Summer of the Oak Moon
by Laura Templeton
Publication date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Rejected by the exclusive women’s college she has her heart set on, Tess Seibert dreads the hot, aimless summer ahead. But when a chance encounter with a snake introduces her to Jacob Lane, a black college student home on his summer break, a relationship blooms that challenges the prejudices of her small, north Florida town.
When Jacob confesses that Tess’s uncle is trying to steal his family’s land, Tess comes face to face with the hatred that simmers just below the surface of the bay and marshes she’s loved since birth. With the help of her mentor Lulu, an herbal healer, Tess pieces together clues to the mysterious disappearance of Jacob’s father twenty-two years earlier and uncovers family secrets that shatter her connection to the land she loves.
Tess and Jacob’s bond puts them both in peril, and discontent eventually erupts into violence. Tess is forced to make a decision. Can she right old wrongs and salvage their love? Or will prejudice and hatred kill any chance she and Jacob might have had?
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Jacob scooted his chair forward until his knees touched mine. The tingles of electricity flared into a storm that hit me like a blow to the stomach, nearly taking my breath away. When he once again took my hands, I let him. I could let him touch me, I told myself, and still not see him again. But I chewed my lip as I considered that maybe I was lying to myself.
His eyes on mine, Jacob drew my left hand to his lips and kissed it gently. “I don’t want to let you go. And I don’t want to be ‘friends.’ I’m in this for real, Tess. Are you?”
Seeing Jacob brought danger, there was no doubt about that. I wasn’t so concerned about me—I doubted Finn would do much to me, despite his threats. But Jacob was another story. Our relationship would put him in danger. I didn’t know who vandalized Hank Sims’ truck, but the incident showed that Port Saint Clare wasn’t immune to racial crimes. And Jacob’s and my relationship wouldn’t be some faraway event, like the attack in New York. It’d be right here, under everyone’s noses. You couldn’t hide anything in this town.
On the other hand, every bone in my body screamed yes. I wanted Jacob. I needed him in my life. His hand, which now rested on my cheek, didn’t help my resolve.
“But ... this isn’t going to help your case with Uncle Finn about the land. We’ve got to find a way to save that, you know.”
Jacob didn’t answer. Instead, he took my face in his hands and kissed me. His clean scent—of peppermint and salt marsh and river—filled me with a longing I couldn’t suppress. I never wanted to let him go. I couldn’t let him go.
“Yes,” I whispered against his cheek when he pulled away. No explanation was needed—he knew what I meant. I was in this for real, too. His kiss this time was less tentative, and I let myself drown in the sweet feel of his lips on mine.
But despite Jacob’s kisses, it didn’t take one of Lulu’s potions to tell me that eventually I was going to regret that answer.
Laura Templeton lives near Athens, Georgia, with her husband, son, and a menagerie of animals. When she’s not writing, she enjoys gardening, learning to figure skate, and taking long walks on the quiet country roads near her home. Something Yellow is her debut novel, and her creative nonfiction has appeared in various publications.
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