Burn is almost ready to be released–I’m working out the final round of revisions (thanks to the fiction group and my dh) and cover art (thank you Jason–you rock!). For those of you eager to jump in though, I figured it might be nice to go ahead and put the first chapter up now. It’s a short one–well suited for a blog entry 🙂 For those of you following from Mirror, Aly is a secondary character in this one–Burn’s main character is Jo.
<Mixologists Notebook 1: Irish Remedy. 3 oz Old Bushmills, 3 oz Bailey’s, 3 oz bad coffee, topped off with about half a gallon of whipped cream.>
I woke with a skull splitting headache. I rolled over and squinted at my clock. 10:17. If I’d left the bar at my usual time, that meant I’d gotten less than six hours sleep. If. I couldn’t remember.
Gingerly, trying not to push the waves in my stomach to full on tsunamis, I slid out of bed and mixed my favorite remedy for a shitty morning. It tasted better than it sounded, though at this point, with a tongue that seemed to resemble an ashtray more than a muscle, I probably wasn’t equipped to judge. I slurped it down. Then, fortified, I studied the remote, trying to decide if I actually wanted to know what the local news had to say about last night. I picked it up, turning it over to study the weird indentation I’d left in it the last time I’d braved the news in this state. My hand tightened at the memory, inadvertently hitting the power button and flooding my apartment with a breathless, fluttery voice.
—the fourth apparent victim of what some are calling the Vampire Serial killer was found this morning. Sources close to the police department say it was another young woman, of similar physical type to the third victim.
The local Nimbo just seemed to get happier and happier every time she had a new murder to report on; her rise in ratings had been meteoric since bloodless bodies had started showing up in the streets. I wondered if the Louisville Metro Police Department had considered her as a suspect.
And then I wondered when they’d consider me.
I ran to the sink and hunched over, my stomach clenching. I should have known better than to even pick up the remote. No Irish Remedy could settle my stomach against this.
Ten years ago, my mother had told me signs to watch for. Headaches that split the skull and resisted all attempts at treatment. Blackouts that coincided with bizarre, unexplained events. Now I couldn’t seem to dodge the memories of her old stories, the ones I’d dismissed years ago as part of the same flightiness that generally defined her approach to motherhood. They skirted the edges of my consciousness, waiting to intrude on any empty moment. Distracting myself from them was getting harder and harder. Today marked the fourth time I’d awakened with a splitting headache and no memories of the night before. And every time, the morning revealed a new body, abandoned in an alley. The last one had been a woman in her late twenties, long dark hair, medium build, skin bronzed enough to leave ethnicity uncertain.
A woman, in other words, who looked just like me.