Today's guest writer is Glory Lennon with an excerpt from her serialized paranormal romance novel, Violet's in Bloom.
An Excerpt from Violet’s in Bloom:
Prologue: Death of a Firefighter
“Emily! I gotta get Emily!” the distraught mother screamed as two firefighters held her back.
“Where is she?” Richard shouted. He could barely make himself heard over the screeching sirens, over the bellows from Captain Frankfort and the roar of the flames eating the building in front of them.
“She’s upstairs, last room at the end of the hall. Her dog is with her. Please, let me get her. She won’t come with you. Please!” the woman screamed.
“She’ll come. I have a way with little girls,” Richard assured, smiling at her. He released her then ran into the smoke filled building after pulling on his mask and helmet.
“Ramrod, don’t!” Jake yelled, doubling his efforts to restrain the woman. “You can’t go in alone!”
But too late. Richard was through the doorway and enveloped instantly in billowing black smoke. Flames everywhere, he darted as a beam slammed into the floor from above. He sprinted up the stairs, also aflame, down the hall and...Damn it! The door was locked. Once, twice, thrice he rammed the door with all his strength and it smashed open. Flashlight in hand he scanned the room. Luckily it wasn’t entirely filled with smoke yet but there was no one anywhere to be seen.
“Emily! Your Mama’s looking for you. Come on out, Sweetie. You can’t stay here,” he shouted as he searched under the bed and behind the desk in the corner. A faint whine caught his ear.
He swung open the closet door and there she sat huddled behind some stuffed animals, a playhouse, several shoes and her golden retriever who growled menacingly up at him. Richard could understand that. With his mask on he knew he would definitely look frightening to a little kid and threatening to her protective dog.
“There’s a good puppy watching out for Emily,” he said soothingly as he removed the mask. The Captain would kill him dead for it, after he lectured Richard non-stop for an hour, that is. But Emily needed to see he wasn’t Darth Vader or something worse. “Your Mama’s worried sick, Sweetie. Let’s get you to your mama, okay?”
“Mommy! Mommy!” she cried still holding the dog.
“Rich, you idiot! Mark will have your head for coming in alone!” Bill shouted coming up behind him.
“Emily, this is Bill, my friend. He’s gonna take you to your mama. Come on, baby,” Richard said kindly as he pulled her out. The dog snarled and went to bite him. He released the girl and Bill grabbed her. Richard then lunged for the dog wrestling his muzzle shut. “Go, Bill, get out. I got the dog. I’m right behind you.”
Bill cradled the girl in his arms and threw open the window. “We’re going for a little ride, Honey.”
“Hunny Pot! I wanna hold Hunny Pot!” Emily cried.
“What’s that?” Bill asked the child as he swung one leg out the window.
“I got him, Emily,” Richard said but at that moment a terrible crunching sound came from directly above him and the ceiling caved in pinning him to the floor. The dog yelped pathetically and struggled to release himself from the burning pieces of timber.
“Rich!” Bill screamed in terror. “Kid, you’re gonna have to take a ride by yourself,” he said then dropped her out just above the tarp surrounded and held by his fellow firefighters. He took a second to see if she landed all right then turned back to Richard.
“Ramrod, let go of the dog so I can get you out!” Bill growled, panic tearing through him. He grabbed the dog and unceremoniously threw him out the window, too, this time not checking to see where he landed. Rich had a nasty gash slicing open his skull, an iron rod impaled his chest and his crystalline blue eyes bulged as he sought Bill.
“Oh, Rich, no....no...” Bill whispered, horrified.
“Tell Violet....tell her... I love her....”
“No! No, Rich!”
* * * * *
Violet awoke abruptly. She automatically reached over for Richard. He still wasn’t home? She glanced at the clock. 2:42 A.M.
“You should be home by now, Richard,” she mumbled to herself.
“I’m here, Violet.”
She turned quickly and gaped at him. His uniform was covered with soot and soaking wet. He stood dripping sooty water onto the carpet. She sat up in bed frowning. “Richard, you’ve never come home like that. Why didn’t you clean up at the station before coming back? It must have been an awful fire. Anyone hurt?” she asked anxiously.
He hesitated a second. “Saved a little girl, Emily McNamara and her dog, Hunny Pot. Bill tossed them out the window just in time,” he said a sad smile on his dirt streaked face.
“Is Bill all right?”
“Oh, sure, he’s fine.”
“Oh, Richard, I’m so glad,” she replied relief flooding through her. “Can I help you get cleaned up?” She swung her legs off the bed and made to get up but Richard stopped her with a dirty hand on her shoulder.
“No, Baby, stay here. I need to tell you something,” he said earnestly.
“But, Richard, you’re dripping all over the place and you must be so uncomfortable in that stuff.”
“I’m not. I feel fine... now,” he insisted. He knelt down in front of her, removed his helmet and took her hands. “You know I love you, don’t you?”
She smiled. “Of course. I love you too. My first love, my only love,” she said.
“You remember how we met?” he asked.
“You know I do, silly. At the high school dance. You swept me right off my feet.”
“No, I mean the very first time I saw you.”
