Today I am so pleased to welcome L.A. Stockman to Joyfully Jay. L.A. has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, In the Twist. She has also brought along a tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
The Shaughnessy home was, if nothing else, sheltered. At the edge of town, past the last neighbors by a quarter of a mile, it had a tall, faded-blue fence with a suspiciously modern keypad PIN lock. Past that barrier, a path half as long through a riotous garden of vegetables and flowers and herbs led to the sprawling cottage. It wasn’t like something out of a magazine. It was whitewashed and already fading, with brightly colored door and window frames in cheerfully clashing shades of blue, yellow, orange, and red.
A wide porch of weathered boards overlooked a play structure with swings and a slide and a pirate’s nest lookout. A big well-worn picnic table painted cobalt blue with huge yellow flowers of varying degrees of skillful execution sat close to the swings and the flower garden. The porch was cluttered with rocking chairs and sand tables and easels and toys causing a bit of an obstacle course to the front door.
Unlike most cottages built around the time, there was a second floor. Farther on from the house was another lower gate leading to the bridge. David saw Dallan stop still just down the path, before the steps to the house. A slightly mischievous smile curved David’s lips, and he made a gesture with his hand. Dallan shot him a look that was equal parts amusement and regard before he was able to step onto the porch.
“Sorry about the wards.” David was very much sorry-not-sorry. He’d poured a copious amount of blood and sweat into those wards, and it was gratifying to see that he’d done well. A stranger with magical abilities could not enter the house without him allowing it specifically.
“Don’t be. They’re very skillfully crafted…and they cast a hell of a wide net.” Nothing, good or ill, could get in here unless it was possessed of the sheer force to brute-overpower the magic.
“Everything precious to me in this world is in this home. And I know that a white hat doesn’t automatically equal trust.” David opened the screen door for Dallan, and there was music coming from the back of the house, melancholic, yet with a core of hopefulness that couldn’t be completely extinguished. David turned to him, actually touched him, pressing his hand against Dallan’s broad chest. “Promise me I’m not making a mistake, Dallan.”
Since it was David who did the touching first, and no one was bleeding, Dallan laid his own hand gently over David’s. “I swear it to you. I will always swear it to you, lovely one. There is no malice in my heart for you or yours. There are only things you do not know yet, but you will. Just as there are things I do not know about you, but I will.”
“In the fullness of time,” David whispered, because it sounded right, like something out of a story.
“You can’t be real.” This time, the whisper was little more than an exhalation.
“Feel my heart beat.” Strong, steady under his palm. David’s world focused down on the thudding beat, and he unconsciously leaned in, mouth drawing closer to Dallan’s. “David. If you kissed me now, how would it end?”
David’s quick mind turned over a dozen possible outcomes, all of which made him move back in a jerky motion and fold his arms over his chest. “Not well. I… First, I made the assumption you’d want to kiss me.” And who would want that? He was the original used bill of goods.
“That was not an incorrect first premise from which to work, but this isn’t a classroom.” Dallan reached out slowly to unclench David’s fists and smooth his arms down from his self-defensive posture, gentle and tender.
“Is it not?” David allowed Dallan to touch him, move him, though it made him want to cry and scream and shove and pull the man so close they lost all room to talk, much less think. “I rather feel that this is exactly a classroom.” Or a crucible.
“You aren’t ready for these lessons.” Dallan pulled his hands back and dropped them to his side. “Soon. Not now.”
Twelve dead children. An ex-priest with the faith to move mountains. A hunter out of the depths of legend. Together, they must find a way to overcome their pasts and become something entirely new if they are to defeat an ancient evil.
David Shaughnessy was content in his life as a police detective in Armata, California. It lacked the visceral, sick thrill that came with exorcising demons, but it was better for him, saner. Until the night he got called out to a vicious murder in the woods, and met Dallan Jaeger. The older man and Interpol agent is much more than he seems to be, and their connection is immediate, powerful. Trust blooms quickly as they learn to work together to pursue the evil fae responsible for the murders.
They must learn to do more than trust each other if David is to fulfill his birthright and claim what was so long denied him. Only then do they have a hope of catching the killer…in the Twist.
L.A. is a professional writer finally crossing over into fiction. She has a background in the Classics and Religious Studies, and those themes will come up again and again in her work. L.A. lives in Texas, has two incredible kids, and a varying number of rescue mutts. Reach out to her on Twitter; she’d love to hear from you!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: lastockman.wordpress.com
- Twitter: @la_stockman
- Facebook: facebook.com/LAStockman
L.A. has brought a ebook of choice from NineStar Press to give away to one lucky reader. Just follow the Rafflecopter link below to enter.
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