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Prologue to November Rain

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

Hi friends, since my publication date is still pending due to events out of my control, I thought I’d leave you with a little foretaste of my upcoming novel. This excerpt gives away absolutely no plot, but reflects the book’s tone. Although the story is a romance, its foundation and purpose is much broader. I hope you will see it in this short prologue.

Also note that the formatting is not from the book itself. WordPress will not allow me to format the text as it really appears.


Prologue


December, 1834


Eliza Drake opened up her mittened hand and counted the treasures inside. Only three. Her little shoulders slumped. Even at five years of age, she knew that three candies from Dalton’s General Store wouldn’t last her until sunset. The strawberry-flavored taffy already churned between her teeth and she’d enjoyed the chocolate halfway out the door. Bending, the girl cautiously tucked them in her silk reticule and pulled the drawstring taught.


A gust of winter air blew back her wispy blonde curls, followed by the ripple of laughing juvenile voices. She turned to see a gang of boys sprinting up the thoroughfare, their boots kicking up dust. Eliza coughed and squinted through the haze. One dark face in the midst of them captured her attention.


With head bent low and hands in his coverall pockets, the black boy stood still while his aggressors prodded him with sticks. The youths howled and jeered, calling him nasty names. One lunged to steal his cap, but the boy whipped it off his own head and cradled it at his chest. Behind him, another lad sent a firm kick to his calf muscle, buckling him. The cluster dispersed like a flock of startled birds as a policeman approached, but the man ambled by with only a fleeting glance to the child lying with his face in the dirt.


Her heart moved, Eliza stepped off the boardwalk. Her fingers scooped into her reticule, but a hand halted her before she could take two steps.


“Ought to be a-goin’ now, baby doll,” Mama Sue told her.


The girl looked into her caregiver’s soft brown eyes. “Can’t I just give him one of my candies?” her innocent voice questioned.


Mama Sue shook her head. “He ain't no matter to you. Now let’s scoot on home.” She snatched up the child’s hand and ushered her toward the waiting brougham.


“But he’s hurt!” Eliza insisted, pulling back. “We can’t leave him.”


The slave woman seized Eliza’s shoulders and squatted before her. Compassion knit her brow as her fleshy fingers ironed back the little girl’s tousled hair. “Ya can’t be thinkin’ on them things. I know ya want to, but ya can’t.” She tilted her braided head. “The world is big and scary, but you is safe where God put ya. Don’t worry ‘bout the rest.”


Propelled into the brougham by Mama Sue’s strong hands, Eliza plopped onto the cushioned seat and burrowed into the corner. Through the foggy window, she saw the black boy stand and brush the dirt from his trousers. Ain't no matter to you. The words echoed over and again as the brougham lurched and rumbled away. She watched him until he faded from sight, her candies nestled beside her.

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