Find more from this author on:
About the author:
Shannyn has published five books in her series, By the Lake, (The McAdams Sisters) including, Lakeshore Secrets, Lakeshore Legend, Lakeshore Love, Lakeshore Candy and Lakeshore Lyrics. She is currently working on a new series for 2016.
What inspired you to write your book?
Kate McAdams and Marc Caliendo’s love story is about losing the love of your life and once I had the characters in mind, they created themselves.
Here is a short sample from the book:
KATE MCADAMS WAS certain this trip would be a landslide of regret, anger and resentment, crumbling around a day of sadness in a celebration of life. Actually, there was no doubt in her mind, it was just a matter of which McAdams it would be. Normally, she would count herself out of the equation, since she was the glue that held this family together, but going back to a town she had not seen in six years, to a resort he, had taken over, was provoking chaos throughout her entire body, like the unpredicted November snowstorm blowing outside her bedroom window.
But her twin, Peyton, was battling a constant fight with her boss, who threatened to fire her if she stayed any longer than three days. Sydney was a year younger then the twins and franticly arranging the funeral, when she could hardly step foot inside the funeral home without the death of her daughters father trudging up heartbreaking memories. Kate wasn’t even sure what was happening with her youngest sister, Abby, who hadn’t responded to any of her calls or texts since she had phoned her from the hospital two mornings earlier. Abby was the baby of the family, and with her twin brother Avery, touring with his band, unable to make it to the funeral, it gave Kate the impression Abby was going to fall apart…first. Unless, of course, her recovering alcoholic father relapsed under all the stress. Kate rolled her eyes inwardly at all the drama. How could one family have so many crises?
She held up the black, sleek pencil line dress that draped just below her knees. At least she could dress tastefully for the affair. No one ever had the opportunity to see the sophisticated side of her. They’d watched as she’d grown from a little tom-boy climbing up trees, and like the flick of a switch, become the girl who had taken on her dad’s duties when he couldn’t even get off the couch. A mess of a thing she had been back then, tromping around in ripped jeans and stained t-shirts, slinging a toolbox in her hands and driving around in his jalopy of a truck.
With one quick movement, she swept the long dark curls off her shoulders, tying her hair into an attractive twist that would show off her neckline. Maybe adding a nice set of pearls would accent the look. Gran had pearls. Gran.
Inescapable sadness consumed her body like the cold, bitter, winter chill piercing through the layers of protective clothing, until it reached deep inside to run its frosty fingers over sheltered areas. Her hand dropped to her side, the perfectly pressed dress grazed the posh white carpet and bunched at her feet, like the tightness in her stomach whenever the comprehension of why she was going home snuck back into her generally focused thoughts.
Her eyes drifted from where she stood admiring herself in the mirror envisioning a part of her that could now only live on through memories.
Gran had been a wonderful person. There had only been that one moment, when the tragic loss of her daughter sent her into a deep depression no one could blame her for sinking into, or help pull her out of. She had needed to deal with that missing piece of her heart in her own way, and in her own time, just like Kate’s father. Just like all of them. It had taken the usually light-hearted lady a long time to come back to them, back to her five grandchildren who needed her guidance, support, and love; but she had. And, tracking behind her like a railroad was an accumulation of guilt for abandoning them so long. But how could any of them blame her? They had all changed that day. They were all lost, and when she finally found her way back to them, they’d needed her as much as she needed them.
Past the greying hair and laugh lines trailed a happy life across her face. Kate had always seen her mother in Gran; a mother gone too early to display the ranks of life around her own eyes. They were like two in the same, her mother and her grandmother, with hearts bursting full of love, a love that was so sincere each would willingly put their own needs aside for those they loved.
Kate remembered her mother clearly, like she had only vanished for a moment. Her recollection hadn’t faded away like everyone said it would. She glimpsed her round hazel eyes each time she passed a mirror, with her dark, long curls tagging along. She could hear her laughter so surely, as though it were sounding right beside her. She could feel her comforting embrace, whenever a hard day unravelled and was convinced under no circumstances she had the strength to carry on. Perhaps, that was because she was alone, away from her whole family, and she needed someone to talk to in the middle of long nights, or early mornings when sleep eluded her.
