Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Two for Tuesday

So, I guess Tuesdays are easy for me to blog--who knew?  I've gone through an entire edit of Return to Me, my release for March 1, though now the CP has to do the same.  Nothing makes it onto the publication table without her eyes having seen it first.  Amazing what she catches that I didn't the first, second, and third times.  Amen, writers?  Are we thankful for our CP's and Beta Readers, or what?

Owing to that truth, this Two for Tuesday is for--you guessed it--two purposes.  One, to thank my amazing CP (Critique Partner) Kimberly for her dedication and perserverance through novel after novel.  Not only does she write her own amazing, incredibly witty and talented stories, she reads and gets to the bare muscle and sinew of mine. In a nutshell, she's a walking miracle, genius, angel, take your pick.

Two, I'd like to give you a little sneak peak of the new novel, Return to Me.  In this scene, the war is over, and Chase has just returned to London from a long stint in Belgium.  This is when he sees Eva, the woman he married at sixteen, for the first time in seven years.

Contrary to what he’d imagined – the opera house was a menagerie of marble staircases, arched recesses, and halls branching in all directions – it didn’t take long to find her. She was standing by the ornate railing, head cocked slightly to the side, peering down into the main foyer. A multi-tiered sconce hung on the Ionic pillar beside her, and in its amber glow she appeared almost an illusion. Unreachable. 
For a moment he kept his distance, studied her profile, the idle fashion in which she drummed her fingertips on the carved railing. She hadn’t changed. Certainly time had granted her the conventional assets: the gentle, sloping curves of a woman, the hint of wisdom at the corner of her eye. But her hair still shone as brilliant as a new copper coin, and her skin was just as fair. 
She reached back, touched the nape of her neck. If Chase didn’t know better, he’d have thought she sensed his presence. Lord knew it didn’t take a man of keen intellect to know when Miss Evangeline Hartford had entered a room. The air stirred, moved like spring’s breath over a field of wheat, just before the harvest. It was a feeling, an instinct. One Chase had thought, after so many years of brutal warfare, he’d long since lost.
Until now.      

Heart beating a mad tattoo, he moved forward a step. Another. And another. Until, ten or so feet away from her, his shoe squeaked – he detested the current fashion of stockings and stiff leather loafers, but there was nothing for it if one expected admittance into tonight’s pretentious affair – and she wheeled about on a sharp gasp.
“Oh! Heaven’s above, you fiendish creature! Frighten the very life out of me, why don’t you?”

Quick. All in one breath. Just like Eva.

“Forgive me, madam.” He stepped forward, out of the shadows. “I should’ve made my presence known.”
“Indeed, you should—”
He moved into the light, felt the warmth of the flickering candles on his face.
Slowly, so slowly Chase wondered fleetingly if time had somehow suspended, she touched her fingertips to her parted lips. “Oh, God.”
“No,” he softly responded. “Just me, Eva.”
“Chase?” At his nod, her eyes rounded further. “H-how… y-you’ve…”
“Been away for a while?” Locking his hands at the base of his spine, he risked another step forward. She moved a full foot in the opposite direction. “Yes, I know. I… Why do you shy away?” He advanced on her. “Eva, it’s me. I’m not going to hurt you.”
She thrust out a staying hand; the other gripped the railing behind her. “Don’t. Stay where you are.”
He did. A scarce two feet in front of her, mind, but he did.
“Eva,” he began, but she cut him short.
“When did you get here?”
“Here, as in... here, here?” He gestured to their grandiose surroundings.
“In London.”     
“Last evening.”

Her chin dipped a fraction. “Where are you staying?”
“Why? Are you issuing an invitation?”
“Certainly not!”
That, he had expected.
“Quick to shun me, are you?” He moved forward, close enough that her outstretched palm flattened against his chest. Currents of feverish electricity shot through his veins. “After all this time, have I no place in my wife’s bed?”
As if he’d burned her, she withdrew her hand, joined it with the other. “I am not your wife, Chase.”
That, he had not expected.
“Beg pardon?” He inclined his head, just in case he’d heard wrong. Years of propping a rifle right next to his ear, firing round after round, had left his hearing a bit muffled. “You’re not my wife? Why would you speak so blatant a lie? Why?”
“Because.” Her eyes shut, lips tautened. She inhaled deeply through her nostrils. “Because it’s not a lie,” she said, opening her eyes. “We are not married. We never were.”
“Eva,” he choked, unable to believe her indifference, the coldness in her voice. She had never been cold. Warm, yes. Hot, most assuredly. When he’d taken her innocence, physically sealed their spiritual vows, she’d writhed beneath him, hotter than the strongest furnace. 
Bile rose in his throat. If he touched her now, ice might very well form on his fingertips.
“I’m engaged to another man.”
This, he knew. Nevertheless, the truth of it, coming from her lips, sent a fresh wave of nausea roiling through the pit of his stomach. “So I’ve heard.”
I dearly hope you enjoyed the small excerpt.  Remember, Return to Me releases March 1 for Amazon Kindle, as well as trade paperback.  Hope all of you have a fab week!  It's brrrrrrr cold in North Louisiana!  How is it in your neck of the woods?
Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,




Andrew Leon said...

Okay, now I want to know why they disagree on the marriage thing. >:(

Shawn Yankey said...

Great story! Loved it!

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