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Second Stanza

       The noise was raucous, lively, and upbeat, so Jackie saw the blood spurting from the man next to Danny before she registered the sounds that didn’t fit. But those sounds continued—not musical, not conversational—but a rapid pk, pk, pk, interspersed with screams and chaos.
She would later remember the look of horror on Nadine’s face and the jolt to the back of her own head against an arm, and most oddly, a wristwatch, as she was thrown to the ground, a man’s body on top of her.
“Jackie. My God, Jackie, are you all right?”
She stared into the brown eyes of the man crying out to her. Who was he? Why did his voice sound familiar? Pain burned through her left arm, pinned to her side between the floor and this stranger’s chest.
“Jackie, please. You’ve got to be all right.”
Her eyes had closed, but they opened again, confused. What was happening? How could it be Leo’s voice speaking to her from this unknown man? She tried to focus. There was so much noise, and he was bleeding, or she was bleeding, or everyone was bleeding. The eyes gazing so ferociously into her own were brown, but they shouldn't be. Leo’s eyes were blue.
More pain: sudden, blindingly fierce, exploding in her head. She couldn’t open her eyes, felt nothing but pain, but knew joy, nonetheless. She had seen Leo’s crinkled skin surrounding her unknown savior’s brown eyes. He had come for her. Her Leo had come back for her.

Nine years have passed since Jackie was helped off the stage after speaking at Leo’s memorial. He had died in a senseless tragedy, and a huge part of her died with him. She now lives thousands of miles away, working by day, reading novels at night, and fending off invitations from well-meaning friends. But Jackie ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time, this time a victim herself. She survives, thanks to the intervention of a stranger who dies protecting her. Yet somehow Jackie believes her savior was not a stranger, but her long dead love. And if he didn’t really die nine years ago, then maybe, just maybe, he hasn’t died again.

SECOND STANZA is a breathless tale of love found, love lost, and then love searched for through mazes of intrigue and secrets. Will Jackie’s search end in more pain, or can the ballad of her broken heart end in a Second Stanza of joy?

© 2024 Meg Napier. All rights reserved.