NovelSisters

watching, reading, and writing stories

Sneak Peek #2 of The Pirate Princess

I’ve been working on my third novel off and on throughout this year and I think it’s time for another preview. Now keep in mind that this book is still in progress. This scene in particular is new to the story and I’m not sure if it will end up in the final version or not. But I enjoyed writing it and I thought y’all would like to see what I’ve been working on, so enjoy.

 

Serina had hardly slept for the past four nights. She climbed to the highest tower once again and looked out over the rolling hills. Still no sign of him. Oh I should have just gone myself. Serina crumpled to her knees and tried to reason with herself. I shouldn’t have expected him any earlier, it is such a long way to travel and who knows what the weather’s been like. He’ll be back by tomorrow for sure and… She forced her mind to think positive. And he’ll have a letter from Adrian, a long explanation for the silence and probably a gift too, something to console me. Serina sat back against the hard stone and pulled her knees up to her chest, settling her head on top and folding her arms over to shield her face from the sun.

She didn’t know how long she’d been sitting like that, she could have drifted off to sleep for all she knew, but her muscles were cramping so she untangled herself and stood up slowly. She stretched and scanned wearily towards Linden again. She froze. Is that… could it be? She leaned over the battlement and shielded her eyes. It is! She hopped and rushed down the winding staircase and out to the stables. As she fumbled with the tack she wished for the hundredth time that she had learned to ride bareback. But her father wouldn’t hear of it, and hardly anyone in the castle knew how anyway. Finally she had managed to secure the saddle and bridle and she threw open the gate and climbed on hurriedly.

Buttercup danced around the small enclosure, picking up on Serina’s excitement.

“Shh,” Serina coaxed as she patted Buttercup’s neck. “Come on girl; let’s see what George has found out.”

Buttercup took off towards the open gate with a kick from Serina and after clattering down the drawbridge, lengthened her stride in the open road.

Serina could hardly see as the wind whipped her hair into her face and tears filled her eyes, but she didn’t care she just had to get to George as fast as possible. After some time, she could feel Buttercup slowing and she pulled back on the reins and let her trot for a bit. She took the opportunity to get her bearings and see how close George was now.
George was nowhere in sight, so Serina guided Buttercup to a small hill and pulled her to a stop. She glanced behind her and could still see the castle and a few guards riding out in pursuit of her. Then she turned back to the road and looked for any sign of the rider. Maybe it wasn’t him; maybe it was a farmer headed home… But Serina wasn’t ready to give up. She clicked her tongue and sent Buttercup into a steady canter as she kept a look out for George’s familiar figure.

The rolling hills hid parts of the road and Serina kept scanning the next place where the road vanished for a sign of the rider. Finally, after several minutes of tortuous waiting, the rider appeared. He was sunk in the saddle, only traveling at a slow trot and not even looking up, but Serina recognized him right away.

“George!” she called and urged Buttercup into a gallop.

George looked up and gave a short wave. He picked up his pace, but it was clear that both he and his horse were exhausted.

“I didn’t think you’d make it today,” Serina said excitedly as she pulled her horse to a sliding halt. “You must have traveled all night, but I’m so glad you did. You don’t know how worried I’ve been. Please tell me you have got a letter from Adrian.”

George nodded wearily. “I do.”

“Well, hand it over.”

George fumbled with his jacket and pulled out the letter he’d been given. He held it out to Serina.

“Is there anything else?”

George shook his head. “Sorry, no. But after you read the letter, I have… to um tell you some things.”

Serina raised an eyebrow. “Alright.” She studied his face trying to figure out what that meant. “I suppose you should go report to my father.”

George dipped his head. “Of course. Won’t you accompany me back to the castle?”

Serina held the letter tightly. “Well I was hoping to read this in private.”

George nodded and glanced at the guards who had followed Serina. “I doubt you’ll be able to read the whole thing before they get here. You sure you don’t want to just find a quiet room in the castle?”

“Can’t you just tell them to leave me alone for ten minutes. I promise I’ll come straight home once I’m through.”

