Fiction Fest: A double serving of Annette Haws’ ‘The Accidental Marriage’

Accidental-Marriage,-TheThis is the final Fiction Fest installment of the year, so to celebrate, we thought you’d enjoy two excerpts from Annette Haws’ “The Accidental Marriage.”

The Deseret News called the book “…a realistic love story,” adding that it “…combines realistic anecdotes about the ups and downs of marriage and the changing political landscape during the civil rights movement in the 1970s to form a journal-like story of passion, love and compromises.”

“The Accidental Marriage” was released on Dec. 10, 2013, and is available in bookstores and from online retailers.

EXCERPT 1:

There’s a new teacher in room 106; the new girl in town. A tall, blonde recently married new girl in town—and rumor has it her father is rich and her new husband is not. Schools are like small towns, rife with gossip.  

Her arms raised above her head, she smacked the stapler against the wall in rhythm to a triple of Three Dog Night. She stepped back pleased with the look of the trim and ready to put up red lettering, when she noticed three men standing in the front of her classroom ogling her intently.

Nathan, she already knew. That grin must be carved on his face.

“This here’s Marlo and Zach.” With his thumb, he indicated the middle man with dark curly hair and amazingly thick lips.

“Lead her out, Nathan,” Marlo crowed, “and let’s have a look at her. She’s eighteen hands if she’s an inch.”

Curly, Moe, and Larry had come to check out the new girl in town. If the guy with the curly hair tried to pry open her mouth to look at her teeth, he was going to be peeling himself off the floor. Shoulders back and her head raised, Nina lifted her hands shoulder level. “Now, don’t tell me. Let me guess. Which one of you guys teaches Boys’ Charm?”

Elton John’s “Honkey Chateau” leaped out of the transistor radio, and the short man with bad teeth did a couple of dance steps. Marlo took a long swig of Coke from a bottle, then he wiped those thick lips with the back of his meaty hand.

Zach giggled. “When you finish your bulletin boards, you could come out and do mine.”

Hands settled on her hips, Nina nodded at them. ”Sorry, every man for himself.”  Marlo?  What had Ruth said about him? His father’s on the school board.

The principal paused in the doorway.

“Hey, Boss.” Marlo grinned broadly as he sauntered out the door followed by his crew.

Zach puffed out his chest, “If you don’t get too close, she looks almost normal.”

EXCERPT 2: 

A mine field. Nina was tiptoeing through a mine field of unwanted attention—every day. Why couldn’t they just leave her alone, stay out of her room, stop the practical jokes,  quit whistling as she hurried down the hall? But what part did she play?

Nina tapped the papers on the table until they made a neat stack and then attached the next mimeograph. She was cranking the handle quietly when she sensed someone standing behind her. Moist heavy breathing made the hair on her neck stand and her knees melted like Jell-O in the sun. Stepping away from the machine, she turned slowly to face Nathan. His feet in a firm stance and a feral gleam in his eye, he’d boxed her into the corner—and he knew it. She pressed her back against the wall and smelled his Bay Rum aftershave. The fine white lines by the corners of his eyes vanished as he grinned at her. His western shirt was crisp and new with those ever present mother-of-pearl snaps, and if the small check was a bit juvenile, she didn’t care. She inhaled through her nose.

If she screamed, the faculty room would empty into the workroom at once, but Nathan would be long gone, and she’d be there with ink on her cheek and a ridiculous complaint. “He was standing too close?”

His hand grazed her wrist. “I apologize if you heard any of that rough talk in the faculty room.”

She pressed her fist, an imaginary transporter, against her lower lip as if she were Captain Kirk surveying a desolate planet, “Beam me up, Scotty. There’s no intelligent life down here.”