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The Wonder of Now (Sanctuary Sound #3)
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Moving on has never been harder—or so perfectly unpredictable…
Peyton Prescott would give anything for the carefree life she knew before breast cancer changed everything. But instead of using her second chance to move forward, she’s stuck promoting the memoir her brother convinced her to write, thus reliving the very battle she wants to forget. If she hopes her European book tour will allow her to enjoy revisiting her favorite travel-writing destinations, she’s wrong: her PR whiz is too consumed with his own goals to consider her needs.
Mitch Mathis has relied on discipline to achieve his goals, and with his new firm’s success riding on Peyton’s book launch, he must keep her on task. They’re here for business, not pleasure. And Mitch won’t let unbridled desire harm his professional reputation—not again.
When frustrated expectations and attraction throw the tour into chaos, it challenges everything Mitch and Peyton believe about themselves, life, and love, forcing these opposites to consider whether they can embrace the change they need to grow.
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Om Namah Shivaya.
“Let me photograph the treatment,” he’d begged.
Om Namah Shivaya.
“We’ll make art, raise money,” he’d promised.
Om Namah Shivaya.
Peyton opened one eye and stared across the undulating surface of Long Island Sound, which glittered all the way to the horizon. Six hundred thirty-two attempts at meditation in as many days and she still couldn’t master her own mind.
Dwelling for months in a decaying body had forced an existential dread that produced few answers, but she’d never been a quitter. In her darkest moments, she’d habitually forced herself to look for silver linings. By thirty-one, she’d mastered that ritual. Last year, she’d even found two for chemo, like the way she could blame it for all kinds of personal failings. Its other plus? A handy excuse for opting out of her mother’s endless list of social and philanthropic invitations. Of course, those benefits didn’t outweigh the weight gain, skin discoloration, nausea, mouth ulcers, and hair loss she’d experienced while undergoing breast cancer treatment.
Peyton curled a jaw-length strand of newly wavy hair around her finger. Still short, but progress nonetheless.
She uncrossed her legs while taking a deep breath of briny air and then stretched them out, digging her toes into the warm sand. Growing up, she and her brother, Logan, and their friends had played tag here, built sandcastles, lit bonfires while camping out. They’d drifted on rafts and sailed around the Sound, carefree and certain of a future that would always be easy and full of adventure. Now her gaze fixed on the line where earth met sky. These past few months, she’d often stared at that distant place, contemplating her life and purpose and other things she’d never before given much thought to.
Those lazy hours, bookended by the rush of midday and the lonesome stretches of night, had become her favorite part of each day. Stolen moments of peace and presence were probably the closest she’d ever get to nirvana or zen or wherever one is supposed to arrive through meditation.
“Peyton!” Logan called from the flagstone patio. When she glanced over her shoulder, he waved her toward their family’s historic shingle-style mansion. Sunlight and water reflected in its dozens of windows, making them look as if they were winking. “They’re here. Come see!”
A day or so after her initial diagnosis nearly two years ago, Logan had cornered her with his camera and his big idea. He’d always been able to talk her into anything, and until now, she’d relished his schemes. If she didn’t love him so much, she’d seriously consider lining his shower with shaving cream later.
Logan turned and disappeared through the french doors without waiting for her. She hugged her legs to her chest, pressing her forehead to her knees. Why bother with meditation? She had no time for serenity. Not with her brother and Mitchell Mathis—PR pain in the butt—always coming at her with to-do lists.
Peyton pushed herself up and brushed the sand from her bottom, slipped on her sandals, and strolled up the lawn of the rambling estate. Only recently had she come to understand why her great-grandfather had built Arcadia House, and why he’d hidden here—away from most of the world—to write. She barely remembered Duck, as Logan had nicknamed him, but his legendary literature and name lived on—not just here, but all around the world.
She hadn’t even closed the doors before Logan bellowed from the vicinity of their father’s office, “Back here.”
She found him standing at Duck’s antique walnut writing desk, surrounded by overstuffed bookshelves that emitted the faintest hint of tobacco, with his hands gripping a sizable cardboard box. When Peyton was a child, this room had been off-limits and, consequently, a place she’d snuck into time and again, tempting fate. Funny how, back then, she’d perceived fate and consequence as a game. Checkmate.
“Aren’t you blown away?” His smile, warmer and more promising than a summer sunrise on the Sound, settled her. Then he lifted a copy of A Journey through Shadows from the open carton.
Her gaze skittered away from the cover image and landed on her metallic-toned Birkenstocks. Before cancer, she wouldn’t have been caught dead in such footwear or without a pedicure. Lots had changed since her Joie-sandal days. Some for the better and—she wiggled her unpainted toes—some for the worse.
“Yes,” came her dry reply. Blown away, all right, just not the way he meant it.
But like any little sister who ever worshipped her older brother would, she’d agreed to his plan. After all, she’d had little to lose when she thought she was dying.
The result? The memoir in his hands. A combination of his work—including the austere black-and-white midchemo cover photo she now avoided—alongside her most personal fears and naked emotions. The sight of it reminded her that, in a matter of days, people around the world would have access to every nook and cranny of her soul.