Camp Anyone? KU or Library? And another chapter of The Voice In The Forest

Important questions

Hi Everybody!

Okay, so there is a lot going on right now in this little corner of the bookish world, and if you can answer some questions for me, it would help me a lot.

These aren’t for anything happening this second. These questions are as I prepare for the rest of the year and next year… Yes. Decisions need to be made THIS far ahead of time. Blergh.

Camp anyone?

Okay, so this probably makes me cheeky to ask it this way, because I’m not talking about glamping or old school blue tarp camping.

Although, blue tarps for the win!

What I mean is, do you get involved in Camp NaNoWriMo?

Many of you know that I always do a project for every NaNo, but I also usually do projects for Camp NaNo as well.

During NaNo, national novel writing month, we commit to writing 50k words in the month of November. Camp is different. For Camp, people make their own goals. Let’s say it’s edit x amount of book y. Or, maybe it’s write three short stories. Or, if you’re me and you dropped your brain a few years ago and now you run on caffeine, curse words, and the dreams everyone else is having while you’re up all night long, you commit to writing those 50k all over again…Send help.

No, seriously, I’ve talked about my vampiric war with sleep – aka Insomnia!

This month, April, which conveniently starts with a new moon, in a new quarter, in a new season, I am going to learn how to write AND sleep!…I’m going to try.

But if you would like to come with me on this journey and you have some kind of project to work on for April, you can find me on the NaNo website under Everly Stories. Every day (or nearly) this coming month I’ll be posting word count updates over there. And every week this coming month I’ll update you all here, too.

KU or Library?

For those of you who have access to libraries, library apps like Hoopla, Libby, or Scribd, do you use it? And for those of you who have access to Kindle Unlimited, do you have a subscription?

The reason I ask this is because to be in KU a book can NOT be offered as an ebook anywhere else. Libraries and the library apps are available to more countries and more people than KU is, but if the majority of my readers are using it, I might have to look into trying it for the next series. So, let me know!

Now, without further ado, chapter 36!

The Voice In the Forest

Chapter 36

“I…” Montgomery chewed on his bottom lip, his hands reaching out for me and dropping back to his sides so many times he looked like he was doing a strange dance move. “I’ll stay right here. Just in case.”

“You already came in here to drop off the shampoo,” I reminded him, shuffling my feet forward, keeping my eyes on a steady place and not giving in to the way the world swooped across my vision.

“But you weren’t in here at the time,” he said and I tried not to laugh as my cheeks heated.

“Arabella,” he said, “It is inappropriate for me to be in the bathroom with you, but I will stay just this side of the door should you need me.”

Pausing in my way from the door he stood next to in my advance to the tub, I closed my eyes and nodded. I couldn’t nod anymore without pausing all other movement and closing my eyes.

Even though I did nod, and I understood that in his time their were rules of propriety I never thought about, it still made my entire body want to rebel against them in some strange knee jerk reflex.

But if they were important to him, I would try to play along.

“Montgomery,” I said, no matter how much I understood why he couldn’t help me now, and how much he wanted me not to take what he saw as a risk, I still took the last few steps in a shuffle on my own to sit down on the edge of the tub. “I need a bath. I’m gross.”

It wasn’t an exaggeration. Too much time too dizzy to do this left me feeling like I was coated in my own convalescence. Few things in the world did I want to be painted in less than being not well.

“Nothing about you is gross.” The look on his face, his eyes softening and the corners of his mouth turning up a fraction, made my heart stutter and my stomach flutter.

For a moment neither of us moved, even I didn’t sway in my unsteady way.

“Still,” I said, turning back to the tub in the slow, careful way I had to do anything now. “It will help me feel better, more like myself.”

He nodded, but his hands wringing together in front of him said he still worried.

Turning on the tap to where I thought it needed to be, I checked that all the supplies were lined up along the shelf on the wall within reach before I looked back to the only reason I was able to do this at all.

“You have to be careful,” Montgomery said, hands fidgeting, he shuffled from foot to foot.

“I will be,” I adjusted the heat of the water as I needed and bent further into the tub to place the plug, the world swaying even though I braced myself, I had to abort mission and sit up.

“No, let me,” he said, breaking his own rule seconds after declaring it to come to my side, wrapping one arm around me like he couldn’t help himself but to keep me safe and put the plug in the bottom of the tub.

He straightened, still crouched down next to me with one arm around my waist as the water poured into the tub.

There was no dizziness as I reached out a hand to touch his cheek.

Closing his eyes, leaning his cheek against my hand, he sucked in a breath that hitched and shook his entire body.

Speaking over the water pouring out of the tap would break the moment, but as my fingers ran through the edge of his hair, his rubbed on the small of my back.

Lifting up his other hand, still damp from taking care of the tub for me, he threaded his fingers with mine and opened his eyes.

While staring deep into the eyes of a ghost, with my body still feeling disconnected and broken in so many ways, I never felt more alive.

My broken wrist was in a cast, the special sleeve already over it so I wouldn’t get it wet. The sleeve crinkled as I moved that arm out of the way, wishing I was whole right now.I looked down at my arm and cringed at how gross I was and how much I wished I were healed.

He moved the hand from behind my back and ran it along the sleeve over my cast, his damp fingers running along my jaw until I turned to look at him.

“Nothing about you is worth that look,” he said, leaning in so I could hear him over the water and my cringe turned into a smile.

“Were you always like this? Is this why the whole town loved you?” I asked, running my good hand along his side.

A sucked in breath and a melancholy smile was all he gave me in answer as he shook his head.

The head shake wasn’t him denying me, it was steeped in some kind of awe part of me still didn’t believe he felt.

No matter how much I questioned this odd new reality, though, with his fingers on my cheek, his other hand wrapping around to splay on my back and time to wait for the tub to fill, there was only one way I wanted to spend it.

Bending forward, Montgomery blinked and checked that I wouldn’t topple, instead I found his mouth with mine in a kiss as soft as his passage through the world was as far as everyone else was concerned.

He made a humming sound and instead of pulling away, pressed his lips to mine again. As soft as the exhale of the ghost he was to everyone else, and as earth shattering as his presence in my life was to me, Montgomery’s kiss made my head swim in a good way for the first time in too long.

Ta da!

What do you think? Should I keep his name as Montgomery? I kind of like it and kind of hate it to be honest… I haven’t decided. And don’t forget to let me know if you KU or library so I can try to do what works best for all of you.

Don’t forget, book 4, After Midnight Strikes comes out on May 31st! The Crossroad Inn will come before then, and I’ll have more updates for other projects coming soon!

As always,

Happy reading!

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