Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (A Jingle Bell Book Hop post)




If you look Christmas up in the dictionary, you are bound to find a picture of my face. Christmas is the time of the year I look forward to the most.  I count down the days until the season rolls around again, excitement building furiously until the day I can finally pull out box after box of decorations.  My husband says I have a "problem" and is still trying to convince me that there is no way I "need" a full-sized tree in every room of the house.  I keep trying to tell him a happy wife makes a happy life.  Truth be told, he just shakes his head at me and smiles.  After all, I do all of the putting up and taking down of the Christmas d├ęcor.  I find joy in trimming my house from top to bottom with festive cheer.  All the husband is required to do is bring in the boxes. 



I really would've bought a full-sized tree for my upstairs foyer if we weren't going to move again in a year.  That is the only downside to moving so much with the Army.  The decorations you buy for one house don't always fit the layout of the next one.  That's okay, in ten years the husband will retire, and I will start buying full-sized trees for every room.  I can be satisfied with the two big ones and two mini ones I have..... for now.



Truth be told, I don't quite know where my enduring love of this festive season comes from.  Perhaps it is because I was born in December or maybe it is growing up in Germany where Kris Kringle Markts abound.  Whatever the reason, I know one thing is for sure, I adore every single thing about the Christmas season.  The lights, the decorations, the music, the food, the smells, everything!  Somehow people are a little nicer to one another, even in the hustle and bustle of things.  Families come together, friends reunite, and time seems to stand still for a little while.  It is like being trapped in a Norman Rockwell painting or a snowglobe where things are perfect, just for a while.  The cares of the world seem to slip away and the truly important things are all that really matter. 



The day after Christmas, when all is said and done, I find myself adrift.  Every year, this happens.  I don't really know why, all I know is that I feel an emptiness when the season is complete and I start my countdown all over again.



So, this holiday season, I implore you to take a moment's pause when the stress of shopping gets to you, or the thought of traveling, whatever the stressor may be.... take a second and reflect on your many blessings this year.  Look back on everything joyous and be thankful for the wonderful gift this life can be! 



Speaking of gifts.... for everyone that comments, you will be getting an ebook copy of See How She Fights!  Huzzah (Mostly because the first book in the series is free.... so really, you are getting to read half of the series for free :) ).

FREE RIGHT NOW!!!


AMAZON: http://amzn.com/B00DWJ6BBS

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/.../see-how.../1116010546......
...
SMASHWORDS: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/414078

ITUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/.../see-how-she-runs/id840265532...


And here is the cover for See How She Fights..... because I love it!!!




Also..... out of everyone that comments, I will be using Random.Org to pick one lucky winner who will be getting the entire series in EBook as well as the first novella of my new RomCom series!  WHAT!?!?!?!?!  Exciting!



Let's see..... here is the link to the AMAZING Rafflecopter giveaway:






a Rafflecopter giveaway






Want to know who else is involved with this amazing giveaway?  Look no further!






Be sure to leave your name and email address in the comment as well as what format you prefer to read on.... that way I can get your books to you without delay! 



May all of your Christmas wishes come true!

xoxo,

Michelle Graves

P.S. I hear this guy prefers nice girls :D 



Monday, October 6, 2014

Chapter One See How She Awakens!


Prologue

                Echoes pulsed in my mind. Disembodied voices threatening the worlds demise pressed against me, but just as they came, they began to fade. In their place a new demon appeared, threatening my tenuous grasp on reality. Taunts of a life unlived filled my mind; a grave remembrance of an unattainable future left to ruin. His voice calls out to me, begging me to leave the void. Why would I go? He was here.  If I left, I would lose him again. But then the others appeared anew, washing him away with their promises of the horrors yet to come. I stopped the darkness; the demon is gone. Why wont they leave?

            Izzy! another voiceone I know, but dont wish to hearcalls to me.  The voice of betrayal.  Let me in! 

