TITLE: THICKER THAN WATER
GENRE: Historical Women's Fiction
Evelyn Carmichael liked to dig her fingers deep into the penny candy bins at D’Antonio’s Sweet Shoppe. To feel the crinkle of the wrappers in her hands, the sweets filling her palms. The candy store was no bigger than the tailor shop or the Town Clerk’s office, but it was filled with every kind of sweet treat imaginable. Evelyn normally chose the candies with the liquid centers—the strawberry kind was her favorite—but every so often she bought anise or horehound and tried to trick her siblings into eating it. Evelyn was knuckle-deep in a mound of root beer barrels when she spotted Peter Mayes behind the register, pulling the crank handle with a satisfying ching! that clanged throughout the small store.
It was just Evelyn’s luck that she'd run into Peter on an afternoon when she’d forgotten to swipe a coat of red lipstick over her too-thin lips. Peter was a year older—a high schooler!—and a few weeks earlier he had leaned in to kiss her after they ducked behind the football concession stand. The smell of popcorn was thick in the humid air, and she felt sticky with sweat, as if she had been brushed with butter like the popped kernels. His mouth was damp and warm, like he’d just licked his lips. He tried to slide his hand up the front of her blouse. Evelyn stiffened and swatted his hand away. “No!” she’d said, too loud, and old Mr. Sweeney had stuck his head around the corner to see what the commotion was.