Monday, January 12, 2015

'Chance of the Heart' official Excerpt


Hey guys! Got the official excerpt for my first solo project in a good while, Chance of the Heart, coming January 26.






Chapter One


The most asinine idea one person ever conceived. Chance Becket’s sour mood had finally lifted, he’d forgotten all about Caitlin’s stupid idea. That is, until damned David brought it up. He couldn’t believe Caitlin had opened her big mouth to David’s wife Jeri. He supposed that wasn’t fair since they’d all been best friends since they were knee-high to a grasshopper but he did not need this. Not now. He’d managed to not bring it up in the six weeks since she’d gone back to school. And with foaling season he hadn’t had time to do anything anyway, too much work to do to even think about it.



“t’s just a little bump in the road, man. She said it was just while she was busy this last semester. Why’re you being so sour about it?” David wouldn’t drop it. With a put upon sigh, Chance put down the hammer he’d been using to replace a dry-rotted plank on the fencing. He knew better than to keep ignoring David Singleton. You weren’t friends as long as they’d been without knowing what he would and wouldn’t bother you with until you spilled the beans.



“It’s not even a break. I think y’all misunderstood.”



David’s head snapped back. “Surely, you didn’t split up.”



Chance stood from his squatting position, feeling his knees pop like he was much older than his twenty-three years. He hated talking shit through, didn’t need nobody picking through his thoughts or feelings. He was a good boy, simple. He worked hard, respected his Mama and Daddy, went to church on Sundays, had been faithful to Caitlin, and saved up money to provide for his future family. He did what was expected without complaint, because what more was there than to hope for a good life, a little piece of this earth to call his own, and to help his family keep their ranch going as it had been for a couple generations, now.



“Naw. We didn’t do nothing of the sort.”



David looked confused. If only he knew the half of it. Chance was probably more confused than he’d ever been. There’d never been reason to question anything and he hated he was no. He’d had a set path, a goal since he was a small boy and thanks to one damn conversation, he was shaken to his core and couldn’t for the life of him figure out why.



“Well, how come she told Jeri she was cool with you seeing other people. Said we shouldn’t police you.”



“Y’all shouldn’t have ever policed me.”



“I didn’t! Can’t help that them women stick together like they do. Jeri’s best friend’s at college, so of course if she sees you trying to be a buckle bunny’s consolation prize it’s part of their Bro Code to tell each other,” David reasoned.



“What in the hell is a Bro Code? And anyway, it’s not like I go out none. I’ve never cheated.” Chance started gathering his tools, loading them on the back of his ATV.



David threw his hands up. “We know that. But she was saying that in particular, right now, Jeri wasn’t s’posed to keep an eye out if you were to go …  Y’no… doin’ your thing.”



Chance took his Stetson off where’s he’d hung it on the handlebars of the four-wheeler and placed it on his head. That was better. At least he didn’t have to squint to see his friend any more. “I don’t understand why she made it y’all’s business, but she thought maybe since we were probably getting engaged after she comes back, and she’s not gonna be coming home any since it’s her last semester, maybe she’d give me some sort of pass if I wanted to sow some wild oats or some nonsense.”



David laughed and patted Chance’s shoulder. “Is that what’s got your panties in a bunch? Damn boy. You’re the last single one of us all.” Which was true, they’d all paired up either in high school or right after. David and Jeri’s second kid was well on the way. Chance had always been secretly glad that Caitlin had gone off to college after she’d graduated.

Yeah, they knew they’d always end up married, probably living in a house on his Daddy’s land—there was enough of it for sure. But he’d been glad to have the time alone. He’d been in the same relationship since he was sixteen, and she fifteen. They’d been each others’ first everything. But marriage… sharing not just his space but his whole life with her. It’d been an overwhelming idea at eighteen when he’d just finally gotten his own space in the apartment he’d built himself over his parents’ three car garage.


Now he supposed it was time. Which made him restless. That’d been why the whole conversation started.



