The South Winds
by Allison Mullinax
Fiery Seas Everlasting
August 7, 2018
Cassie Ray, manager of her family’s successful oyster house, has never asked for much out of life. The sun, surf, and sand are her companions. The regulars and tourists that flock to The Slippery Oyster are her livelihood. But when the Atlantic kicks up a hurricane, sending waves of black water threatening the coast, Cassie quickly learns that the south winds have blown in a lot more than debris and saltwater.
Dean Alexander left Turquoise Isle eight years ago and never looked back. With his sister’s wedding approaching, and a hurricane churning in the Gulf, Dean returns home, where he’s welcomed with a riptide of memories determined to pull him under.
Will Cassie and Dean make it through the crashing waves of the past? Will they get a second chance before it’s too late or will the storm ahead be too much for them to handle?
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About the Author:
North Alabama native, Allison Mullinax, grew up in the small lake town of Guntersville, AL. She discovered the escapism and addiction of writing at an early age. Today she remains a lover of reading, all things outdoors, and spending time with her husband and three daughters.
THE SOUTH WINDS by ALLISON MULLINAX
EXCERPT #1 – CHAPTER ONE
The baritone blast of a semi-truck horn jerks me out of a daydream. Cutting my eyes to the driver of the eighteen-wheeler hell bent on keeping me in the right lane, I’m greeted with his middle finger and scowling face. He’ll just have to be pissed off. We’re stranded together in a sea of red brake lights stretching an entire mile. I’m not getting bumper to bumper in my Audi.
I blink back a memory better left alone, the recollection of freckles along Cassie’s collarbone fading. Don’t do it, man. Don’t let your mind run away with you. It’s just one weekend.
Of all the places I want to be battling five o’clock traffic to get to, Turquoise Isle isn’t one of them. I’ve managed to avoid my hometown for eight years, but leave it to my sister to find a way to drag me back to the coast.
“…and Hurricane Diana is approaching the Caribbean, expecting to make landfall in the gulf as a Category Two…”
I’m unsure if the piercing, nasal tone of the meteorologist on the radio is worth the weather update, but I guess it’d be a good idea to see what kind of shit-storm I’m driving into. As I inch forward a few feet in traffic, keeping a safe distance from the beat-up, soccer-mom van in front of me, I turn up the volume.
“…with total rainfall predictions of ten to fifteen inches and sustained winds of up to one hundred miles per hour…”
Curling my upper lip, I peek out my car window at the sun rays bearing down on the Alabama highway.
“…capable of major roof and structural damage, along with uprooted trees and power outages that can last anywhere from a few days to weeks…”
Blah blah blah. All I know is they’ve never met Cassie Ray, or seen the devastation she left in her path. My hand instinctively rubs at the center of my chest, and I reach for the foil pack of Tums sitting in my cup holder.
It’s just one weekend.
The buzz of my cell phone vibrates the unused pennies resting on the center console. I pop a fruit-punch flavored antacid in my mouth, and smile at the picture of me and my sister Julia lighting up my screen. She’s in her college graduation gown, draped in crimson from head to toe. Her black curls are smooshed neatly under her cap, while mine flipped at the nape of my neck, drenched in sweat. Her wide grin stretches across her face, and my arm is slung lazily over her shoulder. God, it had been hot that day. I remember sitting with Mom, my white linen shirt sticking to my back, catching the momentary breeze from the makeshift fan she’d made with the graduation pamphlet. I remember the way her eyes had welled up as Jules had made her way across the stage. Mostly, I remember wanting to get back home and out of Dodge before Mom started begging me to visit more often.
Leaning forward, I hit the accept button on my dash. “Hey, Jules,” I say, looking over my right shoulder, still waiting for my turn to get in the fast lane. The driver of the semi-truck smirks and shakes his head, determined to put me, with my nice car, in my place.
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