July 25, 2015

SOPHIE'S FATE & SOPHIE'S TIME by C.S. Minsky {Excerpts} #YAReads

Sophie’s Fate is book one in the Sophie’s Fate series. In a minute everything can change. Eighteen-year-old Sophie is spending a quiet summer with her father before college. When she meets Nick, her summer takes a sharp unexpected turn, leading Sophie into a direction she never could have imagined. Discovering she lived a previous life, Sophie is forced to confront a past she cannot recall. As inexplicable events follow her, Sophie must find her own path and her fate. 


We were stuck in traffic in the sprawling city of Los Angeles. Knowing this is the state of affairs on a daily basis my stepfather, Tom, left the house early offering us more than enough time to get to the airport. It was a warm overcast June day. I was dressed for summer, but I carried my sweatshirt. Two packed suitcases occupied the trunk. I left my books in my bedroom of his house as there were far too many, but I grabbed a few favorites to take with me.
Summer in San Francisco is not hot like the rest of the country. The average temperature is sixty-two degrees and fog hovers like a doting mother. I would need that sweatshirt once I departed the airport. I lived there until I was twelve years old when my parents divorced, and my mother decided to move to Los Angeles taking me with her. Two years later she married Tom. 
My father kept the house in San Francisco. I visited him several times over the years and spent four weeks of each summer at his summer place in Sonoma. I was moving in with him until I began college in September. He flew down for my high school graduation one week earlier, but I wasn’t ready to leave at that time.
My mother died in the middle of my junior year. She didn’t get to see me graduate. Cancer stole her life. I miss her. I miss her soft hair, the smell of her perfume, her loving voice and her cooking. I even miss her crazy ideas about angels and destiny. My dad called it her spiritual voodoo. He drove down and rented an apartment the last month of her illness. Even though their marriage didn’t last, they still loved each other. I saw the way they looked at one another the several times they met over the years. I never understood why they couldn’t stay together, and I didn’t ask. 
On her last day of life she went in and out of consciousness. I stayed by her bedside, but I left the room before she died. My father was the last person she spoke to before permanently closing her eyes. She was on morphine to help with the pain. I held her hand and at one point she held mine back. I bent over her to speak into her ear. “I love you, Mom.”
She opened her eyes and held onto my hand as she tugged for me to come down closer to her mouth. She whispered, “You are stronger than she is. He will find you. He carries the truth.”
I looked up at Dad and Tom. They were talking to one another. I didn’t understand, and they didn’t hear. The words made no sense to me, so I let it go. I assumed it was one of her hallucinations. 
Her death pained my father the most. He was often absent when I was growing up. Money was important to him and he had plenty of it. He was a successful lawyer, then a law consultant. He was always working or traveling for work. He loved us; I never doubted it. After the divorce and even more since her death he changed and seemed to want to make up for lost time. I think he came to understand what really mattered. He quit law and instead became a businessman getting involved in business ventures and spending more time at home. 
Tom knew I wouldn’t be staying with him through the summer before beginning college. I continued to live with him after my mother died, and my father understood I didn’t want to go to a new school when I would be entering my senior year. So after graduating, how could I not be with my father? Tom held on to me pretty tightly before I entered security.
“Don’t forget me,” he said.
“I won’t,” I replied.
I knew he would be okay. He had friends and family in Los Angeles. I promised to talk to him once a week. When he finally did let go I walked through security and never looked back. It would be too painful. I boarded the plane. It was a short flight between the two cities and in an hour I arrived at the San Francisco airport. Dad was waiting for me. He hugged me, and it was a toss up who held tighter, my father or my stepfather.
“Sophie, so nice to have you back,” he whispered as he hugged me.

I sense something behind me, and when I turn around I see a bright golden light out in the distance. It is warm and inviting. I know what this means, and I don’t want it. I get up and begin walking away from it, but I am weary and don’t want to fight it. It quietly calls for me like it’s inside my head. It pulls at me like gravity, so I turn and walk toward the light.

It’s been almost a year since Nick Amante departed, leaving Sophie with many unanswered questions as she attempts to move on.

Sophie has now completed her first year of college and as she drives away from the Stanford campus, Sophie thinks about her life and wonders what direction it will take. Like the previous year, she will be spending her summer in Sonoma with her father. On the first day Sophie and her father arrive, an unfortunate fall propels Sophie into another haunting experience.

Something unusual happens to Sophie during the time she remains unconscious from the accident. While Sophie recovers, she believes her dreams and flashbacks relate to her fall. As she struggles to remember and put the fragmented pieces together, Sophie remains determined to discover the truth and in doing so, she creates her fate and her future.

