Books by Best-selling Author Melanie Wells
My Soul to Keep - Excerpts
“WHEN DID I GIVE up on certainty?
At what hour on what day did I realize that you never get to know the answers? Especially not the juicy ones?
It was a misguided affectation, I realize, my little preoccupation with verity. One that served no more purpose than a set of wisdom teeth or a manual typewriter — fitting, perhaps, in some other millennium, but out of place if not archaic in a postmodern world of news cycles, reality shows, and million-dollar half-minute Super Bowl ads. I never saw it as dangerous, though. Of course, that was back when I was young and dumb and blissfully wafting through my days as though nothing sinister was sharing the air with me.
But the air is indeed crowded. And the other inhabitants rarely announce their presence, much less their intentions. Which sends the rest of us spinning around in unexpected directions, bumping into invisible barricades and teetering off into unseen ravines.
Eventually, of course, if you have any spunk at all, you right yourself and you find your bearings. But just when you think you’ve spotted the lodestar, you discover that what you thought was true north is neither. That truth in the universe is the most elusive of the elements. And that if you’re dumb enough to go looking for it, you’re liable to get smacked in the face by one of the legions of liars you’re trying to outwit.
My own personal liar — the one assigned to me by some force out there in the ether — is named Peter Terry. He’s a nasty, ratfink bottomdweller — a mind-stalking, soul-dissing prevaricator of the first degree. He lies, cheats, and steals, amusing himself by shoplifting, pickpocketing, breaking and entering, or outright armed robbery.
I thought I’d seen the worst of him. But with beings like Peter Terry, I’ve learned, low expectations cannot possibly be low enough.”
“It wasn’t that I couldn’t allow myself to think about it. I was just missing the circuity to comprehend it. I couldn’t get my brain to imagine where Nicholas might be or who might have him. It was as though the passageway, the avenue, was just blocked.
It wasn’t until the middle of the night — 3:30 a.m., to be precise — that the passageway gaped open, an empty hole of the blackest of black, smelling of rotting eggs and death. Peter Terry stood right there in the doorway, bald and emaciated, his pasty white skin looking pickled and lifeless. He wore khaki shorts and a white polo shirt.
He walked over to the bed, pulled an ashen hand out of his pocket and tossed something heavy onto the bed.
“For you, Dylan,” he said with a snide smile. “And we begin again.”
He turned and walked away from me, showing the bloodstain on the back of his shirt — an ancient badge of dishonor. A gash running blade to blade, where wings had long-ago been ripped away.
I looked down to see a snake writhing on the quilt — and then woke with a lurch to a dark, cozy room, Liz breathing quietly behind me.”
My History with Peter Terry
“I first met Peter Terry — the pasty-pale misanthrope with the ugly gash in his back, blade to blade — a couple of years ago. It was a hot August afternoon at a cold spring-fed pool in Austin. He walked right up and introduced himself to me in broad daylight, setting off a storm of gale-force chaos that ripped the roof off my life in no time flat, just like a Texas tornado in the summertime.
That day I’d received a groovy silver necklace, my long-buried mother’s wedding ring, and a full-on blast of terror, uncertainty, and dread. In ensuing months, I’d seen my career almost scrubbed off its foundations and my house infested with flies and various other vermin. I’d also managed to get myself dragged into the wake of a couple of tragic, ambiguous suicides and the bloody murder of a young girl — a talented but lost college student — by a hapless loser in Wolverine work boots.
After all that, you’d think I’d be onto Peter Terry. And yet somehow I’d let myself get caught by surprise again — flatfooted and off my guard. As nasty as I knew him to be, I never expected him to start kidnapping kids. Much less a sweet, funny little boy with nothing to protect him but a few knock-kneed women, two rabbits, and a staple gun.”
Peter Terry’s Territory
“The thing with Peter Terry is, his booty isn’t cash or Social Security numbers or flat-screen TVs. What he’s after is your mind. And your soul if he can get it. But honestly, your soul is just the bonus round. His eye is on your serenity. Your peace. Your sense of safety in the world. If he can lift those precious little items off you and toss them onto his pile, he’s pulled off a job unlike anything you’ve ever read about over a morning cup of coffee or seen at a ten-dollar movie.
