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Teaser Tuesday: In the Moonlight – “Brody”

I’m just getting ready to start my read through of In the Moonlight this week(have it sent to my kindle, but we ended up having a busy day yesterday, so didn’t actually get started yet). So, I decided to share another snippet from In the Moonlight. In this scene, Nola’s brother, Brody, has just called her.

“What is it, Bro?”
“You know I hate it when you call me that, No.”
He put just enough emphasis on the nickname for me to know he used it simply to irritate me. But, I didn’t get as upset over the shortened name as he did. And I was just doing what Teagen had taught me an older sister was supposed to. “What did you want? It’s kind of late to call and chat.” Not that my little brother had ever liked to chat. “I figured by now you’d have a bunch of friends to hang out with after work.”
Silence hung over the line for a long moment, and that worried me. He might not like to chat, but if he called, it meant he had something to say. “I’ve been sitting in the hospital with Mom most of the day. Had to call off of work.”
He’d called off on a job he’d been working for less than a week. That couldn’t have gone over well. “Why didn’t you call me? I would have come up.”
“Mom didn’t want me to. She said Adriane’s niece was supposed to be showing up today. Did she make it?”
“Yeah. What’s wrong, Brody? It can’t just be another flare. That wouldn’t have you spending all day with her. Or calling me.”
More silence, which was really starting to freak me out. “It’s getting worse, Nola. This new doctor said if they don’t find the right drug to counteract how her body’s attacking itself, she might not have much longer.”
My stomach cramped so hard, I thought I was going to throw up. This had just started as some achy joints and a poor immune system. But, it had gotten worse each year. She’d been on so many drugs, she probably could have started her own pharmacy. “Do you need me to come up there?” I asked him. “I can leave right now and—”
“No,” he said quickly. “Mom didn’t really even want me to call you. But, I…Teagen said she’d help us, but she doesn’t know. She hasn’t been there for the last several years when it was getting really bad. I’m not sure what to do, and she turned down the new drug he wanted to try.”
My throat closed up at that. If she refused the medication that kept her body functioning even on a minimal level, she’d die. I couldn’t let myself think about that. “She has to, Brody. We can’t…”
“I know, Nola. But, it’s experimental and her insurance won’t cover it. And you know how good our coverage is.”
Which had made me thankful Adriane had made sure we all kept it even if we left. Mom couldn’t have survived without it. I’m pretty sure Adriane had understood that. And how proud Mom was, so she wouldn’t want to take handouts.
“So, you need me to send more money,” I said, realizing the real reason behind the phone call. “What about Teagen? She said she’d help.”
“She also has rent to pay and ‘a lifestyle’ to keep up.”
I could almost see him make air quotes around those words. And it made me want to strangle my older sister. “I’ll talk to her, Brody. And I’ll put a check in the mail in the morning.” No matter how frustrated I was with my oldest sister, I wouldn’t let it interfere with mom’s health. “Did the doctor give any alternate options?”
“Only to continue what we’ve been doing, even though it doesn’t seem to be doing much good. The drugs that are destroying her immune system are about the only thing keeping her body from destroying itself.”
Because it couldn’t fight back against what it saw as an invader, even though it was only her own organs and cells. I rubbed a hand over my eyes. “All right. I’ll get that check in the mail in the morning. And I’ll try to come up to see you when I can. I have a day off coming up soon. If I can talk Ya-Miss Reisner into letting me off, I’ll be up sooner.” My face flushed again at almost using her first name.
“Is she still as hot as she used to be?”
I clenched my teeth then forced myself to relax my jaw. “Good night, Brody.”
I didn’t hang up fast enough to miss his laugh, though. Damn little brothers.

Teaser Tuesday: In the Moonlight – “Your Responsibility”

Okay, so I’m back with another teaser from In the Moonlight after all. I’ve been adding some new scenes into this the past week. Once I get done with those and see if any chapters need rearranged, I’ll set it aside I think until July, then do a read through and more revisions before getting ready to send it to my CP. But, for now, here’s a little teaser:

“Are you sure you aren’t going to need the car?” I asked Mrs. Thomas once more. She assured me it would be fine, but I didn’t want her to be stranded here.
“Yes, Nola, just go. You can get the groceries while you’re in town. I made out a list. Just grab it before you go.”
She brushed a loose wisp of hair away from my face. “I wish you didn’t have to worry about this,” she told me. “You should get to be a twenty-year-old girl. Not have to try to take care of everyone.”
“I’m still a twenty-year-old no matter what else I do. And if I don’t take care of it, who will? Teagen? Yeah, I don’t ever see that happening.”
“You know that isn’t what I meant. And it shouldn’t have to be your responsibility.”
“Yeah, well, Dad shouldn’t have died in that accident. Mom shouldn’t have gotten sick or waited so long to figure out what was wrong. Ms. Adriane shouldn’t have died. There’s a lot of shouldn’ts, but it doesn’t change what is.”
Mrs. Thomas gave me a quick hug. “I know, darling. I know. I didn’t mean to upset you. Go on. Do what’s needed then come on back home. It will be fine.”
It wouldn’t be. We both knew that. Mom was dying. The drugs I was sending money for would only help delay that. For how long, we weren’t even sure. But, I’d do what I could. It was more than Teagen even attempted. She still hadn’t returned my phone call.

