Crashing Back Down: Kristen Hope Mazzola → Excerpt

Super duper exciting addition! Hi guys 🙂

Another new feature is excerpt! I’m adding this to the blog to help promote author’s and their work. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek of Crashing Back Down as much as I have. All further information regarding the book or author is at the end of the post! Enjoy 🙂

Excerpt: (Please note this excerpt is subject to change and is in the editing process)

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Sipping on our wine and laughing along with story after story, and joke after joke felt amazing. Being able to not feel confined or restricted in my new-found happiness of my relationship with Walker was one of the most amazing feelings I could have ever hoped for. Jim leaned over, topping off Liz’s and my wine glasses with the end of the bottle of rosé, winking at me. Our little scuffle fell into the past and our wonderful pseudo father-daughter relationship went on as normal. Jim had always known about my father walking out on my family when I was just a kid, and from day one he made it his mission to treat me like a daughter. Even though, with the loving fatherly advice, comes some hard pills of honesty to swallow, I would not have traded him for the world.

“How has work been treating you, Margret?” Jim relaxed back into the couch, pulling his hiccupping, giggling, wife into his arms.

Sighing, I rolled my eyes. “There was an electrical fire.” Liz gasped and threw her hand over her mouth, and I continued, “Oh, don’t worry, no one was hurt. It was my wing of the hospital, so where the offices are, not where the patients’ rooms are.” Once Liz looked relieved I added, “So, I haven’t been to work for a bit, but they are still paying me. It’s been a sweet deal. I have to go back soon, though.”

 “I bet.” Jim laughed to himself, shaking his head and smiling as he took another sip from his glass.

Walker’s phone vibrated in his pocket and he got up to answer it. I continued to small talk with my in-laws about what Jim was going to do in retirement. Even though he deserved to have some time for himself to relax after working as a mechanic for over forty years, I could tell that he was not thrilled about the situation.

“Yup, I’m going to have loads of time on my hands. If you ever need something fixed around the house or on that old truck of yours, you’ll definitely know where to find me.” He huffed and grumbled a little and Liz shook her head.

“I told him if he didn’t want to retire that he could just cut back a little on his hours. But you know Jim; he’s an all or nothing type of guy.”

Walker strode back into the room, yawning and then beamed down at me. “That was, uh, Jeff.” He rubbed the back of his neck again, trying to find the appropriate words for where this conversation was going. Even though the McManus’s knew Walker and Randy were inked, it was not something that they enjoyed hearing about. In this case, ignorance was bliss and I could see Walker’s face twisting a little to find the words.

I got up from the couch and looked at him with a playful smirk. “Do you want to go hang out with him for a bit?”

Walker’s grin grew and he nodded. “Yeah, that would be great, he seems a little lonely right now. That’s usually the only time he ever calls.”

We hugged Liz and Jim goodbye, and confirmed our new plans of Sunday family dinners. Once the door was safely shut behind us, Walker threw his arm around me and started to walk us back to my house.

“Jeff has enough time tonight to do the tattoo I wanted.” His eyes lit up, shining from the street lights lining our short distance home.

I could feel the excitement oozing from Walker’s pores.“You’re going to finish your leg tonight?” I looked up at him and couldn’t help but smile at his goofy, grinning expression.

“Yes. But I have kind of a new idea. It’s going to be perfect.” He hugged me tighter to his side and opened up the passenger side door of his truck for me.

I stopped short of getting in, and he looked down at me with a questioning eyebrow raised. I looked up at him, put my hand on his cheek and smiled.“Let’s take the Mercedes! She needs to get out of the garage, and that way you don’t have to drive after your tattoo.”

Walker leaned down and kissed me softly on my forehead, breathing gently. “You’re the best. That would be amazing.”

I ran inside and grabbed my car’s keys off the holder next to the door. I drove it so little that I did not feel the need to have the keys bulking up my key chain. My bag already felt like it weighed a thousand pounds most days, I needed all the help I could get to lighten it up.

I opened the detached garage door and slid into my comfortable tan leather seats. Walker climbed in after me and took a huge breath in. “She smells new!” He shot me a quick smirk and rested his hand on my knee. “Thanks again for driving and coming with me. I feel better about getting work done when you’re there.”

Before starting the engine, I looked up into Walker’s warm stare and melted. “Walker, I’d do anything for you. Just like you would for me. Now let’s go get a needle driven into that leg of yours.”

It was so surprising how quiet and smooth my car was compared to Randy’s old truck. I knew that the main reason I drove it was for comfort and memories, but driving the Mercedes again reminded me why I had fallen in love with it during my test drive. It took turns perfectly, had an upgraded sound system with satellite radio, turn by turn navigation, seat cooling and heating, all leather, power and wood grain; she was completely decked out.

Once the chime over the door dinged, making our entrance known to the almost empty tattoo shop, my heart started to race. Even though I was not the one about to get a new piece of work, I still felt anxious. Memories of my recent endeavor sent chills down my spine while I rubbed my hip bone. My tattoo had healed wonderfully and it just felt like skin again, but I didn’t think I would ever be able to forget just how it felt to get my bird inked into my skin.

With a big, beaming grin, Jeff came out to greet Walker and me in the lobby. “Hey guys, come on back. I just finished drawing out the new stencil of your compass. It’s going to be fucking sick, man.”

