#FridayRead – Excerpt from Brutal Season

The following is the first part of Chapter Two in the fourth installment of the Seasons Mystery Series. The self-editing is almost finished, and I’ll send the ms off to the editor this weekend. Met with the graphic artist this week, and we picked images for the cover, so things are moving along nicely for a release of the ebook in early April.

Enjoy the read…

“I told you, didn’t I?” Each word from her father was like a stab to Angel’s heart. “I said they was all against us and I was right.”

Gilbert slammed his fist on the kitchen table making his cutlery jump. “And don’t you go telling me how some white folks are just fine and others are not. Your ‘just fine white police officer’ shot another poor black kid—

 “But Daddy—”

“Don’t ‘but Daddy’ me, girl. I’m right and you know it. When’re you gonna wake up and do the right thing?”

“But Daddy—”

Gilbert brushed her protest away with a wave of his hand and pushed away from the table so vehemently his chair thudded against the wall. Then he stormed out of the dining room.

For a moment, it felt like he had taken all of the air from the room with him, and Angel struggled to take a breath. She looked at the remains of what had started as their usual Sunday dinner. Mounds of mashed potatoes like little white mountains. Cold roast beef swimming in congealed gravy. She felt like her heart was just as congealed. Then the tears spilled out of her eyes and ran in a warm river down her cheeks. She said softly. “Oh, Mama. I don’t know what to do. Please tell me what to do.”

“I can’t do that child. You’re a grown woman.”

“But Mama—”

 Martha raised her hand in an identical gesture to the one Gilbert had used to wave away Angel’s protest. “No longer will I be the one to try to patch things between you and your father. You have to figure this one out for yourself.”

That response stunned Angel as much as the words from her father. What would she do without her mother’s support. It was always there as a buffer to her father’s periodic angry outbursts. Not that there had been many throughout her childhood, but the explosions he’d had when she was in high school had been fierce. That’s when she was with Bobby, and he got all messed up with drugs. Her mother had protected her, softening the anger in the room when her father railed against her boyfriend. Threatened to toss Angel out if she didn’t stop seeing him.

Angel’s mother would wrap her arms around the girl, who’d been left in the living room so many times trembling with tears after her father stomped out. Her mother would tell her everything would be okay. And the funny thing was, life was okay whenever Angel got around to doing things her father’s way.

Today, her mother’s words stripped Angel of any sense of that protection she’d always counted on, and she didn’t know what to do.

Martha stood. “You need to go. Take your anger with you.”

“I’m not angry, Mama.”

“Oh, Child, yes you are. I feel it circling around you like a blackbird looking for a place to roost.”

Angel didn’t know what to say to that, even though deep inside her soul she knew the truth to her mother’s words. Finally, she looked at her mother, letting the tears roll down her face. “I’m sorry, Mama.”

“Don’t be sorry. Be righteous.”

Angel didn’t move for a long moment, while her mother locked eyes with her. Then, swiping the wetness from her cheeks, Angel stood and pushed her chair tight to the table. “Can I help clean up?”


That single word hurt almost as much as her father’s tirade.

A fresh flood of tears threatened as Angel hurried out of the house and ran to her car. Once behind the wheel, she let the dam break. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt so low. So alone. She wished her brother was here. To hold her. To pat her back and tell her this wasn’t the end of the world. The same way LaVon had done so many times when life had sucker-punched her. But then, part of her was glad that he was stuck in L.A because of the pandemic and hadn’t been here to witness this humiliation.

Taking a few deep breaths to pull her emotions together, Angel realized that her parents were right. Not in being so harsh. That was never right. But in the message. Angel was the only one who could figure out what to do. For the first time since she’d made the decision to become a police officer, doubts about the wisdom of that decision were rising like grisly specters from the dead.

She’d been so young and idealistic when her good friend, Stacy had been shot and killed during a robbery at the jewelry store where she worked. The robber had never been caught, and Stacy’s father was convinced the police didn’t care enough to really dig into the case. Angel was still in college then, but that’s when she switched her major to criminal justice. When she graduated, she joined the police force, so maybe she could do right by her people. And let’s face it they were her people. They weren’t the white man’s people.

 Shit. What am I going to do?

Grabbing a napkin from the wad in her center console, Angel mopped her face and blew her nose. She certainly couldn’t sit here for the rest of the night. Some white patrol officer might come by and shoot her.

Oh girl. Don’t go there.

Angel took a deep breath and let it out slowly, hoping the ugly mood would be taken away on the exhale. She tried it a few more times before easing the car into gear and pulling away from her parent’s house. She hoped she wouldn’t be exiled for long.

That’s all from me, folks. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Be safe. Be happy.

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