Sunday, October 6, 2013


Here is an excerpt from CRUSHED:

Zach slammed the door so hard that it rattled the diamond-cut windows.  He stormed through the foyer and thundered past the hand-carved staircase on his way to the study where he could contemplate his revenge in private.  That little witch was going to be sorry.  Fists clenched, he walked past the stone fireplace without looking at it.  Changing direction with a sharp turn, he went into the family room instead.

Furious, he stood in the center of the massive room and released a slow, audible breath. 

The mansion shook.  A picture fell off the mantle; a vase toppled off the corner table and shattered.  Hearing glass break fueled his anger.  The mansion shook harder, but he didn’t care if the roof caved in on his head.  He was so angry that not even a ton of wood and stone could hurt him.

He turned around slowly and found his sister below the great arch between rooms, hands covering her head in an effort to protect it from the falling debris she probably imagined was on its way.  In his need to blow off some steam, he had forgotten she was in the house.  Her dark brown eyes were wide, terrified.

“Are you okay?” he asked, immediately concerned.

“In an earthquake you are supposed to stand in a doorway.  There are earthquakes in California.  We live in California now.  You should stand over here in the doorway.  You’re supposed to stand in the doorway during an earthquake, and this is an earthquake.  I’ve never been in one, but I’ve read about them.”

Physically, his sister was twenty; mentally, she was a great deal younger.  His parents had figured out there was something wrong with her when she turned five, but they couldn’t take her to a doctor because she was already using her powers.  Their mother had turned to the Internet, researching Morgan’s behavior, and she’d come up with a few possibilities.  Autism had been at the top of the list. 

Morgan thought as a child, but she could do some pretty amazing things like remember everything she read word for word.  Other people called it a photographic memory.  He just called it awesome.

Shame filled him, and the house stopped shaking.  “It wasn’t an earthquake, Morgan.  It was just me.  I’m sorry.  I lost control of my powers for a second.  It won’t happen again.”

“Why are you home?”  She lowered her hands.  “This morning you told me you would be here at three o’clock.  I wrote it down.”  Morgan marched over to the coffee table where she’d left her notebook.  She opened it and showed him a page.  “See?  It says right here that Zach is going to be home at three.  We’re going to have a snack together, and then you’re going to make dinner for me at six.”

“I had a small problem at school.”

“But you told me you had to go to school and blend in.  You said you needed to fly below the radar.  You told me we had to be careful so no one would figure out our secret.”

Leave it to Morgan to remember every single word he ever spoke.  She probably wrote it down in her notebook, every syllable.  He sighed and rubbed the throbbing place between his eyes.  No one could make his head ache like Morgan.  He said, “I tried to stick to the plan, but something happened.”

“You aren’t supposed to be home until three o’clock.  It isn’t three o’clock yet.  I haven’t had lunch.  I was about to have my snack, peanut butter and graham crackers, but the house started shaking. I forgot to eat.”

Zach dropped on the sofa, arms crossed, feeling guiltier by the second.  It was his job to take care of Morgan, not to scare her to death.  He stared at the paneled wall without seeing it and mumbled, “You can have your snack now.”

Morgan dipped her head to look at her watch.  Dark brown hair fell forward, covering her quizzical face.  “I can’t eat my snack now.  The time is six minutes after ten.  I have to eat my snack at ten o’clock.”

“It will be okay, Morgan.  This one time you can eat a few minutes late.”

She shook her head stubbornly.  “I can’t eat my peanut butter and graham crackers.  The time is six minutes after ten.  I eat my snack at ten o’clock.”

The anger began to build in his chest again, but he swallowed it quickly

She was the reason he hadn’t done anything about the Noah sisters.  He didn’t want anyone to find out about Morgan and tell the witch’s council, so he had watched those girls from a distance as they’d played their stupid game.  No one knew it, not even Morgan, but he had a small vial of blue dust hidden in a secret drawer in his cherry wood headboard upstairs. 

He had made his own love spell potion after realizing what the Noah sisters were doing.  Daydreaming about enchanting the triplets and making them do humiliating things had gotten him through some tough times his Junior year, but he’d been afraid to actually do it.  Love spells had a tendency to not work properly when used on other witches; although, he suspected he had enough power to make it work. 

To get her mind off her missed snack, he decided to tell Morgan about his day.  “That stupid little witch blew pink crap into my face.  I should have melted her on the spot.”

Morgan looked faintly alarmed.  “Are we allowed to do that?  You told me we aren’t supposed to hurt people.”  She flipped her notebook to another page and shoved it under his nose.  “See?  Right there.”  She pointed at the neatly printed sentences.  “We aren’t supposed to hurt anyone.  It’s an important rule.  You said so.  I underlined it three times.”

Indeed she had.

Zach swallowed his anger at Kristen Noah and chose his words carefully.  Empathy was a foreign concept to Morgan.  If he didn’t spell it out for her, she could use her powers to hurt somebody… again.

“The girl I’m talking about is a witch, not your average person.  She has powers of her own and obviously isn’t afraid to use them.”

“It’s okay to hurt witches then.  Just not regular people.”

“No.  That isn’t what I’m saying.”  He got up and paced the length of the room while trying to come up with a reasonable argument that Morgan would understand.  He needed to keep it simple.  “If we are attacked, we have to defend ourselves.  Make sense?  We shouldn’t hurt anyone unless our lives are at stake.”  He forced a smile and lowered his face a bit so he could stare straight into her eyes in order to keep her attention focused on him long enough to get his point across.  “I was joking about melting her.  We don’t do that, not ever.  Okay?”

“Will you get in trouble for leaving school early?  You told me you wanted to look normal.  I wrote it down in my notebook, but I remember it too.  I remember you telling me you had to act like a normal teen.”

“Cutting school is what normal teens do.  The wild ones anyway.”  He shrugged and dropped his hands back to his sides.  “Remember me telling you about the witches at school last year?” Once Morgan nodded he said, “Well, one of them tried to enchant me today.”

Morgan’s brows knitted together.  “But you can’t be enchanted.”

“I know that.”

“She doesn’t know.”

Her usual matter-of-fact tone fell on his ears like a cat’s claws on metal.  He sighed.  “No, the witch doesn’t know about me.”

Crushed is available at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords.
Links can be found on buy links page here on my blog


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