I promised an excerpt from HELL BENT today. Sorry to be late with the post. I’ll be posting more excerpts as we get closer to release too. This is a short scene with Shame and Terric. Since it’s not clear from the text, we start this with Terric asking Shame a question:
“Why is every conversation with you an argument?”
“Seems a waste of time, doesn’t it? Especially since I’m always right.”
He leaned one shoulder against the elevator wall, half turned toward me. “Like the time you said Victor was going to give up his place as Head of Faith magic? Or the time you bet Allie—Allie of all people—that you knew what Zayvion was thinking better than she did? Or the time when you bet me I could bring that fossil back to life? Or—”
“That,” I interrupted, “is why every conversation is an argument. You just can’t let things go.”
“I can let things go.” He held my gaze, eyes sober and dark with unveiled pain. I looked away.
“I can’t ignore facts,” he went on. “Or the truth when it’s right in front of me.”
I stared at my shoes. “You should practice,” I said quietly, ignoring the slow thud of his heartbeat. “It gets easier.”
The door split and I couldn’t get through it fast enough. I strode down to the front doors. Pulled sunglasses out of my pocket and got them over my eyes. Stepped out into the daylight.
Afternoon was rolling toward evening, the sun giving up the fight to clouds. City was in full swing now, plenty of people on the street.
So many beating hearts.
Enough that it took me a second to realize Terric was walking in the opposite direction than I was facing.
“. . . way, Shamus,” he called back over his shoulder.
I swore, popped up the collar of my coat, not that it did much to block the living from my notice, but it usually signaled people to stay the hell out of my way.
He’d found street parking just half a block down, and was waiting by the passenger’s side, one hand on the roof in both a possessive and steadying grip, keys in his other hand.
“If you scratch it, dent it, or grind one single gear, I will come over to your place every morning at five , steal your curtains, and sing ABBA at the top of my lungs.”
“Hey, now,” I said, taking the keys from him. “You don’t have to be mean.”
I unlocked doors and slid behind the driver’s wheel. The car was clean as the day it’d been driven out of the factory, with only the scent of Terric’s cologne indicating someone living owned the thing.
I wondered, not for the first time, how a person could go through life leaving such a faint mark on the things he possessed.
He folded down into the passenger seat, buckled his seat belt. “Not a scratch,” he reminded me.
“Yeah, yeah,” I said. “I heard you. Burgers?”
“Fish and chips.”
“Over your dead body,” I said. We were quiet while I eased out into traffic.
“Bar food so neither of us is happy?” I offered.
November 5, 2013