She and Peyton had just turned sixteen the week their mother died. Days before she surprised them with an amazing birthday party at the Caliendo Resort, where friends and family and practically the entire street they lived on had gathered to celebrate. The twin’s birthday fell right before Halloween, so their mother had orchestrated a costume mandatory party, and those crowding onto the dance floor were dressed in fabulous creative 90’s costumes.
She’d been laughing with her sisters at the party when she spotted Marc Caliendo walk through the decorated entrance. She knew he would come, even if his father disapproved.
In all the years her and Marc had played in the hotel, everywhere they weren’t supposed to, she had never seen him look so…normal. And yet he thought he was dressing up by tousling his hair and adorning a plaid shirt under an orange vest, a brand new vest, to play the part of Marty McFly. She’d laughed and teased him terribly for choosing a theme from the eighties instead of the nineties. He never took her teasing to heart and simply teased her back in his own refined, proper-manner way, which always made her giggle.
That had been the night of their first kiss. After disappearing from the party into one of the restaurant kitchens, as though there wasn’t enough food at the buffet, they stole a bowl of ice cream from the cooler. Marc insisted it wasn’t stealing since his father owned the place, however if they had ever been caught his mother would have to step into the cross-fire to rescue them. As Kate was enjoying a mouthful of deliciousness, he’d also surprised her by stealing her first kiss. It hadn’t been awkward or weird and she knew he must have planned it for weeks, Marc never did anything spur of the moment, but it had certainly surprised her. A nice surprise, which flared her young adult senses even more. That’s where she had been when her mom collapsed. That had been the happiest and saddest day of her life. Ranked one above the second saddest day−the day she left Willow Valley. Twenty-three and thinking she knew exactly where her life was going but with one conversation with Marc’s father and she’d walked away from it all…from Marc. He was her best friend and in a flash he was gone and she was alone.
Kate shook her head back to reality fluttering her eyelids to keep the tears at bay. She sucked in a deep breath to flush the tingling away and hung the dress in her foldable suitcase.
When she finished packing, she set her bags by her chair and sat down, swiping her phone and finding another text from Derek. She’d always been excited to receive texts from him. But now after finding out he was a lying cheater she cringed when his name popped up on the screen. And right before Gran’s funeral.
Since she was forced out of respect to go home, she was defiantly going to look the part of the successful business woman she had worked all these years to achieve. She no longer wore hand-me-downs and was able to afford frizz control shampoo. She’d hoped having Derek by her side that he would remind her of whom she had become: art director and girlfriend of chief director in the same advertising company. Now he wasn’t by her side and he would never be by her side. He was a selfish cheater and he’d nailed another employee at the office!
She sucked in a deep breath of air. She could do this by herself. There were no longer any reasons for her to fear going back to Willow Valley, so she was going to do it with her head held high.
MARC CALIENDO FLIPPED senselessly through the contract in front of him. He knew his uncle had already thoroughly read and re-read every last detail, and was satisfied with the outcome. But Marc had insisted on making sure he had an opportunity to read, re-read, and to confirm everything in the contract was to their benefit, even if it had been drawn up by their lawyer. It wasn’t just his money he was investing, but the entire family’s money. Finally, after getting his hands on the contract he was annoyed that he was too distracted to comprehend any of the content in front of him. He repeatedly flipped from beginning to end without even reading a full sentence.
Arghh. He pushed the papers away, dragging his elbows back across the large antique desk and rubbing his hands over his face. If only he could wipe away his distraction like Mrs. Durante’s quick hands working away at the streaks on his office windows until the glass was crystal clear. He needed a crystal clear mind to focus.
