The day’s of the week series continues with Wednesday and Liam’s story. Liam is one of three (his twin Niamh is Thursday’s Child, and his older brother Patrick is Friday’s Child.) Liam is an English teacher and is tired of being teased about that, so I wouldn’t try it.
Wednesday’s Child grieves for his soul…
Liam Page, school teacher and ex-missionary, is a man with a secret agenda. Revenge. But when he says it with flowers, toppling a vase of carnations and drenching a woman who just happens to be the school’s landscape architect, he may have found a light in his darkness.
After an abusive relationship, Jacqui Dorne prefers work to men. It’s safer. But Liam Page with his boyish charm and wounded soul, manages to change her preferences. Has God led her to Liam to help him heal?
When their growing relationship is marred by the reappearance of Jacqui’s ex-boyfriend, they find themselves suddenly embroiled in a series of dangerous events—leading them to Africa and leaving them fighting for both love and life.
Here are three extracts for you:
Liam wiped his mouth on the serviette and stood. Wearing his lunch wasn’t part of the professional image he needed to project. A glance at his watch showed he had ten minutes to get back. Time, tide, and a class of thirty kids at Headley Cross Secondary School waited for no one. He could hardly chastise the kids about being late for class if he was guilty of the same offence himself, could he?
He began to edge out of the space which now seemed smaller than before, and bumped his hip on the table behind him.
“Hey, watch where you’re going.”
“Sorry.” Liam turned around, hitting the table again. He watched in horror as the table shifted, like a view in slow motion. The vase of flowers tipped over, sending water all over the laptop and papers.
“Oh no! That’s all I need.” The female voice, as soft and silky as he imagined, was tinged with dismay and anger.
His face flaming, Liam snatched a pile of napkins from her side. “I’m so sorry. Let me help.”
“I think you’ve done enough.” Irritation flashed in her hazel eyes as she glared at him. “Just leave it. I’ll do it.” She picked up the flowers and shoved them back into the vase.
Liam’s cheeks burned, matching the churning in his stomach as it rebelled against his lunch. Dumping the napkins on the table, he pulled a pen from his jacket and scrawled his number on one of them. “I’ll pay for any repairs your computer needs. My name’s Liam Page. This is my mobile number. The phone’s on all the time. If you get voice mail, just leave a message, Miss…?”
The woman flinched as she took it, her cool fingers sending waves of heat through him as they brushed his hand. “Miss Dorne. No doubt I’ll be in touch”—she glanced down—“Mr. Page.”
Her cold voice cut him off. ‚I have your number.‛
He took a deep breath and made a hasty exit, now later than ever. Glancing back, he could still see Miss Dorne sitting, staring at the mess he’d created. It looked like despair on her face, but he wasn’t sure. He hesitated. Should he go back in and help clean it up? He ought to but he’d made enough of a scene, and she’d been quite emphatic about wanting him to leave. She rubbed her face. Was she crying? Deciding in this case that discretion was the better part of valor, Liam turned away. He never had liked seeing a woman cry. There was something about a woman’s tears that rocked him to the core.
“Mr. Page.” Her voice rang like a bell in the evening haze.
Liam twisted around. “Miss Dorne. We’ll have to stop meeting like this. People are going to talk.”
Jacqui walked over to his car.
Liam watched the way her hips moved and wondered if she knew the effect she was having on him. Then he chided himself for such thoughts. He had principles, after all. “Nice wheels,” Landscape architecture must pay better than teaching.
“Thank you. Uh, I’m afraid I used all the serviettes to try and save the laptop. So I no longer have your number.”
“No problem. I can give it to you again.” He pulled his diary from his jacket pocket and tore out a sheet. He scribbled the number down and handed it to her.
“Thank you.” She folded the paper and slipped it into her bag.
“You’re welcome.” He turned to go, and then turned back. “Can I buy you dinner by way of an apology?” The words were out before he even realized his mind had formed them. What was he thinking? Or not thinking as the case may be.
“Dinner?” She sounded as surprised by his invitation as he was.
He studied her, not sure if he wanted her to accept or not. “Dinner, it’s usually the last meal of the day.”
A wry smile crossed her lips. “I know that. I can’t do tonight.”