“You’re restless. I’ve had time to figure out what I want. Now you should do the same. My course load is ridiculous this semester and I’m going to Mexico during spring break so… Take this time to yourself.” Chance just grunted in response which made Caitlin’s pretty face light up, smiling sweetly.



“Stubborn man. I’ll even give you one of those Free Passes. My friends did it before they got married. We don’t ask questions so if no one does anything it doesn’t matter, but if you did, it’s not our business. I’ve been at college having fun and you’ve been home. You don’t go out, you just work. Be a little crazy.”



“So you’ve slept with other people?” He asked, numbly.



“No!” She stopped twirling her curly black pony-tail and smacked his arm. 

“I would never.”



“You’re saying you want to sleep with somebody else.” Before she could say no he continued, “Or you think I’ve missed out not sleeping with somebody else.”



She placed a hand on his knee. “I’m not saying that. I’m just saying, make sure. We have a good six months before real life actually catches up with us. It’d be the first time we were ever on, like, a break. Make the most of it.”



And hadn’t that been a kick to the balls. It’s like as soon as she’d left, all these thoughts popped up. Thoughts that had been put away like last year’s Christmas tress, not needing to be brought out because it was Spring and he had summer and foaling season to think about. But it appeared Christmas had come early and the thought of that Christmas tree coming back out, made his belly rumble with nerves.



“You okay there?” David asked.



“Oh yeah,” he muttered. He picked up the last of the scraps of wood from the repairs and latched everything on the back of the ATV with bungee cords.



“I don’t know what there is to be upset about. She’s right. Even I had a couple girls before Jeri and I got together. You only been with her. Maybe it wouldn’t kill you to go knock some boots. Though, don’t tell my wife I said so.”


A couple girls before Jeri? That was an understatement. David had probably had half the varsity cheerleading squad. Chance didn’t get the fascination. Yeah, sex was good. Right? It was sex. But all the condoms and worrying about knocking somebody up. In eight years he could count on his fingers and toes the number of times they’d gone all the way. Now he was trying to get out of sleeping with someone else and he couldn’t decide if it was because he thought he shouldn’t or because he didn’t actually want to.


And this is why he hated when things were uncertain.


David placed a hand on Chance’s shoulder as he went to start the four-wheeler, bringing him up short. “I’m done talking about this David.” He didn’t snap, Chance didn’t snap, but he used his Boss Voice.



David snorted. Of course, David was the one person on the whole damn Red River Ranch that voice didn’t work on. “I’m just saying, it’s a Friday. This is our last big weekend off for the month. Maybe take yourself up to Abernathy, go to the strip, have a few beers. See what happens. Call it your last hurrah. What could it hurt?”



“What am I gonna do around all them college kids?”



“Get drunk? It’s not like we’re much older than them. Wear somethin’ other than flannel and boots. Talk about poetry since you’re all sensitive and junk.” David was just being a dick now.



I’m not sensitive,” Chance said, surliness infantile even to his own ears.



David nodded indulgently. “Whatever you say, Boss.”



Chance wasn’t going to continue with his friend about what sounded like the worst idea in the history of ever. Abernathy was a medium sized college town about an hour and a half from their little town of 1200. It was a good suggestion, more anonymous than the local bars. If Chance had been interested in that sort of thing. Which he wasn’t.




David opened his mouth to speak but Chance started the ATV up, cutting him off, and headed back toward the barns. He didn’t have any more time for this foolishness, and the horses weren’t going to water themselves.

***

Bradley Heart frowned at his phone as his ex-boyfriend’s third missed call in the last two hours popped up. Carson knew he was at work. What the hell was wrong with him. They’d not spoken in three weeks, since Carson collected his things from Bradley’s house. Today, of all days, was not the day to start with his usual mood swings.


Bradley dropped his phone on his desk, probably more forcefully than necessary, getting the attention of a few of the people in the open floor office around him. What he wouldn’t give for a cubicle right about then.


He clicked around his accounting program for one of their bigger clients, trying to get his head back in the game.


