Getting tired of waiting on me to get my act together and publish my next novel? 🙂 I’ve decided to give you a little sneak peek at Saved By Grace. Here is the first scene of the first chapter. Scene two to come soon! Make sure to leave a comment and tell me what you think! (Well, unless you hate it – LOL.)
Adam Pearson bent his head into the late May wind and kept walking. His eyes locked on his white tennis shoes as they took one step in front of the other. The faded grey tarmac beneath his feet seemed to stretch on forever. The wind billowed out his navy blue windbreaker and ruffled the creases in his jeans. Everything he had on was brand new. Standard issue get-out-of-prison-clothes, Adam guessed. They felt foreign on his body after nearly ten years in prison garb.
The prison had given him money to buy a bus ticket so Adam had hopped the Greyhound from Milan to Grayling. Now he was plodding along County Road 612 headed toward Lewiston, wondering why he hadn’t written his mother to tell her he was getting out. Wondering why he was even going “home” at all.
The good citizens of Atlanta were not likely to forgive and forget what he had done. It wouldn’t matter that he was a changed man, rehabilitated. It wouldn’t matter that Emma and Tyler had forgiven him for tearing Emma’s world apart and then kidnapping and attempting to rape her. It wouldn’t matter that he had found God there in that cold, gray prison cell. All that would matter was that he was an ex-con. Adam felt as if the word were tattooed on his forehead for all to see.
So why was he going back? He could have taken a bus to anywhere in the state. He could have stayed in Grayling and started his life over. Why was he walking to a place where he knew he would not be wanted? Well, he had fifty miles to figure it out.
A black Dodge Charger passed him doing well over the speed limit. Adam watched as the brake lights flashed red and the car slowed. Soon it was backing up and stopped even with Adam. The driver’s side window silently slid down. A woman with pale skin and straight, black hair smiled at him. Her eyes were hidden behind large, dark sunglasses.
“Need a ride?” she asked.
Adam just stared at her from across the westbound lane.
“It’s not a good idea for a woman alone to pick up strange men,” he warned.
She merely laughed at him, a deep throaty laugh.
“I’m not alone, mate,” she said. Each word was laced with a decided accent. She nodded her head in the direction of the passenger’s seat. “I’ve got my friend Grace along. And you look harmless enough.”
Adam nearly snorted. If she only knew.
“Where’re you headed?”
“Hmm, Atlanta?” The woman turned to her passenger. “Find Atlanta on the map, will you dearie?” The two women consulted with one another for several moments before the driver turned back to Adam. “Better hop in then. Looks to me like you’ve an awfully long walk and there’s no way you would make it before dark. We’ll drop you off.”
Adam looked down the road and bit his lip. She was right. He probably wouldn’t even make it to Lewiston before nightfall. It was his own pride that wouldn’t ask his mother to pick him up from the bus station. With a shrug he crossed the tarmac, opened the rear door and slid into the back seat.
“No problem.” The woman met his gaze in the rear view mirror and smiled. “It’s pretty much on our way.”
“Where are you going?” Adam asked as the Charger shot forward. The woman looked at him in the rearview mirror once more.
“Oh, this little place called Far, Far Away. You ever heard of it?”
Adam just stared at her, unsmiling.
“My, what a serious lad you are,” she commented.
Adam pursed his lips. “I was just thinking, that’s all. I’ve been away awhile. If I remember correctly you have to go across the Mackinac Bridge and take a left at Never, Never Land.”
The woman’s laugh rumbled through the car.
“Oh, I think I’m going to like you,” she said with a nod of her dark head. “What’s your name?”
“Well, it’s nice to meet you Adam. I’m Jillian. And this here is my friend, Grace.” Jillian waved a well-manicured hand toward her companion. Her nails were painted a bright fire engine red to match her lipstick.
The young woman in the passenger seat turned slightly to smile at Adam over the back of the seat. Her light brown hair was shoulder length. The eyes that met Adam’s were brown and held a hint of laughter. Her skin appeared to be without makeup. Adam couldn’t help comparing the two women. It was like having a peacock and a sparrow in the same car.
