It’s been a really fun ride so far at the Virtual Ebook Fair weekly Facebook event. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should…especially if you’re a book lover like I am! It’s a great place to discover new books and meet new friends. In fact, I have yet to meet a rude or unfriendly person at the fair. Everyone’s just been awesome!
As part of my participation in the fair, I created a separate excerpt page for my book, BELIEVE IN ME, but I have not yet created one for my first book, SHADOWS OF THINGS TO COME. I’m going to be rectifying that very soon. This post is a step in that direction.
So, without further ado, I’m going to post here the first chapter of the novel, which is available now on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats. Click on the book cover or scan the QR code to visit the Amazon page.
Tony Driscoll sat at his usual corner table in the student center coffee shop and gazed in dismay at the headlines of the free student newspaper. No real news, he thought, shaking his head. Still, it was early in the year. He was amazed Old Dimwitty could come up with anything for the first week of the semester. Tony turned his attention to the crossword puzzle on the back page and laughed at how easy the first five clues were. He would have this done in no time.
He paused as the door to the coffee shop opened, and one of the most beautiful girls he had ever laid eyes on entered the room, followed by some pathetic loser he assumed was her boyfriend by the way he held his hand on her back. How did a guy like that end up with a beautiful girl like her?
To his delight, they sat at a table not very far from him. The girl was facing him. Tony glanced under the table and noticed that she was wearing a short, pleated skirt, no stockings, and sandals. The outfit showed off her legs very nicely. He raised his eyes to look at her face. It seemed like she was looking right at him. He smiled, but the girl didn’t respond. She wasn’t paying attention to him. She was too wrapped up in her conversation with Bozo the Clown.
Tony lowered his head, pretending to study the crossword puzzle, even as he leaned his head ever so slightly in the couple’s direction. He could just barely make out what they were saying.
“What would you like to eat, Meg? You can have anything you want. I’ll pick up the check, and you don’t have to worry about a thing. Dad wired some money to my bank account last Friday.”
“Keith, listen. I need to tell you something.”
“What’s up, sugar?”
“Oh, Keith! I wish you wouldn’t call me that.”
“Why? What’s the matter? You never minded it before.”
Megan exhaled sharply and blurted out, “I’ve changed, Keith. You’ve changed. We’ve both changed so much that I don’t know who either one of us is anymore. I don’t think we should be together. We’re just too different.”
“What? I don’t think I heard you correctly, Megan. It sounded like you said you don’t think we should be together anymore.”
“That’s exactly what I said, Keith. I’m sorry. We want different things out of life. I want to serve God in the mission field, and you want to help your father run his antique business. I couldn’t take you away from that dream that you’ve had ever since you were a little boy.
And I can’t let my love for you keep me from doing what I feel God has called me to do.”
“Love? Your love for me? If you really loved me, you would try to make this work, Meg.”
“It’s not as simple as that. Please try to understand.”
Now Tony didn’t even have to strain to hear what they were saying. Keith’s voice was raised enough for everyone in the coffee shop to hear. All activity around the room stopped, and all eyes focused on the quarrelling pair. Keith shot out of the chair, knocking it over in the process.
“Keith, please sit down,” Megan pleaded.
“Why? So I won’t embarrass you? You were right about one thing, Meg. We do want different things out of life. I wanted to marry you. I was going to ask you out to dinner tonight to propose. That’s what I wanted.”
Keith pulled a small black jewelry box out of his pocket and threw it across the table at her. “Go ahead! Look at it. That’s one of the reasons I asked my dad to give me some extra money, so that I could buy you a decent ring.”
Megan picked up the box and saw the gleaming one-carat round-cut diamond surrounded by four little round baguettes on either side.
“It… it…it’s…,” Megan stammered.
“It’s perfect. Just what you always wanted. I know.”
“I can’t accept this. You know that.”
Keith laughed. “Right, ‘cause you’re breaking up with me. Fine, but I don’t want the thing. Have a nice life, Meg. I hope someday you’ll realize what you’re giving up here.”
He picked up the ring box and tossed it at the nearest trashcan. Several people sitting near them lunged for the trashcan and started rifling through it.
Tony saw the box lying on the floor next to the wall by his table. Poor guy can’t even aim well. She was right to dump that loser, he thought as he discreetly pocketed the treasure.
