Howdy everyone! We’re finally back with a brand new Silver Hollow Teaser! If you’ve been following my blog posts lately, you already know Part 4 revisions/rewrites have been kicking my arse. Thankfully, the muse finally kicked in near the end after I finished piecing this puzzle back together. Here’s a piece of the results 🙂 Also, here’s the amazing GIF Najla Qamber Designs created for this new edition!
Silver Hollow 2018 Edition Teaser
The door leading to the corridor that opened to the main hall was cracked open. Following the hiss of whispering winds, Amie reached the candlelit hall and craned her neck at the grand stairwell. Outside thunder rumbled and clouds overcast the skylights so it appeared much later than midday.
As she crept around to the foot of the stair, Amie belatedly realized she was barefoot. “Where the devil are my slippers?”
“Wouldn’t I like to know,” Grimwich Rumplekin’s silky voice caressed her ear. His warm hand covered her mouth from behind, pulling her flush against him.
No time to pull the small dagger she kept strapped to her thigh, courtesy of her newfound paranoia. No time to rally her defenses against the scent of the sun pervading her senses, filling her with life and spring and everything she didn’t know she was missing. Amie fought back waves of panic while her inner nixy buzzed haphazard through her veins.
Grimwich chuckled as he turned his head to burrow in her drying curls. “Promise not to scream, Jessamiene?”
Amie clenched her teeth and paused, debating on the merits of protest. He had her at a disadvantage. Did she really want to turn and face him like this? But feeling his chest at her back and the strength of his thick arms made her shudder.
How did he even get in here unannounced?
To her knowledge, Henry never had visitors.
Grimwich drew a stray curl behind her ear and crooned. “I am starting to think you like standing this close to me, Emerald Eyes. Not that I am complaining. I find you much improved in this simple gown, opposed to the layers so many a fine lady are reduced to. Haven’t seen this fashion in half an age. One of our scaly friends loan it to you?”
Amie growled at the implication behind his suggestive tone. In a wholly unladylike manner, she licked his palm while driving her elbow home to his gut. The distraction was enough for her to whirl round and stumble up several steps. Her mouth was on fire and thick with the taste of his skin, like the honeysuckle water they had been pouring down her throat, like butterscotch candies and something spicy layered beneath. “You!” she spat, absently touching her lips. “How the heck did you get in here?”
Grimwich held a hand to his stomach and flashed her a blindingly white smile. His amber eyes seemed all too familiar and in the sparse candlelight, his bronze skin glowed. “Missed you too, beastie.”
Amie dropped her hand and her guard. “Are you bloody serious? Oh my gosh, please don’t say you came here for me.”
Grimwich straightened, top of his head almost in line with her chin. He rubbed his smooth chin in mock thought. “I am often serious, though never needlessly bloody. In fact, you saved me from a rather embarrassing defeat twice now, as I recall. Some may even say I owe you a life debt or two, naughty beast.” He arched a black eyebrow and climbed another step. “Confess now, my love, you knew exactly what you were doing all along.”
For one spellbinding moment she was back there, with Emrys’ life in her hands and Grim’s leather gloved hand caressing her skin. “I believe they underestimate you…”
Amie pressed her fists to her hips to keep from either strangling or kissing the man below her. “I think you came here uninvited, and should definitely leave before Arthur or Henry find you.”
“But not the Merlin? Curious that he has not arrived to offend your honor, yet again.” His teasing smile vanished, curiosity and wonder in the way he looked into her eyes.
“He’s busy at the moment. I’ll be sure to tell him you dropped by.” She could feel that strange blurring of dreams and reality as the man Emrys called Storyteller took another step. Amie didn’t think to turn and run, or pull the dagger she had yet to reveal.
“This castle’s foundations are the oldest in Silver Hollow, did you know that, Jessamiene?” He pretended to look about the ancient hall, humming lightly in the back of his throat. “You study enough history and you know what you often find?”
“History repeats itself,” she whispered, rewarded by Grim’s dazzling smile. There was danger in that smile. She should be afraid.
Why should you fear what is already part of you? Words not her own rose to the forefront of her mind. As if he could hear her thoughts, Grim’s smile tightened.
“You are learning.” He reached up to tuck the errant curl back in its place behind her ear, then cupped her cheek in his warm hand. “I expect great things from you Jessamiene. They shan’t know what to do with you once I’m through.”
“What…” Amie gasped when the indignant shriek and flurry of hobgoblin fury interrupted them.
