Two Steps Past the Altar
by Patricia A. Bridewell
Two Steps Past the Altar
Pharmaceutical sales representative, Sasha Edmonds, is a motivated high-flyer with a stellar track record at Wexel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Being the top sales rep and having a fiancé who loves her is more than she could ever imagine. But it’s not enough. Her obsession with climbing the corporate ladder is the number one goal that she strives to reach by any means necessary. Until she learns that her mother requires a new medication for her life-threatening medical condition.
When she discovers that her fiancé, Damien Taylor, may be cheating, she breaks off their engagement. In the midst of healing, she becomes captivated with Wesley Dunbar, a wealthy pharmaceutical businessman that may hold the cure for her mom and Sasha’s wounded heart. Although she attempts to resist Wesley’s romantic overtures, his charm, status, and kindness open a window of opportunities to consider. While Damien tries to woo her back into his life, her involvement with Wesley becomes complicated. A surfeit of lies and deception causes a web of mixed emotions as she struggles to help her mom and determine whether Damien or Wesley is the real love of her life.
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Excerpt from Two Steps Past the Altar
As Sasha stood in the mirror, admiring how well the dress complimented her figure, she paused. Dad.
She rushed out the room, holding up the bottom of her dress so she wouldn’t trip as she made her way into the living room. Sasha whirled around. “You like my dress?”
“It looks nice,” he said, walking right past her.
Sasha tilted her head. “What’s wrong, Dad?” He frowned and mumbled under his breath before opening the refrigerator. From the expression on his face, something must have happened.
“Hi, hon,” her mother said. “When’d you get in town?”
Sasha turned and saw her mother hugging Damien.
“This morning,” Damien said, peering at Sasha beneath a raised brow as he sat in a corner chair in the living room.
Sasha squinted at him and moved her attention back to her father in the kitchen. Her dad’s behavior made sense now. Damien had told him. Why else would her dad be acting so strange? She glared at Damien, who slightly shrugged his shoulders looking unbothered.
“What’s the occasion for the dress?” Her dad’s tone stung like acid.
“Tamar’s wedding is Sunday,” Sasha explained. “This is my bridesmaid dress.”
“Humph. A Sunday wedding? So, I’m guessing you won’t be at church,” her dad said.
Her shoulders felt heavy from the disappointment in his voice. “No, I won’t be there. Ebony’s leading the Women in Prosperity Ministry until my job slows down. Right now, between me trying to get this promotion, my business trips to Atlanta, and Tamar’s wedding, I’m swamped.”
Her father scrunched his face but didn’t comment.
“We understand, and you’re planning your own wedding. This gown looks nice on you,” her mother said, touching the fabric. “Fits you perfectly. Ebony did an excellent job, and I’m loving the color. Doesn’t it look good on her, Damien?”
With his attention on Sasha, Damien got up and crossed the room, closing the space between them as he examined her in the dress. “Yes, she looks stunning. But she always does.”
Sasha forced her pouty lips to smile. “Thank you,” she said, taking a moment to observe his well-sculpted physique. Even in his camouflage cargo pants and black t-shirt, he could turn a few heads any day. But she refused to allow his striking appearance or cotton candy sweet talk to woo her. The fact remained; he had disrespected her, and their wedding was off. If he couldn’t be faithful to her for 365 days, how in the world could he commit to a lifetime?
He stretched out his arms for an embrace, and her skin bristled. Just the thought of his touch made her cringe. At the same time, she knew if she avoided his hug, it would raise questions from her parents that she didn’t feel like discussing. She’d just have to play this one out.
Her back stiff, she allowed him to wrap his arms around her briefly and then stepped back. “I…uh, I didn’t know you were coming down today. You usually call first.”
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About the Author
Patricia A. Bridewell
Reading and daily journal entries were the catalyst to Patricia’s first novel, Reflections of a Quiet Storm, published by an independent publisher in 2009. An avid reader, her previous published work includes two books, multiple short stories, monthly health care columns for an online magazine, and several health care articles for a local newspaper. She also enjoys reading Women’s Fiction and Romance novels, which occupy many seats on her bookshelves.
Patricia is a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, she holds Adjunct Nursing Faculty positions at two universities. She is a member of the National Black Nurses Association/Council of Black Nurses – L.A., Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Black Nurses Rock, California Association of Nurse Practitioners, and International Black Writers & Artists.
Patricia’s church home is Greater Zion Church Family in Compton, CA. She considers music, reading, and prayer as the keys to relaxation and creativity, and she loves spending time with her family.
Patricia’s short story appears in the Brown Girls Books Anthology Single Mama Dating Drama, an AALBC two-time best-selling book. Two Steps Past the Altar is her third and latest novel. She is currently working on her fourth novel.
Visit her online at http://www.patriciabridewell.com
BPM: Tell us about your most recent work, Two Steps Past the Altar.
The title of my new book is Two Steps Past the Altar. This book is about love, trust, healing, forgiveness, and restoration.
Available on Nook and Kindle? Yes, the book is available on these sites, and the paperback will be available on Amazon.com and in some book stores.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters.
The first main character Sasha Edmonds is a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, who carries emotional baggage. During her childhood, her father incurred significant problems in the church that caused damage to his ministry and family. Sasha never forgot, and the immense weight of unforgiveness has stayed with her throughout her adulthood. She had trust issues and previous relationship problems. Until she met Damien, who was the cherry on top of her sundae.
