Excerpt: Pressing Flowers by Katie Blanchard

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What it’s about:

One tragic night was all it took to rob Miriam Jones of her husband. Three years later, still struggling to cope, she is now met with the possibility of losing the only thing left in this world that she holds dear, her daughter.
When she is served one morning with her mother’s ultimatum, Miriam suddenly finds seven items on a piece of yellow legal pad paper threatening the ledge she is teetering on. In order to finish the list, Miriam must break her silence on that fateful night, or she will lose custody of Penelope to her mother. But an unexpected visit from her sister, Charlotte, affords her at least one hopeful ally in the fight. Reluctantly, Miriam leaves the shell-shocked safe space of her bed behind to join the living.
But when her progress is tested, will Miriam crumble and ultimately forfeit custody of Penelope?
At times haunting, encouraging, and humorous, Pressing Flowers tackles not only the painful process of grieving but the courage to keep on living.

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Excerpt:

“Screw you, phone,” I scream as I slam my hand on the nightstand in protest. I will not answer it. The vibrating stops and I’m satisfied. I lift my head to glance at the clock, five in the morning. Anyone who calls at that time deserves to be ignored. I nestle back into my pillow, hoping against all the odds to return to my dream of living in a mansion with lots of books surrounding me. I start to drift off, smelling the old leather binding of the books when the damn phone goes off again. Alrighty then.“Whoever this is, I hope you choke on the next item of food you put in your mouth,” I answer without looking.

“Would you like to go for a jog?” Oliver’s baritone voice sends shivers down my spine. He’s groggy sounding as if upon waking he thought of me.

“Is there a murderer planning to jump out and stab you on the trail?” I quip.

“What?” he laughs, but it’s uneasy. I can hear the backpedaling his mind is doing. He didn’t realize I wasn’t a morning person, and that is no exaggeration by any means. I once dumped the entire contents of Ben’s top nightstand drawer on his head because he asked too many questions when I first woke up.

“If they are then sure, I’d love to go. I want to watch anyone who calls me at five in the morning to go exercise die a slow torturous death.”

“I hadn’t realized you wouldn’t be up. I thought you were getting Penelope ready for school.” He’s meek.

“At five o’clock in the freaking morning? What? She is seven years old. What the hell does she need two and a half hours of prep time for?”

“So, no run?” He chances.

“I don’t run. If I’m running, it is because someone is chasing me or I’m chasing to kill someone.”

“But it’ll be fun.” I hear him trying. He wants to be with me this morning, and I’d rather eat an entire box of rusty razors covered in bird shit and dipped in acid before running for fun.

“Hang up.”

“What?”

“If you know what is good for you, you will hang up this phone.”

“I see I’ve called you at a bad time. Next time I will try later with a coffee and a doughnut.”

“Bye.”

“Bye, Miriam. Um, sweet dreams.” I click the phone off and slam it back down on my nightstand. I can’t help smiling to myself because the cute boy thinks of me when he wakes up. Crap. That’s not good. I groan into my pillow.

“Mommy?” I hear the croak of a tiny voice in the doorway of my bedroom. I lift my head off the pillow and whip my hair out of my eyes.

“Yes, baby? You okay? Nightmare?”

“Who was that on the phone?” she’s skeptical, at the tender age of seven she is a fine detective.

“Just Oliver, baby. Sorry to have woken you, go back to sleep. You can come sleep in here with me if you want.” I throw back the covers on my side of the bed, inviting her in, but warmth is not at all what I am met with.

“He calls you?” She is on high alert.

“He wanted to know if I wanted to go jogging.” I feel like I have to justify my calls to a seven-year-old, but it is just her and me now. And Charlotte.

“Are you going?” She crosses her arms in a scolding manner. Whoa, sassy.

“Are you kidding me?” I laugh at the idea of running.

“Good. Keep telling him no. I don’t like him.” With a sharp turn on her heels, she trots off down the hallway to her room. I shift the covers sheepishly back onto the bed. I need to have a talk with my mother about number seven. I don’t want to date anyone else, that’s why I got married in the first place, but I don’t think the idea sits well with Penelope at all and I’d hate for Oliver to end up with a shiner like Justin.

 

 

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