Saturday, February 16, 2013

Story Saturdays: We've Got A Long Ride Ahead

Note. Me & Timothy Cooper is now available at Barnes & Noble for Nook readers for only 99 cents. Sales ends February 22nd.
 
Only two Saturdays left until the release of my next novel, Love & Redemption, (March 1st)! Here's another excerpt from the book. Forced on a long ride south, Anne O'Fallen finds herself not feeling so great.

Can't get enough of this story? Check out all my other posts. Also, check out the book trailer for the first 3 books in the series!
 

Take a trip into the past and fall in love with an Irishman.



EXCERPT:


Anne mounted the horse clumsily, her stomach roiling. The rancid meat offered as breakfast churned in her gut, but she clamped her jaws tight. She wouldn’t spoil Michael’s mood with complaints of a stomachache.
He settled in behind her, and she relaxed against him. When the horse moved, however, her stomach complaint resurfaced and bile rose in her throat. Swallowing hard, she pushed it back down.
Those men will eat anything.
The sun climbed higher in the sky and the late March weather became more like summer. The air, heavy with moisture, clouded her lungs as she breathed. She was used to it. She’d lived in Florida for most of her life. Yet usually, the spring was much cooler. She hung her head to avoid the sun on her face. He’d given her his hat, which helped immensely, despite the fact it would leave him without one.
Her gaze traveled ahead, and she picked out Ferguson’s horse from the crowd. The old gray nag he rode slouched beneath his weight. What was he after? If he had the farm, then why hadn’t he thrown her family out? He’d taken her away instead, and that made no sense. Taken her away for what? Men like him were only after two things in life – money or pleasure. So what was this?
Maybe both.
Her stomach flipped, and she swallowed again. She’d think about something else. She focused on their surroundings. They’d left the oak hammock behind and moved into an immense slash pine forest. Here, the thick carpet of brown needles cushioned the footfalls of the horses, creating unusual silence.
A hawk called. Perched on a limb, the hawk dodged the violent assault of a smaller bird. Flying furiously at the hawk’s throat, the smaller bird pecked with its beak and whipped its wings in the hawk’s face.
That’s how I feel. Like I can’t get ahead. Her spirits plummeted. What was her family doing? Did they miss her? She shut her eyes and pictured their faces. Mama’s sweet smile. Nicky. The two babies. Even Papa. She’d like to see him too.
But would you go back?
The question startled her. Where had that come from?
Would you go back to how it was before Michael?
She flicked her gaze over her shoulder. Distracted, he didn’t seem to notice. Would she? His arms pressed in, strong and warm, on her sides.
I … I don’t know.
Eighteen wasn’t so young to get married. Other girls married at that age. Her mama was married by then. Besides, she’d be nineteen in … The knowledge swept through her and a tear sprang into her eyes. She willed it away. Her birthday was in two days. How could she forget her own birthday? Mama always planned something. She’d make a cake. Wrap a small gift.
“What are you thinking about?” Michael’s voice shook her from her thoughts.
She took a deep breath. She wouldn’t bring up her birthday. What did it matter? “I’m thinking we should play a game.”
“A game?”
“Yes. When we were moving here, Mama had us play a game to occupy our time. It was a long wagon ride, after all. We’d go in a circle telling something we loved. I’ll go first. I love apple pie.  Of course, we don’t get apples down here much, so it’s been a while since I’ve had one. You have apples in New York?”
He chuckled. “Mmhmm.”
“I’ll bet you have great pies up there. Your turn,” she urged.
He cleared his throat. “Well, I love colcannon.”
“Colcannon? What’s that?”
He lowered the reins, resting his hand on his thigh. “Well, it’s cabbage and potatoes cooked together in kind of cake.”
“Cabbage in a cake?”
He laughed. “No, not like a cake you’d eat, more of the shape of a pan.”
“Your mama make that?”
“Aye,” he replied.


***


Michael met the gaze Anne threw over her shoulder.
“Did you know you talk like that whenever I mention your mother?” she asked.
The sun hit hot on his neck. He didn’t regret the loss of his hat, but his neck would be red later. He smiled at her. “I suppose I do. Isn’t it your turn?”
She flicked her hair, and it tickled his nose. “Let’s see. I love … swimming. That’s why I went to the spring. I love it there; the water’s so clear.”
“Do you usually swim … uhm …”
Her laugh trickled through the air. “Sometimes. But only when I’m alone. You swim?”
The image of swimming in the greasy, black waters around New York formed in his mind. “Oh no,” he replied. “No swimming for me.”
She twisted in the saddle. “Can you swim?”
He shook his head. “No.”
“I should teach you,” she said. “You’d want to learn, right?”
The corners of his mouth curved. “You’re gonna teach me to swim?”
“Well, why not? Everybody should know how.”
“I’d rather watch you.”
She smacked at him, and he dodged the blow with a laugh.
“You, Michael O’Fallen, are incorrigible. You’re worse than Nicky. He’s always pulling pranks. Why it’s too bad I’ll miss my birthday because I’ll bet he has a joke planned.” Her hand flew to her mouth.
Michael stared at the back of head. Her birthday? He tugged her hand away from her mouth. “What did you say?”
She stuttered. “N-nothin’. I talk too much.”
He wove her fingers into his. “No, tell me, Anne. When’s your birthday?”
“How … how old are you?” she interrupted.
He sighed. So he’d play along for now. “Twenty. My birthday is in August. August third. Now your turn.”
“I didn’t want to bother you with it,” she muttered.
His thumb tracked over her hand. “Now, why is your birthday a bother? I’d think you’d want to celebrate.”
“What’s there to celebrate? We’re stuck out here. We don’t know where we’re going, and there’s everything to consider. Makes it seem insignificant to me.”
He clenched her hand. “Nothing about you is insignificant.”
Nothing. She was a bright light in a very dark room. Maybe you’re right, Mama. Maybe I’m falling in love.
“So when is it?” he persisted. There had to be some way to make the day special. He glimpsed her fingers. She ought to have a wedding ring.
He glared at Ferguson riding way ahead. He got us into this, so he should provide one. His thoughts turned over and back again. He didn’t realize she’d gotten quiet until she leaned over the horse’s neck.
“Michael …” she moaned.
He pulled the horse up sharp, and releasing the reins, grabbed for her shoulders as she pitched forward. “What is it?” His heart swished loudly in his ears.
“I’m gonna be sick.” And she vomited into the dust.


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Suzanne D. Williams

Suzanne Williams Photography 
Florida, USA 

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the sample of your book. Made me want to know more about the story. Interesting start to a story. Thanks for letting me read your new book.

Anonymous said...

Oh that sounds so good!!! My to read list just got longer lol
Lisa
Deiselbuffs@yahoo.ca

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