Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sunday Sampler Dancing With Monsters Chapter 10 excerpt

I will have a giveaway for Dancing With Monsters hopefully sometime in April.  I'm inching my way done & still hope to have this one out soon!  For now, enjoy a sample of Chapter 10!


“Malachi,” I whispered his name.  “Malachi,” I repeated with no response.
Eveie and Eos had left suddenly leaving Malachi and me alone.  They moved us to a cage with silver bars that reminded me of a fancy birdcage.  The terrain was littered with grey rocks and surrounded in a lavender sky.  It reminded me of pictures of the moon’s surface with its barren, grey landscape. 
I had tried to loosen the lock on the door, and even bend the bars in hopes of slipping between them, but it was too strong even though it looked delicate and I should have been able to easily twist it with my fingers.
“Malachi, we have to get out of here.” I knelt beside him as he stared blankly in front of me.
Eos had simply stared into his eyes rendering him into almost like a zombie.  If we were going to escape, now was our chance.  I tried the bars again.  It was useless and I was just wasting time and my energy. 
“You can wake him,” said a voice—Ezra’s voice—in my head.
I knew she was with me, and just like a pretty knickknack sitting quietly on a shelf, so was Ezra inside of me.  I felt her strength since I did my second Taking on her.  Our thoughts, feelings and personalities were beginning to blend and bind as one.  I wasn’t scared of it or felt it wrong, and in fact, for the first time in my life I felt complete like I had suddenly grown another arm or leg that had been amputated and miraculously had regrown.
I turned to Malachi.  Pushing back his dark hair, I tilted his face towards mine.  His eyes were fixed and pupils dilated like two black dots.  I wasn’t sure how to bring him out of this demon-trance, but I didn’t need to, Ezra did.
With unblinking eyes, I burrowed my gaze into his expressionless stare.  At first I thought I was doing a Taking, but before I stopped, Ezra reassured me.
“You are giving him some of your energy,” she said just before I started to release my hands from his face.
I let Ezra guide me like a blind person through traffic. I trusted her enough to let her share a body with me, and I trusted her with Malachi.
I kept my eyes on Malachi’s blue eyes that reminded me of a summer day, but not any summer’s day, the first nice one that was the start of the season and a relief from the erratic winter that didn’t want to end.  I felt the air change around us—it became sweeter and blew gently across us and ruffled a few strands of my hair.  The grey-purple light that surrounded us, transformed into a bright light that released the different colors of our surroundings that the lavender light had covered in a shroud.
I let my connection to Malachi deepen and suddenly, it felt as though someone had taken a spoon and scooped out a part of me like ice cream out of a container.  Grateful pain.  That is the only way I could describe it.  It was like pulling a thorn out of a sore finger—it made it worse at first, but when it was done, you felt no more pain.  My energy slipped to Malachi like a summer’s cloud drifting across the sky.
Malachi drew in a deep breath and blinked his eyes.
“Malachi,” I said with relief as I sat on his lap with my hands still cupping his cheeks.
He looked around then up at me with a smile.  “Was it good for you?”  He teased as he curled his hands around my wrists.
The comment would have normally agitated me, but it didn’t.  “Yes, yes it was.” 
I stood up and smiled at him as I helped him to his feet.
“Then we should do that more often,” he said looking around at the bars of the cage.
“Help me with the lock before those two demons get back.”  I went over and rattled the door again.
“What about the third demon, dear?” asked a woman that suddenly stood in front of me. 
She was dressed in a white gown that draped across her body and trimmed in gold threads.  Her hair, skin and the iris of her eyes were all the same shade of grey and looked like someone had created her out of clay.  She was beautiful as if she had been shaped by an ancient artist in some distant land from another time with her hair piled high on her head and adorned with looping gold thread woven through her grey strands.  Her skin was smooth and showed no blemishes or any imperfections.  Even when she smiled, it barely revealed any wrinkles.
“I’m Ebony, and you shouldn’t draw attention to yourself like this.”  She motioned around her.
The grey landscape had changed into one filled with trees, grass and blue skies overhead.
“I think Eos underestimated your power, and I’m beginning to question her ability to keep things on schedule.” She slid her hand across the lock and it clicked open.  “Both of you come.”  She shifted her grey eyes from me to Malachi, and then turned walking away.
Malachi went out first and tucked me behind him as we followed Ebony.
“Where are you taking us?” he asked.
