#ExcerptWeek – That Darkest Place by Marcia Meara

No one else has a scheduled excerpt for this morning, so I thought it would be a good chance for me to share something a bit different with you guys. Two short scenes from my latest novel, That Darkest Place. While it is very difficult to find scenes from this book that don’t contain spoilers, I managed to include a funny one (probably my favorite little moment in the whole book, because, for the town’s premiere ladies’ man, Forrest Painter is amazingly inept when it concerns love), and a more serious one, as Jackson makes a decision guaranteed to upset his younger brother. Thanks for reading, and I hope the first one makes you smile, and the second one makes you curious.


Scene from CH 26, Already in Jeopardy, edited slightly to remove spoilers, and containing some mild profanity. Jackson Painter,  his  middle brother, Forrest, and their respective love interests are seated around the kitchen table, ready to clean up a pretty bad mess caused by the latest disaster to befall Jackson. The previous evening, Jackson had given Forrest a very stern talking to about Forrest’s fear of proposing to Bailey Hunt.  Jackson had flatly ordered Forrest to go straight to Bailey’s house, get down on one knee, ask the question, and not to come home again until he’d done so. But Jackson has just noticed that Bailey is not wearing the ring Forrest has had in his pocket for two weeks. This is what follows, told from Forrest’s point of view.

Excerpt 1 from CH 26 of That Darkest Place

Rising, Jackson spoke to Mel and Bailey. “If you two will excuse us a minute, I have something I need to show Forrest. Help yourself to breakfast and more coffee, Bailey. There’s enough for all of us.”

Jackson crunched his way down the hall to his bedroom, not glancing back even once. With a sigh of dread, Forrest followed, but as soon as he reached Jackson’s room, he knew it would have been safer if he’d stayed where he was.

His brother’s arms were crossed over his chest, brows drawn so close together, they had essentially become a monobrow. His whisper was harsh. “I can’t help noticing there’s no ring on Bailey’s finger, Forrest. Care to tell me why that is? Because I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t be here right now if she’d turned you down.”

Forrest’s tongue felt glued to the roof of his mouth. “Well, umm ….”

“Well what? You didn’t ask her?”

He shook his head. “No, but—”

“Don’t give me ‘but.’ Didn’t you get what I was telling you last night?”

“Yes. I did get it, Jackson. I might be a damn chicken, but I’m not totally stupid! And I was gonna ask her, but—”

“There you go again.”

Jackson scrubbed his hand over his face, and Forrest knew he’d disappointed him. He hated how that felt, especially when it really wasn’t his fault.

“Listen. I was gonna ask her as soon as I got to her house, but—I mean, then—we , ah, well, we kinda got distracted.”

“She twisted your arm again, I guess?”

“Sort of. It was more like we were both twistin’ each other’s arms, and before you know it, we were in bed again. I figured I’d ask her right afterward, except there wasn’t one.”

“Wasn’t one what? An after? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means we were hornier than we were hungry. We never left her bed, and after the third or fourth time, we fell asleep.”

Jackson’s eyebrows leapt for the ceiling, and his mouth dropped open. “Third or fourth, Forrest? Fourth?”

Sure he was on safer ground now, Forrest nodded. “Well, yeah. You know how it is, right?”

Mouth still agape, Jackson finally shook his head. “No, I don’t know how that is. I’m pretty sure I’d remember an evening like that, no matter how long ago it was. Four times, that’s what you’re saying?”

“Yeah, I think so. I mean, who counts? But the point is, you don’t stop in the middle of something like that, even to propose. I figured I’d do it later. And then we fell asleep. And then you called. And then, well … you know the rest. But I’m gonna ask her. I thought hard about what you said, and you were right. I can’t afford not to go for it, not if this is what I really want, and it is.”

He had no idea why Jackson was still staring at him, but after a long moment, his brother’s expression changed from stunned and skeptical, to affectionately amazed, and as Jackson turned to go back to the kitchen, Forrest heard him mutter, “Son of a bitch. Four!”


Scene 2 from CH 26, Already in Jeopardy. This one takes place after Jackson and Forrest have returned to the kitchen able.

