"I truly enjoyed this book- I fell in love with this story and did not want it to end."
Reviewed by Anne B., A 5 Star Reader's Favorite Reviewer
"I really loved this book. I cried and laughed.This book really meant a lot to me. I could relate with this whole book."
LISA HALL (LaGrange, Ky.)
Life is uncertain, so, like a butterfly,
savor the sweet nectar of the moment
* * *
Excerpts from the Book
Christmas music blared on the radio, stirring up feelings from the past. Tears surfaced as Mag let her mind wander back to painful places. She wished she could rewind the clock and start over. She snapped the last bean, wiped her eyes on her mother's old apron and walked over to the corner of the room.
She picked up the cloth-covered jewelry box that held remnants of her memories of Ash. The delicate fabric was frayed around the edges from so much handling and the rusty latch that held it together had given way with time. She carried the box everywhere she went and never let it out of her sight.
She reluctantly placed the box on the floor with a note in big red letters, DO NOT PACK.
She had some time to think about it, no need to rush. She had waited forty years for these memories. It wasn't going anywhere until she said so.
* * *
Mag threw on her pale-blue, well-worn robe. For some reason she never liked them until they were almost threadbare. The aroma of something sweet and freshly baked filled the air as she opened the bedroom door to head for the kitchen. She could see through the old pedestal cake plate—it was blueberry muffins. Just as she took her first bite the phone rang. She gulped down the muffin and raced for the phone in Aunt Belle’s room. The unfamiliar voice began with a guessing game.
"I’ll give you a nickel if you can guess who this is."
Thinking it was one of her classmates from the reunion, she played along. "I give up." She waited for the answer.
"What?" She couldn’t believe what she had just heard. The first man she’d ever dated, kissed, been engaged to. Shock and disbelief raced through her head. Her thoughts somersaulted, a mixture of anger, suspicion, curiosity, and bitterness. He'd left her to wonder for forty years, then suddenly called her and acted as if nothing had happened between them. She needed to get off the phone until she could collect her thoughts. "Could you call back in ten minutes? I’m in the middle of something."
Why had she said that? She slowly lowered her body onto the edge of the bed. Her hand shook as she replaced the receiver back into the cradle. Taking deep breaths, she tried to control her heart that thumped to the rhythm of her breath. "Calm down," she kept saying, as she tried to get that voice out of her head. It was the same voice that nearly destroyed her forty years ago at Sugar Mountain. She wasn’t sure why she harbored anger and resentment all these years or why she had never been able to forgive him. Maybe she should talk and put this matter to rest, once and for all.
The first time she met Ash she’d been seventeen. Their seemingly innocuous meeting changed her world.
Betrayed by a Butterfly
"This is a nice mystery about the bonds between a mother and her child that readers will appreciate. The language is beautiful, the characters are intense. I especially liked the best friend, Lilly, whose comic relief kept this story from getting too dark and depressing. Nice job!”
- A 5 Star Reader’s Favorite Reviewer
“Another edge-of-your-seat page turner from Jamie Elizabeth Tingen! The characters and emotions in this sequel to Butterfly Messages are so real you'll feel your heart skip and your blood run cold as you wind your way through the web of deceit, romance and mystery.”
- Connie Hammond
“What a delightful read this is! The characters are so alive, they walk right off the page to tell you their story. It’s hard to put the book down before you finish reading it. This talented writer has given us another great novel.”
- Bettie Keene, B.A, M.A, Ed.S
“Author Jamie Tingen has a talent for twists and turns, drooling with Southern charm and salty grit. This story has a little bit of everything, including soulful messages on life. From one butterfly to another, if you believe in miracles and love happy endings, this book is for you.”
- Jeanette Dundas
“BETRAYED BY A BUTTERFLY is a heartwarming story filled with southern charm and colloquialism. Each time you pick up the book, it will brighten your day and bring a smile to your face!”
