“Little Pretty Things,” by Lori Rader-Day
Juliet Townsend spends her days cleaning up after the mysterious guests who stay overnight in the Mid-Night Inn—unfaithful husbands, billionaire businessmen, and vacationers who cannot drive another mile without falling asleep. It seems as if Juliet’s life will never amount to much outside of cleaning the hotel until an old friend and rival from high school, Maddy Bell, walks through the door late one night. Juliet can’t help but be resentful of everything Maddy has become—that is, until Maddy’s body is found dead the next morning. Suddenly Juliet finds herself in the middle of a murder case…and she’s the number one suspect.
“A Hard and Heavy Thing,” by Matthew J. Hefti
After a long deployment in Iraq, retired army sergeant Levi comes home to a vastly different world than the one he left behind. Levi finds himself rewarded for his bravery despite a mistake that caused the death of several friends. He can’t live with the guilt he feels. Intending to commit suicide, Levi begins writing a letter to his best friend and fellow soldier, Nick, as a way to express his reasons for dying. As this letter takes him on a journey of self-reflection, Levi slowly begins to discover new reasons to live.
“Almost Crimson,” by Dasha Kelly
Hardship shadows Cece’s life as young child after Cece’s father leaves her and her mother, who then spirals into a crippling depression. As she grows up, Cece has to take on many chores that her mother cannot do and deals with the struggles of growing up with very little maternal assistance. As she matures into an adult, Cece finds it difficult to establish a life outside of caring for her sick mother, and she strives to discover a way to find herself, while still caring for her codependent mother.