This is a brief excerpt from the novel I’m working on, Anika takes the long way home up soul mountain.  (By the way, I’m going to give the novel away for free to everyone on my mailing list, so if you’re not on the list yet, you might want to join.  Click here.)

The novel isn’t finished yet, and it’s still very much a first draft.  For example, I know I’m going to completely rewrite the first chapter, which is why you haven’t seen any (or almost any) excerpts from it.

But this chapter, chapter 20, it contains one of my favorite scenes.  One of the scenes I know I won’t be spending much time rewriting.  Here’s a couple paragraphs to whet your whistle:

“It was only once,” I say in my defense.  “And I know it shouldn’t have happened — we both know that.”

“‘It was only once’ is an addict’s line,” Gerry says.  “Takes one to know one.  You need Jenny rehab.”

I look skyward.  “It’s been three years,” I tell my brothers and sister with a shaky voice.  I sniffle.  “Three years.  It’s not supposed to still hurt this bad after three years, is it?”

“You’re such a soft-hearted idiot,” Dutch says, and this time there’s no mistaking it; her voice is just as shaky as mine.  Her arms finally unfold from her chest, opening wide as she steps forward.  “C’mere, brat.”

And because my back is pinned against the pillar of the bandstand, and because I’m drunk, and because I’m tired of hurting, and because, fuck it, I need my big sister, I let her wrap her arms around me and I drop my face into her wedding-day hairdo.