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Fiction Friday: Into the Sun – The End

I just posted the final chapter of Into the Sun to Wattpad, so if you’ve been waiting to read the whole thing at once, you can. I’m planning to start revising book 2, Come Back Down, this weekend. Hopefully I can start posting it next week or possibly the week after that. For now, here’s the beginning of Chapter 12 from Into the Sun:

When we pulled into the yard, Mom stood on the porch beside Barbie and Chief. A woman I hadn’t seen before stood beside him, but by the way he had his arm around her, I figured she was with him. Mom was already heading down the steps when I shut off the bike and let Birdie off. We had taken the most direct route and were the first ones back. The others shouldn’t have been far behind.

Mom stood next to the bike by the time I took my helmet off. My arms were shaking, and my breath came a little too fast. But, she took me in her arms. “I’ve been so worried,” she whispered. “I thought he would-”

“He’s not going to bother us,” I told her.

That had her pulling back. “What did you do? Did you-”

“He’s still alive,” I said, putting a hand lightly on her cheek. “I let him know I have information that could destroy him. If he comes after us again, I won’t hesitate to use it.” Even the little I had could hurt him. “The bullet Dad put in his knee is going to keep him out of action for a bit.”

She gasped and spun toward Icarus. “You shot him? What did you do that for?”

“If I hadn’t, he likely would have killed our son. Is that what you’d like? You going to keep choosing him over the ones who actually love you?”

“Grady.” His name came out sounding rough, at barely more than a whisper.

His face only softened slightly. “It’s an honest question, Cassie. You chose him over me. You chose him over our son. If you’re going to keep doing that, I can take you back to him right now.”

“I’m sorry, Grady,” she said, tears filling her eyes. Then, she turned and fled back into the house.

I stared at her then turned to Dad. “What did you do that for? Why did you have to upset her?”

“What do you think he would have done if I had taken her back and handed her over? Just accepted her back? Accepted you back?” He made a jerking motion with his hand in front of his chest. “He likely would have come near to killing you both if he didn’t actually accomplish it. I’ve known men like him, and they don’t stand what they consider disloyalty.” His face was as hard as his words, but I saw more than anger in his eyes. Still, I couldn’t let his fear get to me.

“So, you had to make her cry? How will that make it better?”

Icarus’ shoulders slumped a little. “That hadn’t been my intent, Trace. And I’m sorry for it. Seeing Birdie…” His gaze dropped away, and he swallowed then brought his eyes back to mine. “It snapped something in me. I…I’ll apologize.”

My mouth dried, and I felt torn. Nothing he’d said hadn’t been the truth. But, I hated to see Mom hurting, especially now that we were both away from Henry. “Give her a little time first,” I suggested. “She’s upset. Not that you shot him, I think. She needs to process it and figure out how she feels.” I understood. I’d had the ride back to do that, and I still wasn’t sure.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this story. I’ve really liked writing this series, and I have at least one more story to write once I finish Dance with the Devil.

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Fiction Friday: Into the Sun – Chapter 11

Almost finished posting Into the Sun over on Wattpad. I have one more chapter to go after this one. Then, I will start posting Come Back Down at some point. For now, here is the beginning of Chapter 11:

We pulled into the same turn around we’d used when we rescued Mom and turned our bikes off. I slipped off my helmet and swung my leg over the bike. My legs felt shakier than usual, even more so than when we’d come after Mom. What if he’d hurt Birdie after he sent those messages? If he figured we were on our way, he wouldn’t need her anymore. Not if this was a trap.

No, no. I could not think like that. It had the panic pressing in on me, and I knew if it gained any control, I wouldn’t be able to do anything. I forced my hands to calm, forced my gaze back to Icarus, forced away the buzzing in my head so I could hear what he said.

“Hawk, get to your position to keep watch. Pick your second to watch the other direction.” He turned to Bull. ” You, Smoke, Devil, Trace, you’re with me. Jumper, Irons, and Bear, stop anyone who approaches. Make sure they don’t come to the house. Any sign of the cops, and the rest of you get out of here.” His eyes met mine. “If he’s going to take me down, I’m not going to take the rest of you with me.”

“We’re not gonna let that happen, Cap’n,” Bull said. “We’ll get your little bird out of there, then we’re all going home.”

Icarus nodded, but the lines around his eyes didn’t ease. He wasn’t even sure this would work. That didn’t make me feel much better. But, we couldn’t stand around and let Henry hurt Birdie.

“I’m ready,” I said, but even my voice wavered. I cleared my throat and straightened my shoulders. “Let’s do it.”

Icarus’ lips twitched, but I caught a full-out smile from Bull. “Damn, Grady,” he muttered, “he is your son.”

