What Had to Be Done


A Thursday teaser from the novel

By DelSheree Gladden

I’m lacing my sneaker back up when voices drift over the boulders. I recognize them immediately.

“No, man. Don’t bitch at me. I’m just asking a question.”

“It sounds like you’re judging me.”

“She’s my sister, Felix.”


“So, I want to know why the sudden change of heart. Leah has been after you for forever and you’ve never given her the time of day before. Now you’re all over her.”

“No, I’m not,” Felix snaps. “I had my arm around her waist. No big deal.”

“For you, it’s a big deal. You haven’t dated anyone I’m aware of in three years. Every time I try to fix you up, you say it was fine or okay and never call the girl back. Now you want to hang with Leah?”

“What? You don’t want me to date your sister?”

Carlos growls in frustration. “Date her all you want! As long as you’re not playing her.”

I feel my own hands tense up at Carlos’s accusation. Felix would never do that to a girl.

“I’m not. I’ve always thought Leah was great. I guess I just wasn’t interested in dating before now.”

“Now you are?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“You’re ready to date anyone, or just Leah?” Carlos asks.

For a moment, Felix is silent and I wonder if he’s going to answer. When he does, I wish he would have kept his mouth shut.

“I’m ready to date anyone but Anna.”

Carlos sighs. “Whatever, man. Just be nice to my sister. If you’re not serious, don’t let her think you are.”

“I won’t.”

Whatever they say after that, I don’t hear it. I don’t want to. I want to sit here and wallow. Lacey has other plans. Her hand reaches down for me and, when I take it halfheartedly, she yanks me up off the ground. My eyes survey the area for any others we might accidently eavesdrop on. Nobody.

“Quick question,” Lacey says, making my stomach sink to my toes. “Are you reconsidering the Batman lifestyle at this point? If so, you realize you’re going to be spending a lot of time with Isabel, don’t you? I met her the other day. No offense, but she’s not my favorite person.”

I laugh, and find I can’t stop. Lacey stares at me like I’ve totally lost it. I probably have. Through my giggling, I say, “I don’t think Isa is anyone’s favorite person. Except maybe my dad’s. And as much as I want to make it through summer without coming face to face with Felix again, Batgirl has officially hung up her cape. I can’t take anymore quality Isa time.”

“Good, ’cause even though you can pull off a bikini pretty well, nobody looks good in spandex costumes.”

“Very true,” I laugh.

“I never knew Felix was such a prick, though.”

I shake my head. “He’s not.”

“Oh, he definitely is. Did you hear what he said about you?”

I nod. Every word. Everything about our last couple encounters is engrained on my brain forever.

“You aren’t seriously standing up for him, are you? He said he’d date anyone but you, like you’re a goddamn leper or something. Any guy who talked about me like that would get a pool cue to their gut.”

What Had to be Done

Everyone has bad days. Anna Elizondo is going on three years of bad days.

It started with her mother’s illness and eventual death, continued with a decision that ruined a friendship, and culminated in her father announcing they were broke and moving away right before her senior year of high school.

Maybe a fresh start will turn things around. Or maybe it will put her face to face with her former best friend, Felix, and the hatred in he still carries for her.

The only bright spot in Anna’s move to Santa Fe is meeting her new swim coach, a long-time hero who has big plans for her athletic career. The pool is her refuge, but she can’t hide there forever.

Living in a small town makes it impossible to stay out of Felix’s way, and unlikely their history will remain just between them for long. If Anna can’t find a way to make things at least tolerable with Felix, it’s going to be a very long summer.

DelSheree Gladden

DelSheree Gladden

was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool, but she had already taught herself to read.

Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting and perfecting it before having it published.

Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their seventeen cousins close by. When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and trying not to get bitten by small children in her work as a dental hygienist.

Check out her latest books, get updates and sneak peeks of new projects at

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For January 2021, it’s D.G. Torrens Tears of Endurance

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