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Grapemo TEASER TUESDAY: Week 5!



Leaning heavily on my walker, I knelt and started moving handfuls of soggy, decaying leaves aside. A sense of urgency. My hands touched warm, pliant, human skin. Carefully moving aside a few leaves at a time now, I unearthed a naked teenage girl, curled into a fetal position, lying in a depression of soil. Had it not been for my dogs, where she lay could have become her grave.

Eyes closed. Auburn hair matted with dried blood; dried blood on her head and face. Her skin was covered in bruises, welts, and cuts; someone had been extraordinarily cruel. Panties ripped away at the leg opening; welts left behind. Her new sweatshirt and training bra were pushed up to just below her chin, callously exposing her budding breasts. Her Jeans and destroyed panties, bunched at one calf and ankle, the other leg bare. One tennis shoe remained neatly tied on her foot, it's mate nowhere to be seen.

I yanked off my light jacket, "Please don't be afraid, dear, I'm here to help you." Placing the coat over her, completely covering her nakedness, she flinched as the material settled on her petite body. "What's your name, child? Mine is Hope."
~ ~ ~


As the waiter silently retreated to the apartment's kitchen, Dante took over the task of pouring our after-dinner coffee himself, his large, work-roughened hands deft and sure with the china. "Worked my way in this business from the ground up," he commented with a smile as he handed me a delicate platinum-edged cup balanced on a matching saucer, somehow correctly reading my curious thoughts. His own cup in hand, he walked to the large window overlooking the nighttime expanse of the "real Las Vegas" as he'd not-so-off-handedly mentioned over dinner. The Vegas where the fantasy ended. A fascinating man, this Dante Campisi, devoting his entire life to building dreams and fantasies, while simultaneously turning his back on the façade he was such an integral part of creating. Remaining attached to a woman who was the embodiment of every man's fantasy, not for the façade she presented to the world, but for the real woman lurking beneath, well aware of the insecurities and issues that clearly transcended mere idiosyncrasy.

As Jack led me from the dining table to one of the long sofas facing the view, Dante remained by the window, thoughtfully sipping his coffee. "With Ava, you've got to give her all of you and even then, it's a crap shoot. But I live in Vegas for a reason, right?" His shoulder lifted in a casual shrug at odds with the stark expression reflecting back from the window. "I would've devoted everything to her and let the business go to hell if I thought I had a shot at winning it all. But what good would that have done in the end?"
~ ~ ~



Mom calls up, “Look who finally turned up,” and pushes me up the aisle toward Rory. “I believe this is your missing date?” She tweaks my arm before sailing back toward the gym, with instructions to Rory to “See if you can keep her out of trouble the rest of the night, hmm?”

“Trouble, huh?” Rory folds his arms. “Why am I not surprised?”

If my face gets any hotter I’ll have third degree burns. “Sorry I dumped you like that.”

“You did the séance thing,” he says flatly.

I nod. “Are you mad?”

“Oh, please.” He heads back toward the gym. I run to keep up. Once there, I glance around for any sign of Meg and the others. “If you’re looking for your friends, they just left.”

“All of them?”

“Yep. You ditch me for them, and then they ditch you. Ironic, huh?”

I tilt my head. “Are you really not mad at me? Because if you are, then say so, okay? Instead of dwelling on it for, like, the next six months.”
~ ~ ~



He clapped the top of the fence and stepped back. "When you're done, maybe you can pitch me a couple?"

I rolled my shoulders, maybe yes, maybe no. I still had rope to tie, and straw to lay. I had to be there when Hannah came back from the fields, and needed somebody to put her back on the ground.

That was my job, and my place, and it was good enough. I could take care of the horses forever. I would take care of Stone Well when I was the only one left. Nothing had to change, ever.

Except, there were new curtains in the west wing, and a new face at the table. A new taste in my mouth that was something like fire and lightning. Maybe everything had already changed.

Maybe that was okay.
~ ~ ~



His crooked finger pulls at the bed sheet, the scars on his knuckles exclaim his recent fight.

