I am delighted to welcome Jan Sikes, (my author buddy) with her new release ‘Ghostly Interference.‘
Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.
Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?
GROWING UP IN FOSTER CARE
Rena Jett’s mother died of a drug overdose when Rena was a baby. As no relatives could be located to take her and her brother, Sam, they went into the foster care system.
I drew from my own experience of having worked for the Texas Child Protective Services for several years. There is an average of 30,000 children brought into the foster care system per year in Texas. That’s a lot! Not all foster homes are kind and loving. Not all are bad. In fact, I’d say there are more good than bad. But for my story, I needed lots of bad to develop this character.
Rena has built walls around her heart to avoid more hurt. She’s tough as nails and rides the big red Harley like a pro. She needs no one. And, now that her brother is gone, she’s even more determined to protect herself. Throughout the story, she reveals to Jag incidents that’s caused her to build this shell around herself.
“You seemed to click with Mattie and Sheila. Did you ever have a dog?”
She frowned and stiffened. “There was this little stray once. I’d sneak food out to him when I could.” Her voice broke.
After a long pause, Jag asked softly. “What happened?”
“The foster dad caught me and whipped me, then killed the dog and made me watch.” A sob caught in her throat.
“Oh,Rena.” Jag gently wiped away a stray tear. He wanted to hold her and make all the bad memories go away. “I’m so sorry.”
She sniffed. “After that, I never tried to have another dog. I do really like them though.”
Jag searched for words of comfort. The horrors she’d endured were beyond his comprehension. It didn’t seem fair that any child should have to suffer so much. And yet, under all of that, was a beautiful sweet girl just waiting to be loved and cared for. He swallowed past the lump in his throat.
“You’ll never be mistreated like that again as long as I’m alive.”
“I can damn well take care of myself. I didn’t survive all of that shit by being weak.”
“Jag, can I tell you something?”
His eyes widened. “You can tell me anything. I hope you know that.”
She looked down at the amber liquid in the bottle. “One time I was sent to this foster home over in Rigsby. They wouldn’t let Sam come with me. He’d gotten into trouble for fighting and they sent him to detention.” Her voice trailed off.
“Go on. I’m listening.” Jag slipped the pizza into the oven and sat the chips and dip on the bar.
“It was a nice house like this and I thought I’d finally landed somewhere I would be treated good. Boy, was I wrong.The foster mom locked me in a closet for hours one time because I ate a piece of cold pizza from the refrigerator.”
Jag put his arms around her from behind and murmured into her hair. “I can’t even begin to imagine all that you’ve been through. It’s no wonder you don’t trust anyone.”
She twisted around to face him. She fought to keep her voice from trembling. “I wanted so badly to have a family. Someone who gave a damn if I lived or died. But, they never came. It was just me and Sam trapped in a system that was broken in so many ways it could never be fixed.”
Have you ever had any experience with the foster care system, or known anyone who grew up in it? I’d love to hear from you!
BOOK TRAILER LINK: https://youtu.be/NHaLVSe_flI
Connect with Jan:
Thank you, Balroop, for allowing me to use your blog space to talk about my new book, Ghostly Interference!