Sunday, February 20, 2011

Countdown to TACOM - The Final Excerpt!

Curious to know a little bit more about Tom Cameron, the hero of Take A Chance on Me? For the final excerpt before release day, I thought I'd share a snippet that focuses on him. Enjoy!

The main parking lot was largely empty by the time Tom left his customary post at the entrance to the school. Most students were on their way home or busy in after-school activities. Still, just to be sure, Tom made it a habit to walk the halls of the school every day after school. You never knew what might be going on in the dark recesses of the old building.

He started in the basement, peering around corners and testing doors. Everything was locked up tight as a drum. Evidently, the art teacher had finally taken his advice and started locking her classroom.

He’d collared some not-so-bright students there after school one day, apparently under the impression that the smell of art supplies would mask the odor of their marijuana. They hadn’t counted on the smoke drifting under the closed door and out into the hall.

Everything checked out downstairs, so he headed back up. His pace slowed a bit as he reached the Language Arts wing. She’d probably gone home already. And even if she was still there, he wasn’t about to disturb her again today. No, he’d just check the door and keep walking.

Still, he felt the briefest letdown when he reached her classroom and saw that it was already locked and dark. Against his will, his mind dredged up an image of Jessica from this morning, the professional cut of her dark blue jersey dress doing little to hide her curves.

Even weighed down with paperwork, she had a look that put his libido on simmer.
He shook his head and turned around, heading for the next hallway. She was a fellow staff member, and therefore off-limits. Tom didn’t date co-workers. Not even co-workers as attractive as Jessica Martin.

To be honest, he didn’t date anyone, co-worker or not. Oh, his sister occasionally took her life into her hands and accidentally invited a female to dinner on the same night he came over, but nothing ever came of it. He wouldn’t let it. None of them were worth lowering his guard for.

He hadn’t consciously decided to live a solitary lifestyle, but that’s what had happened. It wasn’t a bad life, he supposed. He had a nice apartment in a quiet part of town. He could eat cold canned spaghetti over the sink and not worry about getting hell for it. He never had to share the remote control. He could sprawl across the bed without someone complaining how he was on her side.

Of course, there was also the silence. The half-empty closets. The embarrassing moments when he turned to comment on an article in the morning paper and no one was there. The times he woke in a cold sweat in the middle of the night and reached blindly across the king-size bed, only to find empty space.

The nightmares were diminishing in number with time, thank God, but not in intensity. He could still smell the sharp tang of gunpowder, feel the sticky warmth of someone else’s spilled blood. Like Lady Macbeth, he sometimes wondered if his hands would ever be clean.

Four years ago, that nightmare had been real. But even then, back when his king-sized bed had held two, there was no one he could have turned to for comfort.

No, the only person he could truly depend on was himself. And sometimes, in the middle of the night, he wasn’t even sure about that.


Just one more day, y'all! :)

1 comment:

Maia Strong said...

::happy dancing:: I'm so excited that this is coming out TOMORROW! Yay!