Damien Taylor is kind, considerate, he works hard, and is over the top in love with Sasha. He is ready to marry her and start a family. Then whirlwinds drift over their relationship, she calls off their engagement, but he desperately tries to win her back. After she’s introduced to Wesley Dunbar, her whole outlook changes, and the chaos begins.
BPM: What makes each one of your main characters so special?
Sasha is a workaholic and career fanatic. She is a smart, educated woman who channels a significant amount of time toward her career, and that poses problems in her personal life. Her special characteristic is a passion for helping others.
Damien is a charmer. His sense of humor, military career, Christian upbringing by his parents, and strong family ties, are all positives that would quench most any woman’s desires.
BPM: Is there a specific place or space that you find inspiration in?
When I'm at home, my specific space is in my home office or at the kitchen table. If I'm not at home, a quiet environment where I can listen to my favorite gospel music inspires me. I consider myself a nighttime writer because that’s when the characters begin talking. Lol!
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed creating the character sketches. It’s always interesting to see how their personalities, likes, dislikes, etc. evolve as the story progresses.
BPM: How much planning goes into writing a book? How long does it take to complete one of your books?
Planning for me starts the minute an idea for a book comes to mind. I start by jotting down the synopsis. From there, I start the character sketches. I must know names, my main characters’ appearances, and other information before I begin the book, and then I gradually add the other characters who have significant roles in the story. I delegate most of my time toward my primary book, but I do write several chapters for the next manuscript when I have free time. It works out well. I always have another book that I have started. I’ve started compiling character photographs to have a clear vision of them. I love doing this! I have about three or four other books that already have some character sketches and chapters.
In the past, my full novels were written in five to six months. Short stories in approximately two to three weeks. I wrote Two Steps Past the Altar in thirty days after participating in a NaNoWrimo contest. The positive side – I finished my book with a little over 50,000 words in thirty days. Although I had to do a lot more rewriting and revising, it was an awesome learning experience and I have no regrets. I have an enormous amount of respect for editors, and I am grateful for all of the editors, beta readers, and the proofreader who worked with me on this project. I think writing a novel in five to six months works better for me.
BPM: What advice would you give aspiring writers that would help them finish a project?
Write every day, even if you do not meet your word count. I stopped using word counts. I write whatever I write, whether it’s one thousand words, two thousand, or five hundred words. Research what you do not know and be sure to line up a professional editor to read your book. I use professional editors, and most are referred, and I also have started using beta readers and a proofreader after all the editing is complete.
BPM: What period of life or topics do you find you write about most often?
My characters tend to be in their early to mid-thirties.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Yes. I'm a life-long learner, and I find that I usually learn new things during the time that I'm writing. Sometimes writing provokes reminders of important things that I already know. My most important reminder from writing this book was no matter what people have said or done negatively, always have a forgiving heart. I may not forget, but I must forgive.
BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
I have been a registered nurse for a long time, and I am familiar with the pharmaceutical industry, but I am not an expert. My main character and a secondary character are in the pharmaceutical business, and as I was writing, I found out that I needed to validate some things. I consulted with a pharmacist, one of my colleagues who worked at our university. His information and recommendations confirmed that I had to change certain parts of my story to make them more realistic. That meant restructuring and rewriting. I also met a pastor and eventually, I joined his church.
When I say that I hear some powerful messages on Sunday mornings… It’s true. I took notes, and I didn’t use his exact words, but I received ideas that helped me rewrite a couple of scenes. These were just two people, but I engage with students, patients, and meet new people frequently. I’m a people watcher, so I also learn a lot from observing people, and I do online research.
BPM: How has writing impacted your life?
Writing, nursing, and teaching are my passions. And I will say…writing has brought me so much gratification. I have had opportunities to network at both literary and nonliterary events. What I love most are my readers and their feedback. Their feedback is awesome, and I find that it’s intriguing to hear their perceptions of the characters and the way they believe the stories played out. The readers have inspired me to write more frequently.
For a while, I questioned whether I should continue writing, and said to myself no one reads my books. Over the years, I found out that my assumption was not true. I’ve met many readers in person and received inbox messages and emails asking when my next book would be out. That was very uplifting.
BPM: What does literary success look like to you?
I think literary success is not the same for every author. For me writing is my other career, not a hobby. The most important aspect of any career is devotion and commitment to what I am doing. It pushes me to be more productive. So, I need to make sure that I'm writing consistently. If I can help other writers, I do that. I'm still learning, and I will always work diligently to improve my writing skills. When aspiring authors ask me to take a look at their work, I suggest they use an editor and I have contacts for them.
For several years I wrote short stories, and I enjoyed writing them because I finished in two to three weeks. But I had not had written a full novel for a few years. About five years ago, I put a completed novel aside because I didn’t feel it was good enough for publication. In 2017, I prayed over this, then made a commitment to write at least one, if not two books per year. At the time, I was working full-time, attending school, and writing, which meant becoming more disciplined with writing and staying prayerful. Thank God, I am finished with school!
BPM: What are the 3 most effective tools for sharing your book with the world?
Online social media, website, and various types of book promotions.
BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I'm currently writing my fourth novel and loving the story. I really should say fifth because I have the one unpublished manuscript that I didn’t try to have published.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?