Shannon here: Jennifer Slattery shares an excerpt from her latest Women’s Fiction title, Breaking Free, featuring her character struggling with addiction. Comment or answer the question at the end of any post dated March 7 – 9 to enter the drawing for a copy. Deadline: March 19th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Jennifer:
Excerpt from Breaking Free by Jennifer Slattery:
Cigar smoke burned Trent’s eyes and throat. A single light bulb dangled from the ceiling, casting dark shadows across the hardened faces hovered around the small, circular table.
“What you got, old man?” Henry, a pale kid with bony shoulders that poked through his black T-shirt, studied Trent. He picked up a stack of chips and let them fall to the table one by one.
Trent gulped the last of his Scotch. They’d called his bluff, and now he would pay. Bile soured his mouth as he dropped his cards on the table. “Spot me another hand?” He needed one win, just one.
The tendons in Henry’s jaw flexed.
Trent’s pulse pounded in his ears, drowning out the steel drums and electric guitar that reverberated through the thin walls. His gaze darted to the metal door separating the back room from the bar. Swallowing hard, perspiration beading on his forehead, he considered making a run for it.
They’d kill him.
Jay, a short, pot-bellied, bushy-browed man with clumps of hair growing out of his ears, dipped his head and Bruce, a man with arms the size of tree trunks, pushed up from the table. His eyes narrowed. Pricks of electricity shot up Trent’s spine.
“You saying you ain’t got the cash to pay for your losses, man?”
Trent’s mind raced. He was broke. Flat broke, so far in the hole he wouldn’t be able to claw out no matter how hard he tried. Unless they let him play another hand. Just one more—that was all he needed.
“Pay up.” Jay stood. His beady eyes narrowed. “We aint got all day.”
Trent rose on shaky legs and shoved his hands deep into his front pockets. Nothing. He wrestled his wallet from his back pocket and flipped it open. Empty. Staring down at the worn leather, his eyes latched onto the shiny gold band encircling his ring finger. How much was that worth? A couple hundred at most. Nowhere near the two thousand these thugs expected. But at least it’d buy him some time.
He jerked off his ring, and then froze. What was he doing? His wedding ring? The thought sickened him, but what else could he do? Besides, it was only temporary. He’d get a new one soon. Before Alice even noticed it was gone. Releasing his grip on the smooth gold, he tossed it onto the table with a flick of his wrist.
Jay gave a high-pitched cackle, making him sound insane, and maybe he was. He grabbed the band. “What? This like a good-faith offer? Because unless you’ve got a lot more where this came from, you’re gonna be eating your teeth.”
Bruce watched his boss, Jay, closely, hands fisted at his sides. Trent’s lungs constricted, his breathing quick and shallow. With the slightest nod from Jay, Bruce would unload his two hundred and fifty pounds worth of muscles into Trent’s face.
“There is, I swear.” He spoke fast. Where was he going to get the money? How much time would they give him? He’d already blown through his and Alice’s savings, and telling them his paycheck was coming wouldn’t help.
Jay scowled. “You’ve got two weeks, with interest.”
About Jennifer: Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers and devotions for Internet Café Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. She also does content editing for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ Firefly imprint, and loves working with authors who are serious about pursuing their calling. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
About the book – Breaking Free:
Sometimes it takes losing everything to grab hold of what really matters.
Women’s ministry leader and Seattle housewife, Alice Goddard, and her successful graphic-designer husband appear to have it all together. Until their credit and debit cards are denied, launching Alice into an investigation that only leads to the discovery of secrets. Meanwhile, her husband is trapped in a downward spiral of lies, shame, and self-destruction. Can they break free from their deception and turn to the only One who can save them? And will it be in time to save their marriage?
Read a free, 33-page excerpt here: Breaking Free – free sample
Can’t wait for the drawing? Purchase now:
Question for Readers: How old were you when you became a Christian? If you’d like to elaborate, how has your life changed for the better since?
Come back March 14th for Tanya Eavenson!