The story is about love, trust and honesty in a situation that very few people ever have to deal with.
I am only a couple of weeks from being ready to sent the first draft out to Beta readers, so I have set the release date for 20th May - you can click on the cover image below to add it to you TBR on Goodreads as well as enter the competition to win a print copy.
Below is a short excerpt from the current draft - enjoy!
Alter by Lilliana Anderson - VERY rough draft of Chapter One
“Hey babe, I thought you’d be at work,” Eric Dundas murmured lowly next to the ear of his long-time girlfriend Mia Smyth. He’d been sent into the 7-11 by his boss to grab a couple of meat pies and chocolate milks for them to have before they started off to their first job.
Mia spun around quickly, looking slightly surprised and perhaps a little cautious. It seemed to take her a moment longer than usual to respond happily to her boyfriend’s attentions.
“Um… shouldn’t you be at work…honey?” she replied cautiously.
Eric laughed and kissed her on the forehead, his light brown hair falling forward to tickle against her skin. “Very funny, I am at work – Baz is outside in the ute. I’m just getting our breakfast before we go to our first job… and since when do you call me ‘honey’?”
“Oh, uh, I’m just trying it out – do you like it?”
“I don’t know, you’ll have to try it again later. I’ll call you when I’m finished.”
With that, Eric leaned in and gave Mia a quick kiss before paying for his food and winking at her before he left the shop.
Touching her lips lightly with her fingertips Mia smiled to herself, when Eric kissed her she felt a bolt of energy flood through her body, it was amazing and she wanted more.
Rushing toward the automatic sliding doors in a bid to catch him, Mia called out, “Wait!”
Eric stopped at the door of the ute he was about to enter and looked back at her, a smile broke over his face as he watched her racing up to him.
“Come on Eric mate, get in the car!” the driver of the ute advertising Harrington’s plumbing service called through the window.
“Wait up a sec, here take these,” Eric said as he passed the pies and bottles of milk through the open window before turning his full attention toward his girlfriend.
“Kiss me properly,” she said a little breathlessly as she placed her hands on his firm chest and looked up at him, her eyes dancing happily.
Eric was only too happy to comply, cupping her face with his hands as he brought his mouth to hers and gave her the passionate kiss she was hoping for. Her head spun as he pulled away and grinned at her, slipping his arms around her waist and holding her tightly to him.
“That was unexpected,” he said, his voice a little husky.
Mia smiled as she leant against the hard planes of his body. “Don’t call me after work, just meet me at Sophia’s at seven, we’ll have dinner – my treat.”
Eric’s eyebrows shot up slightly as he wondered what had gotten into his girlfriend, they had been together since they were in high school and while he loved her and enjoyed his time with her – she wasn’t normally this into public displays of affection, nor did she make spur of the moment dinner plans.
A smile crept over his tanned face as his heartbeat quickened slightly. “Alright, I’ll meet you there around 7,” he conceded, giving her another kiss and risking a quick tap on her bum as he made a move to climb into the ute.
Mia surprised him again by letting out a little yelp but grinning at him flirtatiously as she twirled a piece of her long wavy golden blonde hair around the finger of her right hand. He didn’t take his eyes off her until she was out of sight, there was something different about her today – whatever it was, he sure as hell knew he liked it!
Standing in front of the classroom, Mia waved her hands to signal that her students needed to look at her. All students’ eyes fixed expectantly upon her except for one pair. She walked toward the boy and stood in front of his desk until he finally looked up from his book.
“Thank you”, she signed, before moving back to the front of the class to begin.
Mia loved her work, she taught history and art at a special high school for deaf children in Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs. She was fluent in sign language and had been since she was a teen herself when her best friend, Louise, had developed a severe case of chicken pox that resulted in her losing almost 90 percent of her hearing.
Most of the time she found the kid’s she taught wonderful and eager learners, but occasionally she came across a student with a huge chip on their shoulder, one such student was Corey Blackburn. He lost the vast majority of his hearing in a car accident when he was thirteen and had been very resistant to learning Auslan well enough to fully participate in the deaf community – preferring to rely on the tiny bit of hearing he has left or not listen at all.
Mia spoke loud and clear as she signed for the few children with limited hearing but primarily, she communicated via signing.
“Corey, would you like to put your book away please?”
Corey’s response was that of a glare, however he did comply and slid his book into his still open backpack at his feet.
“Thank you,” Mia signed before beginning her lesson. They were currently learning about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were forcibly taken from their families between 1909 and 1969 by the Australian Government called the ‘Stolen Generation’.
“Can anyone tell me one of the reasons the government used to justify the taking of these children?” Mia asked her students. Quite a few hands flew up and Mia selected a girl called Callie, signing her name so that the other students knew to turn to they could watch her answer.
“Because white Australian’s didn’t understand Aboriginal culture and thought they were protecting them?” she offered.
“That’s right. ‘Child protection’ was touted as the number one reason as to why Aboriginal children were taken away from their families. Anyone else?” Mia asked, looking around the room and feeling surprised when Corey raised his hand.
“They were trying to breed them out.” he put in, not waiting to be called on.
Mia was so surprised by his participation in the class that she didn’t want to pull him up on not signing his answer so she signed what he said to the class for him continuing with, “That’s correct, Corey. There are documents that tell us that they felt that if they took the mixed race children into white families, then eventually the Aboriginal race would die out entirely and become fully assimilated within the white culture.”
The rest of the lesson turned into a wonderful debate about the moral ramifications of what the government did to those children and a promise that if they could get permission, she would bring in a copy of ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ for them to watch during class next week.
When the lights flashed to signal that class was over Mia watched Corey with hidden interest as he gathered his things and got up to leave, waiting for Callie before he started for the door. Mia smiled to herself when she saw him sign a couple of words, feeling so glad that he was finally starting to come around – all it took was his interest in a pretty girl.