Read My Lucky Stars Online

Authors: Michele Paige Holmes

My Lucky Stars

BOOK: My Lucky Stars
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Cover image Red Barn and Cows © Imagine Golf. Courtesy of istockphoto.com

Cover design copyright © 2012 by Covenant Communications, Inc.

Published by Covenant Communications, Inc.

American Fork, Utah

Copyright © 2012 by Michele Paige Holmes

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any format or in any medium without the written permission of the publisher, Covenant Communications, Inc., P.O. Box 416, American Fork, UT 84003. This work is not an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The views expressed within this work are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect
the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Covenant Communications, Inc., or any other entity.

This is a work of fiction. The characters, names, incidents, places, and dialogue are either products of the author’s imagination, and are not to be construed as real, or are used fictitiously.

 

First Printing: April 2012

 

978-1-62108-165-4

To Alyssa, my goal-setting, high-achieving,

reach-for-the-stars girl—

May you discover your own testimony

and many reasons in life to thank your lucky stars,

as I thank our Father in Heaven, each day, for you.

Acknowledgments

Writing Tara’s story proved a greater challenge than my previous novels, as I wanted readers to experience, along with Tara, her change of heart. Yet testimony is personal, and the way it is gained is unique for each individual. How, then, was I to write a story about Tara’s drastic change of heart and her new understanding? It didn’t take long before I realized I was in above my head. As a result, this manuscript sat for quite some time.

After several months, during which I continued to think about Tara—and the awful point I’d left her stranded at—I knew I needed to try again. This time, instead of reading books on plot or character, I began with the scriptures, studying particularly the Savior’s ministry in the New Testament and King Benjamin’s sermon in the Book of Mormon. Both helped me see clearly what Tara was missing and how she needed to change. From that point, I couldn’t get the words typed fast enough. Her character became real to me, and I so wanted her to feel the joy and peace I experience in my own life. I am grateful for the heavenly help I received when working on this manuscript.

Once again, my critique group proved invaluable. Annette, Heather, Lu Ann, Sarah, Jeff, and Rob, I thank you for your time and patience, your brilliant ideas, and generosity. I continue to owe my writing career to your friendship and expertise.

I am grateful to the Covenant staff, in particular Kirk Shaw, for their help and guidance getting this story in its best possible form.

I am thankful for my family’s support, especially during the long month of March 2011, when their mother all but abandoned them each night to finish this manuscript. My husband continues to be the epitome of “behind every published author is a great spouse,” and I thank him for that support. He puts up with everything from piles of papers to piles of laundry while I am busy pursuing my dreams. Thank you, Dixon, for your love and enthusiasm.

Winter


Opportunity is missed by most people because

it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

—Thomas A. Edison

One

Oh no, it’s a kid.
Tara Mollagen stared down at the preadolescent male sitting in the aisle seat of row twenty-seven—
her
row, the one listed on her boarding pass, the one she’d counted on having all to herself. The woman at the ticket counter had said she’d try—hadn’t she? Tara closed her eyes briefly, taking a deep breath as she faced the second of her two greatest fears in less than three minutes. Stepping onto the plane, forcing herself to walk into the narrow, confined space—knowing she’d be stuck here for a good two hours—had been difficult enough.

And now she was going to have to talk to a
kid
—one of those smallish-sized people who seemed something less than human. Often sticky. Frequently whiney. And the really little ones smelled funny. At least the one sitting in her row didn’t seem to have that problem.

“Excuse me,” she said in what she hoped was a kid-friendly yet authoritative voice. “I believe you’re in
my
seat.” She held up her pass, polished nail pointing to the number twenty-seven.

“Nope.” The boy didn’t even glance up from his handheld video game. “I’m in C. You must have D.”

Tara frowned. She looked down at the paper in her hand and saw that he was right. She was assigned to 27D, but there had to be some mistake. She’d specifically requested the aisle—had been upset enough to find out that each side of the plane had only two seats instead of three. At the very least she’d hoped to have both of those to herself.

The man behind her cleared his throat and she half-turned, dismayed to see the line of people crowded behind her. Feeling faint, she gripped the seat back, wishing more than anything that she could turn around and vault over everyone’s head to the exit and get off this miserable excuse for transportation. She looked at the kid again, at the full seats in the rear of the plane, at the passengers behind her, waiting impatiently to stow their excess of carry-on luggage and find their own seats. Her hope of sitting alone vanished, and silently she cursed herself for not purchasing two tickets. Though she’d been lucky to have found a flight at all a few days before Christmas.

