Love’s Deliverance: The First Chapter
Buy a CopySweet Grove Books
I would love to share the first chapter of the first ever romance I have ever written! This is the first time I have been invited to participate in a Kindle World. Without further delay, here is the first chapter! Click on the buttons above to buy a copy of Love’s Deliverance or visit Sweet Grove Books to find out more wonderful stories with the authors I share a world with!
Ester Allen drove the long gravel driveway to her parent’s house. She wiped away the tears that threatened to blur her vision. She had just walked away from her dream job in the state microbiology lab. She cried ever since she left the parking lot and throughout the thirty-minute drive from downtown Austin and into the suburbs where they lived.
Esther’s boss has issued her a warning last week about bringing her problems to work. Only she didn’t bring them to work; they followed her. Her problems—or rather, the problem—was her crazy, obsessed ex boyfriend Seth Kelly, the son of the wealthy Kelly family and the ADA of Texas, Julius Kelly. She broke up with him back in high school.
Ah, high school, when immaturity and ignorance was truly bliss. When they first started dating, everything seemed like a fairy tale dream come true. Well, this fairy tale dream became an American Horror Story nightmare.
On top of it all, her apartment was located on Elm Street. She needed to find a new life somewhere, anywhere but in Austin. Death Valley, Arizona during the summer was probably better than here right now. Austin, Texas had just turned into hell. After breaking up with Seth for him being controlling and flirting with other girls, her problems began and hadn’t stopped since.
Seth started calling her at work and writing her messages on her work and private email. She had changed her personal email and her phone number a dozen times. She couldn’t even remember her phone number half the time. She had screaming arguments with Seth where probably God and everybody could hear. That’s when her boss told her to keep her problems at home. When she drove up into the parking lot this morning, Seth was waiting on her at work.
He was enraged to know she had attempted to have a restraining order against him. Strangely enough, the order was denied. The paperwork still sat in the tan upholstered front seat of her white Mustang.
Esther pulled into the parking area just in front of the quaint log cabin with its covered porch that wrapped around the sides. The green tin roof perfectly accented the dark stained wood and matched the shutters.
Her father, Mordecai Allen, occupied one of the wicker rockers—to her left. He rocked himself as he puffed on his corn cob pipe with an infuriated scowl on his face. He looked like a freight train, each puff looked in perfect sync with the throbbing vessels in his forehead. Apparently when she called her mother, Ruth, she either told him or he overheard the whole ordeal.
Mordecai looked like a middle-aged man that could have stepped out of the 1800’s. Even after retiring from the Texas Rangers after 45 years of service, he still wore Western style clothing. His hat was probably inside on the hat rack. He donned his tin star out of habit, and it was visible on his chest.
As Esther parked the car, Ruth came out of the house in a mad dash, screen door smacking shut behind her. Esther grabbed the paperwork for the failed restraining order. The middle aged, curly haired woman with her gray hair in a bun and flour-covered apron, still ran on out to meet her daughter.
Esther was a little worse for wear. She clearly looked like she had been through the wringer. Her black hair was a mess. Her blue eyes were red, puffy, and tear stained. She ran to her mother and fell into her embrace. Ruth smelled of cinnamon and fresh baked bread. Esther’s blouse became covered with flour.
“C’mon inside, Esther. I just got raisin and cinnamon bread out of the oven when you pulled up,” said Ruth as she put her arm around her daughter and accompanied her up the stairs of the porch.
Esther forced a pained smile and dusted off some of the flour. “I thought so. I could use some of that. I haven’t eaten yet.”
“We also have some supper for you. It’s kinda what we had left over since we didn’t expect you on such short notice. We should’ve with Lucifer on the prowl like that,” Mordecai said. He took the paperwork from Esther. He was curious who the judge was that disapproved a perfectly legitimate request for a restraining order.
“Mordecai!” Ruth scolded. “I know that Seth has his shortcomings, but stop talking about him as if he and the devil are the same person!”