George gave her a sympathetic smile. “Alright, I’ll see you back at the castle then.” He kicked his horse and rode towards the approaching guards.

Serina smiled. Sometimes George can be quite the gentleman. She nudged Buttercup into a trot and hurried off towards a copse of trees where she used to play when she was a child. She dismounted and quickly tied Buttercup’s reins to a branch. Then she settled into a soft spot of grass in the shade of the largest tree and opened the letter.

Serina,
I was so glad to receive your last letter. They always make me laugh and it keeps me from feeling so lonely. I keep thinking about when we’ll next get to be together. It’s only been a few months but it feels like years. I know you’ve asked if I could come down for the Spring. I’m trying to convince Richard that it’s a good idea and I believe it’s almost been decided. You keep reminding your father as well.

Caleb doesn’t want me to tell you this, but I knew it would make you laugh. He’s started taking dance lessons and I’ve caught him staring at Susan three times now. I think our joke has turned into a real possibility of romance. I’ll make sure to keep you updated.

I’ve also received a letter from Josiah. He’s really enjoying his time with Kalim. If he ever stops by your castle, be sure to tell him I miss him. So few Unguls travel during this season that any letters I send him are often retuned and never delivered.

Oh and you might find this interesting. You remember that little village we visited where Martin’s mother lives? Well he’s had word from her that something’s going on. We’re not sure what it is yet, and I may not have a chance to send this letter till after we get back. But now that I think of it, I’d rather wait to send it. I want to send you a little gift and I bet Martin’s mother will know just the right gift for you. I hope you enjoy it!

-Adrian

Serina looked over the letter once more and noticed the date. But why hasn’t he written anything since then? And where is the gift he mentioned? I guess I should go talk to George. She folded the letter and stood up with determination.

When she had returned to the castle she asked a servant where George had gone and soon found herself waiting outside the King’s throne room. Apparently George had wanted a private meeting, so Serina was not allowed inside until they were through. She paced in front of the door, ignoring the guard who was blocking the door and coolly watching her.

I don’t like this. First Adrian doesn’t send the gift that he clearly intended to send me, and now George wants a private audience with my father. Something’s not right. Oh why did I insist on readying the letter first? I should have just asked George what’s happened. She was reminded of all the times she’d had to wait as a child. She wasn’t very good at it. A particular moment when she had a longing for cherry pie and had to wait two hours for the cook to finally finish it came back to her. She had been too impatient to wait for the pie to cool and when no one was looking she had pushed her finger through the crust for a quick taste. Unfortunately, the pie was still piping hot and she had ended up with a burnt finger. Serina stopped pacing. I just need to be patient. This meeting can’t last forever.

And right as she had the thought, the door swung inward and a guard gestured for her to come inside.
Serina smiled and marched into the large throne room. Though the crystal decorations glistened like always, and the intricately woven murals hung on display, Serina ignored them all and focused all of her attention on George, who was standing next to her father’s throne.

A servant quickly brought a chair for Serina, it wasn’t a throne, but it was nicer than anything else and she always liked pretending it was her private throne. She made herself comfortable next to her father then put on her most diplomatic smile. “It seems that something has happened that I am hitherto unaware of, would you be so kind as to inform me of the development George?”

George gulped and looked at her father.

Charles waved his hand. “Go ahead; I’m sure she’ll have too many questions for me to answer. You might as well just tell her.”

George looked uncomfortable. Serina hoped that was because he was tired from the journey, but she had a nagging suspicion that it was something more. “Go ahead George,” she said with a smile, hoping to put him at ease.

George smoothed his mustache. “I assume you read the letter?”

Serina nodded. “Yes, I was surprised you didn’t give me the gift he’d mentioned. Although maybe you just forgot it, you do look rather tired.”

George shook his head. “I’m sorry Serina, there was no gift. You see…”

Serina waited as a thick silence filled the room. She glanced at her father.

“Oh just spit it out,” Charles said. “There’s no way around it.”

“Spit out what?” Serina asked.