“Take your filthy paws off her Ladyship, you—you loathsome codfish!” Elisedd screeched.
Amie blinked, as if from a daze. She looked down to find Grimwich’s hand back at his side. He stood two steps below her. Not a second ago he had been near enough to kiss. How had he moved so quickly? She didn’t see him move, but he was grinning up at her like they shared a secret now. Her cheek tingled while Elisedd Underhill rattled a stream of nonsensical curses at their uninvited guest.
“And furthermore,” the head of household paused for breath, “if you do nay start fishing for answers, milord, you will find yourself one beetle’s spot closer to nixing!” Though Underhill stood a good foot lower, she loomed over them both like a specter in the day’s dimming light. “No one shall breeze past me without finding more trouble than he bargained out of Wenderdowne.”
Grimwich turned his megawatt grin on Underhill. The maid visibly flinched. “Come now, Elisedd, is that any way to treat an old friend?”
“Friend, ha!” The maid scoffed, but succeeded in pulling Amie behind her skirts and planting her feet betwixt them. “I’d sooner kiss a pixie’s arse!”
Amie gaped at the first obvious explicative she’d heard from her frazzled maid’s mouth. Grimwich’s full rich chuckle that brought shivers down Amie’s spine. She hadn’t forgotten the way he appeared so suddenly after Arthur’s attack, or Emrys’ hatred of the man. And she knew there was a different sort of power in this golden man with the chocolate skin and sensuous mouth. A danger Nimue was practically frothing over deep in the blacker parts of her consciousness.
“I should have visited sooner, I see,” he said. “How could I have forgotten your delightful vernacular, my pretty hobgoblin?”
“Well, I never!” Underhill sputtered, fingers tightening on Amie’s wrist.
Before either of them could retaliate, Grimwich swept a flourishing bow. “If you would be so kind as to direct me to your Master, dearie, I have had a long journey.”
Amie found her voice finally. “Think you can barge your way in here with good manners alone?”
“But of course, darling.” Grim had the nerve to wink and pull a worn scroll from his embroidered coat pocket. “My invitation, arrived earlier this morning. I confess, I didn’t even wait to break my fast in my haste to see your fair face again. Imagine my surprise, when I found no one to welcome me although I was invited.” The cerulean fabric of his coat was embroidered with gold the same shade as his eyes. Yet or all his dandy finery, his knee-high boots were caked in mud. And for the first time, Amie detected a hint of bone-weariness in the downward tug of Grimwich’s permanent smile.
“Aye,” Underhill practically snarled, “I can see his signature plain as day, milord Rumplekin.”
“I’ll go tell Uncle you’re here.” Amie flashed a saccharine smile. “Underhill, maybe you should take Grim…Mister Rumplekin,” she amended, “to the kitchens. No doubt he’d like a drink.” She pretended she didn’t just give the cretin a nickname, much to his obvious delight.
“Lady Wenderdowne!” Elisedd sputtered. “I say, this is most poshumicked. Master would sooner spit in a troll’s eye than deal with that one!”
“Yet he’s here by invitation. Let’s show our guest how we treat our friends at Wenderdowne.” Amie inclined her head, never taking her gaze from Grim’s. His brow lifted at her unspoken challenge. Let him think what he will.
Underhill may have a tendency to speak her mind, but at Amie’s admonition, she curtsied and barked, “As you wish, Milady. Lord Rumplekin, if you would be so kind as to follow me, I shall see to your refreshment.”
“Tell me true, Jessamiene, would you blame an innocent man or kiss a guilty one?”
“What kind of philosophical crap are you talking about?” Amie scoffed.
“You shall learn the truth sooner than you think.” Grim left with a wink as he backed several steps down, then followed the maid’s grumbling retreat. Only after his back was turned did she breathe easy, with the reminder she had no idea where her family was hiding. Once again, she was thrown out of her element, left to the company of strangers who told her more than her supposed kin.
Behind the Scenes
Some of you remember Grimwich Rumplekin from the original and/or second incarnation of Silver Hollow. My second revised edition I tried cutting out unnecessary sections and sometimes character scenes. Course, I didn’t know what I was doing really lol. So when I came back to Silver Hollow with Amie this past year, I decided I very much wanted to bring Grimwich back into the spotlight. Mainly because this is a planned series (finally!) and Grim is going to play a major role in each subsequent book. Rewriting his scenes and adding a couple newbs with Amie have been super fun. He’s such a wonderful character to write and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading! Stay tuned next week for more Silver Hollow!