Today I bring you an excerpt of Defiant Heart by Marty Steere. He is on tour with VirtualAuthorBookTours.com
About the Book:
Publisher: Penfield Press (April 15, 2013)
Category: Historical Fiction, WWII, General Fiction
Tour Dates: April-Mid May, 2013
Available in: eBook, 385
Set against the backdrop of small town America on the eve of World War II, Defiant Heart features two extraordinary characters and one unforgettable love story.
In the spring of 1941, young Jon Meyer’s family dies in a tragic accident, and he is sent to live in a small Indiana town. He arrives to find himself unwanted and shunned.
Mary Dahlgren is the daughter of the town’s mayor. A pretty girl, she could have the pick of the boys in town, including Vernon King, the star of the vaunted high school basketball team. To the chagrin of her friends, though, Mary has always been more interested in books than boys. That is, until she meets Jon.
But Jon and Mary are kept apart by an insidious campaign orchestrated by Mary’s father, who perceives their relationship a threat to his political aspirations, and Vernon, to whom Jon is a rival for Mary’s affections. For months Jon is subjected to a painful ostracism. Then, just when the young man’s earnestness and perseverance begin to win over many of the townsfolk and it appears that love may conquer all, tragedy strikes.
As the country is caught up in war, so too are the young lovers swept up in events beyond their control, leaving both fighting for their very lives. If, against the odds, they are to be together, each will need to find the strength, the courage and the resourcefulness that beat only in a defiant heart.
About the Author:
The son of a career air force officer, Marty Steere grew up on or near military installations across the country and overseas before settling in Southern California, where, when he’s not writing, he practices law. His debut novel, Sea of Crises, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012.
You can see the Defiant Heart Tour Schedule
You can purchase Defiant Heart on Amazon.com
You can purchase Defiant Heart for Kindle
From the top of the slope, the sergeant watched flashlight beams reach out through the darkness, occasionally crossing one another as his patrol officers picked their way through the underbrush at the bottom of the embankment.
Lightning flashed, followed a second later by the crack of thunder, and the ground beneath the sergeant’s feet shook momentarily. In the instant the hillside was illuminated, he saw the car clearly. It had come to a stop halfway down the incline, about thirty yards below where he now stood, its fall arrested by the trunk of an immense oak. The garish light briefly exposed mangled metal and shattered glass, and it appeared as though the entire frame of the vehicle had been twisted at an impossible angle.
In the pool of light cast by his own flashlight, his corporal appeared near the top of the ridge. The man planted a foot against an exposed tree root and held on to a low hanging branch to avoid sliding back down the hillside. Raising his voice so he could be heard above the sound of the rain, he said, “Three people. A man and a woman. Thirties or forties. And a boy, maybe seventeen, eighteen.”
“They’re all…” the sergeant paused with the sudden irrational thought that by uttering the word he would somehow dictate the outcome.
“Dead,” the corporal confirmed. “Afraid so. No one could have survived that.”
A shout from the bottom of the hill drew the sergeant’s attention, and, as he watched, the beams below converged on a single spot. One of the patrolmen called out, his voice faint against the roar of the storm. “Found a body.”
After a moment, he added, “He’s alive.”
A miracle, thought the sergeant. Must have been thrown from the car as it had rolled down the embankment. He’d seen that happen in bad accidents before. Fate could be so random.
“Sergeant,” his patrol officer shouted from below. “The kid’s asking about his parents and his brother. What do I tell him?”
The sergeant closed his eyes for a moment. Oh, God, he thought. Poor kid.
As the train whistle blew, the green of the trees that had been sliding by the windows slowly fell away, and a small wooden building came into view. A sign on the structure read “Jackson, Indiana.” On the platform in front stood the solitary figure of an elderly woman.
The door at the front of the passenger car opened, and the conductor stepped through.
“Jackson,” he called out, starting down the aisle. When he got to Jon, he nodded and said, “We’re here.”
Jon raised a hand in nervous acknowledgement, then stood as the train came to a stop and gave a slight backwards lurch. Steadying himself, he reached into the alcove above the seat and retrieved a large brown suitcase. It was old, the sides badly scuffed and the four lower corners worn and discolored. He collected the brown paper sack from the seat next to him. It contained two apples and half a sandwich wrapped in wax paper, all that remained of the food that was in the bag when the lady with the sad eyes had handed it to him as he’d boarded the train in Penn Station. He took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. Then, hefting the suitcase, he made his way down the aisle to the door at the rear of the car.
As he stepped out onto the sunlit platform, he saw that the elderly woman was still standing where he’d first noticed her. Though she was looking directly at him, she made no gesture of greeting. He took a few hesitant steps toward her, set down the suitcase, and asked, uncertainly, “Grandma Wilson?”
The woman seemed to wince. She looked away for a moment. Then, gathering herself, she turned. Over her shoulder, she said, “It’s not far,” and she began walking. Surprised, it took Jon a moment to react. Not sure what else to do, he lifted the suitcase and followed.
They crossed the dirt-packed road in front of the train station and, after a short distance, started up a paved commercial street. The woman walked briskly, and it was an effort for Jon to keep up with her. He was still favoring his left leg. With each step, the suitcase banged into his right knee.
She spoke without turning her head or breaking stride. “You will address me as ‘ma’am.’ Understood?”
I hope you enjoyed this stop on the tour and the excerpt from Defiant Heart. Please be sure to visit the other stops for reviews, interviews and giveaways.
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post.