- Jamie Scarlett Inman, photographer, Tampa, Florida
Sequel to Butterfly Messages
Winner in the 2016 Great Southeast Book Festival
Excerpts from the Book
Mag walked over to the counter, eyeing an enormous pile of mail. “Before I do anything, though, I need to deal with all this mail that’s been stacking up. It’s making me nuts. Hah! As if I need anything else to make me nuts.”
“Well then, I guess I’ll be going,” said Lilly, disappointed that she was unable to cheer up her best friend.
“No, please stay for just a few more minutes,” begged Mag as she flipped through the envelopes. “I need you nearby for support. I don’t feel quite myself right—“
Mag gasped, her mouth hanging open.
“Oh no! What is it now?” shouted Lilly. A concerned frown spread across her face as she waited to hear the upsetting news.
“It’s a letter from Franklin,” answered Mag, tearing into the envelope. “I’ve been waiting to hear from him ever since Ash died—over a year—so I could finally hear about his final days. Ash tried to call me from the hospital but someone unplugged the phone or cut the wire or something. Why would they do that? Why would anyone not allow a dying person to make a last phone all? I may never know what he wanted to tell me but Franklin is my only chance to find out.”
“Well, knowing Franklin, I wouldn’t be surprised at anything,” commented Lilly.
Ignoring Lilly’s remark, Mag began reading the letter aloud.
“Lilly, I’ve been meaning to tell you about an incident that I find odd and a little eerie. A couple nights ago I saw a tiny orange light, like a cigarette burning, at the edge of my driveway. That’s what caught my eye anyway. But then I could make out the silhouette of a man standing there. He didn’t move until I called out and then he ran away. You don’t think it could have been Franklin, do you? Spying on me for some ungodly reason?”
“It’s probably that new mystery man in town who’s been camping out in the woods near the big lake. He’s only been seen a few times during the day. Thin, disheveled, smells to high heaven according to old Hiram Wilson. But then Hiram smells, too. Maybe he’s smelling himself.” Lilly laughed at her little joke.
“I’m afraid if I get the law involved I could lose my license to foster children. I’m so looking forward to doing this and making my house a safe haven for them.”
“Well, if it was Franklin in your driveway he can’t do any damage now that Ash is dead,” reasoned Lilly. “And if it was the mystery man, well . . . maybe you’ll get lucky.”
“Bless your little heart. You say you’re keeping two kids?” said Deputy Dooley as he belched.
“Yes. Foster children. I’ve only had them a couple days.”
“Are you talking ‘bout those kids that just came here a short while ago from Lamberton?”
She hesitated before answering. “Yes . . . why?” She waited for some dumb answer.
“I think that little girl is somehow connected to this man that’s on the loose.”
“What? How?” Mag was growing irritated and impatient at his rambling.
“I heard the little girl may have seen what happened.”
The roar of a car coming up the long road made her heart first stop and next pound even harder. As Franklin turned the corner in his bright red Corvette convertible his hand went up in a parade-like wave as he headed toward her.
Oh my God. She momentarily let her mind wander and the thought that it could be Ash coming toward her brightened her smile, but only until her brain slapped that thought down and brought her back to her senses. Shivers coursed through her body when he stepped out of the car, exhibiting a Greek Adonis-like body. He stretched his long legs and adjusted his tight jeans. A fitted black tee shirt hugged his torso, showing off an admirable six pack. Her eyes started at his boots and worked their way up to his aviator sunglasses. She was enjoying his sexy movie star looks. As he started toward her she caught her breath at the thought of seeing someone who looked so much like the man she had loved so deeply and lost so tragically. Twice.
His scent was overpowering. The same after shave that Ash had used. Her heart and brain were fighting to keep her in the world of reality. Was he doing this on purpose? Was he actually trying to be even more like his twin brother? At this moment she desperately wanted to escape to the impossible: to be hugged by Ash, not Franklin. Yeah, if only.
