I truly hope “Better Late Than Never” is a valid mantra because I am super late with this post today. I’ve been actually kind of horrible about getting my snippets up for a while. Bad me.
This weeks theme is boys of summer and for me the boys of summer this year is all about the Purgatory Masters. So I’m going to give you a snippet about Levi from my latest release, Levi’s Ultimatum. When Levi first arrives back home the first person he encounters is not any of the main characters from the series, but instead a child whose innocence and ease with a stranger makes me think of everything that is right with the world. Let me know what you think.
Levi stepped inside Nina’s Cafe and welcomed the cool air conditioning on his burned skin. He’d given a fleeting thought to sunscreen a few states back and had never bothered to stop. Now that the road wind had disappeared, the hot and humid Carolina summer heat hit him full force. He welcomed the change in temperature and took a few slow breaths to adjust. In doing so it dawned on him he’d not been immediately tackled. In fact, there was stone cold silence surrounding him. Except…
At the far end of the counter a small girl sat on a stool scribbling on some paper in front of her. She turned his way and smiled, a big adorable grin not worthy of some stranger like him. A cloud of black curly hair surrounded her face and fell to her shoulders. She brushed a few strands out of her eyes and blew on the rest. “Come on in. My momma said if anyone came in while she was in back I should tell you to get a menu at the register and pick a seat anywhere. She’s coming right back.”
Her momma? Holy shit. Nina had a child and no one had seen fit to inform him? He felt a little weak in the knees. He grabbed the edge of the counter and steadied himself. Did that mean he had a—
“If you don’t want to sit by yourself, you can sit next to me. I’ve got extra crayons and I don’t mind sharing.”
Levi was taken aback by the adorable child offering to share her crayons with him. He’d never gotten much of a chance to spend time with any kids and yet this one made him curious. He grabbed one of the menus at the cash register and then walked to the end of the counter where she sat watching him with an innocent curiosity that pulled at him. Why the hell she wasn’t calling for her mother or running away as fast as she could shocked him. He didn’t need a mirror to know how rough he looked. To a child, he’d be downright scary.
“I’d be honored to share your crayons.” He slid onto the stool next to her and took the offered piece of paper she now held in her hand and placed it on the counter. He glanced at her paper. “What are you drawing?”
She picked up a green crayon and scribbled furiously across the bottom of her picture. “My house,” she replied.
“You live near here?”
“Uh huh. Me and Momma just stopped here on our way to the lake. She promised to take me swimming after she delivered new pies to Miss Nina. Miss Nina loves my momma’s pies. She’s got cherry, and apple and peach and everyone’s favorite Dewberry.”
Levi stopped drawing and stared at the little girl. “Did you say your mom brought pies?”
“Yeah, do you like pie? I love pie. I like the Elvis pie the best cause its got chocolate and peanut butter, but my momma didn’t make any of those today. That makes me sad. Oh and my name’s Hannah by the way. What’s yours?”
His head spun from the little girl’s rambling. She’d just given him a mouthful of information and all he could think about was the pie. Whoever her mother was, she made pie. “My name is Levi and I love pie. In fact I’m starving and I think I’ll have to just order pie. Maybe one slice of each.”
The little girl giggled. A sweet sound that made it impossible for Levi not to smile, however foreign the sensation.
“You can’t just have pie. That’s cheating. You have to eat your lunch first. My momma says so, Mr. Levi.”
“Your momma sounds like a smart lady.”
“Oh she is. She’s saving up so we can have our own pie store. Right here.” The little girl pointed to a small building next to the house she’d drawn. “She said I can work there with her and we’ll get to make pies every day. Making pie is fun. Have you ever made a pie?”
“What about school. Don’t you go?”
“Not yet.” She put down the green crayon and picked up a blue one and began drawing fluffy clouds. “I start when the summer is over. I’m going to be in kindergarten. I’m five now.”
Levi soaked in everything she told him while creating his own drawing. He couldn’t ever remember using crayons before today, although he must have at some point in his childhood. Obviously this child saw the moon and the stars in her mother, as she should. For a moment he thought of his own mother and the way she used to take care of him. A sharp stab of pain nearly sliced him in two. He slammed that door shut and forced his brain to think of other things. Better not to go there.
“You sure have a lot of tattoos. These right here remind me of momma’s tattoos.” She pointed to his right forearm and made a large circle around one section. “Except hers aren’t on her arm. They cover her private parts.”
Holy shit! Levi went light headed at the thought. All of a sudden he really wanted to meet this child’s mother.
Be sure to follow the trail and find some more great snippets from the rest of the authors:
Mandy M. Roth