“Heart,” his immediate superior Tanya Bigbee said as she loomed over his desk. “Can we see you in Mr. Moore’s office.


Shit. He’d seen two other people go before him to the big boss’s lair so he was quite certain this wasn’t good news. There’s been whispers of layoffs after the Holiday season, but two weeks after Christmas. Really?


He nodded before standing and gathering his suit jacket, pulling it on and buttoning it as he followed her down the hall. He’d been dreading this, but fingers crossed he would be one of the few spared. His last few performance reviews had been exemplary, he’d been dealing with some of the biggest clients, even as one of the more junior accountants. Surely that counted for something.


As he walked out of Mr. Moore’s office, though, fifteen minutes later, he was caught between shocked and resigned. Three weeks and his entire division was “no longer necessary to the future business of the company.” There’d been talk of outsourcing for financial reasons and a promise of shining references, but he’d only caught about every third word after the axe had fallen on his career. Yes, he was young. Twenty-five was nowhere near too old to start over again. Hell, this had been his first job fresh out of college three years earlier.


That was little consolation. He ignored the apologetic glances of the coworkers who’d gone before him into the office, not in the mood to commiserate.


He plopped gracelessly in his desk chair and stared blankly at the screen. He’d been told he didn’t have to worry about the account he was working on now as it’d be passed on as one of their larger clients. “Wrap up the Michaels, ChumDum, and Liezel accounts in your final weeks. We appreciate your hard work.”


Hadn’t that been a kick to the balls. Fuck, he didn’t want to have to take his sister up on the ridiculous offer she’d made when he’d mentioned the original rumors of layoffs. He couldn’t even fathom going back to his father’s ranch, his father’s Church in Hope Springs. Hah! Hopeless Springs more like it. He’d not been back in at least six years and didn’t imagine his father was any sorrier than he was for it.


His phone rang again. Fucking Carson. Again. He snatched it up. “What?”


“You’re in a fine mood, lover,” Carson said drily.


“I’m at work.” Curt and to the point. He caught the disapproving glare Tanya was giving him from her desk across the room. But what could she do? Write him up? Fire him? Not like he was ever one to abuse the no-cell-phone policy. Fuck it.


“I was trying to lease an apartment at Centre Point.” How he would afford the nicer apartments across town, Bradley had no idea.


“And…”


“They’re the same leasing company as The Arms.”


“Again… And…”


“I need off your lease.”


Bradley sputtered. “Dude, you broke up with me. You said I could have these last two months. Can you not crash with your new guy a little longer. This is not exactly a good time.”



“Look, Brad. I know this sucks. But we’re trying to get a place and this is what we want. It’s a douch move—”


“No shit!”


“But… we can’t wait. His lease is up at the end of the month. They said you could just sign off this month and they’d use the deposit…”

“Now you want my half of the deposit too?” Bradley laughed, knowing he was about to become hysterical.


“Bradley…”


“No. You know what. Fuck it. Take the damn thing. Come tell me where I need to sign. Small price to pay to be finished with you finally.” He didn’t mean it. Yes, it’d be nice to be finished with the cheating bastard, but he really could use his half of the $1400 deposit now that he’d be out of work. And where he’d stay, he had no idea. Looks like— No! No, you will not go back.


“The manager said she’d fax you what you needed.” After getting the fax number and giving Carson a good old fuck off he ended the call. Best day ever.


He shot off a text to his best friend, Emma requesting a night out. He’d definitely need to forget this day, even if just for a few hours. He waited for her affirmative response, then put his phone away after Tanya cleared her throat for the third time.


The best part of living in a college town was the amount of bars with lots of pretty, cheap liquor. He’d definitely be taking advantage of that tonight. And maybe a hot piece of college ass. It’d definitely been long enough since he’d had some of that.



Thanks for reading guys! Stay tuned for snippet sundays!


Chance of the Heart 
by Kade Boehme
Coming January 26!
Add on GoodReads

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