Win 1 of 3 Autographed Copies
Wired by Martha Randolph Carr
Mary Elizabeth and Charlie’s marriage is fading away as Charlie tries to just get along and Mary Elizabeth struggles not to disappear completely. A murdered teenager is discovered at the local teenage hangout on a bluff high above main street bringing back memories to Mary Elizabeth that she would rather forget but may hold the key to saving an entire town. But when the bodies keep popping up everyone must struggle with feelings of guilt, shame and redemption.
Wired is available on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords & iBooks
An Excerpt from Wired
A piece of hair lifted in the breeze, gently rolling before settling back against an ear. Flies and gnats darted around, buzzing at the upturned ear, but no hand was raised to bat them away. The morning was cool with a light breeze that raised the fine, downy hair all along her back and down her slim bottom, stopping where she had carefully shaved all the hair from her thighs to her toes.
Her face looked out toward the large dirt parking lot that curved around in the shape of a half-moon. If she had lifted herself up onto an elbow, she would have seen the edge of the bluff and the beginning of the tall grass and weeds that marked the steep descent down toward the old parts of town.
Her arms were stretched out to one side, the hands coming together in what looked like a last prayer. Whoever had laid her there had been gentle when they were putting her down. She hadn’t been dropped and left.
From a distance, particularly in the headlights that night, she looked as if she were sleeping with her knees curled up to meet her elbows. A guy honked his horn a few times before getting agitated and throwing his car into park. Told his girlfriend in the seat next to him to wait as he pushed the door open and stomped over to tell the girl to get out of the way, sleep it off at home.
Later, he’d shake and cry as he called the police, trying to explain what he knew, who he saw. Tell them that the girl was in his class at school, that he had seen her earlier that day, that her skin was so cold to the touch. He’d have nightmares about it for years to come, each time snapping awake before he touched the body and felt the skin slacken under his fingers.
The summer was about to take an ugly turn for the worse, for everyone.
Mary Elizabeth lay on her side, facing out, feeling her shoulder start to ache from lying on it too long. The morning was beginning and she couldn’t decide if it would really be worth it to roll over and start sleeping on the other shoulder. She’d turned thirty-six last month and couldn’t remember her body aching so much in the morning just because of the way she lay in bed.
She was in the habit of sleeping on her side with one foot hanging over the edge like any minute she was going to get up, and she preferred the side that let her look toward the room, the left, to the side that let her look at Charlie.
Charlie Eames was her husband and had been for the last fourteen years. They had known each other since high school when Mary Elizabeth was a sophomore and Charlie was a senior.
When Mary Elizabeth was feeling kindly toward him, she admitted to herself that he was big and sweet and when she wasn’t, she was sure he was stupid. She let herself stretch out, feeling the footboard with her toes and was about to roll over toward Charlie when he kneed her in the back in his sleep. An instant, hot flash of anger came over her and she pushed closer to the edge of the bed.
Too angry and wide awake to sleep, her back still tingling from the sharp pain, Mary Elizabeth let her mind float. It was one of her favorite games. Picking a thought or old dream and exploring every piece or changing some bit of it to make it better or at least different. It was the way she got herself to sleep every night. It was the place she went to when she was angry or bored with the present.
The game was a habit she picked up in high school after things started to unravel. It made her mind release its grip on the memories that could leave her wide-eyed and staring at the ceiling all night. It helped her keep things together, move on with her day.
The party, she thought, presents. Faces turned toward me, smiling. There are only people there that I wanted. Charlie is hanging around in the background, smiling away at everyone. Little Matthew at about two and half, standing so close to my chair in the center of things that the top half of his body rested against my arm.
I knew he only wanted to get closer to the cake, poke a finger in it, but if felt good to have him so close. Looking down on the top of his head, I marveled at the absolute whiteness of his hair. No other shades of color. I thought my own hair was plain blonde, until Matthew. Looking at pictures of the two of us sitting together I noticed how red and brown my hair was, or had become. Which one was it?
I miss details, she thought, all the time. Too much time spent pushing away from things. Her fingers started shaking and she nervously reached out, lightly wrapping a hand around a wrist, rubbing in a neat circle.
Less of me exists every year, she thought, forcing her mind back to a memory, a good memory, at least one she could handle, deal with and pull apart.
She remembered looking up from the singing faces at the party and glancing toward Charlie.
He was staring at me, again. Long stare, no blink. Clear blue eyes from the back of the crowd. He looked away when I looked up, stepped back and went around everyone, searching for the special paper plates decorated with pictures of balloons and confetti but the moment was broken. I couldn’t stand that staring, she thought, lying there tense in bed.
The helplessness and anger were brushing hard against her insides, before she could will them away.
Charlie stared at Mary Elizabeth’s back through the little bit of light coming in through the window. Didn’t mean to knee her, but then didn’t exactly pull back once he realized she was closer than he though. He felt her body stiffen instantly and saw her move away from him. His stomach backed up a little and a bitter, hot taste entered his mouth, mixed with a small giddiness. That must have really given her back a little twang, he thought.
