​Tessa Brookfield

The cars whizzed by me at speeds well beyond the speed limit as I sat parked on the shoulder of the highway, literally bouncing in my seat with excitement. Exhaling an overly large breath, I shook out my hands and tried to focus.

My Bluetooth connected, sending echoing rings out from the speakers. Impatiently, my knee bounced up and down relentlessly and my hands tapped repeatedly at the sides of the steering wheel. “Come on. Come on, answer.”

What had started as a day from hell had turned out to be an amazing day. Shit like this never happens to me. I was the unluckiest person ever. If something was going wrong, it was happening to me.

I was certain I was going to burst if Jen didn’t answer her damn phone.

“Hello”

I burst into a high-pitched squeal and my bum bounced up and down off my seat.

“Who the hell is this?” No doubt, she’d thought it was a prank caller.

“Jen,” I squealed.

“Tammy, is that you?”

Words spilled out of my mouth, tripping over my tongue. “Jen. I won. Holy shit! This is amazing. You won’t believe it. Ahhhhhhhhh.” My feet tapped on the floor of my car and my head tossed from side to side like a mad woman.

“Tammy. Cool your jets. What the hell are you talking about?”

I exhaled a long breath and shook out my hands again. Focusing, I slowed my response, “You know that contest on the radio, every Friday? The one where they are giving away a...”

Jen’s high-pitched squeals cut me off. “Are you frickin’ kidding me? Are you telling me you just won the trip for two to Cuba?”

“Yup.”

“That is awesome, Tam. I’m so jealous. Tell me, how does that horseshoe feel?” She laughed.

“Ha. So, Jen, what are you doing for the next two weeks?”

“Get out of here,” she yelled. “Are you asking what I think you’re asking?”

There was a distinct pause of silence as she awaited my confirmation. “Pack your bags, Jenny Shaffer, we are going to Cuba.” The squeals resumed once more and you would have thought by the way we were behaving that we were a couple of teenage girls and not the thirty-two-year-old women that we were. “Meet me at my place in about an hour. We have a trip to book.” My excitement had toned down slightly, now that I had finally shared my news.

“Okay. See ya soon,” flew out of her mouth in a rush of joy.

I waited for an opening in traffic before jetting back onto the highway, homeward bound.

I laughed at myself as I glanced down, spotting the coffee stain that was splatted across the front of my burgundy skirt. It likely wasn’t nearly as noticeable to others as it was to me. I knew it was there, though. Dumping my coffee down the front of me this morning was the start of what had been, up until about thirty minutes ago, a hellish day. If that wasn’t bad enough, I had hit a paralyzing wall of traffic heading into Toronto that morning. Grinded to a halt, only after forty-five minutes of inching forward in the bumper-to-bumper traffic was I able to see the culprit of my frustration, a stalled motorhome smack dab in the center lane. With coffee stains on my skirt and traffic at a gridlock, I was well acquainted with the term road rage. As a result, I showed up to my interview thirty-seven minutes late, to be exact. “I didn’t really want that job anyway,” I scoffed under my breath.

Things were now looking up, though. I had been handed a means of escaping the bitter January cold of the Forest City, and to top it off Jen was going to join me. The thought of sipping fruity, slushy drinks poolside arched the corners of my mouth into a smile.


Jen was impatiently waiting for me outside the door of my condo. I laughed when I saw her as I walked down the hall. She lived in the condo right across the hall from me, but chose to be standing right outside my door waiting for me.

She pushed off the wall and turned her head in my direction. She damn near sent me flying when she barreled into me. There we were, standing in the middle of the hall repeating the high-pitched squeals. Only this time we had our arms wrapped around each other and were bouncing up and down like two lunatics. After a minute of reliving our initial reaction, we barged into my condo and dumped ourselves onto the couch.

“So, since you called me, I have found two potential flights. One leaves the day after tomorrow, and the other a week from now.”

“You know, Jen, I knew there was a reason why I asked you to come with me.”

“Yup, I know. You knew I would take care of everything. So, which one will it be?”