“What about tomorrow? Say seven o’clock? I could pick you up.”
“What about your wife? Won’t she object to you taking me out to dinner?”
Liam looked at her. He hadn’t said anything about being married. “My wife?”
Jacqui nodded to his left hand. “You’re married. I don’t date married men.”
“Oh…” Liam hoped Sally would understand. “This isn’t a date, it’s an apology.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m quite sure. Shall I pick you up?”
“How about I meet you at six? Is pizza all right?”
“Pizza sounds great. Do you know the restaurant on the Riverside?”
“I know it. I’ll see you tomorrow, Mr. Page.”
“Until then, Miss Dorne.”
She walked back to her car and drove away.
Liam unlocked the car and shoved his papers onto the back seat. What am I thinking? I don’t need dates. Especially with a woman who could distract me from what I need to do ensure that what happened to Sally never happens again. Another portion of his brain kicked in It’s not a date, it’s an apology. Right. And if she believes that, then I’m a monkey’s uncle.
Authors interjection, not part of the above extract 😉
Now. This following extract is actually the first chapter, well part of it. When I first wrote this book and sent it to my editor, this scene was a flashback, well not all of it. Liam would see bits and pieces. Lisa wanted it fleshed out and put at the beginning as it really makes Liam the man he is by the second chapter, a man broken, who is fighting addiction and generally failing totally.
I did argue… along the lines of you really want a romance novel to start with this? She said yes, so I sat and wrote the following.
Matumaini Mission, Endarra, Africa
The melodic rise and fall of thirty children’s voices raised in worship drew Liam from his desk to the doorway of the mission office. He gazed over the sandy compound already shimmering under the intense blaze of the sun, and it was still two hours before noon.
On the steps of the school house, his wife of three years, Sally, sang with the orphaned children, her clear soprano leading the way, her hands guiding them with the actions. “The rains came down and the floods went whoosh, and the house on the sand fell flat, like that.”
Liam laughed as, at the last two words, all the children, whether they were four, sixteen, or somewhere in between, fell to the ground in unison. Without this mission, these children would be on the streets, the boys press-ganged into the local militia, a much worse fate awaited the girls, with very few of them surviving into adulthood.
The name of the mission was Matumaini which was Swahili for hope. And with God’s grace, that is what all these children now had. They’d leave here educated and, God willing, with a faith that would last until they were called Home.
Sally sat on the steps, explaining the story behind the song they’d just sung. Once she finished, he’d take them inside the relatively cool building for their next lesson. This was only the second week he and Sally had been here. Sent from Headley Cross Baptist on a short term mission, now neither of them could imagine ever doing anything else. Once they got home next month, they’d look into doing this permanently.
Happy and content to serve God this way, they’d agreed to put off having a family of their own for a couple more years. Sally would make such a good mother. But right now she was a surrogate mother to a whole load of children who needed her. And she excelled at it. He hadn’t seen her happier since the day he married her.
A truck engine caught his attention and Liam turned towards the gate. They weren’t expecting anyone and the supply truck didn’t come until tomorrow. As he took the three steps down to the sand, the truck accelerated, bursting through the gate with a crash, a screech of metal and chink of chain.
In a heart-stopping instant, the joy vanished.
Blood pounded in his ears. A stomach churning realization gripped him. His breath caught in his throat as four heavily armed men leapt to the ground, the instant the truck swerved to a halt in a cloud of sand.
Gunfire filled the air. The children leapt to their feet, screaming, panic-stricken.
Sally ran down the steps, putting herself between the children and the gunmen, ordering the youngsters to run inside and hide.
Liam began sprinting across the compound, desperate to get to his wife. “Sally…”
She turned, just as a hail of bullets caught her body. She staggered and fell, the force of the gunfire twisting her around.
“Nooooo….” Liam ran faster. A bullet ripped into his shoulder and he cried out, falling to the ground. Another shattered his knee. Pain ricocheted through him. He started to crawl across the compound, sand filling his seared lungs. Every breath he took was a gasp of effort. Every movement sent shards of agony through his battered body.
(and if you want to read more…. you can pick up a copy either in ebook or paperback.)