Welcome to DAY 2 of
sponsored by Jo & Isa Love Books
& to Debra Doxer's
Today Debra is spotlighting
Play of Light
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Play of Light
I lived in paradise, and I loved Spencer Pierce.
At fourteen, my life was perfect. The beach was my playground, and the boy who stole my heart lived just around the corner. But perfect never lasts. In one horrifying moment, I lost it all. My family was destroyed, and the boy I believed in turned his back on me. Paradise became a nightmare.
That was five years ago. Everything changed when we moved from our home by the sea. I’ve changed, and I don’t like who I’ve become. I miss the smiling, carefree beach girl who disappeared that terrible night. I want to find her again. I want to face the people we ran from so long ago. Most of all, I have to face Spencer. So I can prove that when he broke my heart, he didn’t break me.
But when I see him again, Spencer Pierce is no longer the boy from my memories. He’s now a man who could devastate me if I let him. He watches me when he thinks I’m not looking. There’s regret written on his face when he’s near. Each time I see him, my heart aches for what might have been, and I think his does too. How can I convince myself I’m over him when I suspect he never got over me?
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Q & A with Debra about Play of Light!
What initially inspired you to write Play of Light?
Cape cod, where I spend my summers, inspired me to write Play of Light. I knew I wanted to set a love story there where the ocean and the elements are characters in the story.
.Tell us little about the characters in Play of Light.
Play of Light is the story of Sarah and Spencer who meet at the beach as children. Sarah falls in love right from the start, but Spencer sees her as a kid from the neighborhood, until she grows up. Then he sees her very differently.
What was the hardest part of writing Play of Light?
There’s a traumatic scene in the story where a character dies violently and it sends both Sarah and Spencer into a tailspin. It’s a pivotal moment that sets off a chain reaction in both their lives, and I knew I had to get it right.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
My favorite part is when Sarah returns to the beach after years away and finds Spencer sitting in “their spot” like he never left, even after almost a decade. It’s the moment she realizes that he might love her back. I’m getting emotional now just thinking about it.
Is there a message in Play of Light that you hope readers will grasp?
Trust your instincts about people. That’s the central theme. If your gut is telling you something about someone, for better or worse, you should trust it.
Now an exciting excerpt from Play of Light!
I fell in love with Spencer Pierce the day he saved me from the pirates.
The pirates were Seth and Mike, twins from down the street who I occasionally babysat for. They were seven and I was twelve, almost thirteen, but I was small with sharp elbows and bony knees. My long red hair was wild and frizzed around my face in the constant humidity that thickened the air of our tiny shore town.
I should have been suspicious right off. In the past, they’d never wanted me to join in their games. Boredom was my downfall. I’d been on my own for weeks. My best friend, Isabella, moved away over the summer, and my sister was fourteen now, more interested in makeup, shopping, and boys than in playing badminton with me in the backyard or walking down to the corner store for slushies.
Once I agreed to the twins’ game, on the condition they stopped making fun of me and calling me “carrot top,” they declared that I was the maiden in distress as we all traipsed down to the beach together. They wore eye patches and brandished swords made of cardboard and tinfoil. I let them use a rope they’d found by the docks to tie me to the wooden slats of the fence that lined the back border of the dunes. The rough rope scraped my skin, but I never complained. I wanted to be a good sport.
Then they ordered me to call for help so they could swoop in to rescue me. That was exactly what I did once they ran away. I halfheartedly yelled for them in between giggling with embarrassment, watching while they laughed and turned to look at me over their shoulders as they diminished in the distance. When they disappeared around the corner, I kept calling out, wondering when they would turn around and come back. But their voices eventually faded until the rhythm of the waves was all I could hear.
I waited still, no longer calling for them but staying put, not wanting to ruin the game with my impatience. Then I waited some more. They never did come back, and I felt a familiar sinking feeling. You’re too trusting, Sarah, my mother would say, and she was right.
Knowing I’d been tricked and afraid of how much trouble those boys could get into on their own, I started yanking on the ropes. My elbows came out with some effort, but then my wrists caught on a thick knot. No matter how I struggled and twisted, I couldn’t manage to free myself. Those little terrors had actually done a decent job of tying me to the post.
