Empty nesters Charli McAntic and her husband, Pud, have settled into their golden years. Although their early days of retirement were filled with disillusion and despair, they are now ready to relax and swing upon a star. Pud continues to golf most days and Charli still organizes her closets and rearranges her collectibles, but now they are a solid team. Or are they?
Charli and Pud are no strangers to the art of creating fun. These days they spend their time sharing gourmet meals with their nieces and nephews, attending Cleveland Cavalier basketball games, and rekindling their romance. But when a series of calamities suddenly rock their world, they each meet a new friend, leaving Charli to worry if she and Pud are heading in the right direction.
In the third book of this delightful series, an empty nester is left to recalculate her path to happiness as she and her husband both discover that their golden years are full of more surprises.
The Golden Age of Charli: RSVP and The Golden Age of Charli: BMI focused on themes of family and friendship amidst a climate of change. Author Jena C. Henry’s book series could be viewed as a renaissance of the human spirit where one’s golden years don’t demand confinement to a rocking chair to passively watch the years go by but rather signals a call to action for positivity, perseverance and “pressing on” in the face of life’s difficulties. We learned from our protagonist Charli how to reinvent ourselves through retirement and that conquering weight gain was possible through perseverance.
Jena C. Henry expands on this notion of positivity and the possibilities inherent in life with Book 3 in The Golden Age of Charli series- The Golden Age of Charli: GPS. In this third book, Charli seeks to look for meaning to her life, but discovers (through a series of events) that as one is searching for meaning, it is equally important to listen to the various clues life may offer.
Henry noted the old saying that “bad things come in threes” and it becomes an interesting realization for eternal optimist Charli to allow the bad events she witnesses in the world around her to be her call to action to find meaning in her life. For readers who admired Charli’s perseverance in the first two books, The Golden Age of Charli: GPS continues to illustrate this character trait.
The thing about Charli, though, is that her optimism doesn’t overshadow her insecurities. If she didn’t react to tragedies and disappointments with fear and uncertainty, we couldn’t relate to her. Yet, I would submit that what makes her a hero in my estimation is that she draws upon her reservoir of hope as that undeniable fuel to “press on”.
Relationships are key to understanding Charli’s mind. Henry is aware of this and as she marvelously did in her first two books, Henry once again fleshed out these relationships. Charli’s husband Pud is back. He is still a golfing aficionado and his actions still frustrates Charli at times. But their relationship is a solid one built on a foundation of love and respect.
Sibby, Charli’s sister, is also back. I always enjoy reading about Sibby because Henry presented a wonderful contrast with these siblings. Like Charli, family and friends sustain her, but unlike Charli, Sibby is a whirlwind of energy. From her fashion sense to her personality, Sibby invites commentary and I suspect, enjoys being the center of attention. In addition, it is Sibby who serves as Charli’s reintroduction to the church scene. In the previous two books, readers learn how conflicted Charli was about church. The Golden Age of Charli: GPS changes Charli’s conflict into a more positive church experience.
I would be remiss if I didn’t remark on how delightfully appropriate this title is in providing a roadmap to the themes of the book. Our optimist Charli constantly expresses gratitude for her blessings even in the face of uncertainty. And while doubt is a healthy reaction to life’s uncertainties, Charli was never one to become hostage to doubt. This belief, I would argue, is why her mantra is “pressing on”. Life isn’t a simple construct with an always functioning GPS for us to follow. The navigation of life is full of missteps. The journey becomes as important as the final destination. In Charli’s case, her GPS isn’t as rooted in the search for meaning in her life as it is to listening to the clues around her so she continues to appreciate the moments.
Having enjoyed the previous two books, I had eagerly awaited The Golden Age of Charli: GPS to not only become reacquainted with Charli and her world but also to learn new things about her. Jena C. Henry is to be applauded for succeeding at writing a book that provides a delightful slice of life that will satiate readers’ appetites for excellence.