“Feh!” Mordecai snorted and waved his hand. “I don’t see how the devil could be much worse! Kid thinks he’s got everybody fooled. Don’t see how nobody notices that pointy tail tucked in breeches and those horns peekin’ out of his $500 hairdo! In this case the devil wears Gucci instead of Prada.”
Before Ruth could scold him again, Esther laughed heartily. “Thanks, Papa, I need a laugh.”
“Esther, you are bathing in frankincense and lavender oils again,” Ruth remarked at the overpowering scent coming from her daughter. Ever since being clinically diagnosed with complex PTSD, OCD, and anthropophobia, Esther was too afraid to take psychotropic drugs and wanted natural alternatives instead which worked. After this morning’s events, she had a full-fledged PTSD attack and slathered herself in those oils.
Mordecai pulled out his glasses from his shirt pocket, slipped them on, and scanned the document for the judge’s name as everyone came inside the house and sat down at the kitchen table. Ruth gathered the food for Esther to eat.
“Uh-huh. Judge Perkins. I shoulda known. He’s bought and sold by the Kelly family and crookeder than any sidewinder I’ve ever seen.”
Esther covered her face with her hands as Ruth set the pot roast, vegetables, water, and homemade bread for dessert on the table. She picked up the fork and started to eat. “What am I gonna do now? I just walked away from my job, I can’t go back to my apartment, and now they denied my restraining order. I know I can’t stay here forever. I don’t know what to do anymore.”
“You’re going to need to go off the grid for a while, baby. You’ll have to leave Austin.”
Her mother’s award winning pot roast and vegetables began to sit on her stomach like a rock while invisible hands began to twist knots in her guts. Her heart rate doubled and sweat popped out all over her body. She shook. The piece of meat she was chewing on doubled in size. She wasn’t sure if she was about to throw up or have diarrhea. Esther was having another attack. She wasn’t sure if it was her fear of people or her PTSD—or both.
Ruth rushed over her and massaged her back, and her father grabbed her hands.
“Do I have to go to Alaska and live in the bush? I don’t know if I can go to a place and be around people I don’t know. What if they hate me, too?” asked Esther. “Everybody in the city thinks Seth walks on water and I’m as deplorable as the woman the Pharisees caught in adultery and wanted to stone.”
Mordecai shook his head. “Every one of those hypocrites is throwing rocks at someone who’s innocent. They ain’t without sin and they all live in glass houses. No, I’m suggesting you go and stay with Deborah in Sweet Grove. She and Jeremiah are delighted to have you and will help you get back on your feet—. We already called them and told them you would be coming, but we aren’t sure when they should expect you. My old partner, Ezekiel Sawyer, lives in Sweet Grove.”
Deborah was her older sister. She met and married a successful bladesmith and blacksmith from Sweet Grove and moved away a couple years ago. They did have a nice house that was like paradise. That is, if Seth didn’t show up and screw it up.
She met Ezekiel a couple times when he and her father were still Texas Rangers. Her father talked about him all the time. They had become present-day legends and were involved in some high profile cases and busts over their careers. She also recalled that his wife had died about ten years ago and he had two sons—twins—about her age. She didn’t really know anything in particular about the wife or the sons.
“You’re not going back to your apartment, are you?” asked Ruth. “Do you need anything?”
“No, mom, I have my emergency kit in the trunk of my car. I have some travel sized shampoo and stuff in there and about three changes of clothes,” Esther replied as she visualized the duffle bag in her trunk. That had come in handy over the past few years and so it was about to again.
“We’ll go by your apartment and get the rest of your things later on,” said Ruth.
Esther nodded as she resumed eating. She needed nourishment since it was a two hour drive to Sweet Grove, and it had already been a terrible day.
When the food had settled a bit, Esther looked around. “Hey, where is Miriam?”
“She’s gone to a friend’s house,” Ruth said. Miriam was Esther’s teenage sister. She was quite a surprise when she came along later on in her and Deborah’s lives, Ruth was in her late 30’s when she became pregnant with Miriam.
Ruth nodded and continued to eat.
