I’m working on a new story and pecking away at its word count. I’d had a lovely winter break to add a bulk of what I needed, but I’m back to work and inspiration has started to lag. When I need a little pick me up, I often go back and read what’s been written already, not to edit, because that way usually leads to excessive revisions and stalling of the process. Instead, I do partial read throughs to inspire me to keep going, or let a project sit for another time.
Today, I’m still feeling good about my untitled third book in my Ambrose Family series. The first two books were previously released and are waiting for the third to help launch them back into the world. I’d always planned to tell the story of each sibling and really want to see this happen.
Today as I organize my day to include some writing time, I thought why not give you a snippet of what I’ve done so far. Out of order without much context, but I think a lovely tease none the less.
Unedited and copyrighted excerpt by Janet Eckford.
Thomas connected the call from his sister and greeted her with a rough hello.
“You’ve spoken to Micah,” she said without a greeting of her own.
Anger burned in his chest at the mention of his brother.
“Are you calling in to check up on me?” He asked, his words crisp from brittle precision.
Charlie sighed deeply and muttered something under her breath to low for him to hear.
“I knew this would happen once Mia told me Micah went to help Dani.”
Thomas perked up at the mention of his brother’s fiancé and Dani’s friend. “What does Mia have to do with anything?”
“Because my idiot brother, she’s the reason Micah helped Dani out,” his sister replied, in a derisive tone.
“Why the hell am I an idiot?” He asked defensively.
Charlie snorted and said, “Because you’ve probably been at home throwing one of your epic tantrums because you’re jealous.”
The tips of Thomas’ ears burned, a reaction he had when embarrassed. It ratcheted up his temper more that his sister had called him out so effectively.
“First of all, I haven’t had a tantrum since I was about eight years old-”
“So you didn’t break anything in a jealous rage?” She interrupted him.
“Charlie,” he growled in warning.
The tinkle of her amused laughter on the other end smoothed some of the rougher edges of his temper. They could fight, and disagree with each other, but there was no denying the power one of his sister’s infectious laughs had on him.
“Micah is going to be so pissed when he finds out you thought he did you dirty over a woman.” Charlie said once her laughter tapered off.
“I didn’t think that,” he denied hotly.
The statement rang false and when he heard his sister humph with disbelief he sighed with frustration.
“Well, what was I supposed to think when he said he was helping Dani out with an emergency?” he asked, “Fuck, Charlie, Dani wouldn’t let me help her make a cup of coffee most of the time, and Micah gets to roll in white knighting for her and her son.”
His sister was silent at his declaration, and he could practically hear her brain turning over his words.
“Honestly, Thomas, why would she expect anything from a man that is only focused on a good time.”
He opened his mouth to respond, but she cut him off before he could start.
“Hear me out, Big Bro. You’re the first one to admit your relationship was only required to meet the most shallow requirements. I wouldn’t have called you either if I was in Dani’s place too.”
“Yeah, well you also almost kept your husband’s child from him, so I don’t know how good you are with judgement.” He snapped back.
Charlie didn’t gasp with shock or even light into him as she usually did when he pushed her to far with harsh words. Instead she sighed deeply, and it sounded as if her very soul was involved with the action.
“Are you ever going to forgive me for that?” She asked softly.
“There’s nothing for me to forgive,” he replied.
“Really, because any time you get mad at me you throw that up in my face. So I’m wondering when you’ll get over it, because Grant, my husband and father of my children has.”
This time when she spoke there was a sharper edge to her words. Thomas knew he should back off, stop before words were spoken that couldn’t be taken back, but something niggled at him to keep pushing.
“It was a cold thing to do, Charlie. Knowing Grant even more makes what you were planning to do seem even crueler,” he admitted.
“It was shitty, yes I’ll admit that, but here’s a not so fun fact. He was just a fuck at the time, Thomas. The same way I was just a fuck for him. Yes, there was the possibility for more, but I wasn’t ready to open myself up to hurt from a person I’d only planned to sleep with and leave.”
Charlie’s words hit him in the gut. “Is this your way of saying I’m only a fuck to Dani?” He asked.
“Maybe,” he could hear rustling as she adjusted the phone. “Thomas, honestly you’re confusing the rest of us. You have been a notorious bachelor, but now…I don’t know. We don’t know what you are.”
“So the three of you are talking about me behind my back?”
“As a matter of fact yes.” She said with a humorless chuckle. “This thing with Dani isn’t like you.”
Her admission annoyed him mostly because she was right. This wasn’t like him. Throwing glasses, putting off work, and planning to flee the city. He’d always been good with beginnings, middles, and ends with his relationships. He’d never had his heart broken before.
Thomas’ heart sped up as his last thought sank in.
“Thomas,” his sister whispered.
He couldn’t do this right now. “I’m good. Thanks for checking in on me.” He heard himself say, as if from a distance.
“Thomas, talk to me, please,” his sister pleaded.
He couldn’t though. His heart was beating too fast and he was finding it hard to breath.
“I love you, Charlie.” He paused before adding. “I gotta go.”
Charlie’s silence was deafening and he wondered if he was going to have to hang up to make her stop.
“I love you too, Big Bro.” She finally said.
He didn’t wait to see if she’d say more and instead disconnected the call. He suddenly felt raw, as if he’d been left out exposed to the sun for too long. It left me feeling shaky and uncertain. When the thoughts of broken hearts and love tried to force their way into his consciousness he mentally flailed and walled them away.
He looked over at his overnight bag, gaping open on his bed. Should he stay or should he go, the words twirled like a dervish in his head. Fatigue creeping up, he decided he didn’t need to make any decisions right now. He’d take a nap and clear his head. He’d be able to make a better decision once he’d had some sleep, he decided and curled up on top of his comforter, not bothering to slip underneath. Thankfully his brain agreed, and instead of plaguing him with thoughts and memories, helped lead him into the dark bliss of sleep.