Other books in this genre:
Jess has only been here for two and a half weeks and my resolve is already starting to thin. I thought I would be able to do this. It was a simple plan. Jess would move in. We would still hang out like always. She would go about her normal activities and I’d do the same. Only, plans aren’t quite working out that way. We no longer have school and we don’t start work until the end of summer. As a result of these two things, we spend so much more time together now than before. From the moment she stepped through the doors of this apartment, it was over. Who would’ve thought that going over house rules would be so hard and stimulating. I was fine up until the moment she touched my thigh. Sure she’s touched me before; but it was always so innocent, playful and from the waist up. This particular touch, although innocent to her, was anything but for me. I have never in my lifetime, been so turned on by the mere touch of her hand; or anyone else’s hands. She doesn’t know it, but that touch sparked something in me that I’ve been holding back for years. She struts around here in her tiny shorts and tank tops at night; those legs of hers sweeping out from beneath them. I try to be the respectful best friend. I pretend I don’t notice, but a guy can only take so much. I’m noticing things about her I’ve never noticed before. I thought I knew everything about her. I’m quickly finding out that there is so much more to Jess than I realized and I want to know it all.
I don’t think I can hold back any longer. Having her under the same roof with me day and night, it’s just a matter of time before I do something stupid to chase her away. So my heart has decided that instead of fighting what I feel for her, I’m going to win her over. There’s still our friendship that I have to consider. Which means I have to make a plan. I have to take this slow. I have to make sure she falls for me before she realizes how deeply I’ve fallen for her already. Slow and steady always wins the race right? That’s what I’m going for...the win.
We’ve gathered a handful of thrilling stories from all of your favorite genres and put them together into an epic anthology of young adult fiction. Some of them are just the beginning of a unique adventure, while others are complete stories that will spark your imagination.
With over 200,000 words (about three full-length novels) That Moment When will provide weeks of reading pleasure.
Have you ever reached a moment in your life when everything changed? A crossroads of sorts… a point of no return. An event or realization so enormous you knew it would impact you forever in ways you couldn’t begin to understand? Discoveries so momentous they changed everything you thought you knew about the world, and yourself?
That Moment When is filled with exactly these kinds of moments.
If you read the stories in this anthology, I guarantee you’ll find at least a few that thrill and excite you. Make sure to follow the authors if you want to read more - most of us have at least one free book on our sites.
“Everybody came to the stable not only to celebrate our marriage, but the end of the terrible years of war. In my excitement I wasn’t hungry enough to do the meal justice but my eyes feasted on the spread. I couldn’t remember when I had last seen such an amount of dishes: plates of ham, preserves of walnuts, zucchini, aubergines and mushrooms, wild salad leaves from the meadows, sprinkled with grated truffles, roasted pigeons, pork, chickens and a whole boar. The wine flowed, faces grew redder, jokes became bawdier and then the music started. My father lifted his accordion onto his shoulder and after a rusty start, the music sang into the air. The planks that had served as tables were cleared from their supports, the leftovers tidied away into baskets to be carried home by our guests and the dancing started.
‘You’ll have to show me the steps,’ my husband whispered to me as we moved into the empty circle of smiling faces. ‘The dances are different from the ones I know.’
He clutched onto me as if he was about to fall and our first waltz wasn’t as smooth as it could have been, but it didn’t matter as the floor soon filled up with other dancers and we were swept round the room.
‘Thirsty work, this dancing,’ Norman stopped and a couple bumped into us. ‘And my leg is hurting.’ He led me from the dance floor to the corner of the stable where most of the men were congregated round barrels of wine. Some of them were already unsteady on their feet and they clapped him on the shoulders, congratulating him and pumping his hand up and down again. I watched him knock back a couple of beakers and then I joined Mamma. Just for today she had changed out of her black mourning clothes, worn since Davide’s death, but her best Sunday frock of blue polka dot hung off her and her face was sad. As I went over, she patted the empty chair beside her and I took her hand in mine. The music was too loud for talk but we both understood what lay in our hearts.”
Norman and I were escorted to our bedroom with songs and laughter. The bed was strewn with flowers and my mother had laid out her best nightdress for me on the pillow.