“How much money do you have?” asked Mordecai, breaking the silence.
Esther raised her eyebrows, puzzled by her father’s question. She had plenty of money in her bank account to last her a while and credit to fall back on if need be. “I’ve got at least five thousand in my checking account and fifty thousand in my savings…”
“No! No credit cards!” Mordecai said. “He’ll track you down with that. Use cash. Gimme your cell phone, too.”
Esther sighed, but she knew her father was right since that’s how Texas authorities, including the Rangers, tracked people down these days, in addition to the old fashioned tactics. She slid her fancy new iPhone she just bought to her father. “I don’t have any cash.”
Mordecai reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. “I have fifty dollars cash. That should be enough to get you to Sweet Grove in case you need gas or necessities. Your mother and I will take care of your banking arrangements in the meantime. You can use my cell phone. It may not be one of these here smart phone tingamajigs, but it will let you do what you need to do. I never use the cockamamie thing anyhow.” He slid the phone over to her. “Don’t check your email. Let us do that, and we will relay important stuff to you. Go back to the old ways. Don’t make it easy for him to track you down.”
Esther chuckled at the basic Jitterbug phone. Her father gave her mother down the road for getting it. He utterly refused to use it. He rebelled against technology even though his mother embraced it in her 80’s. It still brought smiles to her face even in dark hours like these.
“Do you have a gun?” asked Mordecai.
“Yeah, I have that .38 I bought last year,” replied Esther.
“Pah! Gimmie that pea-shooter,” Mordecai said, turning over his hand palm up.
Esther dug into her purse’s hidden compartment and took out the compact handgun, placing it into her father’s hand.
“Lemme get you a real gun,” he said, pushing back his chair, which groaned as the legs scrubbed the hardwood floor. “No daughter of mine will shoot something that would just tick off a rattler.”
After a few moments he came back in with his silver plated, ivory handled, Colt .44 revolver. He’d earned it sometime during his service with the Rangers, and Ezekiel had one just like it. She had fired it a couple times. It was loud and kicked like a mule. ’
“I figgered this was a job for Dirty Harry,” Mordecai said as he spun the revolver, snapped it shut, and cocked and released the hammer. He opened it up and put six thumb-sized bullets into each chamber. He plopped a brick of cartridges on the table with a heavy thud.
“Oh, dad. I don’t think Dirty Harry is going to fit into my purse.” She’d named the gun after her favorite iconic Clint Eastwood character. The name stuck and everyone in the family called by that name. If only she could make the gun live up to its name, but she couldn’t go vigilante.
“Keep him in the glove compartment, but don’t leave him in there unattended. Get a bigger purse.”
“Mordecai, what is she gonna do with that big ol’ gun?” asked Ruth while she packed some to-go vittles.
“Send the devil back to his den with his pointy tail between his legs, that’s what. The Good Lord don’t use a pea-shooter either.”
Esther picked up the brick with a grunt and stuck it in her purse. Her dad was right. She is going to need a bigger purse for Dirty Harry and his friends. “You know, Seth may show up here looking for me when you start looking and taking care of my affairs.”
“Let him come up here making threats. He’ll be looking down the business end of my vintage lever action rifle. Don’t worry about us, baby. It’s you your mother and I are worried about.”
“Are you ready?” asked Ruth.
Esther’s parents walked her to her car. She put Dirty Harry in the front seat and placed her purse on top of him to conceal him from passerby. Ruth put her food in the floorboard within reach. She hugged them each in turn and went down the driveway.
They watched their daughter disappear in the night. Ruth sobbed and prayed indecipherable prayers as she clutched her husband, while Mordecai stood there silently as he held his wife. When Esther’s taillights disappeared and the crunching of the graveled died away, the tough-as-nails retired Texas Ranger shed silent tears and prayed his own silent prayers for his daughter.
About the Author
AK Taylor is an award winning YA author who has been writing novels since age 16. Beekeeper, outdoor sportsman, avid adventurer, and animal lover. Taylor lives in the backwoods of Middle GA where she continues to write stories.