The Moon of the Dead
Through all the hills and forests that surrounded Oberon spirits roamed the night. The long dead, the newly dead, those who merely craved death, either for themselves, or for others; the energy in the area seemed to draw them all.
It was the ‘tween of the year. The time when veils grow thin and worlds collide. It was a night made for dark deeds, for desperate measures and dire undertakings. There were rituals to enact, on nights like these, and sacrifices to be made.
It was a good night to pray. A good night to cast spells. And, in a small corner of the local cemetery, it was a good night to party until dawn.
The graves, and all the paths that led to them, had been strewn tonight with marigold petals; to help the spirits of the departed find their way back. Booths, set up along the narrow roads, sold food and toys and flowers. A Mariachi band was playing. People danced and sang. Families made picnics on the grass. Children ran among the markers, laughing and shouting, chasing after each other. And everywhere you looked, it was plain to see that, even in the face of death, life would always go on...
Welcome Blog-Hoppers! The excerpt up there is from the seventh book in my Oberon series, Visions Before Midnight and the hero of that book, Chay Johnson, is my eye-candy for this post. Isn't he cute?
He's also just a little too sure of himself when the story opens, but don't worry. We take care of that! Chay's grandmother was Mexican, so he grew up celebrating Día de los Muertos. It's a holiday I love as well. Here's a video clip of how it's celebrated in my neck of the woods:
Chay Johnson is a traditional man; and the educator, flute maker, apprentice shaman has a lot of traditions to uphold, especially when it comes to choosing a life mate.
Erin Allridge is a modern woman, with modern ideas about relationships and a painful personal history she has no intention of repeating.
When terror and tragedy strike the small town of Oberon, the pair are forced to re-think their visions for the future.
In this world of form and spirit it can be hard to find balance and harmony, but sometimes, particularly when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, love can find a way to bridge the gap.
Now here's a brief excerpt. To read the entire scene just click on the link at the top of the page; the one that says: "Bewitching Blog Hop Excerpt"
This scene takes place shortly after Chay and Erin have been reunited. He's still convinced they belong together, she's not so sure.
Chay was in the parking lot when Erin left the building. Leaning against the back of her ancient Volvo, arms crossed over his chest, he watched as she approached.
The closer she got, the slower her footsteps became. Her heart was beating uncomfortably hard. “What are you doing here?” she asked, coming to a stop while she was still several feet away from him. “How did you know this was my car?”
“This is your car? Really?” He glanced at it, briefly, and then back at her, eyes narrowing as he asked, “What makes you think I’m waiting for you?”
She felt herself coloring. “Oh. Good point.” She’d just assumed he was. From the fact that he kissed her. From the way he kept staring at her all night long. But, really, when you came right down to it, what did she really know about him? He could be waiting for anyone. “I’m sorry. I guess I just assumed–”
Chuckling, he straightened away from the car. “Of course I’m waiting for you, Rain Woman. Who else? But, I can’t tell you how I knew which car was yours without revealing all of my Indian Medicine Power Secrets, and I know you don’t want to hear about those.”
Indian Power Secrets? Sheesh. She ought to smack him one, right upside the head, but she found herself smiling, instead. “Okay, very funny. But, seriously, Chay. What is it you want?”
“We need to talk,” he answered, as his smile disappeared and he turned obligingly serious. “Give me a ride?”
She looked at him in alarm. “A ride? But– Where’s your car?”
“I don’t have one,” he said, and then shrugged. “Well, I do, actually, but I hardly ever use it. I walked here.”
“Walked? From where? Where is it you want a ride to?”
“Home. I have a house out in Black Oak Canyon. It’s nice there. You’ll like it.”
She knew she had to look like an idiot, standing there with her mouth hanging open. But, Black Oak Canyon? That had to be…what? Five or six miles out of town? Was he joking?
He smiled, as if he’d read her thoughts. “It’s shorter if you go cross country. A lot shorter. Believe me.”
“I’ll take your word for it,” she muttered, thinking hard. Drive? Out to the foothills? Tonight? She thought about driving through the canyon. Narrow, twisting, unfamiliar roads. Steep grades. No streetlights. And, then, when they got there...they’d be alone in his cabin. Shit. “Chay, I–”
He sighed. “Okay. Fine. Maybe another time, huh? Let me ride with you as far as the school gates, then. I really do need to talk to you.”
“Okay,” she said, feeling both grateful that she’d been let off the hook, and guilty about it, too.
She’d slept with him. And, even though it had been a while ago, a one-time event, as far as she was concerned, and, judging by how annoying he was being tonight, a really big mistake, he obviously felt it entitled him to certain things. Such as favors. Explanations. Special treatment. A fair amount of her attention, a few moments of her time. Perhaps a ride home, on occasion. And, maybe, although he hadn’t actually come out and said it yet, the chance to sleep with her again.
She couldn’t even say that he was altogether wrong. Maybe she did owe him some of those things.
“So what do you want to talk about?” she asked as she started the car. She was pretty sure she knew the answer to that, but there was always a chance she could be mistaken. She hoped she was.
She turned to stare at him. Okay. So. Not what she’d been expecting. Not even close. Whatever planet Star Man’s mind was orbiting tonight, it obviously wasn’t even in the same galaxy as hers. “Excuse me?”
“She doesn’t like you,” he said. “I mean, I don’t think she likes a whole lot of people, to tell you the truth, but I’m not that concerned about the rest of them.”
“But you’re concerned about me?” she was surprised into asking.
He shot her a look that fell just short of exasperated amusement. “What do you think?”
Oh. “Well, don’t be.” She felt herself blushing as she tried her best not to feel flattered. Damn it, she would not get suckered into thinking they had some kind of relationship going on here. It was too soon, for one thing. And for another...she hadn’t been joking when she dubbed him a heartbreak. The writing was on the wall with this one. If she fell for him, she’d fall hard. And she could already tell that he was someone she didn’t want to be dependent on. He struck her as the kind of guy who’d always been able to walk away from anyone, or anything. Why should she be an exception?
* * * * *
Among his other talents, Chay is a very accomplished flute player. So, in his honor, I've included a musical interlude for you all to enjoy...
To learn more about this series, click HERE
To buy this book on Amazon, click HERE
The ‘tween is an endless mystery. A world of secrets and sorcery. A place without time or space. Ordinary rules do not apply here. Anything might happen and, all too often…it does. The gods of the ‘tween pity no one. They favor no one, either. And, anyone foolish enough to think they do, is doomed to disenchantment.
Throughout the long night, vigils were kept. Candles set in pumpkins, in paper lanterns, in little glass jars, all burned slowly down, winking out like the stars, like the night itself, as dawn filled the sky.
The party in the graveyard burned slowly down, as well. Singing gave way to storytelling. Laughter became the soft murmur of voices talking. Children fell into their parents’ arms and were rocked to sleep.
Finally, the sun began to rise. The spell the night had cast upon the world was broken. Another day was ready to begin. And, ordinary life…resumed.