I had to use extra exclamation marks because I’m that excited to show you my new cover. I booked a cover reveal, but had to promise not to show the cover until today. I cannot tell you how hard it has been to wait patiently all these weeks.
So here it goes…
My manuscript was returned today from another round of editing. It’s almost finished! After some proofreading and formatting, it will be ready to release. For anyone who signed up for an ARC, I will be sending them out this weekend, if all goes well.
If you’d like to sample Wings of Memory, and don’t mind mild spoilers, I decided to share one of my favorite scenes. [Remember, it still needs to go through proofreading. There might be a few errors hiding out.] There are some mild spoilers in this mid-novel scene, so if you want your reading completely spoiler-free, resist the urge to scroll down.
That evening, Kiernan sat in his hut. The chrysalis remained in his hand, but no matter how hard he tried, the chrysalis maintained its form. His brow wrinkled with concentration, but the magic still evaded him. A long sigh escaped.
“Still no luck?”
He swiveled around and saw Meghan standing in the doorway.
“I never should have come. I had this grandiose idea I could save my people, but delusions create nothing but trouble.” He threw the chrysalis upon the teak end table, then stormed toward the patio.
She grabbed his arm before he could make it out the door. “Kiernan, your ideas weren’t delusions. There is magic here, incredible magic.”
“All the magic in the world won’t make a difference if I can’t figure out how to harness it.”
Meghan’s warm fingers encircled his hand, pulling him outside to the patio’s woven hammock. She eased herself down upon the hanging seat and pulled him next to her. Their legs hung over the side, and they swung together. How did she know just what would calm him? Meghan’s presence was more soothing than any of Selena’s herbal concoctions.
“Did Iztali have any suggestions on how to better tap the magic?” She kept hold of his hand.
Kiernan scowled. She would ask that question. “None that I am willing to try.”
Her green eyes widened. “What did he want you to do?”
He looked away. How could he explain what Iztali suggested?
Silence spread between them. Dusk was approaching. The forest filled with bird song, and the occasional scream of a howler.
She wasn’t going to give this up. How could he phrase it to her? “To harness the magic, I need to tap into what makes me feel most alive.”
“I don’t understand.” She turned to him, still touching his fingers. “What is so hard about that?”
Kiernan forced himself to swallow. “Um, what makes me feel alive right now sort of… conflicts with my current morals.”
Meghan giggled. “That’s a first. Kiernan too moral…” She sobered suddenly. “Wait. I get it. The blood-drinking’s what makes you feel alive. How can you replace blood-drinking with this magic, if you need to drink blood to access the magic?”
“No! I don’t want to drink blood anymore, and that certainly isn’t the thing that makes me feel alive.” He was so tired of everybody thinking blood-sharing was what drove him.
“Kiernan, I don’t understand. If it isn’t the blood-drinking—“
He stared at her, didn’t let her break their gaze. “It’s you. You make me feel alive.”
Meghan stared into her lap, her cheeks flushing. She was so cute when she blushed like that.
“So it’s useless, because we made a vow, and I’m not willing to break it.” He tried to pull himself up from the swinging hammock.
She grabbed his upper arm and pulled him down again. “If… if it’s for the good of your people, though, and not just for our pleasure, maybe we wouldn’t technically break the vow.”
She was encouraging him? Meghan never ceased to surprise him. “Stop tempting me! I’m just figuring out this conscience thing, and it’s hard enough without…”
Meghan stared into her lap for a long moment before glancing at him. “What if we tried a brief, scientific experiment?”
“A scientific experiment involving magic?” He couldn’t stop his laugh. He also couldn’t stop watching her.
“If it worked?”
“We would be one step closer to helping Avery.”
They both nodded, and the matter seemed decided.
Only Kiernan didn’t know how to proceed. He had spent so much energy fighting his longings, he wasn’t sure how to give in.
Meghan jumped off the hammock and disappeared into the cottage.
He hadn’t even realized he had been holding his breath until she was gone. With a long sigh, Kiernan watched the flickering glow of lantern light that shone through the doorway. Had she changed her mind? He couldn’t decide if that would be a good thing or a bad thing.
And then she was back, cradling the fragile chrysalis in her hand. She gently set it on a shelf behind the hammock and settled back onto the swing, her warm body grazing his.
They watched each other for a long moment.
“What did Iztali have you do?” she asked.
“He told me to visualize what made me feel most alive,” Kiernan whispered. The conversation was entirely too much honesty for him.
“So you pictured?”
“My hands were like this.” Kiernan raised his fingers to her hair. Her reddish locks were so soft. He ran his fingers through them—once, twice—then tangled his fingertips in her silky waves.
Her mouth opened slightly. “Oh, and then?”
She was making this so easy for him. “And then…” He gently grazed her lips, and her mouth crushed against his. He pulled her closer, and they fell back upon the swinging hammock.
There was only Meghan. Her sweet smell, her warm body, her soft lips.
He finally forced himself to break away. He’d missed the last of the light fading and the birdsong quieting.
She lay watching him, her legs draped across his lap, as he reached for the chrysalis.
He concentrated on how alive he had just felt. He willed that same life into the tiny silken casing. With the memory of each touch and kiss, he pushed more and more life force into the tiny object, until the magic flowed freely from him.
The chrysalis silently split open and an enormous blue butterfly emerged. It dried and opened its wings within moments.
“A Blue Morpho?” Meghan smiled up at him as the butterfly flew off into the night sky. “It appears our science experiment was successful.”
He could barely wait for their next experiment. He was really in trouble.