This a poster for the book “SOUL FLIGHT“. It’s a standalone.
A brief part of Chapter 1 is below.
Brownish blonde, well-tanned, Thirty-year-old Penelope Gatlin hummed a lively tune as she made up her mind to have a Merry Christmas as she left the department store and walked across the warm parking lot.
Boy! It’s hot! It’s the height of the holiday shopping season in Hayburn, Texas and it’s still hot. Whoever heard of it being hot enough for a summer dress at Christmastime? But it’s 80 degrees today and tomorrow is expecting to be hotter. Tomorrow is Christmas Day. Her favorite time of the year, but she letting the sun have its way. The hot Texan heat wasn’t going to spoil it for her.
She passed a young couple walking, romantically leaning into each other, oblivion to the world around them. She smiled at them. She remembers when she and Shawn were so in love like that, but a few stinky diapers can kill that real quick. They still loved each other very much but the past nine years their love had grown into a mature love strong enough to carry them for years to come.
Hayburn, Texas is a small town where everyone knew everyone so the chances of a crime occurring and no one knowing the culprit was slim next to none. She spotted her silver SUV and increased her walking sped, the packages were heavier than they looked but she left Shawn and their eight-year-old daughter at home baking. Shawn was one of the few guys; actually, the only guy she knew who could cook. Her poor father can’t boil water let alone cook a full course meal. Her brother Ty can at least make great sandwiches.
She pressed the button and the trunk rose on the automatic device. Still humming she place the items in the trunk and got in. With her head turned to the left to fasten her seatbelt someone appeared on the right. She whipped her head around for the window was down, venting the heat.
“Damn Hugh! You scared me.” She cried.
Her husband’s best friend since junior high school was leaning his red flushed face into the opening. His strawberry blonde hair had years ago started retreating from his hairline. The shiny patch glittered in the bright afternoon sunlight with a gauzy film of sweat as if he had been running.
“Penelope, my old truck put me down a lil’ piece up the road there. I called Shawn and asked him to come pick me up, but he said you had the car and were at Hayburn Mall. So, I ran here to see if I could catch you before you leave.”
“Sure, hop in.”
Hugh yanked the door opened, gets in, and slammed it shut.
“You coming for dinner tomorrow? If so, you’re free to bring the girl you been talking to.”
Hugh laughed. “Shawn tells you everything. Don’t he?” The huge man chortled.
“No not really. He still hasn’t told me what he got me for Christmas.” Pen laughed. Everyone around these parts called her Pen for its damn hot to be pronouncing her entire name every time someone wanted to address her.
She chatted about nothingness as she backed out and took to the bypass leading home. Watching the highway for his red rusty truck she asked where it? For she was sure they had traveled over five miles by now.
“A little bit further,” he said pulling out his phone and calling Shawn. “I’m riding with Pen, I caught her before she left.”
“I love you, baby.” Pen yelled. Hugh turned the phone toward her so Shawn could see her blow him a kiss. Shawn caught it and planted it on his lip and blew her one and she did the same. Hugh turned the phone back to his ear.
“We could be there in a lil’ bit.” he said and pointed out his truck saying it was best they keep on going so he could get Shawn to come out and help him start it. Her heart sunk. That meant she would’ve take over the Christmas dinner.
“Stop! Y’all’s gift in the truck. I don’t want anybody breaking in it. It’s sitting right here side the road.”He pointed as she neared the dark red, dust covered F-150 pick up truck.
She pulled over on the hard dirt curb. He’s her daughter Marquis’ godfather and spoiled her rotten every chance he got. She watched him walked back to the truck and leaned in. She wondered why he left the window down if he had Christmas presents inside. But this was Hugh and he operated in mysterious way. Hers and Shawn’s gift could be a dead possum for all she knew.
Ten minutes later he was back in the SUV empty handed. She pulled off not thinking to ask were the gifts stolen?
“Pen, tell me sumthing why you told Sarah Nilsen I wouldn’t make a good boyfriend?”
Pen was wondering what kinda question was that? That was over 12 years ago when they were teenagers. “I didn’t tell her that. I told her not to mess you over if she didn’t mean you any good. Sarah had a habit of playing guys. She changed guys every week during our high school years. Remember how she and her friends pulled that prank on Andy Gimbit? Embarrassed that poor boy in front of the school. I told her if she pulled some shit like that with you, I was going to whoop her ass.”
Hugh’s voice was changing as if an anger was shimmering beneath the surface. “Well, I just saw her and that ain’t how she tell it. She said she wouldn’t have married Brandford Elling had not you told her lies about me.They broke up, ya know?”
“Yes, I know. I mean…I know she and Brandford Elling broke up.”