*tap tap tap* Ahem. I have an announcement.

I am very pleased to let everyone know that my series The Were-Children is about to be published by Distinguished Press! You can look for it in e-book or print-on-demand formats late next summer. Right now, we begin the work of editing and revising, as well as setting up more author pages and sites than I ever imagined possible. In the meantime, here’s a bit to pique your interest:

Emma laid a wind-chapped cheek against the rough slats of the banister and looked down into the pit of darkness that was the street below. The Warren was empty in the early morning chill. She was so tired. It was ever that way after a night like this. Her eyes shone in the pale dawn, and the light reflecting off the barely waning setting moon below the horizon turned her brown eyes the color of fine brandy. The mist moved back and forth across the relentless lunar eye, as if deliberately taunting her. She closed her eyes to shut out the sight of the hateful orb and to shut out the pain.

She grimaced against the stiffness and the interminable ache in her bones. The movement in her face was tight, and she could feel the caked blood around her mouth crack. She wiped her mouth on the back of her hand and saw more blood crusted under her nails. She had fed last night, and the thought made her shudder. It was drizzly and cold, and this shift would leave her in pain for days if she didn’t get warm. Gratefully, she hugged the worn coat to her to ward off the damp mist. It wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing. In fact, it was far better than what she’d had before the moon had risen, which had been nothing but her own thin dress. When she had awoken this time, though, there the coat was, covering her naked body like a blanket, with the clothes she had hidden in the alleyway the night before in a bundle under her head, like a pillow. Who had put them there, she had no way of knowing, but she held on to it like a blessing. Just another unexplainable, unanswerable mystery, one of the many in her short life.

Forcing herself to stir, Emma pushed against the banister to get up. The splintered wood protested the pressure with a dangerous groan. She squinted down into the street far below. There was nothing between her and the pavement, and if the banister were to collapse, she would surely plummet to her death. It would be the simplest way to solve a lot of problems. She rolled away from the rail with apprehension. Then, with a morbid fascination, she pressed her hand against it and felt it sway under her touch. She jerked her hand away and stared at it in horror. Such a thought had never entered her mind before, and it brought her a strange comfort.

Despite her internal confusion, one thing was perfectly clear to her. Emma had to find James. That meant making herself get up and walk down what felt like miles and miles of stairs, and that seemed all but impossible to her right now. Still, James could be in danger, or hurt, or . . . worse. “No,” she thought with a firm shake of her head, “I won’t even think about that.” It was just that they had seen James and try as she might, Emma couldn’t convince him to be careful. He was certain that he was uncatchable, and no amount of talking-to on her part could change his mind. James wasn’t exactly family, but she was all she had.

He had even tried to talk Emma into hiding somewhere else, somewhere away from him when the shift came. James was as aware as Emma that her being seen with him before or after a shift put her in grave danger. Someone had seen him shift, and now they were looking for him. Emma, however, had convinced him that it was still safer for them to stay together. There was no way she would leave him alone during a full moon. The banister would hold for now.

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