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 Way Out of Line
Reunited after years of forced separation and hardship, lovers Trent and Hal have to find their way home from the wilds of Mozambique.
Statutory rape turns two kids' lives upside down, and leads them down a dangerous path of drugs, cults, and self-destruction. 
Published by Publish America in 2002. The second printing is available  at Amazon.com in print format and it is also available in eBook format at Uncial Press.  http://www.uncialpress.com/Way-Out-of-Line.html

Intrigue, kidnapping, friendship, undying love, and the vast African wilderness make up the pages of my first novel, "Way Out of Line". It tells the story of the profound impact an innocent youthful affair has on the lives of two young lovers. The plot moves from a prison in the US to the wilds of Mozambique and Zimbabwe in Africa.


Anyone who loves romance, passion, suspense and excitement should enjoy reading this novel.




Hal St. Clair swallowed hard. His mouth was dry, his breathing shallow. His heart hammered so loud in his chest he could hear it. He thrust his hands into his pockets to hide their trembling.

"We find the defendant, Halford St. Clair guilty as charged".

"Guilty as charged, guilty as charged, guilty as charged..."

The words echoed through his brain. His ears started to ring, and he felt himself sway backwards. Ted Hilliard's firm hand on his shoulder steadied him. He blinked, shook his head and tried to breathe. He saw pity in Ted's cool green eyes.

"I'm sorry Hal. We tried. I don't know what to say. We can appeal, you know that."

"It's okay, Ted," he heard himself from far away, as if in a dream. "It'll work out. You did your best, and I'm thankful for that. I don't think anything's gonna change if I appeal."

I'm not a criminal. This can't be happening. His face burned. He didn't want to look at Mrs. McNaughton but he couldn't help himself. Her red-lipsticked mouth curled up in a hint of a smile, her cold eyes glowed with triumph.

It wasn't wrong. I love her. He wanted to shout the words.

Hal's thoughts flashed back uncontrollably to the prison guard's counsel the previous day.

"You fucked up big, Man," the guard had said. "You fucked da wrong girl. You know why? I'm gonna tell you why. Word is that your girl's mama got a brother who a Congressman. He gonna make sure you put away for a long time. Hear what I'm saying? You'll remember Tyrone's word when da sentencing come down."

Sentencing was imposed a week later. Hal heard the sentence as if from a great distance. Only two words registered in his mind; "...fifteen years."

"No," he shouted. "No, you can't do this to me. I'm not a criminal!"

Ted pulled him down into his chair. Behind him, the courtroom erupted and voices rose as the spectators and the press reacted to his sentence. The judge banged his gavel and glared menacingly.

The bailiff led him firmly towards the rear exit of the courthouse, where guards were waiting. "Come on boy, give me your hands." The voice was gruff.

The cold steel of the handcuffs gripped his wrists behind his back. One guard pointed a rifle at him while another wrapped manacles around his ankles. Together they shoved him roughly into a truck.

Hal studied the other five passengers from under lowered eyelids. They were all older, except perhaps one. His head was bowed so Hal couldn't see his face, but the pale, freckled skin, scrawny body and red hair projected an air of vulnerability that reminded Hal painfully of Jonny. He sure doesn't look like a criminal to me. Glad Jon's not here to see this.

He swallowed hard. Perspiration ran in small rivulets down his back and he wanted to scratch where it itched. He pressed against the bars behind him while sweeping a glance quickly across the other faces.

A trickle of fear slid through his body like oil on a hot surface. The icy stare from the man directly across from him held a malevolent challenge and his mouth twisted into an evil smile.

Hal closed his eyes. He shuddered, suddenly cold. The eyes said it all. Not skin color. That ranged from pale white through coffee to dark black. Nor body size, or the dark stubble on their chins.

It was their eyes.

No one spoke during the interminable journey. Hal was afraid to look up again, so he turned inward to the thoughts that tumbled incessantly around in his head. He still couldn't believe that life had handed him such a dirty deal.

It seemed like just yesterday, although it was actually seven months ago, that he had last seen Trent. He wondered if she still thought about him. Will I ever see her again? She was in his thoughts all the time.

He recalled the guard's advice. "You just remember, no matter how many years they give you, you gotta keep your mind focused. They can control your body but they don' know what's going on in your mind. You have ta have a dream, somethin' to live for, and whenever things get bad, and you know dat gonna be happenin' a lot, you just think about what you gonna do when you get out. Never give up dat dream, Man. Don't forget Tyrone Thomas' words. No matter what, your mind is free."

As if he would ever forget her. As if he could. That day, a lifetime ago, when he had first met her, would be imprinted on his brain forever...

It had been one of those beautiful balmy days in early summer, and he had been out in the rowboat, fishing. The fish weren't biting. He had allowed the boat to drift with the wind and take its own course on the smooth water of the lake.

He lay back, enjoying the warmth, and watched the cumulus clouds form, giant snowballs amassing in the sky, an early warning of a late afternoon storm. He dozed for a while in the warm sun, and woke with a start when the boat bumped gently against the bank.

He found himself looking into the warmest eyes he had ever seen. They were the color of amber.

"What are you doing here?" She sounded perfectly calm, as if strangers in boats drifted up to her every day.

