COMING SOON, SNIPPETS, AND MORE.
Brandt's Rule, Book 1
Odin, Whispers From the Bayou, 9
Foray, Book 2
But, If They Have Wings A WINGS Prequel
And more, stay tuned...
Snippets from How My Krynch Saved Christmas, and Brandt's Rule, Legacy, Book 1.
Snippet from 'How My Krynch Saved Christmas, An Otherworldly Christmas Short', Copyrighted to Sandra R Neeley, 2023
“Nooooo!” Grace insisted dramatically.
“But, please?!” Bethany whined. “You know it’s my favorite time of year. And you promised!”
“I did not promise.”
“Yes, you did.”
“Only to make you stop pestering me about it. I didn’t mean it,” Grace confessed.
“I don’t understand why you can’t just do this one little thing for me.”
“Yes. You do. You know I hate this time of year, and you know why I hate this time of year. And as someone who knows that, you should know better than to beg me to be a part of this stupid tradition you dreamed up.”
“It’s not stupid. It gets everyone in the neighborhood together. Everyone bonds and catches up, and gets to express their inner Elf, and we can just relax and take a day off from all the rush and stress of Christmas. And you used to love it, too.”
“Having to find, buy, or make an outfit for a costume themed Christmas party is not relaxing and stress free. Especially for those who don’t like Christmas, don’t look forward to it, and will as of almost four years ago, have to attend alone — again.”
“Maybe it’s a good thing, though. I’ve told everyone to feel free to bring a guest or two this year. Maybe you’ll meet your Prince Charming.”
“More like my Grinch Charming, with my luck. Besides the last thing I want is another Prince Charming.”
“No. You always try to set me up with someone.”
“I do not!”
“You do, too. And they never want to be with me, and it just makes me feel worse.”
“I don’t try to set you up.”
“Do you really think I’m that stupid?”
“I don’t think you’re stupid at all. I think you’re very smart. Very beautiful. Very independent, established, sexy, witty…”
“That right there is the problem. Stop describing me like that. People think they’re getting Cindy Crawford instead of a cantankerous, middle-aged, overweight, fluffy woman who’s suspicious of everyone and all their shit.”
“You undervalue yourself.”
“You overvalue me.”
“I like you!”
“Why, though? It’s not my charming personality. Is it the ever-present awkwardness that is my social gift? Maybe the embarrassing attempts at conversation that always fail? Is that what you need to feel better about yourself?”
“Stop that. And, please, just come to the party.”
“Not a good idea.”
“You’ll make me very happy.”
“It’ll make me very sad.”
“You never miss it.”
“And I always regret it. At least for the last four years. Please, just give me a pass this year.”
“Look, I let you off the hook with the Christmas decorations, didn’t I?”
“Only because I gave in and put up a strand of white lights.”
“Around your front picture window. On the inside. You were supposed to put them all along your roof and doors and the other windows, too.”
“Be glad you got what you got.”
“I don’t want you alone for Christmas. You spend way too much time alone.”
“It’s not Christmas. It’s more than two weeks before Christmas. And I’m not good company. It’s better if I’m alone. Other people like it better that way, too.”
“Only because you never let anyone in. And you always manage to find something snide and biting to say. Stop being so bristly!”
“Let’s see how open and welcoming you feel when your husband of twenty years leaves you for his mistress because he got her pregnant and is now giddily happy over their second impending child after lecturing you all your married life about how much he didn’t want a child and how selfish you’d be if you did, so you wasted your entire youth on the rat-bastard and now you’re too old for anyone to want, and it doesn’t matter anyway because there’s no chance of a child for you with anyone.”
Silence met Grace’s outburst.
“I’m sorry,” Bethany finally said. “But you can’t let him dictate your life. You don’t have to defer to him anymore. Don’t let him determine the rest of your life.”
Grace sighed. “Other than spouting bouts of vitriol about him and his baby-mama, I don’t have it in me to care anymore. I’m so tired of not being enough, Bethany. Every man I’ve met the last four years has wanted nothing more than a booty call here and there. I can’t anymore. I’m just not interested. Me and Satan Claws are going to wing it on our own from now on.”
“Still can’t believe you named that cat Satan Claws.”
“Excuse me, but you know his full name is Satan Claws the Murder Floof. He’s a sweet baby kitty, and since I got him at Christmas, he needed a Christmassy name.”
“Grace, honey, Satan Claws the Murder Floof is not Christmassy.”
“Depends on the point of view.”
“And he’s not a kitty. He’s a huge, scary freaking cat.”
“He is not.”
“Grace, he’s as big as my dog and growls at everyone and everything.”
“Because he shares my outlook on people in general.”
Bethany sighed resignedly. “Look, this year it will be easy. Just pick a Christmas costume. Doesn’t matter what you want to be. Mrs. Claus, an angel, a Christmas tree, a Christmas ornament, a candy cane, an elf — whatever it is, just pick one. Anything.”
“Is Edward coming?”
“No! He doesn’t live in the neighborhood anymore. It’s a neighborhood party.”