‘Carry her in, Norman, carry her in,’ our guests shouted.
Norman was embarrassed too and whispered that he couldn’t wait for them to leave, to be alone with me. But when we were on our own, I was suddenly afraid, remembering my mother’s words by the river.
‘I’ll leave you for a few minutes, Ines,’ Norman said.
He closed the door and I undressed, shivering a little in the cooler night air. I lowered the flame on the lamp and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. There had been no mirror in the bedroom I had shared with Nonna and I had never seen my naked reflection. My breast were full and the triangle of hair between my legs was obvious in the gloomy light.”
Sean woke up from a dream, the same dream, screaming just as he had the previous three mornings. The vision of him strapped to a table and a doctor standing above him was still vivid in his mind. A bright light shone from above and everything was fuzzy. The doctor was masked and the scalpel glistened in his hand. Two masked nurses watched as the doctor made his first cut.
I’ve died and gone to hell, he thought. I’m not dead, but I’ve certainly gone to hell. The pain in his groin was not quite as bad this morning, but he still felt the lingering ache. He reached down and felt for the missing parts, and began to cry.
Why did they do this to me? What are they going to do with me next? Only questions. No answers. Then he began to remember. The men. They took my guns. I asked a question and a sharp pain in the back of my head. Then darkness. Why?
Sean got up and turned on the light. He went to wipe his brow but stopped short and looked at his hand. Blood. Not a lot, but too much. Sweat trickled down his cheek. He walked over to the sink to wash his hands and face.
A banging on his door. Sean looked over at the clock. Then he remembered Sonny, Marcia, and little Lola. Sonny had come to get him and take him to work. He felt tired, his groin ached, and he didn’t want to go to work. The blood reminded him of his sister, Debra. She was always so bitchy when she got her period. He couldn’t help but smile, but it was short lived.
He had to get dressed. Sonny was pissed yesterday and the day before because he took too long to come out. Besides, he would get no answers until he did. Sonny wouldn’t answer my questions. Will he answer them now? And what’s with Marcia? Every time I speak to her, she just gives me a dirty look then turns away. What’s the matter with these people? I’ll get some answers today.
Sean got dressed a little faster than he did yesterday. It was early, the same as the past few mornings. The clock said 4:20. He met Sonny outside and got into the back of their pickup truck. A sharp pain shot through his groin as he lifted his leg over the side. Marcia and Lola crawled into the passenger side. Sonny drove to the boat and cranked up the old diesel motor. While the engine warmed a bit, they loaded their gear onboard. Soon they were headed out to sea.
The shrimp boat slowly chugged along and exited the harbor. Sean sat on the railing around the rear deck. The gentle breeze rustled his hair and was cool on his face. The air was heavy with the smell of the bay. Sean liked the smells—the salty air, the sea water, the aroma of fish and sea grass. He focused his attention on the water quickly passing by the boat. The churning water stirred small jellyfish which glowed green when they were agitated. The luminescent creatures fascinated and mesmerized him. They took his mind off his pain.
Sean looked forward toward the cabin of the boat. He could see Sonny driving and Marcia talking to him. Sean could not hear them over the hum of the engine. He knew, however, the conversation had to be about him. Marcia would occasionally glance back at Sean. Yes, they’re definitely talking about me.
Sean turned his attention back to the water. Robbie and I came here to find wives. I can never have kids now. Can I have sex? If I can’t, what do I need a wife for? I’ll kill those bastards for what they did to me. But who are they? It wasn’t Sonny and Marcia, but who? Sean felt the tears welling up in his eyes again. Maybe I should end it all right now. Just lean over the rail. One second and I’ll be in the water. Let the fish and crabs have me. Take a deep breath of the salty water. I’ll be out like a light. No more worries . . . no more pain . . . no more problems.
A few miles away from the Bayfront, Sean’s best friend, Robbie, lay in a bed, out cold for several days now. His breathing was slow and steady. His face was flushed and a cool damp washcloth was across his forehead. He had not moved a major muscle since he was ambushed and brought here. His eyes twitched from time to time as if he were dreaming, but that was all.
