Tall, Dark, & Troubled

Ethan Harrington in Seasons of Darkness

This handsome guy is the inspiration for Ethan Harrington in the scenes with his beloved horse in my novel, Seasons of Darkness.

I felt he was perfect for the part ,and I’ve proudly added him to my Character Gallery.

What do you see when you look at this picture? A young man and his horse?

This is what I see:

A boy just on the verge of becoming a man – and this is the summer of his awakening as love comes knocking.  For shy, lonely Ethan, it’s his first – and one that he is bent on keeping.  Finding that nothing else matters when he’s with Mary, he immerses himself in their relationship, being content to lie to her when it comes to holding on to his family’s secrets.

Look closer.  I’ll tell you more.

Behind those dark, piercing eyes of his lies a realm of bitterness and pain that he will not allow anyone to touch.  His innocence was lost seven years ago when his mother took her own life.  Now sixteen, and still ravaged by her death, he struggles to live among the shattered remains of a family that was never functional to begin with.  Unable to cope, it isn’t long before he turns to what he has seen his father take comfort in time and time again – thus giving rise to an inner demon that will not turn him loose.

Intrigued?  Here’s a special excerpt from chapter 1 just for you:

The bottle dangled carelessly from Ethan’s fingertips as he sat gazing out the small window of the loft.  The sun was beginning to sink behind the tree line, painting the entire horizon in a soft orange.

A gentle breeze fluttered around him carrying with it the sweet smell of honeysuckle.  He Seasons of Darkness by Belinda G. Buchanansettled back against an old bale of straw and breathed in deeply, enjoying the silence.

He found himself wishing that he could be as excited about summer vacation as his sister was.  Although he liked being older than her, there were times he longed to be a kid again, as her days off would no doubt be spent playing with friends and going swimming at the public pool in Manchester.  For him, it meant interning three days a week at his father’s company.  He took another sip from the bottle and sighed.  It was going to be a miserable summer.

He was jarred slightly by the sudden sound of metal hitting wood, but knew what the noise was without turning to look.  The wind had stirred the pitchfork that was hanging on the wall behind him.  He listened as its tines clanged softly against the slats of the barn.  It reminded him of a bell—the kind that you heard on the water.

When he was a boy, his mother would take him down to the canal to see the boats.  They used to stand on the cobblestone sidewalk and watch the ships pass by one after the other.

He sank farther into the straw and closed his eyes, letting his mind drift.

The ship’s enormous bow sliced through the water in front of him as he leaned over the rail.  He watched it intently, certain that its massive hull was going to hit the edge of the concrete wall and send it crumbling into the depths below.

The ends of his toes curled up inside his shoes as the ship loomed beneath him.  It was so close he could count the wooden planks on the top of its deck.  He tightened his grip on the rail as he braced for impact.  He watched with both fascination and disappointment as the captain of the boat guided the craft safely through the narrow opening with master precision.

With danger averted, Ethan pushed himself away from the railing and grinned at his mother.  “When I grow up, I’m going to be the captain of a big ship.  Just like that one.”

She looked down at him and smiled.  “Is that so?”

“Yes, and when I pass by here, I’ll be sure to wave at you.”  He squinted up at her.  “Will you come and watch me?”

“Of course I will, love,” she said, cupping the side of his face in her hand.  “But I shall miss you terribly while you’re gone.”

“It will just be during the day.  I’ll come home every night like Daddy, I promise.”

She arched her eyebrows.  “Promise?”

“Promise.”

“All right, then.  Come on,” she said, making her way over to a park bench.  “Mummy needs to sit down for a moment.”

The shrill horn of a boat sounded in the distance, indicating it was about to pass underneath the bridge.

He sat down beside her and watched for it.

“Here,” she said, reaching into the folds of her purse.  “I’m sure the pigeons have missed you.”

