This week at the YA Indie Carnival we’re kicking off our shoes and going BAREFOOT. It is summer, after all. In honor of this week’s topic, here’s an excerpt from Whispering Evil. In this part of the story, Keira allowed herself to be captured by the mogdocs in order to gain access to the Empress. Unfortunately, her ex-boyfriend foils the plan by rescuing her. She finds herself barefoot and far from home. Keira’s not the damsel in distress type, so asking for assistance, especially from her ex who’s still madly in love with her, holds about as much appeal as mystery loaf with cheese.
Warning: This excerpt contains a spoiler for Book 1.
“Wait. Are you rescuing humans?”
“Well, yeah. I mean, I want to prove to you that I want something more for my people. I don’t want to live like this anymore. I want to be the kind of man that you need.”
With that she grunted. That was exactly the problem between them. He could never be that man. He wasn’t a man at all.
“William,” she shook that name away. “Brun, we are not friends or allies or anything. Now, I’m going home. I suggest you go back and help your friends before they get their butts handed to them.”
“Their butts are fine. The guards have already retreated. Listen, no fighting.”
He was right. There was nothing but the wind and crickets chirping in the dark.
“We have to get moving though. They’ll be back with reinforcements,” he said.
“There is no ‘we’, Brun.”
“Please call me William…like you used to.”
“Oh, this night just gets better and better,” she mumbled sarcastically. “Shoes.”
“Give me your shoes.”
He complied. They were boots and she slipped them on too easily. They seemed almost like clown shoes on her feet. She didn’t care. She had a long hike back to her campfire and to the ATV she had hidden there. His boots were better than bare feet.
“Allow me,” he said smiling at her blind determination. He lifted his hand and sliced a tear in reality. “This should take you to the shed behind your house.”
“But, my ATV.”
“Let me guess. It’s over by where you were sending the smoke signals,” he laughed. “Nothing screams ‘human in the woods’ like a campfire. You’d think they would question how a human girl ended up here.”
He shrugged and bit his lip. “Oops.”
She tightened her face. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing the smile that he was trying so hard to solicit.
“Anyway…Don’t worry about your ride. I’ll go back and get it. It will be waiting for you at the edge of Elsted by the time you cook up your next big scheme.”
Elsted was the guardian village located in the mountains above the mogdoc city. If it weren’t for William’s offer, she would have to hike to the ATV, drive to Elsted, and cross the barrier from her training room. It would take hours. She certainly wouldn’t make it before her parents woke up to find her missing.
“Why would you do that?”
He paused and took a shy look to the ground. “I’m not sure how to answer that.”
“Well, the truth usually works.”
“But that’s my dilemma. No matter what I say, you’ll assume it’s a lie. So instead of me telling you that I’m doing it because I’m hopelessly in love with you and it’s the right thing to do, let’s just say that I’m doing it in the hope that one day I will do something nice for you and you won’t have to ask yourself why.”
She looked at him, really looked at him. His green eyes looked tired. His hair was a little longer than normal and messy. It looked like he hadn’t shaved in days. He held one hand behind his back, subtly putting pressure on the dagger wound.
In that moment, she felt sorry for him. There was some small part of her that wished she didn’t have to ask why he was helping her, but reality dictated otherwise.
“Listen,” he said as he took her hand. “You can trust me. Just as you are mine, I am yours. If you need my help I will be there. You know how to reach me.”
Amid all the ancient magic of the banished continent, he smiled and pulled his phone from his pocket and waved it in front of her. Keira couldn’t help but grin.
Check our more BAREFOOT tales from these fabulous YA Indie Carnival contributors…