This month, my guest post on Delilah’s blog will be a few words plus a link to a FREE SHORT STORY, Emily’s Very Special Halloween.
What happened is that one afternoon I had this sketchy idea for writing a Halloween story. I thought, okay, something with dark mystery would be nice. I’d figure it out the next morning.
During the night, this idea came to me about a book and a magical man. Next morning, I could think of nothing else. I sat down at my desk and by noon, the story was finished.
I’ve never had that happen before.
So…I hope you enjoy it. I’m still a little creeped out by the whole process, and I’m absolutely not going out for Halloween. Anywhere. My two black cats are enough, thank you very much.
Usually, that’s how it works for me with a character appearing out of the shadows. They start talking, showing me the story. This one is spooky, which is not my norm. Rest assured there are plenty of others that will wet your panties and keep you up too late.
Here’s the first part of the story:
The book fell, quite literally, into Emily’s hands. Teetering on the tall ladder, she set down the duster and examined the small volume. Bound in blackened ancient leather, the book seemed unremarkable. The title, visible more from the indentation on the leather than by any surviving original lettering, said “Spells and Incantations.”
Briefly, she leafed through the brittle pages. Elaborate scrollwork ornamented the letters, which didn’t form words she knew. At one random page, she tried to read the text and succeeded only in mumbling nonsense phrases.
She’d never seen it before, but that wasn’t a particularly odd circumstance considering the thousands of books crammed onto the shelves along the narrow aisles of Taylor’s Used and Collectible Books. Mr. Taylor himself, a distracted older man with a pinched face and thick glasses, liked to joke that the books bred when the lights were out and he took no responsibility for the overflow that sometimes ended up in hopeless stacks partially blocking the aisles.
Then he’d look over his glasses and wink in an admission that yes, on his off hours from tending the store, he roamed through garage sales and flea markets and browsed the internet to find more books. As far as Emily was concerned, Mr. Taylor cared less about selling books than he did about acquiring them. She’d seen him become visibly pained when someone insisted on purchasing a book that he held in particular regard. Which more or less applied to a majority of the works in the store, a ramshackle red brick structure on the corner of a minor street on the edge of downtown.
Turning to replace the slender tome, Emily frowned at the crammed shelves. She tried pushing the books over where she’d dusted but there was absolutely no room for another book. Even more puzzling, additional books lay on top of the upright ones, filling every inch of space. She looked around wondering where the book actually fell from, then tucked it in her oversized apron pocket, stifled a sneeze, and climbed down.
At the front counter, she set the book down as a man walked up. There had been only a handful of people in the store this morning, not exactly one of their busier days. Somehow this guy had slipped by her. Had she not heard the bell ring?
“How can I help you?” she said, trying not to gape at his appearance.
He studied her with intensely dark eyes, almost frightening at first glance but then engaging in a fascinating way. Short dark hair and a slight after-five shadow set off his chiseled features, a combination of strong aquiline nose, stern brow, and sensual lips she couldn’t avoid noticing. His lips seemed to move slightly even though he wasn’t talking.
He cleared his throat. “I’m looking for a particular book,” he said. The corner of his mouth crooked in the hint of a smile. “Do you have a section for vintage and collectibles?”
His melodic baritone voice sent chills down her spine that collected at her nipples and pressed them to hard points. Almost breathless, she clutched the edge of the counter, pointing to the place she’d just been dusting.
“Aisle 5,” she said. “Halfway down. There’s a ladder if you need it.”
Download the full story at Smashwords and use coupon code CY64F.
Hurry! Coupon good only through October 12.
P.S. My apologies to Delilah fans who are also subscribers to my newsletter. This free story offer was extended in the October issue of Liz’s Hot News, meaning you didn’t get anything new here. But stay tuned—more free stuff coming to newsletter subscribers! For those not yet subscribed, when you join the fun, you’ll get excerpts from forthcoming works, short stories, coupon deals, previews and more. You can unsubscribe at any time, and it’s FREE. Easy signup at http://eepurl.com/bHOyS9
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