Ethan took the brown paper sack from her and opened it up.  The birds heard the crinkling and immediately began gathering at his feet.  He pulled out a handful of breadcrumbs and tossed them onto the sidewalk.  Within seconds, every morsel had been devoured.  The birds looked up at him, cocking their tiny heads from side to side, waiting for more.

His mother sat forward.  “Where’s Stubby?”

“There he is,” he said, pointing to the bird with the missing toe.  He’s standing next to Fatso.”

“Ah,” she said, smiling.

“Which one shall we name today?” he asked, searching out one to pick.

“Oh, I don’t know, love,” she answered, slumping against the bench.

He held his hand out in front of him and blew the crumbs from his fingers.  “Mummy?”

“Yes?”

“What did you want to be when you were little?”

She shielded her eyes from the sun and looked out across the canal.

“Did you always want to be a mummy?” he prodded when she didn’t answer right away.

Her lips wavered slightly.  “For as long as I can remember.”

He eyed her stomach for a moment.  “Is that why you’re having a baby?”

“I suppose so.”  Her voice was distant.

The big tug slowly came into view as thick black smoke billowed from its stack.

Ethan sat back and watched it glide silently across the water.  He wasn’t sure about all this baby business.  His parents had told him repeatedly that nothing was going to change.  Yet, last week, he had been relocated to the bedroom at the end of the hall in order to make room for what they kept calling his little sister.

His mother put her arm across his shoulders and drew him close.  “Did you know that I asked the angels to send you to us?”

An absurd image formed in his head as he pictured winged beings with halos bringing him down from the clouds.  “Did they put me in there?” he asked, touching her belly.

She laughed.  “Yes, I guess they did.”

“Did you ask the angels for this one?”

“No,” she answered as her smile slowly faded.  “She was a surprise.”

Ethan turned the sack upside down and emptied it, sending the pigeons into an ecstatic frenzy.

“You and I will always have a special bond,” his mother said, squeezing him tightly.  “No matter where you go, or what you do, I’ll always be thinking of you.  And no matter how old you get, you’ll always be my little boy.”

He rested his head upon her shoulder and closed his eyes as she began stroking his hair.

“I will never stop loving you,” she whispered.

The tug sounded its horn again, drowning out her last words.

Ethan opened his eyes and looked up at the darkening sky.  He figured heaven must be somewhere past the clouds.  There were times he wondered if she ever thought about him now, or even knew how old he was.

He pressed the bottle against his lips and took two long swallows, hoping to wash away the lump that had formed in his throat.  His shoulders involuntarily shook as the liquid heat traveled through him.

“Ethan?”

He bolted upright at the sound of his father’s voice.  “Yeah?”

“I need to speak to you for a moment.”

“Coming,” he said.  His fingers trembled as he screwed the cap back on the bottle and stashed it in the hay beside him.

“What are you doing up there?”

“Nothing,” he replied, making his way down the wooden ladder.

His father looked up at the loft for a moment before letting his eyes settle upon him.  “You must be doing something.”

“I was just thinking,” he said, being sure to keep a safe distance between them so he wouldn’t smell the scotch.

“Thinking about what?”

“Nothing.”

His father took a deep breath and sighed.  It was exaggerated, and meant for Ethan to know it was a sign of his frustration with him.

“Greta will be here tomorrow afternoon,” he said.  “I need for you to keep an eye on your sister until she arrives.”

Ethan secretly hid his delight as he nodded.  If he had to watch Renee, that meant he wouldn’t have to go to the office with him in the morning.

“I expect you to help Greta get her things upstairs and be mindful of her,” he said in a stern tone.

“I will,” Ethan answered, irritated that his father thought he had to tell him that.

The last of the sun’s light began to fade, casting a dark shadow inside the barn.  Silence soon followed.

Ethan stuck his hands in the pockets of his jeans and shifted his feet.

His father finally turned and walked over to one of the empty stalls.  “This place is cleaner than the house,” he said, taking a moment to look inside.

Ethan remained silent, uncertain if that was a compliment or complaint.  He watched as he ran his fingers along the leather saddle that sat astride the stall door.

