I am also so thrilled with the way the re-edits are going on A Walk through Fire. You’ll get so much more insight into Ash and Drew’s relationship and more of Ash and Esther. Here is a little tidbit of what to expect:
“Hello, Esther.” He decided to treat her as the great lady she was and picked up her hand and kissed it. She blushed but kept his hand in hers, giving it a gentle squeeze as they walked to the back of the house. He listened to her soft voice, so quiet only he could hear. Drew had already entered the kitchen with the food.
“I’m so happy you came for a visit. I knew as soon as I met you, what a special man you were.”
“Me?” He laughed nervously, running a hand through his hair. “I’m nothing. No one special.”
She stopped and turned to him putting her hand on his arm. He shook slightly but didn’t pull away.
“Don’t ever say that about yourself. You’re not a nobody. Look at all the good you’re doing. Working with Drew, helping those poor people. Would a nobody do that?”
Admiring the tenacity in her voice, Ash still didn’t buy it. Years spent listening to his foster father hurl insults, beating him down, telling him how worthless he was, ingrained a sense of self he learned to hide from others but not himself. He could pretend from daybreak until nightfall, but when he was alone with only the scars of his past, Ash knew the truth.
“I’d have to be a heartless person not to help. I do what I can.”
Huffing out a disapproving breath, Esther gave his hand another squeeze. “I know what I see. And I’ve never been wrong.”
With those enigmatic words, she led him into a kitchen, fragrant with the smells of fried onions, garlic and delicious cooking. Ash’s stomach growled and he started, embarrassed by the sound.
“Don’t worry, that sound is music to my grandmother’s ears, right, Nana?
Ash shot Drew a look. “I’m not hungry.”
Drew snorted. “Three words you are never allowed to utter in this house.”
Having tied an apron over her dress, Esther bustled over to him and pointed at the table. “Sit down and I’ll bring you over a plate. I have a roast that just came out of the oven and some mashed potatoes.”
This was all too homey for him; this loving, family togetherness made him antsy. It reminded Ash of the great, yawning divide between himself and Drew. Ash could play pretend in this world for only so long, before he grew tired of beating down the devil inside him and gave into the darkness inside him.
“I think I should go. You and Drew can have a nice visit. You don’t need a stranger intruding.”
“I read somewhere that strangers are friends you haven’t met yet. I’ve lived too long and lost too much already to let people disappear from my life.” Once again Esther touched him, placing a hand on his arm. He struggled not to break out in a sweat or shake her off, and bit down hard on the inside of his cheek to feel the pain, welcoming it to ground him.
“Please, Asher. Join us. You can never have too many friends.”
She echoed Drew’s earlier words. Ash discovered where Drew’s innate goodness came from. And where he might have been able to brush off Drew, he couldn’t refuse Esther’s plea. Something about her had touched a part of him he thought had shriveled up and died years ago.
“Okay. For a little while.” He sat, Drew taking a chair directly across from him at the round wooden table.