Hear the beginning of the audiobook for Whispers Of The Heart by KA Moll @ka_cade_writes narrated by Emily Beresford on this episode of Book Clips, the mini podcast where authors and narrators give you a taste of a book with a short snippet.
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Days after completing her fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology, 35-year-old Aki Williams travels from her home in Los Angeles to a small town in Illinois, interviewing for a job that she doesn’t want. What she does want is to meet her biological sister, Jack Camdon, a sister whom she didn’t know existed until she dreamt of her. Upon their meeting, many things surprise her – that Jack’s a lesbian with a wife and children, that she’s a dreamer who dreams in spirit animals, and that she’s a medicine woman, deeply rooted in the Ojibwe culture.
Three years ago on Sunday, 43-year-old professor of archaeology Carsyn Lyndon lost her parents and her wife in a tragic accident. Since then, she’s suffered from PTSD and loneliness. She’s kind-hearted and handsome but dates no one. When she meets Aki at her four-year-old godson’s birthday party, they’re incredibly attracted to one another, and those feelings intensify during a family camping trip – a particularly interesting development for Aki, since prior to that, she’d never considered that she might be a lesbian.
As Aki comes to terms with her sexuality, Carsyn renews a vow to not make the same mistake twice – a mistake that had devastating consequences. With seemingly no middle ground, an accident will bring them together, forcing them to re-examine their priorities. But will love, even love at first sight, be enough for them to move forward as a couple?
please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect
You are listening to book clips a mini podcast in which authors and erasers do readings from novels check out the show notes for the synopsis and by links for this book prologue it was her daily routine to get up dress and comb her hair before making her way to the playground before that it was the park bench the one across from the daycare and before that albeit for a short time it was the neonatal unit routines her psychiatrist had said they were good for her he’d said they were the key to getting better and she wanted to get better she had to get better so she did as he suggested she got up each morning by 10 o’clock dressed in a floral print cotton dress and combed her long black hair 13 strokes no more no less she did everything that he suggested except one thing staying away from her even the court orders barring her from the house the neonatal unit the daycare and the playground couldn’t make her do that good morning the teacher said dust wafting as he dropped home plate can I help you with something no wabun responded remembering to smile and make eye contact I played softball as a girl I was just admiring your diamond thanks he said pitcher’s mound needs some work I guess that’ll be tonight’s project looks good the way it is robin said remembering to smile but not too broadly I’ll bet you’re setting up for your next class she added care if I sit on the bench not at all he responded fourth-graders a couple of the girls are decent they’re fun to watch he smiled stepping off to position bases one two and three as his students emerged single-file from the red brick two-story building Robin leaned forward her gaze fixed on the tallest girl in the class shame on them she thought cutting her beautiful black locks so that she looks like a boy she touched her stomach in response to a healthy kick carrying high she was expecting a girl her second daughter her heart pounded against her chest wall as the group of children began counting off 1 2 1 2 1 the tall masculine looking girl called out Robin’s eyes teamed with tears her breath catching in her throat it was the first time in all these years that she’d gotten close enough to hear her voice chapter 1 Aki’s gaze shifted from the road to the water and back to the road pay attention to your driving she told herself there’s little to no chance that you’re related to anyone on that pontoon boat but there it was right behind the house puttering along with it’s bright red canopy six seats and three people on board a man a woman and a teenage girl he could be her husband she thought squinting her head touching the driver’s window and the girl could be their daughter she bit her lower lip reflecting on the things she’d learned about jackie’ll in Camden these past few months her name her birthdate her address and her place of employment she’d even read articles about her involvement in a widely publicized dispute over the use of pesticides but with all of that she didn’t know anything of importance not if her hair was long and black not if she was healthy not if she was married and not if she had a child or children as her tires rumbled from the bridge to the blacktop she stole a glance over her shoulder the boat was still there still moseying along the shoreline a horn blaring in the distance she blinked and the clangor was on top of her she jerked her wheel the wide-eyed driver swerving around he glared giving her the finger as he passed by her window she took a deep breath her heart pounding against her chest wall her blood pressure felt high she was sweating and her thoughts were jumbled in a fighter flight situation the hypothalamus signals the release of adrenaline and other stress hormones she blew air between