He reluctantly pulled the papers back, as though they were laced in poison. Taking a deep breath he slowly exhaled, hoping to breathe out all the rattling thoughts swirling around playing peek-a-boo through his barriers. Reading was his hobby, always had been, so this should be a breeze. He flipped to the first page again, with full intentions of total concentration, so he could get through it and go play a game of racket. That was exactly what he needed to quench this anxiety he felt creeping up every time his thoughts drifted to her.
He hadn’t even made it thoroughly through one page, which sadly was the best he had done all day, when his office door burst open. His youngest sister Isabelle Caliendo who went by Izzy, came waltzing in. She was like a carefree butterfly content on fluttering from one branch to the next without a worry behind huge brown eyes, mirroring his own. He was certain this unannounced visit would contain one very inconsequential detail, that to her was the end of the world type information, she considered necessary to share before moving onto her next whim. He could only hope it would be fast.
“Did you know,” she started, weaving her way slowly across his office, purposely passing the matching, very comfortable leather chairs across from him. She travelled to his side of the desk and plopped her tiny self on top of all his paperwork. She crossed her eighties stonewashed jeans and sent him a questioning stare. That was his cue to sit back, cross his arms and suffer through all that was about to follow. “That Katherine McAdams booked a room here? In this very resort? In a premium suite?” It was a question and statement all in the same long stretched out breath. How exhausting it must be to be her, he thought watching her round and wide eyes stare him down attempting to interpret his solemn expression. Good luck.
She wasn’t finished there, he couldn’t be so fortunate. “And,” she dragged on dramatically. “It’s booked for two people. Two,” she clarified crisply. As though that weren’t enough definition, she held two of her perfectly manicured fingers in front of him and wiggled them. He wanted to grab the two turquoise colored fingers and drag her out of his office. Then proceed to call the locksmith, because he was rather tired of his family disrupting him, unannounced as though behind that big office door he sat around restlessly waiting for them to pop in for conversations about…her. That was maybe a little harsh, since technically this was the only conversation he’d had about her…yet.
She let her long, wavy, dyed-blonde hair fall at her sides as she leaned towards him. “It’s probably a man,” she whispered, as though the walls were eavesdropping on a super undercover secret she was disclosing.
She nodded at him, her wide, over dramatized eyes, only inches away from his. “I think she has a boyfriend.” Of course she had a boyfriend. It might even be a fiancée or a husband…although if it was either of the latter he was sure Abby would have informed Izzy, and they would have already had that conversation.
“Don’t you have somewhere you could be?” he asked, not giving her the satisfaction of an answer. Anything he said would certainly get twisted as she proceeded to notify, at the very least, every family member.
Her mouth dropped. “Aren’t you embarrassed? I would be embarrassed.” He was sure she embarrassed herself plenty enough without dragging unnecessary embarrassment into her life. “I mean, you don’t have anyone!” She sat back picking up a glass paperweight from his desk and tossing it from hand to hand. “Like, you have Melissa but I can see that’s not going anywhere, especially in, like, the next few hours.” She stared at the ceiling for a moment. “Well, on her part it could happen in the next second. Literally, you could pick up the phone, call her in here, sweep her off her feet like she wants you too and then you would have someone.” The glare he sent told her there would be no chance of that occurring. She rolled her eyes. “But since that’s not happening, you really have no one, and that’s just embarrassing. Don’t you agree?” She arched her eyebrows in question.
“I don’t agree with any of that.”
But she hardly heard him as she continued. “I mean I would hide in here if I was you, just like you are doing.” It stumped him that she thought he was hiding the few times he was in his office, working. This resort didn’t run itself and although there were managers in almost all areas of the resort, they all came to him when situations arose. Another reason he couldn’t call a locksmith. “I would remain in this room so you don’t run into her and her obviously well-off man…if she’s in the premium suite.” His eyes followed the paperweight in her hands, back and forth…back and forth. “And she looks just as gorgeous as ever.” That snapped his eyes back to hers. “Like, Abby texted me some pics. Do you want to see?”
