“Christmas Shadows”: Excerpt from SHADOW WALKER (Project Prometheus)

ShadowWalkerCoverArtWhen I first realized Trevor and Jaye’s story was going to play out over the holiday season, I was leery of what I call “the Rockwell Effect.” That is, I was very much afraid I’d end up with some postcard-perfect family scene that was a total contradiction to the emotionally volatile situation these two characters were in.

But, as usual with my characters, Trevor and Jaye came through for me.  Even little Jordan added that special, bittersweet moment of the hope of Christmas magic and the uncertainty of a child whose world is far from decided. And the scene that followed left me holding my breath in awe of this character (Trevor) I watched come to life from the first time he appeared on the page, in IN HER NAME.

“Christmas Shadows”: Excerpted from Project Prometheus: SHADOW WALKER —

Left alone in the empty family room, still surrounded by the scents and sights of the home he should have had all along, Trevor stared sightlessly at the dancing lights of Jaye’s Christmas tree until the image blurred before his eyes.  He’d thought he could put things right, that if he cared enough, and paid enough, he could wipe out the debt he had, and start over.  Have a real chance.

But the frightened little voice now echoing in his ears, and the worried frown that didn’t belong on a nine-year-old’s face, haunted him.  Jordan’s love was immediate and unconditional.  But the boy’s trust was another matter, and in that Trevor saw himself again, a twelve-year-old boy faced with his father’s absence, and his mother’s distance as she lost herself in a bottle.  Had he ever really forgiven either of them?

The answer was a resounding No.  He’d pitied his mother, but he still couldn’t forgive her for choosing alcohol over her children.  Even after his own bout with that demon, he couldn’t let go of the pain.  And Jerome’s chronic selfishness – bitterness and rage stirred in Trevor’s chest.  The man abandoned them.  Disappeared.  And now Trevor managed to prove himself as unreliable as either parent.

The disgust he felt for himself shook Trevor to the core.  He’d hurt Jaye and Jordan in ways he couldn’t erase.  There was no clean slate, and he was a fool to think there could ever be one.  He would spend the rest of his life earning Jordan’s trust, and probably still fail in the end.  But Jaye – Jaye’s fears, he could set right.  She was afraid he blamed her for Somalia.  She thought she wasn’t worthy of him.  The mere thought caught in his throat.  As if he was such a great catch.

With a resigned sigh, Trevor levered himself up from the sofa and turned off the Christmas lights, plunging the room into near-darkness.  How appropriate.  He lived in shadow, chained far away from the light.  But if he was very lucky, tonight he might just win a reprieve.

Get ready for the next Chapter of Project Prometheus

Shadow Walker

Available 12/21/2015

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“Monday’s Ghost” — Excerpt from SHADOW WALKER (Project Prometheus)

ShadowWalkerCoverArt

One of my favorite Project Prometheus characters to write has, since this moment when he’s first introduced, been Jordan Watkins. As a child, he’s endearing, precocious, and just has a lot of real character in him. Later, as a teen and an adult, that combination makes for a man with a profound sense of self and what he wants in life.

 

 

“Monday’s Ghost” — Excerpt from SHADOW WALKER (Project Prometheus, Atlantis Silver, Book #3) —

It was a typical Monday morning, Lieutenant Commander Jaye Michaels decided with a glance at her watch as she navigated the cluttered family room she never had time to clean, anymore.  At the foot of the stairs, she hollered, “Jordan!  C’mon, you’re going to be late!”

I’m going to be late.  Normally, a few minutes behind wasn’t a problem for her.  Even the United States Navy cut clinical psychiatrists a little slack; especially those decorated for valor she never felt less deserving of than she did this morning.  Not when the day loomed ahead of her like an executioner’s axe.  After two and a half long, terror-filled years of holding her breath and praying, she finally acquired the most important case of her life, on Friday.  Today, she would come face-to-face with a ghost.

Jordan!

A thoroughly put-upon sigh answered her from the second floor, and Jaye bit back a harried laugh as she made her way back to the kitchen.  Nine years old was just far too young to be so contrary.

