Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cover Reveal! Sacrifice, Fate #3 by Emersyn Vallis

Coming: November 16, 2014

For years my life was in a state of Adjournment… 

Fate had constructed a plan to push me away… to save me…

There was a danger I never knew existed, one I had never sensed. 

My family positioned themselves around me. 

Like Hanging Pawns, they shielded me from it and I lived blissfully unaware… until now.

Now, I know there are rules to this game...

Sacrifices to be made in order to get to End Game.

What would I Sacrifice for one more moment... one last look? Touch? Kiss? 

The answer is simple… 




Hanging Pawns

I go to speak when I hear a voice that turns my blood to ice cold then boiling hot.
“My, my… if it isn’t the littlest Chandler.” She gives a low cackle.
Mea’s once casual demeanor is suddenly gone. She sits up straight, her shoulders set back and her eyes fixed on mine, like a doll or something. I know this woman casts a chill over people who know her but I never saw it effect someone else. Then again, I’ve never seen her around anyone but her own kind. Lady doesn’t fraternize with the “average folks”. It’s frowned upon for people of her stature to even be seen with them. Unless it’s a good photo op.
I place my fork gently down and look up to see the woman standing next to me.
Her, I would go to jail for. There’s something about her smug, stupid face that I would gladly spend a night in jail for punching. I’m ninety percent sure her nose would just crumble. There is no way it’s real. I’ve seen her pug-nosed daughters. 
“Oh, look… it’s the oldest Carmichael.” I sing out to Mea, her eyes widening slightly.
For the record, I tried to think of something nice to say. She caught me off guard and nothing came to mind. I was taught it’s rude to not acknowledge someone.
“You’re absolutely adorable, it’s no wonder your mother keeps such a tight leash on you. That mouth could get you into trouble.” She bends slightly, pinching my cheek hard as she tries to make me break.
She’ll have to tear it off before I’ll give her the satisfaction of knowing it hurts.
 “It’s funny,” she lets go and pats the spot, “me running into you here. Where is your mother?” She looks around the space. 