                Aberto. The one man that knew my world would be ripped from me. Hed done nothing to warn me. He couldve stopped Kennan from being taken from me. Now what was I? I wasnt human, not anymore.  So what remained?  Like a video reel playing out on a loop, the moment repeated itself.  The moment everything was ripped from my grasp.  Powerless to look away, I watched as Kennan was eviscerated. 

                The horror of the moment shifted, becoming reality.  Agony lanced through me, igniting every nerve in its trajectory, culminating in a fire that scorched everything daring to stand in its path.

                My soul still felt the echoes of that fire as it burned away all that was left of my humanity.  What was I? 
           
Izzy!  That voice shouldnt be here.  She should be safe with Ian. No, it was another lie; the echoes trying to trick me.  They had to be pushed back.  No more!  I couldnt survive the torment. I wanted to be alone, to rest in my isolation.

            You are not REAL! I shouted, throwing all of my energy into the dense fog. A shockwave pulsed outward, pushing back all that would threaten to harm me or take me away from him. He was my solace.  At least in the void we could still be together.

            You know that cant be, Kennans disembodied voice whispered.

            Why? You are here now. That is enough.

            Would you live the rest of eternity in this place while those you love suffer?  The determination and sorrow in his voice pulled at me, begging me to act.

                His words were a lie. Id taken the demon with me, absorbed every ounce of darkness into myself.  It writhed inside of me, seeking a way out.  If I stayed here, everyone was safe. 

            I wont leave.  A promise I intended to keep.

            Darkness is on the rise.

            The world will burn.

            Act now, or all is lost.

                The blackened figures pressed through my barrier, calling out to me. Blood trails cascaded from every orifice. They were so familiar, the faces of those Id left behind.  But they were all safe; Id taken the darkness.  Id made them safe.  Now I could rest.

            Think, Izzy!  REMEMBER!  Kennans voice shouted over the figures.

            All I remember is you, and you are gone.  Again I pressed outward, shoving the figures back for a time.  They would come again; they always did.
 
 
 
 
 
 


Chapter One

            IZZY!  Abertos strained voice pleaded through the fog, sounding further away than ever before.  Please. Allow. Me. To. Help.  Each word was a clipped strain as he pressed against the barrier Id created to protect myself.  He would not reach me. 

                The part of his soul that resided within me churned, begging to be reunited with its other half. That would never happen. Hed lied to me, betrayed my trust. 

            LEAVE! my shout sent a rush of energy that reverberated against the barrier.  I could feel him slip further away, and suddenly, I felt very alone.

            Darkness is on the rise.

            More will come.

            The world will burn.

                Madness had begun to sneak in; slowly at first, but it came all the same.  What was real?  Were these voices from now?  Or were they just sent to torment me?  Was I in hell?  Had the demon drug me down with him? 

            Izzy, dont stay here!  You must leave before it is too late.  Kennans voice again.  I must be going mad; he was gone.  No more would we be together.

                But if it was only madness, wasnt there a sense of joy to be gained?  No more would I feel the weight of the world upon my shoulders.  Id fulfilled the prophecy; Id fallen.  What more could I do?

            Remember, Izzy!  You need to remember!  Molly is going to die if you dont!  Kennans anger rose around me, turning the fog a deep crimson.

            Molly is safe in Chicago. Simple. Id made sure of it.

            No, she has been trying to reach you. Izzy, what must I do to make you understand? If you stay, everything will be lost.

            Why cant Uriel do it? Or one of the Old Ones? I did what was asked! I fell, taking you with me in the process.

            Izzy, no more. Im gone. You cant remain here. How can I make you understand? I was sent here to help you, but it seems I cant. Kennans frustration rubbed against my frayed nerves, causing me to sink into myself. 

                As the feelings began to fade, the tide of the void swept against me, sending me back to the start. Why do I feel so lost? The void was supposed to be my sanctuary, a respite from the world Id lost, but the voices leave me alone. Kennan wont leave me alone. He wasnt real. He died. Dont forget, hes gone. Forever.

            GO AWAY! I screamed to the fog, praying the voices would fade. I longed for nothing more than to forget. I was alone; that was enough.

