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Sample Sunday – Star Gazing December 4, 2011

Posted by shannonmuir in epub, fiction, indie, indie publishing, Kindle, NOOK, novels, promotion, Sample, Smashwords, Writing.
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What follows below is something I wrote up expanding on a line from one of my published books alluding to the backstory of a lead character. While this much detail is not required to appreciate that story, I decided to see what would happen if I expanded it versus just the single line reference in the text. To that end, here is a short piece describing a crucial backstory incident for the lead of TOUCH THE STARS. I call it “Star Gazing”. It could be an excerpt for a longer prequel if I chose to do one – not sure if I will.


Angel Damon finished straightening up her new outfit and checking her contacts makeup using the tiny table mirror that barely found space in the door room she shared at university with her roommate, Sally. Now Angel usually wasn’t one to care about looks quite so much, except maybe her nose which she tended to think stood out too much on her face. For Angel – her real first name was Angela, but no one seemed to call her that – spent most of her time hitting the books and making the grade. After all, she had strong motivations to be here beyond the academic, which was Angel’s primary goal. She’d come to this university miles away from where she grew up in order to find a new life, yet fortunately the size wasn’t much bigger than her old hometown so she didn’t need to feel intimidated getting adjusted to a large town as well as campus life.

“Hey, A!” called out Sally as she came into the room, with her big playful voice. “Are you ready to go dancing?”

Angel turned around to see Sally in a number that was as close to not being dressed as you could be in this conservative town and not get arrested, and the amount of cleavage Sally showed off daily with those big breasts of her the occasional cover up comment seemed unavoidable, which Sally always ignored with a shrug.

“Baby, you look like you are ready to set this little town on fire!” exclaimed Sally, who’d come to this college from the South for much the same reasons Angel had.

“Actually,” Angel responded with a nervous laugh. “That sounds like people always describe you, Sally.”

“Who little old me?” blinked Sally with a comical feigned innocence. She struggled to be a theatre major, but there was no fooling anyone Sally came to college to act her way into an M.R.S. degree.  While definitely pretty enough for a sorority, Sally just proved too rural a girl for that crowd. That’s how she and Angel ended up together.

Angel just shook her head at Sally. She’d gotten used to her, even if she didn’t always understand Sally.

“I was just trying to encourage you, dearie,” Sally said, her blond curls bobbing playfully.  “You never know, you might really like this guy.”

“He’s a business major, Sally. Set up by a dating service you recommended to me.”

“My friends swear by this company! They’ve gotten so many great matches!” Sally squealed. Angel resisted asking if her parents raised pigs on their farm, she sounded so much like one.

“But you haven’t used it yourself,” pointed out Angel.

“Well, yeah, I got guys all over campus lined up so I don’t need to. It just makes me so sad to see you spending all your time in class, in the library, or here in the dorm. You need to see the world, A! Isn’t that why you came here?”

Angel nodded. That was one of the few areas where she and Sally agreed.

“Hurry now, you’re going to be late!” Sally said as she all but pushed Angel out the door.

Angel got into her beat up old car that she barely kept patched together working as an assistant aide in the Radio-TV-Film department as a student worker as part of her student aid. She agreed to meet this matchup at the local steakhouse. There weren’t tons of options for fine dining in the town that mainly catered to the college party crowd. Someday Angel hoped maybe she’d be able to do something big and important in the Hollywood arena. Right now she just settled for passing in school.

At the front of the restaurant she met Courtland Montague, a business major at school. He dressed in a sport coat, collared shirt, trousers, and well shined shoes. He looked more ready for a business meeting than a date, except her had no tie. Courtland looked well groomed, clean-shaven, with smooth features and a trim body. Angel wondered if there were muscles under that sport coat.

They went inside and ordered. Courtland leaned towards the prime rib, and although Angie tended to stick to the salads, he encouraged her to embrace the prime rib and get a salad on the side.

“After all,” he pointed out. “We’re at a steakhouse, so we should take advantage and eat the steak!”

Angel was grateful he agreed to pick up the tab. She’d never have been able to afford this on her own.

“So where would you like to go after this?” he asked her over the prime rib. “To get closer?”

