I’m getting to this rather late as our internet was out most of the morning. It seems to be staying connected for now, so I’m hoping to get this done without it going out again. Today I have the end of Chapter 11 from In the Moonlight. I’m still working on the read through(and this is actually the last chapter I’ve read from at this point). In this chapter, we meet a new character. I’ll leave it up to you what you think of him.
He straightened and turned around, and I felt a quick burst of heat. He was extremely attractive. Tall, but he filled out the suit he wore quite well. His light blond hair was brushed away from his face. I wondered how much gel it took to keep it all in place. And those brown eyes took up a little too much of his face, but that just made it better. He wasn’t perfect. My mouth went a little dry, but I forced myself to keep my head up, my eyes right on his.
“You’re Ms. Yasmin Reisner? The niece Adriane Reisner left this house to?”
He seemed surprised by that. He’d probably expected someone who’d looked as sophisticated as Aunt Adriane. Instead of me with my dark hair, some of it matted against my cheek. And I knew it would be snarled if I didn’t get it washed and brushed out soon.
“That’s right,” I told him. “I still do not know who you are, though.”
“Barret Foss,” he said, holding his hand out to her. “I told your butler that.”
I almost snorted at that. Aunt Adriane had never employed a butler. Most of the time she just answered the door for herself if Bailey wasn’t right there. But, I decided not to dissuade him of the notion for some reason. “A name does not tell me much, though. Like what you want of me.”
“I would think that would be obvious, Ms. Reisner.”
Even though I knew it wasn’t what he meant, I had to fight back a blush of my own. Thankfully, my darker skin helped hide that reaction. A lot more than it did Nola’s. Thinking about her sent a little zing through me. I wondered where she was right now. Maybe after I got rid of this guy, I could go find her. See what had happened the night before.
“I’m here about the house,” he said and brought my attention right back to him.
“What about it?” I asked, my voice low. “My great-aunt left it to me in her will. Not my father. So, if he’s sent you to-”
He held his hands up. “Nothing of the kind, Ms. Reisner. I don’t even know your father.”
“Right,” I said, not believing him. “Sure you don’t.”
“Truly,” he said. “I know a few things about him, but I’ve never met the man myself.”
Of course. Everyone knew a few things about my father. None that he was an asshole, cheated on his wife, and treated his only daughter like she had less worth than one of his vehicles he traded out at least once a year.
No, I wasn’t bitter at all when it came to my father.
“You really don’t know him?” I asked.
“No,” he said, still smiling at me. “You’ll still speak with me, won’t you?”
“If he didn’t send you up here, I’m more likely to talk to you. What do you want to know about the house?”
“Oh, I already know a lot about this house. What I want is to buy it from you.”
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.
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.
This will probably be the last teaser I share from In the Moonlight, at least for a little while. I’m currently typing up the last chapter and then I just have the epilogue left. So, I should be done with that this week, maybe even before the end of the month. For today, I have a bit from what I’ve been typing up this morning. Warning: There are spoilers in here, so if you don’t want to know who the bad guy is or what the end might look like, you may not want to read on(and of course, this is still a very rough draft, so things may change).
Nola squeezed my hand then once against stepped in front of m. What was she doing? She was not going to sacrifice herself for me. Not like Charlotte had done for Josephine. I hadn’t realized that’s what had happened until the thought went through my head. Almost like it had been put there.
I was not going to let that happen. Not to her. Not when things finally seemed to be going okay. I didn’t know how this could be happening. “You need to go,” I told him as I stepped up beside her again. From the corner of my eye, I could see her mouth turn up. Yeah, I thought we were on the same page. We’d do this as partners. That’s how we’d do everything from now on. I turned my attention back on Foss. “You aren’t welcome here. If you don’t turn around and walk right back out of here, I’ll call the police to see that you’re taken out.”
His sneer turned to more of a smirk. “They’ll never get here in time. And then this place will finally belong to my family. Like it should have all those years ago. If Josephine would have married my great-great-great grandfather like she was supposed to. He would have done it even after she’d betrayed him with that servant girl. All he needed was for her to produce an heir. Instead she tried to run off before he could accomplish that.”
“From what I’ve gathered, her managing to sleep with him would have been the accomplishment.”
That was the wrong this to say with a possibly deranged man with a gun standing in front of me. And I knew it as soon as his face hardened. He started to lift the gun. “You’re as bad as she was. You can’t just give me what I want, can you? This house should be mine! If she hadn’t betrayed him, it would have. My great-great grandfather would have been the heir to both families’ fortunes and her brother wouldn’t have felt forced to take on that whore and pass her son off as the heir. This should all be mine.” He took a step closer. “Even your father agrees with me.”