I am standing in the middle of my bare dorm room. All that remains of me are the framed photos scattered on the desk. First I pack my friends, carefully wrapping them in crisp newspaper and placing them in the box. Next are Max, my loving dog, then Aunt Gina and Uncle Sal. I reach for Tom, my stepfather, and gently wrap him. Dad is tucked away with loving care. I stare at Mom, my favorite photo of her on the beach in Santa Monica. She has been gone for two years, and I miss her every day. I lovingly wrap her and place her next to Dad. Then it’s him. Nick. Nick Amante.
I know it’s wrong to have his picture staring at me, and I definitely don’t need any reminders. But it’s a great photo of him. I snapped it one day when he was working in Dad’s garden creating beauty with his hands. He glanced up and I clicked. The camera perfectly caught his hazel- colored eyes filled with warmth, love and intensity. I reminisce to the first time we met.
It was last summer in Sonoma at a J Crew store. While my friends shopped for a birthday gift for me, I meandered into the store. I was in the men’s section buying Dad a shirt, and I didn’t see Nick when I turned around bumping right into him. I looked up to apologize, but instead stood speechless. His eyes captivated me. Their brown and green irises with large dark pupils were mesmerizing. I stood there staring. It took a few seconds until finally an apology came stumbling out of my mouth.
 It gives me comfort having his picture share a spot among those I love. It’s not like I haven’t moved on, I have. My first year here at Stanford was amazing and the small band of friends I have is perfect for me. I am not a girl who desires having tons of people in my life. I did go out with a guy for a brief time, but he didn’t work out for me. We were different and it’s hard to let someone new in when your heart secretly aches for someone else.
I’ve seen Nick unexpectedly at various moments like on University Avenue, or on campus, or when my friends and I went hiking in the hills. I would glance up and there he was at a short distance, but in the blink of an eye he was gone. It also happened once when I went home for winter break. I’m sure it’s my imagination, but he seems so real.
I wrap him in a sheet from the food section. It seems fitting for Nick since he loved to garden and planted his own fruits and vegetables. He’s tenderly placed in the box and then I tape it. Everyone I love neatly contained in a brown box. I am glad the packing is over because packing is my least favorite activity.
I look around for a moment and check the closet once again. Kayla, my roommate, left yesterday for Oregon to spend the summer home with her family. I am lucky because she and I connected immediately. Before I arrived I was nervous about having a roommate. As an only child I am not accustomed to sharing, but I generally adapt easily and this was no exception. The fact that we are similar made the transition a piece of cake.
The only one left to say farewell to is Jack. “Hey, girl! I was hoping you didn’t leave without saying goodbye,” Jack announces as he breezes into my room.
“Of course I would say goodbye,” I tell him. “This is it, the last box.”
“So, Sophie, you think you can come see me in New York?” Jack asks.
Jack was born and raised in Manhattan, but he lacks a New York accent. He’s brilliant in just about everything. When I asked him why he didn’t apply to Harvard, he said he wanted to try the West Coast, and he was concerned Harvard would be too snobby for him. Jack is like a teddy bear–sweet and cuddly. 
“Don’t you have a summer job waiting for you?” I ask.
“Yeah, but you can come for a long weekend. Think about it. I want to take you around.”
I believe Jack harbors a deeper emotion for me but since he’s smart enough to know the feeling isn’t mutual, he respects that and we remain friends. I wouldn’t be comfortable being alone with him in New York. Being alone for a long weekend could open a portal for him to release his emotions. I do not want to deal with that any time soon.
“Maybe you and Kayla can come visit me,” I suggest. “My dad has a house in Sonoma where
I’ll be spending the summer. He loves having guests.” “Oh, you have two homes?” Jack asks.
“Yes.” I say shyly. I am not one to flaunt my father’s wealth. “We have the house in San Francisco, and we have a summer place up north.”
“Oh, cool. Maybe I will. That night at your house in the city, man, your dad cooked a hell of a meal. A long weekend of Papa Benedetto’s cooking? I’m in!” Jack exclaims.
I laugh, but Jack is right. Dad is amazing in the kitchen. I’m about to lift the box when Jack grabs it and offers to take it to my car.
“Thanks. I’m ready!” I take a quick glance, silently thank the room for a great year and walk out closing the door behind me. When I hear it click shut I am reminded of the year gone by and how life continues to confound and inspire me. I know how quickly a day can change, and with that knowledge I have learned to value moments most people my age would never reflect upon.

I'm a former award-winning California high school teacher and mentor for at-risk students. I loved teaching teens, but I decided to pursue my joy of writing and found my place in writing young adult fiction. SOPHIE'S FATE is my first book. It is a two-book series. The second book is SOPHIE'S TIME.

I love foreign languages. I guess you could say I like talking to people. I have traveled extensively throughout Europe and studied in Spain during college. I support sustainable and organic farming, love cooking, eating, hiking, and I am a lover of dogs.

Reading books has always been a passion. I read YA, adult and some non-fiction.

1 comment:

  1. This series sounds interesting. Right up my alley. Going to buy them! Thanks Mandy!