Good morning. Welcome back to this week’s Midweek Tease. I got my copies of the paperback version of Hello Again, my paranormal suspense and thought I’d share a snippet from it.
“Shirley, what does the word tąhą́ši mean?” Bill asked. “I think that’s the way it was pronounced.” It was the word whatever had pulled him back from the light had used.
Shirley pursed her lips. “It means male relative, a cousin.” She held up the photograph, unaware she’d just rocked his world. “I suppose you could be distant cousins of some kind. The likeness is astonishing, but if you look closely you can see slight differences. Bill’s dimple is on the opposite side, and he has a mole on the edge of his eyebrow that Mike doesn’t have. Now, finish your soup. You two can talk and get to know one another while you do.”
She walked away.
Bill continued to stare at the photograph. He raised his coffee cup to his lips as an uncomfortable thought took hold. Whatever had pulled him back from the light and saved his life had called him cousin, but he’d never sensed it had been a man—male yes, but a man … He couldn’t deny the evidence before him. He was the spitting image of Charley’s dead husband. The more he thought about it, the less he liked it. This was surreal. He looked like Mike. Did he sound like him, too?
“Not really, but she thinks so.”
The familiar voice inside his head spoke once more startling him, making him swallow his coffee down the wrong hole and cough, bringing Shirley to the table to slap him on the back.
You’re the one who pulled me out of the light. What kind of sick son of a bitch are you? You put those images of her in my mind, made me crave her, want to live, and for what? I won’t be your stand-in—not with her—not with anybody. You say you chose her for me? Well, I’m giving her back. You should’ve let me die.
“I couldn’t. There’s a lot I can’t explain yet, but trust me. Trust your heart. I chose you for her because you’re the only one she’ll accept. Your native heritage is far more complicated than you think it is. I’m part of you now, just as you’re part of me, but what matters is that you are, and will continue to be, the same man you always were. You won’t be standing in for me, you’ll be replacing me—in her life, in her heart, in her bed. Unless she accepts you, none of us will ever be free. They need you—she needs you. It’s up to you to convince her of that, and believe me, you’ve got your work cut out for you.”
“What?” he said aloud, anger in his voice.
“I asked if you’d eaten?” Charley said softly, cringing.
“I’m sorry, I was wool-gathering as my foster-mother used to say. I did eat earlier. Shirley made pancakes.” How could he apologize for his anger when he didn’t understand it himself?
She nodded. “I see. Must be some pretty nasty thoughts going on in there.”
Rather than probing as he was afraid she’d do, she changed the topic.
“Mike had this incredible sweet tooth,” she said as if now that he knew about her husband, she had to share everything about the man with him.
“He loved pancakes, especially chocolate chip and banana ones. When he was in Afghanistan, he used to complain that breakfast was never as good as it had been at home.”
“A man after my own heart,” Bill said, feeling as if the earth was about to swallow him whole. He finally had an explanation for something that had baffled him. Up until he’d been shot, sweet things had curdled his stomach. He’d taken his coffee black and just the idea of something sweet for breakfast would’ve made him sick. Being possessed was taking on a whole new meaning. Just how much of the man he’d been was left?
Hello Again is available in paperback or ebook from Any Amazon retailer. https://www.amazon.com/Hello-Again-Susanne-Matthews/dp/0994898304