A Sneak Peek

Good afternoon, dear reader! You are finally getting a sneak peek at The House on Maple Street. If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you’ve already met our heroine, Hillary Altman. Hillary is living in a boarding house, while attending graduate school. In the section of the book I’m sharing today, Hillary is trying to get her breakfast together, in the shared kitchen and she has a frightening confrontation with her landlord, Keith.

The incident is broken up by one of Hillary’s neighbors, Dr. David Immerman, head of the History department at the same college Hillary attends. Dr. Immerman, who I look forward to you meeting when the book is released, tends to keep to himself, generally. Up to this point in our story, he really hasn’t been particularly warm toward Hillary. Reader, I give you a portion of Chapter 10 from The House on Maple Street:

Hillary couldn’t move. Her pulse was pounding in her ears. She had to think. Her mind was jumped to imaging what was about to happen. She had to do something. She thought about screaming but his hand would be over her mouth before anyone would hear her. The butter knife she had been using was too far out of reach. She pressed herself forward into the cabinets in front of her. She couldn’t get into the drawer. She didn’t know what was in it, even if she could. She felt Keith shift closer to her again.

“You want to be friendly, don’t you,” his breath hissed in her ear. She pushed her body forward, tighter against the counter. His gut was still touching her. She couldn’t move away.

“Good morning,” came a loud voice from the doorway to the dining room. Hillary lifted her eyes to see Dr. Immerman standing there, taking in the scene. “Is everything alright in here?”

Keith immediately backed away. Hillary straightened away from the counter, still tense, not taking her eyes off Dr. Immerman.

“Just saying good morning to my tenants.” Keith’s tone was casual.

Hillary didn’t say anything. She grabbed her plate, the knife, and a napkin. She moved to the other end of the kitchen. Hillary filled the coffee cup she had set out before making a swift exit from the kitchen. She’d take her coffee black this morning. She hurried down the hall and up the front stairs, not taking a breath until she had closed the door behind her, in her room. She stood there, her plate in one hand, coffee in the other. She closed her eyes, panting from the adrenaline, her heart racing. Hillary squeezed her eyes tighter, trying to calm herself. A large tear escaped from each eye and rolled down her cheek. The sudden knock at her door caused her tense all over again.

“Hillary, it’s Dr. Immerman. Are you alright?” he called.

Hillary relaxed again, taking a few breaths before she could respond. “I’m fine,” she managed.

“Are you sure?” he asked in a raised voice.

“Yes, I’m fine,” she replied again, her breakfast still in her hands.

“I’d like to talk to you about what happened. Will you open the door? I’ll stay out in the hallway.” His voice was concerned.

Hillary looked around her room. She placed her breakfast on her desk before opening the door. His face was one of fatherly concern and compassion.

“It’s okay,” she said avoiding his gaze. “You can come in, if you want to.” She moved aside so he could enter her room.

“Are you sure?” he asked. “I can talk to you from here, if you’d rather.”

“No, it’s alright. You can come in,” she responded.

He stepped past her, through the door, glancing around the unkempt room. Her bed was still unmade and there was a pile of laundry on the floor. Papers were strewn across her desk, by the windows and a stack of books sat haphazardly on a small table beside the bed. Dr. Immerman wished he had stayed in the hallway.

“Please sit,” she said, closing the door.

He pulled the chair out from her desk, turning it around before seating himself. She perched herself on the edge of her unmade bed, not meeting his gaze. He turned to pick up her coffee off the desk and handed it to her.

“Here. Have a sip of this,” he urged.

Hillary took a sip of the bitter coffee, easing back further onto the bed and folding up her legs in front of her. Dr. Immerman waited patiently in silence.

“When you’re ready, can you tell me what happened?” Dr. Immerman asked her.

“Nothing happened, really,” she replied, settling her coffee cup in her hands. “I was getting my breakfast and he was suddenly there. He started teasing me. He had just moved next to me when you came in.”

“Do you want to file a report? I’ll make a statement, if you do,” he offered.

Hillary just shook her head. She was humiliated. All she wanted was to be alone.

“Men get away with things like that if you keep silent,” he said. His tone had turned less patient.

“I’m fine,” she responded. “Nothing happened.” Hillary stood up at this. “If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to get some work done and eat my breakfast.” She moved across the room to the door, opening it. “Thank you for your concern.” She didn’t look at him.

Dr. Immerman rose from her desk chair. “Alright.” He crossed the room to the door. He stopped in front of her. “If you need anything, let me know,” he told her before moving back into the hallway.

“Thank you,” she said quietly before closing the door.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this taste of what’s to come with the release of my book. I haven’t set the official release date just yet. But I’m still targeting mid-November. Check back for more updates!

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4 Comments on “A Sneak Peek”

  1. This was my first introduction to the House on Maple street and what a good one it was. I hope Hillaty does file a report.

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