No Rest for the Wicked – Teaser #28

Vi caught a glimpse of her reflection in the next shop window. The pale figure before her had lived longer than the shadow-self she’d watched a few days prior, the sun and inner turmoil both doing their parts to etch lines on her face when she wasn’t looking. She hadn’t experienced any more flashes of memory since that night with the book. But she wheeled away from her reflection, suddenly felt self-conscious about how she’d changed, and how she still seemed to be changing.

No Rest for the Wicked – Teaser #27

Vi’s body relaxed and she rolled to face the wall to better welcome sleep. She breathed into the gentle dark for a few moments, then an alarm bell suddenly went off in her head. Without thinking, she quested outward with her extra sense to find the danger. A ghostly energy approached, and for a moment she thought it was just Peter remembering his promise to a little boy, but a wave of malice rippled through the air in greedy tendrils. Her senses touched it and recoiled, scurrying back to the safety of her skull like a whipped pup.

Pins and needles spread down her spine, an acid burn that singed deeper as the spirit approached. The angry blur came to their car and paused for a moment, as if scenting the air. The ghost moved again and came to a stop just on the other side of the wall. An old, childhood instinct squeezed her eyes shut. But her whether her extra senses or her imagination were to blame, she was sure the ghost raised its hand and rested it on the wall beside her head.

No Rest for the Wicked – Teaser #25

“I figured it out,” Bonnie declared as she slid open the cabin door. George waited patiently in the hall, ready to tidy the room once the ladies left for the dining car.

Vi stood inside the cabin, doing a final check in the mirror of how much damage her sleepless night had done to her face. She gave her cheekbones a pinch to add color. “What did you figure out?” she asked eventually.

The other woman waited until she’d slipped out the door before answering. “Your secret,” she whispered mischievously.

“You’ll have to be a bit more specific than that. I’m a woman with many secrets,” Vi replied. She tried for a chuckle but it came out strained, her new and unpredictable ability weighing heavy on her mind.

Bonnie savored the moment as they passed to the next car. Once they’d shut out the rush of wind she smiled. “I know why you’re looking so grouchy.”

“Really. And why is that?” Vi asked levelly.

“Well, you keep trying to hide it, but I know the truth…” the little brunette trailed off suggestively, eyes shining. Finally, she announced, “Trains make you sick to your stomach!” Relief flooded Vi’s body, and she let out the breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding. Bonnie mistook it for admission of guilt. “Aha!”

“Yes. You’ve found me out,” Vi replied, applying just the right amount of remorse to her voice to sell it. Feigning motion-sickness was far more appealing than trying to explain the true source of her sleepless night. Bonnie may be proving more resilient than she first appeared, but there were limits.

No Rest for the Wicked – Chapter 11 Teaser

Read from the beginning or check out the previous teaser

“Where were you when all that fighting was going on, I wonder.” Vi made a show of scrutinizing his torso as she stood back to her full height. “Or do I detect a hint of yellow on that belly?”

There were a few scattered gasps from the people gawping on the sidelines. Jeb glowered, then grabbed the top railing to swing up and stand on the edge of the platform. His nose came within inches her face but she held her ground and smirked. What showmanship—in another life, they probably would have been friends. 

“Looks like he’s not the only one who needs to learn a thing or about how he addresses people.” He hopped back down to the street and addressed the crowd. “How’s this for a lesson? I believe my friends and I should take this beautiful horse of yours to help you with that education.”

“I didn’t do anything to you,” she retorted. “You don’t have anything even in the same neighborhood as proof that I did.”

His Adam’s apple bobbed. “I don’t see as that matters much anymore. The bottom line is that I like that horse and I don’t like your attitude. So, I’m taking him.”

Vi’s fingers found the knot of Smithy’s lead rope and tightened around it. “You can’t do that!”

“I can,” Jeb replied and pulled out a shiny six-shooter. “And I will.”

Several members of the audience took a step back and ducked out from the fringes, their errands suddenly much more important than they’d first thought. A few sympathetic folks met Vi’s eye, but nobody seemed willing to do anything to help her. Not that she expected much in the way of help; prudence had made her work rigorously not to make much of an impression on anyone for some time.

An idea sprang to mind and before she could do anything about it, it sprang to mouth as well. She raised her voice and called over the din. “You want proof it wasn’t me?”

The bandit turned back to face her with a wry smile. “Sure. Try me.”

“You think my horse is too tired to race? Let’s see if you’re right.” She made her way through the nearest break in the railing and over to Jeb’s side, her hands raised up to her shoulders to show she offered no threat. “I say I’ve been here all day and Smithy is fresh as a daisy. So, let’s settle this. If you win, I won’t even put up a fight when you take him, but you’ve got to give me a chance to show you that you’ve made a mistake.”

