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Coming Soon

Yesterday’s Poison

Yesterday’s Poison

Available: January 7, 2019

• Page Count: 265

ISBN: 9780578411866

How do you forgive the unforgiveable?

The friendship of three unlikely friends brings to light their toxic pasts. Without forgiveness, there is no healing.

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Yesterday’s Poison Excerpt

Chapter One

"The wise person looks not for pleasure, but merely freedom from pain." Aristotle

Her world burned, dissolved into ashes, and Torie Sullivan needed to keep her tears at bay.
Stupid girl. Should've figured.
Torie chugged the last of her drink and waved her hand toward the barkeeper of The Stadium Bar and Grill. "Another, Collin. No ice this time." She struggled to make her voice crisp, in command.
"Easy, Torie. No one's worth what you're doing to yourself." Collin slid a scotch and chaser across the bar.
She grabbed for it, but his fingers lingered.
Collin leveled his eyes at her. The look fired her anger.
How dare he believe I drink too much?
Torie forced a smile. Men. All alike. She lifted the whiskey, winked at Collin, and cocked her head. "A faithful find who can man?" She squinted and mused. "A find is a faithful. A faithful find man?" Giggles hiccupped, and she covered her mouth. "However that saying goes. Cheers." She put the glass to her lips, paused, and placed it back on the bar. "Cheers is all wrong." Torie gnawed her forefinger. "I got a better toast." She lifted the glass. "Glooms." The Jim Beam singed her throat. The sting didn’t lessen over the evening, didn't numb her emotions.
Sorrow settled in her chest, a heaviness like her childhood asthma. She hadn't cried and wouldn't. After all, what could one expect from a man who thought with his hormones? Men all acted alike, and Trey Currey proved her expertise. Selene was her friend. Her one real friend. Until she stole Trey.
Collin took her empty glasses. "Want a Coke?"
Torie propped her head on her hand and glared at him. "Another boilermaker would fit the bill, sweetheart." To play to Collin's ego, she murmured the words. He was too moral for a bartender.
"Torie." His voice purred with a concern. It pierced her fog.
She brushed it away.
"You've drunk enough. How about a ginger ale?"
Bolting upright, Torie lost her balance and gripped the edge of the bar. Falling over like a common drunk would never do. She wasn't no drunk -- no how. "Come on, Collin. I only had..." Fumbling for the number, she waved three fingers in his face.
"Try five. At least by my count. Who knows who you conned out there?" He nodded at the crowded dining area behind her.
Where she and Trey should've been enjoying a candlelit meal.
"Too many for little old you."
"'S your job to give me drinks." She stood on the chair stretcher and gave a sultry pout, her Rihanna look. It always worked. "'Specially as I'm payin' good money for 'em. You know how many perms I have to give for those dollars?" She tilted her head, gave him the smile that always melted men.
Collin leaned over the bar, his eyes warm in the dim room. His hand caressed her head.
Collin was sculpting gel in her hands.
"Torie, you're cute and fun, but not like this. Have you ever thought your problem might be you?" Someone flagged him down for another drink. He turned away, attentive to his other patrons.
"Me?" She sputtered and tumbled off the stool.
An older guy three chairs down grinned in her direction.
Batting her lashes, Torie tilted her head. "The last step's a doozy." With a wink, she turned back to the barkeep and snapped her fingers -- or tried to. They didn't quite make any noise. "Collin. My keys?"
"No keys, Torie. I'm calling a cab for you."
Collin headed for the phone at the far end of the bar.
With her arms crossed, she leaned forward. "Then at least gimme one for the road. The cab'll take a year or two to get here from Shocari." She shook her head and giggled at her mistake. Instead of correcting it, Torie played it up. "Scho-oochy." A snigger bubbled up. "Why do our towns have to have unpronounceable Dutch names? Skokary whatever? Why can't we name 'em somethin' like Albany or Delmar 'stead of Schoharie?"
"Because those other names have already been taken," Collin called over his shoulder.
With Collin yakking to the cab service, Torie grabbed her purse and stumbled to the other end of the bar. "Schoharie'd be a good place for my new hair salon. The Hairy in Schoharie." She peeked at Collin.
Like vapors of alcohol, her momentary giddiness evaporated. Hurt descended in a heavy-handed fist. She leaned against the bar and heard Collin's mellow voice, his back to her. Pegs at the far end of the bar held the patron's keys. Letting Collin take care of her would feel so good, but she'd tried letting Trey tend to her needs, and what did he do?
She needed to get out of this bar.