“He’s right,” Icarus said. “We need to go.” He glanced to Hawk. “We’ll give you time to get into position then head in.”

I stood beside Icarus while we waited. I didn’t know how long this would take. I just wanted to get it done. Wanted to get Birdie out of there and get all of us back safe. Henry wouldn’t make that easy.

Finally, Icarus nodded at us, and we started through the trees until we were standing across the street from the house I’d grown up in. Again. My hands trembled slightly, and I pressed them hard against my thighs. I could feel the weight of the gun in the inside pocket of my vest. I jut wasn’t sure if it was comforting, or if it only added to my nerves.

The house was quiet and dark inside. Henry usually had all the lights blazing, but now each of the curtains were drawn, so we couldn’t see anything inside. Henry’s cruiser sat in the driveway, so he was there. He likely had Birdie in there with him.

“We need to get her.”

Are they going to get her out? What is going to happen to Trace. To henry? You can read the rest of this chapter over on Wattpad, or even catch up on the rest if you’ve missed an installment.

Fiction Friday: Into the Sun – Chapter 10

June is over, and it was quite the writing month for me. Over 96,000 words over 10 different projects. I finished drafting 3 of those and made good progress on the others. Now, it’s July, and I’m looking forward to hopefully finishing 2 more projects. For now, I’m sharing the next chapter of Into the Sun:

A week passed after my altercation with Henry. Chores were dumped on me so hard and heavy, that even though Icarus hadn’t actually said I was being punished for the risks I’d taken, it was pretty obvious. I didn’t even have a chance to get away with Birdie. This morning, Barbie sent her off to town on a grocery run. So, I didn’t even have her here to keep me company.

That shouldn’t make me feel like losing my mind. I’d been used to spending time by myself before I came here. But, I’d also gotten used to having her there with me, even if it was just her talking about random stuff.

I sat back on my heels after I finished polishing the back wheel of Hawk’s bike. I still had three more bikes to finish. Then, I’d go see what else they had for me to do. Hopefully my punishment was almost over with.

Birdie should be back by now. Where was she?

I let out a sigh and moved to the next bike but stopped when I heard my name shouted from near the clubhouse. Still crouched, I spun and nearly fell on my ass. I scowled at the approaching figure then realized it was Icarus. I tried to think of what I could have done that would have brought him out like that, but I’d been here. I couldn’t get into any trouble with all the work they’d had me doing.

Maybe there was some resentment about that, even if I deserved it. I could have gotten Birdie hurt. If Henry would have taken me in, what would he have done to her? Now he knew we had Mom, so he wouldn’t ever stop until he got her back. How far would he go?

As Icarus got closer, I could see he wasn’t angry. He gripped his phone in one hand, and even with his face drawn into tight lines, I could see the fear. I pushed instantly to my feet. “What is it?” I asked. “Mom?”

She’d been spending some time with the other women. I’d even seen her and Icarus talking a few times, though those conversations ended rather quickly.

He shook his head. “Have you seen Birdie? Did she come back yet?”

I would have thought he’d punched me right in the gut, the way it suddenly hurt. “No,” I croaked out. Hadn’t I just been thinking she should be back by now? “Did something happen?”

“It looks that way.” His voice tight, it had my own throat tightening.

“What?” I forced myself to ask.

He shoved the phone into my hands but didn’t say another word. I took it even as Mom hurried over to us. I glanced down at the message screen he still had keyed up. There was a number across the top, so he obviously didn’t have it saved in his phone. I recognized it, though.

You took what’s mine. Now I have what’s yours.

What’s going to happen next? Well, you can read the rest of Chapter 10 over at Wattpad. Let me know what you think if you do read it.

Fiction Friday: Into the Sun – Chapter 9

It’s been quite a week. I’ve written almost 24,000 words and finished another first draft. It came in short than I’d planned, but I tend to add words during my first revision anyway. So, it will probably end up longer by the time it’s ready to send to my critique partner. And if you’re here today, you’re probably looking for the next chapter of Into the Sun. So, here’s the beginning of it:

Birdie’s arms tightened around my waist as we took the sharp curve. Mom had been with us for almost three days now. Her and Birdie still hadn’t spoken again. Mom even avoided Icarus. That shouldn’t really surprise me. What did was the way my dad looked every morning, like he hadn’t gotten any sleep at all.

I’d needed to get out of there. I felt torn between them. I wanted Mom to be happy and safe. Right now, she was only one of them. But, I felt like I had to defend Icarus to her all the time. Try to prove he wasn’t what she still seemed to think. What would it take to convince her?

Birdie’s chin pressed into my back as I slowed for another curve. I’d been spending as much time as I could with her. I was sure it was the only way I wasn’t losing my mind right now. Icarus hadn’t approached Mom again, letting her come to him. It was probably smart. I just wasn’t sure it would ever happen.