A few minutes later, the heavy thud of sneakers clomped dejectedly down the carpeted stairs, and a thoroughly antagonized Jordan, his sweater on backwards again, appeared in the kitchen doorway, small frown lines denting his forehead.  Jaye smiled at him even as tender pain lodged in her heart.  He looked so much like his father, with his caramel-colored skin and dark amber eyes.  Only his high cheekbones and smooth, raven-wing hair came from her.

“I don’t need to go to school,” he protested with all the vehemence of nine-and-omniscient, followed by a hopeful look that pained her.  “Why can’t I go with you, instead?”

Jaye flashed him a tolerant smile as she slathered bread with Jordan’s two favorite food groups – peanut butter and apple jelly.  Sighing, she realized it was one more constant reminder of his father.

“Because you have to go to school, so you can learn how to do all that fun stuff you want to do, kiddo.  And I have to go to work.”  To beg forgiveness for my life.  Tension returned to coil between her shoulder blades, making her wince.

“Now, turn your shirt around so the tag is in back and find your book bag.”  She handed him his lunchbox – predictably Star Wars, like everything else in her son’s life – and offered him an encouraging smile as she ruffled his hair affectionately.  “Buck up, short-stuff.  Just think what you’ll be able to do once you get school over with.”

He brightened on cue as he struggled into his thick winter coat.

“I want to be a pilot, Mom.  Can I fly a jet, like on base?”  She winced again, acutely aware of her son’s love of fighter planes.  Her memories of watching fighters take off and land at Andrew’s Air Force Base were bittersweet, at best.  It was a regular pastime of theirs, thanks to Jordan’s rapt fascination.  She couldn’t deny him something that gave him so much joy, but a fearful knot tightened in her gut to know she fed his desire to rush into danger.  Jaye smiled wanly, unwilling to quash his dreams with her own reservations.

“You can be anything you want to be, honey.”

He grew pensive as he followed her silently through the house toward the front door.  “Mom?”

“What, babe?”  She asked distractedly as she shrugged into her coat and snagged her purse and the keys to her Toyota Corolla.

“Can I be like Dad?”

The unexpected question brought Jaye up short, and her eyes squeezed shut.  Good God, she hoped not.

Get ready for the next Chapter of Project Prometheus

SHADOW WALKER

Available 12/21/2015

Find out how it all begins with IN HER NAME, available now from Desert Breeze Publishing.

Unexpected Life: Behind the Scenes for the Writing of SHADOW WALKER

A lot of what I write touches my heart in some way, but there’s not a lot that actually shocks me. This book managed to do the latter, in spades.

SHADOW WALKER is the book that never should have been, but wouldn’t let me not write it. I figured, at the end of IN HER NAME, Trevor Watkins was pretty much done for. By HOPE OF HEAVEN, I figured it was just a matter of time, and if I wrote any further books, I’d be featuring his funeral in one of them. So, imagine my surprise when not only did he wake up from his coma, but he woke up with a story to tell — a story of betrayal, misunderstanding, guilt, and, above all, a love that refused to be extinguished by any of those.

When I started writing SHADOW WALKER, even with a firm outline in mind that clearly told me how it would end, I didn’t expect it to work. The odds seemed insurmountable, and the characters kept running away from each other, either physically or emotionally, just like they’d done for a decade. I was utterly convinced I would get to the end, hate the story, and consign it forever to my shredded idea pile.

That never happened. Instead, I watched two people with a world of pain and tragedy between them take the ultimate leap of faith, I watched a man firmly entrenched in the physical world, who learned to never forgive a betrayal as a child, open himself to a world of mystery that would require the ultimate forgiveness, to be realized. And I watched a woman battered and bleeding on the inside for a crime she didn’t commit, a woman of sound, practical logic who has denied her heritage and all that comes with it, become a truly powerful woman, spiritually, and take the biggest risk anyone is ever asked to take.

Add into all of that a boy whose one wish has always been to know his father, a dangerous psychopath with an agenda that could mean one or all of their deaths, and a bitter, angry sibling intent on causing pain, and SHADOW WALKER came to vibrant, amazing life… And became one of my favorite stories to tell.

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