Burn the Brightest

Burn the Brightest by Erin Sheppard Read Free Book Online

Book: Burn the Brightest by Erin Sheppard Read Free Book Online
Authors: Erin Sheppard
The Fool represents the beginning of the path, the childlike innocence with which we start our journey into the world. With no preconceptions, The Fool sees unlimited potential and endless opportunity to create his own fate with each moment. The Fool carries with him all the tools he will need to face the challenges ahead. Anything can happen, but the Fool is ready for any experience, come what may.

    "You look like you'd rather be having your fingernails pulled out than be here," a voice said behind Edith, and she twisted, finding herself a little too close to a tall, red-haired woman, blue eyes bright with amusement as she crouched in the sand.
    "Lovely," Edith said, feeling her face twist in dislike at the phrase.
    The woman grinned. "Okay, maybe not your fingernails. Your hair."
    Edith shook her brown hair back from her face, wishing she'd brought a hair tie. It was windier on the beach than she'd expected, given how warm and still the day had been, and she was getting sick of her hair in her face. One more thing to find annoying about this whole party, though at least the two hours she'd promised Tara she'd spend there were nearly up. "I'm fine," she said, trying to sound appropriately dismissive, but it was probably a lost cause. She'd always been too polite for her own good.
    The woman laughed, shifting to sit next to Edith and handing over a green bottle. "Vodka and apple," she said when Edith twisted it to look at the label. "I've been to enough of these things to know they go better with alcohol."
    Edith took a sip—like an apple martini, but fizzy—and looked around again for Tara, who'd gone to buy ice cream from a cart just up the beach ten minutes ago and disappeared. Probably off with Dan, even though she'd promised not to abandon Edith. "Thank you."
    "Welcome," the woman said, swigging from her own bottle. "I'm Jo," she added, wiping her hand on her jeans and holding it out. Edith shook it mostly out of habit. "You a wife, girlfriend, or sister?"
    "None of the above," Edith replied. Someone shouted down by the water, but when she looked over, all three of the men there were laughing, soaking wet. "A friend dragged me here."
    "Oh," Jo said, scanning the crowd of young sailors again, the barbeque they'd set up on the sand, and the groups of spouses and kids. "Sorry, I didn't remember seeing you arrive with any of the unit."
    "My friend's not in the Navy; she's Dan's girlfriend," Edith corrected, not sure why she was bothering to explain. She only ever mixed with the sailors and their families when Tara guilt-tripped her into going, like tonight.
    "Tara, right? The birthday girl?" Jo waited for Edith's nod. "Great. I've gotten three people's names wrong already tonight. It's starting to get embarrassing."
    "I guess," Edith agreed, taking another sip of her drink. There really was no sign of Dan on the beach. If Tara had gone home with him and stranded her, Tara was paying the damn cab fare, birthday or not.
    "On which subject," Jo said. "You didn't tell me yours."
    "Edith." She looked up, caught sight of Tara, her arm linked through Dan's, her jacket over her arm, heading their way, and stood up. "There's Tara. I think I'll catch up to her. Nice to meet you."
    "Oh," Jo said, sounding surprised. She stood up with Edith. "You, too."
    Tara had her car keys out by the time Edith got to her, though she was still barefoot.
    "You're fed-up and ready to leave?" Edith asked hopefully, sparing a nod for Dan. He was nice enough, for a sailor, and he'd been with Tara for four months. Thirteen if you counted his tour at sea, which Edith didn't.
    Tara grinned. "Not really, but you said two hours; I thought I'd see if you wanted to go."
    "Yes," Edith said immediately, taking the offered keys. "Thank you."
    Tara rolled her eyes, but she was looking back to where Edith had been sitting. "Sure you don't want to stay with your friend?"
    "I'm sure," Edith said firmly. "Have a good night."
    Tara, predictably, showed up at Edith's

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