In order to celebrate my first ever completion of Nanowrimo (50k in 18 days! Woohoo!), here's another teaser from Twice Upon A Time! This excerpt takes place in the modern world, when Kat is at her boyfriend's house, right before she gets transported to Athelia.
Moments later, we’re stretched out in front of the TV, munching away on sandwiches and salsa. The sandwiches are heavenly, and the tanginess from the salsa balances out the richness of the cheese. Even Jason admits that it was a better idea to have some food first.
The TV channels, though, leave more to be desired. We flip through the channels, going through tons of shows that make me yawn, until a hot blond guy holding a dark-haired woman, both astride on a horse, shows up on the screen.
“Outlander!” I stab my tortilla chip in the direction of the guy who’s playing Jamie, the heart-melting Scottish highlander from what, the eighteenth century, who falls in love with a twentieth century nurse. “Isn’t it awesome they adapted the book for TV?”
“Hey, don’t tell me you’re still obsessed over that book.” Jason’s voice is affable, but I think there’s just a small amount of derisiveness in it. Oh well. I suppose it’s too much to ask for a guy to appreciate—I mean truly appreciate, not out of politeness—the fantastic escapism that a romance offers.
“It’s a classic,” I say, pretending to look offended. “And strictly speaking it’s not a romance. There are too many elements in it to be labeled your typical romance novel.”
“Okay, whatever you’d like to call it, but I just don’t get it. The girl gets thrown into centuries back in time, where they don’t have electricity or running water. When you’re used to modern appliances, how are you going to tolerate going without them? Can you give up those comforts for the dashing hero who probably has outdated sexist views?”
Realistically speaking, of course not. But…
“We’re talking about a novel here, not realistic non-fiction. It’s the story that counts.”
“Yeah, but if you can have a gorgeous, caring guy in the twenty-first century,” he points at himself with a smirk, “why would you choose an anachronistic man, even if he looks good with his shirt off?”
“I get it.” I throw up my hands in a “you-win” gesture. “You just can’t stand the sight of me drooling at another guy in front of you.”
“Come on, baby, you know me better than that. Hypothetically speaking, you’ll never choose a guy from the past over me. Anyway, there’s no point arguing over a TV show. Let’s move on to something more important.”
He puts a hand on my thigh, right where the remains of the mud splatter is.
“Just a second.” I stand up. “I’m freaking stinking—let me take a shower.”
“What stink?” He leans in and kisses me. “Seriously, I don’t smell anything. Except you.”
I hesitate, but then I remember that I brought my brand new, hot pink Victorian Secret lingerie, which I’ve been saving to wear for an occasion like this.
“I really need a shower.” I push him away and head to the bathroom. There’s a slightly annoyed look on his face, so I manage what I hope a seductive grin. “But I promise it’ll be worth the wait.”
* * *
The shower did a world of good, washing away the stiffness in my joints and the discomfort I’ve had wearing mud-splattered, coffee-stained clothes all day. Excitement races through me as I slip into the smooth, silken babydoll slip. The front is a deep, sexy V that shows plenty of cleavage, and the back is almost bare except for two criss-crossing straps.
I hope Jason didn’t drink too much, he might rip the slip apart. But then if he does… I find myself not too averse to the idea. He can always pay for a new one.
Just when I’m ready to call him, there’s a strange humming noise in the air. I shake my head and tuck my hair behind my ears, but the noise grows louder. Then there’s a popping noise, rather like a bottle uncorked, and a ball of light appears in the air, about several feet above the bed.
I stare at the light, and gradually discern that in the center is a book. It revolves gently in the yellow-green glow, and when the front cover is shown to me, I gasp.
The Ugly Stepsister.
One of the few paperbacks that I still own. How did it get here? It’s supposed to be at our home in Oakleigh. I am absolutely certain that Jason doesn't have a copy, and even if he did, the book can’t be revolving in the air, defying gravity.
Then, if things can’t get more bizarre, the pages start flipping, right to the very last page.
This can’t be happening.
I stare in horror, wondering if my eyes are playing tricks on me. I blink once, twice, pinch my cheeks, and rub my eyes.
The book is still there.
A black vortex appears in the middle of the book. The air around me starts to swirl, as though I am in the center of a tornado, making my hair whip about my face.
What is happening?
I back away, trying to put more distance between myself and the book, but suddenly my body is lifted in the air and I plunge straight into that black hole. A thick mist surrounds me, and I can’t see anything—I’m in complete darkness. Terrified, I start to scream, but no sound escapes my throat.
Then a strange dizziness overcomes me and I lose consciousness.