Shannon here: Jerusha Agen shares how her character’s meet in her latest Women’s Fiction sprinkled with suspense title, This Shadow. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing. Winner’s choice of print or Kindle. Deadline: June 25th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Jerusha:
Hero and Heroine First Meeting
Oriana and Nicanor meet under circumstances that aren’t exactly the stuff of fairytales when Nicanor shows up just in time to break up a fight between two of Oriana’s at-risk students. This isn’t the last time Nicanor comes to Oriana’s rescue or the biggest danger he saves her from. But what Nicanor doesn’t realize until later is that Oriana is the only one who can come to his rescue, even when he doesn’t know he needs saving.
Excerpt from This Shadow by Jerusha Agen:
A girl’s scream stopped Oriana Sanders mid-sentence.
“What was—” her sister, Nye, started to ask, but Oriana had already bolted for the door out of the dance studio.
Oriana ran across the small parking lot to the kids who clustered around something she couldn’t see. She reached the outside of the ring the kids formed and looked over their heads.
Juan Castro and Dez Jennings stood in the middle, swinging at each other.
Oriana barely had time to register that they were fighting before Dez swung his leg and knocked the bigger boy off his feet.
In a split second, Dez was on the blacktop behind Juan, his arm wrapped tightly around the heavy boy’s neck.
“Dez, stop!” Oriana pushed through the kids to reach the boys. She pulled on Dez’s arm.
He stared down at Juan with a strange vacancy in his bloodshot eyes. His grip didn’t loosen, though Juan kicked and squirmed.
“Dez, listen to me.” Oriana tried to pull Juan from the hold just as a man’s tanned hand appeared behind Dez and grabbed the boy by the back of his shirt, yanking him away.
Oriana’s breath came back in a rush when normal color flooded Juan’s cheeks.
He panted and put a hand to his throat.
“Are you okay?”
Oriana stood and looked to see who their rescuer was.
She had only seen Nicanor Pessoa once, at a distance, but his chiseled features and wavy black hair were not things a woman forgot. Now she found herself caught by his eyes—a stunning electric blue that had no business being among his dark, Argentine features.
His eyebrow arched slightly above one of those eyes, as if surprised she knew his name.
Heat rushed to her cheeks. She felt like she had just admitted to stalking him on Facebook, though she knew he wasn’t actually on there since she had checked. She opened her mouth to say something, but his gaze dropped to the boy he held.
Dez grunted and squirmed in Nicanor’s grip.
Oriana crouched in front of Dez, trying to push aside the questions that swirled in her mind about Nicanor’s sudden appearance. She met the boy’s glare straight-on. “I thought you meant it, Dez.”
A startled lift of the eyebrows betrayed his tough-guy scowl.
“What?” he finally muttered.
“You told me you weren’t going to let your temper control you anymore. Remember?”
He looked down. “Nothing controls me.” He jerked again, but the effort was hopeless.
“Then do you want to tell me why you were fighting with Juan?”
His jaw muscles clenched beneath his dark skin.
Stifling a sigh, she stood. “I want you to get in the van and stay there until we leave.” She looked at Nicanor. “I think it’s okay to let him go now.”
Nicanor’s eyebrow went up again, reminding her so much of Dez that she had to squelch a smile.
To reassure him, she spoke to Dez. “Can Mr. Pessoa let you go? Will you get in the van?”
Dez nodded, glaring at the blacktop.
Oriana gave Nicanor a small smile, and the stoic man slowly relaxed his grip.
Dez jerked away, flashing Nicanor a sneer before he turned and swaggered to the van as if he had just been named rapper of the year.
“He forgot his cap.” LaTisha picked up the fallen cap from the blacktop and looked at Oriana with her big, long-lashed eyes. “Should I give it to him?”
“I’d rather you stay with me until we all go home. I’ll hang on to it for him.” Oriana took the cap LaTisha handed her and went back to where Juan still sat on the ground.
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah.” He stood up as if he had forgotten he could, looking shaken but healthy.
“What was the fight about, Juan?”
His gaze dropped.
Oriana looked at the other kids, who immediately applied themselves to the job of avoiding her gaze. She knew better than to expect an answer, but she couldn’t help hoping. She swallowed her disappointment and reminded herself to look on the bright side. Building trust with these kids was just going to take a little longer.
Jerusha Agen is a lifelong lover of story–a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Jerusha is the author of the Sisters Redeemed Series, which includes the titles This Dance, This Shadow, and This Redeemer. Jerusha co-authored The Heart Seekers Series novella collection and the e-book A Ruby Christmas from Write Integrity Press.
Jerusha relishes snowy Midwest winters spent with her two large, furry dogs and two small, furry cats. Learn more and connect:
About the book – This Shadow:
She’s famous for her upbeat outlook. Then the world goes black.
Oriana Sanders is always happy. And why shouldn’t she be? She enjoys a close relationship with God and a purpose-filled career teaching troubled kids. She even has the potential for romance in her sister’s friend, Nicanor, whose dark good looks and brooding manner make him an intriguing project for Oriana.
Oriana’s attempts to reach Nicanor with the joy of the Lord are brought to a halt when a confrontation with her student’s drug-dealing brother ends in tragedy. Facing darkness she has never known, can Oriana learn to forgive the unforgivable and find her way through the shadows to the light?
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Find more of her books: Jerusha’s Amazon Author Page
Question for Readers: Have you ever witnessed a physical brawl or been part of such a fight yourself?
Come back June 20th for Paula Mowery!