“I’m afraid the plague has returned in Linden. Glenton was the first village affected and Adrian journeyed there to help with…”

The rest of George’s words faded from Serina’s mind. Plague… Adrian. She didn’t know what George was saying, but she blurted out. “Is he alright? Tell me George is Adrian—” She couldn’t finish the sentence.

George looked at his feet. “He has the plague. I’m so sorry.”

Serina’s heart stopped for a long second, then beat with an intensity she had rarely felt. George was saying something, trying to be comforting. Everyone was looking at her, her father, the guards. But it didn’t seem real, none of it was real. She closed her eyes. I’m dreaming, this is just a dream. Wake up Serina. She felt a hand on her shoulder, more words that didn’t penetrate the fog in her brain. I can’t lose him.

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Sneak Peek of the Pirate Princess

So I’ve been working on the next book in the Finding Home trilogy and I thought it was high time for a preview of the newest book. So, if you’ve read any of my books or you’re interested in adventure stories for young readers, I hope you enjoy this preview for Finding Home: The Pirate Princess.

Serina stared out at the violent waves, as they finished their job of wrecking the small rowboat to shreds. It felt like the sea was mocking her, arrogantly destroying her last shred of hope. How could it have gone this wrong? The sand felt hot against her bare feet, but she didn’t move, she couldn’t. Her whole world had crumbled and there was nothing she could do about it. Why? What did I do to deserve this? She clenched her fists and tried to keep the tears from coming but they came anyway, adding to the saltwater that already covered her trembling body. Now that she was alone, she couldn’t hold it together anymore. Why couldn’t it have been me? Why did they have to take Adrian? Why does it always have to be Adrian? Why can’t God just give me what I want for once in my life? She pulled on her hair, tempted to rip it out in frustration. But instead she fell to her knees and sobbed.

She didn’t know how long she’d been crying but her eyes refused to produce any more tears. She was dehydrated, drained and she felt like giving up. She looked up at the sky. “Alright, fine. I give up. Are you happy now? I’m sick of trying to do things my way. It never works and I’m tired of it. I don’t have anyone else so I’m giving You a chance. So help me save Adrian, please. He’s the last person to deserve this.”

She waited, silently hoping for a thundering voice to speak. But the roar of the waves and the cawing of seagulls was all she heard. Then in the distance she spotted a dark spot on the horizon. What is that? She stood up and put her hand to her forehead to block the sun and help her see clearer.

She stared for so long that her eyes began to hurt, but she didn’t take them off of the small dot. The wait was almost unbearable, the heat stifling, her clothes were already almost dry as the sun beat down on her. But the dot continued to get bigger and a flame of hope had lit in her chest that she held onto with everything she had left. Please be a ship. Please!

Finally the mast and sails took shape and Serina jumped with excitement. “Yes! A ship! Thank you God!” She didn’t care about anything else, not her torn dress or parched throat, or empty stomach. She just kept staring at that lovely ship. It was the most beautiful thing in the world to her. Thank you God!

Caleb stumbled out of the trees. “I heard you yelling, what happened?”

“A ship!” Serina said excitedly and pointed. She stopped as she realized Caleb was alive. She turned to him and gave him a big hug. “We’re saved!”

Caleb indulged her hug for a moment then stood back and blushed. “Do you still happen to have that spyglass?”

Serina wondered how she could have forgotten about it as she had watched that small dot getting closer. I really must be tired. She reached into her damp jacket and fished out the spyglass. She gave it to him with a smile.

Caleb took it and stared out at the ship. After a minute he mumbled sarcastically, “Oh great.”

All of the excitement drained out of Serina in an instant. “What?”

Caleb handed her the spyglass. “Take a look for yourself.”

Serina hurriedly pulled the odd contraption to her eye and tried to focus. Her hands were trembling too much and she had to take a deep breath to calm her nerves. Finally she found the ship among the vast blue ocean. She couldn’t see anything wrong with it. It looked sturdy and large enough to fit two extra passengers. But then she spotted the flag. The ugly red with a black X chilled her to the bones. “Oh no, it’s the pirates.”