Expelling a breath, she attempted to remedy the situation as best she could. Even if she couldn’t have both seats to herself, the aisle seat was a must. That little extra space around her on one side could make the difference of whether or not she pulled down the overhead oxygen mask
before
or after takeoff.

“How about you take the window seat?” She spoke to the kid casually, thinking he’d jump at her offer.

“Nah. You can have it.”

Great.
“No, really,” Tara tried once more. “I bet this is your first time flying. Seeing out the window is pretty cool.”
Pretty nauseating.

“Pretty boring, you mean.” The kid finally glanced up, staring at her in a way that said he thought she was as clueless as they came. “I fly all the time. My parents are divorced.”

“Oh.” Tara stared at the tiny space on the other side of him. There was no way she was going to survive two hours sitting there. She already felt the walls closing in on her. Having them curve a foot or so above her head wasn’t going to help.

The man behind her cleared his throat again. “Lady, do you mind?”

Tara sent him a look that said,
yes
, she did very much mind his impatience and his person so close to hers.

“If you won’t move over, then let me in,” she said to the boy, who was absorbed in his game once more.

“Sure.” He turned his body exactly a quarter of an inch.

Tara let out a huff, rolled her eyes, and proceeded to step over him. She noticed his gaze leave the video screen as her leg, with her skirt hiked up to mid-thigh, crossed his line of vision. Maybe these kinds of kids were the worst. Too big to be even remotely considered cute and definitely too young to be looking at a woman’s legs. He was what—probably all of twelve? Tara resisted the urge to slap his hairless cheek.

Practically falling into her seat, she reached over and snapped the window blind shut. Though the window
should
have helped her claustrophobia, she’d found it actually had the reverse effect, making her feel like she was imprisoned in a tomb from which she could look out but never escape.

Reaching up, she twisted the knob for air, but nothing came out. She tried the one over the kid, but it too refused to work.

“Can’t use those till after takeoff.” The kid’s tone was derogatory—as if she were completely stupid.

Tara didn’t bother responding but tilted his air vent toward her so that when they
did
come on, it would flow forward, just over her face and not the top of her hair.
Serves him right—taking my seat like that.

With the shade down, her seat belt buckled, and her bag tucked under the seat in front of her, Tara leaned her head back, closed her eyes, and tried to practice her meditation exercises. She’d been taking yoga for six months now, but so far the only thing feeling lighter was her bank account. No matter how hard she tried, how carefully she followed the instructors’ commands, she
never
felt relaxed.

The whole concept of peace continued to elude her, as she was certain it would during this flight. She wished that she were up in first class, where at least you had an armrest to yourself. Right now the preteen next to her had taken over their shared one, and his elbow moved with sporadic jerks as he pushed the buttons on his handheld.

Too bad I booked so late
, she thought. She’d been planning to stay in LA and spend the holiday with her mother until her mom had called two days ago to tell her she was extending her cruise into the new year. Apparently Greece held more interest than seeing her only daughter for the first time in almost five years.

Thinking about her mom, Tara felt a little sting zap at her emotions, but she brushed it away. She was thirty-four years old now. Who needed a mother at that age, anyway? What she needed right now was a
drink
. A strong one. Opening her eyes, she leaned toward the aisle, looking for a flight attendant—preferably one that was tall, dark, and handsome.

After several minutes, an attendant who was rather on the matronly side made her way down the narrow corridor, checking to make sure seat backs were upright. Tara had already reclined hers the one-point-two inches it would go back. She needed every particle of space available.
I need air.

“I need a drink,” she said as the attendant reached their row.

“We’ll be by with beverage service shortly after takeoff,” the woman said.

“I’d like to buy one.” Tara reached for her purse. “A martini, please.”


After
takeoff,” the woman reiterated. “And please return your seat to its full, upright position.” She looked at the boy. “You’ll need to turn that game off until we’re in the air.”

“Sure,” he said and continued to play.

The attendant moved on to the next row.

“But—” Tara held her wallet up. The kid eyed it speculatively, and she returned it to her purse, shoving it deep within the folds. “In first class, you can have a drink whenever you want.”

“Then how come you’re not sitting there?” he asked.

“I booked too late. Not that it’s any of your business,” she added. The last thing she needed was conversation. It was bad enough she was stuck back here, and not even in an exit row.
The exit rows!
She’d been so focused on not hyperventilating that she hadn’t located them. Unbuckling the belt, Tara rose from her seat, craning her head in each direction as she looked for the emergency exits.

Her panicked gaze caught the attention of the matronly attendant as she returned, making her way toward the front of the plane.

BOOK: My Lucky Stars
13.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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