To commemorate the release of Ms. Ethington’s 4th Imdalind novel today (Soul of Flame) I have decided to giveaway a different novel of hers (Through Glass) that I just happened to have laying around the house. (AKA: I’ve been trying to find the perfect time to give this to 1 lucky person.) But first…how about a little snippet? Nothing get the giveaway juices flowing like a little tease right? Enjoy!
Through Glass by Rebecca Ethington
I was born into a performing family. Literally. I grew up backstage, in a tech booth, sleeping in theatre seats during rehearsals. Theatre was my life. But it wasn’t just the performing. It was becoming someone else, imagining worlds beyond my own, seeing things beyond what was possible. My father still talk about all the crazy stories I would tell at bedtime. I wrote my first script in fifth grade. ‘Don’t Tell Daddy the Mommy is a Mummy.’ I wrote it the same way Shakespeare wrote his first scripts, with the performer having only their lines and no others. I didn’t find that out until Jr. High School however. I recruited my friends to play the roles and forced them to practice during recess, it lasted a whole two weeks.
I moved from scripts to short stories. I would proudly give them to my grand mother; she loved to read and owned a book store, I think I hoped my book would be there some day. I wrote and wrote and told stories and my grandmother always told me to type it up and she would get it published for me through her contacts. She was so proud.
Well, I got older and performing became more important. I still wrote, but mostly scripts based on classic fairy tales. I got married I had a darling little girl, and then the unthinkable happened.
My grandmother had a stroke. The stroke accelerated her decline and she stopped talking, stopped remembering, stopped reading. She never finished the last Harry Potter book, her favorite series. I realized that I had failed her. So I sat down and started writing down a story I used to tell her all the time. It turned into a 130,000 word monstrosity that will never see the light of day. I gave up, and waited a few years. And then, when talking to my 93 year old grandfather (who still visits my grandmother in the hospital every day) A new story shot into my head. Everything was perfectly placed. And so I sat down and wrote ‘Kiss of Fire’ in 18 days. It went through 5 drafts, and one really great editor before it made it to you.
I have 5 other series stuck in my head right now, 5 more stories that I would love to share with you. I love to let my imagination out and share whats in my head. I don’t intend on stopping any time soon.
May 4 2013 7:30 p.m.
I had thrown the window to my bedroom open, letting the fresh spring air swirl into the room as I only partially attempted to finish my Trig homework before school tomorrow. I didn’t want to admit that I had given up on school, but it was only a month before graduation and it was getting harder and harder to focus. Not like the warm weather was helping much, either.
I stared at the block letters of my name and tried to focus through numbers and cosigns, but nothing was taking. They all blended together into jumbled squiggles. I didn’t really know why I was still trying. I had already secured my 4.0 and the last term didn’t matter. At least that’s what Cohen had always told me, but my mom had a different idea.
Either way, I already had my acceptance letter to The University of Cincinnati.
I perched myself on the old kitchen chair I used at my desk and let the numbers turn into a blur again. I briefly contemplated if I should continue my final project on avian mythology before I became lost in the smell of spring lilacs that filled my room.
I breathed in the fresh scent and leaned against the back of the chair, my eyes closing as I absorbed the smell I loved so much.
We had planted the lilac bush right below my window when my grandmother had passed away, and every year it blossomed in the spring. This year, though, for some reason it had held off and waited to bloom until just a few days ago, even though summer was almost here. Not that I was complaining. It made the room smell like a salon and gave me even more of a reason to keep the window open.
I hated being indoors for too long. It made me feel like a trapped animal, which probably meant it was good that I lived in a warm climate. I would go mad being shut indoors for months on end. Plus, the cold. Ew. I didn’t know how some people did it. That only made it even more ridiculous that I would be trucking myself off to Ohio. I’d been told it snows there. Ugh.
I jumped at my name, practically falling off my chair as I turned toward my door, expecting to see my dad scowling at me for whatever reason. However, the door was closed.
The voice came again and I jumped even more; the action sending the chair sideways while someone else’s laughter filled my room as I tumbled to the floor.
