To celebrate the launch of our first novel, ARCHER on Amazon, it seems only right to offer you a sneak peek into his world. 

ARCHER (Leaves of a Maple #1)


I sit on the porch nursing my beer, smoke rested between my lips. Inhaling the bitter taste of nicotine into my lungs, I try to calm the nervous energy making my chest tight. I’m trained for war zones; for the most dangerous environments, yet sitting in my own home, I feel sick, nauseated. I’m a mess. I’m jumpy. I’m skittish. 

Checking my watch, it’s already 4:56pm and I know Belle’ll be home soon. My chest tightens with that thought and I massage the space with my palm, trying uselessly to ease the pain. 

I need another drink. 

I switch out the cigarette hanging loosely from my lips, for my beer and drink deeply, finishing the bottle without taking a breath. Throwing the empty onto the pile of the others, it hits with a deafening clang. The sound ricochets through my entire body, vibrating through my feet before travelling up my spine, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. My heart races at an unhealthy level and I start sweating almost instantly. I take another deep drag of my smoke and wait for the nicotine to steady me before leaning down to grab another beer from the carton at my side. 

They’ve long since warmed, the box damp with the condensation falling from the glass. Opening the bottle, I flick the cap along the porch, adding to the scattering of tops decorating the lacquered wood. I take in the mess I’ve made in the short hours I’ve been here. Empty bottles of beer surround my feet, bottle caps scattered in every direction, cigarette ash and butts fallen, disregarded at my feet. I should care enough to clean it up before Belle gets home. But I don’t. Don’t have the energy or the want to care. 

I don’t know how she’ll take my presence. Excited that I’m home? Pissed that I didn’t tell her I was coming? I think I’d prefer her to be pissed, it’ll give me the wall I need built up to hide that I’m a shell of the man I was before I left. I haven’t even caught a glimpse of her yet but I already know that I don’t know how to just be anymore. I feel completely detached from myself and I can’t bring myself to be relieved that I’m home. Being here scares me, freaks the ever-living shit out of me. I need, absolutely fucking need to feel something when I see her. It’s the only glimmer of hope I have, that seeing her again will bring something back into my soul. I need that more than I need my next breath. I feel fucking dead inside and I need Belle to bring some spark of life to my rotting soul. 

I watch her car pull into the street and my heart accelerates to point of pain. I light another smoke to occupy my hands, to busy myself with something other than staring. She hasn’t noticed me yet and jumping from her car, she looks ridiculous. A handbag, far too big to be necessary, hangs painfully from her forearm. A giant, colorful bunch of flowers held tightly in her other hand. Her face is hidden, the flowers obstructing my view. I watch as she works, with considerable effort, to lock her car while keeping all items balanced with precision. In another life, I would have found amusement in her wackiness. In the needless act to balance it all at the same time when she could easily make two trips, but then again, that’s not my Belle’s style. My Belle; my heart aches with the sentiment, if only she knew how worthless belonging to someone like me now was. 


Jenna McIntyre