Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Blast Blog Tour for Whisper Cape


Welcome to the last day of my Summer Blast Blog Tour

As promised, please enjoy this excerpt from the second book in the Whisper Cape series, Reflections. This is a draft and some words may change as I continue with edits.



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Reflections
by
Regan Walsh
Chapter 1
Cucumber Salad

Tomato juice splattered everywhere as the bottle hit the gray tile floor. Maia gasped at the shattered glass, unable to tear her eyes away; the thick red liquid pooled at her feet like a stagnant river of blood. 
“I’m sorry, Manny, the jar just slipped out of my hand,” she said, sensing the old man’s presence at her side and half-wondering how he’d gotten across the aisle so quickly.
“Don’t you worry, sweetheart.”
“I’m so clumsy lately. I can’t seem to hold on to anything these days.”
“Are you hurt? Did any glass cut you?” He took her by the elbow, leading her away from the debris.
“No, I’m fine. Let me help you clean up.” She glanced back at the slimy-red liquid mixed with pieces of sharp, ragged-edged glass, making the aisle resemble a murder scene from some B-rated detective show on TV.
“No, no. I’ll get Jeff to clean up. He’ll be here in about five minutes. Now be careful where you step.” He placed a large orange cone near the edge of the area to ward off any unsuspecting customers from the slippery mess.
“Thanks, Manny. I am so sorry—I’ll pay for the juice.”
“Not to worry. A bottle of juice gets broken in here at least once a week.” He winked and managed to bring a smile to her fretful face.
Good old genial Manny, the master of calm owner of the small seaside grocery store—the only food store in Whisper Cape—and everybody’s grandfather. He had a particular soft spot for pretty women. Except right now, Maia didn’t feel pretty. She felt fat and clumsy. Determined to stay out of maternity clothes for at least another month, she tugged at the waist of her once loose old gray sweat pants and rubbed at the indentation the elastic etched on her tummy. Even the normally beautiful, long, golden-brown curls she’d tucked up in her green wool hat refused to cooperate this morning as they constantly slipped out and fell in her eyes. She walked with Manny toward the other end of the store, and as he veered off to the checkout area, Maia continued on to the deli section.
The small store was quiet except for a group of teenage girls giggling over the cover of a DVD. Maia MacKenna glanced over at them and smiled, remembering what it was like to be that age—innocent, not a care in the world. She placed her hand over the small bulge in her abdomen. Life would never be the same for her. A group of young men hung around outside, looking in at the girls. School would start soon and they'd all be on their way.
At this time of the morning, Manny’s Beachside Market—aptly named as one could hear the pounding of the surf whenever the front door opened—was often the main attraction of the kids from the nearby middle school and high school. The small-town grocer managed to carry all the essentials, from sunscreen to meats and produce, even a small variety of wines and beer. The glass, refrigerated case Maia perused housed a few selections of prime cut steaks and marinated pot roasts and the deli department consisted of popular cold cuts and cheeses; nothing fancy, just the basics. The produce counter offered a variety of heads of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, some apples, oranges—enough to get by for residents and families visiting the area for a few days. Almost too small for the word “market,” Manny’s place  happened to be the closest grocery store within five miles of the cozy cottage where Maia lived with Gerry Briden, the love of her life and the father of her unborn child. Maia hoped to finish her shopping before her doctor’s appointment later that morning.
She stood facing a cleverly stacked display of tomatoes as something in the corner of the adjacent deli case caught her eye. A billow of steam escaped from a small crack at the bottom, and she found herself mesmerized as the dewy cloud rose and dissipated, rose and dissipated. 
A voice, a soft whisper, came from somewhere behind her. “A precious cargo.”
Maia turned at the sound and looked into the face of a sweet old woman examining a head of lettuce. She didn’t recall ever seeing the patron before, and yet … there was something familiar about her. Her long black skirt, with a delicate pattern of purple swirls, hung several inches below her dark gray coat. The old woman’s hair, like strands of silver silk twisted into a braid, hung down the center of her back. Her eyes, though old, were brilliant, a rich shade of brown with little specks of gold.
The woman must be mumbling to herself. Maia shrugged and turned her attention back to the tomatoes. Her niece, Addie MacKenna, was coming over for dinner tonight with her boyfriend, the two having just returned from a well-deserved month-long holiday. Maia smiled, thinking how happy they were. Her lips tightened though, remembering how they’d recently destroyed the evil psychopath who'd murdered Maia’s older brother a little over a year ago.
Maia placed two plump red tomatoes—well as plump and as red as you could get this time of year in Whisper Cape—in a plastic bag and placed the bag in her cart. She stepped to the cucumbers and heard the voice again.
“A very precious cargo.”
Maia yanked off her wool hat to expose her ears, thinking that would help her hear. Her thick mess of curls fell over her shoulders. She hadn’t paid too much attention to fixing her hair before she'd left home, knowing she’d be wearing a hat. 
“Excuse me, did you say something?” Maia asked the old woman.
Maia’s fingers reflexively came to her lips and she gasped as the old women’s face contorted into a bizarre pattern of creases almost as if she were going in and out of focus. Speaking as though her throat were constricted, the old woman rasped in a low tone, “You’d better watch out.”
“Watch out for what?” Maia asked, wondering if the old woman was having a stroke, fearful that an unfortunate medical emergency might be happening right in front of her.
The old woman cleared her throat and smiled before speaking again. “You carry a valuable cargo,” she said a bit softer, pointing to Maia’s stomach. “Take guard.”
At approximately twelve weeks along, Maia hardly looked pregnant, especially in the heavy coat she wore that easily concealed her abdomen. She wondered how the old woman could tell, and why on earth she had felt compelled to warn Maia.
“How did you know I was pregnant?”
The older woman ignored Maia’s question and simply added, “You must protect them.”
Them?
Before Maia had the chance to say anything, the woman turned her attention toward the deli case as if she’d completely forgotten what she had just said. “Look at those cucumbers now, will you? We’ll have to take one. We love a nice cucumber salad, don’t we, dear?” she said, looking directly into Maia’s eyes. She turned away from Maia as the group of girls swooshed by and out the door to join the boys. When the aisle had cleared, the old woman was gone. Maia looked around the store, but couldn’t spot her anywhere.
“What did she mean? Crazy old woman must be suffering from dementia and confusing me with someone from her past.”
Maia shrugged and selected a cucumber for the salad she had planned for tonight's dinner and went to the checkout.
“You look radiant this morning, Maia.” Manny smiled and began ringing up her groceries.
“Thanks, Manny.” She nervously fluffed up her mass of unruly curls. Surely, the man needed glasses. “You look rather dapper yourself today.” Manny was … God … wasn’t he eighty-four at his last birthday bash? But he was as sharp as any twenty-year-old.
“Don’t forget to put the bottle of juice on my bill, Manny, or I’ll worry about it all day.”
“Guess you’ll have to worry then. Anyway, it wasn’t your fault. Jeff said the bottles were still slippery from the olive oil spill we had yesterday.”
Maia figured he was lying, but smiled and let it go. It wasn’t the first time Manny had given her something for free.
“Who was that old woman who was in here a while ago?” Maia asked.
“What old woman?” Manny’s eyes brightened. It was comical the way he always perked up at the prospect of meeting an available female ready for a bit of schmoozing and romancing. Not that there were many his age around these days, but then, age never mattered much to Manny. He prided himself on still being a lady’s man, always teasing Maia, never missing a chance to remind her that he was available if she ever decided to dump Gerry.
“Don’t kid, Manny, you know what woman.”
“No, sweetheart, the only woman’s been in here all morning is you—well, aside from those teeny-boppers who aren’t old enough to be called women—and you’re hardly old.”
“Well, that’s odd. Are you sure? I could have sworn …” She shook her head.
“Maybe that bundle of joy you’re carrying is making you see things.”
“And hear things, too,” she mumbled. “Maybe you’re right. I have been a little stressed lately.”
Still thinking about the woman, Maia walked to the old blue Jeep and grabbed onto the top roll bar, pulling herself up into the seat. She grunted at the effort. One of these days, she and Gerry would need to get another car instead of this beat up soft-top jungle cruiser. Soon, she thought as she rubbed her hand over the “precious cargo” inside her womb. Her eyebrows burrowed as she envisioned a huge freighter ship loaded with crates and cartons of God knows what. She glanced at the clock. Good, she still had plenty of time to get the groceries put away before she had to leave for her doctor’s appointment. 


