Welcome to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked for a new year, literally, of Mid Week Tease hosted by Sandra Bunino.
Authors: this is a great opportunity to spotlight a few lines or even a paragraph or two from a new release or backlisted title. Readers: you get to sample some delicious snippets! We’ll do our best to tease, titillate and tantalize you into the weekend.
Today I'm offering snippets from my new release A Centaur's Solstice Wish, a sweet M/M fantasy romance, and Book 2 in the Rifts series. Sedgewick is in the infirmary on Christmas Eve and Bethany, from Take the Reins, is talking to Sedgewick about friendship and backup.
"Hey, Sedgewick. How are you feeling tonight?"
Bethany stopped beside his window and gave him a warm smile.
"I'm feeling better tonight, Master Healer. Thank you."
"Oh, you can call me Bethany. It's Christmas Eve. No need to stand on ceremony tonight." She tilted her head with a small frown. "Are you having trouble sleeping? Is the pain bothering you?"
"No, Ma—Bethany." He grimaced at his slip. "I heard you singing."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize it had been that loud. I just get into the spirit of the season and lose track of where I am." She shook her head. "I should remember to be quieter."
"No, no, it was beautiful. Peaceful and yet wistful. Are the songs from your home?"
"The Christmas tunes? Yes. Things we used to sing as kids. We'd go caroling from house to house when my mother—my dam was alive." The Master Healer smiled as she set a lit candle down on the windowsill. "It was damn cold, but the singing kept us warm and there was always hot cider or cocoa waiting for us when we got home."
"That sounds like a pleasant memory." He grimaced as his shoulder twinged. "Full of magic."
"It's a magical time of year."
Sedgewick snorted and shook his head. "Not magical, just harder. Colder. Darker."
"That's why we have candles and cheery fires, and after the solstice, the days get longer again." Bethany gave him an understanding smile. "But it can be a lonely time without loved ones." She sighed a little. "I miss my brother most of all."
Sedgewick heard the sorrow in her voice. "Has your brother returned to the Goddess?"
"What? Oh, no. At least, not that I've heard." She shook her head. "I just don't get to see him much, and now, not at all."
"Why is that, Master Healer?"
"He's a soldier, a fairly elite one, and he's always off saving the world. It's impossible to know if he'll be home for Christmas, and most of the time he's deployed somewhere exotic." She snorted with amusement. "The lucky jerk usually gets to go somewhere warm in the southern hemisphere.” But her smile fell away. “Unfortunately, he doesn't get to have fun there. He's a sniper." She paused. "Do you know what a sniper is?"
Sedgewick frowned and shook his head. "I'm not familiar with the term."
Bethany bit her bottom lip in thought. "He's really sneaky and quiet, and usually takes the enemy out by long range...bow shots. He's too far away for them to see him."
"That doesn't seem like an honorable way to fight."
Bethany nodded. "No, but it's a good way to keep his team safe and to facilitate rescue operations. He's their backup." She smiled a little. "Still, I send prayers up each year to keep him safe. I'm his backup."
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