            Izzy, you cant remain here. They need you. You must return. You promised me, Izzy. You promised you would live. Kennans voice bounced through the fog, heading straight for my soul.

            You promised we would have our forever! My throat felt tight as his voice brought forth all I was trying to forget. My other halfmy futurewas gone.

            I did what was necessary to protect you. Dont let that be for nothing, Kennans voice admonished. Now live, damn it!

            Why would I ever leave when I have you here with me? If I go, I will lose you forever, I reasoned, my voice barely above a whisper.

            The world will burn, a voice called from the fog. I knew they were coming; it always started the same. Id given all, and still it wasnt enough.

            Darkness will prevail.

            Act now or all is lost.

            You arent real! Sparks ruptured from my center, sending a blinding light outward. I could keep them at bay. Nothing would ever touch me again.

            Izzy? A strained voice pressed against my barriers, summoning something in my soul. There was comfort in that voice. Familiarity. A home. No, my home was gone. Hed died. This was the betrayer, the one whod let my home slip from my fingers.

            Listen to him, Izzy. Let him in, Kennan pleaded.

            I wont lose you, Kennan.

            If you stay, you will lose yourself. This is not where you are called to be. Why cant you see that? Kennans voice pleaded.

                Whispers echoed through the fog, another familiar voice. A message.

            Love and sacrifice. The voice of my home. No, not my home, the other one. The one my soul called to. The stranger in the fog. The memory from long ago.

            No. Kennans whisper cut through me, more plea than denial. Shes not ready.

            It. Must. Be. The other one, the one who made me this way, called.

            Izzy, I must go, and so should you. I cant remain here.  If I do, you will be lost forever. Kennans sadness ripped through me; pain seared a path straight to my center.

            You arent real. You are a phantom, but a phantom is better than nothing. I will stay.  No matter the other voices that hounded me, I would stay for him.

            And that is why I must go. My heart will be forever yours.  Take it and live, Red. His voice faded and with it he was gone.
            NO! I shouted, feeling the loss of him more powerfully than I would if he were a phantom. NO! He was real. He was here. The fire began to writhe inside of me, the darkness rolling in waves deep in the pit of my stomach. No, he cant be gone. He cant. No. No. No. Panic raced through me as the darkness cascaded around me. The fog churned into midnight as the figures promising death and destruction moved ever closer. No. A whisper, a plea before all was black.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The reality behind the Molly & Izzy friendship.

I've always heard the phrase "write what you know."  With Izzy and Molly, I did just that.  Their friendship isn't something I dreamed up in my mind, it isn't something I spent hours trying to perfect, it came easily and naturally.  Why? Because their friendship is based on a friendship I've shared with three amazing women for years. 

I know in the past I've talked about things I've been through, my fight with depression, and just general life struggles....  and I've even talked about these women before.  But I feel like it is worth repeating! 

In 2007, on October 22, I went through one of the hardest days of my life.  I miscarried.  This isn't a post about that though, this is a post about what has stayed with me most from that day.  This is about my best friends!

When I was falling apart, my three best friends in this world rallied around me.  I will use initials here... J and K showed went with me to the many doctor's visits that day alongside my mom.  They stayed with me while my heart broke and reminded me that it was okay to cry.  They held my hand and managed to still make me smile when the world felt like it was falling apart around me.

As soon as she could, A showed up, on her birthday, to join the troop.  Not the best way to spend a day of celebration, but she never once complained.  (Not until the next year when I went into labor on her special day... then she said the next year was all hers.  :D )

That day is forever burned into my memory, and surprisingly it isn't the loss of that day that stands out the most.  What has stayed with me over the past years is the selflessness of my friends.  They came with me and stayed, they went to my apartment and cleaned out anything that might remind me of the pregnancy and boxed it away until I might need it again, and they made me smile when every ounce of happiness seemed so far away.

If you ever find yourself wondering about Izzy and Molly.... well their friendship is based on my three best friends on this earth.  To this day, and to the last day of my life, I will love these women.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of each of them.  And though we live scattered now, I know that our friendship knows no distance. 

