Saturday, April 1, 2017

Free Excerpt from The Angel's Guardian!

If you read Book One of Melody and the Pier to Forever, you know that the world believed Yaeko Mitsaki died in a car crash.

The news was devastating. But no one suffered more than Elizabeth Finnegan.

Here is the end of chapter six of The Angel's Guardian, which will be released at all major retailers no later than May!



Sacred Solos, Yaeko’s third album, was nominated for four Grammy Awards that December, and Elizabeth rejoiced. The world had finally noticed Yaeko Mitsaki. Izumi Ishikawa had been, by all reports, the manager the Young Master always needed.

She woke one morning in early January and logged on to her email.

   There was a note from Izumi. She felt a great rush of excitement steal through her. The subject line read: SWITZERLAND.

   Was the tour on? She clicked the link, holding her breath, expecting to learn of her duties and important dates.

   The message came without a greeting. It read:

Switzerland is very soon upon us.

   Dire choices. Fire. Distance. Scary distance. Beyond it, I pray, is you. Oh, I pray! Let it be you!

   I can’t see that far! I can’t!

   I would choose this path every time, even knowing the consequences. She is that extraordinary. Every time.

   Love her, Elizabeth. She truly is an angel.

Izumi Ishikawa

   She gaped at the message, then read it again, then again, then again. She gazed up at the clock in her kitchen. An hour had passed.

   She thought of replying to it (what the hell should she say?), but stopped. Something very strong inside her told her not to. Instead she forwarded it to Isao. Hopefully he’d see it right away—it was afternoon in Switzerland—and would reply quickly. She wrote:


Whoa. What is this? Have you heard from Izumi too? What the hell is going on?


   He didn’t write back. It didn’t matter.

Grammy-nominated violin virtuoso was only 13 years old

Her laptop had displayed that headline the past three days. It had sat open on her kitchen table, the screen darkened slightly from the screensaver. The computer hummed quietly. The sun set and rose, and the news didn’t change. It would never change. The shadows lengthened and deepened, and night came again. The screen’s ghostly light offered weak condolences to the dishwasher and refrigerator and sink, and the forgotten dishes in it, and to her.

   Morning. It always started coldly, a deep navy cast that dissolved into wistful gray, then gray-blue, then orange, then yellow. The San Diego sun warmed her.

   She would glance up from the corner where she lay and see the screen and read the headline again, and then numbly lower her head back to the dishtowels that provided an inadequate pillow.

   Days like ghosts. Morning, afternoon, evening, night. The computer’s hum. The damn screen refused to change. The headline refused to change.

   What were tears but liquid grief squeezed from a wounded heart? They were endless. The wound, after all, was infinite.

The Imperial Beach Pier stretched defiantly way, way out there, visible just above the sharp southern horizon. It seemed to hold its own against the enormity of the vast Pacific stretching westward from it, as though it were its master and lover, its keeper and protector. Just to the right of it were the Coronados Islands, tiny half-submerged purple shapes outlined in jagged black.

   The setting sun lit up the western horizon, a spreading mushroom of nuclear fire.



   Scary distance.

   She gazed down from the edge of the San Diego Bay Bridge. Hard blue waters two hundred feet below stared back.

   Scary distance.

   The crowd surrounding her begged her to step back from the edge. The look in their eyes wasn’t anger. They wanted to help.

   She didn’t know how she ended up here. It was all a dream. Just like that headline. Just a dream. She’d finally gotten up off the floor to get some water, and had instead opened the front door to go on a walk … and now … here she was. She had spied the Pier in the distance and stopped her car to look at it. It wanted her to look at it. She said that to the crowd. They quietened. She repeated it louder, then louder. She had to speak up: traffic on both sides of the bridge had backed up out of sight. People were honking. Some were encouraging her to jump.

   She backed off from the edge and stepped down. She gazed at the Pier one more time.

   Fire and distance.

   Yaeko Mitsaki was infinitely far away from her now.

   She collapsed to her knees on the uncaring concrete.

   Medical personnel were there instantly.

   They handcuffed her and put her in an ambulance and hurried down the bridge. The Pier disappeared from sight, as did the fire, as did the distance.


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