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Sunday, April 26, 2015

April Storms are Real World Magic by Sam Cheever

I've always loved a good storm. Power throbs in the air, the skies rumble and belch, rain spits against windows and streams over roofs. It's as close to real magic as reality-bound romantics may ever get. Whether you love storms or hate them, there's no denying that the energy they bring makes the blood pump.

Maybe that's why I like to infuse stormy weather into my stories. I mean, let's face it, a good weather episode can only make a dangerous trek or a terrifying adventure more challenging and fun. Thunder makes an awesome backdrop for a scary scene...lightning adds a delicious element of danger in a pursuit...and rain drumming gently on the roof is a cozy counterpoint in the symphony played by two lovers before a fire.

April, and the Spring months in general, are an inspiring time of year. Of course we love Spring because of warmer temps and May flowers. Flowers make the heart sing. They're Mother Nature's best paintings, coloring a brown and gray world and infusing it with heart stopping beauty. But before we have the soft, gentle beauty of the flowers, we must survive the harsh, pulse-pounding violence of April's storms.

They scour, they wash, they saturate and they scrub the last, unsightly dregs of Winter from a brown and ugly landscape, paving the way for the vibrant hues of May to come. It's a wonderful cycle, filled with hope and purpose. And it makes April one of my absolute favorite months!

From Honeybun in a Loin Cloth:

Godric stopped walking and placed his arm out, stopping Dini beside him. Thunder rocked the ground beneath their feet and lightning snapped overhead. The trees swung manically in a continuing wind, flinging debris.

Through the cacophony, Godric strained to hear the sound he thought he’d heard a moment earlier.

“What is it?” Dini screamed over the din.

Godric listened a moment longer and then shook his head. He could have sworn that he’d heard an engine. But that would be crazy. Nobody would be out in this mess. He must be imagining things.
He squeezed Dini’s arm and started walking again.

Above the clamor of the storm, they’d been hearing another roar for several minutes. They were walking parallel to the stream, but had been keeping a safe distance because Godric knew how quickly a harmless creek could become a violent whirlpool in a storm like the one they were currently experiencing.

With several inches of water coming down in a relatively short amount of time, the creek would quickly explode into an uncontrollable force, searing its way through the trees and vegetation and leaving destruction in its wake.

Godric could see the bright shimmer of the water through the trees, but thought they were on high enough ground to stay clear of it. Despite that, he’d been casting nervous glances as the water seemed to gain violence and move closer with every moment.

Finally he saw the rocky ledge he’d remembered from their earlier passage through the woods. He scanned the chiseled surface of the granite outcropping and found what he’d been hoping for. A dark spot about halfway up, an indentation, maybe even a shallow cave. It would provide at least some cover from the storm.

He touched Dini’s arm and pointed toward the spot. Dini followed his gaze and nodded, starting off in that direction.

A loud crack jerked them to a stop and their eyes widened as a massive tree, reaching high above their heads, shuddered, creaked, and began to topple in their direction, its massive branches reaching for them with deadly promise. 

Godric grabbed Dini’s arm and threw her toward the rocky outcrop, covering her with his body as the tree crashed to the ground just inches away. The tips of the largest branch scraped down the rock on either side of them and gouged a nice chunk out of Godric’s back.

He gritted his teeth against the pain, his muscles stiffening in anticipation of being gored by the tree.
When it had settled to the ground at their feet, the densely-leaved branches swinging from the impact and the building wind, Godric took a deep breath and relaxed.

But only for a moment. He suddenly realized that the roar they’d been listening to for the last quarter hour had grown louder. He turned and saw a muddy, swirling mass rushing toward them, tearing down trees and brush and moving massive boulders from its path.

“Flood!” Dini screamed.

Godric scanned the area and realized they had two choices, they could either turn around and try to outrun the water, or climb the rock wall in front of them. When water slammed the massive tree at their feet into the rock, he realized they really only had one choice.

There was no time to run.

“We’re going up!” Godric had to scream to be heard, but she was way ahead of him. She’d already jammed her soft shoe into a crevice in the rock and was climbing, her small hands grabbing at chunks of rock and bits of leathery root sticking out from the wall’s surface.

High above them, about twenty feet up, the dark crevice in the rock that Godric had been heading for beckoned. In a deadly, building wind, with the brute force of a runaway river roiling below them, that crevice seemed very far away.

Though they’d started out close together, the need to use the existing footholds in the side of the wall gradually pulled them apart. Godric made good progress and soon found himself several feet above Dini on the wall. He intended to pull her over the top when she got there.

Just as his hands found the narrow ledge in front of the crevice, a shadow fell over him and he heard Dini scream.

He looked up just in time to see a large rock descending toward his head. The rock smashed into his face and pain blossomed in his head and neck. Godric was suddenly falling backward, toward the roiling water below. He hit something soft and warm on his way down and heard a small grunt of pain before he splashed into the water and slammed into something hard and unforgiving. Icy, swirling water washed over his face as the world went immediately black.

He had no idea how long he was out. When he woke up, he discovered he was wedged into the prickly branches of an enormous evergreen tree, his face, neck, and arms stinging from the cold and the wind-blown scraping of the needles.

His arms were thrown over a pliant branch, his face kept out of the water by the branch, but his hands and legs dragged with the icy current. He was numb where he’d been in the icy water, and could barely get his hands and feet underneath him to stand.

He struggled to pull himself upright and turned toward the wall of rock they’d been climbing to escape the flood waters from the creek.

The wall was empty. He scanned the water around him and saw no sign of her.
Dini was gone. She’d just disappeared.

Though he screamed her name as loud as he could, the sound was completely lost in the violent wash of the wind.

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USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

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Lynda Bailey said...

Such an exciting excerpt - whew! Having grown up in the Midwest, I'm well aquatinted with spring thunderstorms. Now living in the high desert of the Sierra Mountains, the storms are fewer - but at 4500 feet in elevation, the thunder and lightning are much more dramatic when they do occur. :)

Melissa Keir said...

Wow.. scary! I've never seen a flash flood but I can imagine it's much like a train barreling down on you.

jean hart stewart said...

What a powerful excerpt, Sam. Scary enough for any thrill-craver. Beautiful description...

Janice Seagraves said...

Oh, I love a good storm too.

Exciting excerpt. Thank you for sharing. :)


Rose Gorham said...

Wow! Great excerpt. Added your book to my TRL.

J.M. Maurer said...

Oh, I love a good storm! Throw in a hot man with a loin cloth, or throw it out, and there's bound to be some lightning! :)

Sam Cheever said...

LOL, J.M! You're talking a tsunami on that one!

Sam Cheever said...

Thanks for reading the excerpt, Rose! I hope you enjoy the book! Actually, Book 1 of this series is available FREE for a limited time if you want to start at the beginning! #:0)

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