Barnes & Noble
Also, Book 2 in The Sanders Family Series, FOUND, is now available at Barnes & Noble. I will release Book 1 there when it completes its current KDP Select cycle at Amazon, sometime at the end of June.
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF LUCAS MCGILLEY was presented on the blog before, but since then, I've revamped it into a contemporary story, redone the book cover, and completed writing it. The scene that was on the blog weeks ago is still in the book, but updated.
Lucas McGilley is the troublemaker in his family. The second of eight boys, he spent his youth pulling pranks. Yet growing up comes hard, and he’s learned his lesson. Or so he thinks.Then Iris Willow shows up for the summer, and the future he’s planned is altered by love, and strife, and a terrible secret. He needs her, more than he’s ever thought possible. But can he convince her to stay, or will she catch the train and be gone forever?
Today's excerpt comes from Chapter 1. I am unsure right now when it'll be released, perhaps in a month or so. I have other things cooking in the meantime. Enjoy!
Sam skidded to a halt at Lucas’ feet, the left side of his face screwed into a ball. “Lucas, you’ve done it now.”
Lucas looked down at his youngest brother, his face expressionless. “Why does every sentence nowadays begin with my name?”
Sam whirled himself back and forth, flinging his arms outward and allowing them to smack against his sides. “‘Cause you’re usually the one who done it.’”
Sam was right, usually he had.
“Ain’t you askin’ me what you done?” Sam said.
Lucas eyeballed him. He hadn’t asked because asking seemed pointless. He was always being blamed for something. “Okay, so tell me what I’ve done.”
“You forgot to let Honey out.”
“Shoot.” Honey, his father’s prize mare. He had forgotten, and his father would have his hide.
“Better not let Mom hear you say that,” Sam said. “She’ll take out the soap.”
Lucas clamped his mouth tight just thinking about it. She’d washed his mouth out more than once, and it was a most unpleasant experience.
“Tell me. Why can’t any of the rest of you let her out? Why’s it become my job?” he asked.
With seven brothers, you’d think one of them would do him a favor, but it never worked out that way.
“Jesse’s at work,” Sam said, “and Marcus and James went fishin’.”
Jesse, at nineteen, was the eldest. Marcus and James were sixteen and fifteen respectively. He fell between the trio in age; he was eighteen.
“And Will, Charles, and John?” he asked. But distracted by sight of their mother, Sam gave no answer.
Lucas took in her narrow form.
Shading her eyes with her right hand, she scanned the yard, at sight of him dropping it to her side. “Lucas, need you to run an errand.”
Lucas shook off his noontime languor and walked from beneath the palm tree into the bright summer sun.
His mother smoothed her skirt. “Need you to pick up someone from the train.” Hair had escaped from the bun on the nape of her neck, and the thin strands waved in the breeze of her movements.
A frown appeared on her face at the sharpness in his voice, so he cleared his throat and tried again. “The train? Who …”
But he didn’t get to finish the question because she cut him off. “A friend. Now, if you don’t get going you’ll be late.”
A friend? He mulled that over in his walk to the barn where he moved to Honey’s stall. He’d let her out before he left. She greeted him with a whinny and toss of her head. Involuntarily, he scratched her ears.
Who could possibly be coming on the train? His mother didn’t have any friends that he knew of. Plus––
He walked Honey outside the barn to the pasture, her hooves clopping on the packed soil.
Plus, there was nowhere in the house to put anyone. Eight boys took up all the space.
Maybe it was someone with a connection to his father. That held more possibilities. A business associate? No, she’d said it was a friend. His dad’s sister? That thought turned his head around.
Opening the gate, he unhooked the rope and released Honey. She took off at a trot, her tail fanning out behind her.
His dad’s sister would be something. She didn’t come too often, and when she did, she stayed in town. That’d make more sense. That’s probably who it was. Strange though for her to come during the summer since she hated the Florida heat.
He trailed back to the house, his boots kicking up the dust. Guess he’d find out soon enough.
The steady clack of the train’s wheels formed a rhythm in my mind, their motion eventually rocking me to sleep. I awakened with my legs stiff from sitting so long and a distinct earache.
I glanced at the baby across the aisle and said a silent prayer he’d not start crying again. His poor mother had tried so hard to shut him up. Yet the further we’d traveled, the more he’d cried until the nerves of all in the car were strained and I had a brain-splitting headache.
I smiled at her, one of those, I-feel-real-sorry-for-you kinda smiles, then looked out the window, past the empty seat beside me at the flat landscape flying by and some huge part of me missed Atlanta – the buildings, the asphalt and concrete.
Not that there weren’t green spaces there, but out here there was nothing. Nothing but acres and acres of trees, a handful of lakes, and grass as far as I could see. It was pretty in its own way, spacious, you know. And remote.
Remote and out of the way and not home. Thinking like that made me frown and looking at my cell phone made me frown worse. There hadn’t been any service for miles, and I wanted to talk to Christine. I dropped the useless thing in my lap with a huff.
“Iris, dear, I’m sending you to Florida,” my Aunt Claire had said. I heard her speaking in my head so sharp, as if she was right there at my side.
Why, when I’d made plans for the summer. Me and Christine had made a list of what we wanted to do, the places we would go, the boys we would flirt with. After all, this was my first summer since graduating from high school, and I wanted to live it up. Let down my hair. I couldn’t see how Florida fit into any of that.
“I’ve decided to take a trip, and I can’t leave you here alone, so I’m sending you to an old friend.”
A friend? This made me think two things. First, that Aunt Claire had an old friend. Second, my aunt being my only living relative, she’d bummed me off on a friend.
Who were these people anyway? I yanked the note she’d written from my purse and reread it. Ada and Paul McGilley, McGilley Farms. After that she’d written their address and a phone number.
A farm. Really? I was being sent into the middle of nowhere to spend my summer of freedom on a farm. What the heck?
That’s what I’d said to her when she’d described it, too.
“They have eight boys,” Aunt Claire had said.
Eight? That sweetened the pot a bit; I did like boys. But then I got to thinking about what kind of boys, and dismissed it. Eight redneck, grass-chewing, country bumpkins driving big trucks and dipping snuff.
I blew out a loud breath, drawing a gaze from the man across the aisle, and crossed my arms.
The landscape changed, the empty grassland split by a road going off into the distance. I laid my head back against the seat and closed my eyes. Why stay awake? Everything out here looked the same, and since I had nothing to look forward, why bother with any of it?
This sucked, and it was going to be the most awful summer ever.
Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.