Sunday Teaser (formerly known as Sunday Excerpt) is a blog series that provides readers with an excerpt or teaser (or whatever you want to call it) of amazing books to gain readers interest & hopefully support authors by purchasing them. The teasers may be a chapter excerpt, a book trailer or anything else creative for readers to enjoy.
There will be a highlighted book each Sunday, unless otherwise stated. We have some great books lined up for your reading pleasure and we know that you will enjoy them. Let’s welcome our 1st featured teaser, coming from the wonderful author, Theresa Hodge of Shani-Greene-Dowdell Presents!
About The Book
Book Title: A Piece of Sunday’s Soul
Author: Theresa Hodge
Genre: Multicultural/African American Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Shani Green-Dowdell Presents
Release Date: March 24th 2016
Page Count: 146
Sunday Gallenger was only eighteen when she left home to follow her dreams. She was a sister with big times dreams and plenty of songs in her heart but no place but the privacy of her bedroom to sing them. One day she saw the chance to make her dream come true, so she left home without the blessings of her parents and headed for the bright lights of Nashville, Tennessee. Sunday’s soulful voice and determination to be the best led her to take the impossible chance of becoming the next big country star on a new show called "The American Dream."
Travis Lee was intrigued by Sunday “Soul” Gallenger. Not only was he one of the top ten country singers of all times, but he was one of the judges on The American Dream. His dark hair and smoldering eyes left women entranced and seeking his attention from all corners of the globe. His wanderlust spirit left a trail of broken hearted women in his wake. That was until the young, talented dark beauty by the name of Sunday showed up at auditions. He was ready to lay down his playboy ways to win Sunday's heart and soul.
Compelling love story between two people who are different as night and day. Their love of music brings them together in this soul stirring romance that will have you questioning...What makes you come alive?
The Chapter Excerpt
A Piece of Sunday’s Soul by Theresa Hodge
Chapter One ~ Sunday
My daddy forbade me from listening to the music, so I decided to sing the songs even when I couldn't hear the music. The music was in my heart. In my soul. If it hadn't been for the music, in my confused state I wouldn't have survived my miserable teenage years.
That's why I washed my face and kicked the dust of this small town from my feet when I was eighteen years old. I was a country-bred girl from a small town in Milford, Tennessee, a black girl who loved to sing country songs with soul. My mama told me the story of how I was born on a stormy Sunday evening. There was a wreck on interstate I-65 because of the massive storm. It didn’t help matters that I was three weeks early. Mama said I came kicking and screaming into this world with a pair of lungs on me loud enough to be heard through the entire maternity ward. I was tiny but I was feisty. Those were the exact words she repeated through the years I was maturing into a young lady. She said that's why she named me Sunday. Sunday Gallenger, after that stormy Sunday day I was born.
The day I finally made a decision to leave home, the home I grew up in since I was a baby, the only home I ever knew. Another storm was brewing in the Gallenger home, even though it was shaping up to be a beautiful Sunday morning. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. There was not a cloud in the sky, yet there was a warning of a massive storm heading my way, one that would change the direction of my life as I knew it forever.
“Sunday, it’s time for church.” Mama shook my shoulder gently to wake me as I lay sleeping in the bed.
“Okay, mama.” I rolled over in the bed to face her and rubbed the sleep from my eyes.
Mama was already dressed in her Sunday best. I looked into her grey eyes that were so much like my own. As much as she was going through, she could still pass for my older sister instead of my mama. We had the same cocoa skin tone that was without any wrinkle or blemish. I hoped that when I was in my forties that I would look as good as she did.
“Get on up now,” my mama urged me. “Your breakfast is hot and waiting for you downstairs on the table. By the way, Sunday, when are you going to stop putting all of these posters of this white man on your wall?”
She sighed aloud as she looked around my room to see poster after poster of Travis Lee, the world renowned country singer, tacked on my bedroom walls.
“He’s my favorite singer, mama, and has been since I was thirteen,” I replied as I looked at the latest poster I had acquired from a subscription of Nashville Country’s Finest magazine.
“I know he is, Sunday. I wish you would listen and sing more music besides this country gibberish. You know how your daddy gets when he hears you singing this mess,” she warned.
“Where is daddy?” I asked her apprehensively.
She looked away for a moment and got a faraway look in her eyes before she looked at me again and began to speak.
“You know how your daddy do. He works over the weekends sometimes and gets caught up in his work.” She was lying, trying to cover for him like she always did. I never really understood why she did that. It was like she was in the wrong and carried the shame of my father’s misdeeds deep inside of her and covered them as her own.