We were on our way back to the clubhouse now. It wasn’t smart to come so close to home, but I wanted to be sure Henry wasn’t stirring up trouble. Everything had looked calm. But, I still wasn’t satisfied.

There wasn’t much I could do. Anyway, he couldn’t know where she was now. She’d be safe no matter what he tried.

We had come onto a straight section of road, and I let the bike out, wishing the wind whipping by would whisk away all these thoughts, too. The flashing red and blue lights in my mirror achieved that all on its own.

“Shit.”

Birdie jerked back, but she still had her hands on my waist. “You have to pull over, Trace.”

“I know.” My heart pounded hard. It wasn’t from the adrenaline of the ride, or desire from having her pressed against me. I recognized the decals on the vehicle coming up behind us. They were from the sheriff’s department. They would know Henry. Would they recognize me?

I pulled over to the side of the road, slowing the bike. With my feet on the ground, I shut the bike off and pulled off my helmet. But, I was sure my heart stopped when Henry walked toward us. My hair had grown out a little, and I was starting to get some facial hair, as well as toned muscles. I hadn’t changed enough in the time I’d been gone for him to not recognize me.

“He’s going to kill me.” I didn’t realize I’d said the words aloud until Birdie ran her hand down my back.

“You know who he is?”

“My stepdad. If I tell you to go, take the bike and ride. Tell Icarus.”

“He’s not going to do anything. You haven’t done anything wrong, Trace. He can’t-”

“He’ll do whatever he wants. He always has. Please, Birdie.”

Well, things aren’t looking too good here, are they? If you want to know what happens next, you can read the rest of the chapter here, and I’ll have another one next week.

Fiction Friday: Into the Sun – Chapter 8

It’s Friday again! Yeah, that seems to happen every week. THIS week, I’ve written over 25,000 words, gone with the kids and my MIL to the park and a book sale(4 new books for $1) and finished the first draft of Paint Me a Picture, a novella in my Gilbert, Co series. I really liked writing Rylan and Kirsten’s story. Even if the second half of my outline was pretty much tossed out.

But, today is about bringing you the next chapter of Into the Sun, the first half of Trace & Birdie’s story. Chapter 8 is up on Wattpad now, so here is a little taste of it.

I stood across the street from the house I’d grown up in, but I saw it from new eyes now. I used to dread coming home from school, like I walked straight toward my personal torture chamber. Everything about it had felt dark.

Now, I looked and didn’t see any of that. Just a house. Only four walls and a roof. The house itself was painted a light blue, white shutters around the windows. The front porch drooped slightly. Henry had talked the last couple years about ripping it out and putting in a new one.

He never had, and he’d made that my fault somehow.

I couldn’t move forward. It was just a house and yet some of that same dread seeped in. A hand settled on my back.

“Nothing changes when you stand still,” Icarus said in my ear. “You can do this, Trace.”

The surety in his voice helped take some of the weight from my own shoulders. I couldn’t make Mom come with us, of course, but she certainly wouldn’t if I couldn’t even make myself walk up to the house. That’s all I had to do.

I stepped away from Icarus and headed for the street but glanced back over my shoulder once. He’d already faded back into the trees. Even though I didn’t see him with that quick look, he’d assured me he’d be able to see me. I kept that in mind as I reached the other side of the street and headed for the drooping porch. The first step creaked, and I swore the second would collapse under my weight. Thankfully it didn’t.

I walked across the porch. I stopped myself when I reached for the doorknob. This wasn’t my home anymore. Instead, I lifted my hand and knocked. Instantly my stomach coiled into tight knots.

What would I see when she opened the door? Would she even speak to me? Would she shut the door in my face? Beg me to stay? I hated not knowing what to expect.

Shuffling steps came from the other side of the door, and got a quick glimpse of her face through the glass when she pulled the curtain on the door aside. The door swung open. Even that quick glimpse had my heart splitting. He hadn’t gone easy on her since I’d left.

What had I done abandoning her? He could have killed her, and I couldn’t have stopped it.

She grabbed my arms and pulled me into the house. “Oh, Trace, you’re back,” she said, kissing my face. “I’m so glad you decided to come home. I’ve missed you so much.”

I made myself pull back from her. “I’m not home, Mom. I just had to see you. Talk to you.”

She pulled back, and I could see all the happiness drain out of her eyes. “Where have you been, Trace? You should have been here.”

“I’ve tried to call,” I told her,”you never picked up.”

You can find the rest of Chapter 8 over on Wattpad, or even check out the previous chapters. If you do, let me know what you think of it.

