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Dare to Love My Best Friend

Dare to Love My Best Friend

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Truth, dare, date. Easy, right? Not if I have to marry him...again.

Narrated by Lorana Hoopes

  • Small town at Christmas
  • Amnesia
  • Secret baby
  • Cabin neighbors
  • Single mom
  • Dating dare


Truth, dare, date. Easy, right? Not if I have to marry him...again.

I have a secret I can’t tell anyone. Not even my best friend. The one I’ve been attracted to since high school. The one I spent a wild summer with that resulted in a ring on my finger and that’s not all. However, when tragedy struck, I retreated. He had enough to deal with.

An accident ripped Quincy Carter’s family apart. With his life on hold, all he could do was hope and pray that his memory would return. Then his sister reveals a secret that makes him question everything he thought he knew about his best friend. that would be yours truly. Now, he doesn’t know what to believe.

As for me? It’s time to come clean.

Christmas brings with it holly, jolly, merry, and messy drama. When we reunite, along with what seems like half our high school graduating class—including the girl who ruined everything—, questions are asked. Answers involve rocking around the Christmas tree, moldy mistletoe, and five golden rings.

But can Quincy and I get an “I do” redo and have the future we’ve always wanted?

Chapter 1 Look Inside

Chapter 1: Daisy

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas, Daisy. And
stay out of trouble,” Sheriff Adams says with a

“Oh, in that case, I probably shouldn’t tinsel the trees along
Main Street, huh?” I say with a facetious bite of my lip.
He tips his head from side to side. “You know me, I love
Christmas. Ordinarily, I’d say have at it, but that would probably be a mess for the DPW to clean up.”

“Well, alright since you suggested I stay out of trouble, I suppose I’ll follow orders.” I give my superior a playful salute.

He chuckles in a way that reminds me of Santa Claus, if the jolly ’ole elf were a six-foot plus officer of the law. I’ve gathered he doesn’t use this friendly manner with actual criminals (or pranksters, but we’ll see about that in 3, 2, 1…)

“I almost forgot, I found these under the station Christmas
tree. I thought you might find them interesting.” I hold up a
baggie filled with Cheerios and labeled Doughnut Seeds and
jiggle it.

Sheriff Adams examines the contents like he would evidence from a crime scene. “Interesting…” He stifles laughter.

Considering the often difficult aspects of working in law
enforcement, I try to bring as much cheer as possible to everyone employed at our station. Yes, I’m the person with a steady supply
of candy and an adorable pic of my one and only dressed up like a snowman on my desk.
I pass Sheriff Adams an envelope as well. “This was there too.”

The Christmas card contains a gift certificate to our local
doughnut shop. And no, it’s not just a cop thing. Everyone in
town loves the homemade old fashioneds, and the glaze crullers are not to be missed. Patty Cakes Bakery is also amazing if you’re looking for cookies and pies. I probably missed my calling as a Lake Winnie tour guide.

A warm, cozy feeling fills me with affection for my hometown. I hurry out the door to take it with me and into the early chilly winter morning.

Sheriff Adams calls after me, “Thank you, Daisy. You’re the
best, the sweetest.”

With a wave goodbye, I take it he read the card. As I hightail
it home, bumping over potholes, I’d like to agree with my superior about being the best and the sweetest, but the truth is, I have a secret.

I’m not a criminal or even an actual prankster. (Well, there
was that time in high school when the Fab Five and I…never
mind. I’m not sure we’ve reached the statute of limitations when it comes to silly string yet.) But this secret of mine has been gobbling me up inside. Well, it’s the inverse of a secret.

Or maybe the converse?

Don’t nominate me for a candidate for a homeschooling
teacher position because my math skills (and my secrecy competency) don’t go much beyond the basics.

However, I can calculate how many years, months, and days
it’s been since I’ve seen the source of my secret as well as how many years, months, and days the result of the secret has been the subject of light and joy in my life.

Except when he’s fussy. Then we’re like starless nights and
grouchy grumbles.
Lean in close and don’t tell anyone. I have a secret baby.
After a ninja-level transfer, I sigh as Christopher snoozes in
his car seat on our way home from where he spends nights with another family while I work the third shift.

Like a member of SWAT, I stealthily sneak into the house
with him in my arms. He nestles close, all perfectly sleepy and used to this transition as we snuggle up in bed so I can get a little
shut eye before the day begins. He’s baby powder soft, pudgy fingers, and cuddly warmth. I could just squeeze him and gobble him up.

Except I won’t because that’s creepy. When we’re out, well-meaning women coo and say things like, “He’s so cute, I could just eat him.” And I’m like, “Lady, do you realize how terrible that sounds?” But I’d never actually say that because I don’t want to make the moment awkward or steal their moment of baby bliss.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, the source of my secret has
been missing in action for roughly two years and two months.

The result of our secret is one year and four months. I’ll leave it to you to do the math for the aforementioned challenge with
advanced arithmetic.

Quincy is in the military, so thankfully, he’s not actually
missing in action, as far as I know. Worst case scenario, he could be, but I won’t let my thoughts drift there. He’s missing from my life which is a big deal too.

The trouble is, everyone (and this is a small town so I mean
all the people!) except for Quincy (the source of my secret) knows about Christopher (the result of my secret). Except the
townsfolk don’t know the source of my secret.
In other words, the daddy doesn’t know about the baby. And everyone else knows about the baby, but not about the daddy.

My life wasn’t supposed to be this complicated or involve
secrets at all. Rather, I envisioned contributing to my

My job at our local police department working
dispatch is pretty great (except the hours leave something to be desired since I work the night shift)

My local church is amazing (we’re close knit)

Getting married and having a family, complete with a
bunch of rug rats and a sheepdog was the life plan.
(Yes, I was that specific and I was well on my way to
that goal until it fell apart)

Making my little cabin on the lake the perfect cozy
little haven (consider it a work in progress)

After we secretly got married, I did not consider the possibility that my best friend, Quincy,—turned husband—would
doubt us being together, then disappear, rendering me a single mom. Nor did I count on having to keep so much inside.
When I was a kid, my mother would put the gifts from
her and Dad under the tree before Christmas Day. The
intense temptation to sneak a peek was what I imagine a dog
feels like when it knows a steak is on the grill, but its
dinner is merely a bowl of dry kibble. Anyway, one night,
when I was little and couldn’t sleep, I snuck downstairs and
found a present under the tree with my name on the tag. I
started to peel the tape from the edge of the gift. It seemed
as loud as crackling thunder.

The paper came up with the
tape, so I tried to fix it and doubled back to my room, terrified my parents would find out, landing me on Santa’s
naughty list.

Eventually, I made a full confession to my mother. It’s kind of like this with the identity of Christopher’s dad. I want to tell my best friends who he is and my mother, of course.

However, there’s a risk bigger than the elves not packing my
presents in Santa’s sack.

The weight of this fact deflates me on the bed and I stare at
the ceiling, letting out a long puff of breath. Did I just see a
cloud form? It’s cold this morning and I’ve been keeping the heat low to save money. I make sure Christopher is warm. Then I go back to worrying about what to do among other things like:

About how thin my checkbook is

How fat my expenses and bills are

About how big the secret is
Why not just tell everyone? The diary on my bedside reads
like a scandalous celebrity tell-all.

Except I’m no one...something Quincy made very clear.

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