Monthly Archives: August 2018

Wednesday Words #192 (8/29/2018)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

 Anyhow…

This week’s prompt:

a tree house
a shawl
a game

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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Sunday Snippet, August 26, 2018

I’m posting from Hedge House, a nearly completed first draft.  I’m not quite sure whether to classify it as paranormal or urban fantasy; the two of them tend to blur together a lot for me.

Picking up from last week: Cara is in Jacob’s kitchen as he is finishing meal prep.

 

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

“Not a thing. Everything’s ready, just needs brought to the table. You drink coffee or tea?”

“Tea,” she said as he brought a platter of baked sweet potatoes to the table. “I never learned to like the taste of coffee.”

“Just like your grandmother,” he chuckled. A moment later a small tray holding a cup, a carafe of hot water, and a bowl with an assortment of teabags was placed next to her. A platter of baked chicken followed, along with a bowl of asparagus. “Help yourself.” He filled a cup with coffee and sat down across from her. “How are you holding up?”

“Tired,” she admitted. “And numb.” She transferred a sweet potato to her plate. “I almost feel too tired to eat.” Her stomach growled a suggestion that she try, and Jacob laughed.

“So, what did you think of the town mayor?”

“I didn’t like him. He made me feel uncomfortable somehow, like I got coated with slime just talking to him.”

 

Tentative Blurb:

When Cara Hawthorne returns to the childhood home she had been torn away from twenty years earlier, she thinks it will be to do nothing more than settle her grandmother’s estate and return to her job as a junior lawyer at a prestigious law firm in Tulsa.

But every nook and cranny of the house and gardens unearths long-buried memories, and when the town’s mayor sets his sights on her and the property she finds herself caught up in a centuries old battle with powers she has only barely begun to understand

 

Find more great reading
at the Sunday Snippet group.

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Rainbow Snippet for 8-25-2018

rainbow logo 1

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, bloggers, and readers to gather once a week and share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).   Check out all the other awesome snippets by clicking on the picture above.

Still posting from Book Five of the Academy of the Accord (fantasy) series that I have been (and will be) working on for forever.

I’m picking up from last week, where Draethlen woke to find two intruders in the barracks.

 

“Captains!” he shouted, sitting up and reaching for his sword, his heart pounding. “Intruders!”

“Shh, Draethlen, it’s just us.”

One of the figures moved his hands and a ball of light materialized, illuminating familiar faces: Torlew and Caristen. They looked tired, but unhurt, and he relaxed, looking behind them.

“Marsden’s fine,” Caristen assured him. “He’s reporting to Vinadi.”

Draethlen nodded just as Wellhym and Kordelm burst out of their office in response to his call, their swords drawn.

Torlew looked at the three drawn swords facing them and turned to Caristen. “I don’t know about you, Cair, but I was expecting a warmer welcome than this.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday Words #191 (8/22/2018)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

Anyhow…

This week’s prompt:

a staircase
a mermaid
a father and son

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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Euphoria Blog Tour

 

Author Jayne Lockwood has a new book out and I’m happy to be part of the release tour!

Blurb:

It might take the arrival of an alien being to remind an isolated man what it means to be human.

With a stressful job, his boss breathing down his neck for profitable results, and an estranged wife and daughter, scientist Kurt Lomax doesn’t think life can get much harder. Until a nonbinary extraterrestrial with an otherworldly beauty, captivating elegance, and a wicked sense of humor inconveniently shows up at his apartment.

Vardam watched the destruction of their own world, and they don’t want to see the same thing happen on Earth. They are lonely, and feelings soon develop between them and the supposedly straight scientist—feelings Kurt reciprocates, much to his confusion.

The arrival of cheery interpreter Tom Soames—whose Goth appearance belies a gentle heart—is like a ray of sunshine in the somber lab. He acts as matchmaker for man and tentacled extraterrestrial, unwittingly instigating a national crisis when the news breaks out.

But will a misunderstanding ruin Kurt and Vardam’s chances for happiness together—along with the hope for peace between humanity and the Var?

Author Name: Jayne Lockwood
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: Tuesday, August 14 2018
Format: eBook
Is This Book Romance?: No
ISBN: 978-1-64080-776-1
ASN: B07D3TYGBH
Price: $6.76
Story Type: Novel >50k
Word Count: 96,000
Cover Artist: Emmy Ellis at studioenp.com
Genres: sci fi, romance, fantasy, dystopia

Warnings: some description of historical child abuse

 

Excerpt:

Three hours later, they were still none the wiser.

