A First Scene Preview!
We are one week away from launching my next Christian romance novel! In Spite of Ourselves is a Potter’s House book (two), and it’s also the second book in the Murphy Brother’s story (pssttt… It’s about Jackson!). Best news? It’s going live into the world in ONE WEEK! So it’s time for a sneak peek, yes? Thought so… (and you’re welcome)!
Okay, then! On with the show…
Chapter One, scene one (in which Jackson faces his disaster...)
Of all the ways he could have imagined this weekend going, this had never entered his mind. Not once. And if someone had told him it would happen this way, he would have laughed in their face, said Not in a million years, and gone on his way.
Jackson Murphy wasn’t that kind of man. Hadn’t ever been.
Hiding in the luxury hotel bathroom—with the door locked—he lowered his towel-wrapped, exhausted, and hungover body to the edge of the massive soaking tub as glittery speckles of steam drifted around him. That helped the surreal, this-can’t-be-happening sense that made his already throbbing head spin.
He glanced at the phone he’d left on the pristine marble counter while he’d showered, now afraid to pick it up again. Needing to pick it up again. Terrified to see what he couldn’t believe play out on the screen yet one more time. Compelled to watch, hoping that this time what had been there before wouldn’t be anymore.
It’d all be a lie. A prank. A massively disturbing dream. He was, after all, the master prankster.
Swallowing—man, it was hard to breathe! And, did a hangover come with the shakes? He’d not had many, so he wasn’t sure. Admittedly, a few, but not enough to decipher normal hangover instability from extreme. From his hands to his chest, he trembled violently. Not to mention breathing about as smoothly as he had round about mile twenty-two the day before.
Maybe someone had slipped something into one of his drinks?
No. He knew that hadn’t happened. He had enough memory intact to know he’d done this to himself.
Had he really done this?
The compulsive demand to see it for himself—one more time!—had him reaching for his phone.
Connor’s text was still open.
What the— Jackson! Are you kidding me with this? Dude, what are you doing? This had better be one of your jokes, man.
Above that text, there was a video attachment. From Jackson. Of Jackson…and the woman who was on the other side of that bathroom door.
Mackenzie-he-wasn’t-positive-of-her-last-name. Except, now he was pretty sure that whatever that name had been before last night, now it was legally Murphy.
He didn’t want to, but he tapped that video, and the screen told him what only fragments of his memory could recall. There they were, Mackenzie and him, in one of those tacky, drive-through, do-something-stupid chapels. Doing something incredibly stupid.
Completely hammered Jackson Murphy took totally drunk Mackenzie Thornton (that had been her last name!) to be his lawfully wedded wife…
The video cut and then picked up after the blessed ceremony, capturing the newly wedded pair in front of the door to the room he’d woken up in. With her in his bed.
“Hey, you two!” Some stranger—who sounded a bit slurred himself—called from outside the shot. “Here’s to doing something crazy!”
Drunk Jackson and inebriated Mackenzie threw their arms up and cheered. For their idiotic selves.
“Just married!” they cried.
Watching, Jackson’s stomach lurched. Again.
On screen, drunk Jackson lifted his loopy wife! and popped open the door. That was why he knew it was to this very room—in the background, the scene glimpsed the king-size bed that was beyond the bathroom, where he was currently hiding. Their honeymoon suite. That should be a nice, enormous charge on his credit card.
Not to mention the rock he’d glimpsed on Mackenzie’s hand before he’d made a sneaky getaway to the bathroom. Had that thing been real? Good grief. He was an electrician, with a few side gigs as a stand-up comedian. He lived on cheap fast food and frozen boxed dinners, making rent paycheck to paycheck, and he certainly hadn’t been saving any funds for a diamond.
“Here’s to happily ever after, you crazy kids! Enjoy the honeymoon.” That voice was a woman’s. Also one he didn’t know.
The video stopped. He assumed the person who had recorded it handed him his phone. He could also assume that he’d sent that video to his brother before the honeymoon commenced, because Connor had sent a string of texts that lasted from 1:00 to 6:00 a.m. None of which Jackson had seen until the morning, because he’d apparently shut his phone off.
Or hit Do Not Disturb. Like every other groom in America would. Nausea rolled hard and fast, and this time Jackson thought the sensation was more than a threat.
Phone in his fist, he pressed it to his forehead as he leaned elbows to knees and gripped a fistful of hair. Never in his life. Just…never!
He’d been frustrated with his run—didn’t make the time he’d wanted. Was upset that Sean hadn’t been there—because if Sean had been there, Jackson was pretty sure they’d have both run a sub-three. They’d both have qualified for Boston, which might prove to his family two things: he didn’t need their pity, because his life had long since moved on, and he was more than just a funny man who had an electrician’s side gig to pay the bills. He was a grown-up—one they could take seriously every now and then. One who could do grown-up things.
Like marry a total stranger in Vegas.
God, forgive me!
What had he done?
“In Spite of Ourselves was another faith-filled masterpiece from an author I can always count on. Jennifer Rodewald never disappoints.” –Ashley Sapp, the Rustic Reading Gal
“For the love of Cats! What are the odds of marrying someone you just met in Vegas and fall in love? This book reminded me in a way of Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love, but with this book being a contemporary romance. The characters are flawed but oh so precious.” –Dana Michael, Goodreads review
“God’s mercy and grace is written all over every page. He and only He can bring peace and happiness out of even the biggest mistakes…Worth every minute of reading time.” Susan Snodgrass, Simply Susan Blog