I'm so excited! As you know, my first novel is due to come out soon. However, there is still some debate about the title. So for now, I will continue to refer to it as A Wave of Hope. I did get some news from my editor today, however. She's not usually a romance reader and couldn't put it down today!!! Always and exciting thing to hear. So, in celebration, I thought I'd post an excerpt that will be new to your eyes. I hope it has you craving for more!!!
Michelle sat up instantly as her eyes shot open and she looked around to see who had spoken to her. Everything spun as the result of sitting up so quickly and when the world stopped spinning she saw him. Caleb Newman stood looking down at her with curiosity evident on his handsome face. “What are you doing here?” she asked curtly.
“Your Nana asked me if I’d seen you. So, figuring you were missing, I came to find you,” he said as he sat down beside her.
“You came to find me?” she asked as she looked at him in wonder and curiosity. Why? Michelle wanted to know.
“Yep,” he said as he began to chew on a blade of grass and looked out over the crowd below them. “Are you enjoying yourself tonight?”
“I guess. You?”
He laughed and she tried to suppress the smile that threatened to spread across her face at the beautiful sound. “I haven’t seen so many girls vying for my attention in so long. It’s kind of funny.”
Instantly the smile faded from her face. “Yeah, a real delight,” Michelle said sarcastically.
“Now what are you so sour about tonight, Miss Frank?”
“What’s it to you,” she said shortly.
“Well, I came up here to ask you for a dance and you’re just being plain rude.”
Taken aback slightly she said, “Do you always speak your mind so, Mr. Newman?”
“Always.” Something clouded his expression but vanished so quickly she thought she must have imagined it. He turned to her and, quirking on eyebrow, said, “So how about that dance then, Miss Frank?”
Michelle paused with reluctance for only a minute before she slowly nodded and allowed him to pull her to her feet and lead her down the hill to the platform. The touch of his hand sent an unexpected thrill up her arm and through her body; she nearly yanked her hand from his, for the sensation greatly unsettled her. Memories of him from her childhood had overwhelmed her mind all evening but as he held her hand in his, he suddenly became tangible. No longer was he simply a memory or someone she had always adored from afar. Now he stood before her, holding her hand, smiling and leading her to the dancing couples below.
The idea of him being so close, though exciting, terrified her. He was the ideal man in her eyes and always had been. As the thought entered her heart, however, the heartbreak she had endured at his hand quickly squelched any thrill she experienced previously. She reminded herself of his haughty demeanor and arrogant air. Undoubtedly he had changed very little in seven years. And she had no desire to be on the receiving end of his self-important character for longer than a short dance. Her heart would be destroyed this time. Thinking such thoughts steeled her heart for the pain it would otherwise endure as she walked like a lamb to the slaughter with her assassin.
Upon reaching the platform, Michelle and Caleb stood silent with their arms linked, waiting for the song to finish and a new one to begin when Christine Whitmer approached from behind and clasped Caleb’s free arm. “Mr. Newman,” Christine cooed. “Would you like to escort me to get some pie? I know how much you adore cherry pie.”
Caleb smacked his lips and winked at Michelle a second before turning his attention back to Christine. “You know I do, Miss Christine. But I promised the next dance to this lovely girl you see hanging onto my arm.”
Michelle smiled triumphantly. Christine Whitmer prided herself in her charm and never ceased to use it on unsuspecting and handsome men. Michelle thought the girl’s charades usually made her appear quite foolish and shallow. Still, the thought of capturing Caleb’s attention away from Christine made Michelle happy to the core.
“Aren’t you engaged to Trent Hielott, Michelle?” Christine asked, feigning sincerity.
Michelle’s face turned red and she fought to remain in control of her temper. “No, but I’d appreciate it if you kept such jealousy in check.”
The song ended then and Caleb led Michelle to the platform, leaving Christine gaping at them both. Waltzing with him, Michelle had a difficult time separating her previous emotions from her current ones, which helped to fuel her aggravation. “That Christine Whitmer boils my blood,” Michelle said.
Caleb just laughed. “Maybe you just let her jumble up your petticoats too easily.”
“Now why would I do that intentionally?” she countered.
“I don’t know? Why did you accept the invitation to dance with a stranger if you’re promised to another man?” he said more seriously, yet careful to conceal the thoughts from his eyes.
“I’m not promised to him, nor am I engaged to him. And you’re not a complete stranger.”
“True. But you two looked pretty serious to me. Tell me something, why would a pretty little girl like you let a snake like Trent Hielott anywhere near you?”
“What does it matter to you?” she snapped, hurt that he still saw her as a child.
“Does it bother you that I asked?” he said as he arched a single eyebrow; a characteristic Michelle had always adored.
“No, I just don’t see how it’s any of your business,” she said flatly, trying to focus her mind on Trent as opposed to her dreamy dance partner.
“Let me ask you something. What do you see in old scar face anyway?”
“He’s very attractive,” Michelle started.
“Yeah, like a snake,” Caleb sneered.
“Will you let me finish?”
“Sorry,” Caleb said simply and nodded for her to continue.
Michelle started again, “He’s attractive, very attentive to me and loves me very much.” She nodded in satisfaction. That should stop any questions Caleb could throw at her.
Caleb’s crystal blue eyes bored into her amber ones. At that moment, his eyes cleared and the guarded intensity they held earlier disappeared as he briefly let down his defense. “Do you love him back?”
“What?” she asked breathlessly, not sure she heard him correctly.
“Does he make you laugh?” Caleb asked as he nearly stopped dancing with her but did not let go of his firm yet tender hold of her.
“Why?” Michelle breathed as tears started to fill her eyes. “Why would it matter to a selfish, conceited person like you who or where I choose to place my affections? You’ve never cared one smidge if I were dead or alive. So why would it matter to you now?”
Caleb stood there with shock radiating from his handsome face and she could see the hurt in his eyes as they clouded again to cover his emotions. Let him be hurt, she thought. That was the very pain she’d experienced at his hand nearly every day for the last ten years. The tears began to spill down her cheeks and she could no longer endure his gaze. Humiliated, she turned and ran for the safety and solace of the small hill, where she remained until her nana and pappy were ready to leave.