Following is an excerpt from Heartsight, being released tomorrow, at www.astraeapress.com. Remember, all sales of Heartsight through the Astraea Press website from March 1 to June 1, 2011 will generate a $2 donation to the USO Wounded Warriors Program. Many thanks to Astraea Press for matching my donation and helping support this great cause.
Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoy these paragraphs.
Bella sat on a large, flat rock facing the ocean, next to one of the most attractive men Trish had ever seen. He wore faded blue jeans. A light gray T-‐‑shirt hugged his lean, muscular build. His skin was deeply tanned, and somewhat weathered. This was no indoor executive. His dark hair was cut fairly short but still curled at the ends. He was a few days late for a shave, giving him an appearance of vacation laziness combined with just a hint of danger. His eyes were hidden behind mirrored sunglasses. Too bad. Trish had a thing for eyes.
His head was bent low as he spoke in soft tones to her daughter. Trish surveyed the serene scene she’d stumbled upon, noting the sense of simple connectedness between Bella and the stranger, and instantly felt like an intruder in her daughter’s world. Now she was torn between relief because Bella was safe and trepidation that she had so easily and trustingly placed herself in the company of a stranger.
Apparently having readied herself for the day, Isabella was wearing a pair of rumpled blue shorts and a pink T-‐‑shirt, both from the day before. She had on one white sock and one pale pink. At least her shoes were on the correct feet, though they weren’t tied. She’d eaten her own version of breakfast, if the sticky ring of caramel icing and strawberry fruit filling around her lips was an indication.
The important thing was finding her baby unhurt, Trish reminded herself with a sigh. Pushing her perpetually sagging eyeglasses up on her nose, Bella turned to Trish and shot her a wide-‐‑eyed smile. “Hi, Mama.”
She released the man’s hand and got off the rock, taking her time crossing the distance to Trish, stooping to examine a piece of driftwood, finally picking it up and bringing it along. At last, she gave her mother a hug.
Trish let out a slow breath, allowing herself to relax. Who was this man? Why hadn’t she noticed him before? Did he live around here, or was he vacationing? Finally, she realized she’d been staring. “Thank you . . . for finding my daughter.”
That earned her a chuckle from the stranger. “I was beginning to wonder if you could speak.” He shrugged. “Actually, she found me.” His words were light, easy. It was hard to tell with the sunglasses in place, but while he gazed generally in their direction,
he never looked quite at her.
“I’m so sorry if she interrupted your morning. I fell asleep in my studio last night and overslept. I didn’t know Bella would just leave. She never ran off in the city. And . . . I’m babbling like a complete idiot.” She held out her hand. “I’m Trish Evers.”
The man made no move to accept her handshake and Trish dropped her hand awkwardly. Startled, at first, by such blatant rudeness, Trish gradually took note of the way Bella’s companion held his head at an angle, as though listening intently. She noted the German shepherd sitting quietly at his side with the working harness in place, and realized behind the mirrored sunglasses, the man was blind.
Squelching the insane urge to apologize for not noticing his impairment, Trish stepped forward and snagged his hand, giving it a light squeeze. “I’m Trish and you met my daughter, Bella. We just moved into the house at the end of the street.”