“This weekend, I’m going to go see a man about a horse.”

Ethan blinked as his mouth fell open.  “Really?” he asked, uncertain if he’d heard him correctly.

His father’s mustache turned up at the corners.  “Really.”

Ethan could not contain the smile that consumed his face at that point, and it brought forth a small chuckle from his father as he turned and headed towards the door.

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt.  You can read more chapters for free by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

*Photo courtesy of dreamstime.com & cynoclub

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Review of Seasons of Darkness

I am honored and humbled to have received such a great review from author Robin E. Mason.

robinsnest212 - stories by design

The month of October is a special time for me:

my debut novel, my baby,

Tessa,

will be released IN PRINT on Halloween!

WHEEEEE!!!!!

 

BOOK REVIEW – SEASONS of DARKNESS by BELINDA G. BUCHANAN

 Seasons_of_Darkness_Layers_reddest_Kindle_cover

Sixteen-year-old Ethan is following in his father’s footsteps. But not career wise, and not by choice.

When life becomes a fragile balancing act between a presentable image and the darkness that torments, Everett Harrington buries himself in his work and hides his feelings – and his fears – in a bottle of scotch. But stuffing yourself in a bottle or a board room is but a temporary fix, and the demons that are hiding eventually show their ugly faces. And with Everett, they showed up as contempt for the son who once was the little boy he so adored.

Everett, apparently, had his life neatly planned out. A solid career, no female distractions…

View original post 272 more words

Why you must read Belinda G. Buchanan’s Seasons of Darkness – an interview by David Njoku of Indie Author Land

Everett Harrington, a no- nonsense businessman, should have taken Natalia’s behavior that night as a sign of things to come, but hadn’t. When it came to her, he found himself unable to think clearly.

It was on a scorching afternoon in late July that he had stood at the altar with her, making a promise in front of God and her parents to love her for better or for worse – and it was ten years later, on a rainy morning in September that he’d buried her. The days in between had been filled with brief intervals of happiness…and long periods of hopelessness.

Now, left alone to raise a son he can’t talk to and a daughter that he wants nothing to do with, he chooses to spend his evenings drowning his frustrations in a bottle of scotch, leaving him without the ability to control his temper.

Forced to grow up in a hurry, nine-year-old Ethan Harrington quickly learned to build a wall around his heart, vowing never to let it be hurt again. Now sixteen, and still ravaged by his mother’s death, he struggles to live among the shattered remains of a family that was never functional to begin with.

What genre is this?
Women’s Fiction & New Adult.

A story of hope – even in the darkest of times, this is a coming of age novel that depicts the sometimes difficult and oftentimes complex relationship experienced between father and son when tragedy strikes.

We know we should have guessed from the title, but there are some really dark moments in this story.
Mental illness not only touches those who have it – it consumes their loved ones as well, leaving a haunting impression long after they are gone.

That’s very true.
Seasons of Darkness is for those who like darker themes or taboo subjects. There are some defining scenes in the book. Although they may be difficult to read, they set the stage for Ethan as he becomes a man. Read more

A story of hope – even in the darkest of times…an excerpt from Seasons of Darkness

Many of you have asked, so I thought I would post an excerpt for your enjoyment!  Here is a snippet from Chapter 5:

Everett sped down the street trying to make up for lost time.  He was twenty minutes late for an appointment across town thanks to the ineptitude of his secretary who, as of fifteen minutes ago, was now a former employee.  He had no tolerance for silly mistakes.

He forged ahead through the intersection, ignoring the yellow light.  By the time he saw the standing water and the girl on the sidewalk, it was too late.  His tires sent a spray ten feet up in the air, drenching her from head to toe.

He cursed under his breath, pulling his car over.  He left the engine running as he got out and hurried towards her.  “Are you all right?”

The girl stood unmoving as if the water had frozen her to the sidewalk.

“I’m terribly sorry, miss,” he said in the most apologetic tone he could find.  “I didn’t see you walking there.”

