Sneak peek of my new modern fantasy novel...
It had taken two hundred years living as a human for the smell of their blood to fade from my nostrils.
Still her scent drifted through the warm air, though the thick door closed and the draped windows barred with centuries of weather. She did not speak to me, but called to my core. I would not listen; the stranger would not touch me again.
I lunged at the beast with the heavy sword and then…nothing.
All day, nothing.
“Why can’t I write this?” I pushed back my chair and picked up the practice baton from my desk. I had tried to kill the beast at the end of my sixth dragon book Ashamoor for hours, but couldn’t focus. I twirled the shiny stick above my head and stared at the screen, trying to regroup.
Doing one thing at a time never worked for me. Two jobs through college, writing my first stories during lunch hours and recording scenes as I folded the laundry or ran the vineyard trails—multi-tasking propelled me.
The slowdown brought on by the large advance on my next series came with time to write and time to reflect on the sacrifices I’d made along the way. Reflection sucks.
I wrote high fantasy and refused to believe that the story of my life was as mundane as a successful woman needing someone to share it with. I craved a life of adventure beyond the pages of my books. Finding a partner would be tough. There’d be their desire to have children, vacations with the in-laws and the give and take of successful relationships. The last time I’d tried to have it all, I’d ended up with less than half.
Antsy, I paced and twirled the baton from hand to hand, missing the mismatched lamps and metal frame created by my last boyfriend. It held a picture of my parents. Tucked behind was a photo of me with the only man to say he loved me. I still wore my blond hair to my shoulders and had the same crooked smile, but I had changed in two years in more ways than even I could imagine.
“Focus!” I scolded and started an old routine designed to push me back into a story. Swinging the baton around my head as if knocking away an attack, then turning to quickly stab forward. I repeated the motions twice then sat back at the desk and hovered over the keyboard. I urged my fingers to type out the moves and kill the beast, but my brain got in the way. This wasn’t the right scene.
I left love for reasons that no longer mattered.
Going back to my past to create my future might work. I thought about him all the time. It would be easy enough to find out if he still cared. If I had the courage, I’d pick up the phone and in a moment know if time travel was possible where love was concerned.
A flash of color pulsed past the backyard window. Five different colored tiny canaries—blue, red, yellow, green, and one mixed—landed on the feeder hanging in the twisted plum tree. Possible escapees from an exotic pet shop, they nibbled at the seed and gossiped in loud chirps. A serene sight against the messy backdrop of the outside chores I never make time for. The neighbor’s sleek gray tabby popped over the fence to take in the scene. In a pounce she clawed her way up the trunk. Four birds flew off, but the multi-colored stood his ground and dive-bombed Tiger.
The ending to my story popped into my brain in vibrations and color images. I pictured the young dragon Ashamoor trying to draw the beast away and allow me time. Inspired, I lunged back and forth around the small room, in front of the desk, chair, and worn loveseat, stabbing at the air with the baton.
Fighting for my life in a thick forest of hand-me-down furniture, I stumbled back on the area rug and caught myself on one knee. I pushed up and with a final thrust the beast was dead. I had my ending.
Reflection took a back seat to an endorphin surge. No man had ever taken me to the high of finishing a story.
A sudden desire to be out in the world overwhelmed me. I packed my writing gear and tied on my running shoes. The heavy backpack would pound against my back as I ran and I would be sweaty when I arrived. So what? I may be single in a world of couples, but I had a great story.
I won the battle and would take my reward. This particular item had been on my wish list of spontaneous things to do for a long time. It might be dangerous and painful, but I’d earned this badge of honor.
The peephole’s distorted view revealed an empty porch and clear path down the overgrown walkway to the street. I untangled my hair from the backpack straps and cracked open the door far enough to stick my head out. No activity at the small house on my left—the flower-lined driveway stood empty, the garage door closed. I was free to run. My foot touched the blue and green welcome mat and triggered the alert.