Book II: Chapter One – “You’ve Got to have a System”
Well, we liked the way we did this with the first book in this series so much we decided to make a pattern of it. When Sudden Insight Publishing released “Walking Between Worlds; Book I: Demons & Angels”, we posted a chapter every other week in the months leading up to the release date. That way, everyone was given opportunity to read the first four chapters, as well as a little behind-the-scenes commentary from yours truly.
It’s worth noting that the moment I finished writing the long-hand first draft of the first book, I put away the notebook I had been writing in and grabbed a fresh one to begin writing the sequel. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. The moment I finished, I lifted my eyes to the heavens to give thanks. A gigantic white feather drifted slowly down from the sky, and I caught it easily in the air. Then I put away the full notebook, grabbed an empty one, and kept writing.
At the time I had no idea how I was going to publish the first book, much less the next two. Scratch that; I had some ideas, but they were all pretty bad. All I knew was that when I had asked my many selves what I could do to bring them all together and make them all happier, all the voices in my head resoundingly agreed on one thing: Write these books! So that’s what I did, or what I started doing anyway.
The time between that day and this one has seen many changes in my life, both within and without. Counting the blessings that have come to me since I first started writing this trilogy could take all day, and I can’t help but think that this story in many ways laid the foundation for building this life I’m so lucky to be living.
Last year was all about getting the machine built. One of the wisest utterances I’ve ever heard is one I myself have adopted: If you want to get anything complicated and worthwhile accomplished, you’ve got to have a system. My partner in all things came up with nearly all the great ideas and did almost all the work to implement them, relying on me only for the occasional sudden insight.
Now the machine is built, and the system is in place. That means that all that foundational work does not have to happen this year, which brought us both to a happy realization as we planned the schedule for 2015. Our focus could go to the work needed to be done to release the next book, and that’s where it went. It wasn’t long before we realized that our system was working better than we had anticipated.
That led to a meeting where we had to look at everything else we wanted to get done and either schedule it or shelve it in favor of publishing both of the remaining books in this trilogy this year. We both excitedly put aside nearly everything to meet our own new deadlines, and I’m happy to say that we’re comfortable making announcements in anticipation of them.
“Walking Between Worlds; Book II: Rise of the Walker King” will be available in both ebook and print format on August 4th, 2015. In anticipation of this release, “Book I: Demons & Angels” will be on sale for ninety-nine cents in ebook format at all of your favorite online bookstores. If you haven’t read it yet, this is a great opportunity to get caught up and ready for the August release. “Walking Between Worlds; Book III: Fall of the Walker King” is in the system, and will be released December 1st, 2015.
For now, here is Chapter One of “Walking Between Worlds; Book II: Rise of the Walker King”.
Kris approached the doorway, hesitating before walking through it. Waking up was not what it used to be, and he hadn’t grown accustomed to the new way just yet.
Girding himself against the confusing wash of colors and sound, he closed his eyes as he stepped through. Some of the Guides said it was like being born; Kris didn’t remember being born, and he suspected the Guides didn’t either. It was darkness and it was light and it was neither and it was both. It somehow swirled through him till he felt he had forgotten himself, or the Universe had. Then it was a kaleidoscope of colors and a rushing river of sound, even when he woke to a dark and quiet room.
The feeling was even more explosive and sudden than before, as his consciousness permeated his dead body. Every cell of his ghostly form crackled with sensation, with aliveness.
He was through the doorway.
Kris felt the weight of Jessica’s head on his chest as she slept. Flowers and strawberries filled his nose pleasantly, tied together in a sweet sultry sulfur scent. Tangling his fingers in her honeyed blonde hair, the Guide smiled softly.
Since he had died, everything had just gotten better for him.
He’d never felt so alive as he did in death.
Now he just needed to get used to sleeping, and waking up.
He could feel her hand moving before he realized her breathing had shifted. It drifted from where it lay on his chest slowly down his torso. Light and aimless, her touch delighted his tickled abdomen like her scent delighted his nose, like her closeness delighted his heart. As her hand found what he had hoped she was reaching for, she opened her eyes and turned her head slightly to look up at him.
Her eyes were big and round and blue and beautiful, and Kris let his heart sing the only song it knew as he lost himself in them.
Jessica’s hand moved with curious certainty under the sheets, and her bright blue eyes began to swirl seductively with deep crimson smokiness as she watched him.
“I have never felt so satisfied and so full of desire all at the same time,” the Guide murmured, not breaking the sacred eye contact. “I’ve wanted you so much for so long, I thought it would be impossible for you to live up to my hopeful imaginings about you.”
He paused as she kneaded him gently beneath the covers in a particularly pleasurable way. A low moan escaped his dead lips.
Then her hand was still, her eyes expectant.
“And now . . . ?” she prompted.
Smiling at her with all the love that burst in brilliant colors in his heart like an eternal fireworks finale, Kris replied, “Now I realize you are so much more incredible than I ever imagined, or ever could have hoped or dreamed.”
Sighing softly, Jessica closed her eyes and kneaded his flesh again, smiling as he moaned.
“There’s something you said to me,” she spoke softly into his chest, her eyes still closed. “It was not the night I finally told you, you know, that I could see you and hear you.”
