Last week, I celebrated Halloween with parties and costumes! This year, I dressed up as a Minion. What do you think?
I got a kick out of it and the costume was like wearing a warm hug all day long.
I also bought something appropriate for celebrating the Halloween season. In the past, I have had trouble not buying Halloween decorations. This year I controlled myself (for the most part) until I saw this pillow.
Now how could I walk away from that? I am the Queen of Halloween – self appointed – but still true.
And as the Queen of Halloween, I am giving you a treat today (better than a trick, I think).
Attached below is an excerpt from DEMONS ARE FOREVER, the third book in my Realm Trilogy that releases one week from today on the 12th!
Sergei Chesnokov was a demon without purpose. A pathetic admission, especially for someone two hundred forty-five years old, but true nonetheless.
The bell sounded, announcing that the plane had taxied to the gate and passengers could leave their seats, and the people around him leapt into action. Always the same–everyone trying to wrestle with bags that were too big and should never have been in the overhead to begin with, then jockeying for position to rush off the plane to their newest adventure, only to have to wait for their connecting flight or ride.
Sergei used to be like them, traveling throughout the world for the past century to experience everything it had to offer, and using his camera to capture it. So much anticipation. Hell, he had been one of the first to cross the ocean on a commercial flight. There was something about being the first that appealed to him. Maybe being the third son played into it. Growing up, he had never been the first to do anything…except disappoint his father.
“Is everything okay, sir?”
The plane was empty, the flight attendant looking at him with concern. “Yes. I’m fine. I’m not in a rush, so I decided to let everyone else get off first.”
She smiled. “It is a bit crazy, isn’t it?”
Sergei pulled his backpack out from under the seat in front of him and stood. “Yes.” He grabbed his appropriately-sized duffel from the overhead as well.
She walked with him to the front of the plane. “Is Chicago your home?”
Chicago. He’d forgotten where he was for a moment. Nonstop traveling did that. “No. I’m not home. Have a good day.”
The teeming crowd of people had him stopping in the middle of the terminal to get his bearings. He hadn’t been in the States for a while now, and it always took a few days to acclimate to the craziness. Next step was to grab something to eat and then figure out where he wanted to go next.
Sergei pulled his phone out and switched out of airplane mode. In seconds, it beeped, telling him he had a voice mail. He frowned at the name—Irina, his grandmother. She insisted that he call her on Sundays if he was in an area that actually had cell phone service.
The call came in an hour ago – five pm on a Tuesday. His stomach twisted. Something had to be wrong.
Sergei hurried over to the wall, dropped his duffel at his feet, hit play, and listened.
“Sergei, you need to come home. Aleksei is in grave danger. Call the following number and talk to Kyle. She’ll pick you up at the airport and explain everything. Please, Grandson. Your family needs you.”
Sergei’s chest tightened. What kind of message was that? What had happened to his brother?
He called his grandmother’s cell, but it went to voice mail. Then he listened to her message again and wrote down the number for this Kyle person before rushing to the ticket counter. Luckily only one person stood in front of him. He studied the flight screens while he waited. A flight to Cleveland left in less than an hour. Stepping up to the counter, he booked a seat on the plane even though the ticket agent said he would have to run to make it.
Ticket in hand, he ran toward the gate and yelled for them to stop before they closed the door. He clambered onto the plane, stuffed his duffel into an overhead, and dialed the number his grandmother had given him. The person answered on the second ring.
“Irina gave me your number before she left. Where are you?”
“I’m in Chicago, and just got on a plane for Cleveland, so I should be there in an hour.”
“Good. I’ll be at arrivals waiting for you. I’ll be in a black van.”
“What’s going on, Kyle? Where’s my grandmother?”
“Your family is trying to help Aleksei.”
Sergei let out a breath at the use of present tense. “So he’s not dead.”
“No. I’ll explain everything to you as soon as I can, but it would be better to do it in person.”
Sergei gripped the phone tighter and opened his mouth to argue.
A flight attendant stopped beside him. “I’m sorry, sir. You’ll have to turn off your phone now.”
“I’ll call you when I land, Kyle.” Sergei hung up the phone and flipped it into airplane mode as the plane taxied down the runway.
He leaned against the headrest and rubbed his hands on his jeans.
“Are you okay, son?”
He hadn’t been paying attention to anyone when he boarded, and he turned to look at the older human female next to him who’d made the comment.
“Are you afraid to fly?”
He shook his head. “No.”
“Are you traveling for work?”
He wanted to ignore her questions, but he had been taught to respect elders, even though he was older than she was by at least a hundred years. “I’m visiting my family.”
“Ah. Families are both wonderful and stressful. I hope your trip home is a happy one.” She picked up the book in her lap and thankfully began to read.
Home. He didn’t have a real home anymore. And now the family he had for all intents and purposes abandoned was in trouble. His grandmother had been telling him for a while now to come home, but he always made excuses. Now he didn’t know what awaited him.
He hadn’t spoken to either of his brothers in a long time. He had little in common with his older brother, Misha, and the last conversation he had with Aleksei had ended in an argument. What if those were the last words they would ever speak to each other?
Sergei ran his hands over his face. He had a lot to make up for. He just hoped he wasn’t too late.
So did that entice you??? The Queen of Halloween hopes so!