Ebony turned and glanced at us over her shoulder.  “If you like dealing with Eos, then stay here, because she wants you as a pet, and you,” she fixed her grey eyes on me.  “She wants your energy.  And the only way for her to get that is by killing you.”  Ebony turned and faced us as she crossed her arms across her chest.  “I’m offering you something entirely different—decide your own fates here in the Shadowlands.”
“And what is that?”  I asked stepping out behind Malachi and closer towards Ebony.
She smiled.  “We can both benefit here, and Eos isn’t offering anything to you.  If you don’t come now, you won’t have a choice, but will die instead.  Eos’s power is strong, but combining ours will be stronger.”
Ebony turned and walked towards the green landscape that I had unknowingly created.  I looked up at Malachi, and then wrapped my hand in his.
“We don’t have a choice, let’s follow her.”  I gently tugged on him.
He took in a deep breath.  “These are no ordinary demons,” he warned in a low voice.  “They are powerful, cunning, and by the sound of what Ebony said—fighting already amongst themselves over power of the Shadowlands.”
“I know, but this one is helping us.  Eos wants to suck the life out of me when she gets back, and turn you into a zombie puppet,” I said in a hushed voice.  “This is our escape, and we need to take it.”
Ebony stopped, and gazed over her shoulder at us as if waiting for Malachi to decide.  I looked at her too, and realized she wasn’t forcing us to go with.  She wanted us to go willingly.  I didn’t understand why since she was a demon and could have what she wanted right now and get rid of Eos when she came back.
Malachi looked at her, and then at me.  “Let’s go, I don’t want to be a zombie puppet and have the life sucked out of you.”

Ebony led us through the mini oasis that I had unknowingly made when I gave Malachi some of my power to a cavern with towering, jagged rocks.  A narrow, sandy path wound its way through the yellowish colored cliffs.  Ebony didn’t say anything to us, and glanced back with her clay-colored eyes.  A gently breeze would swoop down on us stirring up some of the sand that was the same yellow color as the cavern walls that jetted out in sharp angles.  The lavender sky overhead was like a tiny ribbon of color that contrasted with the warm colors surrounding us.
Malachi walked in front of me and held my hand tightly.  He didn’t say anything, but I could tell he was getting more and more nervous the farther we went.  His hand was sweating in mine, and he repositioned it several times.  I didn’t feel threatened or scared at all, and really should have been, but I wasn’t.  Maybe it was Ezra calming me in her own way, but I knew Ebony wasn’t going to hurt or lead us into a trap. 
“If she does something, run as fast as you can out of here,” Malachi said without removing his eyes from Ebony who walked gracefully in front of us with her sheer dress curling around her feet like mist.
She glanced back with a smirk and a raise of her left eyebrow.  “We’re here, lovelies.”
The slender pathway opened to a large crevasse of the same yellow rock, but open to the sky above.  I stood in awe of the intricately designed buildings carved out of the rock.  Arched window, doors and carvings of swirling designs graced the walls of the many structures that lined this large circular area. 
“It’s beautiful,” I said staring up at it.
“It should be,” Ebony said with crossed arms gazing up at it as well.  “Ezikel designed and carved this for me.  He’s an amazing architect, and quite an accomplished demon with amazing ideas—that is until Eos sucked the life from him.”  Her voice filled with sourness.  “But all isn’t lost yet, come,” she said walking up to the largest of the carved buildings.
Inside was as magnificent as outside.  The walls were scalloped in deep arching designs that reminded me of frozen waves, and the floor was smooth with pastel colored stone.  Overhead were irregular, dimly glowing balls of light.
“You have orillions?”  Malachi questioned with surprise.
Ebony turned with a gloating smile.  “Yes, we demons do enjoy what others create, but not all demons respect and enjoy what others make.  I have an appreciation for many things, my young Malachi.”  She stood in the center of the room that was a mix of many colors pale and some shining in this elaborate room.
“It’s really beautiful,” I said with a glare from Malachi as he shoved me behind him. 
Ebony walked towards us with a smile.  “Ah, you appreciate as well.”  She stopped in front of us as Malachi squared his shoulders.
“If I wanted to kill you I could, but I don’t.  I’m tired of killing, taking and being ruthless, lawless, and without an ounce of humanity.  That is the one trait we can all learn from the human race—being compassionate to others and having a sense of respect for others.  Being a demon or angel, there is no in-between, there are only definite lines and from that spawns wars.  Sometimes I think humans as well as monsters would be better off if they didn’t have us looming over them.”  She switched her grey eyes from me to Malachi.  “I wish to change that.”