The outlaw nodded smugly and put his gun back into its holster. “I’m sure that can be arranged. But I’ve got to warn you, Clementine is the fastest horse I’ve ever seen. This probably isn’t really a fair competition even if your horse really were fresh.”

Vi returned a shrug and a lopsided grin. “I guess that’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

 

Read the next teaser

Just ONE WEEK Left if you Want the Inside Scoop on the Edwardian Ball in New Orleans! – New Rewards Added

Time is running out …

I was offered the chance of a lifetime, but I can’t take advantage without your help.

As the new US Editor for Steampunk Journal, I’ve been given the opportunity to report on the Edwardian Ball, a fantastic charity even taking place in New Orleans on March 25. But beyond the Journal, I am writing a series of books and several of them take place in New Orleans! (Read a teaser or the full Chapter 1)

This is an incredible opportunity for me to conduct research to give my books and the setting the full, rich treatment it deserves. I have lived in or visited many of places where Vi travels during the course of Mistress of None, but the Big Easy isn’t one of them. I chose it for its history, and it’s reputation as one of the world’s “Most Haunted” cities.

Not only will I report on the Ball for Steampunk Journal, but I plan to bring all kinds of wonderful historical tidbits and spooky facts about New Orleans to followers of PhoebeDarqueling.com. But only if you help me get there next weekend! If you can see it in your heart to forego just ONE coffee, I can take this important journey down my writing path.

marco-sanchez-edwardian-ball-2017-187

Visit the campaign page

Butterfly Shadowbox
Yours for a $50 pledge to my Kickstarter campaign!

I will also be offering prints of your favorite photos from the event, the Steampunk Journal report in your inbox early, and one of a kind works of art like the shadowbox you see here, but you get to see your name on both Steampunk Journal and PhoebeDarqueling.com!

No Rest for the Wicked – Chapter 1 Teaser

After the lengths she’d gone to disappear, there shouldn’t be anyone for hundreds of miles who knew about her “special talent.”

No Rest for the Wicked Header flipped.jpg

The ghost removed his hat and tried his best to mollify her. “Please, I must speak with you.”

“No. What you must do is move on and stop bothering the living. I’m out of the business of running errands for the dead, thank you very much.” Vi’s hands traced shallow furrows in the water.

“But you don’t even know what I want.”

“No.”

“It’s my wife, you see—”

“Still no.”

“There are these men and—”

“Definitely no.”

“We owe them some money.”

“I can keep this up all night,” she warned.

“But, they’re going to—”

“No.”

“Please!”

She raised her hands out of her bathwater and moved them like a conductor as she sang to the tune of a new song that had been making the rounds. “I’m not interested in helping, all the live-long day.” Her hands dropped back into the water with a splash.

If he could breathe, the ghost’s chest would have been heaving in anger, but in his current state he had to settle for pulling a sour face. “Well, I had to try. My wife is—was—my whole life.” The ghost donned his spectral hat and turned to leave with a final mumble to himself. “He warned you she wouldn’t help.”

After the lengths she’d gone to disappear, there shouldn’t be anyone for hundreds of miles who knew about her “special talent.”

“Yep, he was right,” she called lazily, then the water surged as she sat forward with sudden interest. “Wait. Who warned you I wouldn’t help?” After the lengths she’d gone to disappear, there shouldn’t be anyone for hundreds of miles who knew about her “special talent.”

“Will you help me if I tell you?” the ghost asked, hope written in the lines of his gently glowing face.

Vi narrowed her eyes. “I can guarantee I won’t help you if you don’t tell me.”

He smiled and waved his hands in imitation of her earlier display. “I’m not interested in telling, all the live-long day.”

She looked away in a huff. Not knowing the identity of the referrer was going to eat at her, but the information alone wasn’t worth the price of dealing with this guy.

Hat in hand, he tried again. “Aw, shucks ma’am. I promise. I’ll tell you the whole sorry tale of how I found out about you as soon as you agree to help me.”

“No wonder you’ve gotten yourself in trouble,” she said with disgust. “You shouldn’t offer to pay someone up front, you need to hold onto whatever it is for leverage.”

“Alright. Then I promise to tell you after you help me.”

“Nope. Still not interested. It would take a lot more than that to get me out of this tub.”

His face fell for a moment before he brightened. “Well, there’s always the gold.”

Vi’s half-smile returned. “You didn’t say anything about gold before.”

Read the full first chapter on my Patreon page FREE

Read the next excerpt on this blog

Radio RetroFuture Interviews Steampunk Writer Phoebe Darqueling (Part 1)

One of our fabulous blog tour partners is Radio RetroFuture, a web show written and produced by Dutch Steampunk enthusiast, Bonsart Bokel. He is celebrating not only his first year in action this month, but I also appeared on his 50th anniversary show. Our chat went on so long he broke the videos into two parts, so check out Part 1 and come on back for Part 2 soon!