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I hope you enjoyed this excerpt. Now there are three chances to win either an autographed copy of Whisper Cape, a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or two of my favorite books (see below to enter).

If you enjoyed reading Whisper Cape, please tell others how much you liked it and why, by leaving a review on websites, such as, Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble. If you leave a review, please contact me here on my blog or website or by email at reganwalsh@hotmail.com and I will gift you an ARC e-book of Reflections, Book 2 in the Whisper Cape series scheduled for release Fall 2012. Now the giveaways.




To win two of my favorite books, please follow this link to the "My Favorite Books Blog Hop," hosted by Nat at Reading Romances.


Thanks for reading and Good Luck!


Regan

7 comments:

  1. Love the excerpt! I've reviewed Whisper Cape on Goodreads - Suzan Lacey! I can't wait to get Reflections as well! I love Addison and Cael and I'm looking forward to Maia and Gerry's story!

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  2. I would buy... omg, there are so many books on my wishlist. I would probably get some Jennifer Armentrout books!
    Penny Pe

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  3. Dang, I want that book now! It left me wanting more on the exerpt. No fair!

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  4. Dang, I don't know what I would buy I have so many on my tbr list.But I want your second book!

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  5. Congratulations on the tour! I wish you well on this release and I am certainly looking forward to Addie's journey. Wow to win this prize would put a major dent in my wishlist LOL (I already have the ebook for Whisper Cape squee)which includes titles from .99 on up like The Gatekeeper, Days of Blood and Starlight, Black City, Reign of Blood, Kindred, Magic for Hire and I still have a ton of treats left to get. Thank you for the fun fantasy shopping spree this morning and for the awesome giveaway opportunity.

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  6. I would buy Tangle of Need and Once Burned. :-)
    Thanks for stopping by my giveaway also!
    -Jenese
    www.readersconfession.com

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  7. I would buy Reflections when it came out and some of the Stacia Kane books I am missing in the series. sdylion(at)gmail(dot)com

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I love hearing from you and always look forward to your comments!