Only one week until COPPER GIRL hits the shelves! Below, find the first half of Chapter Two. It seems that the dream Sara had was more realistic that she'd realized...
Happy hour turned into last call, and Juliana gladly accepted my offer of crashing on my couch. We were forever staying over at one another’s apartments, since we lived on opposite sides of town. Not to mention that Juliana didn’t own a car and public transportation was both expensive and unreliable. If you counted on the bus schedule, you might get caught out after curfew, and the Peacekeepers, our friendly neighborhood government goons, weren’t known for their understanding natures. Since neither Juliana nor I wanted to pay the late penalty, whoever’s place was closer to the side of town we ended up on invariably became our resting place for the evening. Since I lived closest to The Room, I played hostess more often.
While Juliana settled herself on the couch, I grabbed a quick shower, only to end up standing before my closet, dripping wet, overthinking what I would wear to bed. Like it mattered, right? Normally, I’m a tank top and shorts girl, but there was this cute, just sexy enough nightie that hung out in the back of my closet. Pale lavender silk, I’d bought it almost a year ago for a boyfriend who hadn’t lasted long enough to see it. His loss, really.
I unceremoniously dropped my robe and slipped the nightie over my head. The lace bodice was so revealing I was practically topless, and the short skirt floated over my hips. As I pulled on the matching panties, I deliberately did not question why I’d decided on this outfit. Then I flipped off the air conditioner (whenever it runs while I sleep, I get a headache), opened the window, and climbed into bed. In no time, I was asleep.
I felt him before I saw him, his firm body pressed against mine , his lips caressing the back of my neck. Micah. I rolled over to face him; even in the darkness of my room I could see he was still in that weird brown getup, boots and all, but I didn’t care. Hopefully, it would be gone soon.
“Micah,” I murmured, savoring his name on my tongue. “You’re here.”
“I heard your call, my Sara,” he murmured. “You’re wearing more here,” he continued, tracing the edge of my panties, “but less here.” His deft fingers danced across my lacy bodice.
“Do you like it?”
“I do.” Micah hooked a finger inside my panties and drew them lower. “I most certainly do.” We remained wrapped up in each other for long, blissful moments, until he spoke again. “I am so glad you called me again, my Sara.”
“Why do you keep saying that?” I asked. Yes, I argued with a dream. I am a psychology student’s dream case study . Ha ha. Dream. “You’re not even real.”
At that, Micah raised his head.“I am as real as you are,” he replied, somewhat indignantly. “Twice now, you have called me to your dream.”
What? No, no, no, no, that’s not good. Not good, not good at all. “That’s not possible,” I whispered.
“It is more than possible, my Sara. It has come to pass.” Serious now, Micah sat up and took my hands. “I have watched you often, gazing toward the entrance to my lands. I’ve always felt your power. Still, until earlier today, I had no idea that you were a Dreamwalker, as I am.”
He said it. He just had to say it.“Don’t say that!” Micah looked hurt and confused, so I amended, “If anyone hears you, there’ll be questions .”I glanced toward the open window, but I neither saw nor heard a dronewhizzing by.
Micah nodded, but his brow remained furrowed. “As you wish.”
“I still don’t understand,” I continued, moving to sit up. “You say I was looking toward your lands, but I don’t even know where you’re from.”
“Where you put your mechanical for the day,” he replied as he tucked a lock of hair behind my ear. “The trees you favor mark the entrance to my domain.”
Once I figured out that “mechanical”meant “car”, I considered where I parked in the office lot. I’d always chosen to leave my convertible in the back of the lot, mainly because it was a nice car and most of my coworkers, like most everyone else these days, were dirt poor. I didn’t want to answer any questions about how I could afford such a nice vehicle if I didn’t have to.
But Micah was right in that I’d always favored one particular spot. It was situated in front of two pine trees, their massive trunks wound together like a lovers’ embrace. I’d never seen anything like it, certainly not in such big trees, and they’d captivated me from the moment I saw them. And yes, I gazed at them often.
“The pine trees?” I asked. Micah smiled when he nodded. But that didn’t answer my questions, since they weren’t in front of a door or path. There wasn’t even anything behind them, except the electric fence separating REES from the property next door.
Suddenly, my eyes widened in shock and recognition, and I grabbed a handful of his silvery hair, exposing a set of pointed ears. “You’re an elf!”
“Micah Silverstrand, Lord of the Whispering Dell,” he replied, with a polite nod. Rubbing my temples, I considered my situation. I was in a dream that wasn’t a dream, sitting in bed with a man whom I’d thought was a mere figment of my imagination, but who happened to be some sort of royal elf. And a Dreamwalker. Like me. Maybe—hopefully—I was just really drunk.
But…I can’t explain it, but as I looked at this elf, with his silver eyes and fluffy hair, he was more real to me than anyone else I’d ever known.
“I’m sorry, Micah,” I said at length. “I didn’t know I could call anyone this way. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.”
At that, his pale brows nearly touched. “When you offered a token and lay nearly bare before me, I assumed you wanted me.” Token? Oh, right, my panties. “And tonight, you have bathed for me, attired yourself as a queen, and have allowed me ingress to your chamber. What else was I to think?” I stared from the open window to my silk nightie. Why had I put this on? Had I been calling him, subconsciously? Could I even do that? I didn’t know. But I couldn’t do it again. Not unless I wanted to end up like Max.
Micah was still speaking, so I met his gaze. “When I learned that you are of metal, as I am, our attraction became clear.” Crap. He knows I’m an Elemental, too?