“Why won’t he wake up, Mother?”
“I don’t know. They must have hit him awful hard for him to stay out this long.”
“Is he going to die?”
“He may very well if he doesn’t wake up soon.”
Ellie folded her arms over her chest. She watched Charlie grab a long, fat vial from her med kit. Charlie held it up, turning it this way and that. Staring at the clear, slightly viscose liquid inside, she flicked it. Edward padded into the kitchen on bare feet. His shoulder length, blond hair was stringy. He’d simply pulled it back into a messy ponytail at the nape of his neck. Long wisps of bangs fell loose curving over his square jaw. It had been a few days since he saw a shower. He was dressed in the same gray sweatpants he’d been wearing since the day Ellie and her boys got there last week. The stubble on his chin was getting thick. He sat down on the stool in front of the massive kitchen island and batted exotic blue eyes at her.
Science shouldn’t try to play with magic. That didn’t stop them from trying, though. A ring of violet ringed Edward’s irises. It gradated to a softer shade with spikes of a blue so pale it almost looked white ringing his pupils like the rays of the sun. Ellie missed his human eyes. She missed rather a lot from when her brother was human. Ellie tried flashing him a smile. It was weak. She was more than just a little worried about him. It was like he’d just given up. This wasn’t her Edward.
Charlie drew out thirty lines into the syringe. Edward held his arm out, pumping his fist. Charlie flashed him a small, reassuring smile, and handed him a solid piece of plastic. Edward lifted it to his teeth and bit down on the thing. Charlie slid the needle slowly into the vein at the crux of his arm, pressing the plunger down.
Edward’s jaw tightened. His entire body went rigid with the pain it caused. Like broken glass swimming through his bloodstream, it tore him in half. He shuddered. His screams were wretched. Ellie reached up quickly to wipe at the tear that fell down her cheek. She took in a shuddering breath. Ellie decided in that moment that bitch Bennet's death wasn’t nearly as bloody as it should have been. Charlie pulled the needle free and went about cleaning up the small mess she’d made.
Ellie threw her arms around her big brother from behind. Her hands wrapped around his muscular arms. “I’m sorry, Eddy,” Ellie whispered. “I’m so sorry.”
“For what?” he said through gritted teeth. Edward couldn’t stop the shudders, couldn’t quiet the agony that roared through him. It took an eternity for the fire to begin to die down. Edward forced himself to relax against her. He concentrated hard on her embrace.
“That you have to go through this.” Ellie touched the side of his face, smoothed the hair back from his sweat-drenched forehead. “That I didn’t get there in time to save you.”
“You came, little Lottey.” Edward breathed in slow, just to blow it free. “I’ve had worse.”
Ellie sniffed and laid a kiss on his bristly cheek. “Liar,” she said with a pouting lip. She worked hard to give him a smile. “I love you, Edward.”
Edward sat up, leaning back far enough to put his arm around his kid sister’s back. He pulled her into his lap without any effort and ruffled her silky hair. “You going to stay a while this time, Squirt?” Ellie had a hard time ignoring the lilt of hope in his voice.
Her eyebrows drew together and her mouth dropped open. Ellie had a lead on another one of Bennet’s crazies. But after watching that, she couldn’t bear to tell him no. “A little while.” Ellie nodded and sniffed.
Charlie zipped her small med-kit closed and slipped it into the cupboard on the end. She walked back to the dining room table. Her fussing caught Ellie’s attention. Charlie closed down a program on her laptop. Ellie stared at the small black rectangle Charlie had jacked into one of the USB ports. The external hard-drive had all of Susan Bennet’s research on it.
“How’s the science going?” The moment the words left her lips, Ellie regretted asking in front of Edward.
Charlie turned to them. Her hazel eyes first met Edward’s pleading gaze, and then bashfully, she looked at Ellie. “I’m doing my best to make something of it.” Charlie hated lying. She’d developed a skill for it married to her EX husband. And she needed every ounce of it to get past the searching stare of Ellie. Charlie didn’t get the need for this secret. But it wasn’t exactly hers to tell.
