Excerpt: Chapter 22
I box up the Bateman. Tears dry on my face. Why was I crying? It’s beautiful, yet I hate everything about it. Leland bought the limited edition the day after he’d spent the entire weekend with one of his floozies. Not that I cared who he slept with, but the idea he bought something for me then decided to place it in his study still stings.
I stood at the door after dinner, watching him unbox it. The process was quite involved. He had to take care not to damage the frame while carefully separating the boards along each corner and then at the back. I’d offered to help, but he said he could do it by himself. Besides, it was a surprise. Something special he’d seen that he knew I would love.
Balancing it against the back of his chair, so the picture was faced away from me, he took down the heavy mirror from the mantel and set it on the far wall where it was sure to lean without sliding.
“I think this will look better in the foyer, and this will be perfect right there.” He gestured towards the spot above the fireplace. Then he lifted the painting, set it in place, and said, “Isn’t it magnificent?”
“Yes. Are you supposed to place valuable paintings above fireplaces? Won’t the heat ruin it?”
He rolled his eyes and laughed, as if what he said next was meant as teasing. “Sally, it’s probably better if you don’t think too hard. It can’t be good for you.”
I hated the print from that moment on.
Under the terrace lights, snow falls so heavily that a wall of whiteness separates me from the dark world outside. The ground-hugging fog looks frozen in place. Though the air around me smells like lilacs, lilies, and pasta spices, I know breathing deeply outside would be painful.
There is a strange hush as my false teeth masticate the last of my dinner. No, I’m wrong—the refrigerator has cut in, and its hum is thunderous inside my head. A wrenching, ugly noise comes from my throat. Tears fill my eyes, and I search the room as if somewhere in this space there is a reason to hang on. I’m a fighter, aren’t I?
I want to be.
My tired eyes close. I survived my children’s deaths, I can survive this desolation.
My chest heaves. Death is preferable to being pathetic.
A faint bleep interrupts my thoughts. I open my eyes. I look over my left shoulder and squint up at the surveillance monitor. A figure stands under the light inside the entrance to my front door. He looks up at the camera. It’s Killian.
My shoulders feel heavy. I wonder what he could want.
The sound of the doorbell blasts through the kitchen. My hands cover my ears. If I ignore him, possibly he’ll go away.
Three more blasts.
I draw myself up from the table; my legs feel as if they’re full of water. Splish, splash. I grab the plastic microwave dish and drop it in the garbage bin as I shuffle past. No sense presenting evidence that I’m too uninspired to prepare a real meal.
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Here is the schedule for Joylene’s upcoming tour:
Oct 17 – Mojito With a Twist – Review & Interview
A Creative Mind – Excerpt
La Vita On The Sea – Review, Excerpt, Feature
What Is That Book About – Excerpt
Oct. 18 – Rockin Book Reviews – Review
Mello and June, It’s a Book Thang! – Feature
Oct. 19 – Medeia Sharif – Review
The Owlery – Interview
Just Reviews – Review
Oct. 20 – Patricia Stoltey, Author – Guest Post
Quesarasera Book Blog – Review
Just Us Books – Excerpt
Oct. 21 – The Silver Dagger Scriptorium – Review, Excerpt
Hearts & Scribbles – Excerpt
Julie Flanders – Excerpt
Oct. 24 – Thoughts in Progress – Review
Oct. 25 – Hank Quense’s Blog – Excerpt
Sandra’s Blog – Excerpt
Oct. 26 – Books and Spoons – Review, Excerpt
JoJo The Bookaholic – Feature
Oct. 27 – Mel’s Shelves – Excerpt
Oct. 28 – Careann’s Musings – Excerpt
Oct. 31 – All the Doodles ‘n Scribbles – Interview
Nov. 1 – Ali – The Dragon Slayer – Excerpt
Writer’s Gambit – Interview
Nov. 2 – A Bluestocking’s Place – Excerpt
Nov. 3 – Deal Sharing Aunt – Review
Nov. 4 – Writing in Wonderland – Feature, Excerpt
Nov, 7 – Murees Dupé – Feature, Excerpt
Storybook Reviews – Excerpt
Nov. 8 – A Holland Reads – Feature
Nov. 9 – Author Annette Drake – Interview
The Five Year Project – Interview
Crystal Collier, Author – Feature
Nov. 10 – Bookworm 1102 – Excerpt
Nov. 11 – The Book’s The Thing – Guest Post
Nov. 14 – Christine Rains – Writer– Excerpt
Bish Denham – Excerpt
Nov. 15 – Rosie Amber – Review
Nov. 16 – Bookjunkie’s Book Blog – Excerpt
Nov. 17 – The Girl With Book Lungs – Excerpt
Nov. 18 – Celtic Lady’s Reviews – Review
Nov. 19 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Excerpt
Early Reviews – Stuart Aken