Sunday, July 17, 2011

Skip-Bo: a family tradition & Sample Sunday

Whew. Vacation is over. So is the vacation from the vacation. I definitely needed both. Family time was AWESOME! With a capital Awe. I missed my sister - she lives in GA with her new hubby - and we got to be goofy all week and laugh at crap that no one else in the whole world would probably understand or think is funny. And we played Skip-Bo. It's a card game. Sounds dorky. probably is. I learned to play with my grandparents. Probably because Canasta was still too complicated for me back then. Probably still is. Anyway, the tradition is Skip-Bo and laugh at everything like your drunk when your really not and mess with/annoy my mother. It's a fun tradition. You should try it in your own family. It's the best quality time ever.

So, yeah, vacation was fun. And since we've been back, we've done the pool, the beach, cooked out with friends, and laid around the house. Like I said, a vacation from the vacation. Beautiful. Well, except for the beach, where it's apparently already jellyfish season, and needless to say, I didn't get in the water.

Okay, enough about all that. Today is Sample Sunday and before I post another sneek peek of Dirty Blood, I want to remind everybody that right now you can buy Dirty Blood for your Kindle for just .99. So, if you read today's sample and need to have the rest, go check it out here. Okay enjoy:

“So, do all Werewolves have extra… gifts, or is it just you?”
“Most Werewolves can manipulate memory on some level. It helps us keep our secret.”
“But how do you do it?” I pressed.
“Shouldn’t you be more concerned with your role in all of this?” he snapped.
I blinked, trying to figure out what I’d said to make him suddenly so irritated. “I guess I hadn’t gotten to that part yet.”
He spread his arms wide. “Well, here we are.”
My eyes narrowed. I was tired of his attitude and instead of feeling guilty for having somehow caused it, it was making me angry. “No, here I am. Thanks for helping me last night, but I’m fine. You don’t still have to be here.”
“Actually I do,” he argued.
“And why is that?”
“To determine what kind of threat you are.”
“Threat? To who?”
“Werewolves, of course.”
“But she came after me. I was defending myself.”
“Still, only a Hunter would’ve had that kind of strength. Which means, it could happen again. It’s only a matter of time before you figure yourself out and when that happens, I need to know whose side you’ll be on.”
I was trying to follow what he was saying, but none of it was making any sense. “There are sides?”
He didn’t elaborate. I tried to keep the irritation out of my voice. “Okay, well we won’t know which side I’m on until I understand all of this, so how about you fill me in, from the beginning.”
He frowned and I was sure he was going to refuse, so it surprised me when he started talking. “Liliana was in town for the night and said she wanted to meet up. We’d been… working on something together. I was running late so I cut through the alley, which is the only reason I found you. By then, Liliana was already down, and you looked like you were going into shock. I couldn’t have you running back inside and bringing humans into it, so I decided to help you.”
I hadn’t missed the way he’d hesitated over why he’d been meeting Liliana. Was it possible they’d been a couple? If so, no wonder he seemed pissed. I didn’t ask about it, though. Something told me it would end the conversation, and there was still plenty more I wanted to know. “You called me a Hunter.”
He nodded. “You must be. It’s the only possible way you’d have the strength to kill one of us.” He gave me a strange look before continuing. “The thing is, I don’t even get a feeling from you, or - I do but it’s not like a normal Hunter would feel. It’s… I don’t know. Which definitely makes no sense. Added to that, you obviously have zero training and no weapons so you can understand why I’m more than a little curious about you.”
“Why didn’t you tell me any of this last night?”
He gave me a pointed look. “You were pretty shaken up. I don’t think it would’ve gone over well.”
“I’m fine now,” I said, lifting my chin a little.
He raised an eyebrow. “Are you?”
“Okay, whatever, I lost it. Anyone would have, in my situation. But I’m dealing with it now and I’m not going to freak out. That won’t happen again.”
