Hi guys! We have Sam Burns popping in today with her new release Blackbird in the Reeds, we have a great excerpt and a fantastic giveaway, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
Blackbird In The Reeds
Devon Murphy has never believed that there were fairies at the bottom of the garden, but when he’s in an accident on his way to his grandmother’s house and comes face to face with the biggest, baddest wolf he’s ever seen, he’s forced to reconsider.
When his grandmother asks him to look into a string of suspicious accidents, he finds a much bigger mystery to unravel. From his childhood best friend to the too-attractive Deputy Wade Hunter, everyone in Rowan Harbor seems to have something to hide. Devon has to get to the bottom of it all before the accidents turn deadly.
Devon hadn’t realized that a person could drive from Minnesota to the coast of Oregon in two days. In fact, he could have happily lived the rest of his life without learning it.
For the last few hundred miles, he’d left his window open to let in the chilly November air, because it was keeping him awake. That, and a few gallons of coffee.
When his grandmother had called and asked him to come, he hadn’t thought twice before throwing his stuff in his car and setting out. Gran hadn’t explained what she wanted, but she’d never been demanding or melodramatic in the past, so he trusted that if she said she needed him, she needed him.
It wasn’t as though he was leaving much behind anyway. He had a temp job at the mortuary, where the owner was a creepy stereotype who had no sense of tact or personal space. Answering phones and making appointments for the guy hadn’t been a bad job, but it wasn’t something he’d planned to do for the rest of his life.
There was Jen—his friend from high school—her couch, and her roommate, Lisa, whose cooking was beyond amazing. They were great people, but he’d been starting to feel like he was too comfortable there. Six months was long enough to stay in one place.
He hadn’t seen many signs of life since turning onto the wooded county highway that led to Rowan Harbor some fifteen minutes earlier, just the one deer standing by the side of the road as he passed.
His last cup of coffee was empty, and he was half wishing he’d decided to stop somewhere for the night when another deer, this one obviously less intelligent than the first, ran out in front of him. His coffee-soaked brain worked fast enough to swerve to avoid it, but not fast enough to think about what he was swerving into. That turned out to be a tree.
His whole body jerked forward with the impact when car met wood, chest slamming into the steering column and forehead careening toward the windshield. The sound of crumpling metal and shattering glass were almost drowned out by the roaring in his ears, and he spent a few seconds gasping for breath, eyes closed.
When he opened them again, he turned to make sure he hadn’t hit the deer, and found it paused on the other side of the road. It stared at him for a moment before bounding off into the woods. Great. Well, at least he didn’t kill the thing. He might have liked to wring its neck, but he was glad it was alive.
He did a quick mental scan of his appendages. His right wrist hurt where it had slammed into the steering wheel, and he was a little disoriented. All body parts were attached and seemed to be working about the same as before. He felt a little dizzy. Had he hit his head, or was it just the force of the crash scrambling his brain?
The next step was getting out and surveying the damage to the car. He’d hit the tree with the right front, so the driver’s side door opened fine. Standing was problematic, since his legs felt a bit like jelly. He leaned on the car, letting the door close in front of him with a heavy click.
His wrist throbbed when he tried to use it to exert any kind of pressure, so he figured it was at least sprained. The center of his chest ached. There would probably be an ugly, steering-wheel-shaped bruise there in the morning.
That was what he got for driving his dad’s car instead of something modern and sensible, with airbags. It wasn’t enough to convince him to give up his car; that ridiculous voice of reason sounded like his mother. She had offered to buy him a new car, any car at all, if he agreed to get rid of his father’s old Corvette, but it was the only part of his father he had. It was staying.
At that moment, it was quite literally staying. There was no way it was going to move without a tow. A quick calculation of his available funds made him cringe. He’d barely had the money for the cross-country trip, and ironically, the pre-drive checkup for his car had drained a lot of what he’d had. Stinger had been in perfect functioning order when he’d set out. It was going to take months to save for the kind of repairs she was going to need now, and that was only if he could find a job in a town so small that it barely rated a grocery store.
He suspected the grocery store only managed because there were no other towns in the county, and so there were no other options within an hour’s drive.
The reminder of that remoteness brought him back to his predicament. He was far enough away that he still couldn’t see a hint of the town through the trees, so chances were, it was too far to walk with his injuries. Instinctively, he reached for his phone in his right pocket and cringed at the stabbing pain that shot up from his wrist. He mentally upgraded the injury from probably sprained to probably broken.
Awkwardly, he pulled his phone from his right pocket with his left hand and hit the power button. He wasn’t really expecting to get a signal, but in the end, he was disappointed for a whole different reason. His hip must have hit something when he’d jerked forward, because there was a crack right down the middle of the screen. The phone flipped on, then the home screen sort of slid sideways and went dark again. It had an impressive four bars for the half-second it had worked. Unexpected, but also useless.
He was trapped on a dark highway in the middle of nowhere at four in the morning. It sounded like the start of a bad slasher movie.
Between the adrenaline crash and the awareness that his situation was just begging for an axe murderer to come along, he was on edge. So when there was a rustling in the trees, he figured he could be forgiven for jumping a little.
He told himself it was just the wind. It couldn’t be more than a dozen miles or so to the ocean, and there was a salt tinge to the air.
Or maybe it was that stupid deer, come back to gloat. The deer had been acting funny that night.
Or, you know, maybe it was a bear. There were bears in Oregon. Maybe grizzly bears who liked to maul horror-film stereotypes who crashed into trees in the middle of the night. What if he woke it up? He was pretty sure bears were supposed to be hibernating in November. Hibernating bears woken by crashing cars were probably not happy bears.
It became clear that it wasn’t an unhappy bear when a huge wolf casually walked up and sat down in the illumination of his one working headlight. He’d always thought wolves were dog-sized, but this one seemed big enough to give a pony a run for its money.
Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.
If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.