Good Surprises

The Bluebird Bakery features two good surprises…

Cody, the hero of The Bluebird Bakery, is focused on pulling his life back together after PTSD has forced an end to his military career. He has his hands full with finding a job and a place to live, learning to sleep through the night, and keeping his distance from his way-too-appealing boss at the bakery. And then he gets a surprise: two much-younger siblings he didn’t even know he had are dumped on him in an unexpected and definite way. 
As a writer, I wasn’t expecting Danny and Ava to show up, either! I’d plotted the entire book ahead of time, without them… and somehow they appeared, under a table at The Bluebird Bakery. They jolted me, Cody, and the book in an unexpected and very good direction. 
Here’s part of the passage where they show up:
   Cody settled himself cross-legged on the floor. “Where’d Mom go?” he asked, deliberately keeping his voice calm and quiet and friendly.
   “She left on a fast boat,” the boy said. “With her new friend. She didn’t have ’nuff money for us. For food and stuff. Right now.”
   Taylor had finished texting social services, or what passed for them on the tiny island. At the boy’s words, she frowned. “When was the last time you ate?”
   The boy reached into his backpack and pulled out a baggie that held crusts of bread. The remains of a peanut butter sandwich, from the look and smell of it. The little girl reached out and started stuffing crusts in her mouth.
   “We gotta save some,” the boy said, pulling the bag back.
   Taylor headed back to the kitchen.
   “She’ll bring you a snack,” he assured the kids. “Why don’t you come wash your hands, and then you can sit at a table and eat it?”

   They seemed to understand that. They got to their feet and followed him to the sink behind the counter, where he supervised their hand-washing.
   “See?” the little boy said to his sister. “Mom told us he’d take care of us.”
   The little girl glanced over her shoulder at him, her face skeptical.
   As he helped them dry their hands and then led them back to a table, and as Taylor served them crab rolls and cookies, which they ate voraciously, Cody processed what they’d said, and a horrible suspicion took hold of him.
   Even though he hadn’t spoken with her in years, Cody remembered all too well his mother’s ability to absolve herself of responsibility and disappear. That was one reason Cody himself didn’t do commitments. He’d grown up lacking in that department. Barely knew what a commitment looked like.
   But surely she wouldn’t have… No. No way. She didn’t have children other than him.
   Did she?
   Once they’d slowed down to a normal pace of eating, Cody made himself ask the question, even though he had a sinking feeling he knew the answer. “How come your mom said I’d take care of you?” he asked.
   Taylor tilted her head. “She said that?”
   He nodded, waited.
   The girl swallowed a large bite of cookie. “Because,” she said, “you’re our brudder!”

And so begins a new chapter in Cody’s life, and in Taylor’s, too. Even though Cody feels unequipped, he does a terrific job learning to parent his younger siblings, in the process healing from his own past and learning to commit. 

Order your copy of The Bluebird Bakery today!

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