What an exciting day! Here’s an excerpt from my newest book. Enjoy!
The afternoon class at Tanglewood Women’s Prison was a spectrum of tension, as separated and splintered as a beam of light refracted through a prism. Cascade Preston held her student’s template assignment up to the light overhead, and spoke carefully on the quality of the stained glass project.
“With two lights, or openings, Brenda, I would say your idea of a church window for this one would be correct.”
Sighing, the student replied, “So you think I’m making progress?”
“Of course.” She tossed her honey-colored curls behind her shoulders. “Don’t you?”
Brenda snorted. “Heck, no. I’m in here for domestic assault. What do I know about progress? My life is over.”
This stopped Cascade in her tracks. “Look, we all make mistakes. God has told us that sinners should flock to him. What do you think? “
Brenda shrugged. “God has his own agenda. We’ll see what the parole board says about mine in two weeks.”
“For now, let’s focus on next week’s class. Bring me a flower for that one.”
“Where are we supposed to get a flower?” someone muttered.
“Draw one, stupid,” Brenda answered.
“Bye, ladies. Take care.”
“See you.” Sad-eyed, Brenda gave her a high-five as Cascade walked past her.
Cascade’s heels clicked efficiently with her every crisp step, and she made sure to shuttle as closely as possible alongside the beefy guard who escorted her from the holding room. Getting into her Corolla, she whispered a prayer. “I don’t think I’m doing any good here, Lord, but I feel you telling me to stick with it. So I will. Maybe this is the kind of thing that saved my mother.” She tried to block the images of her mother’s bruises from her mind, but they wouldn’t go away. They never did.
The drive back into Boston passed by quickly, without too much traffic. “Lean on Me” blasted from her audio system, and she sang along with all her heart. At twenty-seven, she knew it was technically an oldie, but to her, it was fresh and filled with meaning. Cascade wondered as she sang what it would feel like to have someone to lean on, because she had always been alone.
“There’s only one thing that could make tonight perfect,” she mused as she pulled into the parking area for her condo complex, “and that’s not going to happen, for sure.”
Images of her long-gone fiancé, Kevin, came into her mind and heart. Where was he this fine June evening? More importantly, why were things so much better for him without her in his life?
A form crossing her path brought her back to reality. Her eyes narrowed as she noticed someone walking towards her car. A guy — a big guy she did not recognize.
She shaded her eyes from the late day sun. Dark hair and outdoorsy looks. Work boots. “Nope,” she murmured to herself, “I don’t know him.”
Hopping from her car, she said, “Can I help you?”
“If you’re Cascade Preston, you sure can.”
He folded his arms across his chest. With all those muscles moving, Cascade could only imagine the stress put on the seams of his light blue cotton shirt.
“And you are…”
“Dan McQuay.” He extended his arm towards her. “From the site.”
“Hi.” Cascade pumped his strong hand, lost in his sky blue eyes. “What site?”
He tilted his head. “The construction site.”
“I’m not following you.”
He looked at her steadily. “I’m project manager for the retrofit on the church in Sterling Lakes. The one that you’re doing the windows for.”
Now tell me what you think! I’ll be drawing a winner for a copy of my book!