I have several books at 99 cents right now, both YA and non-YA: A MIRACLE FOR MARI (YA), ALL ABOUT ROMEO (YA), EDEN, and SOMETHING ITALIAN (The Italian Series #3). Links to all formats can be found on the book page of my blog.
Also, GLASS can now be purchased in paperback. Look for EDEN to appear in paperback in the next seven days as well. I hope to put more of my stories out in paperback next year.
Today's excerpt comes from EDEN.
“Oh, God,” Eden cried. “I can’t do this again. I can’t. It’ll be like last time, and my life will be ruined. I just wanted to start over.”
The last thing Eden Riske expected when she came home was the discernment of fellow teacher Austin Lowell. Football coach, history teacher, fitness buff, Austin is strength and patience in a handsome package.
However, it seems even his presence can’t stop the rumors swirling around her or the hatred of someone determined to do her harm. But this job is supposed to be her salvation, her way out of her troubled past.
Except now, everything is falling apart, and the one thing that might destroy her is the very secret she’s held inside for so long.
In this scene, Eden Riske is reacting to fellow teacher, Austin Lowell, saying she's beautiful.
Eden stared into Austin’s face, his words soaking through her skin and swishing up her bloodstream to her heart. She’d been told that before. Family. Friends. Guys hitting on her. Photographers. Magazine execs.
But coming from Austin Lowell, it was far more powerful, and it replayed itself in her thinking until she saw he waited for her to respond. She forced her head to stay upright. Ducking and hiding would do her no good at this point. He’d said it; she should acknowledge it.
“That’s sweet of you,” she said.
He crossed his arms, an action that made him look impressive. “It’s the truth.”
“And you always speak the truth?”
One corner of his mouth twitched. “Maybe more the older I get. Not so much when I was young.”
She arched an eyebrow. “Oh? Now, there’s a subject I want to pursue.”
He chuckled. “Let’s just say I was … less than honest in my youth. Got called out for it eventually and changed my ways.”
“Why do I think ‘changing your ways’ is easier for you than for others?”
His smile left, and he worked his brows into a v. “I don’t know. It’s never easy for anyone, but I have had more practice than some. The way I see it, when something’s not going right in your life, you really haven’t any choice but to go another direction.”
“Like with your drinking?”
He inclined his head. “Like that. Or lying as a teen. Or looking in the mirror and realizing I didn’t like myself.”
“Didn’t like yourself? When did Austin Lowell ever have that thought?” she asked.
“When he was a washed-up drunk lying in his own vomit in the floor of the bathroom in some unnamed bar somewhere.”
She all but winced at the image. How could he be so frank about it? Just put his life out there for people to see and judge.
She stood to her feet and returned to the box. “I can’t picture that at all, not and look at the man you are now.”
His hand on her shoulder froze her in place. With gentle pressure, he turned her around. However, he didn’t speak, but gazed down at her, his eyes speaking volumes. The longer he stood there, the smaller she felt, and inept, and vain. And female.
What was this … this strange desire she had to do the right thing when he was around? To confess to him the truth?
He returned his hand to his side, but the weight of it remained. His words penetrated her defenses yet again.
“Whatever it is,” he said. “Whenever you’re ready, I’ll listen.”
She collapsed in her desk chair after he left and buried her head in her hands. There was too much to tell. Too many things that had happened to her, each one a domino leading to the next, and all of them spiraling her life down into an abyss she hadn’t been able to get out of. How to share her descent and the slow, painful climb out?
She raised her head and looked around the room. This was salvation. This job. This place. This was her becoming normal again and not the wasted flesh she’d been. Was it too much to hope it’d work out? Even as determined as she was. Was it too much to believe she could ever have a man like Austin take her seriously?
“Don’t kid yourself.” she said to the empty room.
She was simply a pretty face, something eye-catching, worth looking at until something else more valuable came along.
People didn’t see that side of her life. “It’d be so wonderful to be you,” some said to her.
But it wasn’t wonderful. What she wouldn’t give to be the average girl with the average face who blended in with the crowd.
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.