Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mistress of Malice of Mercy teaser

Viola snatched the sleeping bag out of his hands and tossed it on the couch. “I’ve had my Goth Gabby sleeping bag since I was fourteen. There is nothing wrong with Goth Gabby.”

“She’s creepy,” Sebastian said, panting and sweat-soaked. He dropped a handful of bags onto the floor by Viola’s feet and collapsed on the recliner. “It’s those big, black eyes. I hated the posters you used to have in your room.”

“Big baby.” She stuck her hand in the nearest bag and pulled out a package of rapid-dissolving toilet paper. Her eyebrows disappeared under her bangs. “Really? Seriously, Tobias? That’s it. You are not allowed to shop when you’ve been drinking. I’m instructing Wiff to confiscate your wallet next time.”

Duke's cheeks turned a bright pink. He wished his father were around to offer up an explanation. “Just in case there’s poison ivy or something like it in Wylan.”

She leaned across the canyon of purchases between them and pressed her lips to his scratchy cheek. “Aww, that’s very sweet, honey.”

Buoyed by her kiss, he wrapped his good arm around her waist and hauled her onto his lap. “Well, you’ve got delicate skin, skin I happen to be very fond of, and I’d hate for something to happen to it while I’m not there to care for it.”

Sebastian gagged. “I think I liked it better when you two were fighting. Ow!” He rubbed the side of his head and tossed the throw pillow back at his grinning sister. “I like the pink water bottle best. You’ll look like a pretty, pretty princess, sis.”

“Hey!” Wiff scaled Sebastian’s leg and poked him in the belly button. “I picked that out.”

“And it’s lovely,” Viola declared, glaring her brother into submission. “I’ll think of you every time I use it, Wiff.”

“So does that mean you’ll think of Duke every time you use the toilet paper?”

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Soundtrack Tuesday - Both Sides Are Even

Good Tuesday morning! I hope everyone recovered from the weekend.
This next song fits in with the third book. Without wanting to give away too many spoilers, here it is:

Both Sides Are Even from The Boxer Rebellion.

Later this week, I'll post another snippet from Mistress of Malice and Mercy. Progress has been great on Somtimes it is Rocket Science, too.

Here's hoping it's another great week (heat index be damned!).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mistress of Malice and Mercy previews

It's Sunday. It may mean the end of the weekend and time to get ready for work again, but fortunately it's meant a day of writing. To celebrate, I'm offering up two previews of Mistress of Malice and Mercy.

Now, I've already mentioned that we'll see Duke's mother. And you thought Viola had the only dyfunctional family in the series...

There was an unfamiliar car parked in his driveway. Duke motioned for Wiff to crawl into his front pocket. The wards around the house hadn’t gone off, so the uninvited guest wasn’t a demon or a person with malicious intent. The small, nondescript sedan was empty. He took note of the sticker on the back bumper. The car was a rental.

After parking the truck, Duke dropped the tailgate and managed to get Finn onto the ground without tearing his stitches or injuring the dog. Duke’s hand inched around so that it rested on his FN Five-Seven USG. Rather than race towards the house, Finn remained pressed against Duke’s legs. When they neared the porch, Finn’s lips curled back to reveal sharp, white teeth. He growled warningly at the figure in red reclining on one of the wrought iron chairs.

The tension slipped off Duke’s shoulders. His hand fell away from the gun. The intruder was going to ruin the rest of his day, but she wasn’t going to hurt anyone. He sent a quick alert to Viola letting her know that he was going to have to skip their lunch. When Finn tensed, he patted the dog’s head. “It’s okay, boy.”

Finn growled again. He lifted his large head and snapped his teeth at the blonde, middle-aged woman. Duke huffed, swatted Finn’s ears. “That’s enough. You really are Vi’s mutt, aren’t you?”

Finn sat on Duke’s foot to prevent him from moving any further.

“I didn’t know you had a dog, Toby,” the woman on the porch said. She gracefully rose and walked to the edge of the first porch step. She curled her hands around the painted beam and leaned against it.

In the attic was a picture of the woman in a similar pose. The artist, a local talent who’d done the painting as a birthday present, had captured the blonde’s soft facial structure and ivory skin. Dressed in a flowing, butter-yellow sundress, she looked like the goddess of the dawn caught in a moment of quiet reflection. Paul Duke consigned the painting to a dusty corner of the attic the same day his wife of thirteen years presented him with divorce papers.

“What are you doing here, Mom?”

- - -
And this one takes place a little later. I just love Duke and Viola.
- - -

The pressure and anxiety that had settled on Viola’s shoulders dissolved like fog in the sun when she saw Duke waiting on the steps of his grandmother’s front porch. As soon as the car rolled to a stop, she flung open the door and raced up the driveway. Duke stood up, opened his arms in invitation, and braced for impact.

“No, no, that’s okay, Vi. I’ll get the door. It’s not like I’m going to have my hands full or anything.” Sebastian avoided the sight of his friend and baby sister making out like teenagers under the bleachers after a football game. He didn’t want to ruin his appetite for Aggie Duke’s gumbo. After kicking shut the door Viola had left open in her haste to greet Duke, he grabbed the two boxes of chocolate meringue pie from the backseat.

