I've been published since 2002, and for Throwback Thursday I wanted to share a brief excerpt from the very first book I ever got published. It's entitled Heart First, and it's a contemporary romance.
Sticking the key in the ignition, he started the engine and put the truck in drive. Then, pausing, he turned to her. “You might want to give me directions.”
Kylie flushed again. “Oh. Yes. I’m sorry. Take the next right at the light and it’s two streets down on the left.” She folded her hands primly in her lap. “I’m sorry you have to go out of your way.”
He gave a short laugh. “Geneva isn’t exactly a bustling city, Ms. Hutton. I could drive the whole town in about five minutes.”
She crossed her legs. “I guess you could. Have you always lived here?”
“I grew up here. Moved away when I turned eighteen to go to college. Came back about five years ago.”
“I wonder…” she broke off, directing her gaze out the window.
“Why we’ve never met before now?” He finished her question and her eyes whipped back to his. “I don’t know. Sometimes the smallest towns can be the biggest places to hide in.”
Before she could catch herself, Kylie asked. “Are you hiding?”
Mac’s fingers tapped against the steering wheel, waiting for the red light to change. “It wouldn’t make a difference if I was. My mother would find me. She always finds me. She killed at hide and seek.”
“You’re close to your mother?”
“I’m close to my family. Mom is, well, Mom. She’s there whether you want her to be or not, offering advice and giving a good whack on the head when she thinks you need it.” His grin broadened. “She thinks I need it a lot.”
“She sounds like she loves you.”
“Of that, there’s no doubt.” Mac didn’t elaborate as he turned down the street leading to Kylie’s house. “Which one?”
“Two ten, the white one on the corner.”
Mac pulled into the driveway and turned off the engine. “I built this house.”
“When I first moved back here. I own a construction company. We started out building residential houses. We’ve moved into more commercial opportunities now, but sometimes,” dark, blue eyes took in the familiar layout, “I miss the feel of this. Do you like it?”
“I love it. I loved it when I first saw it.” Kylie had to get out of the truck before she said or did something incredibly stupid. Her hand curled around the door handle, but Mac caught her wrist. Her eyes widened as she watched him lean toward her.
Dear God, was he going to kiss her? He barely knew her!
Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Self,
You’re only sixteen now, and it seems like time is going by so slowly. You wish it would hurry up so you can be out on your own, living life the way you want. I remember the feeling all too well, and as I look back now on the you I used to be, I want to share a few things with you. You’ll learn them eventually, but maybe knowing them in advance will prepare you for what lies ahead.
1. You’re nursing a heartache now, and as difficult as it is to say, you will get your heart broken again. And again. But it’s an amazing organ. It’s resilient, and so are you.
2. Don’t waste time on people who clearly don’t want you in their lives. Before you know it, you’ll have spent twenty years trying to convince them they love you when, in the end, there’s no evidence of it.
3. Don’t wait until your late twenties to get serious about writing. You already love it so start focusing now.
4. Don’t get engaged at twenty-one to the first guy who tells you you’re beautiful. He’s not your knight in shining armor. No man is. Learn to love yourself so you don’t have to rely on others to convince you that you’re worthy of love.
5. Forgive those people who have harmed you and don’t spend the next twenty-five years trying to change them. It won’t work, and you can use the effort on something much more productive…like your next book.
6. Sometimes you need help in life. Don’t be so independent that you refuse to ask for it.
7. You’ll make some pretty big mistakes over the next fifteen years or so. Be ready to forgive yourself. Those mistakes will make you a stronger person.
8. Know that whatever lies ahead, you are strong enough to handle it.
Life isn’t easy, but it’s worth living every day. So reach for those dreams. Plan for the day when you will wrap your hand around the brass ring.
And one thing to remember, bitterness hurts more the vessel in which it’s stored than where it’s poured. If you can learn that now, your twenties will be a lot easier. Trust me on this one. I’ve been there.
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!