Excerpt from “The Warlord’s Heart”

For #LineByLineTime : Jealousy

Betsy watched, her eyes wide, as Marissa paced back and forth across their bedroom.

“You don’t know how lucky you are,” Marissa proclaimed, waving her arms as she stomped. “Edward’s attention was fixed the moment he saw you. You’ll never have to watch him talk to other women and know he’s more interested in them. You’ll never wonder if you’ve become suddenly invisible. You’ll never have to hide your emotions lest others laugh at you.”

“Um, you have feelings for Edward?”

Marissa stopped and stared. “Edward? Are you mad? Of course I’m not interested in Edward! Of all people…” She shook her head and began to pace again. “I never had a chance, of course. He prefers blondes, wealthy, from a powerful family. It makes me ill to watch him fawning over her. Just like all the others, blast them.”

She whirled on Betsy, her fists clenched before her, her jaw set, her eyes intense. “You have to teach me how to use my sword like you can! I can’t let her humiliate me in every way! I have to best her in something!”

“Wait, are you talking about Benedict and Clarisse? Are you jealous of Benedict’s attentions toward Clarisse?”

Marissa flung herself across her bed and stared at the ceiling, blinking hard. “He is so handsome, so noble. I’ve known him all my life. I’ve had feelings for him since we were children. But he grew up into a fool!” She rolled to her stomach and pounded the mattress. “‘Clarisse is so beautiful!’ He had the nerve to say that to me! To me! All he can see is that pretty face and figure and her fine clothes! He’s totally blind to her ugly nature! He’s a fool! All she wants is to control him! Why can’t he see me? What’s wrong with me?”

Betsy winced and moved to sit beside her. “There’s not a thing wrong with you.” She patted Marissa’s back as her roommate sobbed. “I will teach you as much as I can, and we will teach those foolish men to recognize a REAL woman! Especially Benedict!”

Excerpt from Project Burning Bush

For #LineByLineTime “The Carrot”

Mrs. Williams turned to the enormous young man still standing behind the blond boy. “Sit down, Luthor. The only person allowed to threaten anybody on this bus is me.  The rest of you, keep your mouths shut. None of you are allowed to make a sound except to whisper to your seatmate for the rest of this ride.”

 “How you going to make us shut up?” Jackson snapped.

Her smile was sweet but her eyes were dead. “Why, I’m going to change places with your pal here and sit beside you, and talk to you the whole rest of the day and not let you get a word in edgewise. Think that will work? Because if it doesn’t…” Her face and her voice hardened. “I’ll cancel this trip, turn this bus around and you can spend the rest of the school year catching hell from the rest of the class about how you ruined their trip.”

She didn’t have to say more. The other students raised their voices in protests and anger at Jackson. His seat partner poked him with an elbow. He hunched over his lap, muttering to himself.

2nd Excerpt, same story:

“Oh, yeah? Well, what if we don’t feel like being your happy little slaves? What happens then?” Nita shoved her knife back in her pocket sheath.


 “So you dragged us all the way here just to kill us if we didn’t agree to do what you say?”

“Nita! Can’t you shut up for once?”

“I don’t have to kill you,” the Voice responded.  “Your ignorance will lead to your death.  You presently have supplies and a little knowledge, but neither will be enough.  The tribe will obey and move on, but if you stay behind you will lack their knowledge of this area and who and what you need to defend yourself from. Obey me, and I will supply all your needs. Defy me and die alone.”