So I’ve decided that I’ll be posting two excerpts from my debut novel Shadows Beneath. The first will just give you a taste for the feel of the novel and then the second which will be posted tomorrow will be the naughty stuff. *winks*
Shadows Beneath will be available on February 14, 2008 at Aphrodite’s Apples
Excerpt from Shadows Beneath
© 2008 Jesse Fox
Bauman in the lead, the entourage began their journey north out of town. It was a long drive, and not a word passed between Tristan and his passenger. Jake smoked one cigarette after another, the smoldering butts flicked from the window, and his eyes took on a faraway expression as if he weren’t awake, but rather sleeping with his eyes open. Tristan didn’t like that look; it made the short hairs at the base of his neck stand on end. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising that when Jake did choose to speak again, it nearly caused Tristan to run the car into the ditch.
They were nothing but two simple words, though caution and a hint of menace edged them. Tristan’s voice cracked; his knuckles went white with the pressure of his grip on the steering wheel as he spoke. “What the hell are you talking about?”
Beside him, Jake turned, gaze piercing. “I said—be careful. Darkness surrounds you, darkness that you are destined to face. A darkness that calls from the past, one you don’t remember; or perhaps you’re afraid to remember. Something awaits you out there.” He lifted one pale hand, his finger extended to the west as the road curved out of sight.
“You’re nuts!” Yanking the wheel, Tristan sent the car careening onto the shoulder. The shriek of rubber against gravel drowned out anything else he might have to say.
Tristan had to chill out before he could drive any further. How in the hell has Jake managed to get under my skin like this? he wondered. It felt as if every nerve in his body was on fire. Emotions were emptying out of him that there was no logical explanation for, but then nothing about any of this was logical. “What the hell could possibly be waiting out there? It’s just an old house filled with cobwebs, dust…”
“And secrets,” Jake finished.
Tristan’s brows drew together in a furious frown as he turned on Jake. “I should put you out of the car right now. Catherine warned me about you, and she was right!”
“Believe or not—that’s your choice, Tristan. Just heed my warning. There are things that don’t die; things reborn to the darkness repeatedly.” Turning away, he grew silent, eyes focused alongside the road once more.
With a grumbled curse, Tristan returned to the road, his foot pushing the gas almost to the floorboard. In the distance, the first flashes of lightning lit the late afternoon storm clouds. If not for those flickers of light, he might have missed the drive altogether.
A sharp turn, and then he was passing beneath a stone archway onto what appeared to have once been a wide brick drive. To both the left and right a wild profusion of black-eyed Susan, bear grass, and late blooming wild roses scraped against the sides of the car. As they crested the hill, Tristan felt his heart leap into his throat at the monstrous sight that greeted them, one that seemed far more familiar than it should.
Evans House stood proudly atop the cliff overlooking the muddy Mississippi, the storm clouds a churning black backdrop to its towering limestone walls. It sat on the crest of the cliff surrounded by wide expanses of lawn overgrown with brambles and early autumn wildflowers. Two full stories of natural limestone made up the main building, and a bell tower climbed skyward at the northeast corner, a full two stories taller and looming over the gray slate roof. Wide French doors ran the full length of the front, staring out like vacant eyes. Pulling in behind the other cars, Tristan shut off the engine, just staring for a few seconds before he finally exited the car. No one should refer to it as a house, when it resembled a manor or a castle far more.
“My God,” he whispered. A wave of fear clutched at his heart, a fear he couldn’t explain. It’s just Jake’s damn stories, he thought, as he pulled his bags from the back seat. The moment he stood up, though, a bag over either shoulder, a sharp pain tore through his skull, causing him to stumble back into the car. In that moment he knew, without a doubt, he had been here before– but that was impossible.
“Do you feel it?” Jake grasped his shoulder and leaned over him.
“No, damn it!” He gasped, throwing the hand off, and turned away. He leaned into the car in an attempt to get his equilibrium back, his vision slowly clearing. Fists flexing, he took one deep breath after another, and tried to ignore the dull throb that lurked behind his eyes.
“It’s just a headache,” he whispered as Jake stepped around to face him. What in the hell is happening to me?
Jake knew he was lying, Tristan could see it in his eyes; but how? How did he know he was lying? Why was he so damned sure? He looked back up at the house, swallowing hard.
He’d never believed in evil before, but he knew something bad was waiting up there. Something was waiting for him.