her lips pulled over and willed her body to wind down minutes passed before she made her way through the beautiful red brick columns your destination is on your left the female voice announced in a matter-of-fact tone a tone unworthy of what was about to transpire a key slowed her tongues seeking out moisture as if it were a defining rod she activated her signal navigating the driveway beautifully rustic the house had stacked stone handsome wooden shakes and a porch surrounding its front and sides it was the kind of house that one day when her student loans were paid off she’d build for herself she took a long drink of water you still have time she thought time to back out and drive off go in and this gets far more complicated she pursed her lips knowing that driving off wasn’t an option she couldn’t just go back to her hotel not after the dreams not after all she’d gone through to find her and God knows how long it would be before she’d be able to get back to this part of the country as a newly hired physician time off would be hard to come by you could always accept a position here she told herself she had no guarantee of an offer but felt it highly probable to date 90% of her interviews had resulted in one she took a breath exited her car and walked the cobblestone sidewalk you don’t know that she’ll want you in her life she reminded herself stepping onto the porch and if she doesn’t do you really want to set up your practice in Illinois a state known for corn fields and soybeans she shook her head responding no given her druthers she’d practiced near Los Angeles a sprawling metropolis known for its diversity and Mediterranean climate she’d gone to high school in Torrance just 18 miles south a couple of miles from the ocean it would be hard to settle for another part of the country especially one known for corn fields and soybeans her shoulders tightened lifting her finger to the doorbell she swallowed at the sound of footsteps skidding to a halt you’re not my grandma the little girl blurted out opening the door she was supposed to be here by now like a key the child had long black hair dark eyes and high Bonz no a key responded smiling I’m definitely not your grandma she lowered to her eye level I’m here to see your mommy if she’s home she is the child answered she’s in the basement feeding our dogs she pressed her lips together frowning she said I have to leave you on the porch until she gets up here she tilted her head making seriously cute iContact but you don’t have to worry she added she said it wouldn’t be very long I’m not worried ackee chuckled the longer she takes the longer you and I get to talk she held her gaze warmly my name is a key she added what’s yours Lizzy the little girl responded her eyes twinkling in her smile what a pretty name ackee commented I’ll bet it’s short for Elizabeth it is Lizzy giggled that’s what my grandma goes by elizabeth is a wonderful name a key set seeing her five-year-old self in her eyes but I think I like Lizzy better meets you Lizzy said smiling my mama says Elizabeth is too formal a name for someone with as charming a personality as mine I’d say your mama’s right a key responded chuckling what a cutie she thought her mind still absorbing the likelihood that they were related to one another so she teased I’ll bet you’re in high school right was he giggled again no she said kindergarten I just started she furrowed her brow my mommy says she’s gonna blink and Dalby in college seems like your mommy’s a pretty smart woman ackee commented her eyes widening with her nod AHA she is Lizzy responded so kindergarten ackee continued pensively it’s a fantastic grade you’ll like it I already do Lizzy answered clearly bored with the topic he liked my dress she asked swaying so that the lower ruffles lifted up I do ackee answered adding and your pink sequined leotards Lizzy twirled saying she picked out the outfit you did a good job Bob aqui responded I really like it she looked up when a woman in her mid forties stepped into the foyer she had shoulder length auburn hair curled under and green eyes a red-haired boy maybe as much as a year younger than Lizzy came up beside her like Lizzy he was adorable sporting pleated Navy shorts a pinstriped blue shirt and a bowtie he blushed when she caught his eye Lizzy was probably going to a party with him and his mother hello the woman greeted her eyes narrowing as she studied her may I help you hello aqui answered never as much a loss for words as she was right now my name is aqui Williams Courtney the woman said extending her hand pleased to meet you aqui responded sucking in a breath you don’t know me she continued but Courtney lifted her hand saying hold on a minute she placed her palm on each child’s shoulder with eye contact I want you to go into the living room while I talk with our visitor she said softly she cocked her head lifting an eyebrow if you’d like she continued pausing for both to become attentive you may choose one small gift from your pile and open it now the little boy asked his green eyes enlarging to the size of saucers before everybody gets here for cake and ice cream yes charlie Courtney responded kissing the top of his head unless you’re concerned that I’ve made a poor decision in allowing it come on Lizzy urged taking the boy by his hand before she changes her mind she called out nice to meet you as they rounded the corner you to a key called back cute kids she commented meeting Courtney’s eye with a smile thanks Courtney