Welcome! Indie Author Excerpts is a feature allowing indie authors the chance to showcase one of their books and allows readers to find their next favorite story. Each week, an indie author gets to promote a 1-2 page excerpt of their book here at BookShelfery. This is a win-win for everyone! This feature was inspired in part by Indie Author Spotlight, a meme hosted by Beckie @ Bittersweet Enchantment and CYP @ A Bookalicious Story. Are you an author that would like to be featured in Indie Author Excerpts? If so, check out this page and fill out the form.
This Week's Excerpt: A Tree Born Crooked by Steph Post!
Like this excerpt?
Buy it: Amazon
James Hart, with a tough-as-nails exterior and an aching emptiness inside, does not want to go home.
Yet when James receives a postcard from his mother, Birdie Mae, informing him of his father’s death, he bites the bullet and returns to the rural and stagnant town of Crystal Springs, Florida, a place where dreams are born to die. James is too late for Orville’s funeral, but just in time to become ensnared in the deadly repercussions of his younger brother Rabbit’s life of petty crime.
When Rabbit is double crossed by his cousin in a robbery-turned-murder, James and a local bartender, the unsettling and alluring Marlena Bell, must come up with a plan to save Rabbit’s skin. A whirlwind road trip across the desolate Florida panhandle ensues as James tries to stay one step ahead of the vengeful Alligator Mafia and keep his brother alive. With bullets in the air and the ghosts of heartache, betrayal and unspeakable rage haunting him at every turn, James must decide just how much he is willing to risk to protect his family and find a way home.
James lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply. He wanted to feel the burn in his throat and the tightness in his chest. There was nothing. He suddenly wanted to feel something, anything, to connect, to open his eyes and not be drowning in the dark, frozen sea of his own inception. The alcohol running through his blood buoyed him and gave him a rush of invincibility. He let out his breath and took a chance.
“I had this dream, back when I was a kid. Over and over. I still have it sometimes.”
James paused to see if Marlena was really listening to him. Her eyes were on the wet maple leaf she was twirling between her fingers, but the tilt of her head told him that she was with him and she was waiting. He threw his plastic cup into the pool. It bobbed and then slowly filled with water.
“In this dream, well, it’s strange. I’m not me. I mean, I am, but I’m not a person. I’m a tree.”
He waited for her to smile, but she didn’t. Her face didn’t change.
“I’m this tree out alone in a field. I’m always the same tree. I think maybe some type of oak tree. It must be winter, ‘cause I don’t have any leaves, just branches, kinda spindly like. But I’m not dead or anything.”
James paused, faltering, but knowing he would burst inside if he didn’t finish.
“And this storm comes. A thunderstorm, with lightning everywhere. I can see it all around me in the sky, even though I’m the tree. And then there’s a flash, like everything goes all white, and then this sound. It sounds like the earth opening up or something. But it’s not that, it’s me. I mean, the tree. I can hear it, but I can’t feel it. I’ve been struck by the lightning and I’m splitting right down the middle. I know you seen trees been hit like that. But I don’t catch on fire, and I don’t die. I’m just broken. And I know that I’m gonna keep on growing, but only crooked. And then I guess I wake up.”
James looked down at his callused hands. He had never told anyone about this dream, even though he had woken up from it next to other women who might have listened or guys sharing a road trip van who could have helped him to laugh it off. It had always been a secret part of him, shrapnel that no one could see and mostly he didn’t feel, but if he thought about it, he knew it was there, needling deep inside of him.
Marlena dropped the leaf into the water and turned toward him. He raised his head and let himself be swallowed up in her eyes.
Disclaimer: All material and links in the Indie Author Excerpts feature have been provided voluntarily by the author, publicist or publisher. Any materials quoted before publication date may change with final copy. No affiliate links were used in this post.