Welcome to Kristen Beairsto with a peek at her novella Judging Covers.
Books have always been Juliet Marlowe’s sanctuary; the one place she would never be judged or made to feel like an outcast. But when tragedy strikes, she has to get her nose out of the antique tomes she prefers and become the guardian of her five younger brothers and sisters.
Jules struggles to make ends meet. And with the constant threat of losing custody of her siblings if she doesn’t maintain the standard of living previously set by her parents, she finds herself forced to make tough decisions and take risks.
One thing she knows for certain is she definitely does not have room in her life for a relationship. Especially with a man who’s trying to readjust to civilian life and who once held a starring role in her secret fantasies. No, absolutely not, she does not have any room in her life for Roman Price and his smoldering gaze that triggers her irritating blushes with only a thought.
But when everything Jules has built threatens to collapse on her, she finds herself not only accepting Roman’s offer of help, but starts to question whether or not she misjudged the situation from the beginning.
A headache of epic proportions pounding behind her eyes, Jules maneuvered the Camry on to her street and felt a little relief when she spotted the work truck parked at the curb of the house.
Just as quickly, the relief turned into a nagging worry that the deck might be beyond repair and her father’s old friend might have to rebuild it from scratch.
The headache spread to tighten the knots in her neck.
Parking the car beside the equally ancient minivan, she removed her prescription sunglasses and replaced them with her wire-framed glasses. Pushing them up her nose, she caught sight of the mustard stain on her blouse and rolled her eyes. Today had definitely not been her day.
She spent her day dealing with computer crashes, angry patrons, and her supervisor calling every twenty minutes to find out the status on a variety of projects.
Now, sure Mr. Price would be telling her the deck repairs would be beyond her budget, she tried to prepare herself for the worst.
Blowing out a frustrated breath, she gathered her bags and moved out of the car.
Reaching the door, she could hear the riot of noise from within signaling all the kids were home from school.
She stepped inside and found herself in the path of a charging bullet in the shape of Orlando wearing a devilish smile on his lips and a large open bottle of bubbles in his hands. Since the house rules dictated any and all bubble play needed be conducted outside, Jules dropped her bags and waved her hands in front of her to stop him.
Orlando came to a halt, barely saving the bubbles from toppling from his hand. A giggle escaped when he finally looked up at her.
Giving him a stern look as she put her hands on her hips, “You know the rules,” she pointed towards the bubbles in his hands.
Sending her a wide grin, his bright sapphire eyes twinkling, “Just trying to pay Mark and Edgar back.”
Shaking her head, “Well, why don’t we just go find them and talk to them instead?”
Orlando slipped his small hand in to hers easily and grinned widely, “I learned about poems today at school. We’re making poems to go with our pictures for Mother’s Day,” he informed her and then frowned. “But don’t say anything, you’re not supposed to know.”
Fighting to suppress a smile, Jules nodded solemnly, “I don’t even remember what you just said,” she replied as she pushed the door open into the kitchen.
Holding the door open and smiling down at her youngest brother, Jules spotted movement from the corner of her eye.
Before she could react, the twins popped up from behind the counters on the other side of the room and pelted both her and Orlando with their beloved super soakers.
Within seconds, her blouse clung to her skin, the front thoroughly soaked. Holding up her hands in a lame attempt to block the streams of water rushing at her, “Edgar William, Mark William!” She yelled above the din of the boys’ laughter.
At her stern tone, the boys seemed to realize their dire miscalculation as they ceased fire and stared at her. Taking a deep breath, fists clenched at her sides and water dripping down the lenses of her glasses on to her cheeks, Jules took two steps towards her brothers and landed on her butt. Hard.
Pain radiating up her tailbone, Jules looked up to see Orlando had dropped the bottle of bubbles in the mêlée. A giant puddle of soapy liquid covered not only the floor, but now also soaked into her skirt.
Today has definitely not been my day, she decided silently, closing her eyes and taking another deep breath.
In the silence, Jules tried to assess whether she sustained any serious damage. Not that I had money to go to the hospital if I did.
The back door opened and the sound of heavy booted feet stepped into the room.
“Hey, are you okay?”
At the unknown deep male voice, her eyes snapped open.
Humiliation gripped her. Roman Price made his way towards her, a concerned expression on his face, and Jules wanted nothing more than for the floor to open up and swallow her whole.
Broader than she remembered, the vivid emerald gaze remained the same, maybe with a little more of an edge to it. A red paisley bandanna tied around his forehead let her easily see that the blond hair causing hearts to flutter all those years ago still held a sun streaked quality although not as long as she remembered. The soft edges of youth were gone, replaced by sharp chiseled features carved out of life.
Oh. My. God, were the only coherent words sliding through her suddenly incapacitated mind.
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In between her to-be-read pile and trying to bring the characters in her head alive, Kristen spends as much time as she can with family and friends. Much to her husband’s dismay, she enjoys collecting purses, shoes, and jewelry. During those rare times she’s not working at her day job, rushing her daughters somewhere, watching movies with her husband, and trying to meet a deadline, she can usually be found energetically cheering for one of her favorite New York sports teams.
As with just about every other writer on the planet, Kristen grew up an avid reader. She started with young adult before she technically hit the age range and moved on to sci-fi classics by Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. At fifteen, her best friend gave her a book she just had to read! The book was Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts. Always a sucker for a happy ending, she was a goner and fell in love with the romance genre. Having started writing novel length stories at the age of eleven, Kristen’s stories all took a romantic turn from that point on.