Thank you ladies for being there that day and all of the days after.  Thanks for inspiring me, making me laugh, and helping me to be brave.  I love you people!

xoxo,
Michelle Graves

Monday, September 22, 2014

The journey.... it's been a bumpy one.

Two years ago, when I sat down to write Izzy's story, I had no idea it would lead me here.  To this place where I have found who I really want to be, what I want to do.......  In a way, if Izzy hadn't shown up to drive me completely insane and pressured me to write her story, I never would've found that thing that completely fulfilled me.

Don't get me wrong, up until that point my life was miraculous.  I met and married the most amazing man on the planet... no really... he is seriously the most awesome person in the universe.  He takes me on grand adventures, helps hold me up when I am down, and is the very definition of what unconditional love should be.  And then there is our daughter, the Squish, who brightens my days with her voracious imagination and uncontainable energy.  My life was brilliant..... but I was missing something, something that I could call solely my own. 

Izzy fixed that.  She gave me an outlet for my creativity, a place to put all of my unspoken emotions, and a journey unlike any other.  In the course of writing this series I've found out a lot about the kind of person I want to be.  Izzy.  Plain and simple, she is brave, selfless, and loves without reservation. 

So this, this long and wordy post, is my thank you letter to her. 

Izzy, you showed up in my head and wouldn't go away until I told your story.  You put me through the ringer, made me drown in sorrow and soar on the greatest heights of happiness.  You were made flesh in my mind and I will always, ALWAYS remember that you were where it all started.  You gave me something that I never knew I wanted.  Now that it is time to say goodbye, to move on to other worlds and other characters......  I just wanted to take a moment and reflect. 

The past two years I've accomplished more than I thought possible.  I've met incredible writers, and found a community of supportive men and women unlike any other.  Through signings, facebook, and pretty much any social avenue, I've had the chance to meet incredible readers.  People that have fallen as much in love with Izzy as I have.  The letters I've received and countless messages telling me how much people love this series keeps me going.  When I sit down to write, I do it because I can't rest until the story is out in the world.  I do it for me, first and foremost, but I've found that sharing these stories with the world, with readers, is the cherry on top of an already awesome sundae.  Having people relate to Izzy, and fall in love with her journey, it motivates me to keep going!  I set out to sell 100 books when I hit publish.... I never in a million years thought it would lead to here.  So anything from this point on is just a really awesome bonus to an already fulfilling venture!

This journey, this incredible experience, is just beginning and I will never, EVER, forget that it is all because of you, Izzy. 

Thank you for reminding me to be brave.

Thank you for helping me to face my own demons and come out stronger.

Most of all, thank you for being so insistent.  You were just the nudge I needed.

I will miss you Izzy Boone....

xoxo,
Michelle Graves

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The end is coming and here is the music to get you through!

As The Chronicles of Izzy comes to an end, I'm feeling terribly nostalgic!  So, I am going to do a series of blog posts leading up to the release of Awakens that looks back on the journey this series has taken me on!  I feel like this will give me a little closure as I say goodbye to the characters I've loved so much! 


Today, it is all about the music behind the series!  I have tons of music that I downloaded just to inspire the series.  Y'all may have seen a post here or there about the music I've listened to while writing, but what you may not know is that each character has their own playlist.  The minute these songs play, my mind is drawn to a specific person and event.... so without further ado, I give you the music that made the characters!


Let's start with Izzy, shall we.  Our plucky heroine that is thrust into the deep end and struggles to keep her head above water for the remainder of the series.  I've put her through hell and she came out stronger for it.   So here they are, songs of Izzy!

