Last week, I shared a bit of the prologue, from Cassie’s point of view in 1974. In today’s excerpt, we fast-forward to 2019 and shift to Nick’s perspective.
Without further ado, here’s a bit of Nick’s first scene from Chapter 1:
Excerpt from Tangled Roots, Chapter 1
The scent of rain hung heavy on the air. I leaned against the porch rail and took another swig of my iced tea. Though I’d worked since the morning on the farm, the tension in my neck wasn’t from hard labor. I was twenty-three, and plenty of years before farm work hadn’t yet left me with arthritis like Gran. It wasn’t my body that feared the rain, the thunder, the lightning’s jagged tongue.
It was my heart that was sick, my heart that remembered.
That was me, Nick Felson, the only witch the torrent left behind.
Bile rose bitter in my throat.
That’s why I was leaving, going somewhere no one knew who the hell I was.
The harvest for tomorrow’s farmers’ market was already picked and stored in the barn to protect it from the gathering rain. Soon enough, this place wouldn’t be my problem anymore.
This place. Home.
It was a weight too heavy to bear alone. Not the work—the memories.
Gravel crunched under car tires, and I turned to see a silver sedan, sparkling and new, pulling into the driveway.
The driver’s door open, and a foot clad in a stiletto heel popped out. Mary Jo Grayson, a perky sixty-something with a slender physique and chin-length gray hair, emerged, her precariously thin heels seeking purchase on the gravel.
I set my glass beside the porch rail and jogged over, offering an arm. Mom and Gran worked hard to teach me manners, after all.
“Thanks, Nicholas,” she said with a breathy laugh.
“Thanks for coming, Mrs. Grayson,” I said, echoing her formality.
Once on the more even flagstone pathway leading to the house, she stepped back and stared up at the yellow farmhouse. It wasn’t much. Peeling yellow paint needed to be scraped and repainted. And the house, built in 1920, had been generously sized at the time but was small by modern standards.
But it wasn’t the house that made Saunders Farm such a prime catch. No. It was the land. Surely there was someone out there who hadn’t heard about what happened here that night last year, some developer who wouldn’t care about the whispers of tragedy that lived here.
Mary Jo adjusted the strap of her red leather tote bag over her shoulder. “Why don’t you show me around?”
I managed to mumble a response. Folks were used to me mumbling. My brother, Evan, got all the charisma and swagger. “You’re serious, like your granddaddy was,” Mom always said. I never met him—he died in Vietnam when Mom was a baby.
My breath caught, but I’d learned to calm myself so I didn’t make a spectacle. I’d never had a panic attack a day in my life until that night.
I led her into the house, trying to do what the article I’d read online said and talk up the small farmhouse’s features. “Up-to-date kitchen, original woodwork, lots of natural light…” Mary Jo nodded, occasionally jotting something down on a yellow legal pad, her voice bubbly and effusive with praise over the house.
Far across the Virginia mountains, thunder rumbled.
There’s magic in these hills, Nick. Gran’s words, rich with country accent that flowed like raw clover honey, echoed.
And her eyes, blue like my own, in my mind.
I can’t, Gran. I just can’t anymore.
Clearly, we’re meeting Nick at a crossroads in his life. The question is, what path will he take?
Need a witchy and swoon-worthy read full of magic and passion? To buy a copy of Tangled Roots, visit www.books2read.com/tangledroots.
Tune in for more sneak peeks into the Tangled Magic Series next week!