“Day after tomorrow. Hell, if there was a flight tonight I’d say that one.”

Jen pushed herself back onto the couch, tucking her long, blonde hair behind her ear. “I figured you would say that. Soooo...I also took the liberty of making us appointments for tomorrow to get our hair done. Oh, and we also have appointments for waxing.”

I cringed at the thought. “You always think of everything,” I joked. The fact of the matter was Jen was truly the closest friend I’d ever had. We’d met about three years ago when I moved in just across the hall from her. I’d just left a bad relationship, and when I needed a friend the most, there she was. We were so different though, a true testament to the notion that opposites attract. Jen was very outgoing and didn’t give a shit about what people thought. She did what she wanted, when she wanted, and said what she felt. I, on the other hand, was not at all like that, at least up until I met her. It wasn’t until I met Jen that I learned how to use my big girl voice. The voice to stand up for myself, which was why I stayed in an abusive relationship for as long as I did—the reason I hadn’t been in another relationship since. Jen, well, she was quite content to never tie herself to a serious relationship. I was sure the day would come. She just hadn’t found the one yet. I didn’t care if I ever became emotionally attached to a man again. In fact, I had a tendency to stop any and all situations as soon as a hint of emotion crept to the surface. Once bitten twice shy, as the saying goes. I’d been bitten hard.

“Okay, here’s the deal, Tam.” She seemed to have a knack for telling people the way things were going to be. “This trip is going to be nothing but fun. We are both going to do at least one thing on this trip that we have always wanted to do and have never done before. We will be there for a good time, not a long time, and damn it, we are going to have fun.”

I looked at her through narrowed eyes. She knew the one thing I had always wanted to do, but I hadn’t a clue about her. As far as I knew, she had done everything she’d ever wanted. I couldn’t imagine what would be left that she hadn’t already done. We’re talking about someone that always did as she pleased. “I don’t think so. Having fun yes, but...”

She reached over and gave my knee a squeeze, cutting me off in the process. “Oh no, my dear. You are not going to crawl into a shell on me, not on this trip. Sky is the limit when it comes to having fun. Hell, what do we have to lose, if the opportunity presents itself...?”

“Whatever,” I huffed. “You have a flight to book for us and we both have packing to do.”

Jen jumped up off the couch. She stopped with her hand on the doorknob and turned, “Hey, how’d your interview go?”

With all the newfound excitement, I’d totally forgotten about that. I waved at the air like I was pushing it aside. “That will be a definite no go.”

“Good, I really wasn’t into breaking in another neighbor.” With a nod of her head she left.


The muscles in my cheeks had grown sore from the perma-smile that planted itself on my face. I was beyond excited about this trip, and the more I thought about what Jen had said the more I was warming up to the idea of this trip being no holds barred. Jen did and said the things I only thought about doing and saying. It wasn’t going to be like that for the next two weeks. I was ready to throw caution to the wind and be the girl having fun, not the outsider looking in wishing I was the girl that had the nerve to be that girl having fun.

When Tammy Gibbins and Jen Shaffer board a plane for Cuba, neither one of them could have ever imagined what would be waiting there for them.

Caught up in the island fever of love, they meet Chance and Gavin, who are at the resort to do a job—a job that neither Tammy nor Jen are aware of. Not being privy to that information causes a misunderstanding when plans are forced to change, just one of the many hurdles they are faced with while on their trip—a trip that is meant to be nothing but fun, a no holds barred trip. Two friends on a beautiful resort for two weeks, the perfect vacation, or so they think.

Tammy and Jen are having the time of their lives, basking in the glorious sun, enjoying the slushy drinks, soaking up all the resort has to offer and most of all, loving the welcomed company of Chance and Gavin.

It’s the perfect trip, the perfect escape from the bitter January cold at home—that is, until Tammy finds herself mixed up in an ongoing feud between two men that puts her life in jeopardy. No one could have seen it coming, not even Chance.What started as two weeks to remember quickly turns into two weeks Tammy wants to forget, or at least that’s what she tries to convince herself of.