Sharing another teaser from Stained Blood today. I finished rewriting this last week and am just polishing it up now. Hoping to have it sent out to betas sometime this month. This is from Chapter 2, and only the first time Barrett tries to rescue Deryn.
Barrett didn’t let the man finish that sentence, stepping forward instead. “Can I help, Clyde? I know the lady.”
The clerk snorted and glanced over at Barrett. “That doesn’t give me much more confidence in her character, Kline.”
“Do not be ridiculous, Clyde. She is an acquaintance of Leah’s. She is here for the wedding.” He glanced at her, hoping she would understand and follow his example.
“Is that true, ma’am,” the clerk asked her.
“Y-yes,” she stammered out. “That’s why I’m here.”
“Why didn’t you say so?” the clerk asked. “You still should have a male escort.”
“There is no one to act as one,” she said softly.
Barrett’s chest ached at the grief in her voice. Was she a widow, then? Or just an orphan? He waited as she signed her name to the register. She’d hesitated a moment on the name before writing it. He wondered why. She was probably just tired from the trip.
“Can I carry your bags up, Ms. Glas?” he asked.
“I can get it.” She reached for the one small bag at her feet. “I thought you were taking the Jensens out to the ranch.”
“Yes,” Barrett said, and he regretted he needed to. Something about this woman pulled at him. “I’ll see you then.”
“Of course, Mr. Kline.” Some wariness came into her eyes. “At the wedding.”
“Right. The wedding,” he said.
She picked up the bag and headed for the steps, taking her key with her. Barrett watched her go, feeling something in him stirring. He’d always had a healthy appetite when it came to a beautiful woman, but this felt different. When she disappeared at the top of the stairs, he turned away. “You don’t really know her, do you?” Clyde asked.
“Of course I do,” he lied. “Her name’s Deryn Glas, and she’s here for my sister’s wedding.”
He turned and left the hotel before he realized his hands were shaking. He didn’t know how long Ms. Glas would be here in town, but he certainly hoped he’d see her again. He had to figure out why he’d reacted like this to her.
“You ready?” Barrett asked when he reached the wagon.
William nodded. “Everything okay?”
“Fine,” he lied again. “Everything’s just fine.”