I’ve got a pain behind my eyes and my shoulders are hunched as I type this.  I’ve spent all weekend — all of it — doing my taxes and filing.  Because last year was such a horrid year, I didn’t keep up with my bookkeeping at all.  So I paid for it now it’s tax season.  I had to give up one of my precious long weekends (I work a compressed work week and get every third Friday off), and instead of working on the current manuscript, Blood Stone, I got to write the latest installment of Tracy’s ongoing saga with the Canadian Revenue Agency.  Oh.  Joy.

But it is done.  Fini.  

And tomorrow when I step on the #63 bus to go to work, I can settled back into Blood Stone with a clear conscience for one more year.

The book is finally moving along.  I picked up the traces I spoke about last week, brushed off the outline and tweaked it here and there to put more spin and emotional juice into it, and started writing.  Unlike last year when I dithered and procrastinated my way through the first three chapters, unable to really commit myself to the book, I’ve dashed off another two chapters without trying too hard.  So whatever was stopping me from writing the book late last year has gone.  I think getting another four books published successfully has helped enormously with that.  So did getting the day job and putting my life into some semblance of order. 🙂  Then again, maybe it was just 2011, which as a year in general was a vintage for general suckiness and bad events.

Here’s some snippets to whet your appetite.

“Why all the anger, Roman?” he asked softly.  “I did what we agreed.  I stayed away.  You’re as big a surprise to me as I am to you, today.”

Roman’s eyes narrowed.  Thoughtful, or suspicious.  Garrett knew that look of old, and it gave him a strange little jerk, low down in his abdomen.

“I’m not here for you,” Garrett stressed.

Roman’s jaw rippled.  “Then what the fuck are you doing with Kate?  You’re jerking her around.”

Garrett sighed.  “I can’t say.”

Roman half laughed, half snorted in disbelief.  “Since when could you not tell me anything?

Garrett grimaced.  “I can’t tell you this.”

The humour in Roman’s eyes faded.  “What are you into?” he breathed.

Anger touched him.  Garrett clenched his jaw.  “You know, you can’t just rock back into town after a hundred and seventy-nine years and expect to pick up where you left off.  Things change, Roman.  Times change.”

“You haven’t,” Roman said flatly.  “You might be wearing Armani, but you’re still fiery Calum Micheil Garrett of the mighty Bruce clan, and even now your hand is resting next to the hilt of your broadsword, because you’re on the defensive.”

Garrett dropped his right hand down so it was hanging fully extended, annoyed that Roman had noticed the old instinct.  Of course Roman would.  He’d lived through those times, too.

Roman gave a small, almost silent laugh in reaction.

“I don’t suppose you’re about to tell me why you’re hanging about the lovely Ms. Lindenstream, then?” Garrett challenged Roman.  He winced.  His brogue had emerged thicker than he normally allowed.  Roman was pushing his buttons, unravelling his discipline.

Roman’s eyes narrowed.  “Hey, I didn’t just rock up here at all.  I was already here.  This is my town, Calum.  You’re the invader.”

“I take that as a ‘no,’ then.”

“I’d do that,” Roman replied evenly.  He put the heavy sunglasses back on and picked up his jacket.  “You’re not going to back away from Kate, are you?”  His tone made it not a question.

“I can’t, Roman,” Garrett replied truthfully.

“I can’t give you free rein.  It wouldn’t look right, even if I wanted to.”

Garrett sighed, as potential meanings and implications occurred to him.  “Is she…important to you, Roman?”

The protective sunglasses were hiding Roman’s eyes from Garrett, and his eyes were one way Garrett most often could spot the real truth behind Roman’s layers of protective shielding.  So Garrett knew he was about to be handed either a flat-out lie or a prevarication.

Roman glanced away, toward the roof access door.

Escape, Garrett realized.

“I guess you’ll just have to figure that out along with my name for this century,” Roman said, hoisting the jacket over his forearm.


And for fans of Blood Knot, some old friends:

Garrett shook his head as Sebastian took another enormous mouthful, and looked at the man sitting to Sebastian’s left.  Nathanial’s appearance had changed since Garrett had met up with him in Poland, just over a year ago.  The long hair was now short and business-like.  There were streak of very pale blond through it that might be mistaken for grey in the right light.  He wore glasses that seemed to go along with the short hair and the very sincere-looking business suit he had on.  But the glasses did nothing to hide Nathanial’s eyes, which had always drawn one’s gaze.  Now, with his hair cut short and the glasses drawing attention to them, Nial’s eyes seemed to blaze with light and brightness.  They were the blue of the Pacific ocean, and as deep.

“You should have done something about your eyes while you were changing identities,” Garrett murmured.

Nial’s mouth lifted at the corner.  “I wasn’t allowed to.”

Sebastian snorted, and took another spoonful of icecream.  “Neither was I,” he said around his mouthful.

Garrett suppressed his first reaction.  That either of them would let a human dictate how they arrange something as basic, as important, as their current identities, seemed outrageous.

Nial shrugged.  “I intend to make it unnecessary for any of us to have to worry about this sort of trivia in the future, Garrett.  If my wife wants me to keep my eyes the same, it is a small matter, now.  It is not the life or death thing it once was.”

BLOOD STONE  Copyright © TRACY COOPER-POSEY, 2012  All Rights Reserved.

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