Howdy, everyone! Today I get to be part of the launch of friend and fellow author Lisa Bilbrey's latest book release with an excerpt and a guest post. The Journey of Champions is the second in a planned four book series.
Travis McCoy thought the journey home would be the hardest choice he ever had to make. It isn’t until he finds himself walking out the door and leaving his family behind that he realizes his journey is only just beginning. Now, with only a handful of weeks until Christmas, Travis tries to find his way back home. This time, he plans on staying forever.
An hour later, Penelope parked in front of Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport. The trip had been filled with awkward conversations mixed with deafening silence. She had prattled on about what she and Max had planned for the coming week. While Travis knew it was just her way of trying to distract him, it hadn’t worked. All he could think about was how he’d miss one more of Max’s football games, how he wouldn’t be able to hear about Mr. Nickels giving too much homework or to read with him before bedtime. These were all things that he had gotten used to doing, and now he wouldn’t be able to — not until he came back, anyway.
They climbed out of the car without speaking, Travis grabbed his bags from the trunk, and they walked into the airport. Penelope stayed next to the sliding doors while he checked in for his flight and picked up his tickets. Turning back to her, he swallowed against the lump in his throat. Saying goodbye to Max had been hard, but the thought of leaving Penelope had Travis trembling.
“Well, I guess this is it,” Penelope said with a wistful sigh. She placed her hand on his chest and sniffed back her tears. “I thought I could do this without crying.”
“If you cry, I won’t be able to go,” Travis murmured.
She smiled. “Then maybe I should start sobbing.” She shifted her attention up to him. “Promise me that you’ll come home.”
“I promise,” Travis replied. “I promise to come back to you and Max. Just remember that I love you, Penelope.”
“I love you, too,” she whimpered before leaning up and brushing her lips across his. “Hurry back to me, love.”
“As fast as I can,” he whispered.
Somehow — and he wasn’t sure how — Travis managed to pull himself away from her. He fought the urge to claw at the ache in the middle of his chest. Just the few seconds that he’d already spent away from her had him rattled. How was he supposed to go a week or longer without holding her in his arms or feeling her gentle kiss?
In a daze, Travis managed to get through the security check-point and down to his gate. Settling down on one of the hard, plastic seats, he placed his elbows on his knees and rested his forehead against the palms of his hands. His stomach was in knots, and more than a few times he swallowed against the bile that had been creeping its way up his throat.
Just when he was about to hightail it to the nearest restroom, someone sat down next to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. Travis looked up, gasping when he saw Russ there.
“Didn’t think I was gonna make it before they called for our flight,” Russ chuckled before he could utter a sound.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Travis asked.
Russ smiled and shook his head. “I’m coming with you, boy. I once made the mistake of letting you go. I’ll be damned if I let it happen again. Besides, Miami is a huge part of your life, Travis. It’s time for me to see it, don’t you think?”
“But I thought you hated to fly.” Travis lifted an eyebrow in his father’s direction.
“I do,” Russ admitted. “But for you, I’m willing to give it a go. Just don’t laugh at me if I get a little scared. If people were meant to fly, God would have given us wings.”
Travis laughed. “You have my word, Dad.”
“Good,” Russ muttered, stretching his feet out in front of him.
“Dad, thank you for coming with me,” Travis said, his voice sincere. “It means a lot.”
“You’re welcome, Travis. Today is a new start for both of us — a new journey.”
Travis nodded. “The journey to forever.”
For the guest post, I asked Lisa to tell us about three things on her bucket list, and why they were on the list.
Three things on my bucket list and why they are there, huh? Well, that could be harder than I thought as there are a lot of things I want to do before I die. That’s hard to say when I’ve already accomplished something I never thought possible by getting one book published, much less seven with two more lined up in the next six months.
I suppose the top item on my bucket list is to see the day when my daughter doesn’t have to give herself insulin shots anymore. I pray that they find a cure for Diabetes in my lifetime and we’ll be able to look back and say, “She once had diabetes.” I know that’s not a realistic goal to have, but when you’ve had to sit back and watch your child whimper and cry because for the fifth or sixth time that day they’re having to stick themselves with a needle, you’d understand. She’s amazingly brave and strong, but there is only so much a child can handle. So, yeah, finding a cure for Diabetes would be on top of my list.
The second item on my bucket list is to go to Hawaii. I fell in love with the islands when I was writing Angel’s Heart and would love to go there myself and get a firsthand view of the amazing places I wrote about. I tried to convince my husband that I should be able to go for research purposes, but he didn’t like that idea — especially since it meant he’d have to stay home with the kids!
Last, I want to get a tattoo. I don’t have one yet, though I really want one. For me, it would be a permanent reminder of my accomplishment. What I want is very simple. On my shoulder, leading down my back, I want a butterfly, resting on a vine. Along the vine would be small flowers that would represent each of my books. One day, I will make it happen — that’s a guarantee.
About the Author:
Lisa Bilbrey is a mom of three and has been married to her high school sweetheart since 1996.
Finding a love in the written word, she started writing as a way to express herself. From the first word she wrote, she'd found her heart and soul. Always willing to learn, she's spends much of her time trying to improve as a storyteller.
In late 2011, Lisa opened Renaissance Romance Publishing with Michele Richard and Laura Braley.
Where you can find Lisa:
Congratulations, and best of luck on your newest release, Lisa!