“And how do you plan to do that?”  Malachi asked.
Ebony smiled. “By letting April Snow do what she does best—she will take my power and Eos’s power as well.”  She stepped towards us.  “She will do a Taking.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Midwekk Mayhem Dancing With Monsters Chapter 9 excerpt

Things can go well for only so long.  Slowing a bit on Dancing With Monsters, but the end is in sight along with a couple of giveaways I'm working on.  Keep watching my blog and fb page for details!  In the meantime, enjoy an excerpt of Chapter 9!


“Yolanda and Rusul, nice to see you again,” he said with a bow.  “But unfortunate to meet under these circumstances.” 
“Hesediel Grayson, welcome,” Yolanda said.
“The serum didn’t work well on humans, and the demons gave up on it until this one,” Uncle Hes motioned towards the cell containing the demon, “decided to try some for herself.  Eveie has eluded me for some time and I could no longer keep the lightstone in my possession.”  He shifted his eyes to me.  “That’s where you came in, Seth.  And I see your two door-squabblers are still with you,” he glanced at Nessa and Malachi.  “Good companions are hard to find.”
“But,” I stepped towards him.  “What is this all about?  I thought you were in Duneloc.”
“I was called here, just as Ayil Archer and Isaiah Tollwick,” he looked to Edan, “your father, and one of the best archangels I’ve ever worked with.”
Dumbfounded as the rest of us were, Edan nodded out of respect.
“I don’t understand,” I shook my head.  “Uncle Hes, you need to explain.”
“It’s very simple when you think about it.”  He stated like I should have caught on by now.  “You are blood of my blood, I’ve always told you that, but that is only one part of it.  I wanted you to prove to me you were worthy of the lightstone before I just handed it over to you.  You brought back Ezra from the decaying Shadowlands, captured and contained a demon in the lightstone, and worked the portal to get to earth.”  He placed his hands on my shoulders.  “You are not just some ordinary monster Seth Fairstone, you are one blessed with archangel abilities.”
“He can’t be,” Edan protested.
“He is,” said another voice coming from the shadows.  It was Ayil walking beside another man that looked like an older version of Edan.
“Father…”  Edan gazed at the man that looked as hard as white marble.
“This wasn’t how things were supposed to go, Hesediel.”  He was dressed in the same black robe as Yolanda and Rusul.  “You said Ayil had your nephew at her residence along with his companions.  We ended up chasing them through the night market and nearly losing them to this demon’s two sisters.”  He motioned towards the cell.  “I think you were trying to trick us.”
“Trick you—I wasn’t,” my uncle replied sternly.  “Things of this matter can go astray at a moment’s notice.  We are here now, and that’s all that matters.”
“That’s not all that matters here.  Three demons have consumed the serum, and that’s three too many!”  Isaiah raised his voice.  “You told me your nephew was ready to take your place and he would be assisting us.  The serum that the renegade monster made was to be ours.”  He motioned towards April.  “And now we have a demon-bit monster in the equation to deal with.”
I looked over at where April was standing to not find her there, but in front of the cell containing Eveie.  She gazed up at it mesmerized along with Malachi.  I knew they shouldn’t stand that close, and while everyone argued about what was supposed to happen, what to do with the demon, and who should have possession of the serum, April lifted her hand into the cell as a white, slender hand grabbed onto her.  April was releasing the demon.
“April!”  I yelled.  “Malachi!”  But it was too late.
Standing tall and slender, like a blade of grass covered with frost, Eveie with her fire-red hair and pale skin covered with iridescent scales, stood in front of me and smiled.  She held onto April’s hand and shoved a dazed Malachi to the ground.
“Thank you for the lovely accommodations, but I must be going,” she said reaching into her pocket.
I lunged for April, but was quickly knocked to the ground by a bolt of light from April’s hand.  Her blackened eyes were like a reptiles; cold and depthless.  I tried to get up, but the air had been knocked out of my lungs.    