He deliberately bumped Duke’s shoulder as he passed the kissing couple on the way up the stairs. Neither broke for air. “If you’re not inside in two minutes, I’m going to get the garden hose,” he said. Viola stopped holding the back of Duke’s head long enough to flip Sebastian off; Duke did the same with the hand that had been gripping his wife’s hip. Sebastian rolled his eyes and stalked into the house.

At the slamming of the screen door, Duke unglued his lips from Viola’s. “Wait…,” he panted, glancing around for Sebastian. He’d been on the porch watching for them for a reason. Not that getting to enthusiastically greet his wife wasn’t good enough motivation all on its own.

“What? Why?” Viola scraped her short nails across his skull, tugged on his left earlobe when he didn’t immediately turn back to her. She unwound her legs from around his waist and dropped lightly to the ground.

“Never mind, I can’t remember.” Duke dipped his head to kiss the sharp jut of Viola’s collarbone. The unexpected tickle of soft, short hair thwarted his plans to kiss every inch of skin exposed by her v-neck shirt. He ran the tip of a finger from the point of her chin to her navel. It was a good thing he wasn’t allergic to cats, demonic or otherwise.


Her arms tightened around his neck. The gravelly way he murmured endearments weakened her knees and set her blood on fire in the most delicious ways. “Yeah, Tobias?”

“You’re covered in Chaisan hair.”

Viola glanced down at her shirt. She hadn’t noticed the white and brown fur stuck to the front of her gray shirt. No wonder Tom had been reluctant to hug her when she’d left Burkeholt.

“One of the little monsters took one of my bracelets. I had to get it back.” She held her wrist up and flicked at the small charms dangling from the sturdy silver chain. The ghost-themed bracelet had been a graduation present from her Network mentor. “After wrestling with Finn for over a year, it was like taking candy from a baby.”

Duke tucked a wisp of dark hair behind her ear. Catching something off in the symmetry his mother had pointed out earlier, he took a small step back to get perspective. It only took a second to pinpoint the source of the imbalance. She had two holes in each ear but only three earrings. “You’re missing one of your hoops.”

Her hand flew to her ear. She’d worn cheaper earrings because of the Chaisans, but having been so easily duped still rankled. She slumped forward and thumped her head against Duke’s shoulder. “I hate cats.”

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sometimes it is Rocket Science snippet 2

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  It was hot here, of course, but we made it through just fine.  I dragged JT to garage sales looking for the perfect piece of furniture to go in my newly redecorated living room.  After three hours, we went to WalMart and I picked up a pretty, cherry cabinet.  Now if only I could keep the Terrors off it!

I have been busy, busy working on Mistress of Malice and Mercy (half-finished, yay!) and Sometimes it is Rocket Science (also half-finished, another yay!).  Here is another snippet of SiiRS:

Georgiana paused in the doorway to Yvonne’s office to let her assistant know she was giving Robert a tour of the building. The elevator ride to the lobby was uncomfortable. Despite his earlier laughter, she was afraid he was still hung up on her comment about trust. The orange indicator light switched from 12 to 11. She slammed her hand on the emergency stop button.

“Dan has joint custody of Ken,” she blurted, throat tight and eyes fixed on the closed doors. “Not his stock or trust, that’s all on me, but over Ken’s wellbeing. It’s how Dad set it up. Dad trusted your father with one of the most important things in his world. I’m following Dad’s example.”

Robert was silent, but she knew he was listening. She exhaled shakily and, glad she’d worn heels that made their height difference negligible, met his inscrutable stare. “Daniel was there when Mom died and again for Dad’s death. Trusting him is like breathing because he’s always been there. I’m sorry, Bobby, but I just don’t know you that well any more.”

“I know you would have wasted away your freshman year if I hadn’t dragged you out of the library for meals.” Robert held up a hand to stave off the impending rebuttal. “You would have been late to every one of your classes if I hadn’t given you that tour or drawn you a map.”

Her lips curved upwards at the mention of the last time she and Robert had spent quality time together. Her first year at MIT had been his last. He’d taken time out of his busy schedule wowing professors and seducing undergrads to show Georgiana around. As children, they’d bonded over the isolationism of being the children of wealthy, famous parents and the tribulations that went along with genius. In college, they’d commiserated about expectations and overprotective fathers. After Robert’s MIT graduation, he’d gone to Oxford for an additional year of study. Their friendship rapidly faded to polite nothings at social functions and impersonal holiday cards.

I also know you wouldn’t have passed that Elements of Software Construction class without my help,” he continued.

Georgiana shook off the melancholy to glare at him. “Oh? And who was it that helped you with that Statistical Physics class when they were, oh I don’t know, in high school?”

Robert’s rumbling laughter bounced off the elevator’s metal walls. “You are aware that when you say ‘high school’ it does not mean the same as it would for anyone else, aren’t you?”