Here is my last contribution to excerpt week – and a fun and informative week it has been 😀
This little offering is from a short story that has not yet been released – maybe next month if I can find the time, once I have the anthology (excerpt here) all sorted.
Back to Urban Fantasy today, and a bit more of Cassie, the Caledonian Sprite, who has a tendency to get tangled up in ecological issues, seeing as they have potentially devastating implications for her element.
NOTE: there are live links scattered throughout the Caledonian Sprite stories, taking readers who choose to follow them to informative pages and photographs of all things quintessentially Scottish. My stab at a (slightly) interactive experience.
Excerpt from SPRITE NIGHT
The inn was typical of its type; old, creaky and in need of renovation, but warm with hospitality and a reputation for excellent food and choice of single malts. It’s one of the more frustrating aspects of my human body that consuming food or alcohol is a futile exercise; I can eat, but solid food needs disposing of—let’s not go there—and alcohol, whilst I can take pleasure in the taste, has no affect on me.
Companionship though—that I can, and do, enjoy.
I pushed open the swing doors to the lounge and glanced around. Most of the crowd were locals I’d come to know over the past few weeks, but a rather delectable-looking stranger sat in the snug beside the chimney. My body perked up with interest.
Right now, my DNA stores were high, and harvesting more would be an indulgence, but this guy had the makings of a pleasing dalliance, with or without extra benefits. His shaggy brown hair melded into a luxuriant beard, above which shone a pair of the brightest blue eyes I’d seen in a long while. He was dressed in a heavy woollen sweater, with a thick, quilted jacket and thermal beanie discarded beside him on the bench.
Never one to stand on ceremony, I sauntered across the room and put a hand on the chair facing him. A pleasant waft of pine aftershave tickled my nose, evoking images of wide open spaces and forest, meeting my approval. He nodded in response to my raised eyebrow, and I pulled the chair out, dragging it across the bare wooden floorboards with a squeal.
He winced. “Dear God, lass, d’ye like to torture your men even before ye’ve been introduced?”
Laughter burst from my mouth, and after so much seriousness, it felt good.
“Nae, fine sir. And if you think that’s torture, perhaps I’ve chosen unwisely.”
He twinkled at me, and waved a hand at the chair.
“Sit, please. We can debate the merits of wisdom over a drink. What’s your poison?”
“Shale gas,” I replied without thought.
His eyes turned wary and his body rocked almost imperceptibly away from me.
“I’m so sorry!” I blurted. What must he think—that I was one of those travelling militant campaigners? I might be passionate about this cause, but I didn’t want to frighten him off.
“Really, it’s just what everyone around here is talking about these days. Whisky, please; I like a nice single malt.”
He relaxed, no longer ready to run for the hills.
“Any malt in particular? They have a good range here.”
Better. By the shine in those china blue eyes, I’d made the right choice. “Laphroaig, I think; I fancy something smoky tonight.”
“Good choice. I have the feeling that discussion on wisdom may prove fascinating.”
He rose and mooched over to the bar to order our drinks, bringing another smile to my lips as I admired his neat butt and long, lean legs encased in denim.
He opted for a 15-year old Jura for himself; clearly a man of impeccable taste.
The Laphroaig slipped down my throat with ease, leaving its characteristic aftertaste of smoke and peat plastered across my taste buds. I might be unable to get drunk, but I can savour the finer things in life.
“Duncan McIntyre,” said my new drinking buddy, sticking out a hand for me to shake.
“Cassiopeia Lake. My friends call me Cassie.”
“And am I a friend?”
“From the moment you offered me a dram.”
“Cheap at the price,” he said with an appreciative glance, and then blanched. “Not that I meant you’re cheap, only that the price of the malt was worth every penny.” He paused, and shook his head. “I’m digging myself in further by the minute, aren’t I?”
“Most certainly, but please, don’t stop there; I plan on enjoying every moment of watching you extricate yourself.”