I also knew what working overtime meant. It meant that my daddy more than likely got drunk at some bar last night and was lying between the legs of some tramp that he met in the bar. Wherever he was, I just wished he would stay there and stop hurting mama time and time again. I also wished she was strong enough to leave his ass and never look back. She deserved more and could do so much better than a man who I was ashamed to claim as my father. I pushed my father to the back of my mind for the time being to get out of bed and get ready for church.
Later that Sunday evening, mama and I were just sitting down for dinner when her husband, my father, walked through the door. He reeked of stale liquor, cheap perfume, and another awful smell that I couldn’t identify. He even had the audacity to come into the kitchen and sit down at the kitchen table as if nothing had happened, and that in itself angered me to no end.
Mama got up and dutifully fixed him a plate and sat it before him with a forced smile on her beautiful face. She wasn’t fooling me though. I could see the unshed tears she was fighting to hold back. She was a proud woman who fought to hold her misery inside. If she couldn’t speak for herself, then I would. I had finally had enough.
“Why do you come in disrespecting mama week after week?” I asked him. I forced myself to look directly into his dark brown eyes.
His gaze clashed with mine. Anger brewed and filled his eyes as he continued to assess me. I inwardly began to tremble but held to my seat.
Mama gasped, surprised at my words. I avoided looking at her, because I knew I would lose my nerve.
I had never, in all of my eighteen years, spoken to my father in such a way. I was literally shaking in the red cowgirl boots I had on, but I didn’t allow that to stop me from finally saying what I had to say. These words had been building in me for a long time and I finally had to set them free, even if my truth seemed like blatant disrespect.
“Little girl, you better watch your mouth,” he said angrily and pointed his fork at me before dipping it into his mashed potatoes and stuffing it into his mouth.
“I’m not a little girl, and I’m old enough to see it’s plain wrong the way you treat my mama.”
“Sunday Gallenger!” Mama spoke my whole name as she called for my attention.
I finally looked at her to see the pain etched across her beautiful face. “I’m so sorry mama but this needs to be said. If you can’t stand up for yourself, then somebody needs to do it,” I attempted to say.
“No, Sunday,” mama said as she shook her head from side to side. “That’s where you’re wrong. This is my husband and what goes on between me and him is none of your damn business,” she said turning her anger on me, when it should have been directed at my daddy. “Whatever your daddy and I go through is my cross to bear, not yours. Your place is to love and respect your father and me. I’m so disappointed in you, Sunday.”
“But, mama,” I replied with falling down my cheeks.
“Lil’ girl, you better listen to your mama,” my daddy said in a condescending tone.
“I’m not a lil’ girl,” I screamed.
“Who the hell do you think you’re raising your voice at?” My father’s fist came down hard on the table. I nearly jumped out of my skin.
“Calm down, honey.” Mama went to stand behind my father and rubbed his shoulders to calm him down. The two stared at me accusingly, like I was the one in the wrong. They were representing a united front, while I felt like an alien in my own home.
“Since you’re so grown now, you can get your grown ass out of my house. I don’t care where you go. You can leave whenever you’re ready. I don’t give a damn one way or the other,” he said.
“I think you owe your father an apology, Sunday,” mama quickly cut in. Her eyes pleaded with me to apologize to the man I borderline hated.
I looked between the two people in my life who were supposed to have been the best influences in my life, but had never been. One thing they taught me was what I didn’t want to be like.
The few bites of food that I’d taken earlier seemed to force its way back up in my throat like bile. I rose from the table without another word, walked into my bedroom, and slammed my door behind me.
I had nowhere to go.
For a moment, I contemplated going back and apologizing. I walked over to my television and turned until I found a re-run of Ellen featuring Travis Lee. Travis Lee’s voice soothed me as I lay back on my bed and stared at his handsome face. Travis Lee’s voice crooned as I sang the lyrics along with him.
When I looked into her beautiful eyes
I saw my hopes, my dreams, where my heart abides
The strength that I drew from her being so near
Would be everything I held so dear
No amount of fortune or fame would matter to me
If only she was around to share it with me
My love for her ran as deep as the ocean flowed
How deep it went she might never know
When I looked up into the clear blue skies
It was like looking into her beautiful eyes
Her heart would be the prize, the consolation prize I won
Before her love was nonexistent to none
In that time and in that place
The time would come when I had my first taste
Of my one true love unlike any other
After I find my love it will never be another
Travis Lee, my man crush. Every time I saw him on a magazine or on television, my heart felt like it would beat out of my chest. I had fallen in love with a man that I had never met before. I was sure if anyone knew my deepest secret of how I obsessed over Travis, they would call me childish and a fool.
