The Novel Approach welcomes author Hayden Thorne today, with an excerpt and giveaway of her newest book The Golem Upstairs, sequel to Sheridan Diggins and the Dead Horde.
To enter for the chance to win an e-copy of the new book, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below.
Sheridan Diggins hasn’t had much luck in love. In fact, he hasn’t had much luck in anything, period. So when the prince of the underworld takes a sudden fancy to him, the future should look promising.
Or shouldn’t it?
Unfortunately, dating the youngest prince of the dead comes with a few complications. Yuli Soulweaver’s presence “upstairs” stirs up long-dormant magic, which adds to the baffling day-to-day experiences of Cecilia’s colonists. There’s also the danger of aliens and colonists discovering the existence of a magical universe, which could blow the lid wide open between two worlds that aren’t meant to come together.
The worst part, of course, is the fact that someone from Yuli’s world appears to have discovered the lovers’ dirty little secret and has taken the step of sending a mindless monster to do away with Sheridan.
Suddenly, paying the bills takes a backseat to Sheridan’s bizarre love life.
EXCERPT – FROM CHAPTER 12:
It was with some relief he picked up a pregnant woman who looked about ready to pop out a baby at any moment. She was terribly friendly and sweet, the chatty type whom one wanted desperately to adopt on the spot. Sheridan helped her inside the astro-cab and readjusted the seatbelt for her.
“Thank you so much,” she said, smiling in clear relief and joy as she relaxed in her seat. She pointed at her giant belly. “God, I’m just dying to get this over with.”
Sheridan laughed as he took his place and buckled up. He pulled out his ship’s map and asked, “So where are you headed, ma’am?”
When she didn’t answer right away, Sheridan glanced back and found her staring at him with a faint smile.
“You aren’t much,” she said. Her voice had taken on a different quality, too. It had softened and lowered in tone as though she were speaking to herself. But there was something else to it.
Sheridan blinked, his brain fighting to follow two completely diverging paths. “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you the first time,” he said.
“I look at you now, and I wonder. What does he see in – oh!” The woman gave a start, her eyes widening. “Did I just blank out? I’m so sorry.” She blushed now, laughing in embarrassment. “It’s hormones, I think. Anyway, I owe you an address, don’t I?”
In another moment they were on their way, with Sheridan staring ahead and feeling his skull expand. What had just happened? He couldn’t even be sure about what he’d witnessed.
It had happened so quickly, and it had come from out of the blue, completely taking him by surprise. It took some doing to wrestle himself back to the present.
The pregnant woman turned out to be his last passenger before lunch. He watched her slowly pick her way along a footpath with the help of a couple of friends, all three women chatting happily as they went.
Sheridan watched them vanish inside an apartment building. “Hey, Grandma?” he asked.
“Yes, I heard. Lovely young lady, I must add. She really shouldn’t be traveling around so much with her being that big,” Grandma Janet said without a pause for breath. Then again, she was dead, so pausing to catch a breath seemed superfluous.
“You know what I mean.”
“I do. I was just dicking with you.”
Sheridan sighed. “What did she say? I’m not sure I heard her right.”
“She said something about you not being much, but I don’t know – maybe she meant you don’t look like much? She mumbled her words half the time, but that might be nothing more than the end result of talking with two voices. The other thing she said got cut off. I didn’t really catch that one. I think I was too busy worrying about her popping like a tick on a heat lamp and really ruining your day.”
“Hold on – did you say she spoke in two voices?”
“She sure sounded like it. One was her voice – I know that for sure. The other was lower, almost masculine.” Grandma Janet paused. “Good lord, is she a ventriloquist? I’ve never met one before. I’ve always thought they were nothing more than just relics from ancient Earth history, but if there are professional ventriloquists on Cecilia, I feel so goddamned cheated now.”
Sheridan’s hair stood on end. He’d heard the second thing the woman had said, but the nature of her voice had just been made clear to him. He’d thought she sounded downright bizarre, but never had he even entertained the notion that she’d be speaking in two different voices, literally. The unease returned, and Sheridan quickly flew Old Myrna away.
“Is there something wrong, kiddo?” Grandma Janet piped up, breaking the silence. “You’re speeding.”
“Oh – uh – I just wanted to get to the fish and chip stand before the lunchtime crowd shows up.”
“Oh. Okay. For a moment I thought you were freaking out over that pregnant ventriloquist. I wonder where she performs. I’m sure she’s pretty damned good in her work. I swear, I’ve never seen anyone give off such potent vibes the way she did.”
“Don’t know what you’re talking about, Grandma.”
“Oh – you know. I think it’s called emoting in the theater world. In her case, she talked with two voices and really gave me a strong feeling of wanting to destroy you if she weren’t hobbled so much by her gigantic belly. I’m calling it now – she’s going to have triplets.”