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The Words by Heart Saga series: Mercy, book 2

By M.L. Bull All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Drama


Eldest son of the Savage family, BJ, has been appointed to mentor two teenage boys from Houston who were convicted for shoplifting and breaking and entering in an old couple's home. But only one of the boys intend to cooperate and the act of racism becomes a challenge which affects both him and his wife and family. Meanwhile, Jessica goes away to therapy at the psychiatric hospital for six weeks, only for Demetrius to realize just how much he's in love with her, while Veronica discovers Hector Watson, despite her constant rejection, may be her 'Mr. Right' after all.

Chapter 1

BJ And His Family’s House

June 13

Forty-two-year-old BJ Savage loved his wife Hazel, but not her bad attitude. For fourteen years their marriage had been a wonderful and fraught adventure of ups and downs ever since the day they said, “I do,” and her wanting a relaxing summer vacation, he worried how she would take his latest task of the Boys Mentoring Program sponsored by the fire station. After a certain call from Captain Sullivan, he knew this summer wouldn’t be like any other.

Juvenile Delinquents.

They were the boys to be mentored this year. It certainly wasn’t the same as a kid from high school who got suspended for putting a whoopie cushion in his teacher’s chair. That was for sure.

BJ entered the house through the slide patio door, coming in after a morning jog. He wiped his sweaty, dark brown face with a towel wrapped around his thick neck and inhaled the familiar Rise-and-Shine scents of freshly-brewed coffee and toast. His wife was in the kitchen and hadn’t long got up, still dressed in her soft, pale yellow robe and slippers. He walked toward her while she gathered their kids packed lunches from the refrigerator for the last day of school.

“Good Morning, Angel Eyes,” BJ said with a smile.

Hazel placed their teenage son’s paper bag lunch on the marble counter and faced her big-boned husband. His burgundy sweat suit with Saint Vincent Fire Dept. initialed on it was soaked with wet spots on his stocky chest and underarm areas. She gave a warm smile. “Good Morning, honey—” she scanned her eyes over his strapping stature— “looks like you got a good work-out in.”

“Yeah,” BJ said. He sighed and wrapped his arms around his wife’s waist. “I wanna make sure I’m in good shape to keep up with the boy’s I’ll be mentoring this summer.”

“Oh, that again.” Hazel didn’t sound excited.

BJ nodded. “That’s right. I’ve been preparing for all the physical activities that will be taken place. I’m not exactly a young lad anymore.”

“You are to me,” Hazel said lovingly. “No matter the outward change, you’ll always be the handsome, teenage boy I watched play football in high school. Always.”

Her husband studied her face, her golden-brown eyes glistening in the sunlight from the kitchen window. His heart warmed with gratitude for Hazel’s kind words, but he still had some explaining to do.

“Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner?” his wife asked.

He cleared his throat. “Captain Sullivan phoned me about the boys enrolled in the program last week.”

“Okay, you still haven’t answered my question.” Worry overtook her face. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

BJ gnawed on his lower lip, hesitating.

“BJ . . .” His wife pinned him with her hazel eyes, looking up at him.

“They’re juvenile delinquents.” BJ clenched his jaw, cringing inwardly.

“Juvenile delinquents? Oh, no! No way, Jose!” Hazel threw up her hands and slipped loose from her husband’s loving hold. She turned her back to him just after the toast popped up from the small electric appliance by the microwave.

“Aw, come on, Hazel. It’ll only be for two months,” BJ said, heartbroken.

Hazel pinched the hot crispy bread from the metal toaster and quickly dropped it on a plate. She spread butter on her toast and looked over her shoulder at her husband. “I know, but you’ve gotta understand, BJ. I’ve counseled and dealt with smart-mouth, know-it-all kids for almost 200 days. And after today, I’m going on vacation. I do not have time to deal with two teenage criminals added to the quarrelsome duo we already have, and neither do I trust them. It’s way too much headache, honey.”

“Can’t you have a heart? I thought you loved children.” BJ’s wide forehead puckered.

A muscle in Hazel’s jaw twitched. She placed her auburn, chin-length hair behind her ears and gripped the kitchen counter. “I do!”

Her husband cocked his head, still frowning. “Then what’s the problem?”

Hazel threw BJ a swift look, her eyes shot sparks. “You! The problem is you.”

“Me?” BJ looked appalled, pointing his hand to his heart.

“Yes, you!” Hazel sighed and rubbed her forehead, releasing a series of exhales to calm down. She shut her eyes a second, then opened them, facing her husband again. “You act like your in the Boys Scouts of America! This community program is not a part of your job as a fireman. It’s just volunteer work. I mean, do you have to take part every summer? ” Her expression softened, overwhelmed.

BJ stroked his black, coarse goatee and ward off his eyes from her, thinking. He knew it would be this way, especially for teenage convicts, but if she had such a problem with him being a mentor in the summer program, why didn’t she mention it before the first time he had participated? She seemed happy and thrilled, so supportive of his efforts the past years. But now he got the vibe that Hazel was pretending all along. He turned around and strolled out of the kitchen.

“BJ, where are you going?” Hazel angled her head, knowing she hit a nerve. “BJ!” She sighed and slumped her shoulders, watching him run up the oakwood staircase to the second floor.

Hazel pursed her lips and shook her head during the last of BJ’s loud steps. She turned back to the counter and added spoons of sugar from a canister to her pink Mother’s Day mug. She stirred it around with a weary sigh and took a sip, reflecting on the discussion she had with her husband. Having juvenile delinquents in their home didn’t seem like a good idea, especially around a flexible teenage boy like Lamar, who had to have almost everything he seen.

She couldn’t help but think they’d be a bad influence on their own son, and maybe Stephanie. That was the last thing she needed, and she had hoped to be able to spend more time with BJ too. The president of the church’s outreach and a lieutenant firemen, he was always on the go. If he wasn’t rushing to put out a fire, he was taking phone calls in his office from people who needed food and clothing assistance. Rarely did he give himself a break, except it be their wedding anniversary. So convincing him often he bit off more than he could chew was as hard as finding a polar bear in the Sahara Desert.

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