“That’s all I can ask,” Ellie said with a nod. She wiped at her nose and slipped her arms around her brother’s neck. “Can you make a list of some of the stuff you’ll need?”
Charlie’s mouth dropped open to answer but Edward beat her to it. “What for, Squirt? How exactly do you plan on getting any of it?”
“We’ll steal it,” Ellie answered simply.
Edward frowned. He hated the idea that Ellie happily embraced being an outlaw only a tiny bit more than she did being a murderer. Ellie could tell by the look on his face there was a fight on the horizon. She just couldn’t deal with it. She loved Edward more than life itself. But living with him was proving harder every day. Ellie leaned in and kissed him between the eyes. Cupping his face between her tiny hands, she smirked.
“I’m going to make you better, Edward.”
He let the love shining in her pretty green eyes draw a smile across his mouth. “Never had a doubt in my mind, Squirt.” Edward tried hard to keep his face neutral. His vision blurred with stinging tears.
Ellie took in a deep breath and laid her head against the side of his. Her eyes cast to the floor. She was lost here. Ellie was the first to admit this life took some getting used to. But Edward just couldn’t handle it, and it was getting harder to ignore. Ellie spent her whole life thinking nothing could come between them. Now, she worried she was wrong. The only thought in her head for the longest time was of him. Now that he was free, Ellie just couldn’t shake the feeling he was spinning away from her.
Taking the stairs two at a time, Kayla nearly tripped. The world tilted, her vision blurred, and her stomach lurched. She grabbed the handrail. Icy coldness stung her fingers and she jerked free. A miasma enveloped her senses. The smell of lavender and kelp drifted like a heavy mist through the open glass doors from the moonlit deck outside. Light fixtures shaped like seashells flickered, illuminating gold carpet and avocado green walls. She clutched a folded note between gloved fingers…
I’m not wearing gloves! Kayla thought and shuddered. A loud “ding” announced the arrival of the elevator. Expecting to see the Lady standing inside, Kayla tried to run but stood frozen in place. The doors slid open and her mouth felt too dry to swallow. Her vision blurred—and cheerful passengers walked lazily from the elevator to the sunny deck outside. A balmy breeze filled the corridor and a shaft of golden sunshine gleamed across salmon-colored carpet and coral walls.
Kayla’s knees buckled. She gripped the solid wood handrail to steady wobbly legs and gulped deep breaths. What happened to me? Glancing at her shaking bare hands, Kayla wished she’d read the note before it disappeared.
“To what do I owe this very great honor?”
She shut the bedroom door. Mitchell Killgower sat at his easel in the window—the window that overlooked the courtyard. So it probably was an honor. Not only could she not allow her calm to break again as it had earlier when she’d got upset about her nails, for days he’d wanted her to help him. This was her chance to capitalise.
“Christian has sent more servants. Now, before you say anything, as is probably your intention, I know it is my fault. Here is what I propose.”
“Hmm. Servants? So that’s who that man was you were trying to kiss?”
Despite his fiddling with a brush stroke as if this was God and the universe, she held her poise.
“I wasn’t trying to kiss him exactly. I just wanted him to do something for me.”
He hovered the brush over a blue spot. “And you thought that was how to go about it?”
She shrugged. “I never thought anything.”
She bent her head. The surprise would have been if he hadn’t seen her. Now, she knew he had, she also knew how to deal with this.
“While it must give you the greatest of pleasures to insult me—small minds and all
that.” The pause was as deliberate as was the way she fixed her gaze on him. “Only a fool can see that with this amount of servants about the place, it’s only a question of time before Christian knows we’re not married.”
“And you somehow think this bothers me?”
“Oh don’t pretend.” She glided closer. “Pretending is really very unbecoming. Killaine House is—”
“I’ll tell you what’s unbecoming. You coming in here because you’ve been seen, in all probability by half the house, myself included, and thinking you can somehow sort this out to your satisfaction, that’s unbecoming.”
