Intimate Flames, Contemporary Romance www.whiskeycreekpress.com
Five Stars from Night Owl Romance
Here’s a blurb:
The day after Grant was buried, she tolerated uninvited moving men and one armed police officer, as they packed up all Grant’s personal possessions in her house, a deed arranged expediently by Grant’s parents to get their sons’ things away from “that cheap lowlife before she pawns his possessions for drug money.” Now, her own mother had burst into her house and taken charge. The nerve. Didn’t she know Bradie had been through all she could handle?
The noise in the kitchen subsided.
Without poking her head from under the covers, Bradie wondered where the interfering woman had gone. When Bradie heard scrubbing noises in the bathroom, she knew. Her mother was off to terrorize another part of her trailer, off to mutilate the germs Bradie had carefully cultivated over the last month. Bradie crimped her eyes shut and growled again. Why couldn’t she just leave well enough alone?
After what seemed like hours, Deb came out of the bathroom, yellow rubber gloves in hand, walked to the kitchen and poured herself a fresh cup of steaming coffee. “Want one?” she asked her daughter.
Only silence replied.
Deb walked to the living room and plopped herself into the overstuffed easy chair diagonal from the couch. She picked up the TV remote and turned the volume of the set louder. She blew into her cup of coffee. The steam lifted and circled around the rim of the cup like a merry, dancing fog and she took a sip. “Aahhh. That’s much better.”
The local morning news program flashed across the TV screen. Behind the on-the-scene reporter, two firefighters practiced mock rescue efforts while operating the Jaws of Life to loosen the metal on a car.
Deb turned up the volume a bit more.
“This is Andrew Packard, Assistant Coordinator of Operations for the Walter Fire Department. Mr. Packard, could you explain what your squad is participating in this week?” the reporter asked.
“Roger,” Andrew Packard began, “as you know, this is National Fire Rescue Awareness Week. All week, our local fire and rescue departments are hosting training classes like this for public education and personnel training. Different departments train constantly all through the year, but since this is Fire Rescue Awareness Week, we thought this would be a great way to show everyone else exactly what’s involved when fire and rescue departments go out on a call. Behind is training in progress dealing with the use and operation of specialized equipment.”
Deb listened while the camera focused on two men as they started the motor on the gear. They worked in synch, operating the hydraulics of the machine to pry the roof off a crushed car. The metal rivets imbedded in the frame whined and popped under the pressure.
“We practice the use of this equipment,” Packard continued, “so when there’s an actual accident, we know the best method of extraction, so we’re comfortable enough with these tools we can proceed during an emergency with confidence.”
The camera flashed back to the reporter. “This type of tool was used last month in the two-vehicle, one fatality collision under the Waverly Street viaduct. Grant Blain, son of Albert Blain, chair of Mutual Insurance, was killed. The driver of the other vehicle remains hospitalized in critical, but stable condition. This is Roger Lynks reporting for Channel Ten News.”
Deb took another sip of coffee, sighed and looked to the couch where her daughter remained motionless.
She turned off the TV and stood to begin cleaning another room.
“They set me in the back of the church and acted as if I was the one who caused the accident,” Bradie said. Her voice bore the scar of despair. She swallowed hard and wondered if her mom had any wisdom to offer. There really was none. Bradie had to get on with her life without Grant. The accident, with the trial and the settlements, could go on for years, and Grant’s parents would never acknowledge Bradie was ever a part of his life. Bradie would be left with nothing of Grant, except memories. She knew her mom knew it.
“I know,” her mother replied. “It’s their loss they didn’t give you a chance. I don’t know why they didn’t trust Grant’s judgment and believe, as he knew, that you loved him. Honey, you’ll get through this. It hurts, I know, but you’ll survive. You don’t need recognition from his family. You don’t. You have the memories of all the good things you and Grant shared. That’s what you have. That’s what’s important.”
Bradie poked her head from under the blankets and looked up at her mother. “I’m pregnant.”
Debra Carpenter smiled and put her arm around Bradie. Tears formed in her eyes. “It’s going to be all right.” She took a deep breath. “Grant would’ve liked having kids. He’d have been a great father.”
Surprised her mother didn’t offer some advice about searching out an attorney or DNA tests, Bradie’s spirit rose a bit. “His parents will never believe this baby is his.”
“No.” Deb’s statement asked for no reply and offered no condolence.
I’ve entered the EPIC Awards every year since I was first published in 2005 and this year I decided to forgo the contest. It wasn’t until I found that the conference was set for Virginia—my oldest daughters namesake state— that, at the last minute, I entered Intimate Flames. This story, my future daughter-in-law’s favorite by her own words, is now and EPIC Finalist!
You can find out about this story and all my work at my website http://annettesnyder.atspace.com