12/19/07

Yes, It's International "Sundial" Day!

Hello! It's midnight! And "Sundial" is on sale! Can I use any more exclamation marks? Yes!!

Please, for the health and safety of my fragile li'l ego, go show me the love. In return I will give you a most delicious story. Hope you like it.

"...Well done and inventive and the very end is quite romantic." ~ Historical Romance Club

Oh wait, what was that? Yes, it's my first review! Historical Romance Club will post the entire review in January. And if all of my happy pixel shouts and self-pimping haven't made it clear that this is the story for you, read on for a new excerpt and a picture of a Vespa--especially for Bettie.

And if you haven't voted for my cover, please do.

***

"Megan!"

Terror balled Amber's nerves, tying her stomach into a nauseous knot. She turned in a circle, one foot stuck to the cobblestones and the other chop, chopping around. Eyes wide, she searched for familiar sights but found a panorama of Mediterranean architecture, palm trees, and awnings colored like bright, exotic fish.

"Megan!" Her sister's name clawed from her throat. "Where are you? Answer me!"

Some people ignored her. Most stared as if she stood there naked. She dipped her chin but found everything in place. Jeans. A faded Pearl Jam t-shirt. She looked the same, felt the same, but this--this place was a dream. A nightmare dressed up as a village paradise.

"Megan!"

"She's not here," said a bored voice. An American.

She twirled. The soles of her trainers squeaked. Although the air scarcely moved, a young man stood hunched as if battling a fierce wind. The shade of a canvas awning jaundiced his skin and made a ripe peach of his pale linen suit. His posture revealed a crippling shyness, but his gaze thrust into hers, diving, diving deeper.

Amber bundled her chaos and aimed it at him. "Where's Megan? Where am I?"

"Shut up. Right now."

She recoiled. His hard words injected her tongue with Novocain.

The Yank pulled his hands free of his trouser pockets. Straightening, stepping clear of the awning, he gained three inches and something like a decade of maturity. His sharp face blanked, then assumed the amiable friendliness he used to address curious passersby. "Non importa, gente."

Italian? She grasped at the vocabulary, cranking old gears despite the rust.

"Queste ragazze Americane," he said, his grin nonchalant. "Sono matte!"

"I'm not American. And I'm not crazy."

He did a double take but quickly masked the reaction. "I know. But if you keep spazzing, you'll get us in trouble."

Curious stares waned as people lost interest. The stranger lit a cigarette and watched them disperse, his expression one of pleasant apology.

"Let's go." He turned and didn't bother to look back. Amber stared after him, noticing the odd set of his shoulders--cocky, but stiff too. Fatigued. Helpless to do otherwise, she followed him. The need for answers dragged her like a phantom hand at the scruff of her neck.

They walked down a steep path toward a marina. Sharp cliffs plunged several hundred feet to the sea's bottomless blue. The confusion, the sudden vertigo of the cliffs--her stomach twisted. Amber gripped a handrail, doubled over, threw up. Her bones evaporated like steam. She staggered clear of her mess and crumpled along the footpath.

The stranger ignored her nausea and the view. He knelt, propping a lean shoulder against the railing. "I'm Mark Lacey. Who're you?"

"Amber Schulman," she said weakly.

"What's the last thing you remember?"

She smeared trembling fingers over her mouth. "I was with my sister, visiting a cottage in Lancashire County. In England. I went to the gardens, and--here I am. How's that possible?"

"When? What year?"

"What year?" She gave him a bright but careful smile, a mother indulging a child's make-believe. "Right."

"I'm serious." His voice rumbled with the low menace of a storm.

"No, you're mad. It's 2007."

His hand stalled midway to his mouth. A frown sliced between his dark brows. She enjoyed rumpling the smug confidence he wore like a tailored jacket, although she had no idea how she'd managed it.

Gathering hysteria amped her voice to ten. "Now tell me where we are."

"Sorrento, Italy."

"Impossible."

"That's not the hard part." He took a deep drag, the steel blue smoke riding on breezes fat with salt. "The year is 1958."

***

Yes, I must have it! And now, a quote from my favorite song of the moment.


I'll stand for the sake of my friend.
I will see them there--
But I will see them there!
"
Down Boy" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

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