“That was last night, Jess,” he reminded her, his words more moan than words.
She giggled, and Kris closed his eyes to listen to one of his favorite sounds in the world since he had first heard it.
“It’s been a long night, lover,” she responded, her touch changing as she felt his body move, and his voice moaned and sighed. It was a long sweet moment before he could link enough thoughts to form a coherent sentence. He was happy, though, and she was the reason why. He thought she should know that.
“Last night was the most incredible night of my life,” Kris said honestly. “I feel like I have lived my whole life in black and white, my soul longing for color.”
When he opened his eyes she was looking at him earnestly, her eyes sky blue and human and vulnerable and brimming with tears.
Gazing at her, smiling softly, Kris whispered, “Last night you brought color to my life, to my heart and my mind, to my body and my soul. You woke my slumbering heart from a long dull nightmare to a love like I never imagined.”
He watched her as closely as she did him, and when her eyes went wide he remembered why they had gone from touching to talking. Smoothing her hair lovingly, Kris felt his soft smile turn to a look of seriousness. He narrowed his eyes as they held her gaze.
“The other night I told you something, not knowing you could hear it,” he murmured. “I said that I may sound a fool for what I am about to say, but if you can’t hear me it doesn’t matter and if you can I need to say it.”
Her body relaxed against him, her hand kneading him gently and her eyes so open and vulnerable it might well have been her speaking.
Struggling mentally to keep his train of thought from derailing at her loving touch, Kris went on. “From the moment I first saw you I thought you were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I told Paul when we were leaving that I was no longer agnostic, because I had just seen an angel.”
Jessica giggled. “I’m not an angel, silly,” she whispered, like it was a secret. “I’m your horny little devil. Sorry to disappoint.”
Her hand held hard evidence that the Guide was far from disappointed, and he laughed.
“What did Paul say?” she asked him.
“He said, ‘You mean the blonde? Sorry, buddy, I didn’t notice.’” Kris laughed quietly again. “Paul never liked blonde girls, and he had just gotten with Brenna anyway. Since they met she may as well be the only girl in the world, as far as Paul is concerned.”
He shrugged awkwardly, lying there with his arm under her and his hand tangled in her honeyed tresses.
Her pretty unlined forehead crinkled in a pretty little frown. “The way you feel about me?”
“Precisely,” he responded, smiling.
“Awww . . .” Jessica brightened. “You’re so sweet.”
Kris nodded, then let his fingers run gently through her hair along her skull. Closing his fist around a handful of her thick soft mane, he pulled back her hair until he saw her eyes widen and flash with fire. One night had been enough to learn much of what she wanted from her lover, and he was happy to be playful and serious and dedicated and occasionally a little obsessed and forceful.
Her playful hand got serious again in response, and he had to fight the urge to let his eyes roll back into his head as all linear thought exploded from his mind.
“Since that day,” he went on, narrowing his eyes again with a sober look that held hers, “I have woke every morning thinking of you. Each night as I drifted off to sleep I would wonder if you were awake, what you were doing. I would promise myself that I was going to ask you out the next day, and that was the only way I could get to sleep. Even when I was sleeping with another girl I would promise myself that I would ask you out the next day, and break it off with her if you said yes.”
She made a moue, an adorably furious and vulnerable swirl of red and blue in her eyes.
“Next time you tell this story you can leave out the other girls.” Her hand did not squeeze him hard enough to hurt him, just hard enough to let him know that she could if she wanted to.
Letting go his firm grasp, he petted her hair soothingly.
“As you wish,” he smiled. “I watched you, I thought of you, I suffered merciless teasing from Matt, and over time I realized I was not going to stop feeling this way.”
He let his hand drift from her hair to alight on her cheek as tears welled in his eyes.
“It may sound silly, I barely know you despite all the time I’ve spent stalking you. But I love you, Jessica. I love the way you smile and the way you laugh. I love how every time you move it is with a sweet grace that delights my eyes to watch. I love your body, so sexy and perfect and always modestly but attractively dressed. I love how you frown just a little tiny bit when you say ‘good morning’ to someone and they don’t respond. I love how sometimes your eyes are dark blue pools of stormy sea and how other times they are beautiful chips of ice, light blue sky stretching vast into eternity. I love you, Jessica. I love everything about you. Everything I learn about you makes me love you more, and I would give anything to have the chance to make you the happiest and most loved girl in the world.” He stroked her cheek as he spoke, brushing away half of her happy tears while the rest puddled on his chest.
Her eyes were huge and blue and luminous with tears.
“Would you say it again?” Her voice was thick with emotion.
Letting his hand fall gently to her jaw, he tilted her chin slightly to make his serious words more serious.
“I love you, Jessica.” Kris held her gaze as he uttered the words.
She blinked through the tears that still fell.
“I love you too, Kris,” she whispered. Then her eyes swirled red and black and blue as she climbed on top of him, a grin on her tear-stained face. They sighed together a moment later, and her sigh carried the sweet words to his ears again. “I love you.”
When the cell phone started buzzing and playing Katy Perry’s ‘E.T.’, there was only a moment’s hesitation before Kris felt her grind against him again in sweet desperation.
The song played on, the rise and fall of her hips keeping time with the music.