Thank you to my husband, who has taken up the slack around the house to free me up to write (and today, publish). Thanks also to my writer friends and beta readers — your support means I always have someone to ask questions, to stroke my fragile writer ego (ha!), and in general commiserate with when it comes to these stories so close to my heart.
Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter of Vessel:
The Middleworld forest whipped by as Eddie Drake hit his stride. He could feel tension from the past days flowing out of his burning muscles. Plants blurred along the trail at his feet as he concentrated on making the miles fly by.
Most Sidhe didn’t exercise for exercise sake – so maybe it was that small human part of him that enjoyed it. He felt his best after a long run, his mind as clear as his body was fatigued.
His head down, he hit a cloud of pixie dust and heard the offended pixie shout, “Hey! Watch yourself!”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m sure there’s more where that came from,” he shouted back without even looking. Pixies were a dime a dozen. You could hardly shake a leg without, well, running straight into a cloud of pixie dust. He sneezed.
Too soon, he saw home ahead. A little escape, that’s what he’d needed. For a few minutes, the burning of his muscles had distracted him from the oddities his life had taken on of late.
Eddie Drake was no nursemaid. He’d never been the patient, caring type.
He was a playboy, and it used to be pure and simple. He liked the ladies, and they liked him. Maybe he overindulged, that he could cop to. Maybe he’d been with too many ladies, too many times. That sort of behavior certainly couldn’t be seen as a precursor to this. No, his current predicament was more likely a punishment for prior bad behavior. Of course, it was a punishment he was choosing, which made it all the more odd.
To satisfy whatever part of him was so worried, he ducked through the back door and sauntered into the third bedroom, the one that had recently been Alise’s room.
Her condition unchanged, Alise rested, still as stone, under a white and cream quilt that had been his mother’s.
Drake frowned. He’d stopped counting the days; there had been many. Maybe two weeks had passed as Alise lay unmoving. Okay, she wasn’t still all the time. A few nights she’d thrashed and moaned.
He’d been so concerned the first time that happened that he’d stayed with her, holding her on the narrow bed until she calmed and seemed to rest. Relieved, he’d drifted off holding her, and been embarrassed to be found in that compromising position when Aunt Nectar came in to check on Alise.
Cuddling with the unconscious.
Not a good sign.
If only he hadn’t gotten her into this mess. That’s what had him all tied up in doubt and fear. She wouldn’t be in that bed, unaware of her surroundings but drowning in the music and magic of Tir Nan Og, if it weren’t for him. He’d made the choice to ask for her help when her best friend had been in trouble. She’d gladly given her help, not realizing it would cost her.
So he owed her. At the very least, he owed her a trip back beyond the veil to where she came from, where her family and her world waited. He’d tried to give her that, but she thrashed as they approached the portal and wouldn’t calm until he retreated. He couldn’t figure that out. In her condition, how did she know when he threatened to take her home? Regardless, his attempts hadn’t worked, and neither had anything the local healer tried. Alise didn’t get worse, but she hadn’t come back to herself either. That’s what kept his stomach tied in knots, he told himself as he stood in the doorway, watching the raven-haired beauty sleep.
Footsteps on the path outside brought Drake out of his thoughts. Maybe Aunt Nectar was home early. That would be good, because he had to go to the human world for at least a while tonight. His job waited for him, and some things he couldn’t let go for an undetermined period while Alise lay in that bed.
It wasn’t Aunt Nectar darkening the path.
Bertran stood, apparently evaluating his next step, outside the cottage, surrounded by the bright sights and sounds of a Middleworld day. The weather was perfect, but that didn’t help the storm clouds covering the countenance of this particular thorn in Drake’s side.
“May I come in?” his old enemy asked.
“Not in this lifetime.”