Yolanda, Rusul, Isaiah, and Uncle Hes jumped into action without hesitation.  Rusul, Uncle Hes, and Yolanda quickly expelled a thin blade from their hands—palm scepters that were made by the Fae—I had seen them before though never used by angels.  They began to glow red as if they had been heated.  Yolanda, Rusul and Uncle Hes dropped their swords all in unison.  The smell of burnt flesh filled the air.  Isaiah threw two thin, silver disks towards Eveie that exploded like miniature fireworks within inches of her.  Ayil pulled from her side a long, golden whip and tried to coil Eveie up with it, but it too was singed before it could even touch her skin.  Evie laughed with delight as she threw a ball of light towards Nessa who stood by Ayil.  Ayil pushed Nessa out of the way and took the full force of the blast of light.  She fell to the ground beside Nessa who was showered in sparks.
Eveie was enjoying the fight as if she was at a carnival playing games.  Suddenly a bright, arched opening formed behind her and two silhouettes formed behind her.  They had long hair and eyes that penetrated the curling mist.  They were her sisters—no doubt, and they were not only taking April with them, but Ezra as well.
I jumped up and bolted towards them as Eveie lashed out at me with what I thought was her fist, but exploded when it hit my chest.  I flew through the air and landed half-way across the room as the last thing I remembered was Eveie guiding April through the portal and into the Shadowlands.

I pushed open my eyes and sat up as a sharp pain radiated through my chest to my shoulders.  I wasn’t in the holding room where they kept Eveie, but in another room—a bedroom by the looks of the furniture.  My heart sank in my chest—it was too late to save Ezra and April now.
“Don’t get up or you’ll just start bleeding again,” Nessa said with a blackened eye and bandages around her right forearm. 
She guided me back down as her tired eyes gazed at me with worry.
“Nessa,” I said with a dry voice.
“Don’t talk, just drink.”  She pressed a glass of water to my mouth and I drank until it was empty.
“We have to save April and…Ezra,” I said trying to get up, but the pain pushed me back down.
“You’re up, good.”  Uncle Hes with bandages around his hands came into the room.
“April and Ezra, they’re gone…to the Shadowlands.”  I caught my breath.  “We have to save them.  The demons have the serum.”
“Don’t you think the angels are already on that?”  Uncle Hes raised his eyebrows.  “They have an army and have already passed through the portal.  In fact, they probably are on their way back now.”
“But Eveie, she is strong,” I said still trying to get up.
Uncle Hes gently pushed me back to the pillows.  “No,” he said with wide, stern eyes.
“I’m no good here,” I said glaring back at him.
“You may have my blood in you, but you are still a monster that bleeds.”
“You said I was an archangel.  I’m blood of your blood. If I’m an archangel, why am I not healed?”  I studied my uncle’s eyes for an explanation.
He drew in a deep breath.  “You come from a line, my line, of monsters that are fabled to have archangel blood running through them.”  He let a rare smile escape his lips.  “You, I don’t know how, found the lightstone when you were a snoopy little five-year-old that had gotten into my belongings.  When put into ordinary hands,” he lifted his up, “it is nothing but a pretty stone, but put into someone with archangel lineage, and it becomes something entirely different.  I knew and your mother knew that day that everything had changed, and when you were old enough, we needed to know if you still had the ability.  And I must say, you’ve exceeded my expectations.”
“So are you or did you have archangel abilities?”  I asked.
He looked away for a moment as if recalling a memory.  “Not like yours,” he said with a grin.  “We need you, the race of monsters needs you, and if you are to fight you need to heal.”
“But Isaiah said that I was to take your place.  What place is that?”  I asked.
Uncle Hes drew in a deep breath and looked as though he didn’t want to answer.  “Archangels like all their power and anyone who remotely displays archangel abilities in their possession.”  A troubled look grew on his face.
“Uncle Hes?”
“Archangels want monsters gone along with demons and anything related to the two.  Earth angles on the other hand, display a little more humanity than the archangels do. Isiah and Edan don’t share the views about monsters as most archangels do.  That is why you are important to the monster race—without you we don’t stand a chance.  And chances for monsters are few and far in between.”
Uncle Hes let his eyes soften as he held my gaze.
“So what will happen now?”  Nessa asked worriedly.  “I mean, when the angels come back.”  I looked at her as she gave me a sideways glance.  I’ve known Nessa long enough to know when she is hiding something.
“What’s going on?”  I pushed myself up, and through the pain that wanted me not to move.
“Nothing that concerns you now,” Uncle Hes said with warning eyes.
“The angels, they haven’t even gone through the portal yet, have they?  No one has gone after April.”
His hesitation to answer, and switching his eyes over to Nessa like a cat waving its tail in warning, was enough to answer my question.
