Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Four Ways To Fall by Margo Hoornstra

Saturday In Serendipity contains three stories of love rediscovered. A twenty year high school reunion changes the lives of former classmates and leads to unexpected futures.
Using our topics for this month, I’d like to illustrate how each of my heroes fared.

Fall From Grace: Where Barry Carlson, hero of Three Strikes Thursday, finds himself after a huge misunderstanding.

Hot on Amanda’s heels, Barry followed her out of the ballroom. “Can you at least tell me what the hell is going on?”
She turned so abruptly, he damned near bowled her over. When he shot out a bracing arm so she wouldn’t fall, she dodged away from him as if he’d come at her with a butcher knife.
“Look, if you’re not feeling up to staying here. Let’s go back to my place so we can be alone.”  And I can find out what the hell is the matter.
“Were extra points given for maintaining the charade until the reunion was over?”
“Sorry to ruin your winnings, but I refuse to be fooled any longer. Or made a fool of, to be more precise. I truly believed you’d changed.”
She lowered her eyes, and his gut clenched when a tear fell onto the carpet. “What are you talking about?”
“You had me convinced that things between us could be different.”
“They are different.”
“Really? I just had a very interesting, and revealing, conversation with your good friend Aaron Goodwin.”
Unsure how to process the remark, he glanced over her head to find that particular  classmate leaned against a far wall, self-satisfied smirk on his face as he watched them  through narrowed eyes.
A bizarre collection of confusion and fear, apprehension and dread flowed through him like a wild fire.  “A conversation about what? Where?”
“Back at Keenan’s when you and your group of old buds came up with that—that—bet.”
As his memory completed a fast rewind of the night in question, the warmth in his heart turned to ice. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” He hedged for time as his mind reeled with ways to get out of the deep, dark pit he was about to fall into.

Fall Overboard: How Matt Durand, hero of Two On Tuesday responds when that nearly happens.

One of the officers, the one she hadn’t gone to school with, walked over and knelt down.  “I can call an ambulance if you’d like to seek medical attention, ma’am. To take you to Anderson Memorial Hospital in town.”
She shook her head. “I don’t think I need to.”
Matt ignored her. “I’ll take her in.”
“That’s not necessary.” She indicated the area on her forehead that was beginning to throb again. “It’s just a bump.”
“One hell of a bump.”
“You might want to get it checked out.” The officer stood.
“I don’t—”
“She will.” Matt lifted his head as the officer walked away.
Before she could lodge another protest, an oddly quiet and subdued Aaron came up to stand over her.
“You’re doing okay, aren’t you, Babe?”
Suddenly she no longer cared to deny how she really felt. “I’ve been better.”
“It was my fault. I didn’t know you stood up.” He shaded his eyes to look over at his boat. “I figured you’d have the sense to stay put.”
With a snort, Matt started to rise. She touched his arm. Slanting her a glance, mouth once again grim, he stayed at her side. If Aaron’s intention was to lay the blame for getting hurt on her, she wasn’t about to let him. Plus, she could take care of herself, thank you very much.
“It was a stupid thing to do, Aaron.” Her voice rose as did her indignation. “Asinine.” Despite her aching forehead and a shoulder that was beginning to smart, she tried to stand. Matt stood along with her. No, actually, he pulled her to her feet and kept his arm around her waist as she faced Aaron.
“I said it was my fault.” A rueful gaze ricocheted her way. “And I’m kidding about the staying put part. Mike’s partner said you should be checked out. I’d take you, but.” His gaze strayed over to his boat. “They said I can’t leave the doll here, plus I don’t have a car handy.”
She gritted her teeth. At the moment, the desire to get away from her so-called date overruled a reluctance to seek medical attention. “I think I will take Matt up on his offer to drive me to Anderson.”
Not one to show weakness, she formulated a plan. Once they were away from the dock, she’d convince him to bypass the hospital visit and give her a ride back to her hotel. In her room, she could just lie down with a cold washcloth on her head.
Aaron stepped closer. “She said she was fine while we were still on the boat, and I believed her.”
Brow furrowed, Matt shot him a look as his arm came around Blane’s shoulders. “That was your second mistake today.”
“Blane. Babe. I’ll call you.”
Aaron’s words followed them down the dock as Matt guided her to his car.

Fall Into Wrong Hands: What Jake Holbrook, hero in One Fateful Friday prevents when he discovers an abandoned child.