Those words were worse than the sight of the gun. I stumbled back a step. “He did send you here,” I finally managed to say. “I knew you were lying.”
“I didn’t lie,” he insisted. “Not that first time. But, when I realized there was strain there, I figured I could use it to my advantage. He’s willing to sign the house over to me. All I have to do is get you to go home where you belong.”
I laughed. Again, probably not the best thing to do in the face of a deranged man with a gun. Nola whispered my name, I could hear her fear in her voice. I had to find a way to get us out of this mess, or we might find both our bodies at the bottom of the stairs.
“You know, I said, trying to keep my voice as calm as possible, “You won’t get away with it like your ancestor did. We have things like DNA and ballistics that they didn’t have back in that time. You won’t have this house, because you’ll be sitting in a prison cell the rest of you life for double murder.”
The sneer had come back, and even my words didn’t make it leave his face. “Not when they think it’s a murder-suicide.”
“That’s never going to happen.”
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.”
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.
This will probably be the final teaser from Stained Blood. At least until I’m making the final edits to it. I’ll have it polished and hopefully sent to betas by the end of this week. My CP also said she should have Flames of Renewal(Flames #2) back to me sometime this week. So, I’ll be working on edits for that shortly. but, one more piece of Barrett & Deryn’s story.
Barrett sank into a chair, unsure how much of the truth he should include. He kept his words clipped, even though he feared it would alert the sheriff. He couldn’t force himself to keep up his usual garrulous image. “He’s got a poster with Deryn’s likeness. Says her name is Adara Monihan. She’s his sister-in-law.” His jaw tightened, and he opened and closed his fists a couple times until he forced himself to relax it. “What he’s accusing her of…I won’t say she’s innocent, but it’s not what he makes it out to be.”
The sheriff’s face hardened. “What’s she accused of, Kline? I don’t want to be harboring an outlaw in my town.”
Barrett let out a brief snort. “Outlaw? You’ve looked at her, right? Does she look like an outlaw to you, Carl? Would you have called Leah one if she’d managed to bash one of her captors over the head and escape before we got to her?” He didn’t want to tell Deryn’s truth, whatever it was. But, he did want to get his point across.
Now, the man’s face paled a little. “Of course not, Barrett. She would have done what she had to to survive.”
He gave a short nod. “As did Deryn. If you hand her over to him, I fear she wouldn’t even make it to the railroad.”
Carl laced his fingers behind his head and leaned back in his chair. “It’s no secret in this town you’ve started courting her, Kline. How do I know you are not trying to cover for her.”
Barrett pushed to his feet. “You would ask that of me?”
“Well, your own father did help cover up nearly half a dozen killings. Could say it runs through the blood.”
Flames consumed him as he stood there staring at the sheriff. He grew so hot, the edge of his vision became a red haze. “You would ask that of me?” he questioned again. “Didn’t I do whatever it took to find Leah when my own brother would have had you railroad an innocent man? Didn’t I testify to everything I knew and suspected my own blood had done? Yet, still you believe mine is tainted.”
I have another teaser from Stained Blood for you today. I will probably have one more before this goes off to beta readers. Then, I’m hoping I’ll also have Flames of Renewal back from my critique partner by then, so I can start sharing from that. Or In the Moonlight if I get started editing that. We’ll have to see how things go.
Anyway, for today here’s a bit from Chapter 8 and a glimpse of Deryn’s back story.
Once Barrett left, Aileen turned toward Deryn, raising one eyebrow. “What was that about?”
“Nothing.” Deryn dropped her gaze to the floor. “Where do you want me to put this?” she asked, reaching for the satchel Barrett set beside the door.
Aileen waved her hand. “Leave it for now. I made some tea. I’d love for you to join me for some.”
Deryn stared at her for a moment. “Don’t you want me to do anything?”
“Yes. Join me for tea.”
Deryn laughed softly, even though her stomach swam. “This job will be easy if that is what is expected of me.” Much better than what her husband and his brother had expected her to do. That thought made her sick, so she pushed it away.
“For today anyway. If you ask my husband, he may tell you I am not always so easy to get along with.”
“Will I be meeting him?”
“He’ll be here for dinner tonight. You’ll be taking your meals here, so of course you’ll meet him.” Deryn followed her into the parlor where a pot and two steaming cups sat. “I do not know how you take your tea.”