"I don't really know. I guess I fell asleep and fate brought us together." He stared at her with unabashed admiration. Her bikini barely covered her breasts. Her skin was golden tanned, her body lean. Her abundant hair, almost red, and lit with soft sun-bleached highlights, framed a heart-shaped face.

"Well, you'd best be going. This is private property. My parents don't take kindly to trespassers, and they'll be home any minute now."

"Hal's the name." He smiled into the sunny eyes, vaguely aware of the manicured lawns graced by cool trees, and the stately white-painted mansion in the background. Nothing as good to look at as she was. "What's yours?"


"That's your name?"

"Yes, anything wrong with it?"

"No, it's just--I never met a girl named Trent before."

"Well, I didn't choose it. My parents wanted me to be a boy. Now please, you must go. My mother--"

"Okay, but first promise I can see you again."

"What for?"

"Just so."

"I'll be here every day this summer,"

"Yes, but when will your mother not be here?" Hal raised his eyebrows.

"She's here most days. Except Tuesdays. Tuesdays she usually goes to the city. Now will you go, please."

"Okay. See you Tuesday." A light-hearted feeling embraced him as he rowed slowly away towards home.

Looks like this summer is going to be a good one.


REVIEW by Ruth Ann Hixson

Trish Jackson's new novel, Way Out of Line, comes on like a freight train, starting out slow but quickly picking up speed to become an unstoppable force that rips apart the lives of two young lovers. Hal is convicted of statutory rape and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. Trent goes to college where guilt over lying about her age to Hal drives her to seek solace in drugs. Not finding it there she joins a religious cult.

Neither loses sight of their love with each other. Many years later they meet up in the wild bush of Mozambique where they run for their lives from a band of rebels.

Jackson ratchets up the suspense with each chapter, weaving a tapestry of intrigue and emotion until she draws all the threads together. This book is a well written, exciting novel that could cost the reader some sleep because it is difficult to leave it even for a little while. 

REVIEW by Betsy Burke

Trish Jackson's newly released novel, Way Out of Line, offers readers an unusual love story. Set in the southern U.S., and the rugged terrains of Mozambique and Zimbabwe, the author's lands of origin, it follows the fates of two young protagonists in their separate journeys of suffering, remorse and longing for each other.

Trent, the daughter of wealthy parents whose excessively bourgeois values push her towards rebellion, is immediately attracted to Hal, an independent young man from a humble background, trying to work his way through college. Headstrong Trent, who lies to Hal about her real age, wants their romance to begin immediately. Hal, though reluctant, is also very attracted to her and eventually gives in, with disastrous results: both become prisoners, Hal in the physical sense, and Trent, the psychological prisoner of her own guilt, with all that it entails.

Jackson's writing style is compact and straightforward, with clear imagery, succinctly-drawn characters and language that is sometimes gritty. The plot is driven more often by chance than by a rigorous agenda on the part of the protagonists. The secondary characters tend to be more vindictive and bent on exacting revenge, thus creating the situations that allow the main characters to be buffeted about by happenstance rather than pro-activism. But this does not mean that they are any less involving. There is tension, feeling, danger, and romance, and they barrel together toward a climactic ending to reward the reader's patience.    

E.J. Burke



Pre-release review of WAY OUT OF LINE by Trish Jackson


When raging hormones bring young lovers Hal and Trent together one steamy summer, neither would imagine the trouble their union will bring.  Despite his inner warnings, Hal finds he can't resist his attraction to the beautiful young girl he meets on a private beach. She is young - perhaps too young. Spoilt, indulged Trent, however, knows exactly what she wants and she's not about to take 'no' as answer or let something as trivial as age keep them apart. The white lie that brings them together will drive them apart in a way that they least expect.


Jackson sets an amazing scene in the lead up to events that will change these two young lives forever. Caught in the act by her distrustful father, Hal finds out that the girl of his dreams has mislead him in the worst possible way.  When you mess with the rich who have connections in Congress, you can only expect trouble - a lot of trouble. He finds himself in jail for statutory rape and the only thing that keeps him sane, is the advice of a prison guard to 'never let go of his dreams'.


While Hal serves his time and battles his demons in prison, we're taken on a tumultuous journey that alternates between Trent's emotional derailment and Hal's experiences in confinement. Despite their brush with drugs, cults, jailhouse bullying and other nasty, character-building experiences, they never forget each other nor do they give up hope of one day being reunited again.


Again, Jackson brings about their reunion in a very unique and unexpected way. We're taken on a fast-paced, action-packed journey around the world to the wilds of Zimbabwe and Mozambique where finally, amidst brushes with death that threaten to tear them apart again, the two are once again reunited. Nothing in WAY OUT OF LINE is what you expect. Just when you think you know what's going to happen, Jackson whips you off in a whirlwind of action that takes you to places you never imagined.


If you're looking for a book that has it all, then this is one you should not miss. Follow Hal and Trent's journey to hell and back as they learn hard, fast lessons in the real world, experience brainwashing, drugs and the terrors of a wild country and live through it to be reunited in a love designed by Fate.


- Reviewed by Juanita Kees       www.mission-romance.blogspot.com.au

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Copyright (C) Trish Jackson 2014