Today, I am featuring Amy Matayo's newest release The Aftermath which is book two in her Love In Chaos series.
About the book:
Title: The Aftermath
Author: Amy Matayo
Series: Love In Chaos Book 2
Publisher: SYG Productions
According to Riley Mae Floss, life is a ten-page menu of possibilities. As the owner of a cupcake shop in small-town Missouri, she thrives on candies and rainbows and spreading joy every chance she gets. Even her hair is the color of bubble gum. Life is just the way she likes it, so why would she want anything to change now?
But when a tornado rips into Riley Mae’s southern town and destroys nearly everything in its path, her happy little life changes in less than forty-two seconds. Buildings gone. Homes carried away. People missing or even dead. Her bakery a shell of what it once was; also her life. Riley Mae’s picture-perfect world is shattered, and everyone she cares about has been hurt in the process.
According to insurance adjuster Chad Gamble, life always works out exactly the way it’s supposed to…for other people. As for him, life is a bit of a crapfest—one where he never wins the prize, makes the starting team, or gets the girl. He’s straight-laced, suit-and-tie, all-business, and sees the world for the color it is: muted gray with a little black around the edges.
So when Chad Gamble walks into Riley Mae’s ruined bakery to “assess the damages”—his words, not hers—he has no intention of getting bogged down by sentimental nonsense. Sparks immediately start to fly, and not the good kind. Who does this pushy, pink-haired chick think she is, treating him like an outsider when all he came to do was help? He can’t figure out why the locals like her so much.
Or worse, why he can’t stop thinking about her.
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She’s sitting on the floor with her head tilted back against a cabinet door, one hand wrapped around her burned wrist, eyes closed. She looks exhausted, like she’s been drained of every resource the Good Lord gave her, both physically and materially. Supplies are laid out everywhere—on the floor, on the counter, inside the refrigerator. The door is open an inch as though she tapped it with her hip in a rush, but not hard enough to close it. I walk as quietly as I can and push it the rest of the way until it suctions, then look down at her. It’s at that moment I finally notice the tears.
“What are you doing here, Chad?”
I suppose I wasn’t that quiet after all.
She sniffs and wipes her nose with the back of her hand, but she doesn’t open her eyes. One tear slides down her chin and holds there. It takes more effort than it should to keep myself from trying to catch it. There’s something wrong about the sight of Riley crying, like a sudden cloud burst on a sunny day or sipping tea accidentally sprinkled with salt. It saddens me in ways I can’t explain and would rather not decipher.
“I came to check on you. I didn’t realize you’d be feeding the five thousand with what looks like two eggs and five bags of flour.”
Her eyes remain closed, but this elicits a laugh. I smile.
“Is that a crack about my appearance?”
“No, but I could probably whip up a batch of cookies using only the ingredients stuck in your hair. Seriously, did you dunk your head inside a bag and swish it around? You have the hair of an eighty-five-year-old woman. I can barely see the pink.”
She cracks open one eye to peer at me. “Should be a relief then, considering you don’t like the color.”
I don’t tell her it’s grown on me.
“You look tired.”
“Thank you. The compliments are stacking up.”
“I didn’t mean it that way. Just that—what have you been doing? Did you really make food for all those people today?”
“Yep. By myself.”
Her eyes finally open, and she stares at me as though she can’t comprehend the question.
“Because…? What else could I do? They just started coming in, and I couldn’t turn them away.”
“But that’s too much for one person to manage.”
“Tell that to the boy with the two fish and fives loaves of bread. He fed a lot more than I did, and he had leftovers.”
“But he wasn’t alone. He had helpers. Like, wise men or something.”
I might have gotten that wrong. Riley shoots me a disappointed look.
“I think they were disciples. Pretty sure the wise men came earlier, like when Jesus was in diapers. Besides, I managed.” She looks around at the mess, a ghost of a smile appearing on her lips. “Mostly, I managed. This place is a bigger disaster than it was this morning. Hopefully, tomorrow will go better. Maybe God will send me one of those wise men you speak of.”
“You’re doing this again tomorrow?”
She nods. “Yes. They have nowhere to go except here.” She draws a circle in the pile of pepper, going around and around with her finger. “Did you know that every single one of the folks in the other room lost their homes? Every one of them. Other than a homeless shelter, this is the only roof over their heads right now, so I won’t send them out. Not when I can give them some sense of community. Something normal.”
About Amy Matayo:
Amy Matayo is an award winning author of The Wedding Game, Love Gone Wild, Sway, In Tune with Love, A Painted Summer,The End of the World, The Thirteenth Chance, The Whys Have It, Christmas at Gate 18. Lies We Tell Ourselves, and The Waves. She graduated with barely passing grades from John Brown University with a degree in Journalism. But don't feel sorry for her--she's super proud of that degree and all the ways she hasn't put it to good use.
She laughs often, cries easily, feels deeply, and loves hard. She lives in Arkansas with her husband and four kids and is working on her next novel.