Summer's Last Hurrah - Guest: Stephanie Haefner

In many areas of the country, the kids have already gone back to school. But not here. We have always gone back after Labor Day. The holiday weekend makes for one last hurrah before school starts. One last weekend of fun to say goodbye to lazy days. But it also gives some formality to the end of one phase and the beginning of another...a way to transition from summer mode to school mode.

As a kid, my family spent many summers camping at a local family-oriented campground. We were seasonal campers and went there every weekend between May and October. But the holiday weekends were always the best. The place was packed and there was always some kind of entertainment, usually a deejay and dance. I got to see all my camp friends one last time before school started and most of the families stopped camping.

These days, I'm a mom with a child going back to school. One who can't wait! She's had about all she can take of her little brother's pestering! LOL! But as this last weekend of summer vacation approached, I did wonder how we would celebrate it. Every year, as Labor day weekend comes, I feel as if the summer has just flown by. Had I really taken enough advantage of it? Did we play enough? Did we relax enough? Did we soak up enough of the freedom? Sadly, I never feel like we have. So this weekend becomes a time to really squish in some last minute bonding before schedules and activities take over our lives.

So for Labor Day Weekend 2011, Friday was a day at a local amusement park with my family- fun, sun, water rides, and roller coasters! Saturday, me and hubby took in the National Buffalo Wing Festival- a yummy date night! Sunday was a BBQ with old friends we always promise to see more often, but somehow never do. And today...the very last day before the chaos of hectic mornings rushing to get to the bus stop on time, homework, dance classes, school functions...we will probably just sit home and enjoy each other. :) And get ready for the next day!

So if you're transitioning from summer mode to school/fall mode like me, and need a sweet romance to curl up with, check out my latest release, Soap Dreams! It's set in the fall, about a woman who's never found closure for her past and has suddenly been thrust back into it. Here's a little sneak peek!

Robyn grabbed another cosmo and found a seat at a corner table, perfect for people-watching. And what she saw reminded her of high school. She shook her head as the same girls fawned over Derek. The coaches patted him on the back and shook his hand. His mother basked in the light of her son’s glory. The only thing missing was her on Derek’s arm.

“Robyn, there you are!” Penny stepped in her line of vision. “Why aren’t you mingling with everyone? Our whole class is here! It’s like a reunion!”

“I’m fine right here.”

“Oh, come on! You’re the captain of the cheerleading squad--you can’t be antisocial!” She pulled Robyn out of her seat.

“Penny, I’m good…really.”

Too late. Penny had her halfway to the dance floor, where the crowd had congregated. The drinks were obviously starting to take their effect and party guests began dancing. Robyn caught Derek’s gaze and downed the rest of her drink. She didn’t normally have more than one and this was number two--a strong one at that. Her core immediately warmed.

“Hey, I thought you left.”

“No. My ride’s still here.”

“Oh.” He looked to the floor, then back at her. “Well, I’m glad you didn’t leave.”

“Why?” The drink had given her a bit of courage. “I told you no. There’s no point in me even being here.”

“I didn’t like how we left things yesterday afternoon. I wanted to see you…maybe talk to you. Like old times.”

“Old times are over. I don’t get why no one else in this room gets that but me. The past is just that--the past.”

He gave no response as the band transitioned from an upbeat party song to a slower, sultry melody. One she knew far too well. And so did Derek. Their eyes met as the middle-aged lead singer began crooning the lyrics to Wonderful Tonight, words that had been permanently engraved on both their brains.

“Did you plan this?” Robyn snarled. “Did you ask them to play our song?”

“No, I swear.”

She turned toward the door.

“Please. Don’t leave. Not like this.” He grabbed her hand. “Dance with me.”

“You are out of your mind.” She yanked her hand away and stumbled backward in her four-inch heels.

Derek reached for her and as the room began a gentle spin, her eyes locked on his. His arms were around her waist, his chest pressed so closely to hers she could feel it rising and falling with every breath.

“Okay. Maybe just one dance.”

Robyn told herself the dance was purely to keep her from falling flat on her ass. Damn that second martini! Otherwise, she would have been out to the parking lot by now, not caring where Derek’s arms were. She wouldn’t care one bit about the smile glimmering down at her as they swayed to the same song they had a million times as teens, or the intoxicating smell of his skin.

Like a dee jay scratching a record and jolting it to a stop, her brain sent her body an urgent What the hell are you doing? message. She was a married woman. It wasn’t proper to be in another man’s arms, and especially not this close, not this man.

“I gotta go.”

He didn’t say a word as she walked away, trying her best not to look as drunk as she was.
Don’t look back. Don’t do it.

Apparently her body operated without her brain’s consent. Derek stood there--couples embraced and swaying around him--but his eyes stayed right on hers.

Thanks so much for having me today!!! Hope you all have had a fabulous Labor Day Weekend, and gave summer 2011 it's well-deserved goodbye kiss!



Nancy Kay said...


The excerpt from your book is great. The scene, or one similar, is one many can relate too.


Miranda Baker said...

Yup! Old boyfriends, sigh... Here's to happy endings!

Helen said...

great blog, Stephanie. Loved the excerpt. Makes you want to keep reading!

Natasha Moore said...

Thanks for being my guest today! Soap Dreams sounds great. I love reunion stories :)

Stephanie said...

Thanks ladies!!!!!! Thanks for having me!!!

Vonda Sinclair said...

Welcome Stephanie! I enjoyed your post and your excerpt!

Cassandra Carr said...


Pretty sure I bought this one the other day. ;-) Great post!


Stephanie said...

Thanks Vonda!!

Yes, Cassandra, you probably did!! :)