“Any joy with communications?”

Nic shook her head. “None. They don’t seem to respond to any spoken language. I’ve tried binary code, sonar, whale music, radio waves. Not a flicker. I’m not sure how well they can see or hear. They won’t let me near enough to do any examinations. They just keep staring at me like I’m the one who isn’t getting it. It’s really frustrating.”

When Kurt looked again, Vardam was there. With a graceful tilt of the head, they watched him as he approached the glass.

“What about the forensics on that note?”

“Just got them,” Troy said, looking up from his computer. “The note was written with an old-style Bic ballpoint pen by a human female….”

“Human? Are you sure?”

“I can’t argue with the evidence. There was a trace of fingerprint on the paper but nothing I can analyze. The paper looks like any A4 copy from a twentieth century printer or photocopier. The only thing is, I think it might have been written by someone in distress. The handwriting is very jerky, like they weren’t sure what to write and then just dashed it down. But….” Troy shrugged his wide shoulders. “That last bit’s a hunch. Could be totally wrong. Still waiting on the DNA.”

“Thanks, Troy. Let me know as soon as you get it.”

He turned back to where Vardam was standing, staring at him with those unnerving gemstone eyes.

“Who are you?”

Vardam raised their hand, running the back of it down the glass close to Kurt’s face. He jerked away. It was too close for comfort, even with three inches of glass between them. Vardam backed away as well, as if alarmed by his sudden movement. For reasons he didn’t understand, he was irritated beyond measure by their wounded expression.

“Talk to me, damn it! What do you want with me?” He smacked his hand against the glass. The sharp slap shocked Vardam into stepping back. They bared gold teeth at him and made a gesture that looked almost obscene. Then they dropped into a crouch. Immediately, a smooth iridescent shell closed over their hunched body, covering it completely.

Kurt and Nic exchanged glances, then looked back at the pod. It was completely smooth, devoid of any seams or openings. Every few seconds it quivered. Kurt could almost feel the waves of disapproval emanating from the gleaming surface.

“Well, that’s new,” Nic said. “Get some rest. I’ll babysit until ten. Troy will take the graveyard shift.”

Kurt tore his angry gaze away from the strange pod. The way it hunched reproachfully in the corner didn’t improve his mood one bit. He knew he was more than tired. He felt emotionally and physically drained and couldn’t remember the last time he had eaten a proper meal. Not that he was hungry. He just wanted sleep.

In his apartment, he lay naked in his wide bed. He was thinking about his continued feud with James Dyer. The issue dangled over his career like a sword of Damocles but all he could see was the beautiful creature. Those eyes, staring into his ragged soul. What did they want?

The telephone by his bed rang, waking him from an unnerving dream. Glancing at the clock, he saw it was 6:15. The last eight hours had passed frighteningly quickly.

“Hello?” His voice sounded faded.

“Sorry to wake you, Professor, but I’ve got the DNA results back. You need to see them.”

“I’ll be right down.”

He stumbled out of bed and into the shower. Twenty minutes later he was down in the lab, a fresh white coat over his shirt and tie.

In the isolation room, Vardam had emerged from their shell. The melon had been eaten, apart from the rinds, neatly scalloped with teeth marks.

“What’s happening?”

“It was just as I thought it would be. There’s human DNA on that note. Female. I took the liberty of cross-checking it against the National DNA Database and found a match. Whoever wrote this note is related to you. Not just distantly, but directly of your bloodline.”

Kurt looked closer at the screen. It was policy to hold the medical details of everyone at the Bunker, including himself. Even so, he wondered why he wasn’t more surprised.

It was impossible but saying so would have been redundant. The evidence was right there in front of him. He walked over to the glass and beckoned to Vardam. They gave him a withering look and turned away, presenting a bony back to the window.

“I think we’re going to have to use the softly-softly approach,” Troy said. “They’re not going to tell us anything until they’re ready. And I’ve got another hunch. I think they’re using BSL.”

“British Sign Language?” Kurt was skeptical.

“I know it sounds weird, but there’s a guy who works at Tesco in Wycombe. He uses it with some of the customers. It looks the same. It’s worth a try, isn’t it?” Troy prodded buttons on his iPad. The official website came up with a finger-spelling option. “Not all words have signs, obviously, so each letter has a sign, right?”

“I know the principles of sign language,” Kurt said irritably. The alien was an inconvenience, however beautiful they were.

“You write in your name, and the finger shapes come up.” Troy typed rapidly. Kurt’s surname appeared on the screen in sign.

