I completed the manuscript for my next book, Speak Tenderly To Her, last week (yea!) and have been getting it ready for my beta readers. Like every other book I’ve written, I don’t really feel that it’ll ever be where I want it to be (perfect) but I can try. I am still finding my way around this new genre (new for me), but I am feeling good about the story and regardless of where it fits in, I have told the story I set out to tell and I am proud of it. I’m including another sample today, but if you are interested in beta-reading the current draft (in exchange for feedback), I would be happy to send you a copy. You can click here for more information on beta reading, or here to contact me. Thanks so much for stopping by my site.
In this sample, Tory has been ignoring his mother for two weeks, but she is not the type of person to be ignored and when she finds out that her suspicions are true about Isobel, she decides to take matters into her own hands.
“What you do want from me? I said I was sorry.”
“And you think that’s enough?” she said, taking a couple steps towards her. Isobel knew she wouldn’t hurt her, but she couldn’t help the fear filling her. It was habit now. “You think you can say you’re sorry for the past four years and that will be enough? Do you know the hell you put Tory through? The hell you put us through? I told Tory you would hurt him, I warned him and you did just that.”
Isobel looked down.
“You can act all contrite and repentant, but I know you. I know you’re only taking advantage of him because of his good nature. You think you can manipulate him like you did then, but I won’t let you do that.”
Sarah grabbed Isobel’s bag and threw it on the bed. Then she grabbed her wrist and started dragging her over to the bed. Isobel tried pulling her arm back, but she wasn’t strong enough.
“You’re leaving and you’re never going to bother my son again,” Sarah demanded.
Isobel saw the intent in her eyes and knew she couldn’t win this battle.
Both women turned their heads to the door where Tory stood, a look of concern on his face. Isobel wondered if it could be for her.
Not now, she told herself, as Sarah let go of her arm.
“Could’ve been anyone, huh?” his mother asked him, her hands on her hips.
“This is why I don’t tell you anything,” he told her; and stepped between her and Isobel. Isobel was surprised by this move and looked up to him for defense. Sarah’s face turned red with anger as she looked from her to Tory.
“I am your mother! And you are siding with this no-good tramp?”
Isobel cringed, though it wasn’t the worst thing Sarah had called her. Ever.
“She abandoned you, or do I need to remind you of the misery she left you in? How she used you to get ahead and then moved on when you weren’t moving fast enough for her,” the woman continued, looking at Isobel with scorn, whose face flushed hot with embarrassment. The tears streamed down her face. “You’re too good for someone like her.”
Even if Isobel had the sense – good or bad – to argue, she would not. She couldn’t. She dropped her gaze, wishing she could just sink into the floor and disappear.
Tory glanced at her briefly, his brows furrowed, before he took his mother by the forearm.
“That’s enough, Mother,” he began, and walked her out the door, shutting it behind him.
Isobel didn’t move from where she stood, surprised: given the current situation, she hardly expected Tory to defend her like he did.
But he’s not defending you, the other little voice in the back of her mind, argued. He’s simply keeping peace. Just like he always did.
Isobel knew the voice was right, especially when she heard Sarah and Tory arguing.
“You cannot just walk into my place and do that,” Tory said, trying to drop his voice.
“I have been calling you for two weeks and you haven’t picked up the phone once to call me back. What else was I supposed to do?” his mother responded, her voice loud, her tone offended.
“I am thirty-two years. I don’t need you running my life.”
“Apparently you do, if you’re letting that woman manipulate you again.”
“Mom, I’m not doing this with you, right now.”
“Perhaps then you would like to do this after she breaks your heart again, leaves you for the next guy with a bigger dick and bigger paycheck. She is nothing but a whore. God knows what she’s contracted in the years she’s been away. Are you sleeping with her already? Is that why you didn’t want to call me back?”
“You need to go,” Tory retorted. And while Sarah argued, Isobel noted how their voices grew more distant, presumably towards the door. She sank down onto the bed, not wanting to think. Maybe it was selfish of her, but everything was going well enough between her and Tory. Would he revert to his unpleasant, unforgiving self now that his mother said what she said? Would he find reason to put her out early? She hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to Pastor Martin and Ms. Nancy simply told her not to worry. But how could she not worry? She was in limbo, stuck between the past she loathed and a future she couldn’t see.
Isobel grabbed her pillow and hugged it tightly to her. She couldn’t hear Tory or his mom anymore. Was this it? If he had thrown his mother out, certainly he would have no qualms about putting her out. After all, she was the reason he had to do what he did.
She stopped thinking and closed her eyes. She just wanted rest, stability, peace. She wanted…
A knock pulled out her of her thoughts. Isobel took in a deep breath and sat up.
“Come in,” she said, though her voice was barely audible.
There was another knock.
She cleared her throat and repeated herself, a little louder this time. She had to seriously work on that.
Isobel braced herself for the worst as the door opened. Tory stood there, looking at her for a split second before looking elsewhere. She wanted to look away, as she normally did, but she couldn’t.
“I…you know…how…my mom gets,” he stuttered.
She watched him, hands in his pockets, shoulders hunched, eyes on the wall behind her. He looked the way she felt.
Isobel nodded her head in response. And that was the end of it: he turned around, pulling the door shut, as she started to lay her head back down.
But it wasn’t. Tory opened the door and turned back to her, a determined look on his face. Isobel sat up.
“No. She had no right to talk to you like that,” he said, making eye contact. “I’m sorry.”
Again, this was more than she expected and she didn’t know how to respond beyond a weak nod. He offered her half a smile and turned to go. But like before, he didn’t get beyond the door before he turned around again.
“Are you hungry?”
She shook her head.
“I don’t want to inconvenience you.”
Tory argued though, a soft smile spreading across his face… just the like the one he used to give her when he would try to talk her into something.
“You’ve been cooking for me for two weeks. It’s only fair I take you out to eat.”
Isobel shook her head again.
Tory’s smile broadened.
“Come on. I know you’re hungry. What do you say, Issie?”
She stared dumbfounded at Tory. Did he even realize what he called her? It had been so long since she had heard that nickname uttered by anyone, especially him. Did it mean…?
No, it was nothing more than a slip of the tongue. He wanted to sway her mind and she couldn’t say no, not to him, not when he was smiling at her and calling her Issie.
“Alright,” she finally said.