A Portrait for Toni
by Annette Lyon
Toni has no idea what she’d do without her best friend, Carter. Who else would she be able to vent to about her parents, her job at the dance studio, or her latest relationship woes? When Toni’s father lands in the hospital, Carter, as always, is there for her.
That is, until he starts questioning Toni, saying he thinks she has an eating disorder. Then she starts dating Clint, the hot new guy at the studio, and somehow that puts a deeper wedge between her and Carter. When she’s hospitalized after an on-stage collapse, and Carter stupidly starts in with advice about food and weight, she sends him away—then instantly regrets it.
One night after a performance, Toni tries to mend the hurt between them. She goes to visit Carter at work, in his art classroom at the high school. She doesn’t see him there, and instead, she stumbles onto proof that he has feelings for her that go way beyond those of a friend. Toni is left with the very real prospect of losing Carter forever, unless somehow she can return his feelings—but that’s impossible.
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Grunting with frustration, Carter tossed the pieces of the useless paintbrush into the garbage can under the counter and left the other two by the sink. He grabbed a rag and wiped remaining paint thinner off his hands as he strode over to his phone, where there was indeed a message waiting for him. Then with trepidation, he sat at his desk to listen to the message. He tossed the rag aside and picked up his phone.
“Hey, it’s me. I’m in a bind and hope you can help me out. It’s the dance studio’s annual Valentine’s Day party, and my date bailed on me. Thing is, if I don’t bring a date, Allen will never let me hear the end of it. Party starts at eight thirty. I’d really appreciate it if you’d be my plus one. Call me back as soon as you get this, ’kay? Love ya.” With a click, the message ended.
Love ya. He heard that often. What he wanted to hear was I love you, Carter. I’m in love with you. Or something remotely in the ballpark.
His phone was silent, but he kept it against his ear, eyes closed, as he pressed the fingers of his other hand against his eyes.
He should tell her no, because at this rate, she’d start thinking that he was always the easy fallback. She needed to realize that he had a life outside of her. That…
Who was he kidding? He’d known the second he heard her ring that he’d do whatever she needed. He pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it, willing it to send a text with the right words. Something. Anything.
Wow!! What a book!!! Annette Lyon has done it again! This was a phenomenal book loaded with emotions and introspection. The main character deals with an eating disorder and the mental challenges that go along with it in a beautiful, respectful, and thought-provoking way. It got me thinking about a lot of different things and even brought to me to tears – I felt like I was experiencing the story along with the characters. –Emily Fawcett, Amazon review
This book has it all. Friendship, romance, angst, confusion, laughing, crying, relationships, realizations. I would recommend this to anyone wanting a fantastic read without all the XXX/erotica. Fabulous real story. –Melissa, Amazon review
Author Annette Lyon
Annette Lyon is a USA Today bestselling author, a 5-time Best of State medalist for novels and short stories in Utah, and a Whitney Award winner. She’s had success as a professional editor and in newspaper, magazine, and technical writing, but her first love has always been writing fiction. She’s a cum laude graduate from BYU with a degree in English and is the author of over a dozen books, including the Whitney Award-winning Band of Sisters, a chocolate cookbook, and a grammar guide. She is a regular contributor to and the former editor of the Timeless Romance Anthology series. She has received five publication awards from the League of Utah Writers, including the Silver Quill, and she’s one of the four coauthors of the Newport Ladies Book Club series. Annette is represented by Heather Karpas at ICM Partners.
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