Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blog Tour Preliminary Excerpt

My Black Lion blog tour, featuring Coinage of Commitment, starts tomorrow, so I thought I would tantalize a bit with a short excerpt from chapter one. In a way, this excerpt is a setup to the longer chapter one excerpt I have on my website. I'll put a link to that at the end of the piece just below.

Setup: September, 1968: A fun bar on the edge of campus on a Friday night.

They talked awhile, then Henk left, needing a full night’s sleep for the varsity soccer game he had in the morning. Wayne glanced to the left, toward the girl and her companion. She sat quietly, listening while he spoke and motioned with forceful animation. It looked like a pretty hard sell. Oh well, time to get on his way. He stood and picked up his canvas bag.

Just then, a movement at the girl’s table drew his attention. The guy grabbed her long hair at the neck, twisting her head back and slightly to the side. His other hand was palm up, fingers spread, pleading his case. Wayne turned from the bar and headed in their direction. Her response seemed understated. She remained still, her unblinking eyes radiating a commanding, fearless calm. As Wayne approached, the man released his grip, lowering and shaking his head apologetically. The girl smoothed her tresses with one raised hand, never taking her stoic gaze from him.

Wayne arrived at the edge of the table. Surprised, they both looked up at him.

“Is everything all right?” he asked her, his voice calmer than he felt.

Her green eyes bored into his, transfixing him with their crystalline depth. The moment dilated, slowed and came to a frozen stop. Strains of The Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin” carried from the jukebox.

“I’m fine,” she said, her voice barely audible. “But thank you,” she added, with just a hint of a smile, her gaze lingering one more instant, one more extra moment. Then she looked away, reached out her hand, and took that of her companion, as though to calm him.

Gently done, but certainly dismissal enough, Wayne thought, as he moved off toward the exit.

Once out on Market Street, he looked east toward the subway station steps at Thirty-first Street. He knew he should get on with catching the trolley, but felt a nervous energy from the encounter, almost a tingling. So he decided to walk awhile. Turning west, he went down to Thirty-second, crossed, and headed southeast onto the block comprising the newest addition to the Drexel campus. He wandered along the brick walkway and enjoyed the sight. Stratton Hall, Matheson Hall, the Basic Science Annex: by day, ugly renditions of the International Style, when lit up at night, they became majestic, almost lovely.  He slowed and let thoughts of the encounter dabble in his mind. He would not soon forget the girl’s incipient smile, or that extra moment as her eyes searched his. Was he entitled to the intimacy he felt from her gaze? The wondering caused her image to stay there, right in the front of his mind. Finally, the evening chill intruded. He withdrew a light jacket from his bag, donned it, and headed back toward Market Street and the subway station.
For this plus more from chapter one, click here.

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