THE UNSEEN: Friday Snippets (1)
Happy Friday! Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing lots of news. One of the most exciting is that The Unseen is now in the editing process! That means it will be available to you very quickly. I’m hoping to have it uploaded for purchase from my webstore on June 27. It will release at Amazon, Apple Books, Google Play, and Kobo on July 13. Because those dates are coming up fast, I’m going to start releasing Friday snippets today, with a new snippet going up every Friday until the July 13th wide release day. Each snippet will be around 2,000 words long, with the understanding that I’ll break whenever there seems to be a good place in the narrative.
As always when I post snippets of unedited draft work, it’s all subject to change or deletion. Anything you read will very likely contain typos and grammar issues that will be addressed during the editing process. For that reason, please don’t post this in other places.
“What exactly do you pack when you’re leaving earth for good?” Pia murmured.
She stared at the huge pile of clothes and personal items she had heaped on the king-sized bed she shared with her husband and mate, Dragos Cuelebre, in the house they had built in upstate New York.
When she and Dragos had made the decision to leave the Wyr demesne in New York and move to the Other land of Rhyacia, they had agreed to not pack any household items. Everything they had required to furnish their spacious house in upstate New York would remain intact and ready for any time they might choose to return.
But that didn’t make the impending move simple or easy. Their decision had sparked Pia into an intense buying spree for new household items that they sent into the Other land in regular shipments. Despite Pia’s original intention to focus solely on their new baby Niall, she had been unable to remain detached from the process. This was to be her new home, and she needed to feel comfortable in it. She couldn’t just step back and let someone else create the whole thing for her.
Color schemes had to be decided upon. Bedding, curtains, carpets (all of which meant the number of rooms and room dimensions needed to be decided upon), kitchenware, bath linens, and more—and every decision had to take into account that while Other lands were rife with magic, modern technologies such as electricity and gas-run vehicles didn’t work there. Goodbye, KitchenAid stand up mixer and Keurig coffee makers. Hello, manual hand mixers and French press coffee makers.
What items of furniture would they transport, and what could be made on site? Rhyacia was roughly the size of Greenland. Currently it was a vast stretch of undeveloped land that Dragos had discovered and protected long ago, just in case he might ever decide to do something with it some day.
His contingency planning had become a reality. Now, the community in Rhyacia was new and growing at an exponential rate, fueled by Wyr who were leaving New York in huge droves as they enthusiastically embraced the new challenge.
Very soon what had once been a vast tract of pristine, undeveloped land would become a nation, and Rhyacia would be self-supporting in every conceivable way, but that hadn’t happened yet. While money was no object in designing their house (a fact that still felt foreign and exotic to Pia), intensive thought and effort had to go into planning every detail, since most of what they wanted and needed had to be shipped in. Massive cargo caravans transporting a wide variety of goods including shelf stable and freeze-dried food, tents, eco-friendly prefab housing, and other building materials crossed over to the Other land daily.
In the meantime, Dragos had to follow through with his decision to abdicate as Lord of the Wyr in New York – a position he had held for hundreds of years. He had been intensely busy both with building plans for their new house and working with the sentinels in New York to facilitate a transfer of power to Rune, his former First sentinel, who would act as regent until Pia and Dragos’s oldest son Liam decided if he wanted to take over.
Because Dragos was often in New York, many of the household decisions Pia needed him to weigh in on had been made via text. Finally, after two months of intense activity, it was time to pack clothes and toiletries. They would leave for Rhyacia in two days.
Pia regarded the containers of blush, eyeshadow, mascara and lipstick she held in her hands. She wasn’t clear on how rough the living conditions would be in the new settlement. How likely was it that she would want to wear makeup any time soon? But this move wasn’t exactly like they were traveling to another neighborhood with a strip mall located a few blocks away where she could buy anything she needed. If she didn’t take things now, she wouldn’t have access to anything like it again very easily.
Her gaze traveled to the nearby French doors, propped open to let in a warm afternoon breeze. Eva had taken Pia’s youngest son Niall outside to give her a break so she could get some serious packing done. While Niall was a helpless two-month old baby in his human form, in his Wyr form he was hell on four hooves…. and he liked to stay in his Wyr form.
Eva had changed into her canine Wyr form as well. She chased Niall’s tiny racy bronze form across the freshly mown lawn. When Niall spun and lowered his equine head to point his horn at Eva, Pia laughed under her breath. That little boy loved to stab things. Eva barked at him, and he tore off in a different direction. Eva lunged in pursuit, and they disappeared from Pia’s line of sight.
She loved everything about the scene outside. Her disaster baby; her best friend. Every detail of the landscaping had been a choice she’d helped to make. When she had first met and mated with Dragos, she’d had to learn to love his penthouse in Cuelebre Tower—and she’d succeeded. She’d made a few changes, claimed the kitchen as her own, and lavished all her attention on decorating their first son Liam’s nursery.
This place was different. She and Dragos had chosen everything about it together. She had helped to create this home from the ground up, and she loved every inch of it.
Man, she was going to miss that KitchenAid mixer. Her chest constricted and the peaceful outdoor scene disappeared as her eyes flooded with moisture.
Firm footsteps sounded as Dragos walked up behind her. One massive hand came down to cover both of hers, makeup and all. He said in her ear, “Remember, we agreed. No plastic.”
“I know what we said, but… none at all?” she asked in dismay. She picked up a plastic container of antiperspirant. It was her favorite brand. She’d been using it for forever.
“None.” His tone was final. “We’re not going to create a trash or pollution problem in Rhyacia.”
Tilting one shoulder up, she sighed. “I don’t disagree.”
The heat from his tall, muscular body warming her back and legs eased some of the ache she was feeling. He buried his face in her neck and inhaled. His lips moved against her sensitive skin, as he murmured, “Besides, I like the way you smell.”
Mmm, delicious. But she would not give into the temptation to go boneless against him. She still had too many items outstanding on her To-Do list. “Did you ever consider the reason why you might like the way I smell is because of my choice in toiletries?” She pulled out her container of mascara and brandished it in front of his eyes. “I’m so fair, I’m almost an albino. Where do you think my eyelashes come from?”
“I have seen you plenty of times without your makeup, and you’re gorgeous.” He ran his mouth along the line of her jaw. “Unless I miss my guess, you’re not wearing makeup right now.”
“What does that have to do with anything?” she demanded.
He paused, then said cautiously, “This is a female thing, isn’t it?”
To Dragos, the female experience was a vast continent filled with baffling mysteries and countless pitfalls, but at the moment she felt too sad to smile. Resting her cheek against the side of his head, she said, “Yes, this is a female thing.”
“Hm.” He scooped up her makeup and antiperspirant. “I’ll take these.”
“What?” she exclaimed. “Why? We haven’t left for Rhyacia yet.”
“You’ll see.” When she spun on her heel to confront him, he raised one sleek black eyebrow. His brutally handsome features were relaxed in an expression of subtle amusement. “That’s all for now. Carry on.”
Her mouth fell open to argue more, but he had already wheeled away and strode out of their bedroom suite.
“I was going to take a shower with some of that,” she muttered crankily. Then what he had said hit her. She shouted after him, “What do you mean I smell?”
His deep laughter floated up the stairs. A few moments later she heard the distant sound of the front door opening and closing.
“It’s not like any of that was special anyway.” She made a face at the empty doorway and whispered, “Because I’m just a New York girl who likes to shop at Target.”
Without the distraction of Dragos’s intense, vital presence, the ache welled up again. There was no one to watch or question what she did next. Burying her face in her hands, she let the tears come.
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