BOOK LAUNCH: Love Makes Room for Screwups

On SEPTEMBER 27th, my intrigue/romance novel, Love Makes Room for Screwups, will be available on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback!!!

The Kindle version is available for pre-order by following this link. 😉
If you’d prefer the paperback version, it will be available for immediate purchase on September 27th.

If you follow me on social media, you might remember I shared tiny little excerpts of the intrigue/romance novel I was writing earlier this year. Well, it’s FINALLY DONE and ready for publication! Woot!! 💥 To tempt you into buying my novel when it goes live, I’m sharing the first chapter with you here. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

Derek Case opened the door to his house, the key sticking so he had to jiggle it before the teeth caught in the gears deep in the lock.  Hearing a faint click, he turned the key and pushed the battered wood door open into the mud room.
Running a hand through his shaggy black hair, he tossed the keys into the little blue bowl sitting on the antique washstand.  They rattled as they circled the edge before dropping into the bottom.  Shrugging out of his grey windbreaker, he moved to hang it on its hook above the cedar chest.  The coat, inches from the hanger, held suspended when he paused.  Nell’s small pink princess sweater wasn’t in its usual spot, second hook from the end.  He stared at the third hook where the sweater hung instead.  Giving his head a quick shake, Derek finished putting his coat away.
“You’re crazy.  Jane is gone, in prison, not here.  I must have put it on the wrong hook last night,” he said, his voice loud in the small space.
Striding across the kitchen’s dingy yellow floor, he grabbed the tea kettle from the stove top and filled it with water at the sink.  Setting the left front burner on high, he dropped a tea bag filled with Irish Breakfast into his favorite mug, the one with “Best Dad” hand painted in blue, a Father’s Day gift from his daughter.  While he waited for the kettle to boil, he picked up the white legal pad on the counter next to the fridge, skimming down his project list to choose something he could complete for the house in the three hours he had free while Nell attended her friend’s fifth birthday party.  The landlord gave him a break on the rent for fixing the place up.  The opportunity to save any money was welcome after the financial difficulties he’d found himself in after Jane was arrested.
The shriek of the tea kettle interrupted Derek’s study of the list.  With a quick twist, he turned off the burner with the long fingers of his left hand, lifting the kettle with his right to pour the steaming contents into the mug.  Tea bag steeping in the cup, he carried it with him to the front room.  Fifteen minutes to catch up on the local news highlights wouldn’t hurt his schedule.
Derek sat back on the faded grey couch, one foot crossed over the opposite knee while the ancient TV warmed up.  The screen flickered to life, and he punched in the channel number for the local news station.  The midday anchor came on, face serious, voice stern but not stern enough to hide the tiny quaver underneath.
“Three guards are dead and a fourth in critical condition after a breakout from Smithwick Federal Penitentiary just an hour ago.  Five suspects staged the escape by starting a fight in the laundry room.  Four have been recaptured, but one remains at large,” she said, eyes bright and fearful.
“You okay?” her co-anchor asked, the quiet question picked up by the lapel microphone.
The female anchor paused before responding to her partner and the camera.  “Yes.  No.  I don’t know.  I interviewed the prisoner they haven’t recaptured yet during her trial.  She wrote to me after the story was published to tell me she didn’t like how she’d been portrayed.  She scared the crap out of me.  And now she’s out.  I don’t know.”
Derek sat up, tea cup falling to the floor, deep dark liquid splashing his boot and seeping into the worn green carpet.  He knew who the newswoman was talking about.  He knew it was Jane.  His ex-wife was supposed to be gone, locked up where she couldn’t ever hurt anyone again.  But she was devious.  And evil.  And mean.  If anyone could break out of Federal prison, it would be her.  She almost broke him during their marriage.  Breaking through walls would be easier.
A sudden thought propelled him to his feet, his tall, lanky frame quivering like a greyhound at the gate.  Nell’s sweater!
“Did you miss me?” said a voice made raspy from a 20-year pack a day cigarette habit.
Derek spun around.  Jane was leaning on the door frame to the entry hall, a hatchet swaying in her hand.
“Tell me you missed me, Derek, and this stops right here.  We’ll go get Nell and be one happy family again.  I’ll forgive you for telling the cops about that little incident with the grocery clerk.”
“You killed her!” Derek said.
“Of course I did.  She deserved it.  After months of looking down her nose at me every time I went in that store, like she thought she was better than me.  No one is better than me, especially not some prissy little clerk with an attitude problem.  Refusing to run a price check was the final straw.  That was part of her job - the customer is always right.”
“You’re insane.”
“I don’t think so.  And you still haven’t said you missed me.  Three words, Derek.  Say them.  Now,” Jane said, raising the hatchet to rest it on her shoulder.
Derek turned and ran for the kitchen, his long legs eating up the floor with gazelle-like grace.  Jane screamed behind him.  The hatchet whistled past his left shoulder and buried itself in the wall.  He kept running, adrenaline giving him speed.  He grabbed the tea kettle from the stove and threw it sidearm at Jane as she entered the room.  It fell short, scalding water leaking onto the floor.
He raced for the back door.

He never saw the butcher knife as it flew across the room, striking him at the base of his skull.

With joy and ease…

I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of Love Makes Room for Screwups. If you did, please consider pre-ordering a copy for automatic download to your Kindle on September 27, 2021. If you prefer the paperback, it will be available for purchase via Amazon on that date.

Here’s the Kindle version pre-order link again so you don’t have to scroll back to the top of this essay. 😉

Thanks for reading!


Interested in my art, my writing, my poetry, or learning more about bringing consistent joy and ease into your life? Then let’s talk!

Contact me to schedule:
* A virtual coffee
* A private (virtual) art show of my art
* A commissioning conversation to discuss hiring me to create a textured fiber painting uniquely yours

If you enjoyed this essay, and it feels aligned, please share on social media or via email. If you liked it, someone you know will probably like it too!

Author: Hilary Clark

Artist, Writer, Poet. Joy & Ease Believer. Aiming for modern renaissance woman. Will likely miss.

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