Teaser Tuesday: In the Moonlight – Journal

I’m back with another teaser from In the Moonlight. I’m hoping to have this all transcribed into Scrivener by the end of this week. Unless I get something back from CP/betas  before then. In that case, this will be set aside until those are done. But, for today, Yasmin and Nola have found a journal from one of Yasmin’s ancestors and are reading through it, trying to solve what happened in the house a long time ago(like 150 years or so). This is from Nola’s POV.

I looked over at Yasmin, and she had a slight smile on her face. She was probably thinking the same thing I was. These were likely our ancestors. And we couldn’t tell yet, but I at least was thinking Charlotte had been more than just a housemaid to Josephine.
She’d gone back to describing something that had happened at the party, and I tuned it out. Josephine had a rambling way of writing, jumping from one thing to another then going back to something relating to the first. It made it easy to tune a lot of it out.
Then, Yasmin nudged me. “You’ll like this part,” she said.
“Are they still at the party?” I asked dryly. “I think I’ve heard plenty enough details about that.”
Yasmin laughed and kissed the side of my head. “No worries. They’ve arrived home now, and the young housemaid greeted them along with the butler.”
I straightened a little at that. “Charlotte?”
She nodded. “Our Josephine managed to escape her father and made it to her room. Now, she’s remembering when the lovely maid first came to work for the family.”
My breath caught. “Is that really how she put it?”
Yasmin grinned and pressed her lips to mine this time. “Pretty much.”
I laughed and settled deeper into the chair, pulling her against me. I wouldn’t have thought I’d be so comfortable sitting with her like this. And still, I didn’t know how I’d react if someone walked in on us, that might still take some time. But, I wasn’t going to give this up yet.
“Keep reading,” I told her. I liked the sound of her voice as she read, the way it changed when Josephine talked about each different person, as if she was acting out a story.
I never understood why Father always had us meet the new servants he brought in. I will admit I often find myself ashamed of my attitude toward them now. They were always just there. Until Father introduced Charlotte and her mother and sisters to us. I had not even made it to my sixteenth birthday yet, though it was coming. Mother was talking about me making my debut, and I did not have any strong feelings about it, though I knew my friends looked forward to theirs.
“They still did that?” I asked. “Debuts and coming out for their season, or whatever it was called.”
“Coming out seems appropriate,” Yasmin said, smirking at me.
“Shut up,” I said, embarrassed a snort came out with my laugh. “You’re terrible.”
She shifted so she could press her lips to mine. I moaned at the feel of her soft lips on mine, and her tongue slicked into my mouth. I wrapped one arm around her, holding her against me. She shifted her mouth, placing kisses along my jaw then down my throat.
I was panting, my hips rocking up when she finally pulled back. “Still think I’m terrible?” she asked.
I let out a rough laugh. “Yes. Get back here.”
“I thought you wanted to know what else Josephine had to say about the pretty maid.”
I did. But, she had me all worked up now. “Later.”

Teaser Tuesday: In the Moonlight

I was going to share some of Flames of Renewal, but I still haven’t gotten it back from my critique partner yet. Hopefully soon. In the meantime, I’m transcribing In the Moonlight from OneNote(on my Surface tablet) to Scrivener(on my laptop). So, I’ll share a bit from that for now.

“Did I interrupt something?” Yasmin asked, sticking her head through the doorway.
I tossed my phone on the bed and dropped my gaze to the floor. “Just my sister. She’s-”
“Still as much a bitch as she used to be?”
My gaze jerked up to her face, and she winced. “Sorry. That wasn’t very nice of me to say. She’s your sister. And I just assumed you were talking about Teagen. Your little sister I’m sure is a very sweet girl.”
She had Ciara pegged there. And Teagen, too. “It’s the truth,” I said. “About both of them. I just didn’t expect you to voice it.” I figured her and Teagen had gotten along. They at least had swimming in common. “Did you need something, Ms. Resiner? I didn’t think I’d see you until dinner.”
“Oh, knock it off,” Yasmin said, taking a step into my room. “I thought we were bonding over our dislike of your older sister. Then, you go back to that formal crap. I don’t care if you hate me, too, but at least call me Yasmin.”
I drew in a deep breath, but even that was a mistake. Her scent was intoxicating. I didn’t know what it was. I’d cleaned her room and bathroom earlier that morning. There hadn’t been any signs of perfumes or anything like that. It was just her.
“I’m sorry,” I said, my voice sharper than I intended. “What did you want,”—God, this was a mistake— “Yasmin?”
“Smartass,” she murmured, but she was smiling. I almost couldn’t resist smiling back.
I did. But just barely.