“Your lack of understanding is breath-taking.”
"Not half as much as your effrontery."
This from a man whose inability to keep it zipped had landed him in this mess? He placed another blob on the canvas.
“Unless, of course, you were wheedling our way around him, offering your favors? I’m not sending him back to Christian’s if that’s what you’re after.”
Ever wonder if mermaids are real?
Skye sure believes. She is one, and she’s recounting their history for the young mermaids.
It’s a history full of heartache and bad choices, in which a tribe—once holders of the sea’s secrets—become a part of her.
Mermaids are real, but what Skye wants to know is if humans are everything she’s dreamed of.
Later that evening John sat on his porch and looked out at the ocean as the sun was setting. Clouds spotted the sky, which in the light, seemed to have a silver lining. Jake, Johns moody old cocker spaniel moseyed around in the sand digging holes and eyeing the birds that flew over him suspiciously. On the table, next to John sat his pad and a steaming cup of coffee with a metal thermos next to it. This was how John spent most of his evenings and was quite happy about that. It was peaceful and it always gave him time to think about Elizabeth and days gone by.
His house, their home, was one of the first on this stretch of the coast back in the 1970’s. Over time others were added, some gaudier than the others but for the most part John enjoyed his neighbor’s half of which lived in other places and had the ones here as their vacation home. With fall approaching the sightseers which flocked to this area from all over were mostly gone and John, like many other local residents, enjoyed the peace and quiet. He looked down at his fire pit, briefly thinking of starting one but decided it wasn’t worth the effort tonight. He leaned back in his chair and sipped his coffee. Just then the silence was broken by a child’s laugh.
He craned his neck and saw his neighbors from 3 houses down walking down the beach with their dogs. They were a nice family and had a wonderful story. John and his wife knew the man and his son when it was just the two of them, but now a sweet woman holding a 2-year-old toddler joined them. Elizabeth adored the younger woman, but never met the toddler.
The man waved to John as they walked near the water’s edge. He responded with a polite nod of the head and a little wave. He wouldn’t have minded if they stopped to talk but that neighbor loved privacy as much as John did and respected his. John looked over at Jake and saw him watching the other dogs. “Leave ‘em alone boy. You're a bit old for rough housing with the pups.” John said. The old, blonde cocker spaniel looked at his master and seemed to understand. Instead of running across the beach he just rolled around in the warm sand.
John poured more coffee from the thermos into his cup and looked down at the pad of paper. He picked up the pen and began writing.
My dearest Lizzy,
You would think after this much time living on the beach that our dog Jake would realize his holes always get filled up with sand as soon as he digs them. He tries regardless and I can appreciate the effort. Some things are worth going after no matter how many times you must try. You taught me that. I’m just sitting here on the deck watching the sunset and it made me think of you. It made me wonder if I could have treasured all those sunsets we shared together even more than I did; if that’s even possible. Those times ended too soon my dearest.
Do you remember the first sunset we ever saw together? Of course, you do but it's still nice to talk about I think. It was my birthday, the middle of January and pretty damn cold up in Seaside but it was still nice. It was the first time you let me hold your hand. 40 years later and the first sand dollar you found is still on the mantle above the fireplace. I find myself looking at it, thinking about our younger days. Despite the fact you were taken too soon I consider it a miracle that you ever came into my life. Our life together was a miracle. You were mine.
Yes, I’m feeling sappy. I’m just a man who misses the love of his life more than he knows how to bare.
The sun is down now and the sky is beautiful and filled with the leftover light of reds, yellows, and pinks. I’m hoping as always that you are somewhere watching the same sunset as I am so we can still share them in some mystical, magical way. I think there might be a game on tonight.
Your ever-loving husband,
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An Unbidden Visitor by Dianne Ascroft Narrator: Elizabeth Klett Published by Self-published on 11-21-17 Genres: Fiction , Historical Length: 32 mins Source: Audiobookworm Buy on
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