Fiction Friday: Into the Sun – Chapter 7

We’ve made it through another week. I’ve written over 17000 words on various projects this week. I seem to have stumbled on the best¬†method for getting to it all. For me at least.

And now¬†chapter seven of Into the Sun is now available on Wattpad. So, if you want to see what’s going on with Trace, you can head over there and read it. Or catch up if you haven’t started yet.

When I walked back out of the meeting room, more than an hour later, we had a plan. We just had to decide the best time to implement it. Too much time had already gone by. What if…I shook my head before the thought finished forming. No, he wouldn’t have gone that far. I couldn’t believe it.

I wouldn’t.

Birdie waited for me when we came out of the meeting. She laughed when she saw the surprised look on my face. “Told ya I’d see you when you got done.”

She had. But, I still wasn’t used to people wanting to spend time with me. “D-Icarus said I’m free for the rest of the day. We could go somewhere or something.”

She smiled at my near slip. I don’t know why I resisted calling him dad so much. It still didn’t feel right. He might be my father, but no matter the reasons, he wasn’t the one who raised me.

“You know it’s okay,” she said, slipping her arm through mine. “He knows it’s going to take some getting used to. You don’t have to worry about him hurting you. Ever. He wouldn’t do anything like that. None of them would.”

“I know.” Icarus told me that himself a time or two. Yet, it felt more true coming from her for some reason.

“What do you want to do?” she asked. “We could take your bike out, or…”

I was really curious about what that ‘or’ meant. And really hoped I could find out. “A walk,” I suggested. “You said all this land around is ours.”

She nodded then tugged on my hand. “I know all the best trails. Come with me.”

I laughed as she practically dragged me along. I’d never had anything like this before. The easy laughter, people who told me I could feel any way I did, that seemed to accept me simply for me, not for how I made them look.

I hoped nothing I did would ever make me lose it.

I had no idea where she was taking me, but I didn’t worry about it either. For the first time it felt good to not know. Even better when she stopped, laughing, near a large oak tree and pulled me against her. Better still when her lips touched mine, her hands sliding up under my shirt.

Yes, I certainly couldn’t wait to see where this would take me.

Fiction Friday: Into the Sun – Chapter 6

I’ve been busy scribbling down words the last few days since JuNoWriMo has just started. I’m working on 6 different WiPs, because I’m a little crazy like that. But, for right now taking a little break to share Chapter 6 of Into the Sun with you all.

I walked down to the dining room in the morning, my head still spinning with the things I’d told Icarus. Did he really mean to get Mom away from there? What if she didn’t want to come? What if Henry came home and stopped him? It was too much to think about, and it kept me from getting much sleep.

Still trying to rub some of the grit out of my eye when I walked into the dining room, I had to drop my hand to hide a yawn. Conversation stilled as I headed for one of the tables.

“You don’t have to come down if you’re still sleepy,” Icarus said. “We don’t hold to much of a schedule here. You can get breakfast at any time.”

“It’s conditioned, sir,” I said then winced, remembering he’d told me to stop calling him that.

“As is that, I imagine,” Icarus said. “Still, you can go back up and sleep longer if you wish.”

“Wasn’t sleeping anyway,” I said as I sank into the chair beside Birdie. “Heard the bikes come back early this morning. You obviously didn’t sleep much either.” Yet, he looked perfectly refreshed.

He’d ridden out the night before shortly after we’d returned from our own ride. Bull, Hawk, and one other man, a lieutenant like Hawk, had ridden with him. They hadn’t said anything about where they were going, but Birdie and a few of the other members, seemed to know. Birdie had given Icarus a tight hug and warned him not to burn his wings. He assured her he had it handled, but it hadn’t wiped the worry from her face.

We spent most of the night together on the couch in the lounge, her body snuggled up against mine. I’d asked her what was wrong, where they’d gone, but she just said this was what they did. Like it made everything okay or her worry pointless.

Even now she tried not to look worried, but I could tell. I squeezed her arm and grabbed one of the plates that was in the middle of the table. Coming to breakfast with everyone else meant I didn’t have to have the cook make me something special. He always would, he’d assured me, but this was easier on everyone.

After filling my plate from the serving trays, I came back to my seat and pulled a newspaper closer to me. This had become a breakfast routine.

A headline near the bottom of the third page caught my attention. A drug dealer found dead by apparent overdose. I scanned the rest of the story, but there weren’t many details. Still awaiting results of tox screens, no signs of force, restraint. No leads. I glanced up, but Icarus concentrated on his own plate. Still, I could see a hint of smugness in the twist of his lips. I remembered his words from my first full day there. We get justice.

If you want to keep reading, the rest of the chapter’s up on Wattpad! Hope you’re enjoying it.

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