Deryn sat on the couch and dropped a cube of sugar in her cup and lifted it to her lips. They sipped tea in silence for a few minutes before Aileen asked, “What of you? I noticed Barrett called you Mrs. Glas. So, there’s a Mr. Glas.”
She bobbled the cup of tea but managed to set it back on the saucer and onto the table without spilling any on herself. “No,” she said, a little breathless. “My husband, he’s dead.”
“I’m so sorry, dear.” Aileen’s face softened. “How did it happen? Was he ill?”
Deryn shook her head. “He…fell.” After she’d swung the cast iron lantern at his head. “He injured his head,” she added when Aileen kept looking at her. “I had to leave. I didn’t have anyone to turn to.”
I’m back with another teaser from Stained Blood. This one is just about ready to go out to betas. Then another round of edits and hopefully ready for release this summer. For today, here’s a bit from Chapter 4:
Barrett stepped out of the church and glanced around. He could have sworn he’d seen Deryn near the back of the church when he’d stood up after the service. He’d had to stick around and usher everyone out. Now she seemed to be gone.
Maybe it had been some wishful thinking. He didn’t see any sign of her out here.
“Who are you looking for, brother-in-law?”
He turned and Adam grinned at him. He still wasn’t used to seeing that expression on the man’s face. Leah seemed to bring it out in him a lot.
“A woman,” Barrett said, and Adam laughed.
“I thought you usually knew where to find one of them. What’s the matter? All the saloons kick you out?”
Something twisted through him even though he deserved the jab. He’d spent more time in the saloons during the last half a year than anywhere else. Granted, he did usually end up leaving with more money than he’d walked in with, even after dropping a good portion on whiskey and a woman for the night.
“Not that kind of woman,” he said, his voice tight. The surprise came into Adam’s eyes. He wasn’t sure if it was the words, or the tone of his voice. It didn’t matter. “I saw her at the back of the church right after the wedding. She’s gone now.”
“Well, who is it? I’m sure we can find someone who saw where she went.”
Barrett shook his head. “She’s new in town. Came in on the stage with Will and Maggie. I don’t think she knows anybody.”
“Maybe you should ask them. Maybe they spoke to her and know why she’s here. Maggie’s always been the friendly type.”
Something flashed again in Adam’s eyes, but it passed even quicker this time. Adam had spent quite a few years on Maggie’s father’s ranch. Barrett wondered if there was more between them than growing up together. He supposed it didn’t matter, as they were both married now to different people and living far away from each other.
Adam loved his sister, but if he ever did anything to betray her, Barrett would end him. No matter how good of friends they’d become.
I’m back with another Teaser Tuesday post for Stained Blood. I should be finishing up the rewrites for it this week. Then, I have to comb through for all the crutch words I tend to use, and other weaknesses. And then I can send it on to beta readers. I have one lined up(as she’s read the first two books in the series), and I may send it back to my CP as well since I’ve made quite a few changes. So, I’m hoping for a summer release.
He didn’t even know where to find the man. But if he was staying in town, he knew one person who would know. The livery stable was the only place to board his horse. So, unless he kept him hitched to a rail along the street, he’d be there. And Jacob would likely know where to find him.
He hadn’t spoken to Jacob since the day he’d found him in the stable with Matthew. Barrett was still sure he hadn’t seen what his mind told him he had. There had to be another explanation. But, he couldn’t get it from Jacob if the other man never spoke to him again.
When he stepped into the stable, he only saw Al standing there. “Is Jacob around?” he asked the older man.
The hostler shook his head. “He ain’t been home for a couple days. You know how he is. He’ll show up sooner or later.”
Except Jacob had said he was going to stick around town now. So he’d have a better image for the election. That didn’t seem to have lasted long, though. Was it because Barrett had seen him here with Matthew? Was there more going on there? He shook off that thought and turned away.
“Was there something I could help you with, Barrett?” Al asked.
He hesitated. Al might have the information he was looking for. “You seen that new man in town?” he asked. “Hector Monihan. He’s posing as a deputy sheriff.”
“Seen him,” Al said, spitting on the ground between them.
“You know where he’s staying?”
Al shook his head. “And I’d suggest you stay far away from him. He’s made his feelings on you and you protecting that woman well known. Be careful.”
“That woman’s my wife now, Al. And I’ll do what I need to protect her. If you hear anything, let me know.”
But, he was pretty sure it would be best if he got Deryn out of town for a couple days at least.