“I know when Nessa is hiding bad news—I’ve known her long enough that she doesn’t hide her emotions very well.”  Nessa looked away.
I swung my legs over the side of the bed and gave Uncle Hes a determined look through my pain.  I had to do something other than just sit here.
“You’ll be no good, at least not yet.”  He pushed against me.
If I couldn’t even overpower Uncle Hes, then I knew I couldn’t overpower three demons.  I cover my eyes with my hands.
“Where’s Malachi then?”  I asked with a grim look from both of them.
“He tried to save April and was pulled through the portal with her.”  Uncle Hes gave me another glass of water.  “Here,” he said and shoved it towards me.
“They won’t be alone for long.  The angels are close to breaking through the portal.”
Uncle Hes mumbled something towards Nessa as I let out a breath of air.  I knew I wouldn’t be any help, at least not yet, and it was frustrating.  I knew I couldn’t just rush into the portal without a plan.  Demons were tricky and cunning.  They’ve been in shadows for a long time with the passing of the ages to watch and plan.  Now, it was their time—a chance at revenge.

The landscape was beautiful with grey-black mountains crowned snow-capped peaks, blue-violet skies that sparkled with stars, and the sound of rushing water from a distant stream.
“Seth,” said a female voice.
I turned around to see April standing in front of me dressed in a gauzy sundress with thin straps.  She smiled and turned around as if she was dancing to unheard music.  She looked carefree, and even though it was her voice, it was Ezra’s eyes I was looking into.
“Please tell me I’ve died and we are together in this magnificent land,” I said and really did wish it.
“You are not dead, and this is the land the three sister-demons have made in the Shadowlands.  We need you here.  April will die when they take the ring from her to make the serum and create their army. They are close to succeeding, Seth.”  Suddenly her body jerked backwards as if someone had pulled on her outstretched arm.
“April is sleeping—we are dreaming—the demons pull at her, Seth…the stone isn’t useless.”
Her image faded and like lights slowly dimming, the serene landscape that I felt was a promise of a future Ezra and I both had, disappeared.  And then the cobweb-like darkness surrounded me.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sunday Sampler Dancing With Monsters Chapter 9 excerpt

This week has gone by fast! I hope to have Dancing With Monsters done by the end of March and will have a giveaway on this novel soon.  Keep watching my blog and check amazing giveaways in  the tab buttons at the top of my blog page.  I will list coupons there as well you can use for free downloads and any giveaways still active.  Enjoy!



“Ben and I were going to have dinner when Eveie came in and,” I hated talking about things that hurt me, and over the years, I’ve learned dot bury them, but this time I couldn’t.  Rusul needed, no, wanted information.  “She revealed herself to us.”  Detach myself—that’s what I needed to do.
“Give her a rest, Rusul,” I heard Yolanda gently plead as my eyes popped open.
“No,” I said sternly as he turned back to me with a smile.
“Go on,” he said softly as we sat in a rose garden with the sound of trickling water.
“Ben tried to save April from demons and her past,” I said speaking in third person, or was it Ezra.  I felt her strength as if she was sitting next to me holding my hand.  “They were going to have a celebration dinner—they were going to be married, and live in a promised sanctuary.  He didn’t mean to create the serum—it was by accident and never meant for demons.  He gave you, Yolanda, a copy, but it wasn’t complete.  He had never written it down and kept it in here,” I pointed to my head.  “And he gave April the secret ingredient.  Even if more is made by demon, angel, or monster, it will be incomplete without this.”  I held up my ring—my engagement ring.  It sparkled back at me like sun glistening on water. “Benjamin Marsh died protecting April Snow from Eveie not only to protect something that was too powerful for anyone to have, but he died because he loved her.”
I felt like a veil had covered by whole body.  I was here and knew what was going on, but felt numb to any of the pain I knew I should be feeling.
“His name should be cleared,” I said not knowing why I did.  “His acts were reckless, but he died trying to redeem himself.  Don’t hold his promise to you against him.  He didn’t know who he could trust with the serum for he knew it was something too great for any creature, noble or wicked, to have.”
“I assume I have the pleasure of speaking to Ezra.”  Rusul looked into my eyes as if searching for something.
“No, you have the pleasure of addressing both of us. I, Ezra, am speaking, and April is listening.  Our thoughts and feelings are melting together, though I try not to.  She needs my strength if you are to kill the three demons that are gaining strength.  Eveie is getting stronger, even in your restraints, she is communicating and gaining strength.”