“So, you said you’ve been away awhile,” Jillian said. “Where have you been and what brings you back?”
“I’ve been downstate,” Adam answered elusively. He could easily imagine what would happen if he told these two ladies that he had just gotten out of prison. He stared out the side window and shrugged. “Now it’s time to go home.”
“You don’t sound ever so enthused about it,” Jillian observed.
“You’ll understand when we get there,” Adam assured. “What about you? You obviously aren’t from around here.” He was still trying to place the woman’s accent.
“Whatever would make you say that?” She laughed. “I’m originally from Liverpool. Mum and Dad sent me across the pond to get a proper American education and I just never went back. Gracie though, she’s a Michigander through and through. Aren’t you, love?”
Grace merely smiled.
“We met on campus at the University of Michigan where Grace was earning a degree in the very respectable major of child psychology and I was learning how to spend Daddy’s money.”
“And you became friends?” Adam asked, skeptical.
“Amazing, isn’t it?” The gravely laugh rolled through the car once more. “I was in danger of flunking out and being kicked back to England so I posted an ad for a tutor. Grace responded and we’ve been fast friends ever since. I’ve taken her on adventures she probably never would have experienced, and she’s rescued me from more than one scrape, I can tell you.”
“You can say that again,” Grace said with a quiet chuckle. They were the first words the girl had spoken since Adam had gotten in the car.
“Is that what awaits in Far, Far Away? An adventure?”
“I certainly hope so,” Jillian answered.
Fifteen minutes later the car was breezing through Lewiston. Adam looked around, noting the changes that had taken place in his ten-year absence.
“Turn left at the four way,” he instructed.
“Will do.” Jillian turned the car north before picking up the thread of their conversation. “You know, Grace here has nearly worked herself to death getting her Doctorate. She’s taken her state boards and gotten licensed and everything. Now all she talks about is getting in with a successful practice. It gets to be such a bore, especially for a girl like me with absolutely no career ambitions. So I stole her away for a little vacation. We hit the road and I’ve just been going where whimsy takes me.”
“For who?” Grace turned her head enough to ask the question over the back of the seat.
“You’ll take a right when this road ends. That will take us right into Atlanta.”
“See, aren’t you glad we picked you up? I can’t imagine you walking all this way. It would have taken you days.”
“Yes. You were a godsend, I’ll admit,” Adam replied. “I’m sorry I can’t offer you anything for gas.”
“Oh, fiddle!” Jillian waved her hand in dismissal. “It’s all part of our little adventure.”
The car grew quiet as it sped along M32. Adam gazed out the window at the greening hills. His eyes soaked up the color. It had been ten years since his life had held any color besides shades of gray. Jillian let her foot off the gas as they entered the outskirts of Atlanta.
“This looks like a quaint little village. Seems very peaceful. No wonder you came back. It must be the perfect place to live. I bet there’s hardly any crime in a place like this.”
Adam nearly snorted. If Jillian only knew how many would-be murderers, kidnappers and rapists had been through this town, himself included!
“Just pull over in front of the bank.” He leaned forward and pointed to the main intersection of town. “I can walk the rest of the way. It’s not far.”
“Alrighty then.” Jillian did as he bid and brought the car to a stop at the curb.
Adam looked through the window and noted that the name of the bank had changed. What else had changed while he was gone? Nothing probably. And everything.
“Thank you both very much. I appreciate the ride.” He nodded to both women and opened the car door.
“You’re very welcome, dearie,” Jillian replied with a wave. “Good luck to you.”
“Enjoy your adventure.” Adam bent at the waist to thank his benefactors once more. His eyes locked on Grace’s for just a moment. “It was nice meeting you.”
“Bye,” Grace answered in her quiet voice.
Adam slammed the door and walked around the back of the car. Stepping up onto the sidewalk, he took a deep breath and headed toward home.