Monday, June 5, 2017

Excerpt Time!

It's time for a Twisted Dreams excerpt! Or really, I've spent most of my at-home time these last few days photoshopping the cover and so didn't actually write a blog post. This cover is a LOT more complex than all the other covers I've put together. All of the other covers I've created were made with one photo...this one takes three. I can't wait to show it to you! (More information about the cover reveal coming when I have it. I feel very disorganized this time around.) But in the meantime, have an excerpt. Note: I haven't applied beta reader feedback yet, so this won't be exactly the same as the final version.

     Calandra alighted on the window sill and set Liesel gently down inside. In the center of the room—indeed, it was the only object in the room—sat what could only be a spinning wheel. It drew her more strongly than had the delicious scents of the gardens. She glanced back at Calandra, clearly displaying her fear in her eyes.
     “You must,” Calandra prompted her.
     Hesitantly, Liesel stretched out her hand to the spindle. The sharp end penetrated the first layer of her skin and she felt herself falling.

     Liesel’s eyes flew open. The slate gray walls of her cell pressed in around her. She sat up slowly, placing her hand behind her on the hard cot for support, and focused on the solid steel of the cell door.
     Liesel hugged her knees to her chest and shivered as the cold of the cinderblock cell wall seeped through the back of her now dingy white linen shirt. She was alone. So alone.
     “Ah, you’re awake now.”
     The woman’s voice seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere all at once. Liesel’s gaze darted around the cell. Where could it be coming from? Who was it? Where was she?
     “You needn’t bother looking for me, Liesel,” the voice said. “You shan’t be seeing me; I took great care of that.”
     “Who are you? Where am I? Why have you taken me?”
     “You do not need to know that. Only your beloved need know.”
     A square section in the wall across from her cot lit up with an image of a familiar face. Her breath caught in her throat. Will! A great longing to reach out and touch him overcame her, but she knew he was only an image. A… moving image. He bent over a screen. Despite the tears that glistened within his eyes and, on occasion, tracked down his cheek, his gaze held a determined glint. There was no audio, but she could tell that his lips were forming her name.
     “That is a live video feed,” the woman’s voice continued. “Wilhelm has just been alerted of your whereabouts, and what he must do to free you, as well as the consequences if he refuses. Do you trust your fiancé to save your life?”
     “I trust Will more than anyone,” Liesel declared firmly. “But… how do you have a video feed of him? Have you bugged Hanover palace?”
     “Why, certainly not. We hacked the security system. That is all.”
     “You…” But it was not worth arguing. She did not know who held her captive and therefore she could not risk giving away sensitive information accidentally.
     The video feed still played across the cell. Will had set down the screen and buried his face in his hands. He looked so forlorn. It was all because of her. But she needed him so. Here in this cold cell, she needed to feel the firm clasp of his hand about hers, hear his calm, steady voice, see his reassuring gaze staring steadily into hers.
     Finally, she could stand it no longer. She rose from the hard cot and took the few steps across the cell, reaching out her hand towards Will. Her fingertips brushed the chilled concrete as they fingered Will’s image, reminding her just how separated they were. “Will…” she murmured. “I need you. God, send Will to save me.”

     Matthew’s voice penetrated the haze into which Wilhelm had sunken like a tiny pinprick of light in a world of darkness—a pinprick that was almost instantly swallowed up.
     “Will, what’s wrong?”
     Matthew’s voice had taken on an urgent tone. It was an uncommon sound, for Matthew’s usual obnoxious personality was difficult to temper. Still Will did not raise his head. The heavy but gentle pressure of Matthew’s hand came down upon his shoulder.
     “Is that Liesel? Where is she?”
     Finally, Will looked up at his brother. “They’ve taken her. She’s on Cantilee. She’s a hostage, Matt. If I don’t…” He gulped. “If we don’t meet their demands, they’ll torture her. But Father won’t surrender the war; he won’t give up our prisoner. Not even if… I can’t…”
     “They’re asking for a prisoner exchange?”
     “Father will never give up King Merle. Not so close to winning the war. Not even for Liesel.” Will returned his tortured gaze to his tablet.
     Liesel now stood looking up at the wall, up at him, it seemed. Tear streaks ran rivulets down her dirty cheeks, her blue eyes more forlorn than he had ever seen them. The lips which ordinarily carried a bright smile trembled as they murmured words. Will. He had seen his name on her lips often enough to recognize it. I need you. God, send Will to save me. Her pleading gaze penetrated him to the heart. She was trusting him. And yet, it was he who had caused her imprisonment. If they had not been at war, if he were not the crown prince, if he had not chosen her to be his bride… and what could he do now to reverse it?
     Liesel’s image flickered and the screen went dark.
     “No!” He lifted the tablet from the table and shook it. “Bring her back! Show her to me. Bring her back!”
     “Will.” He calmed only slightly at the sound of his brother’s voice. “We will find her. I promise.”


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