Welcome to my summer reading fest. I’d like to introduce everyone to my heroine, Shania. Her grandmother has passed away and left her an interesting wood box that hums and glows. Nobody else can see that part, though. This box is opening up her earth elemental magic. It's awakening her lost memories.
I’m hoping to inspire conversations around the Africana symbols, Shania’s creepy ex-boyfriend, Thor, her dog, or even if a romance heroine is allowed to have an abortion.Let me know what you think.
BTW, Don't forget to RT/Tweet, like my FB fan page or sign-up for my subscriber's list to win a free e-copy of Breaking Free. Without further adieu, Here’s Chapter One.
Shania stared at the wood box on top of the West African chair stool her grandmother left her. She could swear that the Adinkra symbols on the box hummed and glowed. She rubbed her temples. It felt like she should remember something important about the symbols but the memory vanished. Her attention focused out the front door of her urban farm apartment. She longed to go outside and work in the community garden like she and her grandmother had done many times before. Her hands ached to touch the earth which always brought her comfort.
Shania took a deep breath and realized how much she missed her grandmother. She couldn’t believe that she was gone. Person after person consoled her as they arrived for the funeral dinner. She wanted this day to be over. The intensity of the light from the box grew. Everything in her vision seemed to have a greenish hue. Her hands vibrated. She rubbed them on the back of her skirt. Her equilibrium was off. She wanted to keel over. She wiped her puffy eyes. Could anyone else see that thing glowing?
Shania heard her German shepherd, Thor, growl as she flinched from the smell of alcohol mixed with musty natural oil cologne. Her attention snapped back and her stomach toppled. Not here! Not now! Corbin Mallory, her soon-to-be- ex-boyfriend was next in the funeral line. Her body knotted up as she manufactured a frail smile. She didn’t want him here. There was too much going on. The box glowed with a vivid intensity comparable to Corbin’s smell. He drunkenly hugged Shania. She quickly turned her face before he smushed it into his lime green Dashiki. But it wasn’t Corbin that Shania envisioned in her arms, it was images of Deacon, her true love.
Shania remembered how Deacon looked like a tanned Italian. Her hands while touching Corbin, recalled the feel of Deacon’s dark hair and muscular body. She could sense Deacon’s deep love. She missed Deacon terribly and that was when guilt smashed into her gut. Remorse taunted her with the lies she told Deacon and convinced her she’d lost him forever. Shania pushed back out of Corbin’s embrace. Corbin smiled and kissed her forehead. The alcohol combined with natural oil cologne made her want to vomit.
“Shania, can I borrow you for a moment.” Corbin seemed like a gentle drunk around others, but she knew better. With a firm grip, he escorted her away from the receiving line and forced her into a nearby corner.
“Can we talk later?” Shania tried to steer her body away from the confinement. She wanted him to leave. He continued to keep her caged, trapped. She stilled as Thor protectively brushed against her leg like a four-legged guardian.
“This will only take a minute.” Corbin flashed his inebriated smile. He was handsome, tall, bi-racial with russet-colored skin and jet black hair but looks weren’t everything. Shania reflected. His addiction to alcohol, clinginess, and stalker ways were out of control. And Shania knew she didn’t love him—not like she loved Deacon. She couldn’t remember why she lied to Deacon and stood him up at the altar ten years ago.
Two of the Adinkra symbols on the box, the Akofena war swords, clinked and crossed as they danced in vivid colors.
Then, she heard her grandmother’s Swahili words. “Nkonsonkonso.”
[We are linked in both life and death.]
The words she heard next were the heart symbol. “Nya Akoma.” [The symbol of patience and endurance.] She remembered her grandmother explaining what the symbols meant but her memories were out of focus, unreachable.
Shania felt Maddy Lynh’s hand on the small of her back. She relaxed. It was good to have her best friend here during her time of need. Maddy flew-in from Atlanta and had been by her side since her grandmother’s passing. Shania loved Maddy and missed her. They’d been friends since high school.
Eyeing Corbin, Maddy whispered in Shania’s ear, “Is everything okay?”
“I’m okay. It’ll only be a minute.” Shania gave an anemic, sad smile. She reassured her and watched Maddy head back to the guests.
Shania could barely think or talk without crying. Her grandmother’s death was hard especially since her parents had been murdered when she was young. Now, it was just Shania and her little girl Lydia, Deacon’s child. She’d never told the man. Guilt ripped through her again. Why did she lie to Deacon and tell him that she had an abortion ten years ago? She couldn’t remember. There was a wall inside her mind blocking the memories. That glowing box was doing something to her. She scrunched her forehead and rubbed her temples even harder.
Corbin pulled her into his messy moment.
“Shania, I know this is a difficult time but I had to see you.”
Shania bit down on her lip. This relationship with Corbin had gotten out of hand. From the onset everything about them being together was wrong. Her heart pounded. She didn’t want to talk to Corbin. She felt sorry for him because he was struggling with alcoholism and she wanted to help.
In a pitiful, lonely moment Shania had sex with Corbin because she seemed incomplete without Deacon. After ten years, she didn’t even know if Deacon remembered her but what she felt for him was strong, unbreakable. But that weak moment with Corbin resulted in an unwanted pregnancy that she knew she could not keep. Shania’s insides shook. She thought back to a few days before her grandmother’s death, Shania did the unspeakable and had an abortion.
Corbin kissed her forehead again. He reeked like a bad brewery.
“I know you pregnant with my baby.”
Any comments about Chapter One? I’d love to hear.