I thought I’d offer a story excerpt tonight from Shotgun Groom. I want to specify that this book is NOT a comedy, though there are some funny moments in the book. There are some moments which are hard to write because I end up crying as I write, so it’s nice to have those funny moments where you can take a breath and chuckle before it gets serious again. So please don’t expect this book to be a comedy just because I’m going to post one of the few light-hearted moments.
In this scene, Joel is doing everything he can think of to convince April to let him go.
Please note: I did not proofread this or edit it. It is a first draft. My editor will go over the story when I am finished. She used to be a high school English teacher, worked as a journalist in a local paper, and has won two writing awards for her stories. Her latest piece of fiction won 10th place in the Writer’s Digest short story contest. So I assure you, the kinks in this passage will be worked out by the time I publish this book. 🙂
With any luck, we’ll get Joel and April’s input on this scene in tomorrow’s post, given that they’re up for it and the cold I’m getting doesn’t make me too tired to write.
When Joel finished his sandwich, he thought about cleaning up but then decided April might like that and left the mess. The more of a pest he was, the better. For good measure, he spilled some lemonade on the table and left several pieces of broken up bread in a trail on the floor. He glanced at the kitchen door and decided to open it so some snow would blow in. There. His mother hated it when he tracked snow through the house when he was growing up, and this would make an even bigger mess for April to clean up.
Satisfied, he shut the door and walked over the snow, tracking it down the hallway. He stopped at the bottom of the stairs and wondered if he should go up there. Who was he kidding? He had nothing to say to these people until they agreed to let him go. When he returned to the parlor, he plopped back down on the couch and picked up the dime novel he’d been reading when he fell asleep.
He read three pages when footsteps coming down the stairs alerted him that April, Sep and Nora were about to bother him. Putting his wet boots on the couch, he pretended he was engrossed in the novel.
“What the…?” came April’s astonished unfinished question.
“Snow!” Nora called out in excitement.
“Nora, don’t,” April said.
“I’ll get the mop,” Sep replied.
Grinning, Joel rubbed his feet on the couch, making sure they saw the wet seat when they came into the parlor.
April stormed into the room, holding Nora’s hand. “If you think letting snow into the house is getting you off the hook, you have another thing coming.”
“What snow?” Joel asked, not bothering to look up from the dime novel in his hands.
She swatted at his feet. “Get those boots off my couch!”
“I’m making myself comfortable.” He yawned and rubbed the soles of the boots on the couch. “If I’m getting married, I’m going to make this house my castle. Last time I checked, the head of the house can do whatever he wants.” That wasn’t totally true. His mother, after all, had given his father an earful on occasion, but why let April know that?
She set Nora down on her rocking chair and stomped back over to him. “You are being disrespectful. We can’t afford another couch.”
Shrugging, he yawned and kept his eyes on the novel in front of him. “The best kind of wife is one who knows how to keep her trap shut. Just like a kid. Best seen and not heard.”
Looking up at her, he asked, “I heard you. That’s not permissible.”
She grunted and left the parlor.
He smirked. It was only a matter of time before she tossed him out.
Nora rocked back and forth in the chair and squealed in delight.
With a glance over his shoulder, he darted over to the rocker and stilled it. “Not so fast,” he whispered. “You don’t want to fall out and get hurt.”
Then he returned to the couch, making sure his feet were back on it since it bothered April. Seeing that Nora was rocking softly in the chair, he turned his attention back to the dime novel and pretended to read it.
Angry footsteps came back from the kitchen and he hid his laughter. She must have seen the mess in that room, too. Keeping his eyes on the novel, he wasn’t prepared for the bucket of cold water that descended upon him. He bolted from the couch, his hair and shirt dripping wet.