“He came last year, and he didn’t live here anymore. He still came, and he brought his baby mama. Way to distract me, and make me enjoy the holidays again, Bethany.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know Michael had invited him. This year, though, I made sure that he wasn’t invited.”
“I sent him an uninvitation telling him that he is not invited and neither is she.”
“Did he answer?” Grace asked, her voice going soft and defeated.
“He said thanks for the tone of my uninvitation, and that they couldn’t come anyway because his wife has morning sickness twenty-four hours a day and their three year old has strep throat.”
Grace took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I hope the baby feels better. I also hope she wanders around the house drinking out of every glass and cup they put down and licking every fork they’re trying to eat off of.”
“Grace!” Bethany chided.
“What? I said I hope she feels better. It’s not her fault her parents are lying, cheating assholes.”
“Are you going to come to my party or not?”
“It starts at 8:00 P.M.”
“I’m not coming.”
“That gives you four days to be ready. And I know you’ll be late, so I’ll see you around 9:00 or 9:30.”
“I still won’t be ready.”
“Be here by 9:30 P. M. at the latest or I’ll bring the party to your house.”
“Can I bring Satan Claws?”
“No! He scares people!”
“Then I’m not coming.”
“I’ll see you no later than 9:30 P. M.”
“Fine,” Grace snapped.
“Bye!” Bethany chirped jovially.
Grace pressed ‘end call’ on her cell phone and stood there looking out of the window at the silent, serene snowfall. Nothing about it felt serene tonight, though. Almost everything in life lost its magic the day Edward had walked out of their door to build a life with another woman. Even the snow she’d once loved so much lost its appeal. Living in Minnesota meant lots of snow once winter arrived. A loud, plaintive rowr from her right got her attention. She looked down to see a stunningly gorgeous white, Maine Coon cat, looking up at her. He was larger than average for his breed, and really didn’t like anyone but her. “It sucks, doesn’t it, Satan Claws?”
Satan Claws rowred again, but this time he lifted a huge paw to pat at her leg.
“Alright. Hold on. I’m going to need wine for this.” She poured herself a glass of deep red wine, then emptied an entire can of tuna onto what was actually a cookie plate for kids to leave cookies out for Santa, and carried both into the living room. She put the cookie plate of tuna on the window seat in her picture window and plugged in the single strand of white lights she’d adorned the frame of that window with. She smiled as she admired the warm glow of the white lights framing Satan Claws with the snowbanks out in the front yard illuminated by the moonlight outside. “I hate Christmas, Satan Claws,” she said with a tear spilling over her lashes and slowly tracking down her face.
Satan Claws glanced up at her between bites, then went back to eating.
“I’m alone. Everyone else is out there loving each other and celebrating togetherness and family. I don’t need it shoved down my throat.” Grace watched the cat as he finished his dinner and reclined in his favorite spot in the house — the window seat — as he started cleaning himself.
“Just let me stay in my house by myself. I’ll see you mid-January,” she grumbled as she took her wine and her phone and settled in her favorite overstuffed chair. She started scrolling for some kind of Christmas costume she could order and have arrive in the next couple of days. Vocally criticizing everything she saw, she suddenly grinned. Then she laughed. “That’s it. I found it.”
Satan Claws looked up at her as he licked his paws, seeming to urge her to get over it.
“I’m working on it, Satan. Found one. Don’t think they’ll be real impressed, but it works for me. If nothing else, it’ll keep away whoever she’s roped into coming to meet me. She does it every year and still hasn’t admitted it. Doesn’t matter anyway. No matter who she’s chosen in the past, it never works out. They’re never heard from again.”
Satan Claws lifted his lip and hissed a little.
“Yep. Same,” Grace said.~
Snippet from Brandt's Rule, Legacy, Book 1.
Unedited, subject to change, copyrighted to Sandra R Neeley 2023
~Brandt was up on the roof, just over the crest on the opposite side of the building when the rider pulled off the highway and followed the red dirt road to the build site. He’d heard the bike in the distance but paid it no mind until it became apparent whoever its rider was, was approaching. He paused and scooted up the roof to look out at the rider as they got closer and eventually came to a stop.
“I got it. Finish up what you’re doing,” Jobe called out as he walked out of the interior of the building, wiping his hands clean on his jeans from the Sheetrock mud that was clinging to them.
He watched as the rider came to a stop, then turned off their engine, sitting on their bike for a moment as they took their time looking around. There were multiple trucks parked scattered around the site, but none of them seem to hold the rider’s attention for long. It was almost like they weren’t finding what they were looking for.
He took a few more steps toward the rider, now using a stained white towel to better clean his hands. “Hey. Can I help you with something?” he asked.
The rider turned their head and looked at him before standing and swinging their leg over the bike before beginning to walk toward him. It was at that exact moment that Jobe realized the rider was female. Male’s didn’t have long, lithe legs like that.
Up on the roof, Brandt was still watching, growing more and more antsy by the moment, though he was at a loss to figure out why.
Jobe relaxed only minimally realizing he was dealing with a female.
“Hi, I’m looking for a friend of mine. I was told that he might be working on this site, or if not that someone here might know him.”