Troy gently tapped on the glass. “Hello?”

Vardam turned around, saw it was Troy, and ambled over. Troy showed them the diagrams on the iPad screen. The alien nodded, repeated the signs, and pointed at Kurt. Then it signed, “I am….”

“I can’t tell what they’re saying,” Troy said. “They’re too fast. Hang on.” He typed again. “I’ve found a YouTube video for learning phrases. Ah! This one is easy.” He put the iPad down and signed, making a sad face, swirling his fist on his stomach, then raising both hands over his head, shaking it at the same time.

“What are you doing?”

“Telling him I don’t understand. It’s ‘way over my head.’ Get it?”

Vardam seemed to. They signed “okay,” then turned to Kurt and made another gesture, flattening one hand and punching up into it with the other.

“My instincts are telling me that isn’t good,” Troy said. “Looks like we need to find ourselves a sign language expert.”

“We can’t bring anyone else in at the moment. Certainly not in a professional capacity. The government will be all over us before we know it.” As Kurt said it, the seed of an idea was forming in his mind. “Where did you say that BSL user worked again?”

Buy Links:

Publisher

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CAN

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Goodreads

QueeRomance Ink 

 

Giveaway:

Jayne is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win.

Interview with Tom Soames

By Jayne Lockwood

My new novel, Euphoria, has just been released by DSP Publications. The story is about what happens when one alien being decides to travel back in time to save Earth from human destruction.

 What follows is an interview with Tom Soames, the interpreter employed to facilitate communication between Vardam and the scientists at Pharmacure’s Bunker complex.

My first impression of Tom is one of a wary young man, his nervousness hidden behind a curtain of dyed black hair and a surly expression. He’s wearing a black sleeveless tee-shirt with a faded picture of Gary Numan, and black jeans so tight I’m surprised he can even breathe. He lounges in the chair, watchful, picking at a fingernail. His forearms are covered in tattoos of skulls, thorned roses and corvids. I say I like them, and he thaws slightly.

TS        Thanks. A mate did them for me.

JL        He’s very talented.

TS        Was. He’s dead. He was a junkie. He was also my best mate.

JL        I’m sorry. It’s hard to lose someone so close.

TS        Yeah. It’s pretty shitty, but I don’t really want to talk about that.

JL        So how did you come to be at the Bunker?

TS        It was the weirdest thing. I have this friend, Suri. She’s the sister of my ex. He’s a twat but she’s cool, you know? She’s got Downs and is deaf. I actually learned a bit of sign language so I could talk to her and chat up her brother. We were together three years before I realised what a plonker he was. Suri and I will always be mates, though. Troy was the one who approached me. He saw me signing with Suri at the supermarket and … You know the rest.

JL        How did you feel when you first saw Vardam?

TS        I thought it was a joke, to be honest. That was my very first thought. Then all these other things came rushing in. Panic, ‘cos I’d left my council flat to live at the Bunker and I thought it might all be taken away, and I was pissed off, too, ‘cos I don’t like being made fun of, but all that was in, like, a nanosecond. When they moved, and looked at me, I dunno. It was like a miracle or something. I shed a tear. I’m not embarrassed to admit it. It was awesome. I can’t think of any other word to describe it.

JL        You weren’t afraid?

TS        That’s the weird thing. I wasn’t. I just knew they weren’t going to harm me. Even when I realised they had tentacles, much later on, I wasn’t scared. I mean, it was the freakiest fucking thing, but no. The closest I came to shitting myself was when I was on top of that tower. Man, I never want to be that high ever again unless it’s in a jumbo jet or something.

JL        You had to put your trust in Vardam to save you. That must have been terrifying.

TS        That’s putting it a bit mild, to be honest. But I knew I’d freeze to death or fall so it wasn’t like I had any choice. I was screaming like a little kid all the way down though. And upchucked at the end. Couldn’t help it. Still, it was better than shitting my pants, I suppose. I still have flashbacks about that night. I watched five people die in that crash. It was horrible.

JL        Do you blame Vardam for what happened?

TS        No way. It was self-defence, definitely. And if they hadn’t saved me, I’d be dead too. It’s because of Vardam my life is so different to what it was. I was stacking shelves and about to be made homeless and now I’ve got a family, a great job and a man I love. I mean, someone has to win sometimes, right? Take Wingnut, for example…

JL        He was one of the patients in the clinical trial? Mr. Martin?

