So I was lucky to receive an eARC of Christine Brae’s novel “In This Life”. Unfortunately I haven’t got the chance to finish reading this novel because of school and other things that is happening in my life right now. But I’m still going to continue reading it and I might post a review when I’m done. For now, here’s a little excerpt from the book and some quotes to live by. 🙂
“Annie!” she screamed as she frantically ran out of the restaurant to chase after me. “Please, Annie! Let me explain!”
I stormed down the street, ignoring her pleas as she raced behind me. Her empty words meant nothing to me. When she caught up and tried to grab my shoulder, I smacked her arm so hard that her watch fell off. “Leave me alone, Mother. There’s nothing to talk about.”
“Anna, please. I haven’t been happy for so long. Please. Let’s go somewhere and talk. I want to be able to explain what happened.”
I glared at her while holding my hands up to stop her from coming any closer. “Whatever your reasons are, save them. You lied to me and Dad. How could you? Michael is only thirteen!”
“Please!” she cried. “This has nothing to do with the love I have for you and your brother.”
“I said I don’t want to talk about this right now. I’m giving you one week to tell Dad about this, and if you don’t, I will.”
She told him that very night, begged for our forgiveness, packed her bags and never looked back.
“Spark, you ready?” Dante’s voice startled me and knocked me out of my thoughts. He stopped to align a desk that had been pushed out of its place before strutting on towards me. Mr. OCD.
“Oh, hi. Yes, we can go.”
Dude hurriedly brushed off the young boys as he darted towards the front of the room. And from where I sat, I immediately detected a difference in their demeanor. While Dude’s personality was peaceful, soothing and safe, Dante had a presence that always made him the center of attention. They stood side by side, towering above me, Dante about two inches taller and a little heavier in build.
“Hey,” he said to Dante, bobbing his head up and down in the macho way a man greeted another man. They both looked each other over then turned their attention back to me.
I remained seated at the desk while holding my palm up towards Dante. “This is my friend, Dante. Tey, this is…”
“Jude Grayson,” he greeted with an outstretched arm. They shook hands as I stood up and walked over to Dante, who proceeded to swing his arm around me immediately. Well, well. The joke’s on me. His name wasn’t Dude. But I didn’t know if it was any worse than Jude.
“You two know each other?” Dante asked, squinting.
“Yes,” said Jude.
“No,” I said.
Jude let out a chuckle. “We met last night.”
“I see.” Dante smirked. “Spark, we’d better get going. I’m starving—thought we’d try that place right outside of here that serves those great noodles.”
I SAT ON the edge of the tub, soaking my feet in hot water. If I hadn’t looked down to find them black and blue, I wouldn’t have noticed how painfully numb they had become. I was too distraught, too intent on finding a way to make her come back to the apartment with me. I knew that once we crossed this line, once I got my fix, there was no coming back down from this high. That morning, there wasn’t any of the guilt or repentance that one would have expected to feel. After all, I was still under the obligation to remain celibate as a deacon on the way to becoming ordained as a priest. I was no longer considered a lay person; as far as I was concerned I was Judas, the man who had betrayed his master for thirty pieces of silver. Only she was worth far more than that. To me, she was worth the damnation of my soul. A lapse in judgment can be forgiven. That was not my intention. I didn’t want forgiveness. I wanted to bury myself deep into this sin.
Despite the pull of my conscience, all I felt, all I wanted, all I was determined to do was to be with her again
For the first time in a long time, the holidays had me feeling lost and displaced. This was the first Christmas that wasn’t spent celebrating mass at the church, helping out with the choir or leading the youth group in the preparations for their trip to the Vatican. I spent the day at my parents’ place, in a house filled with forty of our relatives and friends and nowhere else to go after brunch was over. Every so often, I caught my father glancing at me awkwardly as I stayed glued to the television screen, sprawled out with my legs up on the La-Z-Boy, watching the Cardinals play the Cowboys with a bottle of beer in hand. I proceeded to scandalize my mother by cussing at the terrible plays. It amused me to watch them shake their heads as if they didn’t know that the stranger who sat in their midst was the man they had known for thirty-one years, their son, the deacon. That was the beauty of having such loving parents. They stuck with me through my seeming descent into a state of disgrace.
“Hmm?” he answered dreamily.
“I’m a little freaked out. There’s something rubbing against my leg.”
He lifted me up gently, turning the flashlight back on and handing it over to me. I settled my feet lightly in the sand, afraid to step on something I couldn’t see. He guided my hand and held the light a few inches above the water.
“Look,” he said excitedly. “They’re seahorses.” He reached his hands down just below the surface, enclosing them in the palms of his hands.
“Cool! Why are they tangled up with each other like that?”
“It’s their defense mechanism. Do you see how the male with the pouch is hanging on to her tail? He’s protecting her.”
I brought my face closer to the water.
“Hey, do you know what they say about seahorses?” Jude asked.
“No, but I know you’re about to tell me,” I teased.
“That they mate for life. One mate. One partner. For life.” He emphasized this fact.
“That’s just a myth. Nothing, no one, mates for life.”
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