Sunday, May 13, 2012

Last Bite at the Apple: Chapter 3 Dark Dealings

Dark Dealings, my debut novel, releases officially as an eBook on May23rd.  Today, I give you one last sample chapter to whet your appetite...or your thirst.


Watch here for upcoming details of the launch contest and blog tour!


Links to Chapters 1 and 2 can be found to your right >>>>>>> 


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Chapter 3

           
Micaela stared into chocolate brown eyes. Not Reece, Adam. She shook out the cobwebs of the vision. Her fingers were cramped and curled. She had let go of Adam’s hands and wrapped her own hands first around the invisible rifle and then around the orb. Her palms were warm.
“Micaela, are you okay? You were gone a while.” He massaged her palms and knuckles.
“How long?”
“Ten minutes, maybe more,” he said.
Ten precious minutes. Panic squeezed her chest. “Joshua’s Cave. He’s in Joshua’s Cave. He’s hurt bad.”
“That’s over a mile from the trail.”
From the shadow of the trees, Chief Deerfield, Adam and Reece’s grandfather, emerged and spoke to Adam. “Listen to her, Red Hawk. You know what she saw.”
Micaela let out a soft gasp. “Adam, how much did you see?”
“We’ll talk later, Micaela.” Adam called to the men. “We know where he is. Grab the two-ways and the rifles.”
They raced in the direction of Joshua’s Cave. No questions.
Her head throbbed and her stomach churned. Years before, after the doctors had eliminated a possible brain tumor, they told her the auras, the headaches, the nausea were the result of migraines, but she knew better. Micaela crawled off the step, threw up into Una’s azaleas, and then passed out. When she opened her eyes, Chief Deerfield and Peggy stood over her. Tears ran down Peggy’s face.
“They radioed. They found him, Micaela, just where you said. They’re bringing him down now.”
Chief Deerfield helped Micaela stand up. Her head still pounded and her legs were rubber. He handed her a piece of willow bark. “You remember what to do with this, White Crow.”
When they were seven, Reece had begged his grandfather to make Micaela a member of the tribe and give her a Pokanoket name. Her parents and Una had been at the ceremony.
“Is Reece all right?” She chewed on the bark. The pain started to recede.
“He will be. We will take him to the enclave and help him through this time.”
Micaela’s first inclination was to insist Reece be airlifted to New York; she had a friend who would arrange a police escort. Micaela would call in favors from anyone necessary to ensure Reece’s survival. But she had grown up with the Nation and knew better, they had their own resources.
She watched as the enclave’s EMS vehicle pulled closer. Paramedics in scrubs climbed out accompanied by the aged shaman of the Pokanoket. “If you need anything, Chief Deerfield, Peggy, please tell me.”
Peggy’s eyes were locked on the path to the mountain. She didn’t answer. But knowing now how much Reece loved Peggy and how she returned that love, Micaela didn’t mind.
Chief Deerfield took her hand and walked with her and Peggy to the edge of the forest to wait. “I know what this has cost you, White Crow. We thank you for what you have done for Reece and Peggy… and for Adam.”
“I didn’t want Adam to blame himself, I know how that works.”
“Adam has a destiny and you have helped him on his path.”
Could she get off this path? For now, she would wait in the darkness with the others for Reece to come home.

  
The search team crashed back through the underbrush with a makeshift stretcher holding Reece. Paramedics met them; one grabbed Reece’s arm and, barely breaking stride, started an IV line. They eased Reece onto a gurney and slid an oxygen mask slid over his nose and mouth. The shaman stepped up with Adam as Peggy stood on the other side of Reece and brushed his hair back from his face. When she took her hands away they were smeared with his blood. The shaman began a chant. Micaela stood silent as Adam mirrored the shaman’s motions and words. When they had finished, Peggy bent over and lifted Reece’s oxygen mask so he could speak. She whispered back and laid a kiss on his cheek, then called Micaela over to his side. Reece’s face was gray; his brown eyes had a scary milky film.
“Hey Reece, long time, no see.” Micaela felt the tears pool in the corners of her eyes.
“You were there.” He attempted a smile.
“You’ll be all right. It will be just like before.”
“I’m going to be a Dad. I owe you, if you hadn’t told me….” His eyelids sagged and then shut.
Micaela eyes rose to meet Adam’s. “Is he okay?”
“We gave him something so he could sleep and heal.”
“Any idea what attacked him?”
Anger flared in Adam’s eyes. “Yes, the warriors will deal with it.” He took Micaela’s hands; a tear trailed down his cheek. “Thanks for telling him about the baby. It probably saved his life.”
“When I came out of the vision, you knew, too.”
Adam looked to the old shaman before he answered. “I told you I understand more than you realize.”
Peggy and Adam climbed in the back of the ambulance while a stone-faced warrior escorted the shaman to a waiting Jeep. Micaela watched the motorcade pull away, and then went inside.


