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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Town Without Pity

Gene Pitney got it right: "It isn't very pretty what a town without pity can do." Meg Taylor suffered through her high school years in a town without pity. Now, a decade later, she is returning only to help a friend. From the opening pages of RIDE THE RAINBOW HOME, here's a glimpse of her love/hate relationship with Rainbow Rock, Arizona.

Meg left the rain behind as she turned north from Holbrook toward Rainbow Rock, nervously drumming the dash. Would people even know her? The slim, poised businesswoman she saw in her mirror every morning was a far cry from the chubby, awkward teen known as Peggy Taylor, or behind her back, as Piggy. Her ivory skin was clear now, her figure trim, her glasses replaced by contacts that intensified the blue of her eyes, and her weight down by thirty pounds. She'd changed her long, limp hair to short, chic curls that had darkened almost to black, but none of that had quieted her insecurity.

Brooding thoughts evaporated like the summer rain as she crested the ridge. Rainbow Rock lay before her, nestled in the bowl of a desert valley. Thunderclouds still rolled along the layered sandstone bluffs that had given the town its name, freckling their vivid colors in light and shadow, but the sky above the valley floor was clearing. Meg pulled onto the overlook and sat staring down on the town. For years she'd struggled to forget everything about Rainbow Rock, fighting so hard she had even forgotten the good things, like the rugged spectacle of the painted hills and the peace that followed a summer storm.

Peggy Taylor, Sally Williams, and Little Jimmy McAllister had been "the three musketeers," indivisible against the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or the barbed insults of the high school in-crowd. Meg's loyalty to those friendships had finally brought her back; it caused her to move forward now, nudging her car onto the highway. As she dropped into the valley, the clouds along the far ridge dropped a veil of shimmering rain. A shaft of sunlight struck it and burst into color, streaking the sky with a brilliant double rainbow that stretched above the distant hills like a welcome banner.

Meg shook herself to ward off a growing sense of awe. She prided herself on being sensible, not given to seeing signs and omens. It was merely a coincidence that she had returned during one of the summer's loveliest moments, and that was all it was.

Want to read more about Meg Taylor and Rainbow Rock. RIDE THE RAINBOW HOME is now available as a FREE download for Kindle, Nook, and most other platforms. You can even read it on your computer; just download at Smashwords or scribd.com. Enjoy!