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Breaking the Veil
Dodging a future she wasn’t sure she wanted in the first place, Flora MacDonald spins a new story for herself as a shopkeeper in a small Southern town, complete with a budding romance. When her lover Owen Drummond disappears, she discovers he is supposedly dead.
Then a mysterious woman presents her with a unique opportunity.
With nothing to lose but her future, Flora crosses the veil into the Otherworld, armed with only a fleeting knowledge of the Welsh Mabinogion texts, a paltry collection of artifacts, and a trio of unlikely guides to save the man who doesn’t remember her.
Her goal becomes survival for them both. But when gods are involved, Flora discovers saving the man she loves might not be her mission after all.
Page Count: 298
Word Count: 74669
Flora’s pulse roared in her ears as the blood pushed past the lump that had lodged itself somewhere near her heart. What the hell was going on here? “Owen’s dead,” she bit out, feeling like she was being stabbed in the gut as the words tumbled from her mouth. She knew it to be true just as much as she believed it wasn’t.
A perfectly contoured raven eyebrow rose. “Is he?”
“Yes.” Flora didn’t sound terribly convincing, not even to herself.
The smile became sly, the sharp cheekbones blooming as the woman approached her. It amazed Flora how gracefully she moved in her towering heels, how regal she appeared in her black suit, and the full fur coat loosely wrapped around her. Even the hat perched precariously on her head, a matching black feather skimming the air, oozed money and power.
“You and I both know that isn’t the case, don’t we Flora MacDonald?”
Flora’s heart slammed into her breastbone. “How did you…?” she whispered, fear curling around her.
The woman slipped around her. “Would you do whatever it takes?” she murmured into Flora’s ear.
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about you saving Owen.” Matter-of-fact. As if Flora had even an inkling of a clue what was going on.
“I barely know him,” Flora told the woman.
“But is his life worth it to you? Would you save him if I told you, you could? Or would you give him up to the other side?”
“I don’t know. How? What is this? I don’t understand what is going on.” She couldn’t seem to force her lungs to draw in a full breath, the warmth of the shop stuffy. Panic set in, her cheeks flushed, the spots returning to her prickle her vision.
The woman stood in front of her again, her perfume the scent of rain and earth and roses. Slender fingers reached up, wrapped around the pendant still hanging around Flora’s neck. She rubbed the pads of her fingers over the spoked wheel before letting it fall onto Flora’s sweater. “If you decide to save him from his fate, you will need to choose your weapons.”
Flora’s frown deepened. “Weapons?”
“Start with the Mabinogion, Flora.” She turned her head to look at the shelf where Flora had left the items from the box. The box that had arrived mysteriously, the one with no return address. When Flora turned her attention back to the woman, she was farther away, a small brown leather satchel dangling from her slender fingers.
“You’ll have to choose well, for you don’t want—nor can you—overburden yourself.” She laid the satchel down, keeping one hand on it. “Choose very well, Flora.”
“What are you talking about? What the hell is going on?” Her confusion was finally making way for a new emotion, and she was getting angry. The anger built onto the fear, escalating to a point where she was reaching hysteria.
“He’s a prisoner of another world, Flora. And you can rescue him. Only you.” The smile was serene.
“And how am I supposed to get to this ‘other world’?” Flora demanded. “And why me? Why can’t you save him if you know so much about this?
The smile faltered. If Flora hadn’t been watching so intently, she would have missed it.
The woman’s gaze blinked away, fixing on a point over Flora’s shoulder. “I am not of this place. Only one of his own can bring him back.”
“Simply look for something out of place. Something that doesn’t belong. It will help you across the veil.” She threw this last bit over her shoulder, pushing out into the cold.
Flora pressed her fingertips to her eyes, hoping she could open them and her world would make sense again. “Who are you?” she yelled. But when she opened her eyes, the woman was gone. A crow bounced on the sidewalk twice in the place Flora was sure she had last seen her, and then it took off, flapping out of view.
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