The theme for this week is a black moment. I’ve chosen an excerpt from my Quickie, Issy’s Infatuation. It’s not the main black moment of the book, but it’s definitely a bad turn of events for the heroine, Issy.
Issy’s Infatuation by Shelley Munro
“Good luck, Issy.” Tyler squeezed her shoulder, leaning close for an instant, so close she thought he might actually kiss her in front of everyone. “You can do this.”
Issy nodded and hoped he was right. She jogged on the spot, trying to keep warm. A place in the Black Ferns. It was what she’d aimed for and dreamed of ever since she’d started playing for the Jets. Tyler had diverted her for a while but now that their time was over, she was back on track. Issy fell in with her teammates when the fifteen-strong team ran onto the field. The sun made an appearance but it was still bloody cold, gooseflesh rippling across her arms and legs. Her stomach lurched, the nerves still present. From experience she knew they wouldn’t settle properly until she’d had her first touch of the ball. Here’s hoping she didn’t flub it.
The referee blew his whistle. The Jets’ first-five kicked off and the rugby ball flew through the air. Issy sprinted in the same direction. One of the Panthers leapt for the ball but a Jet player contested it, reaching high to grab the ball first. They hit the ground and a ruck formed. It probably looked like a heap of bodies to the spectators but Issy’s team were skilled at passing the ball back underneath the tangle of bodies. The ball came out on the Jets’ side of the ruck.
The crowd roared approval. Issy grabbed it, flicking the white ball along the back line. She sprinted down the field, backing up. Angela, their winger, kicked the ball over the heads of the opposition and it dribbled out over the sideline not far from the corner flag.
Issy hurried into position and waited for the lineout to form and the opposition hooker to take the throw in. From the corner of her eye she noted Tyler chatting to three men. The selectors. Issy looked away to concentrate on the unfolding game. She had to ignore them and play out of her skin. She ran, darted after the Panther player when they tried to make a break. Issy tackled the opposition player.
The player fell and the ball popped free. Issy snatched it up and sprinted toward their goal line. A Panther ran at her, tackled.
It was bone-crunching hard, jarring her whole body. Their heads clashed. Issy’s world went dark. It was like crawling out of a long black tunnel. Very dark and later, seconds or maybe minutes, light appeared. The players had followed the ball, leaving her behind on the ground. They were way down the other end of the field. Damn, they were fuzzy, moving all over the place. Groggily, she climbed slowly to her feet. She wobbled, staggering a few steps. Issy shook her head and saw stars. She dropped to the ground, deciding to wait until the stars stopped whirring before she attempted to stand on her feet again.
Dimly, she heard the whistle, heard the thunder of feet racing toward her.
“Issy? Issy, sweetheart, are you okay?” It sounded like Tyler, but she wasn’t sure since the voice was so far away.
“Wanna stand up.” Issy struggled to a sitting position and someone helped her stand.
“Let me look at her,” another voice said. “Open your eyes for me. That’s a girl.”
What did he mean? Her eyes were open.
“Hmm. Lights are on, but nobody’s home,” the voice said.
“Concussion. Looked to me as if she actually blacked out for a little while. She can’t play the rest of the game. She needs to get checked out at the emergency clinic.”
Go off? No way! “Not going off.” Issy turned, intending to rejoin the game when the referee signaled time back on. Instead she almost fell flat on her face and would have fallen if someone hadn’t caught her. Tears trickled down her face. She couldn’t go off. She couldn’t. The selectors wouldn’t choose her if they couldn’t see her play. “I want to play.”
“You can’t.” Tyler signaled to the reserve players and one of them ran onto the field to replace Issy. He did it with a heavy heart, knowing how gutted Issy must feel.
“I want to go back on,” Issy protested.
“You can’t even stand on your own, Issy.” Adam slipped his arm around her and guided her to the sideline.
Tyler followed, hearing the referee’s whistle when he signaled play to resume. Hell, poor Issy. A lump formed in his throat when he studied her pale face. It was easy to see she wasn’t sure what was going on yet, that the full disappointment wouldn’t hit until later. Damn, this wasn’t bloody fair. She’d trained so hard and done everything right only for an injury to rob her of the chance to impress the selectors.
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