The first time they met – An excerpt from “Forever Avalon”

This week, I’ll be signing copies of The Dark Tides at my first book signing at Barnes and Noble in Easton, Penn., on Wednesday, May 20, at 7 pm. I thought I would kick things off with an excerpt from my the first book in the series, Forever Avalon. This is the book that started it all for me as an independent author and, for anyone who hasn’t had a chance to read it yet, I want to give you a glimpse into the world of Forever Avalon as you to read about the first encounter between the Gil-Gamesh and his family, just after they arrived on the island.

* * *

51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_“We need get moving and get you somewhere safe before more bounty hunters come looking for you,” he said as he walked past them and down the beach. “Everyone, follow me.”

“No!” Stephanie shouted. “We aren’t going anywhere with you until you tell me who you are, what’s going on here and where the Hell we are, because this certainly ain’t Bermuda! I mean, I appreciate you saving my life and my children’s lives, but we’re not going anywhere with you until I get some answers,” she demanded.

The Gil-Gamesh stopped in his tracks. He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head and sighed. “You’re still as stubborn as I remember,” he said as he turned around and stared at her. “And still as beautiful too.”

Stephanie was stunned by what he said to her. Puzzled, she started to look at him very closely. She pulled her children in close, as if to protect them. “What? What do you mean? Who are
you?”

The Gil-Gamesh reached up, pulled the metal sheath off his face and dropped it to the ground. He pulled the hood of his cloak down, revealing long brown hair, peppered with streaks of gray at his temples. His face was older since they last saw him. He had a beard now with streaks of gray running through it. It covered a face they remembered as neat and clean-shaven. In his eyes, they saw something familiar. There was a look of pride … one of caring and love.

Stephanie saw her husband, Bryan Drake. The children saw their father, and he was alive. The shock was overwhelming, but the joy even greater.

“Daddy!” the children shouted in unison, running over to him. He knelt down and reached out—hugging his children close—feeling the warmth and love he thought he’d lost. He held them in his arms, his grip tighter and stronger than they remember, as he kissed each one of them.

“I’d never thought I’d see these wonderful faces again for as long as I live,” he exclaimed as tears welled up in his eyes.

Hunter held his father’s face in his hands, pulling it so Bryan would look right at him. “What happened to you Daddy?” he asked.

“Yeah, when’d you get all medieval?” Rose chimed in.

“You’ve got that 80’s rocker look with your hair, Dad. It’s so retro,” Ashley added, stroking her father’s hair.

Bryan just smiled and laughed. “Well, it’s a long story.” He stopped and looked past the children over at Stephanie. She stared at him and wondered if what she saw was real or just an illusion.
Bryan let go of his children and walked over to her. He took off his gloves, reached out and touched her face.

“Still as beautiful as in my dreams,” he told her, sweetly and sincerely. She reached up and touched his hand. She spied the wedding band on his finger—the one she put there over 20 years ago.

“Bryan, is it really you?”

He pulled her close and kissed her passionately. She’s hesitant but melted in his arms when she realized it’s really him. Stephanie wrapped her arms around him and returned the kiss, reigniting the passion and love she thought she’d lost.

He released her, still looking into her eyes. They’re both crying as tears ran down their cheeks. “I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed waking up to this face.”

She smiled at hearing that. “No, I look terrible,” she said, wiping the tears from her eyes. Then, reality sank back in and a thousand questions came to mind.

She pushed off him and got very serious, very fast. “Bryan, what’s going on? Where the Hell are we and why are you dressed like that?” she demanded.

The kids then chimed in with their questions. “What were those creatures? Were they really trolls?” Ashley asked. “How did you make that dragon appear? Are you a wizard or
something?” Rose inquired. “Those swords are so wicked … can I see them?” Hunter jumped in.

Bryan put his hands up to quiet them down, “Sh-h-h … all right, listen to me,” he said. “I know you have a lot of questions, but right now, I need to get you somewhere safe.” Stephanie tried to interject, but Bryan interrupted her. “Listen to me, Stef; there are more hunters like Biscuit out there looking for you,” he said, calling her by that familiar nickname he always called her.

“And I can’t protect you out in the open like this.” He walked down the beach in the direction he was heading before. “There’s a lighthouse just a few miles down the beach,” he said pointing
the way. “You’ll be safe there, and I promise, once we get there I’ll answer all your questions.”

Stephanie looked at Bryan, not sure whether to believe him or not. “Please Stef, you have to trust me. This is not the time or the place to sit down and talk. We need to get moving … now!”

She saw the honesty in his eyes and sensed the danger he mentioned as being very real. She didn’t want to endanger her children, so she had no choice.

* * *

I hope to see you there at my book signing. I always love the opportunity to speak with people about the story behind my book series.

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