Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Snippets ~ Playing For Keeps by Jamie Hill ~ Long Snippet!

Sunday SnippetsSunday Snippets is a Blog Hop of sorts, a chance to sample a segment of an author’s work. Today I’m sharing a long, in depth snippet from my novel, Playing For Keeps, published by Books We Love. This gives you a glance into Maddie's backstory, which is delved into deeper in the second half of the book. Hope you enjoy it!


Somewhere around three a.m., they lay wrapped around each other after making love. Rob brushed a piece of hair from Maddie's face. "You know, we got so caught up with Zoey that I never did find out how you made it to Oklahoma from Harvard."

She buried her face in the soft hair on his chest. "It's not my favorite part of the story."

"It gets worse?"

"Not like you mean. But yeah, it's worse."

He took a deep breath and exhaled. "Okay, I'm ready. Let's hear it."

Maddie twisted one finger around a patch of his chest hair, twirling it. "I walked away from a two hundred thousand dollar education. My parents wanted me to be a lawyer. They were paying for it. But it wasn't me. Deep down, I knew it would never be me. I couldn't stand up to them, at first, and when I finally could, I did it in the wrong way."

"What did you do?" he asked softly.

"Just what I said. I walked away. The semester ended, I put Zoey and Milo on a plane to Madrid, and I wandered around Cambridge aimlessly. My bags were packed, but I couldn't go back to Hartford. I had a couple of drinks at some dive, smoked a joint with a hooker named Topaz. I think she was a woman. Damn good make-up job if not. I actually bought her a hamburger so she'd stay with me longer. When we left, we passed this place, Jake's Tattoo Emporium. Classy, eh? Well, this Chevy full of Mexican guys hollered at me and Topaz, so I figured I had two choices. Make a quick but disgusting twenty bucks—you realize I'm joking here—or get a tattoo. Topaz ducked into the Chevy, I ducked into Jake's, and I got a heart tattooed on my shoulder. Thank God it was lame pot, or I might have come away with an eagle, or a skull and crossbones, or some such thing."

Maddie didn't realize tears had started to fall, but noticed when they pooled on Rob's chest. He did nothing but hold her tightly and let her talk.

"I ended up at the bus station, and the only place I could think of to go was Zoey's hometown, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She made it sound so great. I always gave her shit about it, of course, a fucking Okie from Muskogee. But there I was, riding a bus for seventy-some-odd hours and ending up in a bus station that looked surprisingly similar to where I started, except it was in Oklahoma. I had some money. Obviously my parents were the ones with the money, but I had a credit card that I managed to max out before my old man cancelled it. I rented a room, scouted out the town and neighboring locations, and got a copy of the help-wanted ads. Fortunately, or unfortunately, however you wish to look at it, Frances was looking to hire a kid wrangler. My reputation was still pretty golden at that point, so I got the job. I called the folks, they had a vague notion of where I was from the credit card company, and told them I was moving to Oklahoma to work at a childcare center. After the maid brought the smelling salts to my mother, and my father went hoarse from yelling at me, I told them thank you, see you, screw you, and hung up. That was five years ago."

He stared at her. "They never came after you, or tried to call?"

She shrugged. "A couple of times. I blew them off. They stopped trying."

"And Frances," He said the name the way Maddie always did, "doesn't know any of this?"

She shrugged again. "Why should she? It's not like I broke any laws, if you don't count the damage I did to the Stewart family honor. And I totally cleaned up my act once I got here. I never smoke pot anymore. Truth be told, that's because I wouldn't know where to buy it. But probably not, because of all the weird shit they put in drugs these days. I'm extremely careful about drugs, what with roofies, and all that. Absolutely no drugs. Rosa and I like to go out on the weekends, but we're careful and watch each other's backs. Rosa's probably the best friend I have here."

"Until now," he said softly, and used the bed sheet to dry her face. "Wow, that was quite a story. I'm sorry if it upset you to tell it."

She shook her head. "I'm sorry if it upset you to hear it. I know I fucked up. But in some twisted way, I'm happy here. I like my job, I have some friends. Things are really pretty good."

"Can I ask you a question?"

"Of course."

He was silent for a moment, and Maddie could tell he chose his words carefully. "You had two years of Harvard under your belt. You took a job working in a childcare center. Why?"

She smiled. "Why didn't I choose something more important? You don't think taking care of children is one of the most important jobs a person could ever do?"

"Well, sure." He backpedaled.

"It's okay. Lots of people feel that way. I happen to think it's a very important job. I love children. They're so fresh and honest about everything. I really like my job, not that there aren't some days I want to pull my hair out, but mostly it's a lot of fun.

"Plus, when I got off the bus, I was fresh off finals, which were grueling. I was looking for a job that I could put in my eight hours, and go home. No homework, no being 'on call', none of that shit. This job filled the bill perfectly, it paid pretty well, and like I said, it all just seemed to work out."

"Fair enough." He rubbed her back. "And lucky for me, too. I am very glad someone referred me to Sunny Days Childcare Center. They provide the most wonderful services." He kissed the tip of her nose, and she burst into laughter. They lay together that way for a few minutes, and he finally asked, "You ever think about going back to school? Finishing those last two years?"

"Probably couldn't get in to Harvard again," she deadpanned.

"You know what I mean." He poked her in the ribs.

"Yeah, I've thought about it. Frances encourages it, in fact. They'd like all their employees to have a degree in Early Childhood Education. Rosa and I picked up the catalogs one time."

"What happened?"

She shrugged. "We gave it some thought, talked it over. We finally decided that whether we have a degree or not, the wheels on the bus are still just gonna go round and round. You know?"

He hugged her to him tightly. "I guess so."


Playing For Keeps is available here:

Also at Smashwords, ARe, B&N and iBooks.

Find all my titles in the menu bar above and at my publisher’s website, Books We Love:

My Amazon author page:

Here are the links to the other participating #SundaySnips authors: (Ginger Simpson) (Tricia McGill) (Vijaya Schartz) (Connie Vines) (Juliet Waldron)