He hated the way she slept with her back to him. Couldn’t even cuddle around her like a spoon. Every time he tried she’d complain that he was on her hair or was breathing hot air right into her face, or something. Now when he’d get the urge he’d think twice and stare at her back. Some people stared out windows or at least into empty space. Charlie stared at Mary Elizabeth.
This morning he woke up with a different kind of urge. He knew that if he got up and peed it would subside but it wasn’t what he wanted. He wanted to hold Mary Elizabeth and move inside of her. He really wanted her to move back but the light seemed to intimidate her. She wouldn’t even look into his eyes. And after jabbing her like that she’d probably find the nerve to just flat out refuse him.
Good morning, sweet baby, he could mumble in her ear and try to wedge his hand down between her legs. Give her little kisses on the side of her face. Good morning. She would stiffen, tuck her chin down, and tell him no. No, like, you understand why, no. Better not to start.
You catch her in the darkness though, especially the pitch dark, ain’t-nobody-moving-dark and the tables were turned, thought Charlie. Sometimes he’d been in a deep sleep and felt something holding onto his penis, warm and tight. The first time it happened he felt absolute terror but when he felt the sudden fall of hair against his thighs and realized it was Mary Elizabeth, he felt awe.
He’d barely see her every time, staring down at him in the darkness. Feel her steady an arm, looking for support. Breasts rubbed against his legs, his body, never a face looking up toward him. And when he came in a long push and in her mouth no less, she stretched herself out and climbed back to her side, her left side. Didn’t say a word.
Occasionally in the darkness she mounted him, her feet firmly planted on either side of his hips and he felt the slap of her bottom rhythmically hitting each thigh. He loved that feeling, and it made him want to touch her body. Feel his way around in the blackness, but he knew. This was her show. Better to just leave it alone.
Anyway, he thought, his eyes refocusing on the back of her cotton nightgown, his mind coming back to the present, not now. Nope.
He swung his legs around to his side of the bed and gave the old four poster bed a bounce as he pushed off. He knew that would get under her skin too.
Why do I do stupid shit like that? Who knows, who cares.
He walked over to the pair of shorts he’d left on the rocking chair and slid them on, careful to tuck everything inside.
Once he’d been in a hurry and the smallest amounts of skin got nipped by the zipper. That’s all, nipped. He did a high-steppin’ two step all around the bedroom with his eyes shut so tight he could see white light. That time, Mary Elizabeth stared at him.
The air felt a little warm already. It was mid-June. The floor was a little cool under his feet, but Charlie could tell. Another muggy Saturday and a yard to mow, oooh, boy. Matthew met him in the hallway his hair was sticking out in the back and he was wearing just his underwear. Some cartoon warrior snarling on the seat of them surround by gold glitter. All of his underwear was like that. Mary Elizabeth refused to buy him white shorts.
Blog Tour Schedule: September 26 - October 21, 2011
|Monday||26-Sep||The Art & Craft of Writing Creatively|
|Wednesday||28-Sep||Emlyn Chand’s Blog|
|Thursday||29-Sep||Indie Writers Zone, DangerousLee.biz|
|Saturday||1-Oct||Laurie Carlson’s Blog|
|Monday||3-Oct||My Pajama Days|
|Tuesday||4-Oct||Linus & Bubba Books|
|Wednesday||5-Oct||Three Cats on a Sofa|
|Thursday||6-Oct||Reviews by Molly|
|Friday||7-Oct||My Life with Boys and Books|
|Saturday||8-Oct||The Alchemy of Scrawl|
|Sunday||9-Oct||The Phantom Paragrapher|
|Tuesday||11-Oct||Lissette E. Manning’s Blog|
|Wednesday||12-Oct||Book & Movie Dimension|
|Thursday||13-Oct||Reflections from a Cloudy Mirror|
|Friday||14-Oct||Kristin Can Read|
|Sunday||16-Oct||Book Reviews from the Purple Jellybean Chair|
|Monday||17-Oct||A Day in Doha|
|Wednesday||19-Oct||Life is Short – Write it all down|
|Thursday||20-Oct||The Belle of Boise|
|Friday||21-Oct||Walk the Walk|
The winner of the best blog entry for this tour was Susan at Three Cats on a Sofa, an enjoyable and somewhat humorous review!
Learn More about the Author, Martha Randolph Carr
Martha Randolph Carr is the author of three books and has a weekly, nationally syndicated column read by 4 million readers a month across America through the Cagle Cartoon syndicate on politics, national interest topics and life in general. Her newest work, The List is a political thriller set around the attorney, Wallis Jones her husband Norman and their son Ned. The List is the first in a series. Martha is currently at work on the sequel, The Keeper.
Martha is also a melanoma survivor, Chi runner, occasional rower and skydiver and mother to Louie. She resides near her son in Chicago, IL, where everyone is always welcome to stay for dinner.
Learn more about Martha through the following links:
The Traffic-Breaker Poll
The winner of the traffic-breaker award for the Wired tour was Kristin at Kristin Can Read – congrats! More info about this award here.