Let's see what Mac's up to...
Let's have a lookie-loo at what's in this magical piece of literary goodness known as the newsletter:
  1. Greetings and salutations
  2. Pact with a Heartbreaker, chapter 4
  3. What even am I doing with my life? 
Hiya, friend! Somehow another week has gone by, which means it's time for chapter 4 in Pact with a Heartbreaker! In case you're new to the newsletter, I'm doing something fun for the summer. I'm releasing a beach read novella via weekly installments right here for free! Keep reading for chapter four...
Pact with a Heartbreaker can be read either as your first foray into Havenbrook, my fictional southern small town, or after you've read Second Chance Charmer because I'm crafty like that. 😉

In case you've missed any previous chapters, you can get caught up here. If you're not a fan of reading books in a serialized manner, Pact with a Heartbreaker will be released on its own sometime in the fall.
Quick disclaimer: in order to get these chapters to you every week, they are raw and unedited, so thank you for excusing any mistakes! 

Chapter 4

A few days later, Mac tossed things into a couple boxes with no rhyme or reason as to which one they landed in. All the necessities she’d need for the dorm had already been purchased and were stowed away in the closet, ready to be transferred to the back of Willow’s car when it was time to head to Starkville. They’d agreed that leaving on Monday morning would be enough time. It’d give them a couple days on campus before classes officially started on Wednesday. 

But now, after Hudson’s plea to Mac the other night, she wanted to leave…tomorrow. And she still hadn’t approached Will with the idea.

“What the hell are you taking your bunny slippers for? This isn’t summer camp, Mac.” Will breezed into their bedroom before flopping onto her bed and reclining against the pillows. “You look dazed as hell. Do you even know what you’re throwin’ in there?”

“Yes.” No, she really didn’t. In fact, she didn’t remember much of the past two days as she’d sat and worried over how she was going to ask Will for this. Yes, her sister owed her a favor. And yes, when it came right down to it, Will would do anything for her. But when Mac shared the why of what no doubt would be the five W questions—who, what, where, when, why—that shot from her sister’s mouth, she knew what she’d get. Suspicion. Worry. Anxiety. Resentment. And some of those would come so fast and so fierce, her sister wouldn’t be able to stop them, or even put a name to them.

But Mac would. 

She’d watched Will nurse herself back after the devastation she’d gone through last year when her boyfriend, Finn, left without a word. No phone call. No note. Nothing but an empty trailer on the wrong side of town and a whole lot of told ya so’s to face all on her own.

But Hudson was nothing like Finn Thomas. Mac just hoped her sister would be able to see that.

“Dang, what’s got your panties in a twist?” Will asked, dipping her magazine down enough to peek over the top. “You’re stewin’ on something over there.”

Without sparing her sister a glance, Mac said, “I don’t wear panties. I wear boyshorts, and they’re just fine, thank you very much.” To keep herself busy and stop from just blurting out what she wanted and ruining how she needed to approach this, she spun around and strode to her closet, double checking that she had everything she wanted from it. 

“You’re sure gettin’ an early start on all this.” Will gestured to the boxes on Mac’s bed. “I figured you’d wait until Sunday night to start throwin’ stuff together.”

Mac glanced at Willow over her shoulder and bit her lip. This was the best opening she could ask for, and if she really wanted to leave tomorrow, she needed to take it. “Um, yeah…about that…”

Will cocked her head to the side and settled the magazine against her chest. “I hate when you start sentences with that.”

Mac plucked a shirt from the closet and added it to the pile on the bed. She moved her bunny slippers from one box to the other, then to the open suitcase on the floor before nixing them altogether and tossing them back in her closet. All the while avoiding Will’s assessing gaze.


Blowing out a heavy sigh, Mac dropped her shoulders before shutting their bedroom door to make sure they weren’t overheard. She dragged her feet all the way to Willow’s bed and dropped onto it, sitting criss-cross at the end. “Promise to hear me out before you start gettin’ all righteous on me, okay?”

Will shot a glance toward the closed door and then back to her sister, her eyes narrowed. “What the hell did you do?” she hissed.

“Gimme a break, Will. You’re not talkin’ to Nat. I haven’t done anything…yet.”


“I’m gettin’ to that.”

“Well get there faster.”

Mac rolled her eyes. “Fine. Remember how I took care of our pain in the ass sister so you could hang out with your friends at Movie Night?”

“Yeah…” Will drew out the word as she surveyed Mac.  

“Well, I’m cashing in the favor.”

“Already?” Will scrunched her brow. “You usually like to hold those over my head for a while and make me sweat on what you’re gonna make me do. Must want something pretty bad.”

