Shannon here: Women’s fiction author, Jennifer Slattery shares an excerpt from her latest release, Intertwined. Comment or answer the question at the end of any post dated Jan 11 – 14 to enter the drawing for winner’s choice of Jennifer’s titles, Beyond I Do, When the Dawn Breaks, or Intertwined. Deadline: Jan 23rd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Jennifer:
Tammy sat on her back porch swing, a tub of chocolate ice cream in her lap, phone in hand. The neighbor kids—three, all under the age of five—chased bubbles in the adjacent yard. They squealed and laughed, their cheeks rosy, damp hair plastered around their faces. Oh, the gift of ignorance.
And huge quantities of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
The kids’ mother, a petite lady in her midthirties, knelt in front of an immaculate flowerbed. Would she be up for babysitting? With that many mouths to feed, maybe she’d welcome the extra money.
Not likely. She drove a luxury car and paid for lawn service.
Tammy focused again on her phone. Her mom had left a string of texts. Apparently, Becky had filled her in on the latest drama. Her highly exaggerated version, no doubt. Tammy was tempted to set ground rules: No talking about our personal lives. Except the last thing she wanted to do was encourage her teen to keep secrets, regardless of the reason.
She’d just have to deal with it, and her overly anxious parents. Find a way to convince them that, contrary to whatever Becky said, their family unit was not falling apart.
Although Tammy was getting close.
Kneading her forehead, she called the youth pastor. She got his voicemail.
“Hi, Leon. It’s Tammy. I wondered if you might have the number of that girl looking for a summer job?” And hopefully a spring one as well. “Call me back when you get a chance.”
She hung up and grabbed the church directory. Maybe one of the ladies from the college ministry would be able to help out. But would they be willing to stay overnight?
She tried Judith Campbell first. “Hi, this is Mrs. Kuhn from Ozark Community Church.”
“Mrs. Kuhn . . . hi.” Judith’s voice sounded like she’d just woken up.
“Listen . . . I wondered, do you babysit?”
“Um, I used to. When I was in high school.”
“Oh. I see.”
“Did you need something?”
“I, uh . . . No. I’m sorry to have bothered you.” Tammy hung up, then stared at her phone screen, her ice cream melting.
The gate screeched open, then clanked shut. Footsteps followed.
Vanessa stepped onto the porch wearing a peach sundress and strappy sandals. Her long blonde hair was pulled back in a low ponytail. “Whoa! This must be serious.”
“Double chocolate serious.”
“And sure to be followed by an obscene amount of aerobics, right?” Vanessa plopped onto the swing.
“Exactly.” Tammy raised a spoonful to her mouth, then dropped it back in the container.
“So . . . what’s with the massive dose of comfort food?” Using her feet, Vanessa gave the swing a push. “What’d Brody do now?”
“Nothing. And I mean absolutely nothing.” That was a conversation for another day. “But this isn’t about him.” She swirled her spoon through a lump of chocolate. “Joni quit.”
“Oh . . . What are you going to do?”
Tammy shrugged. “Invest in Haagen Dazs?” Lifting the church directory, she read the list of names. A few she’d circled. Then crossed off. “And take out an ad.”
The swing hinges creaked beneath them.
She watched a glob of chocolate slip down the outside of the tub. “You know how long it took me to find Joni. Two years of dealing with irresponsible babysitters who never showed or arrived late. Two years of Ellen’s tirades, threatening to fire me. If I mess up one more time, she might actually follow through.”
Vanessa squeezed Tammy’s knee. “You know you can always count on me, right?”
Leaning her head against the swing back, Tammy watched a puff of clouds rapidly swallow the sun.
Vanessa nudged her. “I’m here. Let me help.”
Tammy rested her head on her friend’s shoulder. “What would I do without you?”
“Gain an exorbitant amount of weight.” Vanessa flashed a grin. “And it’s my duty to keep that from happening, even if I have to eat this entire tub by myself.” She grabbed the ice cream and stood, looking into the container. “Give me a minute.” She shot Tammy a wink and traipsed toward the sliding glass door, returning a moment later with a heaping bowl of ice cream, the tub gone. “See?” Plopping back onto the swing, she raised her bowl with a grin.
Used by Permission. Intertwined: A Novel, by Jennifer Slattery (New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, AL) NewHopeDigital.com.
About Jennifer: Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
About the book – Intertwined: Abandoned by her husband for another woman, Tammy Kuhn, an organ procurement coordinator often finds herself in tense and bitter moments. After an altercation with a doctor, she is fighting to keep her job and her sanity when one late night she encounters her old flame Nick. She walks right into his moment of facing an unthinkable tragedy. Because they both have learned to find eternal purposes in every event and encounter, it doesn’t take long to discover that their lives are intertwined but the ICU is no place for romance….or is it? Could this be where life begins again?
Question for readers: Were you ever a working parent? If so, were you blessed with good childcare? Or was childcare a challenge?
Come back Jan 18th for Cynthia Hickey!