Friday, June 10, 2011

Just a snippet.

I'm running a bit short on time tonight, so here's a quick excerpt from my first Deyl Parker novel, I HAD TO FALL:

(Deyl, Josh and Alicia have stopped at a diner just outside of Chicago, midway through their journey to Minneapolis)

"So, what do you think? Should we drive through the night or stop at dark? My parent's house is only a few more hours from here," Alicia noted, speaking low and choosing her words carefully.

"Stop at dark, definitely," I said. I wasn't sure what to think about stopping at the Bowmyn's, but I was sure about stopping for the night. Humans didn't travel after dark unless they were Hunters.

We would be much too obvious on the road at night.

"We could be there by lunch tomorrow if we drive through…" Alicia pointed out hopefully.

"No, we couldn't, because we'd be dead before the sun came up again," I said in a flat whisper. "It's too dangerous.”

"I agree with Deyl," Josh murmured. "Too conspicuous to be out at night. We should stop."

Alicia snorted delicately, rolling her round, hazel eyes. She obviously thought Josh was just agreeing with me because it was me.

And unfortunately, there was a good chance she was right.

"Okay, okay. So then we’re crashing at my parents place?"

"I'm not sure," I hedged, thinking it made perfect sense to stay with her parents but worried about getting more people—more people I didn't know—involved in this catastrophe. Unfortunately, that was probably our best bet when it came to avoiding the Hunters, whether I liked it or not.

"So…" Alicia prodded, watching me expectantly.

"So we stay at the Bowmyn's. It's our safest option," I summarized, dropping my voice as a young couple sat down at the table two seats away. Josh looked like he was about to say something more, but Alicia cut him off.

"I'm sooooo happy you were both able to get the time off to come with me!" she chippered in a falsely bright voice. "My brother hasn't seen you in years, Josh, and his fiancée is dying to meet your sweetheart!" She tapped my hand with her tiny, pale fingers, clearly indicating me as the 'sweetheart'.


Without missing a beat, I joined her game. "I haven't been to a wedding in years, I'm really excited," I said with a wide smile. "Have they decided on the blue or the gold yet?"

This was the danger in mingling with humans. To sit together, unspeaking, would look suspicious. At the same time, we were so much more likely to let something slip, to reveal what we were, if we tried to carry on a normal conversation. It was a fine line to walk.

Josh's bewildered look threatened to ruin the whole thing, so I reached across the table and took his hands in mine while stepping on his toes in warning. I was distracted for a moment by how surprisingly soft and cool his hands were and the slight tingle in my fingertips as I gently wrapped them around his, trying to look like the sweetheart.

"When we get married I think I'd like everything in gold," I mused, blinking at him like a moron, trying to convey our cover to the clueless man. Idiot.

Finally, the bewilderment in his eyes cleared and his shoulders relaxed the tiniest bit.

"Oh, I think they've settled it," Alicia continued. "But I can't remember what they decided… darn it, I've completely forgotten!" She arranged her features in a slight frown, looking stumped.

Josh's gaze grew crafty and he smiled mischievously as he said, "You say married like I've already asked you," looking pointedly at my bare ring finger and giving my hands a tiny squeeze.

My quick grimace was very real. The look in his eyes suggested that he might be enjoying our game a bit too much.

I sighed dramatically, shifting my expression shifted to a false pout. "You know I'm still waiting patiently."

Alicia’s laugh was like silver chimes in the wind, and I got the distinct impression she wasn't faking it. I sighed again, also not faking it.

"I know," Josh griped, and then shocked me when he pulled our intertwined hands towards his lips and lightly kissed my fingertips.

Damn, I thought, as my heartbeat kicked into overdrive.

I tried to remember if magicians had better hearing than normal humans, hoping they didn’t.

Alicia laughed again, louder this time, at my very stunned expression. They were both enjoying the game far too much. I blinked as Josh gave me my hands back, making room for the food that had just arrived with our drab waitress.

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