Here today is Keary Taylor, author of Branded, with a sneak peak in to the second book in this series, Forsaken. This one is coming out January 11, 2011, so make sure you watch out for it!
I didn’t say anything as I sat down and watched Sal get the photo positioned just right. Sal seemed better lately, since Cole had left and she had been discharged from the institution. She had more lucid times and a lot of the time she seemed nearly normal. But when she had her bad moments, they were usually much worse.
“What is wrong, Jessica?” I hadn’t even realized Sal had finished and was looking into my face with a concerned expression.
I wanted to reassure her that nothing was wrong but I couldn’t. I didn’t have the strength and I didn’t have the willpower to try and deny the feelings that were raging and storming within me.
“I yelled at Alex,” I said honestly.
“Alex is a nice man,” Sal said, a slightly sharp tone to her voice. “You shouldn’t yell at him.”
“I know,” I said softly, my voice sounding hoarse. “I didn’t want to and I’m sorry I did but I was mad at him.”
“Why?” she asked, absolute interest in her face.
“Because he won’t do something I want him to,” I answered. As I said the words I realized how childish and selfish I sounded and was being.
“There must be a reason,” Sal said as she looked at the pile of pictures, picking one out. “Alex would do anything for you. He loves you. I wish Roger had loved me like Alex loves you.” The fact that Sal had said her ex-husbands name surprised me. I couldn’t recall her ever saying
it out loud before, other than when she screamed it out in her sleep.
“I know,” I said with a sigh.
“Maybe he knows something you don’t. Maybe that’s part of the reason,” she said as she cut off a portion of the picture and then glued it to a page. It was a picture of me and my father, from my birthday party.
I made an agreeing noise, not thinking too much about what she said. I could sense one of Sal’s more out of it moments coming on. “Do you need anything?” I asked as I stood up.
“More glue,” she said without looking up at me. “And four mangos. Oh, and a jar of peanut butter.”
I chuckled internally at her request. Sal was severely allergic to peanuts. She had probably forgotten. I would keep the peanut butter off my shopping list. “All right, I’ll get them next time I go to the store.”
Sal reached into her pocket, drew out a wad of money and threw it in my direction. It was more than fifty dollars but I knew better than to try and give some back to her. She would be offended.
“I will see you later,” I called as I walked out the door and up the stairs.
I was feeling slightly better as I started the short walk back home but as I thought back over Sal and I’s conversation something she said struck me.
Maybe he knows something you don’t. Maybe that’s part of the reason.
Even though I kept walking I felt my body freeze up. What did Alex know that he wasn’t telling me?
My every nerve seemed about to shatter as I got to the front door and opened it. This new thought terrified me and made me feel immature and stupid for behaving the way I had been lately. This was Alex. What Sal said about Alex doing anything for me was true. He’d already proven that. If he wouldn’t do what I had begged for when I had told him I didn’t care what happened afterward, he must have had a pretty powerful reason why.
Thank you, Keary, for that sneak peek! For more of Keary online, check out her website and her blog.