Last Backlist Monday I gave you a scene from Through the Library Door. This week, I’m giving you a look at another Markham Library novella Eclipse of Her Heart.
The Markham Library is a strange place as Serendipity Jones finds out during her summer internship. She hears soundbites from books when there are no speakers and nobody about. Even stranger, she finds out thee sound bites are actually taking place as she hears them. And she has just heard that an enemy plans to kill her beloved who she loves even though he is meant for another.
Without thought, Seri jumped from her chair and ran down the stairs. Running into her room to grab the only weapon she had, a sharp metal letter opener, she happened to glance up at the painting. Now, besides the gray eyes she loved dearly and the hate-filled black eyes in the corner, the deep purple feather had come into sharper view, three-dimensional almost as if it was sitting on the canvas rather than merely painted on it.
Her eyes widened as gold paint began to appear, looping diagonally from the upper left section of the canvas down around Joshuan’s eyes and toward the lower right of the painting where the feather sat. A word. The gold paint formed a word, one she recognized as she had just entered it into the laptop two days ago.
The moment the last flourish of gold touched the edge of the feather, it burst from the painting and as she watched, slowly made its decent to her bed. Back and forth the deep purple feather went until finally alighting on her pillow.
Stunned, she wasn’t sure what to do. This was magic that scared her even more than watching eyes appear on a painting. And yet…had she not been dealing with some sort of magic since she appeared on the island? What did it all mean?
There was no time to figure that out now. Garun was after Joshuan and she needed to warn him so that he could do…whatever it was that he needed to do. Turning to go, she stiffened as a soft breeze blew into her window and it seemed to form words. “Take the feather.” Confused, she knew if she sat and tried to figure things out, she might be too late. Grabbing the feather, she shoved it down her blouse as she ran out of the room and down two hallways and two flights of stairs.
“Serendipity!” Jennifer called but she had no time to waste. Garun was coming for Joshuan and could be here at any moment.
Picking up her speed, she rushed to the maze. As soon as she entered it, she started calling out for him. “Joshuan! Joshuan! Danger!” Not aware of where she was going, she ripped around corners calling out his name. “Garun is coming Joshuan! Rholah told him! She told him!” Tears poured down her cheeks as all she could think of was the man she was trying to find.
When her feet touched the center of the maze, a loud silent scream left her lips. On the ground covered in blood, the man she loved lay unmoving. “Joshuan?” she asked, her voice trembling as she dropped to her knees and crawled toward him. “Joshuan?” No. No. How could she have been late? “Joshuan?” she asked in a whimper and as he groaned and she felt a small amount of relief, she saw the body lying a few feet away from him.
A man who must be Garun was lying on his back, his eyes wide, a sword stuck in his chest.
“Joshuan?” she asked, touching his shoulder. “We need to get you medical attention.”
Groaning, he looked up at her and then smiled. “Serendipity,” he whispered. Smiling, she pushed his hair out of his face.
“I was afraid he killed you.”
Chuckling, he coughed and blood came out of his mouth.
“Oh! You are hurt; I will run and get Peter!”
“No!” he said in a husky voice. “Nobody from your world can see me, Serendipity. I…” His face filled with panic. “Did I miss the eclipse?”
Pain lanced through her that his thought was once again of that girl. “No, you still have an hour.”
“Good,” he groaned, “Will give me time to get upright again.”
“You seriously don’t plan on standing up?” she snapped. “You are covered in blood!”
“Most of it his,” he told her with an amused smile.
“You coughed up blood,” she added annoyed.
“He kicked me hard. I will probably cough up blood for a few hours.” His eyes settled on hers. “Why do you still look despondent? He is dead. I am still alive.”
“You are going to be hers soon,” she whispered and he winced. “What’s she like?” She had promised herself she wouldn’t ask, but she couldn’t help it.
“Serendipity,” he rebuked softly but she shook her head.
Sighing, he nodded. “She is sweet, kind, intelligent, passionate and will make a wonderful queen and an even better wife. Not only that but I am sure she will make an amazing mother for our son.”
Her lips trembled but she refused to give in to the tears that threatened. “Let me help you up.”
“Thank you, dearest,” he murmured. The endearment almost sent her over the edge but she held on as she held out her hand and stood up.
There seemed nothing to say as they walked slowly around the maze. She wanted to ask him to stay with her but felt it was wrong. He was doing what needed to be done because it was good for his world. To stop him from that was wrong. Selfish. Plus it sounded like the woman was sweet. Not paying attention to where she was going, she bumped into one of the many statues and fell to the ground.
“Serendipity!” he cried grasping her arms and pulling her up. “Are you all right?”
No—her heart was breaking—but she nodded anyway. “I just tripped. No biggie.” She went to take a step forward but he stopped her. “What?”
He knelt down and picked up the feather. She grasped her blouse and realized it must have fallen out. “It appeared on my painting,” she explained, “and then floated down onto the bed. I thought it might mean something.” Though what she had no idea.
“Tis the tail feather of Kava,” he murmured looking at it and then with her, his eyes lighting up. “Three clues down, one left to go, my dear Serendipity.”
She could not smile, so managed to nod instead. Their footsteps were even slower now as they walked forward. She wasn’t even sure what time it was until the sky above began to go dark. “Cover your eyes!” she cried, closing hers. He grabbed her by the arms and pulled her into a shaded area of the maze, holding her so close she could hear and feel his heartbeat.
“Say it,” he murmured into her ear. “Say the sacred word.”
Confused, she stared into his chest. “You never told me what it was.”
He held her closer. “Please, Seri,” he murmured. “Please, my love. I cannot stand it if it is another. Please think.”
Her heart lifted. Joshuan thought it was her. He thought she was the one. “But my name…”
His chest rumbled with laughter. “Serendipity, Seri is the name of the prophesied one. You must know the sacred word. Please,” he pleaded.
Seri. He knew it was her from the day she told him her name. He knew. Which was why he started treating her better. Sacred word. What kind of word would be a sacred word? Think, Serendipity, think!
Eclipse of Her Heart
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Series: The Markham Library, Library Tales
Thrilled to be spending her summer interning at the world’s largest erotic library, Serendipity Jones feels it cannot get any better than sun, sand, and the beautiful castle the library is housed in. Within days of her arrival, strange things begin to occur that only she knows of. Erotic sounds come from within the library when nobody else is around, the books won’t open, and a strange man seems to be plaguing her steps.
At first annoyed by the imposing taciturn man, she finds herself attracted and quickly falls in love with Joshuan even though he is meant for another. On a quest to find the woman foretold in a prophecy from his world, he is at first annoyed at Seri who keeps getting in his way before coming to enjoy her company and falling in love with her. But their short love affair must come to an end. For the woman foretold will be found as the sun goes silent and the solar eclipse comes quickly.