On THERE WILL YOUR HEART BE. March 2021The book is too long, I'm given to understand. That is, according to my research. WW2 historicals can run pretty long, though, so I don't know.
Be that as it may, I've taken some things out (hence the term, "outtakes").
Here's a quick deleted scene near the end of the book, which may be a bit of a spoiler, but not exactly. But sort of.
Eddie goes to Vic's office to confront him about Annalaura. Vic is drunk as a skunk for reasons we won't go into.
Vic reaches for the glass, only succeeding in tipping it over, the amber liquid slithering into an oblong pool across his desk. He swears and runs his arm over it, sopping up the spill with his sleeve.
He stands and moves to the bookcase that doesn’t hold too many books, mostly office equipment and odds and ends. And a couple of bottles, one of which he grabs. The bookcase was his father’s so the bottles probably feel right at home.
The window catches the afternoon light, bounces off the bottles, surrounding them in a sort of aura. His little shrine.
As he pours his refill, he notices the big Bible sitting on the shelf above. The girls had gifted him with that Bible, the first group that came to the House for help. They had all chipped in, they said, because they wanted him to have something to say thanks. They all moved on a while ago. A couple of them kept in touch, the rest most likely wanted to put this phase of their lives behind them. He saw one or two of them again, back for another stay. Ah, well, that was life. He runs his fingers along the leather, leaving a trail in the dust. His name is imprinted on the cover, in the bottom corner, in gold letters. Pastor Victor Smith. They hadn’t known his middle name. They called him that, Pastor, their own idea. “Funny joke,” he tells the Bible. He flips the cover with one unsteady finger. Inside is a sweet inscription, dedicated to him, how much they appreciated all he did for them, how they’d keep him in their prayers, blah, blah, blah. All their signatures. A few drew little hearts or flowers alongside their names. It was an impressive upgrade from the little beat up version Sergeant Ross had given him. He tore through that thing hungrily, fascinated with the history of the Old Testament, the wars, the intrigue, the prophets. The slimy bunch of misfits God always seemed to favor. Always helped the Israelites no matter how many times they screwed up. Gave
him hope. He figured if God could use these guys, surely He could use Vic.
And the New Testament. Jesus. The sacrifice. The forgiveness. Boy, he ate that up, but good. He thought it would solve all his problems, he really did. He gingerly touches the slight swelling that remains across his nose. It actually
caused a few problems, in a roundabout way.
He flips the book closed. Little by little, as he readjusted to civilian life and the busyness of his father’s company, he fell out of the habit of reading it. Eventually it was moved from center stage on his desk over to the side a little. Then other things got piled on top of it, till finally it ended up on the shelf between stacks of carbon paper and a derelict adding machine. He carries the bottle to his desk to pour a refill. A timid knock at the door snaps him out of his woolgathering. He quells the quick pique that hits him, telling himself that the only reason he’s here is to help these girls. He has no business being annoyed when one of them needs him. He grabs the bottle by the neck and holds it at his side behind the desk. “Come in.” The door opens a little ways and a pretty face pokes in. “Pastor? Hi.” Lucille. Fourteen years old and seven months gone. He’ll have to get them to stop calling him that. “What can I do for you, Lucille?” he says, a little too loudly. His mouth is so dry, tongue feeling furry. He licks his lips. “Sorry to disturb you. I wasn’t sure you were here, but the door was closed, and usually you leave it open when you go home, so...” “Yeah. What’s up?” “Oh. Someone wants to see you. I thought it would be okay, ‘cause, you know, if you were still here, I mean.” He nods and it hurts a little. He wonders if he has any aspirin in one of the desk drawers. His wet sleeve is cold and sends a shiver through him. This isn’t the best time to console another fragile teenager. “Have Claire talk to her.” “Oh.” Lucille’s brow wrinkles. “Claire went home. She leaves at three.” “Right, right.” Get it together, Smith. “It’s not a girl.” “Not a girl?” “No, sir. A gent.” “Okay, um.” He throws his free hand up, waving her to bring him in. The door opens wide and Lucille steps aside to reveal the “gent”—Eddie, Annalaura called him—behind her. Vic’s hand clenches on the bottleneck and he straightens as best his headache will allow. Eddie steps in and nods to the girl, who smiles and backs out, closing the door behind him. He stops a few feet away from the desk, regarding Vic with somber eyes. His coat is bedraggled, like he’d been fielding a few binges himself, and he sports a few days growth on his face. “Well!” Vic grins broadly. “If I knew you were coming, I’d’a baked a cake.” He brings the bottle up and tips it to the glass, filling it a third of the way. “Offer you one?” Eddie puts his hands in his coat pockets. “Not an ideal way to start a marriage.” Vic laughs as he raises the glass. “No, I imagine it wouldn’t be.” He empties the glass in one swallow and places it back down, leaning his fists on either side of it on the desk. “You look like hell, Eddie.” “You’d know what hell looks like.” “You’re right about that. I’ve been living it for quite some time now. Hey, you come to bust my face again? ’cause if you have, I don’t aim to sit back and let it happen this time.” He flops onto his chair and thumps his feet heavily on the desk, crossed at the ankles. He folds his hands over his stomach. “Yes, sir, I’m finished being everybody’s punching bag. Not puttin’ up with it from nobody. Not from guys like you, not so-called father figures, and not broads. Especially broads. Hey, you know that debate you get in your head? You know, ‘I should do this, I should do that’? But you don’t know which way is right? That’s what I been doin’.” He throws his hands up. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now. I do not know. What am I supposed to do now, Eddie?” Eddie ignores the question, instead strolls around the office. “You got a nice operation here. I checked it out. Looks like you’re doing some people some good.” “Yeah, I thought so, too. Hey, Eddie. Hey, Eddie.” Vic takes his feet down and leans forward on the desk. “Can I get you a drink?” Eddie doesn’t answer, studies Vic like he’s an unusual sort of bug. Vic sits back, slides deep onto his spine. “Say what you came to say, Eddie.” “Answer me a question. What if some guy took advantage of the girl you wanted to marry?” “Guess I’d want to kill him.” “Guess you would.” Eddie’s hand twitches in his pocket. He pauses at the window, glances out. “I’ll tell you, Vic. That’s your name, right? Vic? I don’t believe you’ll take care of her. I don’t believe you’d be a good father. I actually believe you’ll hurt her again.” He turns and faces him. “ I don’t believe I can allow that.”Now, the rest of this scene would be a spoiler, so I'll just leave it at that. The book launches April 9, 2021, if you're interested. And with any luck, the back cover will be done!