Welcome to the 2017 A to Z Blog Challenge. During the month of April, Chrys N. Jay shares snippets from friend’s books, and takes a peek at love.
Today, for ‘C’, Jillian Chantal stops by to share an excerpt from her romance, Carver’s Fall.
Carver Fowler turned the pumpkin around and around to assess all angles. This was serious business. The final product had to be perfect and the best side needed to face the front.
Once he was satisfied with his choice, he opened the drawer in the rickety old workbench that served him well in his workshop. He dug around for a nub of a pencil and then opened the next drawer over. He sighed in pleasure at the array of knives. He loved all of his tools, but his knives made him the happiest.
He carefully selected one with a wide blade and tested the edge with the tip of his index finger. A small drop of blood pooled on the side and he sucked it off. He wiped his hand on his dusty coveralls and set the knife down.
Carver picked up the pencil and drew on the side of the pumpkin. He then picked up the knife and started to cut.
A throat clearing startled him. The knife slipped and gouged the façade of his creation. He whirled around, thinking it was his younger brother. Ready to lay into the little brat for messing up his masterpiece, he stopped short when he saw who it was.
Leaning against the weathered wooden slats of the old barn that had been converted to a woodworking shop was none other than Mallie Phillips. The girl of his dreams. Of course, she didn’t know that. But what was she doing here?
Mallie wore a long blue faded cotton dress and a pair of old Mary Jane shoes. Her stockings were dusty like she’d walked a long way. She had one knee bent and her foot rested on the wall. “Whatcha doing, Carver?”
“What are you doing is a better question? How’d you get way out here to my daddy’s farm? Lil city gal like you don’t have no business out here in the boonies.” Carver set the knife down and wiped his brow that suddenly seemed to be manufacturing an inordinate amount of sweat. Good God, I hope I don’t smell bad. He resisted the urge to sniff his armpits, but just barely.
“My brother Joseph had some business out this way and he brought me in the wagon.”
Mallie came over to the workbench and picked up the knife. She used it to point at the pumpkin. “Are you carving that for the contest down at the Fall Festival this weekend?”
“I am. I think I’ve got a good idea for a very spooky fella and I’m planning to win that jackpot.”
“A jackpot for a Jack-o-lantern.” She giggled. “I like the sound of that.” She handed him the knife. “Show me what ya got, Carver Fowler.” She batted her eyelashes at him and he was lost.
He could barely speak English she stood so close and smelled so good. Just like lemon verbena. As she continued to stare at him, he found his voice. “I can’t carve with you standing here. I can’t handle an audience. You’ll have to wait to see it at the festival.”
“I like that too, Carver.”
“What?” Embarrassed as his voice came out in a squeak, he ducked his head.
She lifted his chin with her index finger until he was looking at her. “I like that Carver is carving. See how nice that sounds? Jackpot for jack-o-lantern and Carver is carving. You have to admit it’s kind of poetic.”
“I don’t know nothing about poetry, Mallie.” Carver pulled away from her.