TS        That’s the one. Wingnut was really down and out. He only agreed to do the experiments ‘cos he wanted a decent night’s sleep and a good meal. It was tough for him, you know? He was a junkie, addicted to smack, and they were trying out this new stuff to help addicts come off the bad stuff. Not like methadone, but something without side effects. I’m not a scientist so I don’t know the terms. Anyway, he’d go cold turkey, then they’d give him more heroin, and see if this stuff worked. I know it sounds creepy. He was a fucking trainwreck when I met him but he’s doing a lot better now, thanks mainly to Vardam.

JL        In what way?

TS        Um…. I’m not allowed to say. But they helped, and Wingnut is cool. He’s living the high life now. Good on him. That’s what I say.

JL        I talked to him earlier. He had some very lovely things to say about you.

TS        Yeah, well… I can only be myself, you know? No airs and graces. When I started at the lab, everyone was like, yes, Professor, no, Professor, and real quiet. It was like working in a mortuary. I kind of …. livened things up a bit. The Prof didn’t like it. Always walking round as if someone had shoved an icicle up his bum. Like that tall geezer in Holby City. Not that I watch it but…. Anyway, he didn’t have a choice, did he? He loosened up eventually though. Oh boy, did he ever! Not that I can talk about that either. He’s a top bloke. I better say that as he still pays me, right? I mean it, though. He’s alright.

JL        Do you still see Professor Lomax and the other scientists?

TS        I’m seeing some of ‘em at Easter. It’s nice. Totally mental, with all the little ones around, but I love it. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Author Bio:

Jayne Lockwood has always wanted to learn to fly. Spending free time honing her Peter Pan skills on an aerial hoop, she also creates flights of fancy in her books, mingling sex and romance with angst and a healthy dash of dark humor.

Since she was a small child, Jayne has always sympathized with the villain. It all began with Alice Cooper, even though she was banned from listening to his music by her mother. From wanting to sail away with Captain Hook or redeeming the Child Catcher, the antihero has been an enduring fascination ever since.

After a two-year sojourn in New Jersey and two decades of child-rearing, Jayne is an outwardly respectable member of an English village community. She also is one of the founder members of WROTE podcast, which is dedicated to showcasing LGBTQA authors and their work, and now writes book reviews as well as diverse fiction.

She is also in a sub/dom relationship with a cat called Keith.

Author Website

Author Facebook (Personal)

Author Facebook (Author Page)

Author Twitter

Author Goodreads

Author QueeRomance Ink

Author Amazon 

 

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Sunday Snippet, August 19, 2018

I’m posting from Hedge House, a nearly completed first draft. Finishing it is going to be my project for Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I’m not quite sure whether to classify it as paranormal or urban fantasy; the two of them tend to blur together a lot for me.

I’m picking up from last week.

Jacob set her suitcases down inside the kitchen door of the big house. She dropped her carry on next to them, glancing around the kitchen as she did so.

“Changed much?” he asked.

She shook her head. “It’s strange. I barely remember it, and yet I do.”

“Not strange at all.” He handed her a key ring. “This opens the back door,” he said.  “And this one works the front door, but it doesn’t get used much.”

She nodded and let him close the door and guide her to his house. Smaller than her grandmother’s, it was clean and neat, with just enough things out of order to look lived in. The scent of food wafting from the kitchen made her mouth water.

“I used to think that you lived in the gardening shed,” she admitted to him. “Somehow I could never imagine you in a house.”

He chuckled. “I do tend to spend more time out there than I do in here, it seems. There’s always something to be doing.” The kitchen table already held two place settings and he motioned her into a seat as he began fussing at the stove.

 

Tentative Blurb:

When Cara Hawthorne returns to the childhood home she had been torn away from twenty years earlier, she thinks it will be to do nothing more than settle her grandmother’s estate and return to her job as a junior lawyer at a prestigious law firm in Tulsa.

But every nook and cranny of the house and gardens unearths long-buried memories, and when the town’s mayor sets his sights on her and the property she finds herself caught up in a centuries old battle with powers she has only barely begun to understand

 

Find more great reading
at the Sunday Snippet group.

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Rainbow Snippet for 8-18-2018

rainbow logo 1

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, bloggers, and readers to gather once a week and share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).   Check out all the other awesome snippets by clicking on the picture above.

Still posting from Book Five of the Academy of the Accord (fantasy) series that I have been (and will be) working on for forever.

As promised, I’m skipping ahead and introducing Kordelm’s and Wellhym’s wizards, Caristen and Torlew. (They’ve actually been in the series since Book 2, and were met earlier in this one.) They’ve been away with Marsden, taking care of the headmaster of the orphanage that Draethlen came from.

