Last week, I got a contract for Deep Secrets and Hope #5 from Harmony Ink Press! Tentative release November 2015. So I wanted to share an unedited excerpt.
About an hour after Delia and I got back from lunch, I was sitting in the back room finally checking into online GED classes like I’d been promising. Delia had done a lot for me. The least I could do was follow through when I made promises.
“Jim, Manny’s here,” Delia said from the other side of the curtain.
I looked up from the tablet but didn’t answer. After all the stuff that had come out while I was in the hospital, I was even more positive making friends with anyone wouldn’t be a good idea. Now that I’d opened my mouth about what he did to me, I was afraid if someone
“Jim? Did you hear me?” Delia’s voice cracked.
“Coming.” The last thing I wanted was for her to think I’d hurt myself with her right in the other room. The way she sounded, I was pretty sure that was on her mind.
I put the tablet on the desk and went through the curtain. Manny was standing at the counter with a big smile on his face. “Hey. Heard you were sick. Are you feeling better?”
“Yeah, mostly.” I walked over to the register so I could keep the counter between him and me. “Delia said you asked her where I was.”
He shrugged. “I’ve kind of gotten used to seeing you in here. Do you want to go for a walk or something? It’s pretty nice out, and Delia said you’ve been stuck out back all day.”
“We’re supposed to be getting a shipment.” I looked at Delia, who was fixing a display of paintbrushes. Or at least pretending to. She wasn’t actually moving anything, just touching the packages.
“Go ahead,” she said. “It’s your birthday. You can take some time to enjoy yourself.”
“Ohh. Happy birthday,” Manny said. “I should have made you a card or something.”
My face heated up. “You didn’t know,” I mumbled. “Yeah, let’s go for a walk, I guess. Let me grab my jacket.”
I went out back and picked up my coat from the chair. I had to be crazy. The only good thing that would happen from me hanging out with Manny would be a day or two of having someone my own age around before something bad happened.
Then again, I didn’t have to wait for anything to happen. I could tell Manny everything myself. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about him anymore, and if he told other people, I would deal with it. At least I wouldn’t have to keep wondering when it would all go wrong.