June has been concert month. I saw Dead & Company, then last week I got to see Judas Priest. HOLY HELL I cannot believe that Rob Halford still has his incredible vocal range. Even though it was cold and rainy, I was bouncing with glee for the whole show. It was unbelievably good. Good enough that I promptly bought a shirt, a patch and the new album.
Also, I love how Halford came out in a different outfit for every song. The first song, "Necromancer" he came out in this purple sparkly outfit and it was funny how happy Kent was for me because he knows how much I love things that are purple and sparkly.
Tonight, thanks to the generosity of a friend, Kent and I get to see Santana and the Doobie Brothers at the White River Ampitheater. I really hope it doesn't rain. I'll try to get some good pictures.
Here's a tiny, rough sample of the next B Mine book, Her Haunted Heart.
Amteep, Idaho, 1981
Zelda Shaye slowed her satin blue 1980 Datsun 210 station wagon to park behind her parents’ brand new ’81 Volvo. Her foot slipped early on the clutch, stalling the engine, and making the car jump and shudder to a stop.
She grimaced, hoping no one saw her awkward halt. She still wasn’t used to this car, and though she was grateful to her dad for buying her the Datsun when her ill-fated Pinto died, but she wished he would have taken her with him to shop instead of surprising her with the wagon. She would have picked something else—and paid for it with her own savings.
Because she wasn’t completely sure Dad could afford to buy her a new car, not when he’d just bought a new car for himself and Mom. Sure, Bill Shaye was the owner of Wild Bill’s auto sales, and yes, he’d make a small profit on the sale of the house she’d grown up in, but the Shayes weren’t exactly swimming in cash. Not like Uncle Steve, Dad’s younger brother, who was a bigshot lawyer.
For as long as Zel could remember, Dad had been obsessed with keeping up with Uncle Steve. Hell, that was the reason for Zelda’s painfully old-fashioned name. Uncle Steve had named his firstborn son after their grandfather, Edmund, so that meant Dad had to name his firstborn after their grandmother. That’s why Zelda got her odd name while her younger brother and sister got normal names.
When Steve bought a sectional sofa, Dad bought waterbeds for him and Mom as well as for Zelda, Jenny and Jason. When Steve took his family to their vacation house in Sauselito Bay, Dad gnashed his teeth and looked at travel brochures.
Now with the inheritance, as he called it, Dad was grinning like a cat full of cream. Never mind that it was Zelda’s inheritance, not his.
My inheritance, Zel thought with an uneasy tremor. My house.
She stepped out of the car and once more looked up at the ancient monstrosity that was now hers.
Pale blue-gray paint peeled slightly across the wood siding. A darker shade covered the window frames and the tall rounded columns which held up a huge porch that spanned across the front of the house. Arched windows reflected the afternoon sunlight and went up to at least three floors. Six chimneys thrusted up from the slate-shingled roof.
The Sazerac House, it was called.
And Zelda Shaye had turned out to be the last female descendent of Cecile Sazerac, the previous owner of the place. That made Zel the heiress according to the terms of Cecile’s will and the legacy of a once-large and prosperous family, so the lawyer had explained after showing up at the Shaye’s doorstep late on Wednesday night two weeks ago.
Zelda had gaped at the guy in stunned disbelief. Dad had always bragged about having distant relatives who were super prestigious and wealthy, but she’d thought he’d made that up. Then a memory trickled through her mind. When she was five or six, her family had attended a funeral. Countless strangers in fancy black clothes milled about, casting Zelda’s father steely looks of suspicion and disapproval.
She’d felt like an intruder then, hunching over in fear that one of those people would call the police and report her and her dad for trespassing on their party. But she forgot all about the stares and whispers from the living when she realized that the big wooden box the people surrounded contained a dead person.
And if that hadn’t been frightening enough, Zelda had seen something else on the way out of the funeral home.
No. That part had been her imagination.