 She woke the next morning on the sofa; a quilt covered everything except her cold bare feet. Her grandmother must have taken her stockings off. Micaela swung her feet to the floor, ready to head upstairs for a shower. Her headache was gone, but her body ached with exhaustion. She rested her elbows on her knees and weighed the merits of standing. Brown, dried pine needles protruded from between her toes. Maybe someone had used the quilt for a picnic. She carried it out on the porch and shook it over the railing. No needles. She pressed it to her face. The quilt smelled of detergent and fabric softener.
Una fussed over her the rest of the weekend. She cooked Micaela’s favorite breakfast of Secret Recipe pancakes. They went to Lafferty’s on Saturday night for Shepherd’s Pie. Una insisted on a private booth and Lafferty made sure they weren’t disturbed. Micaela noticed the furtive glances and whispers but no one came near; a blessed change from years ago. Afterwards, they drank tea with a side of Paddy’s Irish by the hearth.
Adam called Sunday morning to tell them that Reece was hanging in. It would be a long road but they were optimistic. After lunch, Micaela sat on the front porch draped in a crocheted throw while Una sat beside her sipping tea. It had rained through the night and into the late morning. Tears of water dripped from the leaves that remained on half-stripped branches. Soon the ground would be covered in frost and then snow. And so began Samhain, the Druid winter when life retreated beneath the earth and darkness ruled.
“I should get on the road. I promised Parker we would meet for a late dinner.”
“You tell your young man I expect to see him for Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t want to hear either of you are too busy.” Una shifted in her Adirondack chair to face Micaela.
“He won’t be able to make it. He’s leaving in the morning for a new office complex project in Vancouver. It’s a great opportunity. He should make partner when he’s done.”
“How long will he be gone?” The furrows between Una’s brows deepened.
“It’s supposed to take several years. He’ll be back every couple of months.” The next part was going to be hard; she knew how much Una liked Parker. “We’ve agreed to take a step back in our relationship. Just friends and all.”
“The wheel turns.” Una nodded. “Are you all right with this arrangement, dear?”
“Parker is great guy, he’s smart, sweet. We’re good together. I suppose it should be enough.” Micaela twirled a multi-hued yarn tassel on the throw between her fingers. “Not everyone can have what Mom and Da had. Can they?”
“Your mother asked me the same question not long before she met your father. Will you be here for Thanksgiving?”
“I’ll do my best, but I was just assigned to a new financing deal, my first international assignment. I don’t know what my schedule will be yet.”
“You tell Brian Moran that Una Rourke wants her granddaughter here. He won’t argue.”
“It’s not entirely up to him. One of our major clients asked for me specifically and I don’t think they celebrate Thanksgiving in Ireland.”
“Ireland. Who would the client be?”
“Knowth Corporation. Judy will have a briefing file waiting for me tomorrow morning. I understand they’re headquartered north of Dublin.”
“Knowth Corporation. Interesting.”
“You’ve heard of them?”Micaela asked.
“They’ve been around for a long time. Would it be Byrne Connor, you’re dealing with?”
“Actually, my day-to-day contact will be a Liam Farrell. We are supposed to speak by video conference on Tuesday morning.”
“Of course.” Una nodded. “The Farrells have always worked for Knowth.”
Micaela knew her grandmother kept tabs on things back home. She didn’t realize it included major players in the financial community, especially ones who were as reclusive as Byrne Connor. “Is there anything else you can tell me, Una?”
“Nothing right now. Give my regards to Liam and Byrne.”


Available at Amazon for the Kindles, Barnes & Noble for the Nooks and soon at Smashqwords for most other eReaders (included iReaders)