My own mama would even think I was silly. I was sure of it. My eyes were glued to the television set as Travis set his guitar aside and made his way over to the sofa to be interviewed by Ellen DeGeneres. I wished I was there sitting in the front row to watch Travis’ interview up close and personal.
“Travis Lee, I must tell you it’s an honor to have you on my show and by the looks of this crowd, they are happy to have you here too,” Ellen said to Travis, as they greeted one another with a kiss on each cheek.
“I love you Travis,” an exhilarated fan shouted from the lively guest audience, as he took a seat.
Travis looked out to the audience with his sexy grin and waved. His straight white teeth flashed against his tan skin and I felt he was looking directly at me and smiling for me. Butterflies fluttered around my stomach as I bit my nails and stared at the television set as if it were my lifeline to the man with whom I was madly in love.
“Settle down, peeps,” Ellen said to get the audience under control, before she turned back to Travis Lee, one of the best country singers of all time.
“Travis, I’m not going to beat around the bush. I’m sure the audience would like to know, who is the lucky lady in your life?”
“Believe it or not, Ellen, I don’t have a girlfriend at this point in my life.”
“Well, rumor has it that you and the beautiful country singer, Kelly Tyson are hot and heavy. Do we have a picture, Jay,” Ellen looked over to one of the show’s assistants who prompted the screen to flash images of Travis and Kelly together all hugged up as they played kissy face at some fancy nightclub?
Travis sat back on the white sofa and crossed his legs. A cocky grin was on his face as he watched several more images flash across the teleprompter.
“Ellen, Kelly Tyson is a very good friend of mine. I admit that we do on occasion hang out together because that’s what friends do. As far as anything romantic going on between Kelly and I, I’m not the type of man to kiss and tell,” he finally replied.
My heart filled with jealousy as I watched the images of him and Kelly Tyson on the television screen. Ellen asked him a series of questions until the show had to go to a commercial break. “Okay, guys, we have to go to a commercial break, but before we go, Travis Lee promised to sing one more song for us.
“Of course, Ellen,” Travis agreed and his eyes flashed toward the television screen as if he were looking directly at me.
After the commercial break, the talk show came back on, showing Travis on the stage. He began singing about rowdy cowboys who love their women, strong drinks, and bar fights. I found myself dancing around my bedroom singing along to the upbeat music. I was so into my zone that I didn’t even hear my bedroom door open until my name was called.
“Sunday Gallenger! Haven’t I told you about listening to this senseless music again and again? I’m so damn sick of you acting like a damn redneck. Cut that shit off and now.” My father’s face held a look of disgust as he ragged on me until I took the remote and cut off my television set.
I could never do anything to satisfy my father. I was in a dead end town with dead end dreams. My mother wasn’t much better. Maybe one day I would be able to sing and feel free, free to sing like a mockingbird that was set free.
“I wish you would come riding in like a prince and carry me far away from this place.” I sighed, feeling a restlessness enter my heart.
I got up off my bed and walked over to my dresser where I kept a stack of magazines and reached for the one that had Travis’ picture on the cover. I slowly thumbed through the magazine’s glossy pages. My eyes widened and stopped on a page that contained instructions for entering a singing contest.
Without thinking about it, I knew this was my chance and I wasn’t going to waste it. This was the only chance for me to get away from this small town and the miserable way my father treated my mama. If she loved the ground he walked on, that was on her and her alone. Like my mother said, my father was her cross to bear. I just didn’t have to stay around and watch her bear it.
I was the daughter of Creeda and Augustus Gallenger. My daddy was a drunk and a cheater who didn't care if we had food on the table or clothes on our backs, but mama seemed to love him anyway, down to his dirty drawls and cheating ways.
Mama did the best she could with what little she had, but I was determined to do better. Some people laughed when I told them that I wanted to sing country music and not R&B, or even gospel. Let them laugh. I was going to get my chance to sing. I was going to sing country with a touch of soul.
I was heading to Nashville, Tennessee with forty-five hundred dollars to my name and hope in my heart. I was going to take the money I’d saved up for college and go for my dream as a contestant on the new television show, American Dream.
It was a show where contestants ages eighteen through twenty-nine competed to be the next country music star. My chances might have been slim, but I had to go for everything I wanted, or fall on my face trying.
Tears slid down my cheeks as the Greyhound Bus pulled away from the bus station in Milford, Tennessee. The day I left reminded me of the stormy day I was born on. I came into this world on a stormy day and I was leaving the only home that I had ever known on the same note.
