Welcome to the latest New Silver Hollow teaser! A few updates on this New 2017 Edition.
I’ve been hard at work on this new revised edition, tweaking and shifting scenes & re-writing a fair bit. It’s been such a fun story to revisit and I’m excited to share with y’all! Also excited to dive into the long-awaited sequel and companion story about the Blackbriar twins. Stay tuned for more on sequels later, including quizzes, polls and new giveaways to come!
Note: One noticeable difference in the scene below is Dearg, formerly known as “Eddie”. I’ve changed his name a wee bit this time for a very good reason. Yes, his real name is still Dearg 😉 You’ll have to read the new edition to discover why. For now, enjoy this week’s teaser.
Slaine’s fingers pushed in together, digging against an invisible weight between his thumb and palm. “To tame the beast,” Slaine continued, “you must know it first!” At this he slapped the hindquarters of either horse and both let loose a terrifying scream.
Amie’s voice was hoarse yet no sound escaped her throat. Only the sound of the horses’ hooves pounding into the earth beneath her boots crashed through the silence as they charged straight for her. She froze, incapable of movement or breath.
“Set it free, Jessamiene!” Slaine roared from what seemed a great distance.
All sound dragged painfully around her as she breathed deeply and blinked. Her heartbeat thudded in her ears. The heat built to a scalding point in her hands and the sun peeked through overcast clouds to kiss her skin.
“Let it go!” He kept his hands raised before the dun mare as she reared, forelegs climbing the air, neck arched as she bellowed.
“What am I supposed to do?” She screeched, drawing the attention of the russet mare. Amie grasped the wood boards at her back. The russet mare tossed her head, then reared into sudden gallop. The whites of her eyes showed as she came inches from Amie’s skirts. Something flickered in the beast’s eye, born of wild majik and challenge. Dirt flew in thick clods onto Amie’s face as the horse skirted her and hugged the fence line to circle the paddock.
And then, impossibly, an unfamiliar, husky voice spoke against her ear, “Jump on!” His hand pushed her back, hurtling her forward with surprising force. Time halted altogether, or rather she sped up, twisting to catch a glimpse of Fredrick’s wide cerulean gaze, then back to the mare. She threw her legs forward, stretching out her hands to catch what she knew to be a nasty fall. No doubt the beast would circle round and trample her next and it would be the bloody stableboy’s fault!
Endless thoughts and images thrust to the forefront of her mind, flickering faster than she could catch.
But then her feet met the ground and she ran, fast as the mare, faster if she wanted to. She held onto the pressure inside her, the pounding force feeding her fresh energy. Amie laughed at the impossibility as she grasped the black mane streaming in the wind and flung the rest of her body into the air. Air burst from her lungs with a loud smack as she impacted with the hard muscle of the mare’s broad back. Then time rushed to catch up and she was clinging to the beast for dear life. She squeezed her thighs down until her bones felt they would dig through her skin. Yet a strange feeling was rising in her with a cavalcade of thrills, something akin to joy.
“Open your eyes, lassie!” Slaine bellowed.
Amie shook her head but her eyes seemed to have a mind of their own. They opened and the world came to an abrupt halt when Slaine Cutterworthy stretched his hand out towards the horse’s flesh. Like flipping a switch, the shadows and beastly fury were replaced by his former joy. Light had returned and the shadow for now abated. Amie’s chest shook as she watched Slaine’s ferocity be replaced by fanciful amusement, his mouth quirking into a wide grin.
Slaine inclined his head and tipped his fingers to her out of respect, his voice husky, as though doused in smoke. “So you can set free the beast, Jessamiene, but can you tame it?” After a glance over to her, he revealed pieces of fruit in either hand, of which both creatures gratefully munched on.
Every nerve in her body tingled still, adrenaline pumping her heart loudly in her ears and Amie could do little better than stare in shock. “Could you please tell me, in simple English, what just happened back there?”
Fredrick entered the paddock to reclaim the calmed steeds. Slaine reached up a hand to help her dismount with a deep chuckle when Amie struggled to unclench her legs. “Freddie, lad,” he said, “Afraid you must lead Her Ladyship to stable as well. Be sure she is properly brushed and fed, now.”
“Ha, ha, you’re hilarious,” she grumbled as she dismounted, without his help. Her skirts bunched up above her petticoat and her hair completely free from Underhill’s careful braids. The wind made use of the wild curls by tossing them into her line of sight.
Slaine hummed and lit his pipe in defiance of the sharp gusts. “Always fancied myself a bit of a bard, you know.”
“I’m rolling on the floor, laughing out loud,” Amie deadpanned, frown deepening as Fredrick took hold of her mare. “And you, I can’t believe you pushed me like that! I could have been trampled to death!” The wind tossed her curls in her face and she shoved them back, fighting an irrational urge to chop them off.
Fredrick kept his chin tucked to his solid chest and rolled his shoulders. “You surely would have been trampled had I not,” he muttered, running his hand along her mare’s neck.
“Well thanks for your help, Fredrick,” she snapped, incensed by the undercurrent of entitlement in his tone. “Maybe that should be the last time you try to kill, sorry, help me.”
He lifted his chin, square and strong in his defiance, and flash of bold blue. “As you wish, milady.”
“Call me Amie,” she said, hating the way milady sounded like a curse on his lips.
Fredrick puffed out his chest, offering her first hint of just how broad he was. “Everyone calls me Freddie.” His fists tightened over the reins.
“You don’t look like a Freddie to me,” she cut back with an undignified snort.
An odd light made his cerulean eyes come alight and alive, and his voice sounded hoarse as he replied, “Call me whatever you like, it won’t make any difference. Because you aren’t ruling over us yet, and until you are the old agreement still stands. Be glad it does.”
“Freddie, you mangy waif, take the horses and yourself to beek and be quick!” Slaine’s voice rumbled in their ears. An instantaneous change came over Freddie, the light fading first from his eyes, as his pale cheeks turned bright as his hair and he tugged his cap over his forehead. Hunching his shoulders, he drew within himself before leading the mares to the open gate and back down the slope.
Amie gaped at the back of his ginger head, pointing with the irreverent gusto of a six-year-old. Slaine’s laughter drew her glare. He held up a hand, sputtering smoke betwixt words, “Ah, you must forgive the fonkin, milady. Freddie is still sore with your kin ‘bout the outcome of the last war, you ken.”
“Well he’s not winning any brownie points with me, that’s for sure.”
“Brownie points?” Slaine rubbed his chin with a leather-gloved hand. “Are the little boggarts running by a system in the household, now? Sounds like one of Underhill’s fool notions.”
Amie rubbed her hand over her face, slowly. “I think I’ve had enough of riding lessons for today. Don’t you think lunch should be ready by now?”
“Oh, aye! Splendiferous idea, milady! Mustn’t kiss the hare’s foot, as they say,” he replied with a gallant twirl of his hat and then extended his elbow at her side. This time Amie accepted Mr. Cutterworthy’s gentlemanly courtesy.
to be continued…