by Elizabeth Belyeu
It's supposed to be a symbiotic relationship: the Shadow serves and protects the human Lumi, the Lumi feeds and cares for the Shadow. But when Damon’s Lumi died young and severed the bond between them, he declined to go with her like a good little Shadow. Yes, it hurts. Yes, he's cold and hungry all the time. And yes, his own people call him an abomination. But for the first time, Damon's life is his own, and he’s never going back.
Elizabeth Belyeu is 29 years old and lives in Alabama, where she supports herself, her cat, and her steadily growing TBR pile as a library assistant. She graduated from Troy University in 2008 with a bachelorʹs in English (Creative Writing minor). This is her first novel, but she has been writing since she could hold a pencil, and plans to continue until she is too senile to type.
Barnes& Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/secondhand-shadow-elizabeth-belyeu/1119679417
“So, who do I look like?” I said.
He jumped, as if he hadn’t expected me to have the power of speech. “What?”
“Either I look like someone you never wanted to see again, or I smell bad. Since you got in an elevator with me, I’m going with Option A.”
He continued staring a moment, then opened his mouth to speak.
And the elevator shuddered to a halt.
No. I closed my eyes. No, this cannot be. These things don’t really happen. I leaned my head back against the wall with a thunk. Then, to my own dismay, I started to laugh.
“I’m sorry,” I gasped when I saw Damon’s stare turn from mysterious to confused. “It’s just such a cliché. The pregnant lady trapped in the elevator. If I give birth in an elevator—” Confusion became alarm. “Oh, no, I’m fine,” I said quickly. “Still two months to go, thank goodness. It’s just the idea.”
I was able to stop laughing after a minute, because it stopped being funny. There was a help button in the wall, which I would be calm enough to push, eventually. But it could be hours before we got out of here. Hours during which I was supposed to be at work. I fumbled my cell phone out of my bookbag. No signal.
Damon began to pace, which was a nice trick in an elevator that size, especially when he refused to come anywhere close to me. Yeah, well, I wouldn’t touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole, either.
“I can’t be here,” he muttered under his breath, and ran a hand through his hair, which very unexpectedly made my breath catch. So I have a thing for long-haired guys. Why else would I have the Lord of the Rings movies memorized?
“Hit the help button,” I said. It was on his side.
He paused, looked at the button a moment, then resumed pacing. “You should do it.”
Bossy much? I considered suggesting an anatomically unlikely new location for the help button, but then I remembered that just because he hadn’t pulled a knife on me yet didn’t mean he wouldn’t. I stepped toward the help button, wondering what he’d do when I crossed the orbit of his pacing.
What he did was stop dead with a sharp breath, back up against the wall, and close his eyes.
For the first time, I was truly afraid to turn my back on him. I froze, not breathing, and waited.
He kept his eyes closed, breath coming faster, hands half-raised as if to ward me off. They were shaking.
Seconds passed. A minute. Maybe more. My fear began to ebb, just a bit, to make room for pity. He was in pain. I had no idea why or how, or what I could do to help, but surely I ought to try.
The word was tiny and feather-edged, but it broke something. Suddenly I was pinned between him and the wall, my upraised hands trapped against his chest, too stunned to push him away.
“I won’t hurt you,” he said, pressing his face into my hair. “I won’t hurt you. I hate you too much to ever hurt you. I’m sorry.”
I felt a hand against my cheek.
And I was alone in the elevator.
Reading through Susanne's bio is like reading through a copy of "Lonely Planet" ... dreaming of the next big holiday.
Equally interesting is the blurb of her latest release "Engaging the Enemy". A must on my TBR list!
1- Tell us a little bit how you came up with the idea for
"Engaging the Enemy"
Engaging the Enemy was born on a tram ride along Swanston Street in Melbourne. It was my first tram ride in the city. While my husband and daughter counted coins that were never going to be enough for our fares, I noticed an old red brick building, and idly wondered about its history. Who would have lived and worked there? Why was it now abandoned? What was its fate? Suddenly the premise of a story hit; what would happen if not one, but two people really wanted this old building? The opening scene jumped into my head and off I went!
2 - There's something about an Irish Charmer, right? Why did you choose Matt to be "Irish"?