Oh, no way. I knew where the voice was coming from now; that menace. I jumped up as indignantly as I could with my long, red hair fanning around me. As I turned toward my window, I came face to face with the object of my unobstructed infatuation since fifth grade.
I hadn’t seen him in months, not since he came home for Christmas break bearing gifts not only for me, but all four of my younger brothers.
“Cohen! You’re back,” I practically yelled at him, my excitement at seeing him making my words twice as loud as they needed to be.
“Took you long enough to figure out it was me, firecracker,” he teased, flashing me his bright white smile. I only scowled in return, the subtle reminder of my irritating hair color unwelcome. He only smiled more, obviously glad his jab had wound its way under my skin. My irritation instantly melted. It was hard to stay mad at him when he smiled like that.
I smiled at him, my heart beating heavily at how familiar he was. He looked almost the same as he had the last time I’d seen him; his eyes dark enough to match the black of his hair. His ebony hair was still short and casual. However his jawline, complete with the scratchy stuff of a few days growth, seemed stronger and more defined. It made him look like a younger version of the Brawny man. I liked it. Everything about him was familiar and warming while at the same time different and older.
I tried not to focus on the super sexy attempt at a beard he had going on; the way the short, patchy scruff darkened his features when he smiled, but I could already tell it was a lost cause.
“Got back a couple hours ago. Nan was making me do laundry or I would have stopped by to pester you sooner. I guess college kids smell.” He smiled again and moved to sit on the large desk in front of his window, the same way we had always done.
I moved to mirror him, fully aware I was wearing my fuzzy pink pajama pants, but not caring. Cohen and I had done this since the day he moved in with his grandparents after his parents died eleven years ago. We would sit for hours in our windows and “shoot the ten foot gap”, as my mom called it. I didn’t even have curtains in my room until I hit puberty and became aware that a boy was able to look in my window.
“They do smell. In fact, you should probably stay over there.” I smiled at him, but he only laughed.
“Not me, I’ve been scrubbed by the ultimate authority in clean. Nan pulled out the bleach and everything.”
“Well, if she has done to you what she does to her kitchen, then I will have to take your word for it.” I swung my legs over the window sill, letting them dangle over the fifteen or so feet to the unkempt lawn below. It was a good thing I had never developed any vertigo or that would make this whole thing much more uncomfortable.
“I smell all lemony, Lex; you should come take a whiff.” Cohen lifted his arms and took an over-exaggerated inhale from each arm. I was torn between laughing or making gagging sounds.
What resulted was a sort of dying bird squawk that reduced to coughs as I choked on my own spit.
“You okay?” Cohen asked, his dark eyes crinkling as he laughed.
“Yeah, I guess I forgot how to breathe there,” I said weakly, still trying to figure out how to use my lungs.
“I hear I have that effect on girls,” he said it flippantly, the smile obvious on his face. However, my body had a completely different reaction.
I froze, I knew he meant it as a joke—an offhand comment—but I couldn’t stop the painful, seven piece band my heart was now participating in. My face froze in place as I glared at him. I’m pretty sure my jaw was also hanging open a bit more than what would normally be deemed natural.
He smiled, a small laugh escaping him and I cringed. The seven piece band ceasing automatically and letting my heartbeat regulate.
I really wished I would have gotten over this ridiculous infatuation by now, but no, I had to be tormented.
I wasn’t lying when I said I had a crush on him. I simply knew he didn’t have a crush on me. If you ever need to be put in your place, ask your best friend to a dance in front of all of his friends. I think I hit the “friend zone” faster than any girl in history.
“So, how is college?” I asked before he could say anything relating to the friendship he hoped to continue with me.
I just hoped my hit-by-a-truck expression wasn’t too obvious.
“Great,” he said. My nerves loosened in the hope that he really hadn’t noticed. “Except for the core stuff. If I could sit in art class all day, I would. Have you decided where you are going yet?”
“Not yet,” I lied, knowing full well my mom had framed my acceptance letter to The University of Cincinnati and hung it in my room.