I know she knows my mother isn’t here. This is all her trying to intimidate me.
“She isn’t here; and why is this funny?” I start to wish my mother would walk in like a superhero and throw her out the window.
“It’s just… I was putting together the charity event for next year and I mentioned to my son-in-law we should invite the Chandler girls, he disagreed but… men.” She waves him off.
Smart guy… although he can’t be too intelligent if he married into their family… however, we all know how the Carmichaels marriages are arranged… to the biggest bank account.
“You’re all together again and as you know we hold an auction, for our charity, of course.” She waves her long acrylic nails around as she speaks. “I would love if you and your sisters would join us.” She gives a laugh that feels more sinister than amused.
Taking out one of her business cards, she holds it out to me.
Before I can answer, Mea jumps in.
“You’re busy… then,” she tries to help.
She’s so cute, trying to come to my rescue.
“I’m sorry? I didn’t see the little mouse over here.” Lady turns towards Mea and my stomach knots.
Whoa, you leave my little mouse alone! I mean, my not friend!
Pick on someone who doesn’t have feelings to hurt.
“I’m guessing you’re the friend… Lexi. How, unique.” Lady’s tone drops to show she’s annoyed that Mea thought it was ok to speak up. “You should know, it’s rude to speak when you are not addressed.” She reaches out to pat Mea on the head like an animal.
I grab the card from Lady, in a desperate move to pull her attention back to me and off the squirming girl under Lady’s gaze.
“No, this is my assistant, Natalia.” I cast Mea off like she’s nothing so Lady will turn back to me. “Now you’ve been introduced but that does not give you permission to speak to her. As you know, it’s rude to butt in on a conversation, it’s even ruder to do so on a business meeting. Especially when it’s to accomplish one’s own means.” I slowly stand to assert myself. “I will speak to Morgan about attending.” 
I would never drag Morgan into this so she’s going to have to deal with only one of us.
It works and Lady looks back at me, her smile growing wider. “You know, we’ve always wanted to get you girls involved in more social activities. I’m so glad you’re interested. We also have a Gala after Christmas. I expect to see you there as well.” She smiles, even though her tone is challenging.
“Of course,” I cheer, my face permanently fixed in this fake pleasant face I didn’t know I had in me.  
Lady gives a single clap then pats my cheek again. “So adorable.” She begins to walk away and for some reason unknown to myself I feel like I need the last word.
“Lady,” I turn and watch her spin back to me. Victory written all over her face. 
“I’ll be sure to send some brownies as a thank you for the invite.” I toss a laugh at her and wave her on her way to show she’s dismissed.
Her mouth opens slightly then she looks around, fixes her jacket and turns to leave. Defeated.
Dropping in my seat, I grab my water to take a drink.
Me and my big, stupid, Chandler mouth. Two events that I have zero desire to go to and now I’m verbally contracted to both.
I think I just signed my soul to the devil herself.
Putting my glass back on the table, I crumble the card in my hand and I drop it in my purse before pushing my plate away.
“That woman should be in weight loss commercials,” I mutter, raising my hand for a waiter.
When he spots me, he walks over and smiles, “Is everything alright?” he looks from my dish to me.
“Everything is wonderful. I’m wondering if you could please get me a Baileys on the rocks.” I look at Mea. “Actually, make that two,” I smile back at the man.
He laughs an almost understanding laugh and walks away.
“I’m sorry about her, usually I have a shield.” A thought crosses my mind. “Today I guess I was yours, though.” I pinch the bridge of my nose. “She’s, as Grams would say, a twat.” I rub the space between my eyes, trying to relieve some tension.
“You seemed very confident.” Mea fixes her silverware. “You reminded me a lot of your mother,” she adds.
That’s probably what Lady means by ‘I’m adorable’. She means I remind her of my mother. There’s a clear distinction between my mother and me.
She cares what people think and I don’t.
“I’ve had years of training,” I smile at her, trying to brush off the weird mood that’s seemed to settle between us. 
“What was brownies code for?” She looks up at me, her index fingers drawing circles around her watch.
Oh that.
“No code. It stood for brownies. When we were in high school she accused me of giving her daughters brownies that were laced with stool softener.” I shrug.
Her expression chances from wary to intrigue.
“Did you?” she questions me.
“They always have this look of constipation on their faces,” I admit, without admitting.
She bursts into laughter. “You are my favorite person,” she says between breaths.
It’s weird that this conversation is what made her decide that. I was disliked for a long time after that and for some reason no one wanted to eat the brownies my mom made for holidays.
When our drinks arrive, we take them and raise them in a toast.
Mea speaks up before I can think of something to say. “To a non-friendship and twats, may the non-friendship stay warm even after the fire has gone out and the twats burn in hell from the embers.” Her voice is back to its regular perkiness.
Umm… well, how can I not toast to that?
Clearing my throat, I raise my glass and clink it off hers. Taking back the smooth liquid we both drain our glasses and place them back on the table.
“I don’t have a lot of women friends,” I smile at her.
“Yeah, me either. Women are assholes sometimes and I thought we weren’t friends?” She smirks and I raise my hand for the waiter again.
He comes over, his eyes sparkling with delight at us.
“Could we have another round?” I ask and look at Mea. “We’re celebrating our friendship tonight.” We exchange a sly grin.
“To Crazy and Baggage… a match made in absolute hell,” she winks at me and I agree.
Well… I hung out as long as I could.
She’s just so damn likeable.

Emersyn Vallis is a first time author with Adjournment being the first book in the Fated Series. Currently residing on the east coast with her husband and three children she is typically mistaken for being quiet and reserved her friends often describe her as a spastic spider monkey and always the first to be there with her quick wit to pull you back up when you’re feeling down. After reading as a hobby for most of her life it wasn’t until she had discovered R. L. Mathewson’s ‘Neighbor from Hell Series’ and Tara Sivec’s ‘Playing with Fire Series’ that she came up with the idea to fuse comedy and suspense together and her passion for writing was born.

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