Tuesday Tease: Balancing Act

So, I stole this from Sammie Maxwell’s blog, and I’m going to do excerpts. Not just for me, though that’s where I’m starting, but for others as well. I’m sharing a short excerpt from my latest Work in Progress, Balancing Act, another installment in the Hearth and Forge series. And guess who gets to fall in love this time? Shaylie, of course! But you’ll never guess who her leading man is! Well… we open in his point of view, so… without further adieu…

The scent of wet wool filled the air, along with other, earthier smells. Horses, oak, and… He sniffed. Mead? A cold wind rose up and he shivered. Odd weather for this time of year. Loki shrugged it off. Weather was as finicky as a box full of cats. No thanks to Ran, Zeus, and a slew of others. The clouds broke, only to send a light rain falling from the heavens. He glanced at the bright sun shining through and squinted. It wouldn’t last long. But with the approach of autumn harvest, the rains would start coming cold soon.
Something kept him moving along the sidewalk. He took a deep breath and let it guide him. He looked up and down both sides of the street, searching for what called to him.
Rumbling, Loki’s stomach protested. The journey had been long. The scent of hearty food caught his attention and he scanned his gaze over the streets.
The long, low building felt like home the moment he saw it. The Hearth and Forge. He could only hope the food at the public house tasted as good as it smelled. That would be a feat unto itself.
Loki gave a quick glance up and down the street, then jogged across in a gap between cars.
The warmth of a fire warmed him as soon as he stepped foot inside. Loki took a moment to let his eyes adjust to the dimmed, yellow lighting. Within seconds, he focused on a long, polished maple bar, already lined with customers stopping in for a drink to chase away whatever troubled them.
He started for the bar, but something pulled him along toward the far end of the dining area, where a pair of French doors stood closed to a back room. Loki glanced through the glass panes. Most tables sat empty, though a long table on the left was full. Ignoring the sign that said ‘Private Party’, Loki let himself into the room.
His gaze honed in on one very familiar face. “Mom? What are you doing here?”
Freya locked eyes with him and all heads turned.
The rest of the faces were just as familiar. Except —
“No. Out. Get out. Now. You’re not welcome here.” The stunning redhead stood and pointed a finger at him.
“Puck? Is that you? What have you done to deserve that hideous face?” And why didn’t I think of that?
“It’s what I chose. Out. This is a private party, and you weren’t invited.”
“Looks like a gathering of tricksters. Am I not one of you?”
“Loki, darling, please don’t cause a scene,” Freya said, rising with the grace only a goddess could master.
“Why not, Mother? I’m so very good at it.” Did he regret the sharp, condescending tone? He probably should have. But he didn’t. Not when he wasn’t being included in all the fun being had in the back room.
“This is my birthday party, and I don’t want you here,” Puck ground out.


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