There’s no particular reason I can think of except that I ‘heard’ his accent right from the beginning. Matt was an Irishman, full of blarney and who was I to disagree! As it turned out, that was a good choice when it came to exploring his social justice attitudes. The Irish have plenty of experience of injustice and this helped me to layer his internal conflict.
3 - Tell us about your current project.
My next release is a free Christmas anthology, written with three other south east Queensland writers and titled A Season to Remember. Christmases in Australia often focus on the beach (it’s the southern summer) so we wrote stories of Christmas past, present and future. I decided to venture into previously unexplored territory and set mine in 2525 AD. Given that the sea was a common element to all four stories, I had a bit of fun. My ship is a starship in planetary orbit but they do make it to the beach!
4 - Okay ... let's talk travel J. Have you always had the travel bug and what was your favourite destination / adventure so far?
The travel bug bit me early. I was seven when my family sailed to England and back to Australia. After that, I wanted to learn lots of languages and travel everywhere! I’ve been to many countries, mostly with my husband and children. We’ve had so many adventures along the way that it’s nearly impossible to choose just one, although I love anything with boats or mountains! Perhaps one of the more unusual was sailing on an old-fashioned junk in Ha Long Bay. Lying on the upper deck at night and seeing a myriad of stars so big and bright in the sky was pure magic. France, Scotland, Italy, Vietnam—they’re so different and I loved them all. My son and I counted up the countries we’ve visited so far; I think we got to eighteen, with many more still on our respective bucket lists.
But Matt has other plans for Andie, and she soon finds herself ensnared in a web of well-meaning lies and benevolent deceit. To protect the building and the families that depend on her, Andie agrees to play the part of Matt’s fiancée, and play it convincingly.
But lies soon bleed into truth, and what was once a deception starts to feel all too real. Can Andie accomplish her goals and protect The Shelter, without losing her heart to the charming Irish developer?
Her as yet unrealised dream is a trip into Earth’s orbit.
Cooper has never been a man to settle in one place, and Thunder Point was supposed to be just another quick stop. But Cooper finds himself getting involved with the town. And with Sarah Dupre, a woman as complicated as she is beautiful.
With the whole town watching for his next move, Cooper has to choose between his old life and a place full of new possibilities. A place that just might be home.
1 – I love the blurb of your story “Beautiful One”. Tell us a little how you came up with the idea.
Beautiful One came to me while I was in the process of trying to shed a few pounds. I was walking my dog Maggie and began to think about how difficult it is to lose weight. At the time, my daughter was a senior in high school, my thoughts shifted to being an overweight teen and what that must be like. Then I added in an overweight teen opposite her perfect twin brother and Elizabeth was born. As a side note, Maggie graces the cover of my book and is woven throughout the pages of Beautiful One.
2 – It’s the first book in a trilogy. What can reader expect in the next two books?
Beautiful Mess will follow Aidan as he struggles through the challenges of life at college. Finding love and coming to terms with his anger issues. Beautiful Life will highlight the ups and downs as the group, Random Plan, rises to stardom.
I am currently writing Beautiful Mess, Aidan's story. In Beautiful One Aidan shares with Elizabeth about his dysfunctional childhood, mother addicted to drugs, and womanizing father. In the sequel, I will delve into the issues Aidan is trying to overcome so he can be the person he wants to be and fine the love he has been searching for.
In the book the fictitious country estate I created is home to a reality TV series which is being filmed in the castle. Lucy, desperately in need of some advice when it comes to her disastrous love life, finds herself becoming a last minute replacement on the series which, thankfully, even has its own relationship psychologist!
Unfortunately things end up getting more, not less, confusing for Lucy – as if having her childhood sweetheart (now ex-boyfriend) pursuing her across the country and the TV series ‘love interest’ Isaac taking her on tailor made dates isn’t enough to contend with! When, strolling by the loch, she meets the estate’s owner, the laird, Paul, she finds herself drawn to spending time with him - even though the TV people have made it clear he’s firmly ‘off limits’ to the reality show contestants.
As I wrote the book I got to conjure up all those amazing Scottish landscapes in my head and I got to enjoy the holiday photos again too – all in the name of book research!