Excerpt--Aisling, Book Three: Beloved Son
“So well-intentioned, Dallin Brayden, but
too...” Calder shook his head sadly.
Wil didn’t ask him to finish. He was
already feeling culpable enough. He’d spent too much time today
being pissed off over nothing, and not nearly enough paying
attention. He tossed back the rest of the tea, nodded.
“Too everything,” he told Calder. “There’s
so very much of him, sometimes it seems impossible there might
be boundaries at all.”
“He loves too well and too deeply,” Calder
put in gently. “It is not meant, what you have between you. It
can do no good—to you, to him, or to Lind.”
That made Wil bristle. “That’s hardly for
you to say, is it? And anyway, I don’t think there’s such a
thing as... as loving too well, and... and if... if...” Damn, he
hated it when he lost track of what he was saying in the middle
of a good bluster. “You’re too bloody nosy, Calder. You’re
always... I don’t like it when...” His mind stumbled this time,
a slight haze covering his thoughts, making them thick and
He paused, gathered himself, shook his
head to clear it. Tired, that was what it was. It had been such
a long day, and he’d been asleep for the four before, and his
brain had nearly exploded out his ears before that. “If the...”
He blinked, gave his head another shake, the chain of his
thoughts suddenly breaking apart, the links flying out in every
direction. What had he been saying? What had he been doing?
Something silly, something... no. No, it was something
important, but Calder would probably think it was silly,
and anyway, it was private, and Calder would only roll his eyes
if he knew, shake his head and blabber it to the Old Ones so
they could say that what the Aisling and the Guardian were
getting up to wasn’t meant, and...
A tiny snort leaked from Wil’s mouth. And
so the fuck what.
“Bowl. I was... the Burning Bowl, and
it... no, Blessing. The bowl, I mean…” The words were
slurred and syrupy, like his tongue had just outgrown his mouth,
and he staggered, his left leg turning to water. He went down on
one knee, goggled at the ground, at Calder’s boots, at the divot
in the grass Wil had clawed up before when Dallin had sunk his
teeth into Wil’s shoulder and made him beg, and then at the dirt
still crusting lightly under his fingernails... at the cup
losing focus in his hand...
He knew this feeling. If his mind had been
working, it would have been screaming.
“I am sorry, Aisling,” Calder said
gravely. “But even in this, I serve you.”
“Serve...?” As though his hand belonged to
someone else, Wil held the cup out, lifted it up toward Calder.
“What... what have you...?”
Calder knelt in front of him, gently took
the cup from him, reached out and stroked his cheek with a
broad, callused hand. “Someone has to be the Guardian, lad. I do
the Mother’s will, as I always have done.”