She slowly parted her dripping hair with her fingers, revealing a set of piercing brown eyes.

“I’m terribly sorry,” he repeated.

“What kind of moron are you?”

“Apparently the kind that drives too fast,” he said, hoping to defuse her anger.

“Oh, I see,” she said, still glaring at him.  “You’re a comedic moron.”  She began smoothing her long, raven hair with her hands, but it did little to help her appearance.

Everett bent down and picked her textbook up from off the pavement.  “Can I give you a lift somewhere?”

“I think you’ve done quite enough,” she replied, snatching it from his fingers.  She pivoted around on her heel and began marching away, leaving a trail of wet footprints behind her.             

Everett headed back to his car feeling as if this day couldn’t possibly get any worse.  As he pulled back onto the street, he noticed her walking ahead of him.  He veered off to the side once more and rolled down his window.  “Where are you going?”

She glanced to her left.  “Are you following me?”

“Well,” he said, slowing down to match her pace, “you’re kind of hard to miss.”  He suddenly felt a stabbing pain in his heart from the set of daggers that flew from her eyes.  She obviously failed to see the humor in his remark.

He watched as her short, but beautiful legs carried her over to the bus stop where she angrily planted herself down on a bench.  He pressed on the brake and stretched his arm over the back of the seat.  “Let me give you a ride.  I can get you there quicker than the bus.”

She gave him an absurd look.  “Why on earth would I get in a car with you?  I don’t even know you.  You could be a serial killer or a rapist for all I know.”

He cocked his head sideways.  “I can assure you, I’m neither of those things.”

“And I’m just supposed to believe you, is that it?”

“I’m Everett Harrington,” he said, offering her his best smile.  “The jerk that ruined your day.”

The corners of her mouth twitched.  “Well, you’re damn right about that,” she said, standing up.

He got out of his car and opened the door for her.  “Where can I drop you?”

“Woodham Way.  It’s south of here.  Do you know it?”

“Yes,” he replied, sliding into his seat, but it was in the opposite direction in which he was headed.  He checked his watch before pulling away.

“Are you late for something?”

“Not anymore,” he answered, making a right at the light.

“Well, don’t blame me.  This is your own bloody fault.  If you had been paying more attention, none of this would have happened.”

He turned to look at her.  “Did I say anything about it being your fault?”

“You didn’t have to.  I know your type,” she said arrogantly.

“My type?”

“Yes.”

“What’s my type?”

“You’re a man, aren’t you?”

“You don’t know the first thing about me,” he said, feeling his jaw tighten.

“I know enough.”  She wrapped her fingers around the ends of her hair and squeezed, sending a stream of rainwater down on his custom leather interior.

Everett gripped the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white.  “Can you please not do that in here?”

“Would you prefer that I leave it in my hair?”

“I would prefer,” he said, trying to control his voice, “that you not do it on my seats.”

“Fine,” she muttered, dropping her hands.

“I didn’t catch your name,” he said after a drought of silence.

“That’s because I didn’t give it to you.”

Everett stifled a sigh.  This was shaping up to be a banner day.  As they drove towards the edge of town, he couldn’t help noticing her wet blouse.  It clung to her in the front, accentuating everything underneath it.  She glanced sideways at him, making him jerk his eyes back onto the road.

“Were you looking at my naughty bits?”

“No.”

“Yes, you were.”

“No.”

“You’re lying.”

“You looked cold,” he said, realizing she wasn’t going to let this drop.

“Well of course I’m cold, you idiot!  You and your bloody car just gave me a soaking!”

 He pressed on the accelerator and changed lanes, wishing he had just left her standing on the sidewalk.  He reached into the backseat and grabbed his blazer.  “Here.”

She draped it over the front of her, tucking her arms inside.

“You’re welcome,” he said flatly.

“Oh, I beg your pardon.  Thank you for giving me something to cover my shivering body with.”

