Art Shanty Weekend!
Dear Cape Codders and Tourists Hoping to Not Get Eaten by Jaws:
I shall be at the Hyannis Art Shanties at the Hyannis Harbor ferry docks this weekend (May 20, 21, 22) with Katie O’Sullivan and Kathryn Knight. Come find me, maybe grab a few books, and have a blast!
In honor of the ferry and of the coming high-season of Cape Cod, I’ve loaded a chapter from CRUEL SUMMER where tourist / immortal killer, Kian, is meeting up with Ana Lane who he has hired to help him find a new car at an antique auto sale on Martha’s Vineyard (since his other vehicle contained a dead dude and a kilo of cocaine, making it useless):
Cruel Summer (Kian’s POV):
The ride over to the Vineyard consisted of screaming children and people plastered with Martha’s Vineyard sweatshirts, as if they needed a reminder of where they were going. Couples talked non-stop about places they were hoping to see and families gossiped about other people. I even caught one couple groping each other near the back half of the ferry, apparently unwilling to wait for a room.
I slid into a bench seat on the top deck of the boat, handing Pix a hot chocolate I’d gotten from the café onboard. I leaned back in the seat, watching the island slowly grow on the horizon.
Another half hour jammed in with the coupon-clipping crowd and I could get the hell off this dingy ship.
Pix pried the plastic top off the drink and blew over the swirling chocolate, trying to cool it. I watched as her fingertips played over the edge of the paper cup, searching for a place to touch without getting burned. She finally took a tiny sip and began running down the itinerary of cars that we had decided on.
“So, we will look at the ’62 Bonneville and the ’70 Mach 1 Mustang first. And then, it looks like they put all the new models down on Front Street, so we can wander down that way if you decide to go new. I’ve got to tell ya, everyone will be after the ’63 Sting Ray.” She took another sip, watching me over her cup.
“I bet you like the old school muscle cars,” I replied, trying not to stare at her pink tongue that was sweeping away the chocolate from her lip.
“Mmm hmm,” she replied. “I like the icons with plenty of ponies under the hood. The newer cars are so much plastic. Give me chrome and steel any day. Something that defends me on the road and blows the doors off the brat in his Daddy’s new Beamer.”
“Is that Trans Am you were working on yours?” I asked as the wind picked up. It tossed her hair, causing her mane to twist wildly in her face, like Medusa’s snakes. She wrangled it all back into a pony tail.
“Yeah. My boss, Jack, gave it to me, and in return I work half-days on Saturday for free. I’ve been working on it for about a year. It just takes a lot of time and money and I’m . . .” Her words stalled and she dropped her gaze to the cup as she cleared her throat. “It’ll get done. Eventually.”
“It’s Saturday and you’re not at work though. You’re with me. How’d you manage that?”
She shrugged. “I told Jack that I could work a few extra hours this coming week at night to make up for it.”
Jack sounded like a slave driver. I hated Jack. Didn’t her parents care she worked so much for this jerk? In fact . . .
“I’m surprised you actually were able to come with me to the island. Not many parents would let their beautiful daughter wander off with a stranger.”
Pix flushed at the compliment and looked away toward the island, which loomed larger and larger. I could make out waterfront restaurants and the tilting sailboats moored near the docks.
She took a sip of her drink, but didn’t look back at me as she answered. “It’s just my Dad and me and he owns a fishing boat, so he’s gone half the time. He knows I’m a big girl – I can handle myself.”
I found it disturbing that she was on her own. A lot. She was probably 105 pounds soaking wet and I knew, for a fact, that she slept in her car the other night.
Someone could attack her – have his way with her. She could be killed. Abducted. She could be one of those missing kids whose faces line the telephone poles and walls of various cities.
And her pal, MJ, didn’t want her to go home. Was home worse than sleeping in a car? Scenarios began filtering through my mind, none of which were good.
The tension inside me began to tighten, squeezing me like a cheap wool sweater.
What would happen to her once I left? Would I end up seeing her face on the news, listed as yet another casualty of a rip current that pulled her down and filled her lungs with seawater? I saw those people on TV all the time and I knew the truth every time.
A soul shark had killed them.
I’d watch as the reporters clustered around the family, capturing the agony of those the person left behind. It had never bothered me – their tears, their gasped thanks, their pleas for space. But now, as I looked at Pix, I knew I couldn’t handle the idea of her being the one who was killed. I couldn’t handle the idea of someone attacking her.
I should’ve never stayed on Cape Cod. Never have followed this unusual, defiant girl to the beach. At minimum, I should’ve left yesterday morning, never gone to RC garage, never asked her to come with me to the Vineyard.
I should’ve put half the country between us, but I hadn’t and now I was . . . I was . . . shit, I was screwed! I was invested. I LIKED her. Even worse – I worried about her.
It was rumored that a soul thief could become bonded to the soul of a human, and that the link, once formed, was damn near unbreakable. Up until now, I’d called it total bullshit – an excuse for those Mortis who were stupid enough to get involved with humans.
Apparently I was a top rank moron, because I was definitely involved with Pix . . . who was now giving me a weird look.
“Um. Are you okay?” she asked.
Hell, NO I wasn’t all right! It had to be a lie – such bonds are supernatural fairy tales. I was in control of my destiny. I could walk away. I could pull out and leave her standing on the docks whenever I wanted.
Pix smiled a little. “’Cause you look like you might barf, and no offense, I don’t want to be barfed on. The two hundred a day does not include puking rights.” She smiled a little. “Plus we’re only stuck on the boat for maybe another ten minutes. Just keep your eye on the distance – it eases the seasickness.”
I wasn’t seasick – I was heartsick – but I did as she instructed because looking at her was too hard. Because looking at her reminded me of all the reasons I was wrong for her and all the selfish reasons why I didn’t care.
I was going to stay.
Find a way to be part of her world.
I looked back at her and she gave a lopsided smile. “See? You look a little better. Told ya – keeping your eye on the horizon helps. Barf-incident avoided. I totally earned a tip!”
I’d become bonded to the soul of Ana Lane.