Since Betrayal was published, many people have asked me if I’m working on another novel. Each time, my response was the same: ‘I’m always working on another novel’. Nine times out of ten, they reacted with surprise, as if once was enough. But, for those of us who write, once is never enough.
Many of these same people asked if I’m writing a sequel, or if it’s the same style of story as ‘Betrayal’. My answer was always no.
So, in order to prove that I am writing another novel, and it’s not a sequel, I decided to provide a small excerpt from what is very definitely a work-in-progress. It’s the first draft of a half-written manuscript, and it will have to endure a multitude of editings before I’m satisfied with it. But, here it is…just a taste of ‘Letters from Nowhere’. (Actually, this is Chapter 3)
I remembered the mysterious letter only after the kids were in bed, my chores were done, and I was getting ready to crawl under the covers for the night. With all the usual evening drama it had completely slipped my mind. I rushed downstairs to root through my bag and pull out the forgotten mail. I hastily shoved the regular bills and papers into a drawer, and I grabbed the mysterious envelope to take upstairs with me to read in bed. Something this special deserved a comfortable environment to give it full honors.
On my way past Ethan’s bedroom I was summoned for a last-minute attempt at prolonging bedtime. Much to his disappointment, I didn’t fall for it. A few minutes later I was happily ensconced in my bed covered with a plump duvet.
I was eager to see the contents, but hesitant to rip open the authentic-looking envelope. I wanted to preserve the look of the yellowed paper and the faded cursive writing. But I knew to discover who had sent it to me it had to be opened.
Gently, I slid my finger under the seal and pried it open with minimal damage to the envelope. When I looked inside I was delighted to see the letter was also written on paper that had been made to look very old. Whoever was behind this knew how to peak my curiosity.
As I unfolded the letter I could have sworn there were several particles of dust that fell onto my duvet. I was tempted to look at the bottom of the page to discover who had sent it to me, but decided I would delay the pleasure and see if I could guess by the contents of the letter.
I imagine you are surprised to hear from me. I am almost as surprised to find myself writing this letter to you. In my thoughts I have written it a thousand times, each time wondering if it would be good enough for you; if you would be able to understand the way I feel. Would the words be clear enough? Would my feelings show through?
I have never fancied myself as a writer of love letters, but I know I can always learn. If it is the only way I can communicate with you, then so be it. Hopefully, in the future, you will come to appreciate me in different ways, and you will see I am someone worth getting to know and perhaps love.
I could probably fill many pages with words about your beauty, both inside and out, but I know your head won’t be turned by such behaviour. You have heard it too many times before from too many men.
Instead, I will try to help you, in any way that I can. You will come to appreciate me more that way. You don’t think you need help. You’re a very strong, independent woman, but everyone needs a friend. And, for now at least, that is what I will be to you, a friend.
So, my dearest friend, I wish you a good night and sweet dreams.
I stared at the letter in disbelief for several minutes. It was unsigned and I had no clue who had written it to me. It was also kind of creepy. Some strange man was writing me love letters. It sounded like we may have already met. I looked around the room, at the darkened corners, and the door of the closet that stood ajar.
Actually, this was beyond creepy.
I reread the letter, and told myself I had to calm down. The second time around, I decided it was actually very generic. No names were mentioned at any point; not mine, not his, not the names of these imaginary men who were constantly telling me how beautiful I am.
Therefore, it was obviously a prank. This guy was sending out letters to many women, trying to freak us all out. He had succeeded with me, but only temporarily, and it would surely end there. I would be extra cautious in my movements to and from the house, but I refused to let myself be driven crazy by this lunatic.
I finally drifted off to sleep after two tours of the house to make sure everything was locked up tight, and several hours of tossing and turning.
A.J. McCarthy is the author of ‘Betrayal’ a romantic suspense thriller published by Indigo Sea Press.