It’s time for another addition of WIP (work in progress) Wednesday. I’m currently working on self-edits for Sanctified, book three in the Matawapit Family Series. I plan on submitting the manuscript to my publisher at the end of July.
Update: I’ve since submitted Sanctified to my publisher. I’m now currently working on self-edits for Renewed, the fourth book in the series.
The Matawapit Family Series: In the wilds of Northwestern Ontario, the adult children of a domineering Ojibway church deacon find their faiths crumbling and their beliefs faltering when a vengeful former lover, an ex-fiancé out on parole, and a seductive family enemy challenge Emery, Bridget, and Jude in a duel of love, loyalty, and values that threatens to destroy their perfect Catholic lives and family.
Here is Teaser 4 for Sanctified:
This is a scene where Jude and Raven agree to go on their first “unofficial date” at the church of all places so they won’t be seen by others. And keep in mind this is a draft, subject to change.
Talk about desperate. Raven had to be out of her mind to suggest the church. If her family found out, they’d lose the smidgen of respect they had for her. But where else could they meet without anyone seeing them? Nobody ventured down Church Road but the people who went to church. And at nine-fifteen at night, the only person around was Father Bennie since he resided at the rectory across from the church, but at his age, he’d probably gone to bed.
Most of all, she was risking her chance at the diner.
Raven kept her foot on the gas pedal as she headed for the Grassy District or Catholic City known by her family. Normally, she drove straight to take the road to the nursing station or the baseball field. She turned right onto Church Road.
Neither had spoken during the drive. Her heart kept an even thump because they’d talk at their intended destination. She couldn’t fathom Jude making out in a church, not her good little Catholic boy. Uh wait. Her good little Catholic boy? He didn’t belong to her. And she didn’t belong to him. They shared a mutual attraction. Way more than an attraction. She itched to see him take off his clothes and he no doubt felt the same way.
The lights were out at the rectory. Raven pulled into the church’s parking lot.
“Keep driving to the other door.”
“How many doors does this place have?”
“Three. One beneath the car port.” Jude pointed. “And one that faces the lake. The other is the main door up the stairs to get into the church. We’re using the basement. There’s a seating area where Father Bennie or Dad meet with parishioners who need spiritual guidance.”
Raven stopped at the main staircase. The steps led to a landing, and then up to the church entrance. She switched off the truck.
Jude dug inside of his parka and produced his keys.
“That’s a lot of keys.”
“I always have these many keys. It’s no different here.” He chuckled.
“Keys to where?”
“Everywhere.” Jude got out.
Raven followed him to the door beside the main set of stairs. She stamped her feet and rubbed together her mittens. Exciting? Positively, absolutely yes! She was about to go on an unofficial date with a guy who’d never have given her a second look in high school, if she’d lived in Thunder Bay. Her stomach sank.
“What is it?” He opened the door and flicked on one light from the set lining the wall.
“You woulda looked away from me if I’d gone to your school.” Raven shut the door and shrugged off her parka.
“Maybe your assumption’s wrong.” Jude also shrugged off his coat. He motioned at her to follow.
He turned on one row of lights and led them to the front of the basement. Or the back. Or whatever church people referred to both entrances as. There were two doors with signs indicating the men’s and women’s washrooms.
He opened another door and led them into a room. With a flick of the light switch, a spotless kitchen appeared.
“Lemme put on a pot.” Jude sauntered to one of the many cupboards and withdrew the coffee supplies.
“You come here lots, don’t you?” Raven glanced around at the off-white cabinets, main sink, another big sink, fridge, and oven. Two shutters above the counter closed off the kitchen to the main area. This was probably where the women served food.
“Oh uh…yeah. Before I moved here, the kids and I attended Mass before we flew out. If we were visiting and something was going on, we’d drop in.” Jude readied the coffee.
“What else happens here, besides church, and…Healing the Spirit.” Raven’s spine stiffened at her own family’s protest when the workshop had taken place two fall ago. She’d eagerly held one of the signs that stated the Catholic Church should never receive forgiveness for what it’d done to Canada’s Indigenous People.
She’d also gladly participated in the protest two summer ago Clayton had led against the church—when they’d demanded chief and council stop paying the parish’s hydro bill, rescind their decision to fund Healing the Spirit, and stop giving money to the church.
“Here we go.” Jude held out a paper cup.
Raven eyed the industrial style coffee machine that was the same kind Cookie had at the diner. Expensive. Very expensive. Who’d paid for it if the church forever complained how broke they were?
“What is it?” Jude turned to the coffee machine.
“Nothing.” Raven shrugged. “When did this get remodeled?”
“Six years ago.”
Her blood heated. Again, band council had forked out cash to the church when Clayton had said there was no such funds.
“I take it you don’t approve.” Jude leaned against the counter.
“Why do you say that?”
“You’re frowning.” The inquisitive look vanished and Jude’s eyes softened at the corners. “I was hoping to…ah…generate something other than a frown.”
The heat left Raven’s blood and warmth caressed her tummy. “What were you hoping to generate?”
He used his elbow to shove off the counter. His lips spread into a sly grin as he swaggered over to her, strong thighs gliding one in front of the other, and his chin angled slightly downward while gazing at her through a thick fringe of lashes. “A smile…perhaps.”
Raven used her tongue to trace the rim of her mouth. Something maddening and exciting fluttered between her legs. “A smile. That’s it?” She shifted to her toes, leaning a smidgen forward. “I thought you’d ask for a little bit more.”
“Well, we’re in a church. A smile’ll suffice.” He kept grinning.
For once, she, Ms. Expert of Flirting, couldn’t find a comeback, even after searching her blank mind. No, not blank. The word SEX kept blinking on and off in her brain like a cheap neon sign outside of a motel six.
Hand trembling, she lifted the paper cup and sipped the coffee.