“I don’t know,” Angel said, truly uncertain how to answer. They didn’t seem to be clicking at all in the conversation. Courtland insisted on talking about himself and his interests. She wasn’t sure where this might be going.

At this point, Courtland looked a little puzzled, and she couldn’t figure out quite why.

“What is it?” she asked.

“Do you really not have a preference for where to get physical with someone? That has to be a first.”

Angel started to feel uncomfortable. When she’d struggled with yearly exams, she knew what her doctors told her. The issues reflected then would only be worse when she would be romantically involved with men. Angel wanted to do all of that at her speed, when she felt ready, not on a first date.

“I’m really not comfortable with doing that on a first date,” she struggled to say.

“Come on, I paid for dinner, you owe me.”

“I don’t owe you anything. I need to go.”

Angel tried to stand up, but Courtland grabbed her wrist. Angel tried to pull free.

“Let me go.”

“Sit down, tart, you’re making a scene.”

Angel noted Courtland stopped calling her by her name. She sat back down, Courtland still grasping her wrist, trying to figure out what to do.

“Hey there Courtland, what do you think you’re doing?”

Angel and Courtland turned to look at another young man who approached the table. His face sported pointed nose, along with rugged lips. He dressed similarly to Courtland. Angel certainly wouldn’t call him a looker, especially not in comparison to Courtland.

“What do you think you’re interrupting, Travis? Go back to your own date. Or did she stand you up?”

“Went to powder her nose, or whatever they call it. But I could hear you two over at my table. Sure others could to. We all know your rep over in the business department, Courtland. If the lady says not right now, take it she means it. They don’t all want to hop into bed with you at the first opportunity. So get over yourself.”

Courtland got up out of his seat, ready to rumble.  He became so focused on Travis that he let go of Angel’s wrist.

“So, you want to have a go with her is that it? Your date not doing it for you so you would rather steal mine?”

“You are so not getting it, Courtland,” Travis said. “I think the lady tried to leave and you didn’t let her.”

“I paid for her dinner, she owes me.”

“The lady owes you nothing. I told you that you don’t get it.”

Courtland looked around.

“Now see, you’ve got the whole restaurant watching us. Even your own date there, I’m guessing,” Courtland said pointing off in one corner. Angel watched as Travis turned to look and Courtland punched him, causing gasps throughout the restaurant.

“Teach you to interfere in another man’s business,” Courtland said as he reached into his wallet and threw some monetary bills on the table. Angel tried to slip away, but Courtland grabbed her by the waist.

“Oh no, where do you think you’re going, tart?” Courtland told her. “Like I said, you owe me.”

Courtland tried to lead Angel toward the door, well aware of the scene being caused, until Travis – struggling to stay on his feet – barred his path again.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Travis told him.

Just then, police officers arrived in the restaurant.

“We understand there is a disturbance here,” Angel heard one of them tell the maitre’d.

Travis pointed directly at Courtland and Angel.

“He’s trying to force her to do things against her will!” he said loudly. Angel buried her head in embarrassment. Being pointed out publicly made it worse.

Courtland dropped Angel and fled as the officers came closer. Instead of hitting the floor, Angel felt someone catch her. She looked up, and the fellow who Courtland identified as Travis looked back.

“What’s your name again?” she asked him.

“Travis Richmond,” he told her.

“Travis Richmond, isn’t your date going to be jealous you’re holding some other woman?”

“No, I hardly think my best friend from high school will be jealous. He was in town to visit and we came here for dinner.”

Travis helped Angel to her feet.

“I guess this would be an awkward time to ask if you’re seeing anyone. But I definitely think I’d feel safe with someone like you. Whoever in your life would be really lucky.”

Now Travis turned away embarrassed.

“Actually right now there’s not anyone,” he said quietly.

Just then a police officer came over.

“We need to talk to both of you to corroborate this story,” he told them.

Angel and Travis looked at one another, confident this would not be the last time they spoke to one another.


Want to find out what happens to Angel and Travis? Their relationship picks up years later in TOUCH THE STARS, available in print in English (US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy) and on Kindle in English (US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy), NOOK in the US, Smashwords in the US for other ereader formats, as well as via the iBookstore.

Copyright 2011 Shannon Muir. All rights reserved. Feel free to direct people to this blog but do not copy contents without permission.



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