Panic set in. Would they come back? Did they realize I wouldn’t be able to get out of these ropes myself? It wasn’t long before my eyes began to burn with unshed tears as I pulled against the ties. Stupid! I railed against myself, picturing the tight-lipped anger of my father when he discovered what happened, and the disappointment of my mother. I could hear my sister cackling at me. The only ones who might understand were the twins’ parents. They knew what trouble their boys could get into.
After a time, I slumped low on my tired legs, watching the seagulls fly over the foamy waves. If I were to paint a picture of this place today, the light would be muted. The waves would be sharp strokes of deep green, either teal or olive, their edges dipped in white. The sand would be flat and smooth, a mixture of tan and sepia, dotted by rocks half-hidden in the grains. The mood would be solitary, but harsh. Quiet, but loud. That was how the beach felt to me this morning, and despite my predicament, my fingers itched to capture it.
All too soon, gray clouds sealed off the sky, and when the first fat drop of cold rain hit my face, I started to cry pathetically. They’d actually left me here alone. They’d probably forgotten about me. My father was working. My mother didn’t know where I was half the time. No one would notice I was gone until dinner tonight. I squeezed my eyes shut, promising to pummel Seth and Mike if I ever got off this beach.
A light tap on my shoulder startled me, making me flinch as I glanced up through the strings of wet hair that hung in my face. There was a boy standing over me. Swallowing hard, I blinked to make sure he was real. He crouched low. When I stared up into the dark brown eyes that peered at me from beneath the brim of a Red Sox cap, I stopped breathing.
“You’re Sarah, Emma’s sister,” he said as he studied the ropes. “How the heck did you end up tied to this fence?”
I stood up. He knew my name and my sister? Emma was boy crazy, but I never thought she’d actually catch one, and certainly not one as beautiful as this boy. He was tall, a lot taller than me, and I supposed he could be Emma’s age, but his face looked older. His skin still held a tan from the summer, and his dark eyelashes were long and thick, making his eyes seem gentle. I got lost in those eyes, the color of milk chocolate surrounded by a rim of gold. He looked down at me with so much sympathy, my whole body was warmed by it.
“Don’t worry, Sarah.” He shot me a smile, and my heart skipped wildly. “I’ll get you free. Then you can tell me who did this, and I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Who was this boy? I just blinked silently at him, like a moron, a shivering moron who fell for the stupidest and meanest prank ever. He took out a pocketknife and extracted the blade from it.
“These ropes are pretty thick. It could take me awhile to cut through them. Can you hang on a bit longer?”
Those brown eyes watched me and waited for my answer. I nodded, and he grinned reassuringly before getting down to work.
When he was behind me, tugging on the rope, my face flushed red with embarrassment. What must he think of me? That I was an idiot, what else? At first, I was thrilled to have been found, but now I almost wished I hadn’t been, at least not by him. He would always know how naive and gullible I was.
I was trying not to look at him while he worked so he wouldn’t catch me staring. Because I was so diligently not paying attention, I was surprised when the rope released and the sudden lack of tension sent me to my knees in the cold sand.
“Are you okay?” He took my arm and helped me up. I was shivering too hard to answer, and he was too now, dressed only in a short-sleeved T-shirt and faded jeans. We were both soaked through, and his eyelashes clumped together as he looked at me.
“Let’s get you home,” he said quietly, releasing my arm. Then he started walking in the direction of my house, looking back at me, waiting for me to follow.
My legs felt stiff from standing so long. I moved slowly as I came up beside him, hugging my arms around myself, stealing looks at him every now and then.
“What happened?” he finally asked when we were two houses down from my front door.
My lips pressed together. I didn’t want to say.
“Was it the twins?”
Shocked, I stopped moving. How could he know that?
He nodded at my silence, reading the truth in it. “They’re trouble,” he said. “I saw them trying to push a cat through the book return slot at the library.”
My eyes widened, then I laughed out loud. “Seriously?” It was the first word I’d spoken to him.
“Yup. Had the whole body through before I got to them.”
“You saved the cat?”
He grinned. “When you have mad superhero skills like mine, you have to share them with the world.” Then he winked and started walking again.
That was when I fell for him. I could almost feel the impact. It was probably hero worship in the beginning, but over time, as I got to know him, it slowly changed to love, real love, the kind that coated your heart at first, but then soaked in deeper with every look, every word, and every accidental brush of skin until your heart was completely saturated with it.
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