Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Saint John? Well, Almost!


Just a little excerpt to pass the time...and don't forget to scroll down and enter the Rafflecopter to win books, gift cards, and more!


A huge dog, a spirit, and her first crush. Between the three of them, can they save Beth from the killer? 

STUTTER CREEK
★★★★★
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/cfakkue
 Publisher: 5 Prince Publishing http://www.5Princebooks.com



STUTTER CREEK
Chapter Two
©Ann Swann      


Standing in the patch of sunlight, the blond giant smiled crookedly and Beth knew it was John.  She rushed forward to embrace him.  He was shirtless, wearing nothing but a pair of old cutoffs, his bronze skin glistening with water from the creek.  His hair was long, tied back in a ponytail with a knotted length of twine.  He was an eighteen-year-old demigod stumbling around the forest in search of his subjects.
            He opened his arms at her approach.  “Beth.”  His voice was just as she remembered.  She melted into the shelter of his embrace.  Her damp, sun-warmed skin met his and she sighed.  She was wearing a red bikini top and her own stringy-hemmed cutoffs.
            Slowly, she raised her face.  The top of her head barely grazed his shoulder.  She had to stand on her tip-toes even though he was leaning down—then their lips met, and the brilliant rays of sunlight falling through the pines illuminated his face like that of a saint in a stained-glass window.  “Saint John,” she laughed. 
            He laughed with her.
            Beth shook her head to clear the memories.  Actually, it wasn’t a memory so much as it was an embellished wish.  John Stockton was not a figment of her imagination, nor was he a dream-guy.  He was a real memory, but it was a childhood memory.  A teenage dream.  He had been her first crush. 
            They’d met one summer at Stutter Creek when she and her dad had made their annual vacation trip to their cabin in the mountains.  But that was so long ago—the only reason he kept invading her thoughts now was because she’d recently lost her dad.  Coming on the heels of her painful divorce from the second love of her life, it had been doubly hard.  She had no one to lean on. 
            Revisiting her memories of John, okay embellishing her memories of the boy her Dad had jokingly called Big John because of his height, was just another way of coping with the sudden silence that now enveloped her.  Beth knew she’d probably never see John again.  Except in her dreams.
            She lay back in the pillows and drifted away.  The over-the-counter sleep aid was beginning to help.  This time, her thoughts became a late summer picnic.  A soft green park shaded by mature pre-autumn maple trees; a clear pond ringed with soldiers of pampas grass swaying in the breeze; fish jumping, birds flitting from tree to tree; her old crazy quilt spread with a mini-feast of sandwiches, chips, and soft drinks; and to top it all off, fat slices of gooey chocolate cake peeking through the transparent plastic lids of Rubbermaid keepers.
            In the dream, the sky was clear but for a thin scarf of cirrus clouds draped across the horizon.  It was a typical West Texas summer’s eve.  Beth felt so happy watching Sam and her father playing Frisbee near the water.  Sam, her handsome husband, strong and lithe in his khaki shorts, and her dad, boyish as ever in his faded jeans and New Balance running shoes, were playing keep-away from her darling Abby who was dashing back and forth between them.  She was so adorable, twirling and dancing, trying to steal the Frisbee along with a bit of attention, her blonde curls and stocky little-girl body clad in pink Osh-kosh overalls and flowery bucket hat.
            Sitting on the sidelines, enjoying the air as well as the view, Beth closed her eyes and turned her face up to the westering sun, eager to let the rays coat her skin in their warm liquid silk.  What a fantastic day.  Her family, her life, everything was perfect.  All that was missing was that old song about a wonderful world . . .
            Then a long black shadow fell across her face blotting out the sun.  

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