SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT: Forget Me Not by Allison Whitmore

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Theodora “Teddi” Donovan and Calvin Wynne have always hated each other. They didn’t have a choice after Teddi’s bootlegger father killed Calvin’s and left them both orphaned. The scandal has fueled gossip in quiet, quaint Brookhurst, New York, for over a decade. When a friendship develops between them as teenagers, they are ridiculed and shunned by the strict society that dictates life in their town. As they grow older, friendship turns into love, and Teddi and Calvin have to choose between their future and the scepter of their past. Spanning continents and decades, Forget Me Not is a coming-of-age story about truth, self-reliance, and the freeing power of love.

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EXCERPT

When her grandmother was out of sight, Teddi slipped back into her room to keep looking. After about fifteen minutes, she gave up. It wasn’t there. Could it have fallen when she and Calvin were walking home last night? No, she would have heard it. She tried mentally retracing her steps. The last time she’d seen the ring, she’d been inside of the lighthouse. Yes, the lighthouse. That was where it was. She could feel it in her gut. She had to go back.

She rushed downstairs again. She hastily called over her shoulder when she made it to the front part of the house. “Grandpa! I’m going to see Ben for a minute. I’ll be back, okay?”

“Don’t forget, it’s raining, buttercup,” her grandfather said, walking into the room as she nearly dashed out of the door uncovered in her new dress and new shoes.

“Oh, right.” Teddi looked outside. It was really beginning to pour. She quickly moved to the closet and pulled out a pair of blue rubber boots and a matching slicker and hat.

“I’ve never seen you get your rain things on so quickly,” her grandfather chuckled. “Is something wrong, dear?” His tone was knowing, but Teddi couldn’t deal with telling him right now. She hated lying to him, but there was really no time to explain.

“No, no, I just want to say goodbye and everything,” she sputtered, inching out the door.

Her grandfather’s old eyes shone with understanding, and Teddi smiled thankfully. “Be careful, dear.”

Ignoring the undertones of her grandfather’s warning, Teddi answered politely but swiftly, “I will,” and headed out the door.

The rain was almost blinding and finding her way to the lighthouse that morning was not as easy as it had been the night before. The streets were not flooded, but the sky was gray, too gray, and the warm wind had kicked up again. Once she made it to the shoreline road where she knew the lighthouse to be, Teddi picked up her feet and ran the quarter of a mile it took to get there.

She arrived out of breath, lungs burning, nose hot. But she had no time to think about that. She had to find the ring. She couldn’t leave for school without it. She was almost sure she dropped it while she was inside with Calvin. She and her soaking rubber boots trudged up the muddy embankment to the front of the lighthouse.

Teddi rapped her knuckles against the sturdy oak door several times, not sure if Old Man Hancock had happened by to check on the building. When no one answered, she dipped inside. Glad to be out of the rain and without looking around, Teddi ripped off her rain hat and shook it out.

“What are you doing here?” a familiar, surprised sounding voice startled her.

Teddi’s eyes grew wide as her heart drilled against her chest. There stood Calvin in the middle of the room, arms folded, staring right at her. She relaxed enough to quip back, “I get that a lot from you. And I could ask you the same thing.” Her eyes scanned his body. He wasn’t damp from the rain and looked like he had on the same clothes from last night.

“I came here after I walked you home. I fell asleep. Then it started raining and… Shouldn’t you be in Connecticut right now?”

“I’m taking a later train. My grandparents seem to think this rain’ll clear soon.”

“Doesn’t look like it,” he said, looking out of the window at the menacing clouds darkening the sky.

“I, um.” Teddi shifted unpleasantly. She didn’t want to tell Calvin why she’d come.

“Out with it,” he said, chuckling.

“I’m so horrible!”

Calvin looked confused. “What? Why are you horrible?”

Teddi shook her head and turned away from him. “I just am.”

“No, you’re not,” he said as he glanced out the door behind her. “Wow, it’s really getting bad out there.” He walked around Teddi and shoved the door shut against an attack of violent wind. “Maybe we should wait it out here.”

“What? No, I have to get back soon,” she said, looking around with a frown.

“What is it?”

“Nothing!”

Thunder clapped monstrously, startling them both. A haunting whistle and a deep howl flew past the windows carrying wet leaves and branches. The floors trembled.

“I don’t think you’re going to be able to get back home safely in this,” he said, “and I don’t think your grandparents will be driving you out to Manhattan any time soon.”

“I guess you’re right.”

Teddi removed her wet coat and muddy boots. She tossed the coat onto the bench closest to the door and shoved the boots under it. Head hanging, she walked a little ways from the door towards a clump of hastily strewn blankets on the floor and leaned against the wall behind them, defeated. She sank down onto the dowdy but comfortable-looking covers Calvin apparently slept on the night before. “What difference does it make anyway? I’ll either die in this storm, or my grandmother will kill me when I get home.”

“You’re not going to die.” Calvin slid down beside her and placed a comforting hand on her knee. “Look at it this way. We get to spend more time together.” He slipped his arm around her.

Teddi put her head on his shoulder. Calvin ran his fingers up and down her arm, while Teddi circled the back of his hand with her thumb. “I like this,” she said, after a long while.

“I wish we could stay like this forever,” said Calvin.

“So do I.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allison3Allison Whitmore started her first novel, Forget Me Not, one icy morning in her dorm room in Southampton, NY. After many years of teaching high school English, she came back to the novel to rewrite it. Allison comes from a family who loves history and enjoyed immersing herself in the research that brought Teddi and Calvin’s world to life. She lives in her hometown, Los Angeles, California.

You can connect with Allison at: www.allisonwhitmore.com * ~ * Facebook * ~ * Twitter * ~ * Instagram.

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