Walker walked over and half-hugged Jeff. “Yeah, man! I’m stoked. Let’s go check it out.” Walker’s arm wrapped around my shoulders and he kissed the top of my head before starting to head back into the tattooing section of the shop.

Jeff’s station was all prepped and ready to go for Walker. I chuckled a little when Jeff pulled out the razor and started to shave Walker’s lower leg.

Walker shot me a playful smirk. “What’s so funny, punk?”

I crossed my arms over my chest, taking my seat a few feet away from the table Walker was lounging on like he was at a spa instead of a tattoo shop. “Oh, nothing. I just think it’s funny to see my boyfriend’s leg getting shaved by another dude, that’s all.” I smiled back at him with a cocky grin until I looked at Jeff’s awed expression as he stared at me then Walker.

I threw my hand over my gaping mouth at my casual title drop. I had never used that term to refer to Walker before and the realization of how comfortably it rolled off my tongue took me aback.

Quickly, Jeff’s expression turned excited and beamed up at Walker. “This tattoo makes more sense now. Congrats guys, I’m happy for you!”

His words were sincere but I didn’t understand what he meant by the tattoo making more sense. I hadn’t seen the sketch yet, and assumed Walker was still getting the compass as he had planned months back.

I jumped up once the stencil was in place to see what was going on for myself. Already on Walker’s leg was a tattoo of a red fish on a line, and a boat with a fisherman who had caught it.Just like planned, there was a compass ready to join in the collage and I couldn’t understand what Walker’s new idea was, or what Jeff meant by his comment. But, instead of getting to the bottom of it, I decided to approve of it and see for myself when it was finished.

Walker clapped Jeff on the shoulder, excitedly checking out the outline of the image that would soon be on his body forever. “Jeff, that’s perfect! Let’s do this!”

Walker’s body relaxed back onto the table and found a comfortable position. When he gave Jeff a swift head nod, the buzzing sounded and the gun went to work. The entire time, Walker stared at me with loving eyes, talking to Jeff and me about nothing too important. Soft jazz music played in the background and I clung to Walker’s hand. It flexed every time Jeff passed over his bone or got close to the tender sections of his ankle.

Stopping to wipe the sweat from his brow and stretch out his back, Jeff looked down at us. “Walker, you wanna get this color in here, or call it a night?”

Walker’s eyes shot me a questioning look and I shrugged. “If you want to finish it tonight, I don’t mind.” I didn’t have anywhere to be and it was only eleven.

Walker nodded at me. “Yeah, let’s get this sucker finished!”

Taking his seat, Jeff smiled and got back to work without another word, concentrating hard on color combinations and making sure the water and compass blended in seamlessly to the boat and fish. I glanced over a few times to see the masterpiece starting to really become amazing. “Babe, it’s gorgeous!” I squealed.

Curiosity took over and I had to ask Jeff. “Where is everyone? I’ve never seen the shop empty before.” It was odd to me that we were the only ones in the shop that night; every station was empty, not even the burly owner was there.

“Well, I actually bought the shop last week and decided to keep the shop closed on Sundays.” Jeff seemed so stoked about his new-found status as owner-artist-operator, and I could not have been more thrilled for him.

“That’s wonderful! You’ve wanted to open your own shop since I can remember.

Congratulations!” Walker smiled at my excitement, flinching a little when the white started to go in for the finishing touches.

Jeff stopped for a second to shake out his hand. “Yeah, I’m going to use Sundays to tattoo my friends and shit, and give the guys a night off. They bust their balls all week and if they’re not careful they’re gonna get fucking arthritis and ruin their careers. No amount of money is worth me losing one

of my best guys from overworking them.”

I nodded my head in approval of Jeff’s decision; it was nice to hear him talk about how caring he was. The notion was comforting and I was so glad someone so kind-hearted had finally caught a break and started to follow his dream.

Next thing we knew, Walker’s ink session was finished and he was checking out his new piece in the mirror. “Jeff, it’s perfect! Mags, come take a look.”

I  bent down to get face to face with his freshly tattooed shin. The water was deep blue and rolling under the boat, splashing up over the fish breaching, and then crashing into rocks where a compass lay on its side.

Then, I saw it, a mistake and I gasped. “Wait, Jeff!” He looked down where I was pointing, obviously not seeing what I was. “Jeff! That’s an M! Not an N for north!”

He looked down at me like I was a crazy person and then shot a switch look over to

Walker before speaking. “Yeah, that’s what he wanted, and now that you guys are together, it makes sense why he changed the design of it.”

I gaped at Walker, hoping he would say something, but he just stood there, staring at the floor, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. “Well, Walker, explain this right fucking now or I am leaving your ass here and you can Goddamn walk home!”

I was furious and confused and panicking. Walker jumped up off the table, and wrapped his arms around me, drawling sweetly in my ear, “Please, don’t be mad babe. But, Mags…” his eyes were pleading as he pulled away just enough so I could look at him, still scathing mad. “You’re my true north. No compass would point me in any other direction but to you.”

cbd

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Website: http://khmazzola.wordpress.com

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/khmazz

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Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7179522.Kristen_Hope_Mazzola

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