COVER REVEAL & EXCERPT: Label Me Proud by Stephie Walls
We’ve been best friends since we were five: Beau, Masyn, and me.
But nothing’s as simple as it seems. Relationships change and so do people. Especially now. With Beau getting married, and a new girl in town, it’s time to confess. I’m in love with my best friend.
…And I think I’m too late.
📆 March 15th
Felicity and Beau greeted each person at the door and thanked them for coming. His parents were next in the welcome wagon, and I thought the whole thing was strange. This girl had more personalities than Sybil. I could only guess what her mother had said to her, or better yet, Beau’s mother. Mrs. Chastain reigned supreme in these parts. She was head of every women’s committee in the county, did countless hours of volunteering, led the church bizarre, and put on the town’s fall festival every year. She was as Southern as apple pie and moonshine, right down to the accent and the debutante balls.
“Masyn, dear, you look lovely tonight. Hopefully, I’ll be attending your wedding in the near future.” Mrs. Chastain turned her attention to me. “Don’t wait too long, Lee. Someone might sweep her out from under you.”
Dear God, this woman had been hitting the sauce already. “We’re not dating, Mrs. Chastain,” I reminded her for about the hundredth time in six years.
Masyn had been wrapped up in the arms of Mr. Chastain while my conversation continued with his wife.
“Fiddlesticks. Just because you don’t label it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.” She waved her hand at me and grinned. “Seriously, Lee. Your mother would roll over in her grave to know you hadn’t made an honest woman out of Masyn.”
I wouldn’t know. My mother had died when I was three, and I remembered very little about her. My father struggled to raise me after she passed away. Not because he couldn’t support us financially—he never stopped grieving her loss. To this day, it controlled him. I finally convinced him, after I graduated, to move to the city and get out of this town where memories bogged him down like quicksand. He seemed a bit happier now that he didn’t live in the past, but I could only attest to what he told me since I didn’t see him much.
“I’ll take that into consideration, Mrs. Chastain.” I loved Beau’s mom. She’d been meddling in my love life since we were kids; I didn’t expect her to stop now. Luckily, she’d done the same to Masyn. Oddly, she never pushed Masyn toward Beau. Even as little kids, she coupled the two of us.
She leaned in and kissed my cheek. “Don’t drink too much tonight. You hear me?”
“Yes, ma’am.” I stopped myself from striking a rigid pose and saluting her. I’d been smacked enough for one day.
A tug on my arm finally pulled me through the line of greetings. If it had been anyone else, I might have bitched about them being rude. That tiny hand was as familiar as the smell of motor oil. Masyn could drag me anywhere she wanted to go, and I’d follow willingly.
Masyn laced her fingers with mine and clutched her side with the other. “I’m starving. Please tell me this is a buffet and we don’t have to wait for a seated dinner.”
I raised my eyebrows and let her form her own opinion. A buffet—that was laughable. I would have a buffet—or hell, maybe even a barbeque. Beau Chastain would not. And I doubted Felicity even knew what one was. “How about a drink, instead?”
“You shouldn’t drink on an empty stomach.”
She was right; I shouldn’t. But we both knew I would. This wasn’t my social scene, regardless of the fact I’d grown up in it. I spent more time with Beau’s family than I did my own. When my dad flaked out, the Chastains picked up the slack. And somehow, Masyn fit into the majority of my childhood memories as well. Her family was good as gold, and they welcomed me the same way the Chastains had. In some ways, my mother dying left me with two others and three fathers. I picked up Masyn’s three brothers and Beau, Bodie, and Braden as well. No one ever knew the Porters and Chastains came from different social standings—and in my opinion, thatwas the sign of true class. Felicity didn’t stand a chance of fitting in with the likes of Beverly Chastain.
“You’re going to anyhow, aren’t you?” The pout that formed on her lips almost had me giving in. Almost. If she’d pressed those plump lips to mine, I would become an active leader in a movement toward prohibition.
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Meet The Author: Stephie Walls
Stephie Walls is a literary whore - she loves words in all forms and will read anything put in front of her. She has an affinity for British Literature and Romance novels and an overall love of writing. She currently has nine novels out, four short stories, and has collaborated in several anthologies/collections with other authors; all provocatively written to elicit your imagination and spice up your world.
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