UPDATE: The winner is…Aaren!
East of the Rift by January George
A family tragedy reunites a lonely rancher with his estranged wife
Thanks to Delilah for hosting me, I’m so excited to be a part of another one of her anthologies. I have been writing on and off for most of my life, but romance has always been my happy place. I love happy endings; I love the will they/won’t they push and pull and when you can’t stop turning the pages and hoping they will just kiss already. I wrote a lot in my teens and early twenties, and then college and career and marriage and kids happened, and it got harder and harder to find time to write. Enter in the short story. I found that I really love writing shorter stories and have been lucky enough that this is my third story featured in a Boys Behaving Badly Anthology. They are always filled with great authors with a variety of voices and genres. It is hard to pack so much into a short story, developing the characters and a plot that is believable and engaging (especially when you have two little kids climbing on you) and I really love that challenge. I’m also at a point where I’m trying to be a little more productive and make writing more of a priority, so fingers crossed for that one.
I thought up Luke and Maddy in a weird way (don’t writers always have the weirdest inspiration?), I saw a post that an acquaintance had made about her father-in-law’s death on Facebook, about how much she loved him and what a wonderful grandfather he had been to her children. I knew she had recently separated from her husband, and for some reason that started to germinate in my brain. When I saw the call for submissions for this anthology, I started writing this reunited at the rodeo/second chance story, but it just kept falling flat and I couldn’t get it to work. A week before submissions were due, that little germinating seed popped into my consciousness, and I just started writing, fast and slightly panicked because I was so short on time. It came together surprisingly easily, the characters all seemed fully formed, and I just knew them. I hope you enjoy Luke and Maddy from “East of the Rift“, and if you do, please check out Jackson’s story, Where the Light Comes In, available November 2nd on Amazon.
Snippet from “East of the Rift”
The word was almost a growl, nearly unrecognizable as his voice. She set the mug down and turned, keeping the towel knotted against her waist.
He’d raised his hands to his forehead and his head was bowed, so she couldn’t see his eyes. There was tension is his broad shoulders. Pain radiated from him, and her breath caught. “Stop what?”
He got up abruptly, the chair legs clattering against the floor, keeping his eyes downcast, and without answering, he pushed open the door to the small, walk-in pantry, slamming it behind him.
Maddy stared after him for a long moment. She glanced at the coffee pot. She should go back out into the living room. Go finish Dorothy’s tutorial about memory bears. But something kept her frozen there.
“You’re such an idiot,” she muttered under her breath. She was still giving him emotions, making excuses for him. Wanting him to be feeling things that he wasn’t.
But he was the father of her children and he had just lost his own father, and in the twenty years she’d known him, this was the first time he’d hidden in a pantry. She set the rag down and went to the door, wrapping her hand around the old brass knob. This was stupid. He wanted to be alone, or he wouldn’t have been sitting in the kitchen by himself, and he wouldn’t have retreated from her. But she still couldn’t shake the feeling he really didn’t want to be alone. That he was hurting. That he needed her.
Stupid thoughts. Stupid thoughts that should make her let go of the doorknob and return to the living room to sit and listen to murmured condolences and stories of Jack Rafferty’s life; she should go check on the kids.
But she didn’t. Instead, she turned the knob quietly and slipped inside before she thought any more about it. She closed it behind her and leaned against the old wood before she lifted her eyes.
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, answer this!
This story features a couple brought back together by a tragedy.
Do you think this happens in real life? Do you know an example?
About the Author
January George has been writing since she was a child and has always had a special love for happily ever after stories. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, children, and two cats.