She's going to be fine, but it's been a cruddy day, let's just leave it that.
My post was going to be about "covers" since I did my cover reveal last week. I'm going to save that post for next time, because I just don't have the time/energy/mental capacity to do it justice at the moment.
I was going to do a "repeat" post, but eh, I'm waiting for doctors to come and figured I'd write a quick post to fill the time.
Oh what the heck. I'm gonna go a bit different today.
My novella, A Side of Faith, is releasing on August 18th.
So... what say you that I post a little sneak peak... say the first scene.... below?
Would that be okay?
If you said no, then stop reading now.
Otherwise, here ya go. A sneak peak, and note: I'm still finishing up editing, so this is NOT final and is subject to have a few mistakes still in it, so please forgive me and don't judge the final copy by that!
achel Carter stood with her hands on her hips, confronting the blank wall. Its stark white canvas screamed, “Paint me, paint me!”
She’d spent the last two days covering it with goo and scraping away at heinous “welcome to the 80’s” floral wallpaper. Now her living room walls were primed and ready to attack with color.
She grabbed the scrunchie from her wrist and pulled back her mass of dark brown curls and twirled it into a messy bun to get it out of the way. Stooping down, Rachel picked up the large three-inch brush and dipped it in plum-colored paint, allowing the liquid to soak into the fibers.
Maddie and Allie would be shaking their heads right about now. Well, maybe just Maddie. Allie was a little more intrigued with the idea.
It didn’t matter though. This wall was hers. No one was looking over her shoulder, telling her what to do with it. She’d gleefully ignored all the decorating ideas they had thrown at her. Boring and predictable, every single one of them.
Rachel’s wall was going to be brilliant. A representation of her art as well as her new lease on life these past seven years. She wanted to walk into her new little hand-me-down house at the end of each day and be reminded of how blessed she was.
Since closing on the house and starting to remodel, she hadn’t even needed her Doublemint gum. She’d given up her on-again-off-again relationship with cigarettes last year and traded it for a love affair with gum.
She’d probably spent more money on gum in the past year than she used to on cigarettes.
But since moving the short hour south to Sandwich, IL, so many other things occupied her time and her mind she didn’t even think about it. Didn’t crave it.
Instead, she craved life, and wow. It felt fabulous.
Brushing off the excess paint, she turned and admired the blank wall one last time. Sunlight filtered through the blinds and bounced off the white drywall canvas.
When finished, it would be a striped yellow, red, purple, and turquoise—each wave thick and horizontal across the wall. No perfectly taped and measured stripes for her. A symbol of her crazy life. The ups and downs. The effects of the different choices she’d made. But how—put together—God had made her beautiful. He’d used the good and the bad to shape her into something breathtaking in His eyes.
She started in the corner and began the first wave.
Just as she dipped her brush with fresh paint and held it up to restart the stripe, the doorbell chimed.
Her hand jerked, and paint droplets pinged across the wall and plastic-covered floor.
Lovely. Purple speckles were now everywhere.
Brush in her left hand and clenched fist with her right, she controlled the urge to stomp as she went to answer the door.
Hand on the knob, she took a deep breath. It wasn’t their fault they’d interrupted her. Her wall wasn’t so important she couldn’t be kind to visitors, even though with her paint-splattered clothes and hair, she was in no way fit to socialize.
Maybe it was a salesman or something.
She lifted her chin, curled her lips into a smile, and opened the door.
A tall man with redish hair stood on her doorstep, a cocky smile gracing his mouth.
Her heart slammed into her chest and the world spun as memories came hurling back at her, of another man—different but too similar for comfort.
Shaking her head as if she could scatter the pictures in her mind, she tried not to react. Her body wanted nothing more than to slam the door, run to her car in the garage, and take off for the nearest convenience store to buy the largest pack of Camels they had.
Her hand shook on the doorknob as she willed herself under control.
This stranger had done nothing wrong, other than ring the doorbell of a crazy woman, evidently. It wasn’t his fault that at first glance, he looked similar to Jared, the man she worked very hard at not hating. They were both impossibly tall and had that trademark red hair, albeit different shades.