Pretty bad wasn’t even the half of it. For days, Mac had remembered Hudson’s expression as he’d stood in front of her under the bleachers, so close she could feel his breath on her lips. His thumbs had caressed her collarbones, back and forth so softly, and she’d only hoped he hadn’t seen how her body had reacted to the chaste touch. 

It hadn’t been the first time he’d ever touched her in a way that made her body sing—hadn’t been the most intimate either. But something had been different the other night than it had been all those years ago—when he’d touched her a hell of a lot more than chastely. When they’d gotten as close as two people could. When they’d followed through on the pact they’d set when they were pre-teens and had shared their first kisses: that they’d lose their virginities together. 

While it could’ve been a recipe for disaster for many friends of the opposite sex, it somehow hadn’t been for them. Sure, her feelings for him had only deepened after the fact, but she’d managed to separate those. Box them up and tuck them away, out of the realm of their friendship.

Those feelings were surging to the surface now, though. But she swore something had clicked between them the other night. As he’d stared down at her, she’d been sure…so sure…he’d been about to tell her what she’d waited for years to hear.

That he was tired of being just her friend. That he wanted more.

“Hud wants me to go with him to the lake cabin this weekend,” she said.

Will stared at her for long seconds, then shook her head as if to clear it. “Wait…what?”

“He asked me when he dropped me and Nat at home.” She bit her thumb nail and glanced up at her sister. “He was gonna tell me something under the bleachers. Before you interrupted.”

Will narrowed her eyes. “Something like what?”

“I’m not sure, but I think…maybe…” Mac didn’t need to say anything else. Will had been on the receiving end of Mac’s wishes for more for…well, ever. 

“And you think Momma and Daddy are just gonna let you go off to the Miller’s lake cabin with a boy?” Will shook her head. “Even if y’all’re best friends, Daddy will lose his—”

“Course not. Which is where the favor comes in.” Mac reached out and wrapped her hand around Will’s ankle, gripping it tightly. “We can tell ‘em we need to head up to Starkville early. That there’s a special tour for the new freshman. Or that you don’t think we’ll have enough time to get settled in with only a couple days before classes start. I honestly don’t care what it is, as long as it works.”

The room was silent for long minutes as Mac held her breath and let Willow do her Willow thing and think everything through.

“You know this is crazy, right?” Will sat up, bringing their faces closer together. “You could be gettin’ all excited and worked up when all he wants to do is go fishin’. It might be nothing. It’s probably nothing.”

Will had a point. On the probability scale, her thinking was more than likely closer to reality than the hundred different scenarios that’d been going through Mac’s mind, all of which equated to the same thing: that Mac might finally get what she'd wanted for so long.

“Maybe," Mac said, her voice low. She glanced up at her sister, not attempting to conceal the hope shining in her eyes. "But it might be everything.”

Willow stared at Mac for long moments, her gaze filled with all those emotions Mac had been so sure she’d let burst out. Instead, she just shook her head. “Fine, I’ll do it. I just hope you’re not settin’ yourself up for heartbreak.” 


Oh dear...is that foreboding? Come chat about Pact with a Heartbreaker in my reader group, the Brigade. Gossip on all things Havenbrook is welcomed and encouraged!

Summer is a lot to get used to in this house. I went from seven uninterrupted work hours to being interrupted approximately every six minutes with pleas of snacks, whines of boredom, or the showing of magic tricks. So many magic tricks. I love having my kids home, but it's exhausting and takes a bit of juggling to get in to a rhythm that works for everyone. 

I had big plans this week to write ahead in this novella. And then life happened. After fighting valiantly for years, our a/c finally bit the dust, so there were many HVAC people in and out for quotes. Then there was the actual install which took a whopping EIGHT hours. (I had no idea, but if I'd known it was going to take so long, I definitely wouldn't have scheduled it for a work day... It's ridiculously hard to write with a strange man roaming around your property.) Then there were appointments—so many damn appointments.

Needless to say, I was scrambling up until about 11 last night to get this chapter done. Feast your eyes on the look I've perfected: Writer in the Wild. This was me yesterday as I begged my characters to talk to me. (This beauty was originally posted on my Instagram stories, so make sure to follow me there if you're not already!)

If you need me, I'll be over here, trying to make sure my kids don't tackle each other through any walls, all the while attempting to get work done despite the noise (omg, so much noise).


As always, I love to hear from readers! Reply to this e-mail or swing by Twitter, Instagram, or the reader group on Facebook to keep up with me between releases! 
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