This week on #WIP Wednesday I’ve got another snippet from my upcoming book ‘Tara’! It’s the 2nd book in the Daughters of Eltera series (Fae is the first!). In this scene Alaric took Tara out for breakfast and she played a little game of switching languages to see how many he knew. She finally stumped him with Swedish, and then she asked him what language the people in the cafe wouldn’t know. He replied in Japanese and after a little headache, she told him that now she knew Japanese too. Let’s see how they handle their first real conversation.
“How exactly do you suddenly know Japanese?” He was a little sharp in his question, and it made her lips curve into a real smile again. For all his calm on the surface, she could already see the buttons to press to get a rise out of him.
“I already told you that a god made me what I am.” Tara tilted her head and felt the weight of her hair fall over her shoulder. “Well, she’s a goddess, not a god, but the gods understand all spoken words. When she made the Faeoihn this was one of the benefits we gained.” Tara looked at him across the table, a little impressed by how calm he remained.
“Another of those benefits would be the light-up trick this morning, and the healing?” Alaric asked, and she nodded.
Japanese was a beautiful language, but she didn’t quite understand how he knew it.
“May I ask a question?” She asked, and he nodded this time. “Why do you know Japanese? Were you stationed there as a soldier?”
His eyes dropped to the table before lifting back to hers. “I’m not a soldier, and I learned Japanese from a -,” he paused, “- a coworker.”
“You looked like a soldier when you showed up at my last residence.” Cage.
“I’ve never been a soldier.”
“Then what are you?” Tara picked up the cup and leaned back, drinking it slowly. Here was where she would see if he kept his promises for honesty as well as he kept his promises for day trips.
Alaric stretched an arm above his head, and it looked casual, but she watched as his eyes scanned the room. He was evaluating who was within listening distance, and who was watching them. She could have told him that the only one interested in them was the hostess, who probably wanted his number, and the older gentleman sitting alone at a table to their left who was really just staring at the hem of her skirt and not listening to them at all.
To her surprise he leaned forward and switched back to English, his voice incredibly quiet, “You would probably say I was a killer, or a murderer.” He took a breath. “The fancy terms are assassin or hitman. Not like they make it any better.” His eyes were locked onto hers as he waited for a reaction that wouldn’t come. She was sure he expected tears, some kind of emotional outburst, or at the very least wide-eyed shock.
He’d get none of that from her.
“Thank you for the honesty.” She sipped more tea and the surprise that flickered across his face was priceless.
“You’re not afraid?” He spoke normally again, but disguised their conversation by returning to Japanese.
“I’ve killed people too, probably more than you.” She looked down at the low cut top, the short skirt, her own eyes tracing down to the pointlessly high heels. “I wasn’t always this person.” Tara waited for him to react, but his forehead only creased slightly.
“Was Leonidas someone you killed?”
Her heart tripped over itself, her stomach wanted to return the tea, and she almost dropped the cup before she was able to get it back on the plate where it rattled for a second before it settled. “Why would you ask me that?”
“You were saying the name in your sleep.”
Damn the nightmares. Damn him for cuffing her. Damn Leonidas for being who he was.
“I don’t want to talk about him.” She tucked her shaking hands back into her lap. “Ask me anything else, anything, and I’ll answer you honestly.” Tara’s pulse was racing, but she tried to maintain a calm exterior even though inside there was an earthquake’s level of destruction on every barrier she’d built between her memories and her self.
“Alright. What were you to Gianni? The real answer.” Alaric was back to his serious self, and she was grateful he didn’t push further with Leonidas. For a moment Tara enjoyed that she was finally sitting with someone who didn’t know who she was, what she was. That fact settled the dust that Leonidas’ name had stirred up inside her.
She wanted to lie, to be something else. Someone else. Someone who was respectable, and brave, and noble.
But, she had promised honesty.
They both have so many secrets, and I love how they come together to share them with each other. Fingers crossed I have a cover to show you guys soon! In the mean time, make sure to check out these other great snippets below!