Naturally, intensive care is Peter Terry territory. You sit there, staring at your loved one, in the company of strangers who are also staring at their loved ones. And you’re surrounded by the architecture of suffering — monitors, pumps, bags, needles, tubes. You can feel the skin being ripped off your illusions. Flesh covers veins. Veins web through organs and muscles and bones. They’re all stuck together with the fragile, electric sinews of sensation, of movement. It’s the perfect disguise, this farce of wholeness.
And the parts, they all break so easily. When you’re sitting there, staring at your loved one, the one with the broken parts, you can’t believe any of it ever works at all.
And then, as you pace between beeps and alarms and rhythmic whooshes of air, you hear the whispering and the murmuring. You peek around the curtain, whose rosaries are fingered with confident intention, where heads are bowed, where hearts are turned upward because it’s the only possible option. And the atmosphere of hope in the place is over-powering.
Then you realize hope is all there is. There’s nothing else to live on.
The rest is just parts and a jump-start.”
The Hospital Visit
“By the time I stepped out of the hospital that evening, the parking lot was emptying out for the day, and the air smelled fresh and wet. Huge, puffy clouds were stacking high in a burnt western sky. I hadn’t seen a forecast in days, but May is when the thunderstorms come. Violent storms, with thunderclaps so loud and unexpected, they’re liable to sneak up on you without warning and knock you right out of your bed at night.
The summer sun had turned the clouds a bright, orangy scarlet. I stood, mesmerized, and watched the entire sunset, stunned by the grand magnitude of the view, feeling small and comfortably insignificant, my worries melting away in the warm yellow glow. How could any of it be important with all that going on up there?
I turned and walked to my truck, my thoughts turning to the journey home and the night ahead. I’d be glad for rain. My yard was crunchy, my flowers wilted and bent.
It had been another endless day. I felt like I’d gone ten rounds with one of George Foreman’s infomercials.”
I had to wonder, once again, if it was me. Maybe I was the problem. Was I an easy target? Had my foul temper, poor mental health, solitary lifestyle, and lousy spiritual condition set me up for all this?
It was a reasonable conclusion, certainly. The truth is, I really don’t have the time or energy for any of the checklisty "quite time" stuff. Or the self-discipline for that matter. I’m usually too busy alphabetizing my spices or searching for a good parking space to pay any sustained attention to spiritual matters.”
Everywhere, But Especially the Kitchen Sink
“I don’t know why Peter Terry’s obsession is with my kitchen sink, but he has chosen it, apparently, as the front-line headquarters of his little war against me. Maybe the geography was a hint from the Lord. Because truth be told, I treat my sink like a sacred shrine in my home. I scrub. I polish. I disinfect. I wipe it out with a soft towel every single time I use it, buffing away every last droplet to avoid leaving even the tiniest water mark. In fact, if I’m willing to be honest with myself, I must admit that I’m possibly guilty of sink worship.”
Copyrighted, “My Soul to Keep,” by Melanie Wells, releasing Feb. 5, 2008, from Multnomah Books, a division of Random House.
The Soul Hunter - Excerpts
Dylan Foster, a psychology professor at Southern Methodist University, is minding her own business, getting ready for a Saturday night date when a bloody axe falls into her doorway, bringing the murder of a young woman, quite literally, into Dylan's living room. Though she is quickly eliminated as a suspect in the murder, it is up to Dylan to discover the connections between the murdered girl, her accused murderer, Gordon Pryne, Pryne's child (born of a rape he'd committed years before) the child's mother, and the mysterious white stranger, Peter Terry.
As Dylan, with her psychologist mind and her acute spiritual radar, searches the lives of these individuals, she discovers that Peter Terry is the thread that connects them all. The elusive white man with the slash on his back is out hunting again, chasing souls, haunting minds, invading dreams and doing his best to wreck lives. As Dylan searches for answers, she stumbles upon a dark cult of angel worship, harking back to the days of Noah, which is seducing and blinding young people, leading them ultimately to their deaths. In the battle for souls, everything seems up for grabs, and Dylan finds herself grasping for strength as the battle rages around her. When at last she discovers the truth, it is not the truth she expected. And she finds again that light overcomes darkness in the fight for the human soul.
When the Day of Evil Comes
"I saw the first fly alight on the edge of my plate during supper. This was no ordinary fly. It was huge. The size of a small Volkswagen. I could have painted daisies on it and sold rides to small children."
- When the Day of Evil Comes