopped right out to let Frodo in from the backyard. But today, she sat in her idling car, still listening to the song, as the tears fell.
“Shit.” She slapped at her wet cheeks, upset that she let Katie get to her this way. A part of her wanted to reach into the console and throttle this C.J. James who tapped into Dani’s every emotion—especially when a mournful guitar solo accompanied the words.
Dani thought back to Tina telling her it would be okay, but she doubted Tina’s logic. She didn’t have much choice in how to handle this. She either wallowed in self-pity or she moved on, and wallowing in self-pity had never been her style.