I just couldn’t tell him where I was going. It wasn’t a logical choice for a middle class girl from Texas. Cohen had chosen the University of Cincinnati because of their advanced School of the Arts. I chose Cincinnati because of Cohen.
I knew it, my mom knew it, my other best friend, Sarah, knew it. I simply didn’t need Cohen knowing it.
“There is always The University of Cincinnati,” he said and I almost fell out the window. My stomach swam uncomfortably at his words. I wanted to say he was just kidding, but the look in his eyes made me re-think that thought.
“I’ve been thinking about it,” I said softly, trying to fight the tomato red blush that was creeping its way up my face.
That could come off as stalkerish and creepy and I fully expected Cohen to take it that way. Instead of balking and moving away, though, he leaned out the window until it looked like he was going to fall out and smiled.
“Think hard about it, Lex.”
It was probably a miracle that I hadn’t tumbled out of the window with the look he gave me. My fingers clenched the wooden frame as I attempted to steady myself. The smile that was now lining my face was probably a bit bigger than would be considered normal.
“Oh, I will, but I’m thinking of staying close to home,” I said, trying to keep my voice casual. “You know, where it’s warm.”
“It’s warm in Ohio,” Cohen countered, one side of his lips pulling up.
I tried not to smile too much at the way his scruff crinkled with the smile. Instead I chose to look at his charcoal stained fingers as they tapped against the window frame.
“I’m sure it is,” I said, my focus still on his fingers. “Tell me, Cohen, did it snow this winter?”
“It did, Alexis. Big, beautiful white flakes that clung to everything, but don’t worry about that; I’ll keep you warm.” He smiled and I couldn’t help it, I laughed even though my nerves had gone back to their gymnastics meet.
I laughed, big loud and unattractive, and only a few seconds later he joined in. I wanted to believe that he was being cute and flirty, but I knew better. Besides, Cohen had never said anything like that ever. The mere fact that it had come out of his mouth was more humorous than anything.
“Don’t laugh, firecracker.” He fought the chuckle that was still sneaking its way into his voice. “I have a very effective space heater…”
The rest of his words died in my ears as my laughter and my mom’s call for dinner over-powered them. He was only talking about a space heater, not some form of uncomfortable (while still desirable) blanket sharing. Which was probably best, I might be begging for use of his space heater in six months’ time.
“Lex…” he growled and I looked at him, stabilizing myself against the window frame in an attempt to keep my laughter in. “I’m serious.”
“Uh-huh, and I have the plague.” I smiled brightly and he rolled his eyes just as my mom’s voice sounded again; she was louder and decidedly angrier this time.
I sighed unattractively and swung my legs back onto my desk just as the sound of my mom’s footsteps sounded on the staircase. That was one big downfall of living in such an old house; not only was it small, but every noise echoed around the rooms like it was happening right next to you.
“I gotta go,” I sighed, sure my voice sounded much more dejected than I wanted it to. Cohen’s face went from smiling to pensive dejection so fast it made my heart clench.
“Dinner,” I provided as if that made it all better.
“Well, you better come right back. I have a job for you.” His bright smile shone from across the ten foot gap.
“A job?” I asked as I slid off the desk to face him.
My mom yelled again, her voice loud at the top of the stairs. I wanted to turn toward her—to be the obedient child I always was—but I couldn’t make myself move. Not yet.
“Yeah, so don’t be too long. My slave laborers normally don’t get dinner breaks.” He smiled again as my jaw dropped, the odd, spluttering sounds coming from my mouth again.
“Slave laborer!” I tried to regain control, but nothing seemed to be cooperating and my fire-hot temper bubbled uncomfortably.
“Smile, firecracker,” he said, his smile leaving me sputtering as he waved to my mom, who I was sure was right behind me. Then, he left his room.
How did he always get under my skin? And for the stupidest things, too. Ugh.
So, I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Ethington last November at Houston Book Rave and let me just tell you…she is a total doll. She is so much of a doll that she handed over a signed copy of “Through Glass” to give out without me even mentioning it. (just a “Here…take this.”) So here it is…take a peek and then register for the giveaway.