The light up ahead turned yellow and Everett gunned the engine intending to run it, but the car in front of him decided to stop.  He stomped hard on the brake, bringing the car to a screeching halt.

“Christ!” she said, putting her hands against the dash as she fell forward.  “Is this your first day driving?”

“Is this your first day interacting with people?” he retorted.

She gave him an icy stare before turning her eyes back to the road.

Everett watched the light intently.  The second it changed he floored the accelerator, smiling inwardly as her head snapped against the back of the seat.

“Eblan,” she muttered under her breath.

He didn’t know what that meant, but was fairly certain it wasn’t a compliment.  Figuring it was pointless trying to make further conversation with her, he decidedly gave up.

He began to focus instead on how he could make up his meeting.  It was a meeting in which six weeks of planning had gone into, and one that he had been more than ready for.  It was also a meeting that he would be at right now if his secretary had remembered to tell him that it had been moved up an hour.

“Natalia Nisselovich,” she said, interrupting his thoughts.

“What?”

“That’s my name.”

“Is that Russian?”

She smiled at him, revealing just how beautiful she was, wet hair and all.  “Turn up here,” she said, pointing.

He made a left at the next street.

“Stop at the house with the blue shutters.”

He pulled into the driveway and got out to open the door for her.

“Thanks for the ride,” she said, handing him back his jacket.

“It was the least I could do.”

“Yes, it was.”

He smiled in spite of himself.  “Would you like to go out for coffee, sometime?”

She turned and began making her way up the drive.  “You know where I live.”

He leaned against the side of his car as he watched her walking away.  “So, is that a yes?” he called out.

She looked over her shoulder and flashed him another smile.

Did you enjoy reading this?  You can purchase a copy of Seasons of Darkness through Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Seasons-Darkness-Belinda-G-Buchanan-ebook/dp/B00EK9JLUC

Seasons of Darkness Final Kindle cover

Thanks for stopping by!

Character Interview with Drs. Ethan and Jessica Harrington from After All Is Said And Done

Interview with characters Ethan and Jessica Harrington from After All Is Said And Done by Belinda G. Buchanan

I blew into town, literally, on the heels of a summer squall.  The drive from Bar Harbor had started out warm and sunny, but quickly changed to torrential rain and winds as I arrived in the small town of Serenity Harbor.  I pulled into the parking lot of McKay’s Bar and Grill and said a quick prayer of thanks for living through the hurricane.  Okay, I might be exaggerating a bit, but it was a very bad storm.

The rain had diminished to a steady downpour as I got out of my car.  Using my purse for an umbrella, I hurried into the restaurant.

I quickly found the ladies room and went inside to repair the damage.  I checked my reflection in the mirror and grimaced at the horror.  I did my best to fix it with the tools I had brought with me, which consisted of rewetting drops and a tube of lipstick.  Maybe the color on my lips would take the attention off of my wilted hair.

Going with the assumption that my idol, Robin Meade would never let flat hair get in the way of an interview, I girded myself with pretend confidence and strode out of the restroom.

The couple I was to interview was already here and sitting  in the back of the restaurant.  As I drew near their table, the two of them seemed to be having an argument. But it was being done in such a way, that it was going unnoticed by the people around them.

I stepped up to the table and cleared my throat.  “Dr. Harrington?”

The man stood up and extended his hand.  “Ms. Buchanan?”

“It’s very nice to meet you,” I said, giving him my best smile.

He turned slightly.  “This is my wife, Jessica.”

She remained seated.  “Ms. Buchanan.”

“Please, sit down.”  Dr. Harrington gestured.

“Thank you both for agreeing to meet with me,” I said.

The waiter came to take our drink order.

“I’ll have water with lemon,” Jessica said.

I nodded.  “I’ll have the same.”

“Scotch and water,” Dr. Harrington said.

(Jessica suddenly cut her eyes at him.  Not sure of what I’d stepped into, I decided it would be best to start the interview.)

