Book 8 Previews
"Interactions" is my new book in the "Battling Demons" series.
I hope these two excerpts will give you a hint of the joy I have writing about these delicious characters!
When Martin came back through under the stairs, his family was gathered at the table. His plate was filled to the brim with the hotpot Louisa had made, and his young charge was chattering excitedly about his school day.
The subject soon turned to the mouse that had taken up residence in the year two’s classroom. The boy flopped back in his chair, giggling as he recounted his teacher’s reaction when she reached for a pencil, and the little rodent leapt from the cup of writing implements on her desk.
“She jumped up on Caroline Robert’s desk and—she was in the loo, see. Anyway, she started screamin’. And she didn’t stop screamin’ until Mr. Townsend—he’s the guy that empties the wastebins—he came in and caught it in a can.
“She wanted him to kill it, but Mr. Townsend told her”—Evan artificially lowered his voice—“‘I don’t wanna ‘ave that creature’s blood on me ‘ands!’”
Martin wrinkled up his nose and pushed his half eaten dinner to the centre of the table. “What did he do with the mouse, then? I hope he didn’t release the pestilence ridden creature in the school.”
“Uh-uh. He named him Harry.”
“Oh, it was a boy mouse?” Louisa said, nodding as she refilled James’s bowl with meat and vegetables.
Evan snorted. “Ohhh, yeah! It was a boy all right!” He patted his guardian on the arm. “Dr. Ellig-am, did you know mouses gots big geni—” He glanced at his head teacher before whispering, “You know … bits?”
Martin dipped his head and cleared his throat. “Yes. Yes, I’m aware of that. Now eat your dinner.”
“But I have ta tell you about Harry.”
“Eat your potato; then tell us about Harry.”
The boy’s fork tapped against his guardian’s plate. “You gots ta finish your dinner too, don’t you?”
Louisa raised her eyebrows and nudged her husband’s plate back across the table. “Yes, you do gots ta finish your dinner, Martin.”
He tipped his head down, peering up at her. “I will.”
Washing his potato down with a gulp of milk, Evan continued with his story. “So, Mr. Townsend said he was gonna take Harry to his house. He gots a snake, and he said the snake would take care of him. That’s a pretty nice snake, don’t you think, Dr. Ellig-am?”
“I highly doubt that snake has anything nice planned—”
“Martin. Eat your dinner,” Louisa said, pinching her lips together and shaking her head.
Picking up the young man’s now-empty cup, the doctor shook his head. “It’s not all good news. The pain I’ve been having in the left leg may be due to a nerve entrapment issue. Ed consulted with Will Simpson, one of my surgeons up in London. The pictures were ambiguous, but callus may have formed around the peroneal nerve.”
“Seriously? I didn’t know that was possible.”
“Mm. It’s uncommon.”
“So, what’s the plan?”
Jeremy pulled his arms out of the way as Martin sprayed down the table with disinfectant and wiped it off.
“I’ll continue with the physical therapy. If the pain continues or worsens, Simpson will go in, free the nerve, fix the fractures internally and, I would presume, take care of the reconstruction at that time.”
“That would be a bit of a setback.”
“How did Louisa react to the news?”
“She didn’t. I haven’t told her.”
“Oh, mate. You have to tell her. How long ago was it that you were lecturing me about truth in a relationship.”
“Yes, I realise that!” Martin slapped the dishcloth down on to the counter. “I tried to tell her, but she shushed me.” He shrugged. “She was happy about the fixators coming off; I didn’t want to spoil it for her.”
“Yeah, sure. Whatever you say,” the aide replied with a grin as he picked another biscuit from the sleeve.
“Oh, wipe that smug look off your face. I’ll talk to her about it tonight.” Martin glanced at his watch. “I need to pick up some supplies from Mrs. Tishell. If you’re not doing anything I could use an extra pair of hands.”
The young man’s grin broadened. “Need some help fending off her amorous advances, eh?”
“Nooo. It’s a large order and I’ve been a bit … unsteady lately.”
“Yep. Let me finish this chocolate digestive, and I’ll get my coat.”
Martin looked him up and down, raising an eyebrow. “Do yourself a favour and bin the rest of that. The rest of the package, too, for that matter.”
“Why? It gives me a mental boost about this time of the day.”
“No, it’s sugar, starch, and saturated fats that you can’t afford.”
“You saying I’m overweight?”
“Not necessarily. But you could easily lose a couple of pounds.”
Jeremy gave him a roll of his eyes. “You’ll appreciate those extra pounds if you need me to protect you from Mrs. Tishell.”
He brushed the crumbs from his hands and shoved the biscuits into his backpack, getting to his feet. “Just a word of warning, mate … I wouldn’t try the you could easily lose a couple of pounds line on Louisa. Women can be super sensitive about their weight.”
Martin ducked his head and gave a tug on his ear. “Mm, I’m aware of that.”