responded and sorry for the interruption she added you were saying I was explaining that you don’t know me ackee answered and preparing to apologize for showing up without calling she took a soft breath and exhaled I assure you that under normal circumstances that’s not how I operate Courtney cocked her head studying her I’m looking for a woman by the name of Jackie in Camden aqui continued Native American several years older than I am I hope I met the right house you are Courtney responded adding Jax my wife she increased the width of the opening in the doorway she’ll be home shortly come in Thanks aqui responded reminding herself to breathe as she stepped into the foyer chapter 2 interesting Courtney thought reading her guests with the skill of an accomplished trial lawyer she knows Jack well enough to know her middle name a name she hasn’t used since high school and yet she was surprised that she had a wife she smiled kindly glancing into the living room to check on her children they play well together a key commented stepping beside her yes they do Courtney said quietly but not always this well she looked over her glasses to me tackies I pure luck that they both opened a toy on their wish list had one opened a package containing clothing well it would be a different story ackee laughed nodding I’m sure it would she responded nothing worse than ripping open a beautifully wrapped package to find cotton underwear Courtney chuckled no I guess not she responded feeling lighter you have kids she asked smiling a key pressed her lips together looking off no she said quietly but someday I hope to she took a breath changing the subject so what’s the occasion she asked I assume it’s someone’s birthday Charlie’s Courtney responded winking when she caught his eye he’ll be four at 8:16 tonight at eight sixteen McKee responded alright alright Courtney answered with a quiet chuckle I admit it I’m clinging to the time I have left being the mother of a three-year-old she shook her head her tone taking on a nostalgic quality it seems like just yesterday that Jack buckled him into his car seat for his first trip home from the hospital they grow up fast like he replied kindly yes they do Courtney responded with a shallow sigh a key nodded toward the coffee table two piles she commented one rapt for a girl and the other for a boy you got them both something always have Courtney responded that’s nice ickey said her voice softening and her eyes sparkling in her smile it makes your celebration of a birthday a celebration of family it does Courtney responded warmth radiating through her body Lizzie made out like a bandit this year two gifts from Charlie and one from us he got her a chewing gum lab she shook her head looking over her glasses thank goodness she didn’t open that one while we were talking she added right half had gum all over my new white carpet the goddess Fortuna looked kindly upon you a key responded smiling yes she did Courtney chuckled stepping over to her peacock green granite countertop care for a cup of coffee she asked I’ve got lots of flavors regular and decaf I’d love one ickey responded sliding a high back chair from underneath the kitchen table and sitting down anything with chocolate Cortney looked over lifting the top of her Keurig coffee maker so how do you know my wife she asked popping in a mocha cake op I don’t ackee responded sucking a breath to the bottom of her lungs I’ve just wanted to for the longest time Jack moved across the lecture hall sitting momentarily on the edge of the windowsill raise your hand she said if you remember the flurry of headlines several years back telling us that if we didn’t take immediate action the bees were going to die she scanned noting that many students had their hand held high well let me tell you she went on that situation was far worse than was ever reported I know because my work was at the center of the controversy she walked to the large desk situated near the podium returning with a stack of documents stapled in the upper left-hand corner as the crisis was heating up she went on I authored several articles against the directive of my superiors all published in leading scientific journals she counted enough for each row handing them to the student on the aisle in those articles I summarized my research findings findings that once made public sounded an alarm that reverberate it from one end of the country to the other she swallowed adding my actions nearly got me fired a young woman wearing a t-shirt and shorts raised her hand jack glanced at her seating chart calling on her why dr. Camden she asked why did you do it if it meant maybe losing your job Jack removed her glasses trying not to relive the pain of the times a short answer because it was the right thing to do she responded because bee colonies were collapsing all over the world her voice quieted so much so that the shuffling of feet and bookbags on the wooden floor fell silent it wasn’t something I wanted to do she added I’m not usually one to cause trouble but I had to because no one else was stepping up to confront our governments dishonesty the people had a right to know what was at stake apples lemons limes melons zucchini onions carrots the list goes on and on she looked up I was afraid that the world’s food supply would disappear before my eyes she took a breath and exhaled I stepped up because I was terrified that if I didn’t there would be no pollinators so if it was that bad another student asked why