Excerpt #2 from CH 26 of That Darkest Place

Jackson had hoped to talk to Forrest alone first, but no postponing this decision now. He dropped into his seat, dug out a breakfast sandwich, and popped the lid off one of the cups of coffee, aware that three sets of eyes watched his every move. Taking a long swallow of the now-cool coffee, he nodded at Bailey. “That’s my plan. Forrest, I hate to do this to you, but I don’t have a choice, here. I’m moving out.”

Forrest exploded out of his chair. “No! You don’t have to do that, Jackson.”

“You know I do. Please don’t make this any harder than it already is.”

Forrest sank back down.

“Me being here at night is dangerous. That beautiful big truck out there is a neon sign, advertising to the whole town that I’m home. It’s putting a bullseye on this apartment, on me, and worst of all, on you.”

His voice dropped an octave. “I can’t be the reason anyone else dies, Forrest. Please tell me you understand that?”

Struggling with the obvious truth, his brother’s protests slowed. Stricken and miserable, he grudgingly gave in. “It’s not fair. We’re just gettin’ our lives back to normal again, and now you’re leavin’? I hate this.”

“I’m not leaving. But I’m not going to sleep here every night and let a crazy idiot take potshots at us. What’s next? Molotov cocktails? Pipe bombs? I can’t do this, Forrest. I don’t want to die at this guy’s hands, and I damn well don’t want anyone else to, either.”

“What are you plannin’ to do, then?”

“Still working on that, but I figure I can stay at different motels for a while, at least. Maybe down in DeBary or Sanford. Give the police a chance to see if they can catch this ass. It doesn’t have to be forever. Surely he’ll slip up somewhere.”

Frustration close to boiling over, Forrest glared at the table. Bailey reached for his hand, the love in her eyes, obvious. “Forrest, he’s right. If Jackson can’t be found, he can’t be attacked. And that’s safer for both of you.”

Unconvinced, Forrest scowled. “Be damned if I want my brother livin’ out of a suitcase at a cheap motel, because some lunatic is determined to hurt him. It’s not right!”

Jackson laid a hand on his brother’s arm. “No, it’s not right. It’s not fair to either of us. But for now, let’s be careful. We’ll hope for answers soon, so they can put this guy away.”

Mel cleared her throat. “Excuse me? Could I suggest something? I might have a possible solution.”


Marcia Meara, Author

This is me with my son’s dog, Happy. There are umpteen bios of me around this site, so I’m not going to repeat any of them here. Let’s cut to the chase. I wrote my first novel, Wake-Robin Ridge, at the age of 69, without a clue as to what I was doing. Four years and five more novels later, I’m 73, and I still don’t have a clue. And not just about writing, either. But I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had in my life, and I plan to keep on going until I fall face down on the keyboard, or forget what words are, whichever comes first. Be afraid, World. Be very afraid.

Buy That Darkest Place Here

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35 thoughts on “#ExcerptWeek – That Darkest Place by Marcia Meara

    • Thank you so much, Darlene. I have to say, Forrest makes me laugh a lot in this book. He really grew up in Finding Hunter, and he’s trying so hard to understand what this thing called “love” is. But he’s such a bumbler. And I loved him shocking his brother with a comment he didn’t even give a second thought to. In the context of the rest of the story, I think it works pretty well. (Hopefully).

      You know, someone said this could be read as a standalone, and I guess the main plot points would work, but without the previous books to tell you who these people really are, it wouldn’t be the same. At least, that’s my opinion. But I’m one of those who would never, ever start in the middle of a series, no matter how complete each book was. At least, not knowingly.