(Senzu is an apprentice wizard and Draethlen is her Warder. She is not human and has a hard time trusting and believing in their bond, even though she’s the one that recognized it.)

The days passed in a steady routine – warrior training in the mornings, lessons with Senzu in the afternoons, evenings usually spent with Senzu, who remained slightly aloof, although there were times when her guard would slip and Draethlen would have a glimpse of her vulnerability, but the next time he saw her or spoke to her the distance would be there again. 

It was about a month after his arrival that Draethlen woke in the middle of the night to the feeling that something wasn’t right. Opening his eyes he saw two figures moving between the rows of bunks, their movements quiet and stealthy.

“Captains!” he shouted, sitting up and reaching for his sword, his heart pounding. “Intruders!”

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday Words #190 (8/15/2018)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

On 9/28/16 I used “You are an alien, the first of your race to discover/visit Earth. Write a report to send to your home world.” 

This week’s prompt is aa variation on that theme:

You are an alien, on holiday to a primitive planet (Earth). Share a page from your travel journal.

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

(Sorry this week’s is late. I messed up the date.)

 

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Sunday Snippet, August 12, 2018

I’m posting from Hedge House, a nearly completed first draft. Finishing it is going to be my project for Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I’m not quite sure whether to classify it as paranormal or urban fantasy; the two of them tend to blur together a lot for me.

Skipping ahead a bit from last week. Cara has reached her grandmother’s house (after a few wrong turns).

 

She stepped out of the car and pocketed the keys, taking a deep breath of the evening air and savoring the scent of freshly cut grass. A few birds squabbled in the hedge that surrounded the property and a gentle breeze rustled the leaves and brushed her hair, soothing her.

“I see you made it. Any trouble?”

Jacob’s now familiar voice was closer than she had expected and she jumped, startled.

“Not after I turned the wrong way three times.”

He chuckled, his blue eyes crinkling in his weathered face. “You did well finding it at all after all this time.” He sobered, his gaze sharpening as he studied her. “Any other trouble?”

“I… was delayed leaving the Starlight. The town mayor came to meet me.”

“Jonas.”

She nodded. There was a note of barely concealed contempt in the man’s voice and she shared the sentiment.

“The desk clerk called to tell him I was there.”

“Of course he did. Jonas owns the place. Come on, let’s get your luggage and drop it off in the house and then you can come on over to my place for some supper before you turn in. You look about ready to drop.”

 

Tentative Blurb:

When Cara Hawthorne returns to the childhood home she had been torn away from twenty years earlier, she thinks it will be to do nothing more than settle her grandmother’s estate and return to her job as a junior lawyer at a prestigious law firm in Tulsa.

But every nook and cranny of the house and gardens unearths long-buried memories, and when the town’s mayor sets his sights on her and the property she finds herself caught up in a centuries old battle with powers she has only barely begun to understand

 

Find more great reading
at the Sunday Snippet group.

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Rainbow Snippet for 8-11-2018

rainbow logo 1

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, bloggers, and readers to gather once a week and share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).   Check out all the other awesome snippets by clicking on the picture above.

Still posting from Book Five of the Academy of the Accord (fantasy) series that I have been (and will be) working on for forever.

I’m wrapping up the scene with Kordelm, Wellhym, and Draethlen. Next week you’ll get to meet Kordelm’s and Wellhym’s wizards — they’re currently off helping Marsden take care of Draethlen’s old headmaster.

(For those just tuning in, Kordelm and Wellhym are warriors, captains at The Academy of the Accord, and they are lovers. Draethlen is a 10 year old cadet rescued from an orphanage where he was sexually abused by the headmaster.)

“As far as we are concerned,” Kordelm told him, “you are our little brother.”

“And we love you as we would a little brother,” Wellhym murmured. “Don’t ever forget that.”

“I won’t,” Draethlen promised.

“Good. Now, bedtime. We’ll roust you out in time for some lessons in protocol before breakfast.”

Wellhym pulled Draethlen’s blankets back and they both waited until he undressed and got into his cot, then Wellhym pulled his blankets up and brushed his hair back. “It’s going to be all right,” he told him. “You are going to make it through all of this and be so much stronger than you can currently believe.”

“Thank you,” Draethlen said. “I – I promise I won’t let you down.”

“We know you won’t,” Kordelm said, smiling. “And we promise not to let you down, either.”

 

 

 

 

 

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