“Yes, it will.” He cut me off before I could argue. “Not you freaking out – at least I hope not – but the attack, killing a Werewolf. That part will happen again. If one found you, so can others, and even though I can’t sense ‘Hunter’ on you, I can only assume Liliana did. Which means they will too, and they’ll attack as soon as they feel it.”
“Whatever, you’re just trying to scare me.”
He didn’t respond but the look he sent me left no question that he was serious.
Knowing he was right did weird things to my gut. It was scary, once you got over the hump and believed it all. Who wanted to have to look over their shoulder for angry Werewolves their whole lives? But, if this was all real – and I was slowly starting to recognize that it was – then I needed to be prepared.  I needed to face it. The truth was always better than a lie, no matter how scary it might be. “Alright, then, so what do I do?” I asked.
“First off, we need to figure out if you really are a Hunter.”
“How do we do that?”
“The best way is to get you around some others who can maybe sense you better. Are you sure you’ve recovered from the shock, though?”
An image popped into my head, of seeing my reflection in the bathroom mirror – after. The look on my face had been shock and underneath it, pure terror. “I think I must’ve been afraid of myself a little,” I admitted. “But yes, I’m fine now. Promise.”
He nodded and his expression was almost understanding. He studied me a minute longer. “C’mon,” he finally said, rising from my desk chair. “Get dressed.”
“What? Why?”
“I’m going to take you to see someone. Try to figure this thing out.” He put the chair back underneath the desk and took up his original position, leaning against the doorframe.
I didn’t move from the bed. “Who?”
“Friends. Like I said, maybe they can get a read on you.”
I had no idea what he meant by ‘a read on’ me, but I was interested in answers. Still, I didn’t know where he might take me, or to whom. It could be dangerous, some kind of trap.
“I’m not going to hurt you and neither will anyone else,” Wes added quietly, seeing my hesitation.
I had no idea why I was making him promise. I still didn’t know if I could fully trust him, but right now he was my only shot at finding the truth. And scary as it was, I needed to know the truth. Some things were just too big to brush under the rug. This was definitely one of them.
I flung the covers aside and hopped up, making my way towards the bathroom. I felt Wes’ eyes on me, and my cheeks heated up in automatic response. His gaze lingered on my abdomen, and only then did I remember my shirt was short enough to reveal the ends of the scratches along my ribs. Then, my cheeks flushed even more as I realized he hadn’t been checking me out in the way I’d assumed. I turned away, hoping he hadn’t noticed my embarrassment, and booked it to the bathroom. On the way, I reached out and scooped up a pair of jeans and a fresh shirt from the laundry basket.
I threw the clothes on and ran a brush through my tangled hair, using the rest of the time for makeup. Dark circles ringed my eyes, and I did my best to cover them. Halfway satisfied, I reached for the door, and paused. I really had no idea where Wes was taking me, or who – or what – I’d be meeting. Maybe whoever I met would be mad that I’d killed Liliana.
I needed a weapon- something I could conceal on my body but easily accessible, if needed. I looked around the tiny bathroom. The choices were limited. I didn’t think my razor would do much good, unless my attacker stopped and demanded a haircut. Makeup brushes and bottles of foundation littered the counter, along with my toothbrush. Again, no good.
My eyes landed on the plunger tucked behind the toilet. I grabbed it and held one end of the wooden handle in each hand. Using my knee as a brace, I brought it down hard, and had the satisfaction of watching it break off at the bottom. I snapped the wood again, so I now held a piece in each hand, and stuffed them into my back pockets, using my shirt to cover them up. I threw the rubber end into the cabinet to hide it from my mom. It would have to do.


  1. OMG Heather! Skip-Bo totally sounds like sooo much fun! Sucks we don't live closer because I would love to play that with you to annoy our hubbies! Can you imagine the giggles we'd have?! I'm glad you had fun on your vaca. And I love this scene! ;)

    Angeline Kace

  2. Ang, oh yeah we would be a riot together! and Donna, thanks for the feedback. Always appreciated.