He knows I'm there. His eyes flicker, he blinks, he looks everywhere but at me.

This is what love can do to a person.

I have to believe it can do so much more. My whole world depends on that hope.

Keeping my distance won't save me. Colm is behind me, a fingertip away. He will protect me if this starts to hurt either of us.
~ ~ ~



The doorbell rings. I push back my chair, go answer it.

Samantha’s on the doorstep, holding a big box with “Dawn’s Donuts” stamped across the top.

“Thought you could use some frickin' sugar, after yesterday’s fiasco,” she says.

The edges of my mouth rise, then fall, then come back up and I have to take several deep breaths to keep the tears at bay.

“Maybe I should’ve brought vodka instead,” Sam says.
~ ~ ~



I turned a slow circle, getting my bearings. It was full night and yet lights in the distance lit the landscape in a way I’d never seen before—even under a full moon. The stars shone brightly but it seemed there were fewer. Or did the lights overpower them?

“What is that?” I pointed to the brightest and closest glow.

“My house. I left the porch light on,” Rachel said.

I nodded absentmindedly and turned my back on it. “Stand here.” I gestured to a spot in front of me, but slightly to the side. I leaned in until the space between us almost disappeared. If I’d had my body, we could have touched with only a breath. She shivered.

I lifted my arm and pointed into the darkness beyond. “My village is that way. In daylight, you can see the tops of the plateaus that guard it.” I took a deep breath, easily picturing my home. And suddenly the words came to me and I found I could not stop them if I tried.
~ ~ ~



A stream of crimson trickled onto the gray asphalt. Rivulets of red stained Connie’s, his fiancée’s, once white blouse. Face down on the steering wheel, her blond hair covered most of the injury.

Just thinking about that fateful day filled Bryan with renewed determination to right the wrong of her death. He kicked his quilt off, ready to face another evening.


The voice in his head grew impatient. This voice had increased lately. As had the visions. He knew better than to ignore them.
~ ~ ~

CAN I GET A WITNESS: Memoir of a Tent Evangelist’s Daughter

An old man shuffled past my chair, pulling change from his pockets as he headed for the cash register. He dropped his order slip into the owner’s open palm and piled the coins on top.

The owner counted the money as he dropped it into the cash register. Then he reached out his hand again, as if to insist the old man was holding back.

The old man’s shoulders drooped. He hung his head, hands shoved into his emptied pockets.

I squeezed my eyes closed, as if to shut out the ugly truth of what I saw. We ate a lavish meal for free, all eight of us. But God’s blessings—and the owner’s generosity—apparently didn’t extend to the crippled old man who’d handed over all his money and was giving the manager a tearful apology for coming up short. I wanted to invite him to share in our bounty. Even more so, I wanted to ask the owner to give his money back. But I didn’t know how to shape those yearnings into words, so I hunched closer to the table and pretended not to notice.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 2nd, 2010 04:07 pm (UTC)
What a great batch of teasers! I was too chicken to send in any of my own, sadly. (Revision-induced paranoia, haha. I should probably try snapping out of that...)
Mar. 2nd, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
You're not alone, don't feel bad! :)
Mar. 2nd, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
Excellent! Have you changed the title of your book, Jen?
Mar. 2nd, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
I have an official working title, same as before, I just don't like to post it till it's official. :)
Mar. 2nd, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
Official-ER i meant to write, lol.
Mar. 2nd, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
Those are some awesome teasers!
Mar. 5th, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)
Mar. 4th, 2010 02:57 pm (UTC)
These are so great. I'm gonna be sad when this is all over.
Mar. 5th, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)
Me too. Esecially since I can't keep up lol.
Mar. 5th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
I don't know about you, but I'm doing horrible this week. It's been the week from you-know-where and I'm just sitting down to write for the first time in 8 days. I've got 1 page and 15 minutes left before I have to stop for the day. Somehow I don't think I"m gonna get my chapter in this week.
Mar. 4th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
Love this part of GRAPEMO!
Mar. 5th, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)
It's my favorite part!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


Jeannine Garsee

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