“No, really? Ya think?”

“What are we going to do now?”

Caleb threw his hands up in the air. “I have no idea! But they’re headed straight here. It’s probably one of their bases of operation.”

“Maybe we could hide.”

Caleb shook his head. “I searched the whole island and besides a fresh spring it’s worthless. There’s nowhere we could hide where they wouldn’t spot us. It’s just not that big.”

Serina felt her chest tighten as the ship came nearer and nearer. And I thought things couldn’t get any worse.

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Sneak Peek #3

I haven’t posted any sneak peeks for my new novel “Finding Home: The Lost Brother” in quite awhile, so I thought I’d share one of my favorite moments from the new book. If you haven’t already read them, there are two other sneak peeks: https://lydiamhill.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/another-sneak-peek/  and  https://lydiamhill.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/a-sneak-peek/
You should probably read them first, so this scene will make more sense. And if you haven’t read the first book in the series yet “Finding Home: The Orphan’s Journey,” check it out on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Home-Orphans-Lydia-Hill/dp/1490556427/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430152065&sr=8-1&keywords=finding+home+the+orphan%27s+journey

And now without further ado, a sneak peek:

Finding Home
Caleb sighed audibly. “I hope this doesn’t take too long.”

Adrian shrugged and turned towards the house.

Caleb reluctantly followed Adrian inside the worn structure. “You know we can’t wait on that kid too long, only a few minutes.”

Adrian sighed, “I know.” He began to study the home’s interior quietly. He touched an old wooden-framed bed and the stones of the soot-filled fireplace.

Caleb looked at the poorly furnished home and wondered what was so special about it. He looked at Adrian for some kind of clue. After seeing Adrian smile at odd objects, like spoons and a wooden sword, Caleb spoke up. “This is where you grew up, isn’t it?”

Adrian nodded as he held a worn bowl in his hand. He glanced around the small room. “It hasn’t changed much.” He set down the bowl.

Caleb nodded but didn’t say anything for several minutes. Finally he broke the silence, “I’m sorry Adrian.”

Adrian turned to look at Caleb. “What for?” he asked, confused.

“I didn’t realize this was your home…. I shouldn’t have pushed you to leave. I know it can be hard… to say goodbye.”

“That’s alright Caleb, you didn’t know.”

Caleb studied Adrian’s face. “So are you alright?”

Adrian nodded. “Yes, I just…” he trailed off.

Caleb waited.

“I just don’t want to forget them…. With all the running around, getting ready for the coronation, and clearing the land of any remaining Unguls, I’ve felt like I’m losing them again… it’s like I don’t have a family.”

Caleb waited for a minute, then hesitantly said, “But you do have a family; King Richard.”

Adrian smiled. “Yes, I know. And I’m thankful for that… but it’s different. I don’t know. Does this make sense at all?”

Caleb shrugged his shoulders. “Makes sense to me. When you were growing up you had a father, a mother, several brothers… wait did you have a sister?”

Adrian laughed, “No, I did not. Serina says that’s why I have horrible table manners.”

Caleb nodded, then continued, “So you had this big family, and now you just have Richard. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with Richard, but he is just one man. I think it’s understandable for you to feel like you’ve lost your family.”

Adrian nodded. “Thank you Doctor Caleb. Now what do I do about it?”

Caleb shrugged. “Not a clue. But I’m sure you’ll figure something out.”

Adrian shook his head and laughed. “Thanks Caleb.”

Caleb stepped back outside, “You know everyone’s waiting on us.”

Adrian sighed as he followed his friend, “Yeah I know. I just don’t want to break a promise.”

Caleb nodded. “I understand… but it is my job to get you to the coronation and… well we are running out of time.” He climbed onto his mount and looked expectantly at Adrian.

Adrian nodded, “You’re probably right. He walked over to Midnight and prepared to hop on.

“Wait!” Alex’s voice called from down the hill.

Adrian stopped and smiled up at Caleb, “Right on time.”

Caleb rolled his eyes, “I guess we can wait a few more minutes.”

