As you know, I'm raising money to have a new cover created, to get it professionally edited and formatted, and get it out there on the shelves again for you all. It's been tough going, lemme tell ya - lots of 2am finishes and dragging my sorry ass out of bed to go to my day job a few hours later. Sometimes I wonder why I do this, and then I'll have a "moment".
You know - those moments when you glimpse a long-forgotten passage of prose, where you simply don't recognise the words as your own and you're almost impressed by them. Or, when a perfect stranger pledges $25 to the campaign to get it re-released, simply because she was captivated by the teaser excerpt shared on the campaign page. Or, when you see the sheer amount of confidence your friends and family show in you, sharing photos and links on their Facebook walls.
Those are the moments when all of the late nights and second-guessing and "I can't do it!" and "I'll never make it through this in one piece!" (yes, I tend towards the melodramatic at times - don't act surprised) - when all of that is put into perspective. When you think to yourself "Don't hide. Be proud of what you've done and are doing." When you think to yourself "It's going to be worth it in the end. Just hang in there."
So, to thank everyone for their continued support, here's a little teaser from the new version. Those of you who read "Absolution" in it's initial release might recognise this teaser, although it has been edited heavily.
And if you like this teaser and would like to pre-order a copy of the ebook, get your name on the Dedications page of both ebook and print version, and go into the draw to for a signed copy of the paperback and a handmade (by me!) Swarovski crystal pendant, don't forget to check out the campaign HERE! It only takes either $5, $10, $20 or $25 and you get lots of rewards, along with my everlasting thanks.
You can read about the reasons behind the re-release HERE.
Right. Teaser time! (As usual, would love it if you would share this link with your friends, and any feedback is welcome!).
"Absolution" by Amanda Dick (redux)
Entering the gloomy bar at this time of night, Callum took a few moments to spot Jack in a booth in the corner. He detoured to order a drink first and Harry nodded in Jack’s direction.
“What’s his poison?” Callum mumbled.
Callum groaned quietly, shaking his head. “Better give me two more.”
He slid his money across the bar and waited. Picking up the two glasses, he nodded his thanks to Harry before heading over to the booth.
Jack glanced up as he slid into the seat opposite him, setting both glasses down and sliding one over the table towards him.
“I’ve already got one.”
“Got a feeling you might need another.”
Jack eyeballed him, his expression unreadable. “What’s this all about? What do you want? Because I’m in no mood for games. Whatever you want, you can have it. You win, okay? I don’t belong here – I get it. Believe me, I get it.” He shook his head and took a swig of whisky.
Jack stared into the glass in front of him. “I told you. She threw me out.”
“I thought she might try something like that.”
“Congratulations. You win.”
“It’s not a game, Jack. Far from it.”
“Then why do I feel like a pinball? What’s going on here? Because I honestly have no clue.”
“There’s no one answer to that question,” Callum sighed, running a hand down his face.
“Jesus, you’re as bad as she is. It’s like talking to a revolving door.”
Jack downed the last of his whisky and slammed the glass down on the table.
“You thought she was complicated before? Buckle up, dude - you ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” Callum said.
“Meaning what, exactly?”
He had to make his point and make it quickly, because he could see Jack was teetering on the brink.
“Reading between the lines? She doesn’t want you to know anything that might make you disappear again. And that means that her injury - and anything to do with it - is off limits.”
Jack stared at him for a few moments, and he could see the cogs turning in his brain.
“She doesn’t trust me,” Jack said simply.
“It’s a hell of a lot to ask, you have to admit.”
“But, I’m not gonna just - I mean, I want to stay, I told her that - I asked her what she wanted, and she said -“
“I know. But put yourself in her place. Is it any wonder? You’re not the only one she’s protecting. She’s been doing this for years. She changes the subject a lot - it's like a damn hobby. Anytime the conversation gets too raw, she backs off. It’s always ‘never mind’, or ‘it doesn’t matter’, or ‘let’s talk about something else’.”
Callum saw recognition in Jack’s eyes and he nodded across the table at him. “You’ve seen it too, haven’t you?”
Jack nodded slowly. “Yeah.”
“It’s a diversionary tactic.”
Callum shrugged again, taking a sip of his whisky and waiting as it burned a trail down his throat, ending with a slow warming glow that lit up his belly. “Best I can figure is she’s trying to protect us.”
“From what?” Jack frowned.
“From whatever’s going on in her head.”
They eyeballed each other across the table for several moments and Callum tried to block out the memories of their relationship prior to the accident. He tried to concentrate on seeing Jack as a stranger sitting across from him, but the vision wouldn’t stick. He kept seeing his friend, Jack – and more disturbingly, he kept seeing Jack and Ally together, before their world turned upside down. They were happy. They were going to get married and have a house full of kids. They were in love.
Suddenly, the last four years fell away and some of the anger and resentment fell away with it, right along with the realisation that he and Ally never really had a chance together. She had been right all along. It would never have worked between them.
Jack’s the one she was always meant to be with, not me. That’s why he’s here. That’s why she wants him to stay.
The whisky felt like it had burnt a hole in his gut and a deep ache settled in, right in that exact spot.
“If you knew she was gonna do this, why’d you make me push her into talking about it?” Jack asked, his gaze fixed on the glass in front of him.
“Honestly? I guess maybe I was testing her. I figured if she could talk to you about it, then she was ready for whatever this is between the two of you. On some level, I thought since it was you asking, she might open up.”
Jack seemed to deflate in front of him. “Guess you were wrong, then. She’s not talking to me about it. And I don’t even know what to say to her half the time. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. I’m just an idiot, saying the wrong thing and pissing her off.”
Callum thought of all the times over the past few years when he felt inadequate, when he thought that Jack being here would’ve made a difference.
“She’s stubborn - and tough as hell. You two have that in common.”
Jack looked dubious.
“You came back here didn’t you? And you’re still here, despite everything. She’s pushing you away because she doesn’t want you to see what she thinks are her weaknesses.” He shook his head. “Secrets. Another thing you two have in common.”
Jack opened his mouth but Callum cut him off.
“I don’t care about that - that’s something you have to work out between you, somehow. This is about her, and about you not giving up on her. She doesn’t deserve that, not after everything she’s been through. Despite what she says or does, you need to stay.”
Jack shot him a look of total disbelief.
“You’ve changed your tune.”
Callum took a good long swallow of whisky and set the glass back on the table slowly, thinking.
“I know that – believe me. But I’m not an idiot. I can see what’s happening here – to her, to you.” He looked over at Jack, his heart ripping open in the wake of the truth that tumbled out of his mouth. “She needs you. If she tries to tell you otherwise, she’s lying – I know it and she knows it. Tom knew it too, that’s why he never gave up on you coming home.”
He could see the effect his words were having on Jack. He swallowed his pride and continued.
“She’s pushing you away, because she knows that sooner rather than later, she’s gonna have to start letting you in and it’s scaring her to death. You hold all the power here. You can walk away, or you can pick her up and never let her go. Do you understand what I’m saying? Do you get how serious this is?”
Jack nodded dumbly.
“So don’t you dare go anywhere.”
Finally, Jack found his voice. “I made her a promise.”
Callum glared at him over the table, willing his voice not to break.
“And you better plan on keeping it.”