when in doubt, post more snippets

When in doubt, post more snippets. That’s my motto. I still haven’t decided who to center July’s ‘Beautiful People’ on – the votes are eitherkenna Easton (Dark is the Night) Morougha (Kenna) or Farrien (Kenna) so I’ll just have to wait and mull it over. But before I get to the snippets, I have some news – remember when I was going to spend the summer waitressing at a dude ranch in Colorado? Well, I’m going to spend three weeks waitressing at the same dude ranch in Colorado. They’re short on help, my spirit doppelganger’s family owns it, and they’re flying me out. I’m just a little bit excited. Just a bit. So from the 26th through the 14th, I’ll be…not nonexistent, but more absent than I have been. Now, onward.

He set the bear down and picked up the image of a half-finished tree. “This Hallbjörn. What is it, exactly?”

“Home,” said Kenna. She was happy at the thought of going back, even after a short time. It felt as if an unwarranted amount had happened, stretching the time to seem like weeks rather than days.

“Where’s home?”

“Hallbjörn,” she replied, being purposefully obtuse.

Rago rolled his eyes. “Fine, if you want to be so shut-up about it. Am I going to be blindfolded on the way there?”

“The problem is not so much your eyes remaining closed as your mouth once you leave,” she responded, getting to her feet and clearing up the dishes.

– Kenna

Morougha lifted his gaze from the depths of his wine goblet when the doors to the throne room opened. His shout at the guards for being so lackadaisical died in his throat when he saw it was his sister, cloaked with fury, her black skirts trailing behind her like smoke.

– Kenna

Castle walked in from the hall and his eyes moved from Skata to Easton. “Learn anything?”

She shook her head. “Nothing except the shape changer or whatever seems to think he’s the harbinger of doom and the apocalypse is about to destroy us all.”

– Dark is the Night

I’m not going to let you bite-” Castle cut himself off and shifted uncomfortably.

Angel wrapped his fingers around the bars and leaned his weight back. “What, bite him?”

Castle frowned, but it seemed to be directed at himself, not the vampire. “I just…want to do this humanely.”

“That would imply humans are involved,” said Angel.

– Dark is the Night

Having few belongings, she could understand. She did not own much herself; her possessions could easily fit on the back of a packhorse. But to have real things, to have a home, and leave it behind…it created a strange sadness in her; for the house and the men who lived in it. What must it be like, she wondered, to live in a place but bring no life to it? To care so little for what it held that nothing owned any value?

– Kenna

It must be so hard,” said Shannon, striding to the study door and walking into the room like she owned the place. “Rubbing elbows with two sinners like us.”

“It’s my job,” said Castle, following. “It’s just that I like some sinners more than others.”

“Well,” said Shannon, twirling the desk chair, “you’re only human.”

– Dark is the Night

The wizard walked past her, yawning hugely, and took a small wooden jar from the counter. He removed the lid and lifted a pinch of herbal mixture, which he stirred into a cup of ale. She watched as he swallowed it with a look of distaste. He noticed her looking on and lifted the cup. “It helps awaken me.”

“Why do you need help?”

“Because I take a different mixture,” he said with a wry twist of a smile. “To help me sleep.”

– Kenna

She felt arms under her, lifting her up and setting her back down, and she realized she was being held like a small child. For some reason, the comfort snapped the rest of her. She no longer felt like a person; she felt like a flood of heat and saltwater that would keep pouring out of her and drowning her until there was nothing left.

– Dark is the Night

She pushed her hair away from her face and said, “So, I have this friend.”

“Uh-oh,” said Angel.

Castle gave him a look.

Easton continued, “I think he can help.”

“You think?” A guy, probably twenty or twenty-one, stepped into the house behind her. A beanie covered most of his thick, gelled hair, and his glasses looked more like a hipster fashion statement than a sign of intelligence. Still, his eyes were keen and the computer bag over his shoulder looked expensive.

Easton’s grin was almost apologetic as she ushered him in and said, “This is Spencer.”

“Hey, Spence,” said Angel.

The guy gave him a slow, dark, withering look. “Spencer.”

Angel whistled. “Right.”

Castle held out his hand. “Hi. I’m, uh…I’m Castle.”

“Castle. Hi,” he said.

Spencer eyed his hand for a few seconds before shaking it. “Hi.” He looked at the high ceilings and curving staircase, and then to the floor. “Is that…blood?”

“Yep,” said Angel. “But don’t worry. We’re getting it cleaned up.”

Easton bit down on her lip, watching Spencer’s face closely.

Angel pointed at him. “Does he know?”

“Know what?” Easton asked.

Angel rolled his eyes and employed air quotes. “You know. Does he ‘know.‘”

“Uh, yeah,” Spencer said, using his own air quotes. “I ‘know.’

Castle glanced from Spencer to Angel and back. “And you’re okay with that?”

Spencer blinked at him, and then looked back at Easton. “This is who you want me to help? Really?”

“Look, we’re sorry,” said Castle, trying to smooth things over. “We’re just being cautious. A lot of things have happened lately, and we’re all a little on edge.”

Angel snorted. “More like we’re hanging off the edge of cliff.”

“Spare me the metaphors.” Spencer shrugged the bag off his shoulder. “I need a table.”

“Dining room,” said Angel, nodding toward the room off the kitchen.

Spencer headed that way with Castle and Easton following, but Angel snagged Easton’s arm before she got away. “What exactly is he supposed to help us with?” he hissed. “The sarcasm department?”

Easton gave him a half-smile. “I don’t think you need help with that, Angel.”

– Dark is the Night

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