Do you like reading happy Christmas stories? Or even those not so happy?
Leyla Brand had one perfect day in her life: the day she met rock singer Arran Lake at the Bele Chere Festival. They seemed to share so much in common, Leyla was sure they were soulmates and had a future together. The next day he received the call to hit the big time and vanished into the world of California rock and roll, becoming an international star and leaving her behind. Five years later, a stranger contacts her on social media, wanting to know if she’s the Leyla Brand he met at Bele Chere. Should she open that door and discover who this might be, or, if it is him, will Arran just break her heart again?
We read stories all the time about people who reconnect with long-lost lovers, old high school sweethearts, cherished beaus who just didn’t stick around… You’ve got to wonder how they have changed, or how you have changed, over the time passed. Is it possible that if last time was the wrong time, that now might be the right time?
Here’s the lead-up to the big question:
Is this Leyla with an E from Bele Chere 2005? If so, please answer me.
The Facebook message, like the last, was from Bonsai Boy. Leyla with an E? Now that sounded a little more familiar. Who was this Bonsai Boy? She clicked through to his homepage, but found that he kept most of his information private except for those he’d chosen as friends. All he listed publicly was his hometown, Salinas, California, that his occupation was ‘farmer’, and that his birthday was March 11. A Pisces…Who did she know with a March birthday?
When was Arran’s birthday? Had she ever known that? She couldn’t recall him telling her. It hadn’t been relevant. Damn.
Think, Leyla. Someone should know. She typed an Internet search for Arran Lake, seeking one of those intrusive fan pages that collected information like a crazed stalker. She found several, and clicked through to be confronted with a host of photographs of Arran, in concert, on the red carpet, with his arm around a succession of young actresses or musicians his name had been linked with over the years. He was still jaw-dropping gorgeous, even six years later. The site featured articles about his concert schedule, his charity to raise money for the homeless, and…there it was. His birthday. March 11.
Could it be?
She went back to Bonsai Boy’s page, then his message. Why would he list his occupation as farmer, when he was a famous performer? She thought back to she and Arran, strolling through the greenhouse at the Biltmore, when he’d known so much about the plants, his education in that field.
Could it be?
Only one way to find out.
What would you do?
THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE….
Then, I was delighted to attend local events with her, and there always seemed to be something going on! One of my favorites was the Bele Chere Festival, a street event with art, music and so much more.
Sadly, this festival has gone by the wayside. (Not to worry–Asheville and its surrounding mountain communities proudly support over 300 other festivals a year! )
I wanted to commemorate the Bele Chere, though, and so I set a novella right in the middle of it. That Girl’s the One I Love, published by the Wild Rose Press, tells the story of Leyla Brand, a waitress whose crush on Arran Lake, a local band singer, turns into something more at the Bele Chere Festival.
If she could have predicted what a “soulmate” might be for her, someone who seemed to share so many common qualities, right down to their favorite peanut butter cup ice cream, she’d have chosen someone like Arran. A man who took no effort to be with. Someone she could really be herself with. No matter what she was wearing, or how her hair looked, or how much she earned.
It was time.
When they reached the end of the path at the rose garden, she whispered, close to his ear, “Why don’t you come home with me?”
He drew back, his eyes narrowed. “Are you sure? You’ve just met me.”
Another surprise. She’d always believed men were hardwired to say yes any time they were propositioned. Arran was indeed out of the ordinary.
“I’m sure,” she said. “I’ve even got a couple of Danish in the refrigerator for breakfast. And coffee.”
“Breakfast, hm?” He studied her a long moment. “Leyla, I don’t want you to think that because I sing in a band means I just use women. I’d never take advantage of you.”
Now, that could be one hell of a line. Maybe it was. But his eyes were so sincere. She didn’t want to frighten him off, not now. That kiss had promised much more. “Guess I don’t usually stalk guitarists and throw myself at them, either. Does that make us even?”
But as is often true, life gives with one hand, and takes away with the other. Arran gets the Call” from a record label and is gone. The long-distance relationship takes its toll, and soon all she has of him are his songs on the radio.
Is that the end of their love? Not at all.
To find out what happens, read the story–it’s short and sweet and can keep you warm on a snowy afternoon.
That Girl’s the One I Love, an ebook only $1.99 at the Wild Rose Press!
also available at Amazon and other online booksellers!