Release date pending. This is an unedited sample from the beginning of the book! This is copyrighted material.
A full moon hung high in the night sky. The illuminated orb always put Marala Dakota on edge. She picked up her glass of bottom shelf wine and a pack of cigarettes before climbing out onto the fire escape for her monthly ritual. With a shaky hand, she flicked her lighter to life and lit what she knew was a cancer stick. The alcohol and tobacco helped relieve some of the anxiety. She wouldn’t do anything reckless. But, this moon was harder to deal with than usual and she knew next month’s would be even worse.
June was around the corner and so was her birthday. That damned day that tradition stated she should have gone through her transition. Only she hadn’t gone through it when she was eighteen and now seventeen years had passed. This birthday she’d be thirty-five and life had never become any easier. Mara knew for certain it wouldn’t get better.
She finished off her wine in a quick gulp and lit another smoke. Nights like this she questioned every choice she’d ever made, regretted them all, and then eventually decided they were the right ones. Most nights she would have been in bed by now after working two jobs. The first at a diner in the mornings and the second an evening shift at a gas station.
“Mom!” Her son called out. “Are you outside?”
Quickly, she took one last drag off the cigarette and tossed it over the railing. It disappeared into the darkness of the alleyway below. As vocal as she was about the dangers of smoking, she didn’t want her son catching her in the act.
After exhaling, she headed back inside away from the manipulative moon. “Needed some fresh air before bed. Everything okay? Homework done?”
Jak nodded. He looked nothing like her except for his eyes were an odd yellow-green. His dark hair and build made him a spitting image of his father, especially as he neared adulthood. Thinking about it made Marala’s throat tighten and she brought her hand up to it in a nervous gesture as the fear took hold.
“You’re the one who doesn’t look okay.” He frowned. “I wish you’d let me pick up a few extra hours at the movie theater so I could help out more around here. You never get to rest.”
Her eyes softened and she hugged him tightly to her. “I can rest when I’m dead. Besides, you’re school work is more important.”
“Whatever.” The seventeen year old young man squirmed out of her embrace and head toward his room. “I’m going to bed. ‘Night!”
“Goodnight.” She felt tears form in her eyes and silently cursed the moon for causing her erratic behavior.
The cheap kitchen chair wobbled when she slumped down into. One leg was slightly shorter than the rest. She placed her elbows on the table and buried her face in her hands. Life had always been one step forward and three steps back. Every time she’d almost caught up with the bills, something else happened to knock her back down into the dirt. For the amount of time she had spent kicked to the ground, she’d have been better off mudwrestling in a bikini on local access television.
For an hour, she stayed in that same spot, trying to find some sort of peace in her mind. It wasn’t until her bottle of cheap wine was empty that she headed for her bedroom and lay down. In four hours, she’d have to wake up and get ready for work. When the alarm clock finally went off, she hadn’t slept a wink, but at least the damned full moon had been replaced by the splendid warmth of the sun.