Men. Useless. Unreliable. Like adding another log to the woodstove in winter, she stoked her anger by recalling all the wrongs of men -- sex and photographs, demanding dinner cooked the moment they got home, endless sports on TV followed by sex. Then the photographs. She tilted her chin and huffed. Men. Controlling freaks of nature.
Torie grabbed her keys from the peg Collin insisted his patrons use. The stupid booze-Nazi. Stomping past the diners enjoying their Saturday night dates, she teetered out of The Stadium.
Cool night air slapped her face. The stupid town would freeze again tonight. The rest of the stupid world warmed up in May, but not stupid Westfield.
Stupid, stupid, stupid town.
Torie wobbled to her beat-up, ancient Rabbit parked right in front of The Stadium and climbed in. I can drive. By the time the cab gets here, I'd be sober and not need it. She shook the thought away. If I was drunk.
Her keys slipped from her fingers and fell onto the asphalt. The black of the road blended with the night. Torie leaned out of the car door, flung wide open, and stretched out to get them. Missed her first swipe. A truck, too big for the narrow streets, whizzed by, just missing her.
She snatched the keys from the blacktop as Collin exited The Stadium. He loped down the steps and banged at her passenger window.
"If you drive away, I'm calling the cops."
The glow from the streetlight haloed Collin, like an angel. If angels existed.
"Torie, no man is worth it. Consider AA. You don't have to be like your mother."
She bit her lip. Mumbled. "I'm not like Jean."
Tears threatened, but she wouldn't be a cry baby. Hadn't cried since middle school when... She clenched her teeth and inhaled, let the air fill her lungs. Her mother thrived on self-pity and man-lust. Not her.
With an exhale, Torie pulled away from the curb. Behind her, brakes squealed, and a horn blared. She stepped on the gas, peered into the rearview mirror, and let the black SUV eat her dust.
"I don't need no cab," she told Collin as though he sat beside her. "I'm cool and in control."
The road curved sharply left as it skirted Hookskill Preserve. Torie turned too late. Her car careened into the parking lot of the town's pride and joy, nothing more than a couple hundred acres of trees and water owned by the Nature Conservancy.
After skidding to a stop, Torie patted her hair, squared her shoulders and lifted her mouth in a sultry grin. Meant to do that. In control.
She threw her Rabbit into reverse, scooted back onto the main road, rounded the curve, past the Ready Mart, and zoomed out of town.
Speed, and anger at Collin, lost their magic. Collin had been a friend -- sometimes stern, but always fair. Her eyes watered.
The real culprits resurrected -- Selene and Trey. The imprint of Trey's hand on her wrist, inviting her into his bed burned like a brand. Lying next to him, Selene smirked. Her friend knew Torie loved Trey -- the first man she dared to not simply date, but to love.
It did no good. He preferred her fat friend. Her stunning, voluptuous, charismatic, sarcastic best friend. Torie's fingers dug into the steering wheel.
Her stomach tossed. She had scruples. Unlike Jean. Unlike everyone else. Yet, the treachery of the two people she trusted most rushed back and blinded her. Collin's rot-gut booze failed her. Her memories remained raw.
Collin was right. She ruined every one of her friendships. Maybe she was--
Her eyes blurred, and her nose ran. Her thought would stay unspoken. Torie fished through her Kate Spade purse for tissues then tossed it to the back seat. Her iPhone fell to the floor. Contorting her arm behind the console, Torie tried to retrieve the phone.
The car hurled itself to the right. The crunch of the shoulder gave way to the bumpy grass. It caught the tires and yanked her down a steep slope. The headlights illuminated tree branches as they grabbed the car, rasped their fingers along its sides as though shoving her down the slope until spider webs of pain showered over her. The Rabbit slammed into a stone wall.

 
  • "This book delivers in true Carol McClain fashion .... poignant message wrapped in entertainment, truth, knowledge, and sprinkled with humor. Readers will either identify with the heroine or know someone who has struggled with alcohol abuse. We understand Torie's pain. We also understand how quick others are to judge those who suffer from addiction ... they can only see the pain the addicted one causes, rather than the pain that keeps them addicted. Great writing by a great writer." Author of Hosea's HeartLinda Rondeau
  • "What a moving story of grief, guilt, and finding forgiveness." Author of Camp HopeSara Foust
  • "This is Carol's best so far. Her ability to make characters come to life and her subtle insertion of humor make this a delightful read and one you won't want to put down till the end." An artist and reader.Kaye Mero
  • "Love how the characters were shaped and developed. Caught my interest from beginning to end. I didn't want it to end. I would and did recommend this book for everyone." readerAmy Smith

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