The hot, salty tears sliding down my cheeks matched the wetness of the rain pelting against the bus’ windows. I peered up at the dark, ominous clouds. I stared small sapling trees dancing in the wind.
Fear settled in my heart, and I doubted my decision to steal away like a runaway slave on today of all days. I jumped as the booming thunder shook the bus. The loud sound doubled to settle the nervous, gloomy feeling deep within my soul. The noon darkness and the damp smell of the rain still hung on my damp clothing. The umbrella I had was no shelter from the wind swept rain as it slashing against my skin.
All I wished for in that dismal moment was for the sunshine to break through the thick clouds and somehow repair itself to a radiant splendor. Instead, the rain became heavier as the bus driver slowed down on the slippery highway.
“It’s stormy up ahead and the wind advisory will cause us to be a little behind schedule.” The driver’s southern twang rang through the bus as he spoke into the square shaped microphone in his hand.
Some of the passengers spoke in low tones among each other as a sudden bolt of lightning zigzagged across the sky; it teased us with its own azure reflection before the sky was concealed once again. I continued to stare out of the window with a frown and furrowed brows.
“You alright, sugar?” a soft, feminine voice to the left of me asked.
I looked over to see an older woman sitting comfortably in her seat. She appeared to be knitting a pair of baby blue booties.
“I’m alright,” I said, fibbing as I quickly wiped the continuous flow of tears away from my cheeks with the back of my hand.
A friendly smile appeared on the older lady’s face. “My name is Margaret Jones,” she said introducing herself. “What’s your name, sweetheart?”
“My name’s Sunday, Sunday Gallenger.” I sniffed and looked into her light colored eyes. Her wrinkled, arthritic looking hands worked deftly with the needles as she created a design with the yarn.
“It’s nice to make your acquaintance, Sunday Gallenger. You have a beautiful name by the way,” she said as she stopped knitting and reached into her oversized purse to pull out a wad of tissue to hand across the aisle to me.
“Thank you, ma’am for the tissue and the compliment,” I said before I dabbed the tears from my cheeks and blew my nose noisily.
“You’re welcome, my dear. “I’m going to visit my daughter up in Nashville. She and her husband, Stewart, just blessed me with another grandbaby. I have three now, counting the one my son Clayton has. Would you like to see pictures of them?” she asked.
“Yes ma’am,” I answered, hoping the conversation with Miss Margaret would help to keep my mind off the wind-blown bus and the horrible storm.
She reached inside her handbag once again and pulled out her wallet. She slid over further in her seat which was by the window and patted the vacant seat beside her. After I was seated, she showed me each of her grandchildren one by one. Pride was evident in her voice. She lovingly talked about her children and her grandbabies, and even asked me about myself as the Greyhound bus traveled down the wet highway.
“Are you going to Nashville, too?” Miss Margaret asked.
“Do you have family there as well?”
“No, ma’am,” I answered her questions freely. I felt more comfortable the more I talked to the friendly lady. “I’m going to Nashville to enter a singing contest.”
She nodded her head and her eyes held interest. I told her a little more about the contest.
“I’m going to pray for you, dear. Me and the man upstairs are on good terms,” she smiled and her eyes crinkled at the corners. She reached over and patted my hand to reassure me that if I had faith, I would be able to do anything that I set my mind to.
This was my first time having met Miss Margaret, but I covered her hand with my own and took comfort in her words. The storm and my fears settled with the soothing sound of a sweet old lady’s voice as the bus carried me closer to my dreams.
About The Author
Theresa Hodge is a native of Alabama. She is a loving mother, wife, sister, aunt and friend. She is at her best when she is able to bring happiness to others. She loves to read almost as much as she loves to write fictional stories. She has found writing to be therapeutic, especially during the loss of her oldest sister from breast cancer, a period that birthed her first book series, Ask Me Again.
Theresa has went on to write several more books and have several collaborations in the works, so be sure to check her site regularly for new releases. Theresa also has a love affair with writing poetry. She first started writing poetry at an early age and it has been a part of her growth with writing ever since. If Theresa can bring a smile to your face and encourage along her journey, she considers it a blessing beyond measure. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Pretty Awesome, right? I’ve already added A Piece of Sunday’s Soul to my TBR list, have you? If not, go ahead and do so now. Or better yet, click to purchase it here! Comment below to let Theresa know what you thought about her book. She’d really appreciate your feedback. Don’t forget to leave a review once you are done reading …they are very important for an author’s growth!
Until next time, have an amazing Sunday & as always …READ!