Welcome to Tuesday Teasers with ZA Maxfield! This week we have author Anne Barwell joining us!
Fans of Teaser Tuesdays know what’s going to happen here:
I’ll post a snippet from one of Anne’s books with the character names asterisked out.
Your mission is to guess which of Anne’s books the excerpt comes from! Email your answer to William at AuthorAssistants (at) gmail DOT com. Please be sure to put “Teaser Tuesday” in the subject line! I’ll draw a random winner each week. It’s that simple! Come play along… If you guess correctly, you’ll be entered to win a prize!
Last week’s winner is Alishea! You should be receiving an email shortly!
Here’s a little bit about Anne Barwell:
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.
HERE’s the snippet:
“Are you sure you still want me here?” Now XXX’s train was almost there, XXX was having doubts about taking XXX’s offer to come to the station. “I don’t want to be in the way when… you know….”
XXX grinned. “You know? You know what?” He glanced at his watch, muttering something about the trains in this place never running on time.
Yes, he was going to make XXX say the words. Bastard. “The stuff you’re apparently supposed to get a room for.” XXX rolled his eyes. This was ridiculous. They were both adults here, or at least he was. “After all, I’d hate to get in the way of your reunion with XXX.” He was still trying to get his head around the fact XXX and XXX were together.
“You won’t,” XXX seemed not to notice the sarcasm in XXX’s voice, or perhaps he’d chosen to ignore it. “Besides, XXX’s the kind of guy who wants proof for stuff, and I want him to see for himself that you’re back safe and sound.” He turned his head in the direction of the approaching train. “He was worried, you know,” he said quietly. “You mean a lot more to him than he’d ever let on. Cut him some slack, okay?”
“I’ve already rung and spoken to him, and e-mailed him.” XXX shrugged. He did know what XXX was like. Hopefully he wouldn’t take it upon himself to give XXX the third degree when they met. XXX was more than capable of holding his own, but that wasn’t the point.
“Yeah, I heard.” XXX waved at the train when it pulled into the station. A familiar figure could already be seen looking out the window as the carriage went past them. XXX was by the closest door, waiting, by the time the train came to a stop. “XXX!” he called.
“XXX.” XXX’s voice had a tone to it XXX hadn’t heard before. XXX stepped off the train, dumped his bags down, and pulled XXX into his arms. “Hey,” he said softly, his voice rough with emotion. “I’ve missed you.”
“Missed you too, teach.” XXX grinned and leaned in, kissing XXX enthusiastically. XXX returned the kiss in kind. Neither of them seemed aware of anyone but each other.
XXX took a step back, not wanting to intrude. This wasn’t the XXX he knew. His friend was a reserved kind of guy, especially in public. Open displays of affection like this really weren’t his style. What had happened during those six weeks he’d been away?
He retrieved XXX’s bags, swinging the backpack over his shoulder and setting the suitcase back on its wheels. He’d wait for them back at the car, and give them their privacy for a bit. What did XXX have in this bag of his, anyway? It weighed a ton, but then he’d never been one for travelling light. Everything but the kitchen sink, as XXX was fond of saying.
“XXX, wait up.” XXX’s hand on XXX’s shoulder made him freeze. He turned, feeling himself tense, then chastised himself for the action, remembering this was his friend. God, he was still more than a little touchy after recent events. More than he’d let on to anyone, even XXX.
“XXX.” XXX put the bags down. He and XXX looked at each other for an uncomfortable moment’s silence. “How have you been?”
It was a stupid thing to ask, but he couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Idiot.” XXX pulled him into a loose hug before holding him back out at arm’s length and looking him up and down. “I should be asking how you’ve been.” He bit his lip. “I was worried about you, XXX. Don’t you bloody dare go off for weeks on end like that again. I kept thinking we were going to find your body in some shallow grave somewhere.”
Behind XXX, XXX mouthed the word “worried,” picked up the bags, and disappeared in the direction of the car. It wasn’t a subtle way of leaving them some time to talk, but then XXX didn’t seem to know the meaning of the word.
“I’m fine, XXX. Really.” XXX’s hand went to the pendant around his neck. “Better than fine.” An image of XXX entered his mind, as it always did when he touched the pendant, and he couldn’t help but smile.
XXX was peering at the pendant. “That guy XXX gave you that, didn’t he.” It was a statement, not a question, but XXX felt a whisper of irritation run through him. XXX didn’t know XXX, at least not yet. They’d have to do something about that and build some degree of trust between them. Such things didn’t happen just by magic, even if it was responsible for much more than he’d ever given it credit for.
“Yeah, he did.” XXX swallowed. “It’s… it’s a sign on his world that we’re betrothed.” The old-fashioned term came to him naturally now when he spoke of their relationship, and was the one XXX used.
“Interesting.” XXX smiled suddenly. “I’m looking forward to meeting him. He really must be something, with the effect he’s had on you. Kind of a mix of old-fashioned and otherworldly, from what I’ve heard.” He frowned. “You really do believe the whole thing about other worlds and magic he’s told you, don’t you?”
“Of course I do!” XXX scowled. “I’ve been there, XXX. It’s not just a story, and XXX’s most definitely real.” He felt himself blush, remembering what they’d done the night before and just how real that had felt.
“I kind of gathered that by looking at you.” XXX’s mouth twitched. “You do realize you’ve got a very interesting looking hickey on your neck, don’t you?”
“I do not!” XXX’s hand went to his neck, the mark warm under his fingers. XXX’s mouth on him had felt so good. He’d nearly lost it the first time XXX had bitten him, which of course had only encouraged XXX to do it again. “Oh,” he amended sheepishly. “I’d forgotten about that.”
“Uh huh.” XXX seemed amused by his reaction. “Don’t worry, XXX, I won’t tease you too much.”
“Did you bring what I asked?” For the briefest of moments, XXX had a clear visual of XXX standing there encouraging XXX’s dry sense of humor, and the two of them bonding over it. He shuddered.
“Of course. You’re serious about this, aren’t you?” XXX frowned, but it wasn’t clear whether it was because of the situation or XXX’s reaction. “You’ve totally fallen for this guy.”
“I wouldn’t be doing it otherwise, would I?” XXX heard footsteps approaching. “And you’re serious about XXX, yeah?” He lowered his voice. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me you were gay?” That was what had hurt, knowing that XXX had kept something that big from him.
“You didn’t ask.” XXX shrugged. “Besides, you were so full of your own crap at the time I didn’t want to throw that at you as well. I had hoped you’d figure it out, but you never did.”
“Figure it out?” XXX stared at him. “You mean?” The penny dropped, and hard. “XXX wasn’t just your roomie, was he?” Fuck, why hadn’t he seen it?
“Do we have to talk about that asshole?” XXX wrapped his arms around XXX from behind. “I’d much prefer to talk about something else.”
“Of course he wasn’t.” XXX shook his head. “Any more than XXX is just yours.”
~ * ~ * ~
Thanks for joining us, Anne!
If you think you know what book this excerpt came from, don’t forget to email William at AuthorAssistants (at) gmail DOT com with your guess!