I thought I'd share another snip from Ethereal Guardian and share the cover! It will release January 22 and the first in the series, Ethereal Protector, is on sale now for only 99 cents.
Without further ado, the tease!
Victoria played with her corn silk doll beneath the oak tree behind the house. Ember kept half an eye on the child while picking peas from the garden. Mother shelled the first basket of pods while sitting in her wooden rocker, light streaming down from behind and warming her. Showing her age, the matriarch moved slowly, hands gnarled and fingers uncooperative. Despite the warm day, a blanket covered her lap and legs.
“Anne!” Victoria’s high, tiny voice drew Ember’s attention. The doll hung from a branch by a thread of her own dress. “A witch!” The young girl stretched out along the limb, high above the ground.
“Tory! Get down from there. That’s too high!” Before the child could obey, she rolled and came crashing down on the grass beneath the tree.
Mother jumped from her rocker, knocking peas and shells aside. “No! Victoria! Anne, why weren’t you watching?”
Ember didn’t answer, reaching Victoria before Mother could. “Tory. Tory, answer me. Tory.” The child hung limp in Ember’s arms.
Ember dropped the child in surprise, letting the blonde head fall in her lap. That was Victoria’s voice.
Mother fell to her knees, groaning and crying as she did. “No, no. Victoria.”
“What is it?” the small voice asked again. Ember turned to place it. A translucent version of Victoria stood behind her.
“Tory? You’re dead, aren’t you? You’re here to haunt us because we couldn’t protect your mother.”
“I don’t understand,” she muttered, shaking her head and setting her curls swinging. “Dead?”
“She’s not dead,” Mother told Ember. “She’s still breathing.” Taking Ember’s hand and placing it on the child’s chest, she proved her point.
“But then who is that?” she pointed to the ephemeral figure.
“Hello, Auntie.” She waved.
The old woman looked straight at the apparition but gave no indication of seeing or hearing her. “Who?”
Ember ground her teeth. “Okay, Victoria, your body is still alive, but it must need you to stay that way. Can you…climb into it? Like pulling on your dress.”
“I’ll try.” The translucent child sat down atop the limp body, but nothing happened. She didn’t disappear back into the physical form, nor did the small female frame move in any way.
“I’ll have to come up with something else,” Ember muttered.
“Anne? Are you well? You’re talking nonsense.” Mother frowned, obviously concerned.
“I’m fine. I just need some things. Leave her here and go find the doctor.”
“Yes, I will.” Mother rose slowly, using her hand on the ground and then her knee as shifted her weight on angry joints. Once up, she found her cane and headed out of the yard.
As soon as she was on the move, Ember darted into the house and opened the chest containing her dowry. The linen and porcelain were intended for her marriage, but beneath, in a bag at the bottom, were stones, crystals, talismans, and dried herbs wrapped in paper. It was a gift from Dorothy before her hanging and Ember had hidden it away immediately, preventing even her mother from knowing the items existed.
She didn’t have any real knowledge as to the use of the contents, but surely her need would guide her. God help her, Victoria needed it.
Please enjoy all the other great teases being shared this week.