Our hostess as played stump the author once again with the following quote:
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
And I have to thank her for making me think around corners and about how I want things to develop creatively. What I bring you today is the next installment of the series I’ve been writing about one Nicholas Taltos and Dominic Devereaux. Before I do, however, let me encourage you to sign up for my newsletter—starting September 1, 2016. The newsletter will keep you in the loop about appearances, book releases, and giveaways. I also intend to start a section called “Sandra’s Corner”. Please don’t hesitate to submit your questions via email, direct message on Twitter or message me on my Facebook page. If you closed the pop up when you dropped in, refresh the page and opt in. If you like the blog, you’ll love what’s coming.
Now, with that shameless plug out of the way, let’s get on with the story.
Rain battered the campus grounds as she stared into the storm. Kaylen Burke watched the downpour with a numbed apathy. The university had offered to give her time off to tend to her affairs but, truth be told, she would rather be working to ease the emptiness at home. Her husband was gone. The police had come to her door two days ago to deliver the news and inform her that his body would be released to her once autopsy procedures were complete.
Her home was empty. Her heart was hurting. The history professor’s thoughts scattered. The sleek bob that was her dark hair rested on her shoulders and moved when she did. She was still dressed for the office in a dark skirt-suit combination. At least, she supposed, none of her students had come to offer their condolences. Kaylen did not believe she could sit through another round of apologies and well-intended sympathy. Beyond her, she would swear she saw two figures moving through the increasing storm in the direction of the history building. Who would be fool enough to brave such a sudden, violent storm? Let alone at night?
She sighed and closed her sapphire eyes. At times, she wondered if there was not more to their world than what was on the surface. All her life, she felt as if she was on the precipice of a larger experience, a larger world but could never quite break through the boundary between the normal and the extraordinary. Her thumb traced the wedding band that still remained on her left hand with an absent sort of grace. The gesture was familiar and gut-wrenching at the same time. They had a comfortable life together. She and Brad were married three years ago. They loved each other; shared similar interests but now, now she wondered if she was not at that precipice once again. The thought of more was stirring her blood again.
“Good evening, Professor.” She had not heard her office door open and close but the voice she knew. Director Tammond stood in her office soaked to the skin alongside a man she had only met once before. His name, however eluded her. The director was her immediate report. In fact, the man had been delighted to sign off on her tenure. He said the realm needed more tenacious minds like hers.
Kaylen’s lips thinned to a line as she fought the urge to scream at his sudden arrival. With a breath, she stilled herself and flashed him a small smile. “Good evening Director, what can I do for you tonight?” That was the moment she absorbed the full shock of two grown men standing in her office soaked to the skin. They both looked like drowned rats. “Oh my, was it so urgent that you both needed to brave the storm?” An amusement she was not sure she had a right to feel bubbled up in her throat. The old man, as he was often called by University Faculty, was cantankerous and stand-offish to most but she found him both endearing and gruff. His old eyes held secrets she could not begin to understand but she was never brave enough to ask.
As if he read her mind, he responded. “I did and you should probably get braver.” Nicholas shook the damp from his hair with a brisk gesture. There was an easy long-time companionship between the two men—many faculty members suspected they were gay. That was one of the more prominent rumor on the university gossip mill. Kaylen never sought to dispel the rumors because she knew they were false. Nicholas spoke too often and too with a great deal of fondness of the wife he lost many years ago.
“Will you stop speculating for a minute Kaylen? Light above your mind is making me tired listening to you.” Nicholas interjected. When she was struck dumb by his statement, he continued while Dominic began to laugh. “We have a lot to discuss and very little time. The precipice you were thinking about a moment ago has arrived.” A glare silenced his companion as Nicholas reeled in his impatience. Alexandra’s words drifted through his mind. Be at ease, my impatient heart. Things happen in Fate’s time, not ours. With her warmth acting as a balm, he gave Kaylen a stern glare. “But, for the love of Light Kaylen, could you stop the blasted rain?”
“What?” The disbelief rocked her to the core. Had the man lost his mind? “What the devil are you talking about, Director? I can’t—“ Frustrated, her hands plowed through her hair and mussed the dark tresses into disarray. Her spirit trembled at the force in his eyes when their gazes met. Why had she never seen that sheer force of will before? Why did she never feel the quiet resonance of power that seemed to exude from the man? Kaylen’s gaze flicked past the Director to his pale-skinned companion. The man had taken to leaning against the closed door and watching the scene as if he were engrossed in a good novel.
“You can. You will.” Nicholas stepped forward and wrapped the smaller woman in his arms. She did not know; could not know what she was. She was his. She was theirs. She was a Child of Light and Fate would call her home. Nicholas did not know if she was the last but he could feel that she was both a Jade and a Taltos. He could feel his bloodline singing through her veins. Of greater importance, though, he felt his beloved’s bloodline in her veins. He hugged her tight and set her away from him before he spoke on gentle, consoling tones. “Kaylen, have you never wondered why it rains when you cry?”