The sound of the back door slamming interrupted their embrace. She pulled away.
“That’s Scratch coming outside,” she whispered, breathlessly.
“He’s probably ready to leave and wants us to come in,” Franklin murmured against her neck, not wanting this moment to end. “I don’t think he’s coming out to chaperone us.”
Mag suspected it was Scratch’s way of getting her to come on inside and stop this foolishness in the car. We’re acting like a couple of teenagers. Smart move, Scratch. But it left her feeling disappointed and empty. And a little embarrassed.
Franklin gave her a quick peck on her cheek and let her out of the car. They walked in silence to the back door. Scratch had his keys in hand and was ready to leave as they walked up to the door.
She could feel Scratch’s judgmental eyes sizing up both her and the evening.
“Thank you so much for staying, Scratch. I really appreciate all your time and help with the kids.”
“Me too,” Franklin piped up. “But we’re home now so you can go.”
“I’ll be going now, Miss Mag,” Scratch retorted. Home? We’re home? Peering over his glasses he gave her a don’t-do-anything-stupid-while-I’m-gone look.
“Okay, Scratch, go on now. See you in the morning. And thank you again. Goodni-i-ight,” sang Mag as she locked the door behind him. She sounded like Scarlet the morning after Rhett carried her up that staircase, all sing-song and happiness.
They were alone again. Mag bit her lip, trying to rid herself of tense nerves. Her anxiety was unsettling and her merriment turned once again to angst. She wasn’t sure she could trust herself with this handsome, charming man who was obviously interested in her and wanting more. She wiped her clammy hands down the side of her skirt, wondering desperately how she could break the tension.
Mag noticed a gathering of dark ominous clouds in the distance as she closed the back door and heaved a sigh of relief at the sound of the car pulling out of the driveway.
Thank goodness they took the kids and let me stay here. She looked forward to a few quiet moments to herself.
The whistling tea kettle was like music to her ears. Mag was more than ready for a hot cup of tea in a quiet house. As she pulled a mug from the cupboard she was startled by a piercing crack of thunder. Peering through the back door she saw that the storm was kicking up and blowing those angry clouds closer. It was beginning to get dark under the dense black clouds and she could barely see to the end of the driveway. She flipped on the flood light so the men could see to unload the bikes when they got home.
The wind was fierce, whipping the tree limbs like a lion tamer taking control of his animals. Chairs blew across the yard and debris flew through the air. The skies opened and a torrential downpour pelted the ground. Gloomy shadows claimed the fading daylight.
“I hope they get back soon,” she whispered aloud. Goose bumps ran up her back as she closed the door to the wind and rain.
The tea was hot and steamy, just the way she liked it, as she curled her fingers into the handle of the mug and headed for the living room to settle in and read the newspaper. She unfolded the paper and Slim’s photo on the front page stared back at her. Beneath the picture she read:
“Authorities are still looking for the man known only as Slim who is wanted for questioning for the murder of Irene Baker in Lamberton. If you have information concerning him or his whereabouts contact your local authorities immediately. Do not approach him—he may be armed and dangerous.”
Mag shivered and refused to read further. She took a sip of tea, placed the cup next to the paper on the table, and stretched out on the sofa. It felt wonderful to throw her feet up on the sofa and close her eyes. As she snuggled into the comfort of the sofa the lights flickered and died. A fleeting thought to gather candles and matches passed through her mind but she couldn’t force her exhausted body to move. As the much needed sleep began to enfold her, a knocking sound made her wince. Only half awake, she convinced herself it was just the wind and dozed off again.
The crash of shattering glass shook her out of her slumber. She bolted upright, wide eyed and terrified. The house was quiet except for the pounding of her heart drumming in her ears. Mag shivered. The sound had come from the back of the house. She stumbled forward, fumbling in the dark. She imagined that something had merely blown against the back door windowpane until a crunching sound in the broken glass told her this was nothing caused by the wind. Someone was in her house.