Here is chapter 3 of Full Circle (I’m posting the book scene by scene but I tend to use short chapters in Aeron’s series.) I hope that you enjoy!
My thoughts: Oh, poor Renee. When I originally wrote Full Circle, Renee was with Frei but when I rewrote the novel, I found a more natural place for Renee to begin her storyline. If you’ve been following Renee & Frei’s – New Assignment, you’ll probably understand how difficult it was for me to keep Renee in this mental space while helping others. I wasn’t planning on penning A New Assignment but it gave me the opportunity to fill in some of the storyline that would have made the book far too big to include.
Still, Renee tends to bring a scene to life with her emotions and love for Aeron so I’ll let her get on with letting you know how she’s doing…
Full Circle exclusive.
Copyright © 2018 Jody Klaire.
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Please note: all scenes are the intellectual property of the author and that online exclusive scenes may differ from the published version.
Nan’s cabin was a ramshackle concoction of wood and stone with rooms and hidden spaces leading right up to the loft. Renee Black could feel its energy: happy, welcoming energy like it was whispering comfort to her in that soft, unmistakable Lorelei lilt. Every beam, board and bedspring creaked with an undercurrent of love blended with hints of Aeron. Every scent and sound was infused with Aeron’s energy, strength, light and yet without her athletic frame filling the space, it felt… empty.
Renee stared out of Aeron’s bedroom window, out at the foot of Blackbear Mountain and its green redwood canvas. Without Aeron’s soft voice, her laugh, her presence, forget the cabin, Renee felt like her insides had been ripped out.
Where was Aeron?
Renee clutched the violin in her hand: Aeron’s violin that she’d brought back from base hoping it would connect them somehow and give a clue to her location. It was the same hunk of wood, an overly-ordinary looking, commonplace, factory produced instrument that most kids carted to music lessons. Played by Renee’s hands, half of Missouri blocked their ears and begged her to stop. In Aeron’s graceful, strong hands, it had seared Renee’s heart with an unquenchable love, flattened impenetrable walls, freed the unfreeable and brought down slave academies. In Aeron’s hands, the ordinary become something so very special.
“Lookin’ like you’re gonna try fiddlin’, Blondie?” Nan whispered as gentle as a breeze.
“It’s against the law to torture people… even if it’s with a violin,” Renee whispered back, trying for a smile. Her own hands were nimble but much smaller than Aeron’s. Her smaller fingers fitted the strings and the neck perfectly and it didn’t make her any good at it. Aeron, with her powerful arms had a gentle touch.
“Now, you ain’t gonna get the full piece unless you learn how to play a scale first.” Nan said it with a chuckle and music tinkled around the room.
“My scales on this are screechy enough that Jessie’s kittens could sing along.” Renee sighed and placed the violin on the instrument stand she’d built. She’d even made Aeron a music stand from fallen redwood because somewhere in her head, it could have helped her to know where Aeron was. It hadn’t. They’d looked for months and nothing.
“Tiddles says he’ll turn the screeching into a three part harmony if you give it a shot.” Nan faded into view, her white hair bobbing, her smile filling her twinkly eyes. “You never know what you might learn.”
Renee plonked into Aeron’s huge bed. “Tried that already. I’ve also stood next to the river, talked to Mrs. Squirrel, tried meditating, singing, swearing… I’ve tried every dumb thing I can think of… and nothing.” She put her head in her hands, pain gushing up through her stomach until she felt the cold sweat. “I can’t stand it. She loves me.” She slammed shut her eyes, tears bubbling. “She loves me back… I love her…” She growled and slumped onto her back. “Why tell me she loves me then throw me in a river?” She punched the bed. “Who declares they love someone before taking a bullet for them?”
She knew who. She knew what kind of a person did that. But, being a glorious, courageous, love-fueled gentle hero did not make it any less infuriating. She growled and thumped the bed again.
“Who does that and disappears?” Renee sprang from the bed and waved at the violin. “I can’t feel her. What kind of protection officer am I when I can’t find her?” She met Nan’s eyes, hearing the pleading in her voice. “How can I tell her I love her when I can’t find her?” Her voice grew more shaky. “I lost Dad and Matt on that mountain, they got shot… then she goes and does the same.” Tears dribbled free. “And I’m helpless… I can’t go through losing her, Nan, I can’t. I can’t breathe.”
Nan’s eyes glistened with a gold sparkles. “You saw Shorty get off the mountain.”
“No, I saw a semi-conscious Aeron get dragged off by marshals then disappear.” Renee shook her finger out of desperation more than anger. “I should have done something. I should have charged in and——”
“Got shot?” Nan tutted and put an arm around her. “Shorty didn’t work so hard for you to go sprouting a leak.”
“I know.” She hugged herself. “It doesn’t feel any better. I can’t cope. I can’t.” Tears dribbled into her mouth and she didn’t bother to wipe them away. That took energy, fight and she was struggling to find either.
Nan cwtched her in and soothed her with that sound only mother’s made——even if hers had never done anything close to comfort her——and brushed away the hair from her face.
“Blondie, I know you think sniffin’ ain’t your skill,” she said with a gentle tone. “——an’ Icy is sure better at following crumbs but you got the skills to piece things together when they been round the peak just the same.”
Renee cocked her head. “Pieces… crumbs… peak…” She pushed back and stared into Nan’s twinkling eyes. Yes, there was a hint. She hurried over to her bag and picked out the breadcrumbs from Black Ridge Mountain. They were the ones her dad had left behind. The ones that detailed how he’d been followed and tried to protect Matt. None of it made sense. Someone had betrayed him but then some woman had been trying to help Matt… then Owens, who’d been part of the slavery network in Caprock, had been there. It made no sense.
“That’s it. You keep tryin’ to piece things together,” Nan said with a chuckle like she knew she wasn’t supposed to have told her that much. “When you use that heart of yours, you’ll find Shorty ain’t that far away.”
“So, she’s okay?” Renee forgot the pieces and snapped her head up but Nan had faded. “Piece the clues together,” she mumbled to herself. “Use my heart…” She scratched her head then plugged the first breadcrumb into the reader. “My head is buzzing already.”
She sat down and wrote out the first update in full. It was better than torturing people with violins anyway.