Thorns and Fangs: Teaser Three.

About an hour ago, I finished wrestling Chapter 7 into submission. It’s been the most difficult chapter yet, dealing with a violent fight, near-death, and the main characters having an argument that is crucial to their developing relationship. Getting it right was hard! I deserved a break. A long break. In fact, I was all set to pack my bags (going out of town for 2-3 days from tomorrow) and do nothing else productive all night.

And then inspiration struck. Or rather Ana did. She shared an insight into the story behind her novel Lab Rat’s Love over here, touching on the significance of the dead brother of one of her main characters to the story. That relationship is one of the reasons I’m most excited about Lab Rat’s Love, and I thought I’d share something of my main character Nate’s special relationship with his twin brother.

Nate and Aki are in the bunk bed of the dorm room they share. It’s been an … interesting day to say the least.

Nate snorted, patting Aki’s hand. “Maybe you should try and let go of your anti-country prejudice. You’re seriously close-minded.”
“I’ll come down there and kick you. Don’t think I won’t.” Aki gripped Nate’s shoulder tightly then let go.
Nate listened to Aki resettle himself, feeling that maybe he’d accomplished something after all. “What’s stopping me kicking back?”
“I’m banking on that old-fashioned country courtesy.”
“Bad news, Aki.” The wooden slats that held Aki’s mattress were lose enough that Nate could push them up easily.
“Jerk! Shattering illusions without warning! What’s next – gonna tell me it’s not actually quieter out there?”
“Clearly you’ve never tried to sleep through the dawn chorus. Or been hauled out of bed because the cattle got out overnight and you have to stop them eating the lawn.”
“At least our garbage trucks take mess, they don’t leave it.”
A week ago, Nate would have left it there. Now—
He bit his lip. “Anyone tries to tell you there’s nothing odd in the country, they’re full of shit.”
“I thought that was cows?”
Despite himself, Nate smiled. “No. It’s people are people everywhere you go. Even when they’re not human.”
Now he had Aki’s attention. There was no movement at all from the top bunk. “What do you mean?”
“Ethan’s different.”
“Your brother?”
“My brother.”
“What, he’s got – second sight or something?”
“We don’t actually talk about it. It’s just … there.” Nate hesitated. “I’ve never tried to explain it. But it’s – part of him. Like the color of his eyes, or the music he likes.”
He tensed at Aki’s sudden shift, but it was only so that Aki could lean down and stab Nate with his finger. “Is that why I’ve never met him? I thought you said he was an anti-social weirdo.”
“He is.” Nate swatted Aki’s hand away. “He drove me all the way here only to leave the second my suitcase was on the pavement. He didn’t stay long enough to eat. Said he didn’t like the way the place felt.”
“’Cause he stands out?” Aki sounded sympathetic.
“’Cause he’s an obsessive compulsive freak who is allergic to fun, people and leaving the god-damn farm.”
“You sound so close.”
Nate snorted. “I got a text from him this afternoon. Told him I’d spent the night with a house of vampires, and his response? To remind me to take care of the stupid spider-fern! You seriously have to wonder—”
“Vampires.” Aki’s voice was hot and angry.
Nate remembered belatedly Denise’s injunction of silence.

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