Ready for the next exciting excerpt of Chapter One from the upcoming Moon-Ache, Book Two in The Lone March Series?
So...I guess I'll just be posting it now then...eh?
I mean, why not? Right?
Yeah, I should post it.
Who's gonna stop me, ya know?
No one, that's who.
Because I have all the effing power. So here it is...
Chapter One, Part Two:
It was a short trip to the Harper house, though it felt a lot longer for all the silence, which was inevitable due to three simple facts: 1. Avery Harper and I didn’t know each other very well, so everyday conversation was reaching, at best. 2. Mr. Harper was holding off on telling me what I wanted to know—how he knew anything that had been happening with the wolves. I was impatient, but thankful for his rescue, and respectful enough to honor his request to wait for the answers. 3. Despite being within the safe confines of a large, automatic-locking SUV, I was still worried about being caught by Elliot, or whichever of the wolves was apparently so close behind me. This fact kept me most silent of all.
Avery pulled into the driveway and killed the engine. I hopped out of the big SUV, checked my coattails to ensure they were covering my bare back side, and followed Mr. Harper to the door.
“Wait here,” he said, cautiously opening the door and entering.
Feeling exposed, I looked behind me and all around to make sure I was alone. The trees bristled and swayed lazily in the night breeze—the loudest sound in the whole neighborhood. Though the street was lit with lamps, the houses lining either side were utterly dark and a bubble of still calm was draped around in every direction. It was a bubble I knew would be easily punctured if they picked up on my scent.
The door opened abruptly and a hand came out and pulled me in by the shoulder. Mr. Harper led me, with one hand on my back, directly into the front sitting room and quickly closed the door behind us.
The rich reds in the wallpaper and rug immediately engulfed me as I entered the room and almost seemed to brush me with warmth. Whether from the wallpaper, or the suddenly still air (when I’d been used to the breeze during my escape) I felt my face flush in response and immediately my head started swimming with blood as it began to pump slower and slower through me to accommodate my now resting state.
Without an offer extended, I collapsed on the small, square loveseat, uninviting as it was in its under-stuffed austerity.
“Stay here. I’ll find you something to wear,” he said.
“I can stand this a little longer. First things first: find me something to eat. I’m starving.”
He nodded and left me alone in the room.
I completely wanted to disobey him and go skipping up the stairs to see Ethyn because I smelled his amazing scent as soon as I walked through the door, but I couldn’t. I was so tired and hungry. And, now that I was through running and felt safe, my adrenaline was wearing off and fatigue and pain were starting to set in. So I just laid there feeling the weight of my heavy lids as they fell, and I had to manually lift them open. It was an arduous task and, finally, I gave up on it and left them shut only to have them open involuntarily when Mr. Harper gently nudged my shoulder some minutes later.
He had a bowl of steaming vegetable soup and a tall glass of iced water. I took the bowl first and almost spilled it on myself in my hunger-crazed frenzy to bring it closer to my mouth. The small thought crossed my mind that there was no meat in this meal, but I didn’t care—I just wanted food. Besides, it would probably be best to go easy on my stomach for a few days, after having it empty for so long. I scooped a spoonful and shoved it into my mouth without hesitation.
“Ahh!” I exclaimed and let the scalding, chunky liquid fall out of my mouth and back into the bowl.
“I warned you.”
“Not soon enough,” I retorted.
“Well, you didn’t expect cold soup, did you?” he asked, pulling a chair over to sit in front of me.
“Ugh! This is torture! I finally have food in front of me for the first time in three days and I can’t eat it!”
“You haven’t eaten in three days?”
“Duh, prisoner,” I said, pointing at myself. “I thought you knew that.”
“I didn’t think they were starving you. One would think they’d want to keep the last female were-wolf on earth in good health.”
“Yeah, well, I think Elliot’s plan involved me being as weak as possible without actually perishing. I don’t know what would have happened to me if I hadn’t gotten outta there.” I shuddered and blew on my soup.
“I’m sorry I handed you over to those criminals. I thought I was doing the best thing for you. Had I known they were such an awful pack, I wouldn’t have—”
“It’s okay,” I assured him. “You did do the best thing for me. If I hadn’t been heralded through my first change I would’ve died. They’re the nearest pack around. There’s nothing else you could have done. And they’re not all bad. Just most.”
Once I'd blown on it enough to keep from scorching my tongue, I slurped my soup. (After spitting it out in front of him I figured why bother with manners?) The warmth made it seem filling, but as time cooled it and the heat in my stomach subsided, I felt less and less full.
“What happened to your nose?” he asked, studying it with new concern.
For a minute, I had completely forgotten about my self-inflicted accident. During my escape, I tripped and fell, banging my head, specifically my nose, straight into the ground.
“Your nose is bloody,” he said.
I instinctively reached up and touched the under part of my nose to feel the blood, but it must have dried in the wind.
“They weren’t beating you, were they?” he asked incredulously.
“No, I tripped over a big log in the woods by the hospital while I was running away,” I explained.
He took my chin in his long fingers and tilted my face to have a better look at my nose. “Does it hurt?”
“To be honest, I’m pretty numb all over right now. Ask me again in ten minutes,” I said.
“So you’re okay then, generally speaking?”
“I’m okay,” I replied. “My ankle is probably hurt pretty bad, though. I think it got twisted in the fall. Like I said, I can’t really feel anything, but running on it can’t have been good.”
“Let me see.”
I lifted my foot up to him and he put his palm underneath so I rested my weight on it.
“Well, I’m no doctor, but it doesn’t seem broken. I’ll get you an ice pack. You probably just sprained it,” he said, bounding up and out of the room before I could tell him not to worry about it.
Stay tuned for the final installment of Chapter One!