I've mainly been working on edits. GLASS is completed and ready for release October 1st, and I'm currently reading LIFE & DELIVERANCE (The Florida Irish #2) to send it to my editor in time for release in November.
Available for purchase this week is the Epub version of NEW ~ JERSEY at Barnes & Noble. This story is also available at Amazon.
You can find all the links to what I have for sale on my blog, including audiobooks. Be sure to check out the latest audiobook - FOR ETERNITY. That is an amazing production you won't want to miss!
Today's excerpt is the beginning of a story entitled AND THAT WAS PARADISE. This story has been rewritten three times so far, but I think I've finally settled on exactly where I want to go with it. In this scene, Lennie Stiles, spots a girl who seems out of place from his usual environment.
Taking another sip from his canned soda, Lennie Stiles gazed at the girl across the street, the corner of a frayed paper advertisement on the window partially blocking his view. Head bowed to her chest, pony tail trailing over her shoulder, she stared at what were probably once very nice sneakers. Now, they were grimy and worn, like her blue jeans and t-shirt. The shirt was too large for her by several sizes.
“How long’s she been standing there?” asked Mac Weimer, from his position near Lennie’s right ear.
“An hour, maybe longer.”
Only an hour, but she’d been somewhere before that, some street corner or back alley, not a home, nothing with walls and furniture and food in it.
“Never seen her here before,” Mac continued.
“No.” He hadn’t either. Street people came and went on this road, funneling down to the soup kitchen at the end. But your typical homeless was in his fifties, bearded, and half-soused.
“She’s bugging me,” Lennie said. “I keep thinking of her out there with God-knows-who and how dangerous it is. If that was my sister, I’d hunt high and low to find her. What if … what if somebody’s looking, and I’m the one to see her?”
Mac’s hand landed hard on his shoulder. “Do something then.”
Lennie glanced back into his friend’s well-lined face. He’d worked for Mac over a year now, repairing big rigs. It was hard work, dirty, and often hot with long hours, but he’d learned so much – about life and doing repairs. He turned his gaze back forward and set his empty can on the window ledge beside the orange tabby cat crouched there half-awake.
“Give me another soda,” he said, “and my lunch.”
What was a sandwich to him might be an entire day’s meal to her. If she’d take them from him, maybe he could strike up a conversation.
“Those types are leery, and remember you are male,” Mac said, slipping the items into his hand.
Lennie nodded and pushed through the glass doors and onto the sidewalk, the exit bell sounding inside the office. The girl didn’t seem to notice him, but continued viewing her shoes. He eyed the traffic, dashing across the street to the right of her then angling himself her direction. Not until he’d gotten within six feet did she look up, and the whites of her eyes showed.
She clenched one hand into a fist and reversed herself, pressing her small frame to the graffiti-laden wall behind.
“No, don’t go,” he said. “I just wanted to give you this.” He stopped cold and extended the items in his hand.
She froze, unspeaking.
“It’s a sandwich. Please, take it.”
She eyed the items, her body poised for flight, then brought her gaze to his face.
She had beautiful eyes, brown, a normal color, but so deep and clear, out of place with the slovenly state of the rest of her.
“Please,” he said again, stretching his arm further. “My name’s Lennie.” She made no effort to move, and he sighed. “Here, I’ll set them down and you can come get them.” Placing the sack and can on the ground, he reversed himself several steps.
The girl eyed the food and his position, then dived for both, snatched them, and ran.
Lennie watched her disappear around the corner, a hand squeezing his heart. That had worked. And failed. Because tonight she’d be back out there, sleeping on the cold ground with an assortment of people, one of which might hurt her. One meal wasn’t good enough.
He returned to the office, conscious of the air-conditioning, the cushy chair behind the counter, his car out back. As difficult as his life was right now, at least he had a place to go and a mom who loved him.
What did the girl have? Tonight, a sandwich and a drink.
“You’re back?” Mac asked.
Lennie nodded slowly. “Yeah. She took it and ran. Didn’t even find out her name.”
Mac seated himself on the edge of the counter, which creaked with his weight. “That’s what happens sometimes,” he said. “I’ve tried to befriend more than one homeless person on this road, but usually, they’d rather keep to themselves.”
“She’s only a girl,” Lennie replied. “My age. What if something happens to her?”
Mac’s kind face creased with concern. “Tell you what. Take an hour off and go find her then. I’d start with the abandoned houses on Fifth. If I was a girl wanting to hide out, that’s where I’d go.”
Lennie leaped from his chair and dug his keys from his pocket. “Thanks, Mac,” he called on his way out the door. In his next breath, he whispered a prayer. “Please, God, help me find her.”
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.