Hi Alana! Welcome to my site - I'm looking forward to reading your post as I see you mention the Blue Ridge Mountains which shares the name with the literary agency I am represented by, lol! The pictures look gorgeous and as I'm hoping to visit Virginia in the Fall, I hope the colors are out in abundance as I'll be flying in from the UK!
Anyway, over to you...
THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE is a contemporary novella set in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina. This is a jewel of a city nestled in a smoky corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a real mecca for arts and culture. http://www.exploreasheville.com/ The famous Blue Ridge Parkway winds right through the city, http://www.romanticasheville.com/BlueRidgeParkway.htm especially pretty in fall with the autumn leaves drenching every hillside in color.
I first found Asheville visiting my daughter, who got a job as a pastry chef at the Biltmore Estate several years ago http://www.biltmore.com/ . She’s still there and we’ve visited many times, once during the summer Bele Chere Festival, a street show that closes down a huge chunk of downtown with art, music and other wonders. I decided this event would be a perfect place to set a story, and so I came to know Leyla Brand, a waitress who dreams of falling for Arran Lake, the lead singer of a band that plays at the festival.
The warm summer evenings gave these two potential lovebirds a way to spend time, since neither of them have much money, but they walk through the gardens at the Biltmore, and get to share some strawberry-lemon custard pie—a signature dessert my daughter created! (and oh so delicious… J )
Even though Leyla thinks she’s found heaven, as usual in life, something happens to take it away. But perhaps, if she’s patient, she’ll find some mountain magic still lingers over them both…
Leyla Brand has one perfect day in her life: the day she meets rock singer Arran Lake at the Bele Chere Festival in Asheville. They have so much in common, Leyla is sure they are soulmates and will have a future together.
The very next morning, when Arran receives the call to hit the big time, he vanishes into the world of California rock and roll to become an international star, leaving her behind. Only a few phone calls keep them in touch -- until his phone is disconnected. After that, all she has of him is every new song that hits the charts.
Five years later, she gets a message on the Internet from an unfamiliar address. Someone wants to know if she's the Leyla of Bele Chere. Should she open that door and discover who this might be? Who else could it be? And if it is Arran, why does he want to contact her now, after all this time? Will he just break her heart again?
She walked beside him, close but not touching, noting others’ glances at them. People stared. Did they recognize Arran, or was it the smile on her face, the one she couldn’t control, her delight warm and shining through?
He laughed, but it wasn’t an amused sound, more a bond of understanding. “My parents really quit keeping track of me about the time I turned fourteen. They spent more time finding the bottom of their bottles.” He hunkered down to examine the leaves of a plant. “So it seems like we both had to grow up on our own.”
“Well, kind of.” She didn’t feel sorry for herself. She really didn’t want him thinking she was just another loser. “I had plenty of friends, too. So I got out of the house a lot. Spent a lot of time running from reality, actually.”
“Oh, I know. Me, too.” He grinned. “Some pretty bad years there, about age fifteen, sixteen. I’m surprised I’m still alive, actually.”
She wondered what he’d done that was so bad. She knew her own sins. She’d bet everything in her wallet that they’d echo each other. We’ve got time to discover all our shadows. “Amazing,” was all she said.
The scent of flowers all around them, she added, “I did write some pretty bad poetry.”
“See now, poetry—well, lyrics—saved me. I had a lot of friends who liked to jam, so I got a guitar and started writing music.”
“You’re very gifted,” she said. “Can I say that without sounding sappy?”
He stood up, close enough to look deep into her eyes. “You can say it all you like.”
Her cheeks flushed hot. “I mean, I guess everyone tells you that. For me, it’s so true. Like your song That Girl’s the One I Love. The details you put in there, about that girl, the taste of her, the way her hair looked in the sun, the soft pitch of her voice. I know she’s real.” She kept her gaze locked on his. “Isn’t she?”
“She is. Was.” He looked away, his jaw set. She could tell he’d felt pain with that relationship, and she was sorry to have reminded him.
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Great post - look forward to visiting myself! Wishing you lots of sales - over to you guys - comments??