Wow. It’s now less than a month until Touch of Frost is released. Squee! Today, I’m all atwitter because I get to share an excerpt from chapter 1 with you.
Here it is:
I stood inside Granddad’s cabin with a tear rolling down my cheek. Spiderwebs hung in swaths from the familiar peaked ceiling. A thick layer of dust covered the wooden mantel over the stone fireplace, the hardwood floor, and the table he’d made out of an old oak tree.
My fingers dug into the back of the faded plaid sofa. The last time I’d sat on it had been for the reading of Granddad’s will five years before, where I’d discovered he’d left the place to me. My childhood sanctuary sat untouched, awaiting my return, all that time.
Silence and loneliness put a squeeze on my soul. As I’d feared, without Granddad’s welcoming presence to fill the space, the cabin had become nothing more than an empty building no better than my apartment in the city—as meaningless as my life without his arms to hold me or his gentle voice to give advice on school, career choices, and even men.
Not that it helped me find one I could love.
No one measured up to him.
Through the cloudy window, the wilderness beckoned me to explore as if Granddad waited for me like he always had. An undeniable urge had me sprinting to the stairs. The third step from the top creaked, flooding my head with memories. Every year, my little socked feet had padded down those stairs in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Christmas tree, but I never made it past that step before Granddad would start counting.
“Back to your room before the count of five, peanut,” he’d say as he emerged from his bedroom, his white hair sticking every which way, fighting to hide his laughter from me. On his one, I’d chance another step. His two gave me another. When he reached four, I’d race back to my room, giggling.
Wearing a sad smile, I turned down the hallway and ducked into the last doorway.
My room hadn’t changed except for grime coating everything. An old handmade quilt topped the single bed by the window. A small white dresser graced the corner. On top of the peeling painted surface, Granddad’s stormy gray eyes stared out from the middle of a golden picture frame. In the image, he held a small piece of wood, half whittled into the shape of a lynx, and his carving knife.
A few more tears leak out as I clutched the picture to my chest. He and I had lounged on the back porch while he gouged at the wood, endless stories falling from his lips. Tales about how the sky and forest were living, breathing forces—the true gods of our world. Between the two, if we treated them with respect, had patience and knew where to look, they would provide everything we needed to survive.
Replacing the picture on my dresser took a strength I thought I’d lost. I emptied my knapsack on the bed, anxious to get out to the place where I knew his spirit roamed free.
If you enjoyed this little snippet, this little beauty will be available February 1st.
Click here to add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads. 🙂