Two attributes she’d come to despise in men.
Fair? No, but neither was what she’d gone through with Jared.
Squinting her eyes against the sun’s glare, she looked up and focused on his face.
The similarities stopped there.
His cheeks sported a light beard, looking more like he’d forgotten to shave for a few days than actually grown one on purpose. Jared had always had an oversized mustache, but that was it.
He was also younger. Probably mid-thirties compared to Jared’s mid-forties.
And tall. This man had even her ex beat on height. The stranger’s Goliath frame towered over her 5’5” self.
Auburn red hair splayed in all directions. Goodness, if she didn’t know better, she’d swear Prince Harry himself had arrived from Wales to her doorstep.
Even she had to admit, this man was downright handsome.
Not that it mattered. She wasn’t on the market right now, and especially wasn’t interested in one who not only made her mess up her wall, but also brought out the urge to spit in his face just at the sight of him.
Which wasn’t his fault.
As a precaution, she swallowed the saliva that pooled in her mouth, then propped her fist on her hip and narrowed her eyes up at him. He needed to get off her porch, stat. For his own sake as well as hers. “Can I help you?”
The guy hooked his thumbs through his belt loops. “I live a few houses down. Bob asked me to check in on you to make sure you didn’t need anything. He’s not fond of the idea of women living by themselves.”
Red flags soared. First, Bob was the older gentleman from whom she’d purchased her house. It was the same one Maddie had rented three years ago when she first moved to Sandwich, before marrying Reuben. Why would the man ask a neighbor to come check on her? He knew Reuben and Maddie had helped her move.
Second, not fond of women living by themselves? Was the man fishing for information to see if she lived alone?
Well, she wasn’t biting. “Listen. I have no clue who you are, but I know your type. I’ll have you know I hold a very handy carry permit and am versed in all things pepper spray, so I suggest”—she used her paint-brush-filled hand to point— “you just run along.”
The flick of her wrist surprised them both, as the plum-colored paint splattered over the stranger’s face.
Rachel tried not to smirk but didn’t succeed.
The man closed his eyes and took in a long breath, as if practicing yoga or something. A moment later, he opened them and nodded, his voice low and surprisingly calm. “Well then. I guess since you have things covered, I’ll be seeing you around.”
He vacated her porch faster than a deer dodging a skunk.
Slamming the door behind her, Rachel turned to survey her project and groaned. She might need to give in and have a piece of the gum she stashed in the kitchen after all.
But no way was she going to let some man ruin her project. She’d just prime over the spots, keep her chin up.
Her gaze shifted to the top of the bookshelf.
And keep her gun handy.
She picked up a new paintbrush filled with white primer only to be interrupted when her cell phone rang.
Her wall might get done sometime this century, maybe.
Digging into her cutoff jeans pocket, she slid her only non-paint stained finger over the screen. “Hello?”
“Hey, it’s Maddie. Did Cam come by?”
Rachel switched the phone to her left hand and started to cover purple dots with the paintbrush in her right. “I have no clue who Cam is.”
“Your neighbor. He mentioned to Reuben he might stop by to introduce himself.”
Rachel’s hand stilled. The man hadn’t given her his name, but she had a sneaky suspicion her instincts had made an epic fail. “Oh, uh, yeah. He did for a second.”
“Good. Because you know how I told you there was a guy I wanted you to meet?”
A sinking rock of dread settled in the pit of her stomach. “Yes, and remember how I told you I wasn’t interested?”
Maddie laughed. “Oh, girl. You know I listen to nothing you say and will get my way. Anyway, it’s Cam! And I invited him to dinner tonight. You’re still coming, right? What am I saying, of course you’re coming. Anyway, gotta go. Remember. Tonight. Five o’clock. Kyle’s at a friend’s, so it’ll just be us adults. Don’t be late.”
And with a click, the phone filled with dead air.
What in the world had she gotten herself into? Rachel leaned her head against the wall.
She jerked back when wetness tickled her forehead.Swirling around, she marched to the kitchen to end her gumless streak.