      And now that you are wondering, you know what that means, right???? Hehehehehe.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Darlene. I really appreciate that! 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you enjoyed them! Thanks for letting me know. This is Book 3 of my Riverbend series, and while it could be read as a standalone, I think it works far better to have met some of these characters in the previous two books. Otherwise, understanding their complicated relationships would be trickier. Now book #4 is going to feature someone brand new in the little town of Riverbend, and though old friends will pop up here and there, it will not rely on as much back history as this one does.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment today, and I hope you have a chance to check out the goings-on in the sleepy little town of Riverbend, where the most dangerous animal in the swamp walks on two legs. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great excerpts, Marcia. I have all the Riverbend books on my Kidle. I’ve read one already and looking forward to the next two. I was slightly worried about reading an excerpt from book 3 before I’d read book 2 but you’ve been clever to aoid spoilers while enticing us in!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tried not to do anything that would give away too much, Mary, and I hope by the time you’re able to get to #3, you’ll have forgotten even this little bit. 😀 (I know *I* would have, but not everyone’s mind is the sieve that mine is becoming.) 😀 And I can’t wait to see what you think of Finding Hunter and this one, when you have a chance to read them. 😀 Thanks so much!! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Glad it made you curious, Kass. Hope it made you smile, too. And if you do get a chance to read it soon, I really hope you enjoy it. It was a VERY difficult book to write, for several reasons, but I really had to let the OTHER two Painter brothers have their day. The next Riverbend book will be very, very different, and will introduce several new characters. But first, I must finish up The Emissary and publish it, and then I have a little boy in the mountains about to stumble upon a whole new adventure for him and his new family. Since Rabbit thinks Mac hung the moon, you can expect the two of them to be thick as thieves in the new one.

      OH, soooooooooo many stories to tell!!! I need to keep writing until I’m about 115 to even make a dent!! 😀


    • That’s so kind of you to say, Staci. I feel the same way, thankfully, since they now live in my head and talk to me all the time. Like Rabbit, who never, ever stops sharing his unique view of life with me. 😀 My head is getting more and more crowded, but in the best way! 😀 So happy you enjoyed the series, so far. And can’t wait for you to read the spinoff! 😀 ❤


    • Thank you so much, Felicia! I’m so pleased you want to read these books, and I hope you will enjoy them. The folks in Riverbend are warm, funny, eccentric, possibly murderous, often messed up, but usually quite nice, underneath it all. Hope meeting some of them is fun for you. Be forewarned. You never know what to expect with this bunch. 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Possibly murderous” – HA! I love it! 😀

        I love fantasy and paranormal stories, Marcia, but sometimes the best stories are about people being weirdly flawed and human… and fun! 😉

        Definitely looking forward to reading the series.

        Liked by 1 person

        • If you want a few things a bit spookier, that would be my mountain series, Wake-Robin Ridge, “where ghosts walk, ancient legends abound, and things still go bump in the night.” 😀 My theory is, Riverbend doesn’t need any of that, because the people there are weird enough, all on their own. 😀 😀 😀

          Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the excerpts, Mae. Thanks! Forrest Painter always makes me laugh. Except when he’s heartbroken, of course.

      The photo is the same one from the top right of the page. 😀 And I made the bio up as I was posting this, so you are right. You’ve never seen it before. I got tired of posting the same one over and over. 😉 So glad it made you smile. My work here is done!! ‘Nite!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Balroop. I’m glad they intrigued you. I don’t do graphic violence (or sex scenes) in my books, though I will tell you exactly what has happened. But I won’t make you suffer through pain with the victim of any crime, preferring for you to find out afterward. I can’t say there are no scary parts in the first Wake-Robin Ridge book, though the second two are very different. More “spooky,” less scary. The first Riverbend book has a serial killer running amok, but you don’t witness his actual crimes. I’d say read the descriptions on Amazon and let those be your guide, if you decide you’d like to read them. I do also have a chapbook of poetry you might enjoy. I featured one during this #ExcerptWeek here: https://marciamearawrites.com/2017/07/31/excerptweek-poem-from-summer-magic-by-marcia-meara/ And thanks for your kind comments and interest, Balroop! So glad you joined us this time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am just getting to reading this now as it has been a busy weekend. Wow, that is some fine writing. And I really like these characters. I will be checking all your work out more thoroughly as time allows. That is the best bio blurb as well; it is inspiring to know that you are being so productive and enjoying every minute of it. This was a great awakening, being part of your excerpt week, and seeing so many fine works. Best of luck to everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Deanna. I’m very glad you enjoyed the excerpts, and the characters. They are my constant companions these days, so I’m happy *I* like them, too. 😀 It was lovely to have you here as part of #ExcerptWeek, and I’m really pleased that you enjoyed reading everyone’s work. Writers are just the best at sharing and supporting each other, and I hope you’ll visit TWS often. You never know what might be going on here. 😀

      Oh, and I made that bio up on the spot, because I was sick of seeing the other one. Maybe I’ll keep it! 😀 Thanks!


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