There are only two hours left on the sale of my old steampunked netbook. Here’s a teaser of the short story I’m including on the hard drive.
Eva tossed her backpack on the picnic bench and hollered down to Giancarlo. “I’m going to head to the creek to cut some willow branches for the summoning spell.”
Giancarlo strode up the hill from their car with his gear slung over one shoulder. “You could bring them with you, you know.” His English was perfect, only the rolled R and lilt betraying his origins. Well, that and the way he moved like a runway model straight from Milan. For the billionth time, she wondered how had she lucked out to get to work with this eye-candy. Most of the other historians who’d hired her to contact the Fae were in their fifties and pudgy from a lot of desk time. Giancarlo… Dang. Had he modeled back in Italy? Probably.
Her smart phone buzzed in her pocket. She pulled it out and glanced at the message. Have you asked him out yet?
Eva wrinkled her nose and shoved the phone back into her pocket. Sandra had been asking that since they started working together. As if. It was unprofessional. She didn’t mind admiring his ass, but anything beyond that would be out of line. Eva pulled her hair back from her face and tried to clear her thoughts. “The willow needs to be from here. The fae like it better when the baskets are of their place.”
“Why?” He raised an eyebrow, curious, as always. That was something she appreciated about him. He was here to study human habitation and using the Fae’s longevity to fill in some gaps, but he seemed to want to know everything.
She shrugged. “The Fae are particular about the specifications for these gifts. I’ve got no idea what they do with the baskets, because it’s not like they’re incapable of making them.”
He seemed appalled that no one had asked. “But… but… Not even conjectures from seeing them in use?”
“It’s not like we can just go to a settlement to check.” To be more accurate, no one had been invited to a settlement and returned in a timely manner. Standard protocol was to decline an invitation, no matter how tempting. The story of Thomas the Rhymer was a hard-core cautionary tale, even in North America. Only two people had returned from the North American court and both of those had been gone over a decade.