1. Ashes by the Bengsons http://youtu.be/TtgSxW6k4Es
2. Seven Devils by Florence and the Machine http://youtu.be/hBcXe2B97TQ
3. Arms by Christina Perri http://youtu.be/MeW0Sl0tNS8
4. Comes and Goes (In Waves) by Greg Laswell http://youtu.be/pEFxfVyz4Uc
5. Medicine by Daughter http://youtu.be/sf6mkYz4mx0
6. 9 Crimes by Damien Rice http://youtu.be/cgqOSCgc8xc
7. Last Year's War by Sarah Slean http://youtu.be/GDp-sGzyDy4
8. Come by Fire by Sara Jackson-Holman http://youtu.be/V4T-hQmnk-I
9.  War Sweater by Wakey!Wakey! http://youtu.be/crzziW5aUI4
10. The Lightning Strike by Snow Patrol http://youtu.be/wE6gEbp9vvE
11. Black/White by Wendy McNeill http://youtu.be/oZikGDG-k6c
12.  Words in Your Eyes by Brooke Annibale http://youtu.be/0QHe9OQ1_1Q
13. Swelling by Sarah Jaffe http://youtu.be/5XxHXE38Z5o
14. The Other Side by Woodkid http://youtu.be/AHYQ1u8IJJQ
15.  Battle Cry by Imagine Dragons http://youtu.be/oejTE2bForo
16.  Fuel to Fire by Agnes Obel http://youtu.be/e-qGc62hXAI
17. Bogeyman by Johnny Hollow http://youtu.be/rNdQfEAnzlY
18.  Feral Love by Chelsea Wolfe http://youtu.be/iwT3DIIXWNA
19. The Devil Within by Digital Daggers http://youtu.be/G049LeVG6BI
 20. Dark Paradise by Lana del Rey http://youtu.be/aazb8Rt31nk

Now let's jump on over to Kennan.  Surprisingly, or rather not so surprisingly, most of the songs for Izzy were also for him.... so he doesn't have too many that are all his own.  Poor Kennan :(.

1. Wave by Beck http://youtu.be/m2DLZkv4Yvg
2.  The Sun by The Naked and The Famous http://youtu.be/fAIiS5n8phg
3. Almost Lover by Jasmine Thompson http://youtu.be/6o1GVKul38c
4. Do What You Have To Do by Sarah McLachlan http://youtu.be/vjn4we-6ol4
5. To Build a Home by The Cinematic Orchestra http://youtu.be/qkP6Tf79UrM
6. New Tricks by The Great Northern http://youtu.be/1M6Q2MEGzu8
7. Semi Automatic by The Boxer Rebellion http://youtu.be/Fb7A1qmt0Mo
8. Dark Paradise by Lana del Rey <---- The Kennan and Izzy song.  :( http://youtu.be/aazb8Rt31nk

So, the last character I want to talk about is Aberto.  The man that showed up and changed everything I thought would happen in Izzy's story.  I know that most of you have very strong opinions about him... you either love him or hate him.... as for me.  Well, I love him.  He was what Izzy needed him to be at every point of her journey and well, he is just made of amazing.  Aberto stole my heart! There are a lot of songs that settle in my chest like a heavy but welcome weight and each and every last one of them leads straight back to Aberto. 

1. Stranger by Katie Costello <-----  Seriously, this should just be renamed Aberto's song. http://youtu.be/8ArlscD4MOQ
2. Ghost in the Machine by The Fire and The Sea http://youtu.be/LxymP30TrR4
3. Feel Me by Mecca Kalani http://youtu.be/akxi_oce0wA
4. Stupid by Sarah McLachlan http://youtu.be/HLsvcIv2uAQ
5. Battle Cry by Imagine Dragons <----- this should be Izzy and Aberto's song.  ROFL! http://youtu.be/oejTE2bForo
6. Draw Your Swords by Angus and Julia Stone http://youtu.be/Ceup8anv94A
7. Keep Me High by Adaline http://youtu.be/_bw1uye8aOI
8. Houses by Great Northern http://youtu.be/3xfA_Vi3Dqo
9. Heavy in Your Arms by Florence + the Machine http://youtu.be/V_eOmvM-4zc
10. The Leaving Song by Chris Garneau http://youtu.be/emBR2RxiHoI




And there you have it.... lots of songs to immediately rush out and add to your playlists....  Let me know what you think!  Do any of the songs resonate with you?  Are there any songs that you've heard that made you think of series?