Keith stormed out of the coffee shop, leaving Megan alone. Most of the other people left after Keith did. The atmosphere was now too uncomfortable to enjoy a nice leisurely breakfast. Of the people who had been sitting on the same side of the room where all the drama had occurred, only Tony remained. He watched as Megan silently sobbed into the coffee cup and plate of eggs and bacon that the waitress had mercifully brought out to her.
He sat very still for several moments, head facing down toward the paper. His eyes rolled up in Megan’s direction. He was waiting for the right moment. He didn’t want to just rush over. That would seem too obvious. He had to play it cool. He wanted everything to be perfect when he first talked to the love of his life.
He watched as Megan reached for a napkin. She missed. Her hand hit the side of the metal napkin holder, and the flimsy paper napkins drifted down to the floor. Megan sobbed louder as she knelt down to clean up the mess. In an instant, Tony was at her side, helping her.
She didn’t look up at first, but he could tell she was aware of his presence. When all the napkins were picked up and put back in the holder, Megan sat back down in her chair. Then she looked at him for the first time. Tony’s body tingled with the excitement of that glance. She had the most intriguing hazel eyes he had ever seen.
“Thank you,” she whispered, stifling another sob.
“Hey. No problem. I like being the knight in shining armor.” He gave her his coolest grin then, showing off his even, white teeth to great advantage. His aunt had spent half of her life savings getting his teeth straightened, and he was forever grateful to her. It was one of the things that added to his dashing good looks. Megan smiled feebly at him and turned her face toward her plate. “Hi. I’m Tony. I don’t think we’ve ever met before.”
Megan shook her head. “No. I’m Megan. Megan McLeod.”
“Hello, Megan. It’s nice to meet you. I wish it was under better circumstances, but I’m glad to know you, anyway.”
“You mean…? You heard that? What just happened with Keith?”
“I couldn’t really help but hear it. I think everyone in the place heard it.”
Megan wrung her hands.“Oh! I was afraid of that. How embarrassing!”
“I wouldn’t worry about it. Half the people on this campus are too wrapped up in themselves to care much about what happens to anyone else. I’m sure it will all be forgotten in a day, if not before.”
“I wish I could forget it in a day,” Megan sighed.
“Well, from the way I heard it, you were the one doing the splitting up. You had to know that what you were doing was for the best.”
“Yes. Well, I don’t know. I just wish I could be sure. I love Keith. I’ve loved Keith ever since I was 14, but I wonder if love is enough. Sometimes I just don’t think it is.”
“I think it can be, if you’re with the right person. He just wasn’t the right person for you. Too hot-headed.”
“No, he’s really not. You don’t know him, but then you don’t know me either, do you?”
“I’d like to get to know you better,” Tony blurted out, and he instantly regretted that he’d said anything so stupid. It was too soon for that kind of thing. He would scare her away for sure.
Megan looked up at him. There was a questioning look in her eyes, and he couldn’t tell whether that was good or bad. He didn’t have time to wonder, however, because the big old clock in the chapel tower started clanging the hour. 8:00.
Megan started. “Oh! It’s 8:00 already? I’ll be late for biology lab. I’ve got to go all the way across campus.” She fumbled in her purse and then looked around her, waving dollar bills uselessly in the air. “Where is that waitress, anyway?”
Tony touched her hand. She immediately lowered it and met his eyes. She looked like she wanted to slap him, but she didn’t. Why not? Could it be that there was at least some interest there on her part? Did she find him as intriguing as he found her? He gingerly pulled the money out of her hand.
“Hey. Go on to your class. I’ll wait around and pay the lady for you. Okay?”
Megan cocked her head to the left, studying him for a moment. Was she gauging his trustworthiness? Her knight in shining armor? How could she doubt him?
“All right. Thank you. You really are rescuing me today, aren’t you?”
“Anytime, Miss Megan. Anytime.” Tony stood up, the perfect gentleman, as Megan rose from her seat. She clumsily gathered her backpack and hurried out the door. Tony admired the view from behind just as much as he had admired it from the front.
Or visit the (still in progress) SHADOWS OF THINGS TO COME page, where I’m posting whole chapters’ worth of excerpts and entertaining videos. Don’t forget to keep checking back to see what’s new, and if you’ve enjoyed this, share it with your friends!
And, if you have a minute (or 30 seconds), check out this trailer and let me know what you think!