She shrugged. “Trust me, you really don’t want to have to look at her and say that you’re single.” She clenched her teeth together and sucked in a breath. “Yikes, that would be embarrassing.” She waved her hand in front of him. “See where I’m going with this?”
He really wished he didn’t.
“Why are you single anyways?”
“Why are you?”
“Because I’m young and in my prime. Why would I ever settle down with one person right now?” At her age he had already planned exactly who he was settling down with. Although that hadn’t gone so well for him, so possibly his younger sister had a good point. Possibly. “You’re old.” A seven year gap qualified him as old. “And it seems as though you are still in love with Kate and that’s why you won’t let anyone else into your heart.” Maybe they should switch positions if his sister was going to give him a free therapy session. “Are you emotionally unavailable Marcus?”
“Oh seriously Isabelle Caliendo, get off your brother’s desk and don’t mock him and pry,” the next unannounced sibling scoffed, settling across from him in one of the leather chairs, like an ordinary person. Her dark blonde hair was pulled into a stylish knot at the back of her head, not one piece of hair astray suiting her dark grey skirt and blazer. Sophisticated and poised, the perfect looking events planner. Violet was two years his junior with similarities in regards on how to behave in public, or simply as a well mannered person in general. “What were you, like, five when she left?”
Isabelle turned and shot her older sister a disgusted look. “I wasn’t five, Violet. What were you like twenty-one?” Twenty-three but he wasn’t going to bother correcting her. That was his last year of university, that was supposed to be the last year they were apart.
“You’re acting like it now.”
Isabelle rolled her eyes back to her brother. “She was like this the whole time you were gone,” she quietly whispered, but not so quiet that their sister did not hear. “Like an old mother hen,” she continued raising her voice as she hopped to her feet. She stopped by her sister and kissed the side of her head. “You do know we have one of those wondering around here somewhere right?”
Violet smiled up at her sister. “Why don’t you go find her and ask her to refresh your manners or at the very least teach you about the filter for your mouth? You know, that part of your brain that tells you when to speak and when not to.” Violet made a shoeing motion at her. “Go, ask her to indulge you on how useful it is to listen to that filter.”
It was a playful tease to one another and yet there was brutal honesty to all of it. Violet was sensible and sometimes a tad overbearing. Isabelle was careless and rash.
“I love you big sis.” She shut the door loudly behind her.
“I don’t understand why she doesn’t have a job,” Marc grumbled, shaking his head and proceeding to flip pages. Violet understood he worked, and hopefully she would follow Izzy out the door without another word of who had booked a room, and how many people were booked per room, and especially no more talk of McAdams girls. More specifically, Kate McAdams. “I mean a trip around the world after university and one would think she’d had enough play time.”
“I would say it’s her way of grieving the loss of father, but we all know that’s just something we tell our acquaintances, right?” Violet said. “And besides, you just returned from your trip, what four years later?”
“I was employed and earning a living. She runs around like money falls out of trees and work is something to make fun of.”
Violet gave him a serious face. “I really believe she does think money falls out of trees.”
He couldn’t help but laugh and his sister smiled. Then her serious face reappeared. “I wanted to pop by to make sure you were okay, since I assumed you’d heard by now. Mom told us, and clearly Izzy couldn’t wait to…tease you.” Her choice of word wasn’t a term he would use, more like harass or dig for details to gossip. Either way, yes, he’d heard.
He looked up at his sister. “Violet, really? Do you honestly think I’m sitting in my office reflecting about a girl, and she was a girl, that broke my heart?” he paused. “Years ago?” It was exactly six years ago but he wasn’t going to depict that detail.
She shrugged, looking embarrassed. “I don’t know. That’s why I’m here.”
“Honestly, since I’ve returned, I haven’t had time to think about anything else except running this resort. This week alone I had to fix a double booking in the Courtier Room.” He sent her a reminding look since she’d been the one that double booked it and she flushed. “The ski hill is asking for extra hands but I have to double check the records and see if it’s feasible or if we should just wait until next season. Plus the golf course is adding that new addition by the lake come early spring and it has to be settled before then.” He smiled at her sincerely. “And if I had the time, the last thing I would be doing is pining. I’m assuming that’s what you’re assuming I’m doing?”