Story a Day: Day 11 – Welcome Home

Today’s prompt for Story a Day is setting. And I’m using one of my new WiPs, In the Moonlight, for this one. And the house is based on the one I grew up in until I was about seven, with some changes.

I pulled up to the house and just sat in the car for a moment, taking all of it in. I’d spent just about every summer. I should know every crook and canny it without a problem. But, I hadn’t been here much the last few years. I’d been too focused finishing college as soon as I could. I was planning to visit Aunt Adriane after graduation, spending a few weeks with her. But, now she was gone.

And the house was mine.

I shook my head at that and stepped out of the car. It had been a week since I’d found out she’d left the house to me, but I still couldn’t of it like that. This would always be Aunt Adriane’s house. I ran my hand over the rounded top of one of the posts of the gate letting me in from the sidewalk to the yard. I could have driven around the back and parked on the grounds. Aunt Adriane had the old barn on the edge of the property turned into a garage several years ago.

And I would pull my car around eventually. But, for now, it was fine just where it was. As I moved through the gate, everything felt like it had gone silent. That wasn’t completely true, though, I guess. Plenty of birds were singing, and I saw a couple flying between trees along the fence. But, Aunt Adriane had employed more than a dozen people right up until her death. But, she’d released them all from their contracts to her in her will, even paying them what they would have earned through the end of the year, unless they chose to stay.

That one had really pissed Dad off. Especially since she hadn’t left him a penny.

Now, I only saw two people waiting on the front porch. I wondered if there were more inside. Or was this it? I thought about what Dad had said when I was packing my things. That this house couldn’t be run without all the employees. A maid and the old groundskeeper. Were they really all who had stayed? I really didn’t want Dad to be right.

I’d hoped to walk around the grounds before I headed into the house. But, with them waiting for me, I couldn’t bring myself to do that. I headed for the stairs, running my hand over the lion’s head carved into the post next to the stairs. I’d always loved these decorations, the attention to detail. Aunt Adriane had never found when they’d been added to the house. Maybe I’d be able to do that this summer before I decided what I was going to do.

I glanced up as I approached the porch. The roof came to a peak there and again even higher. The second floor had what I’d always thought of as turrets. One on each side of the house. And a widow’s walk on top of the third floor. I’d never been allowed all the way up there. The door to the third floor had always been locked.

The old man smiled at me. “Welcome home, Ms. Reisner.”

The words had warmth spreading through my chest. Every year when I’d stepped out of the car my parents sent me in, he’d been there to greet me with those same words. And that’s just what it had always felt like; home. Certainly more like home than my parents’ house ever had.

“It’s good to be back here, Mr. Bailey,” I told him.

I thought I heard a soft snort at that and turned to look at the girl–no, woman now- standing beside him. But, there was no sign of the derision I’d thought I heard in the sound. She was still as cute as she’d been every summer I’d been here, though there was no smile on her face today. I was pretty sure she didn’t want me to be here.

“I’ll go get your things out of your car and have it brought around,” Bailey said. “Ms. McCarthy can show you around the house.”

Nola. I remembered her name was Nola. She turned from me then and went to the front door, pulling it open. The hinges creaked and sent a little shiver down my spine. It had always been like that when first walking into the house. But, once inside, it always felt more welcoming. The scent of something sweet met me as we started through the foyer.

“Did Ms. Thomas stay as well?”

That brought Nola to a halt in front of me, and I nearly fell into her. I caught myself, but it was close. I was almost close enough to make out the subtle scent she wore. Then, she was walking again, and it was gone. “Yes, she stayed,” Nola finally said as she led me past the stairs. “She figured you’d need someone to cook for you.”

There was that derision again. So, she really didn’t like me. I didn’t know why. I didn’t think I’d ever treated her badly. Unlike my dad, Aunt Adriane had always insisted her employees deserved respect, whereas Dad didn’t seem to think much about them at all. But, I definitely sided with Aunt Adriane’s view.

“You don’t have to show me around,” I told her. “I remember my way around this place and how to get to my room. If you have better things to do, I can get there myself.”

Color flushed up the back of her neck, and I nearly cursed at myself. I hadn’t meant to embarrass her. I just thought I could avoid any more torture for both of us.

“I don’t,” she said softly. “If you’re tired from your drive, I can take you up there.”

I’d like her to…No, I really shouldn’t be thinking like that. “You’re just acting like you want to be as far from me as possible. I’m giving you that option. I’ll see myself up to my room.”

She looked like she might say something, but I turned and started back for the stairwell. It would be better this way. She was technically my employee. And I didn’t even know if I’d be keeping the house at the end of the summer.

There was no point in getting attached.

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