Alex soon crested the top of the hill with another boy right beside him.

Josiah suddenly stopped in his tracks.

Adrian too froze in place.

Alex glanced from one to the other with a huge smile plastered on his face. “Surprise!” he yelled.

Caleb looked on confused. “Adrian?” he said quietly.

Adrian paid no attention to Caleb’s words, “Josiah?” he said so quietly, it might have been only to himself.

Josiah blinked and rubbed his eyes, making sure what he was seeing wasn’t one of his imaginations. But when he looked again, Ben was still standing there, staring back at him. Suddenly the world melted away, and Josiah was running.

Adrian could hardly believe what he was seeing, but once Josiah began running towards him, his hesitation disappeared and he ran too.

The two collided in a massive hug, with Adrian lifting Josiah off the ground. They both held onto each other tightly, too overcome with emotion to say a word.

Caleb cleared his throat and turned to Alex, “Who is that?”

Alex giggled, “Isn’t it obvious? They’re brothers.”

Caleb looked back at the two with wonder, “But that’s impossible.”

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Another Sneak Peek

I’ve been getting on a writing kick lately for my next novel, Finding Home: The Lost Brother. I posted part of it several weeks ago. And I thought it would be fun to post another section. The last post was from a new character’s perspective, but I figured anyone who read the first book would enjoy this bit from Adrian’s perspective. So here you go, enjoy!

Finding Home
Adrian surveyed his hometown. Nothing had seemed to change since he had been here last spring with his family. He took a deep breath of the familiar smells.

“You ready to go?” asked an irritated voice.

Adrian smiled. “Really Caleb, we’re not in that big of a rush. We can at least look around for a few minutes.”

Caleb sighed audibly. “But your coronation is in three days and we need to get back.…”

Adrian held up his hand. “I know, I know. Thank you for keeping me on schedule. But… I just need to see it…. It’s been so long.”

Caleb crossed his arms. “We have seen it. Look there it is.” He gestured to the marketplace. “You said we’d only be here a little while, it was just a ‘quick stop.’ Well I don’t see any Unguls, so our job here is done and we need to go.”

Adrian ignored Caleb’s protests and gave Midnight a gentle nudge. “There’s something I have to see first.”

Caleb threw up his arms. “Royalty!”

Adrian suppressed a giggle. “Come on. I promise we can go after this.”

Caleb nodded glumly. “Yes your majesty.” He nudged his own horse and followed Adrian into the crowded streets.

Adrian smiled broadly and waved to a few surprised people that he recognized. After making it through the crowded market, Adrian turned towards a steep hill overlooking the sea.

A worn house, that was really more of a shack, sat atop the hill. It was leaning slightly, as if the years of gusty ocean squalls had finally worn it down.

Adrian slipped off of Midnight’s back and approached the small structure. He stopped and stared silently for several minutes.

Caleb began tapping his foot impatiently.

Suddenly a loud thump from within the house broke the silence.

Curious, Adrian stepped closer and called out “Hello, anyone here?”

A young boy, with flat brown hair atop his head popped out of the door. He looked at Adrian inquisitively then his eyes lit up. “Ben!” he screamed. He pushed the door roughly and ran out to greet his old friend.

Adrian wrapped the boy in a hug and held him tightly. “Alex! My how you’ve grown! How are you?”

Alex grinned, “I’m fine. Where have you been? I thought you were dead!”

Adrian laughed. “Well that’s a long story. I’ve been pretty much everywhere….”

Suddenly Alex shrieked, “Oh you haven’t seen… I can’t believe this! I have to tell him!”

“Slow down Alex,” Adrian said calmly. “What are you talking about?”

Alex grinned with a twinkle in his eye, “It’s a surprise. Just stay here and I’ll bring it to you.”

Adrian laughed, “Alright Alex, I’ll play your game.”

“So you’ll stay here?”

“Yes.”

“Promise?” Alex asked, his face suddenly turning serious.

“I promise,” Adrian agreed.

“Just don’t take too long kid,” Caleb called as Alex sprinted down the hillside.

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