She giggled. “Kindergarten? When you stormed the play kitchen with Tommy Harris and shot my dolly with your Uzi? I somehow don’t think that’s romantic enough for the retelling,” she replied playfully.
He grinned. “But that’s when I knew you were the girl for me, the one I wanted to marry,” he replied lifting her hand and kissing it tenderly.
“No, you didn’t. You went out with tons of girls and you never even noticed me until that day at the dance after you won that big game against Meridale high,” she retorted.
“You think that was my doing? Freddy told me your dad wouldn’t let you out of the house without an army protecting you. He told me I had no shot until you were old enough. So I waited. Freddy knew I was in love with you and he arranged for us to meet at that dance. He thought it was about time you got to live a little and he thought.... well, I convinced him I might be good enough for you.”
“Is that why Freddy insisted I go to that game? To meet you?” she asked astonished. He nodded. She smiled and took a tissue out of the night stand drawer and wiped some of the soot from his face. “Well, he was definitely instrumental in us getting together, wasn’t he? More than I thought. I wish I had known. I ought to thank him. But, Richard, why are you telling me this now? We should get you into a nice warm shower.”
“I don’t have much time. Violet, I want you to know I loved you like nothing else in the world. And the kids too. Tell Sophie...tell her she’ll always be my little girl. Tell her to keep singing, to stay with music. That’s her calling. I love to hear her sing. And Kenny, tell him I’m so proud of him. His woodworking will get him far. I just know it. Tell them I love them and always will no matter where I am.”
“Richard,” she said frowning. “What is all this? Why are you saying this? We know you love us. We love you too. What’s wrong?”
He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her tenderly his lips trembling. “I don’t want to go, Violet, but I have to,” he said, desperate tears welling in his clear blue eyes.
Apprehension stole through her as she watched him. “Go where?”
“I’m not sure where but I hear my parents calling me. I hear my brother Tim, too. We’re going to be together now. They say it’s time to leave. But I want to make sure you do something for me before I go. Promise me you will love again. Promise me you will let go of me and find another good man to love you.”
Her jaw dropped. “Richard, you want to divorce me? Why?” she squeaked.
“No, Baby, it’s til death do us part,” he said gently.
“But neither one of us is dead,” she said, a stern note to her voice and now looking both scared and angry. “You’re being very weird, Richard, and I want you to stop it. Stop it right now!”
He took her in his arms and held her tightly, his tears leaving sooty streaks down his face. “I don’t want to go but I have to. I’m dead. I didn’t make it out of that house fire. It collapsed around me. I’m still there under the rubble. They’re digging me out now. Promise me, so I can go in peace. Promise me and I’ll know you’ll be all right. Can you do that, Violet?”
She pushed him away. “No, I can’t! You’re going nowhere. Get in the shower. You’re messing up the floor,” she shouted, annoyed and fighting the urge to cry.
“This is just a dream, Violet. It’s the only way for me to talk to you. Promise me already. Promise you’ll let another man love you and take care of you. I don’t want to leave you all alone,” he insisted his voice now gruff and agitated.
“Richard, you’re the only one I ever want. You can’t leave me. You promised to always love me,” she said, her whole body shaking with emotion.
“I will. I’ll always love you even when I’m gone.”
“But you can’t go. We have the kids. They need you. I need you. You have to stay,” she cried, throwing her arms around his neck desperately clinging to him.
He shook his head, removed her arms from around him and resolutely stood up. “If you don’t let me go I’ll be a ghost forever haunting you. You don’t want that. That’s no life for you. Promise me.”
“No! Stop this foolishness, Richard. Get in the shower and come to bed. I need you here,” she said bursting into angry tears. She took another tissue and wiped at her face. When she looked up Richard had vanished.
“Richard? Richard!” she shouted. She got up and went to the bathroom. He wasn’t there. She ran through the house opening doors, calling his name. Terror ripped through her. Where did he go? He had simply vanished.
The shrill ringing of the phone awoke Violet. She sat up breathing quickly as if she had run a mile in the last few seconds. She willed her heart to steady itself. “It was just a dream.... just a very bad dream,” she mumbled as she reached out a shaky hand to catch the receiver.
“Richard?” she whispered.
“Violet, this is Mark Frankfort down at the firehouse. I have some bad news, Violet, about Rich.”
She let the phone drop to the floor into a puddle of sooty water next to her bedroom slippers.
You can find more Violet's in Bloom at: Violet's in Bloom, a serialized novel
Glory Lennon started writing stories shortly after being introduced to the Harry Potter series by her son's best friend. She wanted to try her hand at making people laugh, cry and feel every other emotion out there, just like JK Rowling did for countless fans, Glory topping that list.
Glory started writing for the web at Helium, Green Thumb Articles and Self Reliance Works where she puts her excessive knowledge of plants and frugality to work for her. She has in the meantime started several novels, but only finish one which she promptly tossed aside to be seriously revised at a later date. Yes, it was that bad!
Now she spends much of her time with her five blogs only one of which isn’t for her stories. Her garden blog is predictably titled Glory’s Garden. The others are: Glory’s Short Stories, novel-in-progress Violet’s in Bloom (from which this excerpt comes), An Ever Fixed Mark and a novella titled Where Your Treasure Lies.