Genre: Southern Women's Fiction
Word Count: 96,000
Eliza is obsessed with James Sutton. Even though he doesn't love her. Even though he hasn't been back to their measly little hometown in six years. She's been too consumed by her love for him to find happiness, even though she knows it's foolish.
Eliza was always taught that when a varmint scampers into the house, you shoot it—and that’s just what she intended to do the man who broke into her kitchen. When she recognizes the intruder as Llewellyn Jackson, a former bootlegger and outlaw of their holy-rolling hometown, she hesitates. When he confesses that he’s in love with her, she lowers her gun and her guard.
Angry and ashamed of the sin she committed, Eliza is determined to keep her night with Llewellyn a secret. Her determination turns to desperation when James Sutton returns to the holler, wanting to use Eliza as his muse. Convinced that James—at last—feels the same way that she’s felt about him for years, Eliza puts her night with Llewellyn out of her mind. In the face of the Great Depression, despite the hardships of being a single woman living on her own, Eliza is finally getting everything she thought she wanted.
Married to one man, pining for another, Eliza must confront her fears and prejudices to make her own happiness. Even if it means a scandal.
First 250 words:
My finger twitched on the trigger and I almost squeezed it, almost popped him square between his bony shoulders before he even had the chance to turn around. He hadn't heard my bare feet on the floorboards. That creepy-crawly feeling never shivered down his spine, somebody's watching, somebody's standing right behind me; he never glanced over his shoulder. He never even flinched.
He closed the back door too loud—that's how he gave himself away. I'd heard the thud and then the drag-skid of footsteps, tired or drunk. Drunk, I figured. Probably my brother Junior in a spat with his wife; hollered it out with her and drank himself stupid, and come lurching over here to sleep it off on the sofa. He did that with some frequency while Daddy was alive; less now because I don't have the patience for it.
I wasn't in bed yet, but I was fixing to; had just put my night slip on, was just about to wash my face and unpin my hair. I thought I'd get ready for bed and go have a slice of pie; I'd left a lamp on in the kitchen for just that reason. I heard the door and sighed, and almost came storming down the hall; almost shouted,“You damn well better not have puked on my floor already!” Can't say why I didn't; perhaps the strange rhythm of his steps, perhaps that he didn't call out to me, “Eliza!” as Junior usually did.