Until next time!

xoxo,
Michelle Graves

Friday, May 9, 2014

What Kennan Knew

WARNING!  SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!  IF YOU HAVE NOT READ SEE HOW SHE FALLS, DO NOT READ THIS!  IT WILL RUIN PART OF THE STORY FOR YOU!  YOU MUST NOT READ ANY FURTHER!!!!!!!  DON'T DO IT!  JUST SAY NO!

Still here?  Well, I hope you've read the book, if not, you are in for a terrible shock!  Okay, without further ado.... I really wanted to write this part of the book from Kennan's POV as well.  I felt like it was really important to A) give you a look at his POV and how he felt through all of this and B) Twist the knife a little deeper (mwahahahaha)!  So, here it is, Kennan's POV from the scene where Izzy tried to eavesdrop upon his conversation with Aberto!


 

                Aberto had a secret, and I knew that whatever it was, it wouldn’t be good.  I’d been dreading the truth since the helicopter, yet I followed him all the same.  I needed to know.  If it could help Izzy, if I could in some way keep her safe, how could I not follow him?

                We walked out into the murky swamp air, the chorus of frogs and cicadas threatening to burst my eardrums.  I stopped next to Aberto, whose gaze was transfixed by the swamp.  He looked as though the weight of the world rested upon his shoulders.

                “Out with it.”  I muttered, barely above a whisper.  I knew Izzy’s tendency to eavesdrop, I wasn’t going to take any chances.

                “I fear the news I am bound to deliver is not pleasant.”  Aberto never broke his concentration on the murky water.

                “Is this about how you feel for Izzy?  If it is, I have no desire to continue this conversation.  It isn’t as if you have hidden your interest in her.”  Anger bubbled inside of me, and an emotion I wasn’t proud of lurked just below the surface.  Jealousy.  I knew undoubtedly that Izzy was mine.  Regardless of their connection, I knew what we had would always win if there had to be a choice.  We were two halves of a whole, and the universe was threatening to tear half of me away.  I had to remember that this wasn’t about our loving the same woman.  This was about us protecting her.

                “I have made no secret of my affections for her that is true.  Despite those feelings, she has chosen you, Guardian.  Do not forget that there is more at stake here than her love.  Her life is on the line.  The prophecy has spoken, she will fall.

                “What is this about then?  What do you know?”  I all but growled.

                “You will die.”  Aberto’s voice was stiff, void of any emotion.

                “What?”  I turned to stare at him, grabbing his arm in the process.  “What do you mean?  When?  How?”  I couldn’t protect her if I was dead.  This couldn’t be right!

                “On the day of the reckoning, when the beast emerges, you will die.  Your death will trigger something in Izzy, something that must happen in order for her to do what must be done.  I know not why or how, I just know that this must be.”

                “Are you certain?  What of her, will she perish?” Kennan’s strained voice asked.

                “I am unable to see Izzy’s fate.  Once I interceded, her future shifted.  Into what, I know not.  As for you, I’ve known my entire life. I saw it the day I was brought into existence, and I’ve seen it every day since.” Aberto looked back to the swamp, doing his best to mask the sadness in his eyes.  I knew that his sadness wasn’t for me, but for Izzy.  He knew what my death could do to her.  My death.  I would die.  Izzy would be alone.

                “Swear to me that you will protect her, that you will not leave her side.”  I grabbed Aberto by the shoulders, forcing him to face me.   “Swear it to me," I choked out.

                “You need not even ask it, but I shall swear it all the same.” Aberto reached for my elbow to swear an oath.  An unbreakable bond that could never be revoked.  “I swear I will guard and protect her all of my days, no matter how many they may be. She will never be alone from this day onward.”

                “See that she is not. If you don’t mind, I’d like to be alone for a while.”  I stared back out into the swamp, pushing Aberto from my mind.  Izzy was all I could think of.  How would she survive?  I’d prepared myself to follow her into the void after she’d gone.  I knew that she was leaving, the prophecy had said it must be so.  But now, now I knew that her fall could mean so much more. 

