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Part #19 of the free story, "Adelaide's Secret," included!
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Whiling Away Winter

We're socked in with snow and ice in the Pacific Northwest and have been so for a week--a rarity in the normally mild climate here. It's reminded me of my childhood in Northern Indiana, both the sledding and the hours spent reading while buried under warm blankets. 

And so that's what I've been doing: reading. Not just other authors' books, though that has been a treat. I've been working toward the final edits of The Soldier's Stitch, book three of the Unraveling series, which will be out in a couple of months. It's fun to revisit the story, which the Ficstitches Yarns Crochet Kit Club members will remember as Unraveling: The Island War. I enjoyed writing the story, and it is pleasant to be among Deirdre, Shawn, and the others once more. I am eager to share it will you all!

In the meantime, the next installment of "Adelaide's Secret" is below. 

Happy reading!

C. Jane

P.S. If you crochet and you'd like to be one of the first to read the stories, Ficstitches Yarns Crochet Kit Club is currently open for preorders. You can learn more HERE.

This Month's Shelfie

The books I'm currently reading. This doesn't include the handful of e-books on my Kindle, of course. It is lovely to see so many of the books I enjoy are written by women, both in fiction and non-fiction.
What's On My Hook

I joined Laurinda Reddig's Decadent Bliss Shawl crochet along this month. I'm not quite halfway through with the shawl and just loving it! The yarn from Fierce Fibers is truly decadent. 
Book-Signing Fun!

I attended local author Ellie Alexander's book-signing. I adore her Bakeshop Mystery series. The event was quite a treat, with local vendors selling and sampling chocolate and other goodies. I came home with more than just a fine book to read! 

(Author’s Note: This is the continuation from previous newsletters. To find the earlier installments, please CLICK HERE. The first 11 installments are available as a FREE download for Kindle and Other E-Readers.)
 

A New Twist
19th Installment of Adelaide’s Secret
By C. Jane Reid

The second kit was close to shipping before I’d heard from Adelaide again. Our phone conversation was brief.

“I’m back. Meet me at Country Cafe at ten tomorrow.” 

“I can do that.”

“Good. Bring everything you’ve written.”

“I’ve found out a few new things, too.”

“Then bring it.” She hung up without saying goodbye. Which was typical. 

I spent the afternoon gathering up everything I had. I’d printed it all out given that I suspected Adelaide didn’t have a computer that accepted a thumb drive, if that ancient Dell I’d seen in her tea room was any clue.  

And I thought I was a Luddite. 

Adelaide was waiting in the same booth I’d found her in the first time I’d come to the Country Cafe. She looked tired. She also looked older, the lines of her face deeper, her steel gray hair more white at the temples. She was dressed in a plain beige t-shirt and jeans, not a hint of crochet anywhere. 

I slid into the seat, thankful for the air conditioning. Summer had turned scorching halfway through July, and the temperature hadn’t let up in August. 

“I ordered you iced tea,” Adelaide told me. 

“Thank you. I’m sorry about Dinah.”

Adelaide merely nodded, her gaze going distant.

“Have you been gone all this time?”

“I’ve been back for a few weeks here and there.”

“I see.”

“Have you finished the story?”

“Almost. I brought what I have. And the research I’ve found.”

I handed her the file folder packed with print-outs. She took it but didn’t open it. I got the feeling something was bothering her.

“I thought after I finished Ailee’s story that I’d tell Elsie’s,” I said, watching her expression carefully. “I think she married Ailee’s brother-in-law.”

Adelaide perked up. “She did?”

“I think so. The lineage I found is in the folder. I could show you—”

“I believe you,” she said, interrupting me. 

The waitress set down two iced teas. “Anything else?”

“Not for me,” Adelaide told her.

“Or me. Thanks,” I answered. The waitress left with a nod. 

“So I’d like to tell Elsie’s story,” I continued. “I found the copies of Josette’s letters in the binder. I think she was a cousin that Elsie raised. There’s quite a bit of information in them. She wrote to Ailee for years, and so many pieces of letters survived, if the binder is any indication.”

“It is. Fine. Do it. Write her story.” Adelaide’s words were short, not in a harsh way, but clipped, as though she was finished with this conversation and ready to start the next.

“Is something wrong?” I asked, and then realized what a heartless question that was. “I mean, I know something’s wrong. You’ve lost your sister. I can’t imagine what that’s like. But is there anything more? Anything I could help with?”

Adelaide let out a long sigh. “Just family stuff. What are you going to do with the stories from the kits? I assume you are still doing the kits.”

“We are. The second one ships in a few weeks.”

“And after that? What happens to the story?”

“I thought, maybe, with your permission, I’d release them publicly. After I put all three parts together and turn it into a proper novel. Maybe get a real cover for it. I have a friend who is going into cover design.”

She nodded. “Good. You do that.”

I smiled but quickly smothered it. Adelaide still looked troubled. 

“Are you sure there isn’t anything I can do for you?”

She began to shake her head, and then her eyes narrowed. She leaned forward. “There is something. You’re doing a good job pulling up my dead relatives from the past. If I get you some names, could you look them up, too?”

“I don’t see why not. Are they relatives?”

But Adelaide was already slipping out of the booth. “I’ll text you the names.”

“You’re texting now? I’d wondered whose phone you’d sent me that last text on belonged to.”

“It was Dinah’s. But Tab insisted I finally get my own.” She pulled out a cell phone similar to mine, a small slider that would make calls and send texts and not much else. I wondered if her other sister had tried to convince her to get a smart phone instead. 

“I have something like that,” I told her.

That got a half-smile from her. “I knew there was a reason I liked you. I’ll be in touch.” She tossed down a $5 and stood. “Keep this hushed, though,” she told me. “Don’t tell anyone else about it.”

“Not even Laurinda?”

“Not even Laurinda.”

That made me shifted uncomfortably. “For how long?”

“For a little while. I’ll let you know when you can tell her.” She gave me a long look. “I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important.”

“All right.”

“Dinah liked your story,” Adelaide said suddenly. “She wanted to know how it ended.”

My face reddened even as my throat closed.

“She said to tell you to keep writing it. And not to listen to Tab.”

“Why?” I managed to get the word out. 

“Tab doesn’t like the idea of us airing our family’s past, even with the names all changed. But don’t you worry about Tab. I’ll get her to come around to the idea.”

I nodded. 

“Oh, and tell Laurinda that shawl, the wedding shawl, it was perfect. Dinah loved it.”

“She saw it?”

“Sure. Ordered the kit as soon as I told her about them. Tab and I got it made for her before she passed.” Her smile was sad and distant. “We buried her in it.”

I swallowed hard, feeling my eyes burning. “I’ll let Laurinda know.”

“Do. And tell her it was in the Snapdragon yarn. She’ll want to know that.” 

I nodded, realizing that yes, Laurinda would ask which color they’d used from the kit. It meant something that Adelaide knew it. 

Adelaide left, the file folder tucked in the crook of her arm. I sat back in the booth, deflated and a little unsettled. 

Who did Adelaide want me to research? Why couldn’t I speak of it? 

What was I getting myself into? 

(to be continued)

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