Daisy Payton has everything.
But perfection comes at a high cost, and Daisy is wilting. Determined to use college as her chance to bloom anew, she’s focused on only one thing, leaving the Payton name behind and forging her own path—even if she has to tell the teeniest of fibs to do it.
Trevor Boone has nothing.
Abandoned as a child.
Raised by distant relatives.
Constantly reminded he’s a burden.
Trevor’s lived at the edges of opulence for years, having all he’s ever desired dangled just out of reach. But his ambition is finally about to pay off and nothing will distract him from his goal—finishing college top of his class and starting life, on his own terms.
When Daisy and Trevor meet it’s clear from the start that they’ll tempt each other to distraction, can they learn to put their ambitions aside and fall or will they lose it all?
‘Upsy Daisy’ is a full-length romance that can be read as a standalone.
This is thin the Higher Learning series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.
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If you are a fan of the Winston Brothers series, then you know how much of a role Daisy Payton has played in the series. When it was announced that Daisy would have her own book in the Green Valley world of books, I couldn’t wait to uncover what layers Daisy’s story would add to this saga. It seems Daisy’s story dropped us back into the world of the 70’s in a time when women were paving their way in the world. Daisy was no exception.
When diving headfirst in the story, I found myself growing bored very easily. With such high expectations for one single character, the lack of connection really threw me for a loop. I have always pictured Daisy of a pillar of strength and individuality in the Winston Brothers series, but I feel Daisy’s journey with Trevor lacked the impact I was looking for. What transpired was two individuals trying to live up to family legacies but leaving me feeling a bit ‘empty’.
There were things throughout the story that nit picked at me. When writing during a different age in history, I expect the author to correctly write about the signs of the time. Little things like having a juice fountain in an era where that wasn’t really a ‘thing’ drove me nuts. I hope going forward, Edwards can find a nice balance with allowing her storyline to be reflective of the time period.
While this was a ‘sweet’ story, it just missed the mark on what I expect for a character that has captivated me throughout the Winston Brothers world. Therefore – an ‘okay’ story is ranking middle of the road for me.
My room was small with pale yellow walls, one window on the far wall, two closets, two raised beds, and a single dresser. I’d beaten my roommate there and claimed the bed closest to the window. We’d made quick work of the cleaning and had gotten a good way through the decorating and hanging my clothes before Dolly flopped on the bed and called me to sit next to her.
I knew what was coming next. It was one of my favorite Dolly speeches. It was the “Today You Become a Woman” speech. My conservative guess was I’d become a woman twenty-three times in the last few years. It’d happened when I’d gotten my driver’s license, when I’d gotten asked to the junior prom, when I’d gone to the senior prom, graduation day … you get the drift. Dolly was good with marking milestones with big speeches.
She’d begin gently but I knew it wouldn’t stay gentle for very long, she would poke and pry and try to get me to cry and suddenly I was tired and ready for her to go.
“Do you like your room?” she asked innocuously.
I nodded, because I knew she hated when I nodded. Instead of reacting she simply stared and stared until I said, “Yes, it’s nice, a bit small for two people but I’m sure my roommate will be nice and we will make do,” I said it more hoping than knowing.
Dolly smiled, and then after a moment said, “Don’t be angry with your father …”
I stared at her confused, waiting for her to go on. She seemed to be struggling for words and so I patted her leg reassuringly. “Don’t worry, I’ll write him a letter. Or better yet, I think I saw a pay phone at the end of the hall, I’ll call him and tell him I’m not angry he couldn’t make the trip.”
She sighed. “No, Daisy, I know you’re not angry over that.”
There was another pause and she took a deep breath. “Daddy wanted to surprise you. He thought you might be more comfortable in your own room here since you have your own room at home.”
I continued to stare at her. “He called in a favor with one of his friends at the Alumni Association and they made special accommodations for you … someone will be by to collect the extra bed—”
“No,” I said more forcefully than I intended. I wasn’t angry with Dolly.
Although she had kept this from me until now, so maybe I should’ve been. In fact I definitely should’ve been.
“Dolly, why didn’t you tell me?”
“I knew it would make you upset. There is no use trying to change what’s done.”
“No use? Would make me upset? I am way past upset. I don’t want special accommodations. I don’t want my own room. I don’t want to be treated differently,” I hollered.
“Daisy, calm down. This isn’t the end of the world.”
How could I explain that it wasn’t the end of the world, it was a continuation of the same world.
And that was the problem.
I wanted to be Daisy Payton here, not Daisy Payton.
Because Daisy Payton played a mean game of spades, and knew how to cornrow in every direction. She had a natural head for figures, and could even do three digit multiplication in her head. She loved the Temptations and could cut a rug on the dance floor with the best of them. She could bake better than your eighty-five-year-old granny. She studied geography for fun. She got a four-point-oh during the worst year of her life. She was good with potted plants but terrible in the garden; weeds were foes she could not defeat. She’d been kissed twice. Once was awful and once was amazing, so amazing that she did it again, and then again—so really four times, but three of the kisses happened in one session. And she wanted opportunities to roll that fifty-fifty dice again to find out how the next kiss would be.
But Daisy Payton?
Daisy Payton had a powerful father. (That poor man.)
Daisy Payton was a rich girl. (She’s not but it doesn’t matter if people think you are.)
She had a dead brother, who got murdered in Vietnam. (What a useless war.)
Daisy Payton had a mother who was there and then *poof* was gone from breast cancer. (Poor Daisy.)
Daisy Payton went from rich girl to poor girl. Poor little rich girl that everyone looked at with pity.
And she hated it.
She hated that everyone, everyone thought they knew her.
She hated the assumption that if they hurt with her, or worse, for her, then it made the pain better, as if that made it the entire community’s pain; when it absolutely didn’t.
She hated that she still read and reread the letters from her brother. Some of the pages had wrinkles from being crumpled in fits of anger because oh, she was so angry when he left. And then she felt guilty and stupid and horrified that she’d almost destroyed his letters when they were all that was left. Some were starting to show signs of age, yellow in some spots and the ink fading in others, and she hated that too because how could so much time have passed without him?
And she hated that her mother had been helping her shop for homecoming dresses and was buried before Thanksgiving. It had spread so fast.
No junior prom dress shopping. No junior prom.
She barely remembered her senior year.
She hated that her friends and family and perfect strangers spoke to her in hushed tones and assumed she was broken.
She hated that they were right.
Because the ache inside her was relentless. It constantly missed her brother. It constantly missed her mother. It would not abate. It could not be moved. She was thoroughly, horribly, broken and all that brokenness was put up for examination by an entire town. That just couldn’t happen here.
For the whole of her life, the whole of Green Valley had treated her differently, and she absolutely hated it.
But she wasn’t in Green Valley now. And Daisy Payton had a plan.
About Chelsie Edwards
Chelsie Edwards’ mother declared her a smarty-pants at 4 years old; now she gets to be one professionally. She manages project timelines by day and book timelines by night. She resides in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and has no dogs, fish, or birds, but her neighbors cat “Buddy” keeps her company by sunbathing on her porch.