With the holiday season upon us and Thanksgiving only a couple of days away, I decided to go through my published novels to find holiday scenes to share. For me, the holidays are generally crazy busy with shopping and festivities. This year, looks like things will be quieter. No events or guests. Maybe I’ll have a chance to read a few more books! Maybe you will, too.
Here’s an excerpt from one of my early women’s fiction novels, the first in the Women of Whitfield series. It’s a story with some serious ups and downs about friends, family and regeneration. In this scene, the family has been going through a rough spell, and Thanksgiving dinner is a big wake-up call. Take a peek:
Elise watched her mother pick at her food, lifting an occasional shaky forkful to her mouth. She’d taken only a small portion of turkey and potatoes and a little fruit salad. Hardly enough to keep anyone alive. How had it gotten so bad? Elise wondered if Mary knew. When was the last time her mother had interacted with anyone? Did Nathan ever check in on her?
Living by herself at the lake house obviously wasn’t working. Elise would have to make some phone calls.
She refilled her mother’s coffee mug, leaving plenty of room at the top for sloshing. “Mom, did you get enough to eat? Can I get you anything else?”
Dull eyes looked up at her. Her mother shook her head, then turned to their hostess. “It was a lovely dinner. Thank you.”
Polite, dutiful and automatic. She said the right words, but Elise knew her mother was simply going through the motions. The rote words were delivered in monotone. Fear swept through her. She was losing her mother. Elise hurried back to the kitchen with the coffee pot, and swiped at the tears that escaped. She braced her arms against the sink, trying to catch her breath. A few moments later, Brian’s strong hands squeezed her shoulders.
“Hey. Take it easy, hon.”
“My mom is gone, Brian,” Elise whispered. “She’s completely lost it.”
He pulled her into his arms, warm hands circling over her back. “Shhh. It’ll be okay. Let’s just get through another hour or so, then we can leave.”
For the next two hours, they all pretended everything was perfectly fine. Her mother was the elephant in the living room, and they all danced around her. Derek built a fire in the fireplace, and turned the television on to one of the football games. That’s what they did on Thanksgiving Day.
Elise watched in disbelief as her mother smoothed the crease in her slacks, drank coffee, and stared into space.
The Storm within is available in digital and paperback format at Apple books, Barnes & Noble online and Amazon. Click here to learn more!
— from a 5-star review: “This was a hard book to put down. I got so involved with the characters that I shed tears for dark moments and tears for joy when things worked out. Ms Deluca is a powerful story teller and has deep insight into human frailties and strengths.”
Wishing you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and holiday season. Happy reading!