Please welcome talented writer, Susan B. James and her romantic comedy, time-travel, Time and Forever.
Book description: Sherry knows what she wants for her 63rd birthday. A second chance at love. Her best friend, Lorena doesn’t believe that’s possible. But when a glitch in a Virtual Reality Adventure game sends them back to 1969 London, anything can happen.
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Excerpt from Time and Forever:
“Birthdays bite,” Sherry muttered.
“Hey, in two more years you’ll be sixty-five.” Lorena raised her glass. “Here’s to Medicare. The best present ever.”
“Cute.” Sherry stabbed Mr. Chow’s chicken satay with an ebony chopstick. “Do you ever feel like something’s missing in your life?”
“All the time.” Lorena expertly chopsticked a mixed water dumpling. “This morning I found my car keys in the fridge under the cottage cheese.”
“I’m not talking about senior moments. Heaven knows I have enough of them. I meant do you ever feel you should be taking another path?”
Lorena glanced around the celebrity-filled restaurant. “Jen Aniston’s waving at you. She probably wants to know why Now and Then is closed.”
Sherry returned Jen’s finger wave. “Halloween tapped us out. We have to restock.”
Lorena smiled back at Meg Ryan. “Ever since that piece on Entertainment Tonight you and your vintage clothing store are more popular than me, and I’m the celebrity.” She offered Sherry a dumpling. “Why would you take another path? You’re rich, thin, and you’ve got a great business. What else do you need?”
“Someone to share it with. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone.”
For a moment Lorena’s eyes looked empty. She blinked and the mask returned. “There’s a lot to be said for being alone. You get to eat crackers in bed and you have total control of the remote. If you’re lonely, get a dog.”
“I feel like there has to be more.” Sherry cursed herself for making Lorena think of David and changed the subject. “I got a birthday card from Brittany and Bill.”
Lorena’s eyes frosted over. “How are the Bimbo and the Bore? Still wildly in love with each other.”
“Yeah,” Sherry said morosely. “They want to get together for dinner.”
“Sherry, I get you staying on good terms with Bill for the boys’ sake, but dinner à trois is going way beyond the call of duty. Tell them you have a date with George Clooney and you’re too busy to bother.”
“Yeah. Right.” Sherry inhaled the marzipan aroma of her Almond champagne. Normally she never had a second glass, but it was her birthday and she loved the feel of the bubbles tickling down her throat and forming a pool of liquid courage in her stomach. “You know what? I’m tired of having the only male companionship in my life come from daydreams and romance novels. I want to be loved by a real person. I’m thinking of trying online dating.”
“Are you crazy?”
Sherry rolled her eyes. “I knew you’d say that.”
Lorena's sharp tone attracted the attention of the diners at the next table. “Look! It’s Marley, the secretary on Looking for Love,” the woman informed her companion. She beamed at Lorena. “Hi, Marley.”
Lorena flipped back her streaked blonde bob, and gave the tourists her trademark ditzy smile.
Both women lifted their phones for a picture.
Lorena turned back to Sherry and continued in a lower voice. “You just cued the horror movie music in my head. When it comes to clichés, online dating is right up there with the let’s investigate moment where the heroine takes the flashlight and runs around the creepy house in the dark.”
“That’s ridiculous.” Sherry tried to lift one eyebrow and failed. “Lots of people are finding great matches online.”
Lorena shuddered. “Lots of people are not you. Honey, look at yourself. You’ve got lollipop green eyes and a sweet smile that says Take me. I’m vulnerable. You’d be Little Red Riding Hood inviting in the Wolf.”
“Stop that!” Sherry hated fairytale comparisons. She’d been dealing with them her whole life. “You’re putting me off and I want to be encouraged. I want a chance at true love.”
Lorena passed her hands over her glass. “I am looking into the future and I see . . . You and a Corgi. It’s a perfect match.”
“I don’t want a dog, I want a human,” Sherry retorted.
“I don’t get it. You’ve gone twenty years without anyone. Why now.”
“I was okay alone when I still had the boys at home, but now . . .” Sherry’s smile wobbled. “Now there’s no one to hug me anymore. I miss being touched.” She saw the echo of pain in Lorena’s eyes. Damn! She’d done it again. Sherry downed the rest of her champagne. “The kids are off having their adventures. It’s time I had an adventure of my own.”
“Why don’t you start with a little adventure? One which doesn’t involve the risk of coming home in a body bag.” Lorena pulled out her iPhone. “There’s this place Darien, my trainer, told me about called, The Castle. They’ve got themed restaurants, but their specialty is virtual reality adventures.”
Sherry shook her head. “I’m not into video games.”
Lorena called for the check. “Me neither, but Darien says this is different. It’s a virtual world. And while you’re in it, you have the ability to walk around, eat food, buy stuff, and do pretty much anything you would do in your actual life.” She looked at the email on her iPhone. “A world that seems so real, you won’t believe it’s virtual,” she quoted.
“What kind of world?”
“Whatever you want, I guess. Darien said he and Carl picked Los Angeles in the eighties.”
“Now that’s just gross. Nobody in their right mind would revisit the eighties.” Sherry took the iPhone and studied the email on the screen. “Any era? You know where I’d love to go? London, 1969.”
“It was my first adventure. I had a job with the Marketing Exchange for six months. London was so alive and I loved the clothes and the music, and . . .”
Lorena leaned forward. “How ‘bout the people? Any special person?”
Sherry felt her face flush. She couldn’t tell Lorena about Jeremy. What would she say? I once kissed a total stranger on the tube. And it was magical. “There almost was, but it didn’t come to anything.” She handed the phone back to Lorena. “I’m in. Let’s go to the sixties.” A bubble of fun coursed through her. Or was it the champagne? “Two grown women going on a VR adventure. You think this is the first sign of second childhood?”
“Honey, I never finished with my first.” Lorena scribbled her autograph on the check. “Come on, let’s go.”