LANDFALL takeover – Sean was so sick of winter…

April 5, 2015

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Kate Pavelle here, gleeful over the fact that “Landfall” is out! Despite the sunny cover, it starts with the unrelenting winter most of us have experienced. Here’s a little out-take:

Sean shivered against the icy wind and turned the collar of his parka all the way up. It almost met his knit watch cap, the one he’d borrowed from Asbjorn before they left for his first sword class. He sure hoped kenjutsu was vigorous and would warm him up. He hoped Margaret would pull them all into her kitchen and offer them tea, or even better, hot chocolate. Her husband was very kind to give him and Asbjorn a sword lesson on a Sunday. Their school schedule was crazy and they haven’t seen their friends – and yes, Ken-sensei and Margaret counted as friends – in weeks.
“Come on, I got to show you something,” Asbjorn said as they trudged from their car across the unshoveled driveway. “It’s in the back.”
Sean grumbled as he righted his sword bag that was slung over his shoulder. It didn’t sit right over his padded and quilted coat, and the carry strap kept slipping off his shoulder.
“Better be good,” he said, but he let Asbjorn nudged his elbow off the roofed walkway that connected the garage to the house and onto an expanse of pristine snow. Sean knew there was a flagstone path down there somewhere, down under the white stuff that reached past the top of his boots. The huffs of their breath and the icy kiss of snowflakes against his cheeks was punctuated by the crunching snow unfer their boots. He tuned it out. They were breaking path where no one has walked before. Like explorers, forging on through a wild and exotic place.
Ten more feet, and they came level with the back of the garage on the right and the house on the left.
Sean stopped. Asbjorn was right behind him, not quite touching but close enough to feel.
Silence descended.
No footsteps through the snow, no labored breathing, no second thoughts. Even the wind stilled in the pines across the yard.
*Click-clack.*
*Click-clack.*
Sean turned to Asbjorn and glanced up four inches, meeting his gaze with a questioning quirk of his eyebrow.
“Go ahead,” Asbjorn whispered. A small, excited smile tugged on the corners of his mouth.
Sean registered his husband’s open jacket and bare head, the way his blond hair collected the stray snowflakes, the casual love of cold that let him ignore the miserable winter weather. True to his Viking ancestors, was Asbjorn.
Sean looked around. He listened to the silence interrupted by the click-clack sound of something… mechanical. But what, and why?
Few more steps through the snow. He tripped over something and righted himself just in time. There were boulders around, he recalled. Boulders and statues and stone lanterns, and the path meandered a bit, this way, then that. The white colonial house was to his left. A sliding door led out to a wooden porch and the steps led down into the Japanese garden. The pond in the middle of the lawn was now frozen and covered with snow. He remembered all that, but he didn’t remember a stone cistern, rectangular in shape, that edged the side of the porch.
*Click-clack.*
*Click-clack.”
A sudden gust of wind threw a spray of fine and bitter snow into his face, blinding him. Sean suppressed a curse and focused on the clean, fresh taste of ice in his mouth. He wiped his eyes with his gloved hand. How come snow had a flavor at all? It wasn’t at all like the woodsmoke that tinged the air around them.
*Click-clack.*
*Click-clack.*
Right ahead of him, past graceful mounds of white snow and blue shadows, was a bamboo fountain. A trickle of water poured into a bamboo rod, mounted on a hinge. It filled, overbalanced, and fell.
The fall splashed the water into the cistern, one that was now frozen and snowed over and covered with an ice sculpture of its very own. It hit something on the way down, too – something loud – before it swung up, offering the empty end to the brave trickle of water that made its way through a surreal shell of ice.
And so it went.
*Click-clack.*
*Click-clack.*
“It will work as long as the water runs,” Asbjorn whispered right by his ear. Sean felt his warmth despite the wind that had picked up again, despite the cap that covered him up. The heat was in the tone of his voice, in the lean of his body that angled toward him.
Always toward him.
“Not even the ice can stop it. As long as the flows keeps going, the fountain’s okay, and the water’s okay, and the fish beneath the ice can breathe.” Yet there was more to Asbjorn’s words than a mere explanation of how the shishi-odoshi fountain worked.
A slow quarter-turn on his heel, and Sean’s face was close enough to Asbjorn to see every hair of unshaven scruff on his cheeks. Lips soft despite the cold, pink with life and promise – Sean leaned in and brushed his own against them in a tender kiss.
Asbjorn pulled him in. Heat transferred through all the parts that touched, negating the icy wind that threatened to freeze their lips together.
*Click-clack.*
*Click-clack.*
The warm, wet tongue, a hint of peppermint gum and laughter and something that was just Asbjorn. Sean pressed back, squeezing Asbjorn’s waist to his own, lips bruising, the accidental click of teeth, the sensuous pass of tongue against a tongue.
The cold disappeared. There was just the empty, white silence and the deer-scare water fountain and the kiss… oh. The kiss.
A new, swooshing sound entered Sean’s senses. He dismissed it. Warm lips, cold scruff that scratched his frost-pinked cheeks. The kiss.
“Hey, you two! Margaret says you’ll freeze out there!”
They broke for air and turned toward Ken, leaning out the kitchen window, his lined face grinning with mischief. Yet the cold, dry wind failed to chill Sean’s wet lips.
Not even the ice wind could stop the flow of warmth in his veins.
“Hey Ken,” Asbjorn nodded, pulling Sean close to him again. “We were just admiring your fountain.”
“Uh-huh,” Ken said with a quirk of his eyebrows. “So you want tea, or hot chocolate? Margaret says I have to defrost you before I put a sword in your hand.”

Find “Landfall” here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6215

6 Responses to “LANDFALL takeover – Sean was so sick of winter…”

  1. Susan says:

    How lovely! Now I really can’t wait to read landfall if that is an out-take!

  2. Angela says:

    I just mentioned that i love the cover of this book and then we got an icy excerpt LOL Looking at the picture i’m also shivering :)

  3. Trix says:

    Happy to see more of Sean and Asbjorn!

  4. Kate Pavelle says:

    I had a lot of fun writing this one. It’s not a thriller like the first two – more an adventure with a HEA.

  5. Kate Pavelle says:

    Ooh, so you want a warm weather outtake? Stay tuned!

  6. JJ says:

    The photo and excerpt sure gave me a icy chill.

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