“We have contained many a creature in them, and besides, the demon was caught in a puzzlestone.  It will take some time for her to do anything but wallow in her own waste.”  Rusul seemed amused, but Ezra and I weren’t.  I felt her determination mix with mine.
“The way of many realms depends on your actions, Rusul, and I wouldn’t take them lightly.”  This time, it was Ezra speaking for herself and warning the earth angels that sat in front of me.

“I brought you something to eat,” Malachi said standing in the doorway.
“These rooms are amazing,” I said with a chuckle from him.  “They practically have no walls or ceiling.”  I pointed up at the arched roof with panels of glass sandwiched between the triangular shaped supporting beams.  “It really is beautiful.  I feel like a fairy princess that lives in a gazebo surrounded by gardens.  I feel like I’m in a dream.” 
Malachi sat next to me on the bed that was layered in thin, silk sheets. 
I shook my head.  “I’m sorry, I sound like an idiot.  It’s just that—”
“No, you’re not an idiot,” Malachi sat the tray down.  “This is an amazing place and I just got done telling Seth the same thing about my room.”
“You feel like a fairy princess too?”  I asked with a smile.
“No,” he said gazing up at the ceiling that reflected the warm and cool tones of twilight.  “Maybe a fairy prince, in fact, that was my exact words to Seth. I feel like a fairy prince, Seth!  Don’t’ you?  He smiled.  “Really, those were my exact words.”
He handed me a slice of bread that had what looked like honey slathered on it.
“You didn’t say that,” I said taking a bite of the sweet bread with even sweeter honey.
He took a slice of bread and bit off a large section.  “No, they were actually Seth’s, I lied.”
“You’re just trying to make me feel better for acting like a dork.”
Malachi shook his head in agreement.  “Yes, but you’re a fairy-princess-feeling-dork, and that’s different.”
“How is that different?”  I asked turning to him.
His eyes met mine, and even in the dim light they still sparkled like the blue water in a magazine showing a photo of some far away tropical place.  I leaned closer, and like a magnet attracting another magnet, I felt the pull that drew us together.
“Here, try these,” Malachi suddenly pulled away and grabbed something off the tray.  “They are tiny, but good for you.”  He opened his palm revealing two tiny, white dots that looked like pills.  I cringed.  “Don’t tell me you’ve sampled them before, because I can tell you they never leave Shangri-La—they even don’t make it to the night market in Nethopania.”  He shoved them closer to me.  “Try one, they are made from the flowers here and are a dessert—though tiny, but they melt in your mouth.”
“I don’t like pills,” I said gazing at what Malachi called a dessert.
Malachi looked down at them.  “Pills?” he questioned. 
I looked from his palm to his eyes.  He didn’t understand what I meant.
“They look like pills—medicine. You’ve never heard of pills?”  I asked in disbelief.
He shook his head.
“Well,” I started.  “Since I was little, I’ve lived in many homes, and when I got older I ended up in a place that housed all of the unwanted children.  They gave us pills—bitter ones—to make us calm and easier to deal with.”  Malachi gave me a sympathetic look.  “I spit mine out every night and to escape, I acted as nicely and reasonably as I could.  I gained their trust, and one night, I escaped.”  I let out a deep breath as Malachi looked down at the two white dots that I’d call pills. 
It seemed like years since I was at Sunrise Acres.  I thought I would catch a ride from some sympathetic truck driver and head out west.  Never did I think I would end up meeting a monster in the woods that not only saved me, but opened a world I never knew existed.
“I know what it’s like,” Malachi said still gazing at the pills.  “My family was murdered by demons.”  He stated with a sigh as if he had to say it to make it final.  “Seth’s family took me in, and he’s been like a brother to me, but I never felt I was part of the family.  They welcomed me, yes, but the ground I walked on, the air I breathed, felt incomplete.  They tried to nurture me with kindness and understanding, never pills.”  He clenched his hand containing the pills until they were crushed to powder.
Malachi then went to the doorway and blew the dust to the pink, bell-shaped flowers that grew outside.  “There,” he said brushing the remaining powder from his hands.  “April Snow, you will never have to take pills when you’re with me to make you calm or otherwise easier to deal with.”
I began to laugh.  “Yeah, but what about you?  How am I supposed to deal with you?”
The smile fell from his face and I thought I had insulted him when a sly smile returned to his lips.  “I guess you will just have to charm me, April Snow, without the assistance of little, white pills.”