★★★★★ "I was almost crying in this book. Once you find out what Devon has witnessed to and what happened during his childhood, your heart just breaks. Georgia's words of encouragement were amazing. I love the cover of the book; it's so beautiful. I appreciated the Bible verses and the stuff she wrote in her novel (no the book is not religious). My only complaint is how abrupt the story ended; it was too quick."
"Overall, a beautiful story that brought me to tears."
Also, look for four of my audiobooks at Audible, Amazon, and itunes. Hear the stories come alive.
Today's excerpt comes from an upcoming ya entitled NEW JERSEY. In this scene, Elliot Jersey has shown up on the doorstep of the Russell's in the midst of a rainstorm.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2Co 5:17)“I know you mean well, and I appreciate your taking me in. I … I don’t know what I would have done.” He curled and uncurled his fingers. “I have no problem with your other rules, but I can’t do this one. No one’s ever ‘accepted me always.’ At some point, I’ll mess up. Maybe badly. Maybe it’ll be over India.”
The air sucked from the room.--------
Elliot Jersey’s life had always been bad, but the night his dad threw him out was the worst. Sick with the flu, having nowhere to go, he makes a fateful decision. To walk six miles in a torrential downpour and stay with the Russells. They’ve always been kind to him.
And he’s right. Their hearts open, they take him in for however long he needs. Yet self-doubt and years of abuse cloud his thinking. No one ever loves him for no reason. He’ll simply never fit in.
Especially, not after he and their beautiful daughter, India, find physical attraction spiraling them toward the edge.
“Looks like this weather’s set in for a couple days. That means Mom and Dad won’t be coming back tomorrow like they planned.”
India Russell acknowledged her brother’s announcement with a rushed, “That so?” and gave Elliot space to enter. He stepped inside, but halted dripping on the doormat.
“Say, what are you …” her brother began to ask, rounding the corner.
“Jersey’s here,” she said.
“Jersey?” His eyebrows lifted. “Dude, you look awful.”
“Give him a break, Den, he walked.”
A second brotherly head appeared from the direction of the kitchen. “Jersey. ‘Sup?”
“What’s up is he’s wet and soaking Mom’s floors,” India complained. “So how about you stop eating for once, fetch some towels, and see what you’ve got he can put on. I’m thinking he needs to start with a shower.”
Her brother, Isaiah, shot her a look, but meekly obeyed, stuffing the last bite of a roll in his mouth on his way up the stairs.
“While you’re up there,” she called, “see if you can find that cough medicine.”
She didn’t bother to check if he’d heard, but returned her gaze to Elliot. “Where have you been?” she asked. “You missed service last week.”
The church made regular stops around town picking up less fortunate members, and he typically caught a ride in the van. But he’d been absent.
“I couldn’t get there,” he said. He gave another hoarse cough and wiped the back of his hand across his mouth.
India took in his slumped form. He didn’t sound good at all, and six miles in the rain couldn’t have helped.
Isaiah reappeared, a couple towels in hand, a set of clothes, and the required box of cough medicine. India left him holding the clothes and shook out a bath towel.
“Okay, first, you get out of that mess,” she said, nodding toward his sodden clothing. “Start with the shoes.”
Elliot stooped over crookedly and peeled off his shoes and socks, one hand clenched on his shorts. His socks hit the floor with a splat.
“Man, Jersey, look at your feet.” Isaiah said.
They were a sight. Blistered and cracked, pale from wading through what must have been miles of water, and bleeding on the heel.
“We have ointment and bandages,” India said.
Elliot went to pick up his socks, but she waved him off. “Leave it.” She motioned to him. He focused his blue-eyed gaze on her, unwavering. “And wrap yourself in the towel. You can use the downstairs bathroom, through there.” She pointed.
Denny piped up. “I’d do as she says or she’ll lop your head off. She’s been running us ragged for three days.”
India shot him a look. “You Neanderthals have eaten almost all the food Mom left. We’re down to macaroni noodles and a can of tuna for tomorrow.”
“About that can of tuna,” Isaiah said.
“Don’t tell me.”
He grinned. “I was hungry.”
“You’re always hungry.”
She swung her gaze back to Elliot, who looked more and more exhausted, and softened her tone. “Just do it, Ell. Think leftover pot roast, medicine, and a bed.”
He gave a heavy nod and taking the dry clothes, wrapped himself in the bath towel and headed across the old house. At the click of the door down the hall, India turned around.
Her brothers were both staring at her.
“It must be bad at home,” she said, hoping to shift their attention away. “No one walks six miles in a storm like this.” She bent over and picked up Elliot’s socks. She motioned at the wet floor. “How about one of you fetch some of Dad’s rags and clean this up. Be useful for once.”
She angled left toward the laundry room, but Denny snatched her by the arm. “Indy, you have to call Mom about this. I’ve heard stories.”
Elliot’s wet socks chilled her fingers.
“He’s sick with something and looks like he hasn’t eaten in days,” she continued. He’d been careful to hang onto his pants, which were way too big. She freed herself from her brother’s grip and continued on her walk. “He can sleep in the spare room.”
“That’s not all I’m worried about,” he continued, undeterred.
Opening the lid to the clothes washer, she dumped Elliot’s socks in and shut the lid.
“Me either,” Isaiah said. His presence only increased the pressure.
She leaned on the washer’s cool metal edge.
“Indy, he has a … reputation. I heard Lisa Piero saying he backed her against a wall and she had to push him away.”
India wrinkled her brow. “Lisa? You can’t believe her. She’s told stories I know weren’t true.” She pulled herself upright and made to leave the washroom, but Isaiah prevented it.
He tapped her forehead with one finger. “You gotta think this out, Sis. Elliot seems like a nice guy, but he’s basically a stranger. We don’t really know much about him.”
He could only be more obvious if he hung a sign. She frowned.
“Call Mom,” Denny reiterated. “And I’ll clean up the mess.”
She nodded. She would have done that anyhow. “Okay. But you …” She stabbed a finger into Isaiah’s chest. “Do not go anywhere near that leftover pot roast. Swear it.”He grinned and raised his right hand. “Yes’m.”
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.