                The world would be nothing without the light of Izzy shining upon it.  She needed to live, she had to live.  Even if that life was one without me.  How could I convince her to go on when I was all but ready to leave this world behind when she was gone?  Izzy.  How could I warn her?  I couldn’t.  This secret, this burden that burrowed its way into my heart, was mine to carry.  My demise could not be made common knowledge.  If Aberto was right, my death meant the salvation of so many others.  Even with every selfish bone in my body crying out that they didn’t deserve my sacrifice, I knew that one person undoubtedly did.  Izzy.  My world.  How could I face her? 

 

*******************************

                Swallowing down the lump in my throat, I headed back in to grab some food for Izzy.  I needed to act as though nothing had changed.  She needed my strength now more than ever, and I’d be damned if I wasted my last moments with her wallowing in misery.  I’d lived a good life, a life filled with thousands of memories.  I was given something so many others would never experience, unbreakable love.  That was enough.  I’d had enough, but I’d always want more.  No matter how many days I’d been given with her, I would always want more.

                I hurriedly grabbed up food and headed up to our room where I found Izzy waiting, a look of fear etched upon her face.

                “Why are you looking at me like that?” I did my best to smile as though nothing were wrong.

                “Nothing, it’s just,” she paused, biting her lip, “nothing.” Although something danced behind her eyes. It was possible she’d overheard everything we’d said. I had to know for sure.

                “Are you sure? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost. What’s going on, Izzy?” I placed the food on the dresser and made my way towards her.

                “I think my mind is playing tricks on me. Maybe the exhaustion is just getting to me. I’m okay, really," she lied.  I knew she’d heard something, but not everything.  Perhaps I could play this off.  Perhaps I could get away with telling her half-truths.

                “Promise?” I asked, tilting her face toward mine.

                “Promise, promise.” She lied once more, and I let it go. 

                “Well, in that case, it’s food time. No arguing.” I reached for the food, handing it to her.  How would she ever remember to eat once I was gone?  Who would remind her? 

                “What did Aberto have to say?” Izzy was testing me, I knew she was.  She loved to ask circular questions instead of getting to the heart of what was really going on.  So I did what I must, I continued to lie.

                “He wanted to talk strategy. Nothing serious. Honestly, I don’t know why you couldn’t have been there for the discussion. Sometimes, Aberto’s reasoning makes no sense.” I put the plate upon her lap, trying my best to give her a stern stare. “No more stalling, eat. I’ve got to go check in with Conall, but when I get back that food better be gone.” Raising a brow at her, I pulled her close to place a kiss upon her head.  Soon I would no longer be able to kiss her.  Soon she would be all but gone from me and I from her.

                “Aye, Aye!” she mock saluted, inhaling her food like she always did. 

               

****************************

                That night as she drifted to sleep, falling into the dreaming, I stared.  I looked upon her until it felt as though my heart might explode.  I loved this woman with every fiber of my being.  She was my sun, my brightness, my balance.  I would walk through the gates of hell itself if it meant it gave her a fighting chance.  She was my home, a home that I would soon have to leave behind. 

                “I pray to the gods that she will be strong enough to survive this.  Please, if you are listening, give her what you must.  Let her prevail.  Do not let her perish alongside me.  This world needs her far more than I.  Guard her and keep her, this precious gift.  I am not so selfish that I would ask to take her with me into the afterlife.  All I ask is that you, the ones that have ordained her destiny, allow it to shift.  Let her live.  Let her thrive.  Let her love once more.  Do not let me be the end of her.”

                I stared down upon the woman that had turned my world inside out and I knew that no matter what had happened, she’d been worth it.  Every second I’d spent with her had been worth every bit of pain, every sacrifice I’d made along the way.  She would always be worth it.

                My death was coming for me and I would gladly face it, knowing that it might just give her a fighting chance. 

 


So, I hope you enjoyed/cried/hated this excerpt.  I had a really hard time writing this bit.  Let's be honest, the whole third book was hard for me to write!  But here it is nonetheless!

xoxo,
Michelle Graves