Coming April 12th.
THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW: TERRI
To celebrate the release of book two we are going to count down the next nine weeks with installments of the first chapter, free books, and a FACEBOOK party on April 12th. I don't have all the party details worked out yet, but I can tell you it will involve lots of prizes, and some Guest Star visitors. ( Mary Manners is a confirmed guest!) Watch this blurb each week for the details as I work them out.
In the meantime We'll be giving away a copy of Terri's story each Friday, starting on 22 Feb. How do you win? Come to the blog, track the progress of the party plans, and read the current installment of the story. Leave a comment. The blog post for April 12th will announce the winners. The more you visit over the next few weeks, the better your chances of winning.
Now. Here's the first installment of The Women of Valley View: Terri
Terri Hayes chewed her bottom lip and prayed. Outside her windows on this sunny Friday afternoon, the Oklahoma summer persisted in spite of the September date circled on her calendar. Her hands sweated, and she clasped them behind her back. She would have raked them through her hair, but she wanted to telegraph calm and collected, not the nervous anticipation churning like ocean waves in her stomach. The weeks of preparation, the evenings spent in class, the hours of prayer, all came down to this.
The curly black head of her visitor disappeared under the kitchen sink. Terri heard grunts and clanks as the woman shifted and examined the contents of the cabinet. Her visitor stood and yanked the top of her crisply tailored suit back into place, her stern face thoughtful as she scribbled notes on a clipboard.
Despite Terri’s desire for calm, her lip chewing graduated to nail biting. Had she missed something? “Ms. Wilson, I…”
Cindy Wilson held up a hand. “Please, Ms. Hayes, I prefer to conduct my investigation uninterrupted. We’ll discuss my findings when I’m done.”
Terri swallowed her comments with a nod and trailed behind the imposing African-American woman whose job it was to poke and prod into every corner of Terri’s home.
She ran through her own mental checklist as they proceeded from room to room. Outlets covered, medicines locked away, cleaning supplies stored out of reach, covers on all of her trash cans. A second perusal of Ms. Wilson’s expression produced no further insight. Pass or fail? Terri shook her head. I wonder if this woman plays poker.
Terri opened the door to the larger of her two spare bedrooms. The odor of fresh paint drifted out to greet them. This was the pride of her summer. She motioned her guest inside, aching to point out the highlights of what she’d worked so hard to accomplish, but she held her peace in the face of Ms. Wilson’s strident and silent inspection. More notes on the clipboard, murmurs, and hums. Approval or disapproval? How can I tell?
Inspection completed, Terri followed her visitor back to her sunken living room and made an effort to gain some control over the situation. “Have a seat, Ms. Wilson. I have iced tea or soda if you’d like something to drink”
“No, thank you.” Ms. Wilson sat on the sofa and studied her notes. Her pen tapped an annoying beat as she read. Terri took a chair across from her and waited in helpless anticipation.
“It says here that your decision to apply to our program was motivated by a television show. Can you clarify that for me, please?”
Terri clasped white-knuckled hands in her lap. “It was a documentary. I cried for the whole hour. It broke my heart to see so much to be done and so few people willing to make a difference.”
“So this is an emotional decision on your part?”
“Yes…I mean no. I—”
Ms. Wilson continued. “Ms. Hayes, you’re a single young woman with a business to run. I’m told your day care center next door is a busy place. You spend every day in the company of other people’s children. By all reports, you do an excellent job. You’re already making a difference. I need you to tell me why you want to take it further.”
“That’s a difficult question to answer in a few words.”
“You need to try. I take my job very seriously. If I approve you for our program, it’s only going to be after I’m sure you’re proceeding for legitimate reasons, not a passing emotional whim.”