“Okay. And who are you?” Jobe asked.
“Just a friend.” She unstrapped and removed her helmet, shaking her lustrous silver hair out as she tucked her helmet under one arm and extended the other to shake Remi’s hand.
Jobe extended his hand, shaking her hand as he watched the very unique female standing before him.
Brandt’s fingertips actually began to sink into the wood of the roof he was shingling the instant the woman removed her helmet.
“You want to not tear the wood off the roof?” Remi asked.
Brandt didn’t even look at Remi, but his chest rumbled slightly in response.
“Who are you looking for?” Jobe asked.
“Like I said, a friend of mine. He’s older than I am. Has a prominent scar across his face,” she indicated with her hand where the scar crossed Maverik’s face, “and he used to wear his hair in a Mohawk, and ride a motorcycle. His name is Maverik.”
Jobe’s gaze wandered over to her bike, then back to her, noting that it was almost identical to Maverik’s. “Used to?”
“It’s been a long while since I’ve seen him. Actually, a really long while.”
Jobe nodded thoughtfully. “Nobody fitting that exact description pops right into mind,” he said, knowing better than to offer up any of their family members to somebody they didn’t even know.
“Are you sure because I kind of get the feeling that he’s around here, often.”
Jobe smirked. “A feeling, huh?”
“Tell you what, I’ll ask around. You want to check back in a day or two, I’ll let you know what I find out,” Jobe offered.
Tempest knew exactly what was happening. They didn’t know her, had no clue what she wanted with Maverik. And they were closing ranks to protect him. “Any help you can offer in locating him would be greatly appreciated.”
“All I can promise is that I’ll find out if anyone knows him. If so, we’ll point you his way.”
“I appreciate your efforts,” Tempest said. Tempest smiled, and intentionally projected a warm welcoming feeling toward Jobe, and to the rest of the crew she could sense watching her. There were several humans scattered about the site, but there were even more paranormals. It was the paranormals that had remained hidden while she spoke with Jobe, but she had no doubt they’d not missed a single word of their conversation. Tempest turned, walked back over to her bike and got on it. She reached for her helmet, but right before she pulled it on, she cast a look up onto the top of the 3rd story roof that Brandt and Remi were on. Her eyes locked with Brandt’s and for an uncomfortable moment in time neither could look away.
Summoning all the strength gifted her from both her parents, Tempest pulled her helmet on, breaking the connection, then fired up her bike and drove away. She held herself taut. Keeping her emotions in check. Refusing to allow her shock to get the best of her, refusing to allow the literal shaking of her soul to transfer to her body. The male she’d just locked eyes with stripped her raw. It was like he could see right through her, and what the hell was up with that?
Brandt watched as the female rode away, and couldn’t hold in the snarl that erupted unbidden from his throat.
“You alright?” Remi asked.
Brandt ignored Remi, and slid down the roof, landing on his feet right behind the building, stalking quickly to where Jobe still stood watching the female go. “Who was she?” Brandt demanded.
“I don’t know. Said a friend of Maverik’s. You heard her.”
Remi had hurried to follow Brandt. “Hey, you good?”
Brandt glared at Remi, but didn’t answer. Instead he turned to Jobe as they listened to the echoes of her bike in the distance carrying her further and further away. “She comes back… don’t touch her!”
Jobe’s head jerked back like he’d been slapped, his brows raising in surprise. “Dude, I’m married. I have no interest in her whatsoever.”
“I didn’t ask if you had an interest. I said don’t touch her,” Brandt insisted, walking away from all of them and getting in his truck. He turned the ignition and said not another word to anyone as he spun his tires, quickly leaving them standing where they’d been, watching him as he drove quickly away.
Jobe and Remi looked at each other. “What the hell is his deal?” Jobe asked.
“Obviously he knows her,” Remi said.
“I’m not sure, but I’m thinking I might have a hint,” Remi said, looking at the last place they’d been able to see Brandt’s truck before they lost sight of him.
“Hey! Where did Brandt go?” Barron asked, striding up from a couple of buildings over.
“I’m pretty sure he followed the girl that showed up looking for Maverik,” Jobe said.
“What girl?” Barron asked.
“Girl showed up and said she’s looking for Maverik. When she left, Brandt jumped down off the roof and followed her.”
“She say what she wanted with Maverik?”
“No. Didn’t even give her name. Just said she was a friend of Maverik’s and hadn’t seen him in a long while.”
“Then what the hell is wrong with Brandt? Lot of people know Mav. Why’d he follow her? Did he say anything?” Barron asked.
“Only that if she comes back I’m not allowed to touch her,” Jobe said defensively.
“You touched her?” Barron asked.
“I shook her hand when she extended hers! It’s common courtesy.”
Barron stood there a second or two thinking about it. Then his eyes widened and he looked at Remi. “Ohhh!”
“Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking,” Remi said.
“Lord, I hope not. I do not want to be in the middle of that,” Barron said.
“Middle of what?” Jobe asked.
“I do believe that ‘Mr. I am better off alone and maintain ultimate control at all times’ has just met his match. And she’s here searching for his uncle,” Remi said.~