A Sneak Peek – and a New Direction

sleepy bear morguefileLife has been pretty crazy for most of the past year – ten months and two days to be exact. But things are finally settling down, even though my daughter and the baby have moved in – likely for the rest of the year, and maybe longer. It took a while, but I’ve shifted my schedule to one that a normal person might keep – meaning I’m usually in bed before midnight and up by seven – at the latest. Sometimes once or twice during the night, depending on my daughter’s work schedule. Yes, folks, I’m the babysitting grandma now, doing three a.m. feedings and diaper changes.

And I love it.

The only problem has been trying to find time to write, edit, outline, and plot. And I’ve finally figured out how to do it … get it done before Aria is up for the day. So far, I’m very happy with the progress – and surprised that I’m writing and being productive while the sun is out.

The new direction I mentioned in the subject line? Well… The Double M series has been giving me a headache so I’m bumping it to the back burner until I have time to work out the kinks. That means I have more time for the series I was researching last year.

Set near where I usually stay when I’m on that side of the state, I took a lot of videos because I wanted to try and get the feel of what life is like in a tourist community. Here’s a short video of the drive to one the area beaches…

That whole hiding the body thing? That’s just the way a writer’s mind works. 😀

So anyway…

Here’s the excerpt. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

It was good Weko Harbor was a small community where most everyone knew your business. If not, Paul Kimmer would be pulling his cruiser to the curb, inquiring as to why Jun Kai Lee—or John, as he preferred to be called—had been sneaking looks in the window of the long closed Surf ‘n Soda Shack for the past ten minutes. But Paul, who spent his lunch hour standing beneath a weeping willow at the edge of the cemetery two hours ago, paying his last respects to Harold Rutledge, only smiled a sad smile of encouragement. He knew, same as most of their crowd, that Nick was in there—trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. Or, at the very least, what to do with the inheritance that had just been dumped in his lap.

Glancing back through the glass, John wiped a tear away as he watched one of his two best friends sitting at the counter grieving a loss he hadn’t seen coming. He’d never agreed with the decision to keep Nick in the dark over Harold’s health but he’d had to trust that the old man knew best when it came to dealing with his personal affairs. Yes, he’d been their youth leader from first day of junior high through their high school graduations, and later their friend, counselor, and confidant, but that didn’t give him, or anyone else, the right to tell him what to do when it came to life and death decisions, or even to offer advice when it came right down to it. All he’d been able to do was respect and honor the request to keep the information to himself.

Now, Nick was in the dim, dusty restaurant that had been a second home to all of them—not to mention the first place most of them had worked—trying to deal with the fact that he hadn’t been there at the end. That he’d never had a chance to say goodbye.

And here he was, standing around like a peeping Tom waiting for Willa to show up. Willa Pixley, the other member of their tight-knit group of three. His other best friend. Harold had secured their promise to be here for Nick today, knowing full well Willa would have trouble being strong. She might be an independent, hard working woman, but she was also tenderhearted enough he knew she was hiding out somewhere, bawling her eyes out instead of here where she was supposed to be.

He didn’t blame her though. If men weren’t supposed to be the strong ones, that’s probably what he’d be doing too. Bidding farewell to one friend and comforting another—who he might have to say goodbye to again—all in one afternoon, was a lot for anyone to deal with on a sunny Saturday in April.

“John?” Willa’s soft voice behind him startled him and he whipped around to see her standing there. Her eyes were red rimmed, but he noted that she’d taken the time to change out of the dark dress she’d worn to the funeral. Yeah. Jeans and a sweatshirt was a better choice than the slacks and dress shirt he still wore. “Sorry I’m late. I couldn’t— I just couldn’t—“

“I know. But he needs us.”

“Yeah, he does,” she whispered, glancing in the window. Nick was sitting at the counter, his face in his hands and they could see his shoulders shaking in the faint light the tinted window shades let in. Squaring her shoulders, it was clear she’d finally gotten it together and she grabbed his elbow and dragged him toward the door.

An overhead bell tinkled when they went inside. In previous years, it alerted the waitstaff that customers either had arrived or were leaving. Today, it alerted Nick to the fact that his best friends had come to the rescue. Rescue from what, John didn’t know, but they were ready to help, whatever the need might be.

“Hey,” Nick said, his voice muffled against his palms. He didn’t ask who it was, but then he didn’t need to.

“Hey.” John walked over and slung an arm across his back. Willa laid her head against his shoulder, wrapping her hands around his bicep and they stood with him for a few silent moments.

“You knew he was dying,” Nick finally accused, still not bothering to look up. “Everyone knew. Except me. And I didn’t know because no one felt the need to tell me.”

“He wouldn’t let us,” Willa whispered and John watched the tears she’d finally gotten under control start rolling down her cheeks again.

“What did he do? Tie you up and slap duct tape across your mouth? Lock you in a closet with no phone or internet access?”

Photo credit: Morguefile.com

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