I’ve been strangely missing this week, yes? Deadlines on the day job have taken their toll, plus I’m trying to take a bit of personal time in August, so bear with me as things slow down for the next few weeks. Be sure to subscribe to the site via email so you’ll know when new material goes up. I’ll resume my regular schedule in September, hopefully with more energy and some interesting news!
In the meantime, I’m happy to say that revisions are done on Pirate’s Alley, and I’m so excited about the book. It’s goofy and tense and heartbreaking all at the same time. We meet some faeries, Rand misbehaves (what else is new), DJ and Alex and Jean Lafitte have some real soul-searching to do, and Truman Capote joins the cast. There might be fires and explosions.
In this scene, Alex and DJ have rushed to Eugenie’s house in the middle of a night of heavy snow because Rand has been harrassing her. Yes, New Orleans is having a very unusual December….
The house was a big, solid early-century Victorian painted light blue, with cream-colored hurricane shutters, a broad front porch ringed by a gingerbread rail, and a side entrance for Eugenie’s Shear Luck salon. The porch light was on, and through the thick fall of snow and ice I saw a dark lump near the door, but no sign of Rand. Maybe he’d left a package and gone home like a good elf.
The snow here was deeper, up to my knees, so I waited for Alex and his long legs to blaze a trail to the house and I followed in his wake.
“What the hell?” Alex’s voice took on its gruff enforcer tone.
I couldn’t see around him until he got up the stairs, and I realized the big dark lump on the porch was covered in fur. “Is it a dog? Must be a stray, poor thing.”
He bumped the lump with the toe of his boot, and it rolled over. “No, it’s an elf in a fur coat.”
Rand’s eyes were open just enough to be covered in ice crystals and look creepy as hell. He would be a perfect elven mortuary display. “Is he dead?”
I hope my words didn’t sound like wishful thinking, because while I wanted Rand to leave me alone, I didn’t want him dead. His bonding scheme had almost gotten me killed, but it also had kept me from turning loup-garou. We could probably be of help to each other if he’d get over the notion that we were married. The very mistaken notion, at least in any real sense of the word.
There was also the possibility that if Rand died, it might kill me as well because of the bond, so I had a practical reason for wanting him alive.
“He’s not dead,” Alex said after spending a few seconds with two fingers placed over Rand’s carotid artery, assuming that’s what elves had. “I think he’s just unconscious. Call Eugenie and tell her to open the door; if we knock, she’s gonna think it’s him and not answer.”
I placed the call, and in a few seconds the dead bolt clicked, the scrape of a chain latch sounded, and Eugenie pulled open the heavy cypress door, wielding a butcher knife. She looked from Alex to me and, finally, down at Rand.
“Is he dead?”
Okay, Eugenie sounded hopeful.
“No, he’s sleeping off his stored fat, like a bear in hibernation,” I said, looking down. He didn’t have an ounce of fat on him.
“Let me drag him in,” Alex said, grabbing Rand’s ankles and pulling him toward the doorway. His head bounced on the rough wood.
“Good grief, Alex. You’re a shifter. Pick him up.” It wasn’t the same as little ole weakling me dragging two-hundred pounds of Jean Lafitte across a field in Vampyre, which had given new meaning to dead weight.
“Damned elf.” Alex scooped up his unconscious nemesis and hauled him through the doorway. The way he let Rand’s head crack against the doorframe had to be intentional.
“Where do you want him? Never mind, I see a spot.” Alex carried Rand to a rug in front of the fireplace and unloaded him in a heap, and none too gently. Eugenie kicked Rand’s calf as she walked past to turn up the gas flames. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost.
Alex and I sat on the sofa and Eugenie in the adjacent armchair, and we watched Rand intently as if he were a circus act. I had no idea what to do with an unconscious elf, and was fresh out of smelling salts. As his body warmed, he gradually lost the stiff, embalmed look and instead turned into a pretty sleeping elf prince. He was cute enough to set on the mantel for decoration as an Elf on a Shelf. Well, if the Elf on a Shelf spontaneously spurted outrageous sayings without warning and had the potential to set off a preternatural war.
You know Rand’s going to be trouble. Rand is always trouble.
MIKI won this week’s Readers Choice contest and chose Ilona Andrews’ MAGIC BREAKS!
A new Readers Choice contest will go up tomorrow, and I hope to have Kristin Miller in this week to talk about her new Seattle Pack novel. See you then!