I’m not exactly what you’d call an attention whore, but today is mine and Hubby-pants’ two-year anniversary! We’re away in the Pennsylvania mountains and I hope to have some breathtaking pictures to share upon our return (check Instagram in the meantime). But here’s one picture to tide you over…
Okay, maybe I’m a little bit of an attention whore. Which is why I’m going to paste an excerpt of Blood in the Past below. Don’t roll your eyes! I reeled you in with that amazingly beautiful vineyard wedding photo, now I have to use it to my advantage! So, as I was saying, below is the scene where Anthony proposes to Lyla. It’s a gorgeous scene. I had a lot of fun writing it, even though I’m not a romance writer (and this scene is one of the reasons why I tell romance lovers that my book has “romantic elements,” haha).
Read on and enjoy.
Night fell and CJ insisted on escorting Lyla home, even though it required two trains and a bus. They spent the end of the journey on a double-bus: two regular-sized buses joined in the center by a section resembling an accordion. Lyla jumped at the chance to drag CJ to the seats in the swiveling center, giggling as though they were riding a carnival Tilt-a-Whirl. With every rolling shift, her troubles felt further away. No dead parents. No near-fatal mistake in the operating room. No apprehensions about life or marriage for a solid thirty minutes.
When the bus screeched to a standstill at their stop, Lyla and CJ spilled out from the rear doors, dizzy from their trip and drunk from laughter. They tumbled along the sidewalk for several blocks, their arms intertwined like a pretzel. The headlights of passing cars streaked their faces and lit their way.
What little survived of Lyla’s home lay a block ahead on their right, just peeking into view. The house had been reduced to a pile of blackened rubble with charred beams jutting about in every direction—an enormous, sooty bird’s nest. As they approached the scorched and shriveled remains, a thin gasp escaped CJ’s lips. Lyla knew he had tried to restrain it and failed.
“That’s right, you haven’t seen it since the fire,” Lyla said softly.
“No. Lyla, I’m so sorry.” He grabbed her hand and squeezed it as they drew closer.
“It’s okay. I mean, it’s been tough, don’t get me wrong, but I think I made the right decision to stay at my neighbors’ house while they’re in Florida. They’ve been really generous, and it allows me to stay close to things.” This way I can keep tabs on the investigation.
“Yeah, it was lucky for you they were heading down for the winter right when you needed a place to crash.”
She stared at him until he realized his gaffe: Lyla was in no way lucky. He lowered his eyes and squeezed her hand again, an apology she accepted.
“So, the insurance is covering everything?” CJ asked awkwardly, stumbling to change the subject.
“Yeah, the insurance plus both life-insurance policies. I’m sure I could have bought a house and lived off the rest for quite a while, but it was more important for me to rebuild this house. I’m told the fire investigation could take several more months though.”
They both came to a dead stop, not at the full sight of the burnt-down home—they had managed not to gawk as they passed it in silence—but at the neighbor’s house. The back porch, and most of the yard, glowed. They were illuminated by candles, string lights, and white paper bag luminaries—brilliant, twinkling white stars, brought down from the Cosmos to the Earth.
It was so beautiful, Lyla felt herself crying in a way she hadn’t in a long time: tears of joy. Despite the blur of her moist eyes, she saw Anthony kneeling in the center of it all. Tall, broad shoulders without being stocky. Same dark hair as Lyla. The green in his eyes sparkled almost as brightly as the decor. He caught Lyla’s gaze. The shadows sculpted both of their faces, making them appear like a matching pair of figurines atop their own wedding cake.
Anthony, either oblivious or apathetic to CJ’s presence, shouted, “Lyla Kyle, will you marry me?” He beamed almost as brightly as the yard. Almost as brightly as the diamond in his hand.
Lyla shook her head slowly in disbelief. But disbelief soon turned to freedom. With each subtle, side-to-side movement, her mind broke free of the shackles of the past few days. It broke free from the grief, the uncertainty, and the death. She chose love and a leap of faith. She chose life.
Lyla ran to him, her long legs eating up the distance in a handful of strides. With her fears abated by her talk with CJ, she fell to her knees in front of Anthony with tears streaming down her cheeks. She grasped his face and kissed him. Hard. Heavily. When she pulled back, her voice cracked as she said, “I choose you.” Lyla breathed in a gulp of crisp air, as though she could inhale the twinkling lights and capture them within her heart. “I choose a life with you, Anthony.”
“Is that a yes?”
Without waiting for confirmation, perhaps not needing it, Anthony put the ring on Lyla’s trembling left hand and they embraced. He kissed her neck, and the tickling sensation that followed left them falling to the ground, rolling around in laughter and tears. Their joy rang louder still when they bumped into a luminary, almost setting a fire in their excitement.
Neither noticed as CJ sank back into the shadows, beyond the glowing lights and joy, to wait for the bus that would bring him back to the other side of Philadelphia.
I’m sorry to say, Lyla Kyle takes “Til Death do us part” a little serious in the end, but you’ll have to read Blood in the Past to learn more. By the way, if you’d like to do that, the e-book is FREE today!