“We’ll handle this in the usual way, Mr. Holbrook, then send you a report.” The security officer again reached for the child.
Jake stood up. “I’m sure you will.”
“Good-bye, little one.” Bethany remained where she was as the door closed. Jake offered her a hand to get to her feet. For some reason, anger bubbled to the surface she allowed to spew out at him. “Why did you do that?”
Shock took over the concern on his features. “Do what?”
“Give her to your people like that?”
“Because that’s how it’s done.” Disbelief colored words which came out low and direct.
As if by mutual agreement, they dropped hands.
“What’s your solution? Take her home with you?”
The image of the one-bath, one-bed yet to be settled apartment reared up in her mind.
“No. But we could take her, I don’t know, up and down the halls. Find out who she belongs to.”
There was no mistaking the impatience that flashed in his eyes, but he deliberately reached down to take a gentle hold of her wrists. “And then what?”
"Then we’d—I don’t know.”
“Turn her over to the first stranger who claims to have brought her here?”
“Saying it that way makes my idea sound stupid.”
“Maybe because that’s what it is.”
“Don’t call me stupid, Jake.”
“I’m not. I’m pointing out the shortcomings of your way of thinking on this issue.” The soothing quality in his voice matched the light strokes of his thumbs across her palms. “That’s one way child molesters find their victims.”
He didn’t stop her when she pulled away from him. “That’s not what I want.”
“Fortunately, or unfortunately, with the spate of No Fault Abandonment laws being enacted, children are frequently dropped off at hospitals now.”
“That can’t be.”  Bethany couldn’t hide her horror. Pain at the possibility that precious child had been abandoned sideswiped her heart. “Do you think that’s what happened?”
“I’ve seen it enough.” A mixture of anger and sadness crossed his face. “I, for one, have yet to get used to the practice.”
“Here I thought those kinds of things only happened in the third world countries I used to visit.” Blowing out a breath, she wiped her palms on the sides of the white lab coat she wore. “I guess I should be getting back to work now.”
“Me too.”  He followed her to the door.  “Baxter will make sure the little girl is well taken care of.”
She grabbed his arm. “Define well taken care of.”
His eyes softened at her anxious expression. “She’ll be picked up and put in foster care.”
“That hardly seems fair.”
“I’m sorry, Bethy, but those are the rules.”
“I’ve always hated rules.”
“Rules are necessary. This type of thing happens a lot."
“It shouldn’t.”
“It does.  A couple of weeks ago a Jane Doe was brought in, deceased from a drug overdose. I can’t tell you how many times the ER docs have stitched up a kid after a fight of some kind.”
“A sign of the times I suppose. Even in sleepy little Serendipity.” Picking up a stray paper cup to throw in the trash, she dispelled the few tears which had made it as far as her cheeks with two back hand swipes. One for each side.
Reaching up, his fingers brushed at what she missed. “I’m sorry if I upset you.”
Eyes closing on a combination of anger and sorrow, she swallowed twice. “Why do men always feel it’s their fault when a woman becomes a little emotional?”
Opening the door for her, he remained silent after they walked out into the hallway. Though the voice was low, almost a whisper, his eventual answer rang out to her loud and clear.
“Wishful thinking?”

That’s all I have for now, which leaves Fall Into Winter without a hero or an excerpt. Sorry. Not doing it. Because that one will be here, for real, soon enough.
My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about my stories and me, please visit my website


Jannine Gallant said...

Great excerpts. Like how you incorporated the themes. Very clever!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Jannine. I wanted to figure out how to highlight all three.

Alicia Dean said...

I love how you showed an excerpt that conveyed each of the themes. Nicely done! And, the excerpts were all fantastic. I really need to read this!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

My editor at Loveswept said reunion stories are hot right now. If they're all as well written as this, I can see why. Great excerpts.

Barbara Edwards said...

nice excerpts. am going to read them all.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Ally. Glad you enjoyed them.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Bless your heart, Vonnie Dear. Music to my ears. Here's hoping!!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Great to hear, Barbara. Thank you.

Diane Burton said...

I can't add anything to what's already been said. Nice job, Margo. Love the excerpts.

Not ready for winter, either. But it sure is coming quickly.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Diane. Winter is coming quickly. Love to look at snow if I don't have to drive in it!

Melissa Keir said...

Awesome reads! All the best!!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Appreciate your kind and enthusiastic words, Melissa!

Susan Coryell said...

I especially enjoyed the reunion excerpt--it seemed pretty realistic,given my own reunion experiences! A nicely-carried-out theme.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks for illustrating our November concept! Clever.