Friday, 1 April 2011
Author Spotlight week - Excerpt from Beyond Ever After
Hi All - it was great to have Carie on the blog this week. GIVEAWAY: Read this excerpt and leave a comment. You'll be entered to win a PDF copy of "Beyond Ever After". This giveaway will be going on all weekend. Winner will be picked on Monday morning. Please leave a contact email if you post so we can get ahold of you.
"I've prayed all week about going to Africa, and I was sure the right answer was to go. I truly believed, and still believe, it's what I am supposed to do. Then, this morning everything changed." Haven picked up her tea, took a quick sip like it was something stronger and set it down. "I was wrong in the way I handled all of it."
She didn't meet Brody’s eyes when she spoke. Those words must have cost her. There was that urge again, to pull her close to him and just hold her until the sadness was gone. But he remained seated, hating the fear that kept him rooted to the couch.
Finally, she blew out a breath and spoke quickly, without emotion, looking at his chest instead of at him. "I would like to go to Africa, but I won't go unless it's okay with you." Then, she met his eyes and finished, "I'm asking for your permission. I'll stay here if it's what you decide. But I really want to go. Eliya... the little girl on the fridge--"
He nodded. Did she really think he didn't know who Eliya was? That Haven sent a check every month to help the girl? That Haven had been there when she arrived at the mission?
"She's hurt and needs my help."
He remembered at that moment how much joy had once been bundled inside Haven, even as a child. She had been quick to smile and tease, soothing away the pain of anyone around her. She had laughed often and openly. Because the memories were so at odds with the woman who sat in front of him, he couldn't deny her. With the realization, the last drop of anger drained out of him.
Of course she could go. How could he deny her helping a child she loved? "I'll go with you." Had he really just said that?
Surprise flashed in her eyes and then acceptance. He desperately hoped happiness would come in its wake. But she closed her eyes again, and when she opened them there was a sad sort of resignation.
It cut deep. She didn't want to spend the summer with him. She wanted to go alone. Letting her go might be easier than spending the summer with her, when she didn't want him. But fear of the infinitely dangerous possibilities overrode his pride.
He couldn't let her go with no one to watch out for her. Despite what she thought, he couldn't imagine a life without Haven.
"Don't look so excited, honey." Anger fired out the words.
"Stop." The single, broken syllable held his tongue better than rage would have. "I can't... I can't do this. Please, Brody. No more." Her dry eyes were empty. "I'll do anything to help Eliya, but I can't spend the summer fighting with you. Not here and not in Africa. I need a break."
Brody sat in silence, staring at the drops of water running down the side of his glass. Maybe they were crying for Haven, because she didn't and wouldn't. Maybe they were crying for him, too, because he couldn't figure out how to make her happy.
There was no way he could let her go alone. He had to either go with her or tell her to stay. Because he couldn't stand the unhappiness he saw on her face, he clutched desperately to the one thing that came to his mind. "A truce."
Her head jerked backward.
He held up a hand of reassurance. "No fighting. We'll go to Africa on your terms. I'll be your bag boy and body guard. I'll do everything I can to help you and not get in your way. I'll have no expectations of you, Haven. If we start arguing, I'll go home and you'll get the break you think you need."
"What do you get in return?"
"I guess I get the satisfaction of knowing if something goes wrong, I'll be there to do what I can." He leaned back, settling in to the idea.
Haven stared for several long minutes in disbelief. It was enough to make him want to withdraw his offer. Instead, he waited. Despite the pain, and it was there, so deep it created a physical ache in his chest. The one person on earth who had ever loved him needed a break from him.