I’ve got a special treat for you today. Stacey A. Purcell, a friend and fellow author just released a new book yesterday. I’m so excited to be able to share this with you! It’s called Echoes of the Heart, and Stacey agreed to share an excerpt and answer a few questions.
Sheriff Jack Benfield finds a passed-out-drunk woman in her SUV. A winter storm is gathering strength and he is not happy about having to rescue Dr. Calista Montgomery. Once she sobers up, he can’t wait for her to pay her fines and get out of town. She’s just another reminder of his failure to save his sister and mother from their addictions.
Cali is drowning in grief, betrayal and alcohol. Her whirlwind romance and quick wedding ended with her husband’s death on a battlefield in Afghanistan. Left with no one, she visits his grave only to be confronted by a woman about to give birth to his child. Cali abandons everything and runs headlong into trouble— waking up in jail. She accepts a year-long sentence to work at a defunct medical clinic in town. However, Cali has to stay sober—something the insufferable, handsome sheriff doesn’t believe she can do. But, she can’t fail. Her career depends on it.
Jack gave up law school, his career, and almost lost his life on the streets of New York City trying to save his twin sister. There’s no way he’s going to take another risk on a broken drunk—no matter how captivated he is by her. Repeatedly thrown together into crisis situations, Jack and Cali struggle with inner demons and their growing attraction.
Can two damaged people find release from their pasts and forge a future together?
Echoes of the Heart Excerpt
He crested the top of the hill and there before him, beyond the slope of fresh white snow, was Lake Aheeta, named after the sun by the Iroquois. She was magnificent. Her blue waters turned inky with white frosting as caps spilled over, churned by the winds barreling south. As always, the power of the water moved him. It reassured him there was something greater than man. Greater than himself. It was what saved him.
Jack had one last place to scope out. Letting his truck roll slowly to the bottom of the hill, he slid to a stop. The whole parking lot could have doubled as an ice rink. Unfortunately, the drainage problem was an item on the town budget that kept getting pushed back to give money to more pressing problems like refurbishing the local elementary school. He estimated the water was four or more inches deep. Some spots weren’t totally frozen and he could feel the grinding crunch of breaking ice while his truck pushed forward.
He turned to check down by the public bathrooms and couldn’t believe what he saw. An SUV with a bright orange cargo trailer attached, sat at the far end of the side lot right by the building. “What the hell?” No one in their right mind would try driving with a loaded trailer in this weather. How long had the rig been there? His truck crept down the middle of the large parking lot, his eyes scanning for any movement hidden within the tree line. Old habits died hard.
He flicked on the powerful searchlight then stuck it out his window, shining it directly in the SUV. Nothing. No movement, no noise, no nothing.
Jack jerked the light back and forth across the suspect vehicle before snapping on the mic to the PA system. “This is the police. Show yourself.” Still nothing. “You, in the SUV. Show. Your. Self. Now.” He could hear the frustration in his voice, but dammit, he was past ready to get back to some warmth and this friggin’ idiot stood between him and the wood stove in his office. Maybe whoever it was left their car there when the weather turned bad.
Unlikely. Obviously, they were traveling, so he doubted they’d leave their belongings out here..He sighed. There was no hope for it; he had to get out of his truck. Again.
The chilled air slapped him head on. His ire rose with each slippery footfall between him and the offending truck. He reached the driver’s side door and peered in. Good God, it was a pig sty.
Knocking on the glass, he watched the bundle covered with a blanket move about. The movement stopped. He knocked harder while shouting over the wind. “This is Sherriff Jack Benfield. I need you to open this door.” A manicured hand shot out from underneath the wool blanket and motioned for him to go away. “Like hell I will. Open the damn door.” The hand disappeared back under the covers.
Truly pissed off, he turned and went back to his truck to rummage in the toolbox. Jack pulled out the slim jim and returned to the stranger’s vehicle. “I will tell you one more time. This is Sheriff Jack Benfield. Open your door now or I will open it for you.” The hand came back out of hiding, teasing him with bubblegum pink polish and shot him the bird before retreating again.
He kneed the door so the woman couldn’t shove it open unexpectedly, slid in the tool while feeling for the locking mechanism and pulled up hard. His mind raced with all the things he could book this sorry ass woman with, freezing his toes on the ice not being the least of her transgressions.
Once the door was unlocked, he pulled his gun from its holster and opened the door. The woman’s body fell out before he could catch her, and she sprawled onto the ice. Jack was shocked and he wasn’t sure if it was because she fell out so fast or because she was one hot mess. Mascara ran in streaks down both cheeks, her eyes were swollen and she reeked of alcohol.
Her car looked like she’d been living in it for quite some time. Papers were strewn throughout the interior and there was a large empty wine bottle wedged between take-out containers of Chinese food, small vodka bottles and a taped up box sitting on the passenger seat. Between the food smells and the wine, his stomach did a nausea flop. “Holy crap lady, what’s happened to you?”
He wasn’t expecting an answer and he got none. Whoever she was, she lay flat on her back with her arms thrown over her head, oblivious to the cold or the hard ground. Confident she wasn’t going to make a break for it, he reached in to retrieve her purse. He had to wade through the mountains of paper and garbage, but he finally located it in the back seat. Jack pulled out her wallet and found something he wasn’t expecting.
Doctor Calista Montgomery from Texas was drunker than Cooter Brown and passed out on the ice. He walked back to her limp body and shook his head. His day got a whole lot longer.
Why did you choose to have your heroine haunted by such dark issues? Alcoholism is rough.
I’ve have known both friends and family members who have struggled to achieve and maintain their sobriety. Even with lapses, I’ve watched them still take care of themselves, their families, overcome terrible financial troubles while walking that delicate rope of not taking the first drink of the day. They never give up. They never give in. And the struggle doesn’t ever get easy. Those people deserve to hear the message that they can be the hero of their own life. They deserve love. They deserve the hope that love brings with it.
What about Jack? Sounds like he has a lot to overcome as well.
Jack lost a huge part of his childhood and abandoned what he was meant to be to save his mother and twin from their addictions. His worldview is colored by those sacrifices and his opinion of Cali is abysmal. She’s everything he despises and he truly thinks a lousy drunk will never be more than just that.
When did you start writing?
I’ve dabbled in writing my whole life. When I was a kid, I used to write and paint my own illustrations! The first “novel” I wrote (if you could call it that) was on hotel stationary while we spent the summer in London for my father’s job. The hotel staff would slip me tons of extra pages so I could finish the story.
London? Did you travel a lot?
Yes! I grew upon an airplane with adventures around every corner. My dad worked for a major oil company so I got to live in Venezuela, Norway, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. I even went back to Malaysia and taught at the International School of Kuala Lumpur after college. I guess you could say travel is in my blood.
It gave me a great childhood and I even met my husband on an airplane! He finagled his way into the seat next to me and we discovered we had both lived abroad for many years and shared a passion for hopping planes. The rest, they say is history, complete with two grown children.
Is Echoes Of The Heart part of a series?
Yes, it is. The stories all center around a town called Estherloch, located on the banks of Lake Aheeta, somewhere in upstate New York. If all goes well, the next book, Echoes In Time, will be out in Fall 2016.
Thank you for hosting me here on your blog, Christie. I appreciate the time to say hello to your readers. If they would like to know more about the book or myself, they can find me at www.staceyapurcell.com.
Echoes of the Heart is available from Boroughs Publishing Group.
I’m giving away two ecopies of Echoes of the Heart to two people who leave a comment below.
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