Her face flushed.
“That I’ve been pining for her all these years and I absolutely cannot get her out of my mind and now that she’s coming here, probably with a man, I’m scheming of a way to win her back.”
More deepened red tainted Violet’s porcelain skin. “Well, when you say it like that, you make it sound ridiculous.”
“That’s because it is ridiculous.”
She grinned. “I guess so.”
He nodded, satisfied she believed that load of nonsense. He might not be pining, but Kate was popping into his thoughts more than he liked, which was one too many.
“Marc do you remember when we were kids playing in the bush that time you found the baby bird that had fallen from its nest? You insisted on taking it home. Remember?”
He nodded. He remembered. His sisters hadn’t wanted to quit playing. He had been around seven at the time, and all his younger sisters were running around hollering, “Let’s go Marc!” But he’d dragged them all home to find his mother. He remembered the exact trail through the large bush to find that tiny bird, all alone on the ground.
“Spark, you named it. You took care of it for a couple days, and when that little bird died you ran to Mom and Dad crying. Dad told you that was part of life.”
His exact words had been, Marcus, stop crying and man up. Things die, that’s the harsh reality we live in. If you cry like a baby no one will respect you. His mother had hushed her husband and talked Marc through it.
“And then for days you were moping around lost in your own world trying to understand why the bird died.” He wasn’t sure where she was going with this but he did understand death now. “Mom took you to the library and into the educational section and you checked out all these books about the body and how it operated and finally when you returned those books it was because you understood why the body died.” She paused. “So Marc, I’m not concerned your pining about Kate, I’m just afraid you haven’t got the right answers to let her go.”
He wasn’t feeling that way at all. He was angry. He wasn’t embarrassed like Isabelle thought because he wasn’t married or had a girlfriend, that was his choice. He wasn’t pining away for her or wondering why she left. He was just angry she kept popping into his mind. But, it didn’t matter how he felt, it wasn’t any of their business anyway.
“I’m not a little vulnerable child anymore Vi, so you don’t have to worry about me.”
“I’m your sister. It’s my job to worry.” Reluctantly, she stood. “Fine, carry on with, your non-pining, strictly working kind of day.”
“Thank you, and how about passing our conversation along to all the Caliendo women, so I can avoid this awkward conversation again.”
“It was a little awkward,” she admitted. “I should have just let Izzy continue her prying and watched how that played out.” He was thankful she hadn’t.
There was a knock on his door, which meant it was absolutely not any of his family members and was more than likely a situation he’d have to deal with. He didn’t mind, that was his job.
“Marc?” Melissa’s soft voice called through the solid wood door.
She pushed the door open a crack and smiled at him, flashing Violet a friendly smile too. “There’s a problem in the pool room and Kent’s not here and nobody’s sure who is working for him today. Would you mind going down and seeing what the problem is?” Kent McAdams…Kate’s dad. He was off for funeral arrangements due to the passing of his mother-in-law and the only thing that would drag Kate back home.
He wanted to literally shake that thought out of his head but opted for nodding at Melissa, who smiled a little longer than necessary and stayed a little longer than required.
When she finally shut the door Violet looked at him. “Don’t marry that one Marc.” Marry? “Emma thinks she’s perfect but honestly between you and me, there’s something not quite right about her. I know she’s Emma’s friend but take my word. I have this mother hen intuition.” She winked.
“Thank you Vi, for all your concern today regarding my love life, but I think I can manage on my own.” He stood and guided her out of his office.
She grinned at him turning in the opposite direction. “You’re really not doing such a hot job by yourself.”
He glared at her. “Honestly? Should I start addressing you as Isabelle?”
She playfully hit his shoulder. “Please don’t.” She waved and turned. He headed towards the pool room. He would read that contract before the two weeks were up.