Me:  “Dr. Harrington, as I told you over the phone, I am doing a human interest piece for the Maine Gazette.  You are one of the doctors that operate a clinic inside the confines of the Serenity Harbor Hospital.  Can you tell me a little bit about that?”

Ethan:  “The clinic is open to those without insurance and those who cannot afford it.  We don’t turn anyone away.”

Me:  “What made you decide to open the clinic?”

Ethan:  “My partner, Dr. Sarah Williams, opened it.  It was her dream, and I am fortunate enough to be a part of it.  There are families out there who have to make a choice every month to pay their rent, or pay for their prescriptions.  We are trying to make that burden easier for them.”

(As he spoke, I admittedly lost myself in his dark eyes and soft voice.)

Me:  “Jessica, what are your thoughts on the clinic?  Do you agree with what your husband has said?”

Jessica:  “Yes,” she said, reaching over and placing her hand on top of his.  “I think it’s very important.  His type of work is under appreciated and almost always goes unnoticed.  But I am very proud of Ethan.  He’s doing a wonderful thing.”

Me:  “And, as I understand it, you are a doctor as well?”

Jessica:  “I’m a cardiologist.”

Me:  “Well, I’m guessing that you both must lead very busy lives.”

Ethan:  “That’s probably an understatement.”  He laughed.

Me:  “How long have the two of you been married?”

Jessica:  “Almost three years.”

Me:  “How did you meet?”

Ethan:  “We met at the hospital.  It was my second day when I was introduced to her.”  He paused a moment to look at her.  A small smile spread over his face.  “It was love at first sight.”

Me:  “Do you have any children?”

(The smile suddenly ran away from Ethan’s face.  He picked up his glass and drained it.)

Jessica:  “We have a baby boy.”

Me:  “How do the two of you balance work, parenthood, and time for each other?  Or do you?”

(There was a long pause from both of them.)

Jessica:  “We just have to make time for all those things.  There are some days we don’t see each other at all, but when we do, we try to make the most of it.”  She flipped her golden locks off her shoulders.

Me:  “Still it must be hard.  I would think that something’s got to give.”

Jessica:  “Spending time together is probably the one thing we don’t get to do enough of.  It can be difficult at times.”  She looked over at her husband.

(Ethan held up his glass to signal the waitress.)

Me:  “Ethan, do you agree?”

Ethan:  “I think the one thing that’s helped us overcome this obstacle is that we were already in our professions when we married each other.  I don’t think we had unrealistic expectations from each other.”

Me:  “Such as?”

(The waitress brought Ethan another round.  He eagerly picked it up and took a long swallow.  Jessica watched him for a moment and then looked at me.  Realizing I was still waiting for an answer, she cleared her throat.)

Jessica:  “The fact that we can’t always spend time with each other doesn’t mean we love one another less.  It just makes it better when we do get to see each other.”

Me:  “What is the one thing you love the most about one another?”

Jessica:  “His dedication as a doctor.”

Me:  “And, Ethan?  What do you love most about your wife?”

Ethan:  “Her honesty.”

(Jessica’s face flushed and she looked away for a moment.  Tension quickly filled the area like a dense fog.  I took that as my cue to leave.  I thanked them both for their time and began walking away.  Just before I went out I turned back to look.  They seemed to be embroiled in another argument.)

After All Is Said And Done is available through Amazon & Barnes & Noble

You can also read the first 5 chapters of After All Is Said And Done, along with 5 other great books in First Five Chapters – Vol. 2

Book 1 – Emerald Barnes – Piercing Through The Darkness
Book 2 – Belinda G. Buchanan – After All Is Said And Done
Book 3 – Lorhainne Eckhart – The Forgotten Child
Book 4 – Katheryn Lane – The Royal Sheikh
Book 5 – Tarek Refaat – Ruptured
Book 6 – Collette Scott – If We Dare to Dream

available on amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/First-Chapters-Volume-ebook/dp/B007LNW2KA

I invite you to check out these authors and their amazing books!