A couple things:
1) I'm giving away two paperback copies next Tuesday on release day. It will be a flash Amazon giveaway, and I'll post the link here and on FB.
2) Fearless and Price of Angels will be on sale next Tuesday for one day only. Download the first two novels of the series for 99c each. (And in the case of Fearless, that's a very good deal for a very big book)
Today, I want to share a deleted scene from Half My Blood. It didn't make the cut because it was too fluffy and the book was fast turning into a novel instead of a novella. So, if you like the fluffy bits, please enjoy :)
Below the cut...
Ghost would never pretend that he'd handled Ava's miscarriage well. She'd been disinterested in boys, and he'd written her affection for Mercy off as uncle/niece type stuff. So he hadn't prepared himself for the idea that his little girl was grown up, and starting to have grown up interactions with boys. He'd thought her untouched, and she'd been pregnant. He'd thought Mercy was like a doting big brother, when he'd been bedding her. His automatic, gut reaction had been rejection. Rejection of the idea that there had been anything between the two but predatory malice on Mercy's part, and innocent stupidity on Ava's. Rejection of anyone and everyone's opinion on the matter.
That night in the hospital, seeing Mercy at Ava's bedside, he'd been tackled by a memory. Ava at ten, bleary-eyed one evening as she shuffled into the kitchen where he and Collier were talking strategy over spiked coffee. She'd asked to interview him, as part of a homework assignment. "I can't," he'd told her, waving her off, too preoccupied to worry about elementary school education.
Mercy had been propped against the wall, observing, not offering much in the way of an opinion, because he was still young and knew his place. "Come on, fillette," he'd said to Ava. "We'll go in the other room and you can interview me."
"Okay." Ava had turned a bright smile up to the man, her little head looking fragile beneath Mercy's palm as he steered her out of the kitchen.
That was what Ghost remembered the night Mercy sat at her hospital bed, clutching her pale hand, grieving for the child they'd lost. But it was only one of so many memories; Mercy the man alongside Ava the child. Maggie had always made the comparison between those two and their own situation. "I was sixteen," she always reminded him. But she'd been all breasts and hips and tall hair, and he hadn't ever known her as a flat-chested little girl who needed help with her homework.
She's not a little girl anymore, he reminded himself as he walked across the parking lot toward the bike shop. He'd said goodbye to her outside Stella's fifteen minutes ago, and the leggy young woman who handled her son with a calm maternal grace was anything but a child.
And Mercy, he was learning, was doting, respectful, and probably a better husband than he was himself.
"Hey, boss," Mercy greeted as Ghost stepped into the garage bay. Then he took a closer inspection, grinning. "What're you dressed up for?"
Because a shirt without stains was formal wear in this family.
"I had lunch with Ava."
"Yeah?" Mercy's expression became guarded, and he tried to hide the concern behind a grin. "Was that her idea? Or yours?"
His brows went up. "Did it go okay?"
"You gonna do something about it if it didn't?" Ghost shot back.
Mercy shrugged. "Dunno. Maybe."
Ghost...smiled. It was too late to go back and redo the moments he'd missed with his daughter, all those times he'd pawned her off on someone else. But he could have a relationship with her now. And he could, as Maggie kept suggesting, stop dredging up the memories that made him nauseas, and concentrate on the now. On the fact that no one could keep Ava and Remy safer than this cheerful psychopath standing in front of him now.
"Good," he said.
"Good?" Mercy repeated.