did your boss say you couldn’t talk about it Jack took a breath trying to push her wife’s role in the situation out of mind because high-ranking officials many of whom were under the enticement of powerful companies and lobbyists in the pesticide industry decided that withholding the information was better for business she exhaled checking her notes and decided to wrap up 15 minutes early can anyone tell me what was causing the colonies to collapse she asked as she scanned for a volunteer she caught sight of her old friend stepping through the rear door of her classroom come in dr. Linden she said smiling warmly we are just finishing up Carson nodded raking through her short crop of brown hair as she made her way to take a seat the podium so who can tell me jack continued who can tell me why the bee colonies were collapsing she nodded to a brown haired woman in the second row Miz Ashe because they were using neonicotinoids on crops like crazy back then she responded yes they were Jack said nodding Agriculture’s use of neonicotinoids neonics was without a doubt responsible for the problem she switched off her powerpoint her read the articles and chapter 2 in your supplemental textbook she said exhaling as her students filed out I told you that you were meant to teach Carson greeted adjusting her lightweight jacket and judging from your packed lecture hall I’d say the students are excited about your new pollinator curriculum so far so good Jack responded you’re a natural Carson said sitting on the desk with one foot on the floor and the other dangling Jack shook her head I’m not so sure about that she responded but I’m trying you are Carson insisted never seen you tackle anything that you didn’t end up doing well a month in and still there’s a steep learning curve Jack responded developing a curriculum teaching grading midterms and finals are all new to me at least in my old job I felt like I knew what I was doing first semester jitters Carson responded patting her back you’ll get over them next semester you’ll be an old pro hope so Jack said shaking her head with a smile still plan on working us in for cake and ice cream tonight wouldn’t miss it for the world Carson answered but I won’t be able to stay too long I want to get the campsite set up tonight students aren’t due until 3:00 but experience says they’ll start arriving by 9:00 she looked up you guys still coming you bet we are Jack answered but we’re not leaving until late tomorrow morning Charlie’s so excited she added you know getting to go on a dig with a real archeologist Yeah right Carson responded rolling her eyes an archaeologist who just happens to be his godmother and dig with me and a bunch of freshmen oh yeah that’s gonna be exciting she exhaled meeting Jax I I’m sure if you’d have asked him he’d have said he preferred his usual trip to Disney World don’t be so sure Jack responded he is pretty into old bones plus last year he seemed kind of bored this will be something different I think he’ll have fun maybe so Carson said but I doubt his mother will I’ll bet she’s never not once in her life slept in a tent or used an outhouse no Jack chuckled but the experience will be good for her I must admit it did take a bit of talking though that’s and I had to agree to make lunches and feed the dogs for all of November I figured you’d pay a price Carson said thanks for being a good pal she crinkled her brow adding I’m surprised she didn’t bargain a little harder oh she bargained hard alright Jack said raising an eyebrow it’s just that she had a gigantic debt to pay off she made a face remember when out of the goodness of my heart I escorted Elizabeth to the Spring Gala at the Country Club yep that looked painful Carson responded Oh for the good old days when she’d have sooner died than have people know that I was her daughter-in-law Jack added her eyes widening Gertrude and I we never had problems she responded her gaze becoming unfocused always did enjoy one another’s company yeah I remember that year she spent Christmas with you guys Jack said smiling it was easy to tell she was crazy about you she was Carson said pressing her lips together and nodding still is I should get up to see her one of these days she lifted her eyes it’s just hard you know I mean it’s like we don’t have anything to talk about anymore she shook her head adding just the accident what flowers we have on the graves and that’s about all it takes time jack responded with a gentle touch on her shoulder it’ll be three years on Sunday Carson said swallowing I know Jack responded and that’s why you’ll be entertaining company I’m okay Carson answered meeting her I really I am you don’t have to go I know Jack said touching her arm but I want to it’ll be fun and Charlie will love it she took a soft breath holding her gaze gently you’re still not dating pal and the accident well it’s always on your mind I date Carson countered yeah sure Jack responded I date Carson repeated I date when it feels right she shook her head slowly and with regard to the accident the funerals and all that followed I’m not sure that’ll ever completely leave my mind she shook her head looking off I mean I lost my wife and my parents that day I don’t think that’s something you ever totally get over no Jack said softly probably not you have been listening to book clips check out the show notes for the synopsis and by links for this book if you are interested in showcasing your novel then check out the show notes for more information