Throughout October I’ll be featuring special DRAWN-related posts about magic, fantasy, spirits, romance, writing, and time-travel (plus some special deals). So cozy up and enjoy the DRAWN haunting! And if you want your own copy of DRAWN to read as you sip hot cider by a crackling fireplace, order your copy by clicking here.
Now let’s kick off the fun with…
CATCHING A SPIRIT
There’s something about touching a letter that was handwritten hundreds of years ago. Or walking through an old graveyard at dusk. Or exploring the abandoned corridors of a musty medieval castle. At these moments, the barrier between the present and the past feels as thin as a sheer veil. The people of those long ago times seem almost palpable. Have you ever felt this?
In a castle I notice the worn steps, the ancient graffiti cut into a wall, and to me the air is suddenly thick with long lost memories, heartaches, whispers. With people not so different from us. If only I could turn a corner fast enough, maybe I’d catch them unaware. That breathless maiden racing up the staircase to meet her lover. That young knight trying to swallow down the fear of his first battle. With his dagger he etches his initials in the coarse stone wall. He wishes to be remembered…
I guess you could say Drawn is my way of finally catching a spirit by his sleeve, and really getting to know him. In my novel, Michelle De Freccio first draws a mysterious young man in her sketch pad. And later, when she runs into him, she does far more than catch his sleeve – she captures his heart. At first she definitely doesn’t realize just who and what this guy is. But by the end of the novel she’ll learn just how close the past really can be.
Here’s a glimpse of their first meeting for you. Enjoy!
Excerpt from Drawn:
The smell of cinnamon fills the air. Past the tapestry, a very narrow flight of stone stairs leads toward a dim light. I immediately decide I won’t go up. It’s too confining.
But the cinnamon smells even stronger here. It makes me think of warm cookies and my home from a long, long time ago. I change my mind and climb the steps. A small alcove is at the top and someone sits at a wooden table with his back to me. He studies a paper by candlelight. His auburn hair reaches his shoulders and he looks familiar.
With a jolt I remember the drawing of that guy in my sketchbook. To get his attention, I clear my throat.
In an instant, he stands, grabs my arm and shoves me against the wall. His face is close. His eyes filled with fury.
Sharp stones bite into my back. Tears spring into my eyes. “Let go!” I shout. I try to pull from his grip.
His glare softens, his grip loosens. “Forgive me. I thought…”
“You thought what?” I pull my arm from him.
He takes a step back. “I beg your pardon. I was taken by surprise. There have been dangers…”
I’m rubbing my arm. Blinking away tears.
“I have hurt you.” His voice is surprisingly gentle. He’s around my age and wears a brown woolen cape over an emerald-green tunic that fits him better than most of the rental costumes I’d seen tonight. His square jaw and strong chin add ruggedness to his face, and his eyes…
His eyes are studying me. I feel my cheeks burn. “It’s okay,” I say. “I’m fine.”
“Let us begin anew. I am Christopher.” He bows his head.
“Please, join me.” He pulls out the only other chair.
“Oh.” The space around us feels tight. “I don’t think—”
“Please,” he says.
So I sit. He shakes back his hair and sits beside me. I notice the fine gold embroidery around the wrists of his tunic, the bear-shaped golden clasp that holds the cape around his shoulders. “You really look authentic.”
“Do I?” He seems confused. His eyes are a strange pale green. Like the color of a glow stick just before it fades. Then again, maybe this is just from the reflection of the candlelight.
“Yeah, this is great.” I wave my hand toward his outfit. The candle flickers. “Much more authentic even than the prince or the king.”
His jaw tightens. “Be careful of what you speak, Milady.”
He rests his chin on his fist. “You are obviously a newcomer, and a delightful one at that.”
“Really?” I rest my chin on my fist too.
“And your words have a most unusual quality.” He leans closer.
“It’s just a plain old Jersey accent.”
“Jersey? I think it is lovely.”
“You do? Huh.”
“I do,” he says, very, very softly.
He leans in even closer.
It’s crazy but I find myself leaning toward him, as if I’m drawn. My heart pounds. The smell of cinnamon saturates the air. I wonder if his lips will be soft like his voice, warm like fresh cookies. Sweet. He closes his eyes. My heart races. Our lips nearly touch when an icy blast blows through the room, ruffles the papers, snuffs out the candle and leaves us both in the dark. The smallness of the room seems to close in around me. I give a nervous laugh. “At least I’m not alone, right?” When he doesn’t answer, I reach out my hand.