As the lawyer continued explaining the situation, Zelda realized that those people at the funeral and the dead woman in the coffin had been the rich relatives that Dad had bragged about.
“Why didn’t one of the closer relatives inherit?” she blurted.
“Because most of them are dead,” Mr. Fields explained. “And the ones who remain are male. The terms of the legacy stipulate that the estate can only pass on to the eldest and closest female relative, which is you, Ms. Shaye. And until you have a daughter, your younger sister is your heiress.”
Jenny blinked at him and crept forward to listen as the lawyer continued to outline Zelda’s new circumstances.
The house was to be held in trust by her father for her until Zel’s twenty-first birthday or until she married. When the lawyer read that part, Zel’s chest had tightened, ready to be furious at the concept of her house going to this imaginary future spouse, but Fields had eased her when he continued to explain that the property was entailed so that no one could take it from the designee.
Dad’s brows had knitted together at that and even now, Zelda wondered if her father would try to find a way to keep the house and if she would have to kick her parents out after her twenty-first birthday. She hadn’t quite processed the idea of owning her own house yet, but still, the idea of someone taking something that was hers rankled. Especially if that someone was a trusted family member.
As it was, she wasn’t excited about the idea of living with them for another three years. Maybe fate was punishing her for spending most of her childhood vowing to leave on her eighteenth birthday—which was next month. It wasn’t that she didn’t love her family. But they could be frustrating, oppressive, and noisy.
Her little sister Jenny reinforced the sentiment as she shouted with the same cadence as a siren. “Hey Zel’! Are you going to stand in the driveway forever? Let us in. I need to go to the bathroom!”
Oh damn. Zelda had the keys because the will dictated that she was supposed to be the first one to cross the threshold. Never mind that technically her father, the insurance agent, repairmen, and the cleaning service had been in and out of the place already. And honestly, Zelda bore a little resentment that she hadn’t been invited to that first look at what was hers.
“Oh well,” she muttered under her breath and pulled the long, ornate skeleton keys out of her jeans pocket. “It’s all mine now. Time for me to come home.”
Still, Zelda made Jenny wait a little longer as she crossed to the back of her car and opened the rear hatch. Her six-month old kitten, DeLorean, mewed plaintively from her carrier. Zelda soothed the silver-gray kitty as she lifted the carrier. “We’re at your new home, Lorrie. There’s probably a lot of mice to snack on.”
“Zelda Carol-Anne!” Mom squawked with horror.
Trying not to cringe at the middle name, Zelda closed the rear hatch of her car. Just as she started to head to up the walkway, something prickled at the back of Zelda’s neck. The sense of being watched. She turned her head to see that the instinct proved true. A guy about her age stood in the yard next door, staring at her.
Locks of shiny black hair hung in his face, giving him a rebellious look. His bright green eyes beneath winged black brows seemed to sear her heart. The view got better from there. High cheekbones, full lips, an elfin chin added a bit of angel to his devilish appearance. Ripped blue jeans hugged his narrow hips and a Black Sabbath tee shirt stretched across his broad shoulders.
Zelda bit back a girlish sigh even as her stomach fluttered. He even had good taste in music. Was this cutie real or a hallucination brought on by her wishes to meet a guy who didn’t suck?
Only one way to find out.
She began to lift her free hand to wave, but then a noise made her jerk back toward the house. A high-pitched keening made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. Lorrie hissed from her carrier as Zelda’s eyes darted to find the source of the eerie sound.
For a moment, she thought she saw a dark form flicker in one of the upper windows, but then the shutters in the even higher attic window slammed shut. A gust of wind rustled through the oak and hawthorn trees in the overgrown front lawn. Zelda’s shoulders relaxed. Just the wind making the trees reflect on the windows and howling through crevasses.
She looked over her shoulder to smile at the cute guy, but he’d vanished.
Hear Haunted Heart releases October 8th! I am having a blast writing it, though I keep getting stuck on silly things.
Next newsletter, I'll have another freebie for you and maybe another giveaway!