Families....we all have them. Some are comfortable like a favorite sweater. They make you feel good, wrapped in warmth. Some families are more like bumper cars where you come together and then bounce off each other, sometimes crashing into the wall.
My family is more like the second one. And yet, they are the people I wouldn't be able to live without. They know all the games we played outside during my childhood years, like Red Rover, and saw me through some of my darkest moments.
Author Grea Warner weaves the comfort and prickliness of families in her new release WHISKEY GIRL. Most readers see similarities between themselves and one of the dynamic characters in her book...whether the struggling sister or the brother who keeps the family together.
I’ve been called many names—mid-kid, wild child, Ella Bella, preacher’s daughter, and probably a lot of others behind my back. Whiskey Girl, though, is top shelf. It’s not necessarily the most accurate. But it’s my favorite because of who crowned me with it.
Entering the bar, all I wanted was a temporary escape. I needed a moment of not comparing my life to my perfect sister’s. And that definitely meant a shot of something strong … something that would leave an impression. Little did I know, it wouldn’t be the alcohol but the stranger sitting beside me.
When fate traumatically threw us together a second time, the initial bond I had with that man strengthened. Maks understood sister issues. He understood being the undervalued family member. He understood loss. He understood me.
What Maks didn’t understand was my ability to protect myself from being hurt. I did it when playing sports, and I had learned to do the same with relationships. That’s why when it came to our goodbye, I needed to be the strongest proof and fly away.
But bottles break. Wings get clipped. And my directionless life suddenly seemed to have a plan of its own.
“What? Oh, geez, Maks … he isn’t going to block our goal, is he? He seemed on board. What does he have against us? Is it me? Did—”
“Ella!” He placed his hands on my shoulders. “Honestly, you have got to resist the impulsivity sometimes.”
I calmed down slightly. “All versions,” I reminded. On his smile and headshake, I continued. “Okay. What? What did he—”
The conversation was halted, however, by the sound of pounding feet and sibling voices, which were suddenly exploding into the room. “I won!” Joel exclaimed.
“It was a tie.” Was Sallie being diplomatic and kind or really the loser and wanting equality?
“I got here first,” Joel argued.
“Let’s go with Sallie’s version,” Maks spoke to his niece and nephew. “And I won’t tell your dad that you were running on the stairs.”
Joel made an eech face and Sallie looked regretful. “They told us to let you know it’s time for dinner,” she offered.
“Were you guys kissing?”
The heat in my face erupted instantly as my mouth dropped and Maks cautioned. “Joel, remember, we said that was a secret … a surprise, right? You didn’t tell anyone downstairs, did you?”
The first-grader brought his fingers up to his lip to create a fake zipper movement, and I breathed a little easier. It hadn’t occurred to me that the kids could blab the news before we had a chance. Oh, boy. Thank goodness Maks had obviously already cut a deal with them.
“All right, we’ll be down in a minute. I was just going to—”
“Ella!” Interrupting Maks, my dad’s voice seemed to be a floor away and approaching. “Come on. Dinner.”
I rolled my eyes and shook my head. Family, Opala style. I had no idea what Ryan had spoken to Maks about, and it was obvious I wasn’t going to find out any time soon.
Ms. Warner's stories are sure to become your new favorite as she writes stories which tug at the emotions and leave you with a belief in the "rightness" of the world around us. WHISKEY GIRL is available in Ebook and Print. Grab a copy for yourself today!!