Wanderlove, an all-new angst-filled and emotional standalone romance from Rachel Blaufeld, is available now!
Sick of living under her dad’s rules, Emerson Bender bolts when she’s eighteen. On her own for the first time, she heads to the only place her mom ever lived—New York City—desperate to find the woman who dropped her off on her dad’s doorstep.
Content to spend the rest of his life in Small Town, Pennsylvania, Price Barnes is plucked out of his idyllic life by his estranged father. Missing his mom and stepfather, he’s dropped in New York City to attend college and live an all-expenses paid lifestyle. Cushy, right? But not the life he wanted.
She’s looking to fill a hole in her heart, and he’s looking to forget the man who disrupted his life. Together, they’re both wandering, looking for acceptance and hoping to forget the rejection.
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Slouched in the back booth of one of those froufrou café places a little later, I pulled out a book and bit into my egg and turkey bacon on an English muffin.
Yes, you heard me right. 1. Egg. 2. Turkey bacon. 3. English muffin.
It was like one of those riddles on the SAT—which, by the way, I wished I hadn’t taken on a whim in high school, because it made this whole NYC bullshit that much easier.
Which two of the above three things does not belong?
If you answered numbers two and three, you win. Ding, ding, ding! Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
Who the fuck ate turkey bacon? Not a soul where I came from. And an English muffin was a poor excuse for a biscuit.
Just as I sank my teeth into the last bite of nourishment—because turkey bacon couldn’t possibly be classified as delicious—someone took the table next to me.
Not one for coffee-shop talk, I took a swig of my OJ and lowered my face deeper into my book.
“Cannery Row? We read that in high school,” a female voice said, interrupting my quiet time.
“Hmm.” I nodded without looking up, desperately trying to maintain invisible boundaries.
The smell of fresh coffee filled my nostrils, making me think of my mom. She loved her morning coffee. Every day, she made a big pot and drink her first mug on the wraparound porch, sometimes wrapped in a flannel blanket.
“You okay?” Another interruption.
Looking up, I found the black-haired beauty who’d run into me earlier. “Yeah, why?” Slapping my worn book on the table, I suddenly had beef with the pixie extrovert.
“You were reading, and all of a sudden looked really sad. Sorry, I didn’t mean to pry. It’s just . . .”
I swallowed, wondering how the hell I looked sad, and then I remembered I was thinking of my mom. So I miss her. I’m no less of a man. It doesn’t make me a mama’s boy.
“I’m cool,” I said, rather than explaining the truth.
“We just saw each other.” She paused, obviously wanting to chat more, and I nodded.
“You go to school here?” I finally asked.
“No. It’s nice, though. I was just looking for someone in that building. Didn’t find her.” She whispered the last part to herself. Only listless for a second, she brightened back up. “Are you a grad student?”
“Ha,” I barked. “What? I look too old to play the part of undergrad?”
I was on the bench seat of my booth, my feet kicked out in front of me; she sat opposite me, on the chair side of her table. I wondered if her feet even touched the floor. Compared to my six-foot-two-inch frame, she’d barely hit my chest when we collided earlier.
“Um . . .” She looked away, pink rising in her cheeks.
Leaning forward, I ran my palm over my scruff, trying to remember when I last shaved. “Returning adult student is what I think they call it. School wasn’t really in my cards before, and now it is. So here I am.”
Sitting quietly, she didn’t respond, just raised her brows as if waiting for more of an explanation.
I didn’t give her anything more. My story wasn’t all that interesting, anyway.
Rachel Blaufeld is a bestselling author of Romantic Suspense, New Adult, Coming-of-Age Romance, and Sports Romance. A recent poll of her readers described her as insightful, generous, articulate, and spunky. Originally a social worker, Rachel creates broken yet redeeming characters. She’s been known to turn up the angst like cranking up the heat in the dead of winter.
A devout coffee drinker and doughnut eater, Rachel spends way too many hours in local coffee shops, downing the aforementioned goodies while she plots her ideas. Her tales may all come with a side of angst and naughtiness, but end as lusciously as her treats.
As a side note, Blaufeld, also a long-time blogger and an advocate of woman-run anything, is fearless about sharing her opinion. She captured the ears of stay-at-home and working moms on her blog, BacknGrooveMom, chronicling her adventures in parenting tweens and running a business, often at the same time. To her, work/life/family balance is an urban legend, but she does her best.
Rachel has also blogged for The Huffington Post and Modern Mom. Most recently, her insights can be found in USA TODAY, where she shares conversations at “In Bed with a Romance Author” and reading recommendations over at “Happy Ever After.”
Rachel lives around the corner from her childhood home in Pennsylvania with her family and two beagles. Her obsessions include running, coffee, basketball, icing-filled doughnuts, antiheroes, and mighty fine epilogues.
When she isn’t writing, she can be found courtside, tweeting about hoops as her son plays, or walking around the house wearing earplugs while her other son, the drummer, bangs away.
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