Happy Tuesday friends! Spring is finally in the air (including all the lovely pollen) and St. Paddy’s Day around my Irish-heritage corner. I’m just ecstatic that we aren’t expecting any more Day After Tomorrow scenarios in Texas. (anyone else get frost on the inside of their windows? lol)
I’ve been sparing with my Blackbriar Cove teasers. Partly because at the rate it’s taken me to get this published, I could have easily just shared the entire book one Tuesday Teaser at a time. But really, I’ve been searching for scenes that y’all would enjoy, without giving away major plot twists. The plan is still to publish this year, finally. And if I’m lucky, I can jump right onto the sequel to the sequel and avoid making y’all wait another handful of years. I wanted to say thank you so much to those of you who have been encouraging and continue to give me hope. You’re the main reason I haven’t given up entirely. That and my sheer stubborn determination to find a way, no matter how difficult the road’s been to bring this one to life. I hope today finds you in a good place. I hope you’ve enjoyed the sunshine wherever you are in the world, and that you’re hanging in there one day at a time. Let’s “keep swimming” and meanwhile, enjoy this week’s sneak peek inside Blackbriar Cove.
Borderlands #2 Teaser
This was such a stupid idea, Faye thought as she followed her cousin’s lead on the road leading to town.
Not just any town, either. No, ma’am. This was the place she and Jo had briefly lived with their parents, before they’d been dropped back on Nanny’s porch step. Their memories of Dalriada were not pleasant.
Tensions between Spirits and Unseelie had always been on a knife’s edge. Many did not welcome children born of both, and what the twins hadn’t understood then, what Faye understood all too late, was the message Nanny had sent by crafting them.
To purposely build the future leaders of the Cove from the essence of Unseelie and Spirit, to make them Weavers…
Faye tripped and Dom caught her fall. “Easy,” he said.
She scowled at her pale, freckled hands caught in Dom’s hold. “I hate this skin,” she grumbled.
Dom snorted and drew her withering gaze. “Try sprouting fur for the first time,” he whispered.
Faye rolled her eyes and stiffened as Jo trotted closer behind them to warn under her breath, “Any more displays like that and you’ll invite the wrong attention.”
“Yes, Mom,” Faye replied with a toothy grimace.
Jo wrinkled her nose and the lines in her altered face deepened, but she quickly shifted her gaze about. “Remember what we’re here for.”
Faye bit her tongue and looked past Jo’s shoulder to meet Amie’s strange violet eyes. She quickly turned away, red curls bouncing into her face.
She stands out too much. Why would Rumplekin give her that face?
The unanswered question had buzzed at the back of Faye’s mind ever since. Not that there weren’t plenty of other things to worry about.
Like if we’re going to get caught today.
Dom squeezed the hand he had yet to relinquish. “This way. There’s a good place we can go to have a listen in on the latest gossip.”
Faye took in the bustling main street, the rows of buildings no younger than two centuries old, most older, and the constant prickling of Unseelie magic brewing in the air, and nodded. “Lead on.”
Domnhall led them to a tavern, the entrance surrounded by mud and a pair of afternoon drunks.
The open door was dim, and a pair of tall, sharp-eyed skinwalkers guarded the entrance. It wasn’t always possible to tell her grandmother’s kin on sight. It was in the set of their shoulders, the wildness of their aura, the weight of magic, or that tell-tale sense of a barely withheld feral nature. Faye noted the way Dom stiffened as they passed, and the careful eye the pair at the door gave them.
They passed the threshold without incident and entered a busy tavern of crowded tables, glowing lanterns, and a strange mashup of music played on instruments both old and new. The sound was familiar, songs Faye had heard her father sing. Songs Jo had loved, and Amie soaked up the same way her friend desperately craved everything.
Faye’s new form was smaller and curvier than she was used to. Her hips swung widely as Dom threaded their small troupe past tables where different card and dice games ensued. Several eyes and invisible hands caressed her, like unwelcome shadows. Faye bristled and it was everything she could do not to whip out her hidden daggers and carve the laughter out of Unseelie throats.
A buxom serving girl approached with a saucy grin and wink for Dom, and Faye. “Welcome to the Hungry Wolf, what can I get you?”
“Thanks, Molly.” Dom glanced to Faye and promptly slipped his arm around her ample waist. “We’d like a table, six pints, and whatever the cook’s special is for today.”
Molly’s grin widened as she took in the rest of their company, her dark gaze lingering a second too long somewhere past Faye’s shoulder. The girl’s smile stiffened, before she announced, “Right this way, lads.”
Faye traded a glance with Dom as they moved to follow.
The tavern was two-storied, with a balcony overlooking the main floor where the small band played. Lanterns and candles lit the interior, but shadows were left to abound. Typical for Unseelie.
A fire blazed in the hearth, and Molly brought them at last to a mostly-dirty table, extending her arm with a flourish. “Shall this be to your liking, Master Dom?”
Faye arched an eyebrow at her cousin, frustrated when both eyebrows rose instead.
Dom coughed and nodded his head to Molly. “This is just fine, Molly, thank you.”
Molly snapped her fingers, magic thickening the air as the table was wiped clean. The Unseelie practically skipped away, humming along with the medley playing over their heads.
Faye crossed her arms over her chest in annoyance as Dom picked up a discarded chair. “Care to share what that was all about, Dommy-boy?”
Dom wouldn’t meet her eye as she picked up her own damned seat, thank you kindly. He sat down with a huff and the others joined their table. “I said I knew a place,” he said with a shrug of his narrow shoulders.
“Not so sheltered as you’d like us to believe, lad?” Arthur interrupted with a chuckle. “Wonder how good their pint is here.”
“Why don’t we ask Dom, since he seems to know,” Amie replied.
“They brew their own drinks here. Not as good as the ale or mead they made in the old country, but close enough.” Grim lounged back in his chair at Amie’s other side as though he owned the tavern. His skin gave off enough of a glow, their corner of the tavern seemed far too light.
Faye tapped her foot and waved them off. “I don’t care how good it is, or what you get up to in your spare time, Dommy-boy. I won’t go telling Uncle if that’s what you’re worried about.”
Dom opened his mouth, as though ready to protest when Molly reappeared, pints floating easily before them.
“Here you are then, lads. Come find me later, if you need anything else, Master Dom.” Molly squeezed Dom’s shoulder with too much familiarity before brushing a hand along Faye’s borrowed skin. “Same to you, my ruddy lass, should we fancy finding how far that blush goes.”
Faye snatched Molly’s wrist in a vice grip and tugged hard enough to press the tip of her dagger against the girl’s exposed chest. “Touch me again without permission and we’ll see how red you can get.”
Someone at the table coughed, and Molly’s eyes widened as she gasped, nodded and turned her head to say, “I can see why you like this one, Master Dom.”
Faye hissed as she shoved the wench away.
Amie had her borrowed face covered with both hands and Arthur was chuckling into his pint as Molly flounced away.
Faye growled, “I hate this place.”
Jo sighed. “Yes, we are all well aware of your thoughts on Dalriada.”
“Molly’s not half bad,” Dom muttered.
“Don’t defend that witch,” Faye interrupted.
The others tucked into their food with smiles on their faces and Faye was left with her bitterness once more.
Never would have happened in my old skin. I’m too damned cute in this body.
“Like a bloody Leprechaun,” she mumbled as she shoved a forkful of bangers and mash in.
Amie snorted and then released a deep rumbling laugh that had everyone grinning, even Faye.
to be continued…
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