I've always been a moon gazer. Even back when I thought it was made out of green cheese. The moon has always been a large part of my life, which is why include it most all my books.
In my latest novel, BLEED, the moon plays a big part in how the characters navigate the night during the book's climax. Check out the excerpt below, and leave a comment for a chance to win an e-book copy!
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IN THE LOOMING DARKNESS, CENTURY High looked more like an ancient castle than a school. Only a few security lamps, like the glow of torches, lit the various entrances. Beyond the school, hanging low in the sky, was a hunter’s moon, adding to the ominous surroundings. About a dozen foreign words flew through Xyan’s mind. All of them meaning Run!
Jake pulled into the school’s empty school parking lot and killed the engine. They all sat a moment, gazing ahead. All thinking the same thing, Xyan figured. Mostly, Should we really be doing this? It was in that gazing moment that she became aware of the quiet. Like radio silence…dead air. “You hear that?”
Jake leaned, turning an ear toward the windshield. “I don’t hear anything.”
“Exactly.” She pointed to the grove of trees. “Those woods should be hopping this time of night. Where are the frogs and crickets and katydids?”
“Maybe they sense something,” Miranda said, her voice low.
That’s exactly what Xyan was afraid of. Critters were smart. They knew when to stand down. “Maybe it’s a warning.”
Jake pushed open his car door. “It is. But it’s not us they’re warning.”
Xyan got out too and zipped up her hoodie. The temperature had plummeted ten or twelve degrees since this afternoon, but it wasn’t the cold that had her shivering. “So, what now?”
Jake popped the trunk and dug out two flashlights. One was the average eight-inch torch, but the one he handed Sam was a 12-inch aluminum Maglite Deluxe.
“Nice,” Sam said, clicking it on and off a couple of times.
“Yeah,” Xyan agreed. “If Miranda misses the mark, you can bludgeon him to death.”
Sam reached down and hoisted up the leg of his jeans. “I brought backup for that.” From his boot he withdrew a foot-long dagger with a slim silver blade that glinted in the moonlight.
Topher let out a low whistle. “Holy shit. That’ll do some damage.”
“Yeah,” Jake said. “To us. Leave it in the car.”
“Screw that.” Sam knelt to ease it back into his boot. “I’m not going in there unarmed.”
Miranda flashed her red leather gloves, palms out. “Don’t worry, Sam. I’ve got it.”
“And besides,” Xyan told him, “your stinky breath alone will probably kill him.”
She waited for a comeback, but after a long glare, he gave in. He hadn’t complained about his stomach the whole way over, but his face would knot occasionally like he was still having cramps. She figured he didn’t have the strength to argue.
He opened the car door and tucked the knife under the seat. “Okay, so now what?”
Jake aimed the unlit flashlight toward the back of the school. “Now, we find Rudy, hold him down, and let Miranda feed him a liquid diet.”
“Oh…well sure,” Sam said. “When you put it that way, no sweat.”
Jake tilted his head, giving Sam a get real look. “Come on, it’s Rudy. He’s low man on the demon food chain. The best he can do is climb into people’s heads and brainwash them. If he had any real strength he’d have shown it by now.”
Topher held up one of his rusty palms. “He did.”
Jake shook his head. “Smoke and mirrors. He can’t touch us.”
Xyan had to agree. It’s not like the guy had split them with lightning or sent flying monkeys up their butts. He could only attack when they slept. That reeked of cowardice.
Just as she was convincing herself to stay calm, something rustled in the woods. Her heart jumped clear to her throat. “Merde!”
They instantly froze. Jake and Sam clicked on the flashlights and trained them on the dense trees.
Something was out there. And not some squirrel looking for his nuts. This something lumbered, big and bullish. Moments later, Double-D stumbled onto the parking lot, a bottle of Jim Beam in his left hand, a wooden spoon in the other. Xyan did a double-take. It was the spoon. The one that disappeared from her kitchen during her nightmare.
“Hey, baby,” Double-D sang as he plodded toward her, one staggering step at a time.
Jake cast a gaze at Xyan then turned back to Double-D. “Where’d you come from?”
Xyan pointed. “And where’d you get that?”
D held out the bottle. “Want some?”
“No, you idiot! I meant where’d you get that spoon?”
He waved it back and forth like a fairy wand. “Found it on the seat of my truck.” Then he narrowed his hazy eyes at her. “You’ve been avoiding me. Where’ve you been?”
Well, she did have a prophecy to fulfill. Between that and his drinking, she hadn’t really wanted to see him. “D, I don’t want to do this right now.”
He tapped the spoon against the bottle. “And that makes you a very…bad…girl.”
“I mean it,” she said. “You need to get out of here.”
“Nooooo.” He inched forward, trying to keep his balance. “I think you need a spanking.”
“Seriously, dude,” Sam said, “go sleep it off. It’s dangerous out here.”
He puffed out his chest, but his head still lolled a bit. “Danger’s my middle name. That’s why they call me Double-D.”
Xyan jutted her hip. “No, they call you Double-D ’cause you’re twice the dumb-ass.” She wanted to shove him, but was afraid he really would attack her with that spoon. She glanced around. “Where’s Big Dawg?”
Double-D slowly turned, pointing the spoon toward the woods. “Parked it in there so I could drink in private.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Topher said. “He can’t drive like that.”
“We’ve still got to get rid of him,” Jake whispered.
D whipped back around, nearly spilling his full 240 pounds onto the concrete, head first.
Miranda turned to Xyan. “Do something.”
It was up to her. She’d just have to take her chances on getting walloped with that spoon. “D! Give me that.” She jerked the whiskey out of his hand and reached into his pocket, retrieving his phone. “Call someone to come get you. It really is dangerous here.”
D staggered to Jake’s car, opened the passenger door, and fell onto the front seat. “I can fend for myself.” He reached under and pulled out Sam’s knife. “See?”
“Crap!” Sam lunged toward him.
But Double-D’s reflexes weren’t as skewed as his drunken state implied. He whipped the knife upward, pointing it at Sam. “Back up, boy. You’re breath smells like shit.”
“It still smells better than yours,” Sam returned, holding the monster flashlight like a bat.
If that kept up, the police would be called. “Devon,” Xyan said. She walked over to the car and cautiously leaned in. “Listen to me.” Putting her mouth against his ear, she began to sing a sweet song—a tender Gaelic lullaby that came easily and naturally, though she’d never it heard before in her life.
Double-D’s eyes drooped. Then mesmerized, he slumped down on the seat, unconscious.
When she turned around, they were all wide-eyed and slack-jawed.
Miranda blinked surprise. “What’d you just do?”
Xyan shrugged. “Sang him an old Irish folk song.”
“That’s one hell of a trick,” Sam said. “Where’d you learn it?”
She shook her head, as amazed as any. “I have no idea.”
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#Bleed #Sleepy Hollow