#TBT #CleaningHouseNovel #AppalachianElementals No. 4

Yes, I’m well aware that it’s only been a few months since the release of Cleaning House – An Appalachian Contemporary Fantasy, but I’m spending the month of November featuring it in my #TBT (Throwback Thursday) series because of the recent release of the second title in the series, the novella Mama, Me, & the Holiday Tree. It’s generally good to relive the past, even the recent past, so I’ll be sharing Chapter One from Cleaning House throughout the month.

The section in yellow comes from last week’s #TBT post.

     “Can I do anything else for you?”

     Are they flirting with me? Cent looked down then back up, startling when she saw the messenger’s eyes were still on her. Taller than she was, which was unusual, a bit thick at the waist, but it was clearly muscle. A puzzle, and an attractive one at that. There was something calming about this person’s eyes. Something familiar Cent couldn’t quite place. They’re damn-near twice my size. The realization that such strength stood so close made her skin prickle in a way she’d come to miss. No wonder they’re on this route. “No, um, thanks.”

     “Have a good day.” The messenger turned down the hall, leaving Cent to watch their floor-gliding strides until they reached the stairs.

     “You too.”

     “Cute accent, by the way.” The messenger stopped at the stairhead to smile at her then descended without saying more.

     “I thought you were into men.” Mrs. Donright, 3J, stared at Cent from between the chains securing her door. “That was a woman, right?”

     “Mind your own business.” Cent slammed her door closed and turned to press her back against it. Was that a man or a woman or…? Hell, she didn’t care. They were hot, and they’d flirted with her. That was enough. She looked out her peephole and sighed, securing every lock and chain before she turned to stare at the envelope. The messenger had left soft-dirt fingerprints along its edge. They must work in a plant nursery or something, too.

     Maybe I should take up gardening.

A dozen handmade holiday ornaments, that’s all, but it might be an impossible task.

Centenary Rhodes and her mother are at constant odds. It’s one of the many reasons Cent left home when she was eighteen. Mama’s difficult for anyone to manage, but now that Cent’s back home, she has to try. Mama, however, won’t acknowledge who Cent’s become, even though she’s repeatedly been shown the truth.

It’ll take more than popcorn strings and paper snowflakes to heal the rift that’s formed between Cent and Mama. It’s going to take bushels of patience, heaps of magic, and assistance from everyone on both sides of Embreeville Mountain to reset the Balance between them.

But with Yule and Christmas just around the corner, it might already be too late.

Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree is available in both print and ebook formats.

AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE    and elsewhere

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