Authors: Heather McVea
Tags: #baltimore, #lesbian paranormal romance, #witch and love, #elemental fantasy romance, #urban adult fantasy
Published by Heather McVea at Smashwords
Copyright 2015 Heather McVea
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are
used factiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead,
or event is entirely coincidental. This book, or parts thereof, may
not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the
This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to
other people. If you would like to share this book with another
person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If
you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not
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of this author.
About the author:
Heather McVea was raised in a small town
south of San Antonio, Texas. Prior to escaping to the big city, she
raised Hampshire pigs, rode motorcycles at entirely too young an
age, and once snow boarded behind a Ford pickup truck. She relishes
a strong gin and tonic, but leans after three. Shiny twinkly things
make her cringe, up to and including Hollywood vampires.
Heather and her wife have three fur babies
and are working their way through all of the distillery tours in
Texas… and beyond.
Heather is currently working on the novella
, an origin story of one of the more popular
characters in the
universe. It is slated for
release in June 2015.
Follow Heather on
A Sky Full of Stars –
Scare Away the Dark –
Paint It Black
Love Runs Out –
Called Out in the Dark –
Turning Page –
Sleeping at Last
Take Me to Church –
The Way I Am
Lost in My Mind
The Head and
Nights in White Satin
Wake Me Up
White Blank Page
Flightless Bird, American Mouth –
“The unseen, the unheard, the untouchable is
what weaves the fabric of our see-able universe together.”
“Is anyone sitting there?” The Amtrak train
was completely full as it pulled away from the gate at Baltimore’s
Penn Station, and Ryan Myers had managed to purchase one of the
last seats for herself.
Standing in the aisle with a small gray
Samsonite bag in tow, the brown haired, blue eyed woman was
beginning to sweat. It was March, and though Ryan had been grateful
for her navy blue pea coat and beige wool scarf during the last
throes of winter outside, the congestion in the train car was
causing her to feel suffocated by her outer wear.
A blonde woman in her early thirties, dressed
in a pair of black chinos and a cream colored cotton blouse, looked
up from her iPad. “It’s not taken.” The woman looked at Ryan’s
suitcase. “But I think the overhead bins are full.”
Taking the middle finger of her brown leather
glove between her teeth, Ryan pulled the glove off her hand and
deposited it in her coat pocket, followed by its mate in her other
pocket. She huffed out a breath of air and loosened her scarf. “No
one checks bags anymore.” She shook her head as she looked around
for a place to stow her carryon. “Though clearly, I’m one of the
offenders.” She smiled at the blonde.
“No judgment here. The fees are ridiculous.”
The woman slid her iPad into the seat pocket in front of her.
“Here, let me help.”
Standing up, the woman stepped into the aisle
just as the train began to pull forward. The blonde was jostled
forward before managing to steady herself on the seat next to her.
The man sitting in the seat looked back and rolled his eyes at the
“Sorry.” The blonde cringed, and then looked
at Ryan and shrugged her shoulders. “I can move my bag over, and
maybe that will free up some space for you.”
Ryan nodded. “I really appreciate it.” She
watched as the woman turned and shifted a blue American Tourist bag
up against one of the dividers in the overhead bin. Ryan thought
the woman was beautiful. Her blonde hair sat just above her
shoulders, and had a sheen to it that reminded Ryan of silk. Her
skin was smooth with a slight tan, and her eyes were the color of
sea foam green.
“There. That should do it.” The woman tucked
a loose strand of hair behind her ear as she turned to face Ryan.
“Do you need help lifting it?”
“No worries. I’ve got it.” Ryan lifted her
bag up, and slid it in next to the blue bag. “Perfect.” She
unbuttoned her coat and pulled her scarf off before wedging the
garments between the two bags.
The blonde slid into her seat and removed her
iPad from the seat pocket. Crossing her legs, she turned her
attention back to the device.
Ryan had left her house in such a hurry she
had forgotten her Kindle, and was relegated to reading a copy of
Time Magazine she had hastily bought in the train station. It
hardly mattered, though. She was exhausted and not able to
concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes. After reading
the same paragraph about food additives four times, Ryan slid the
magazine into the seat pocket in front of her, and laid her head
back against the headrest.
“Excuse me.” Ryan’s entire body jerked when
her seat mate spoke, and she realized she must have dozed off. The
woman’s warm hand was on Ryan’s forearm, and a wave of heat
skittered up her arm and into her chest. “I’m sorry to startle you.
You fell asleep, and I wasn’t sure which stop was yours.”
Ryan looked up at the scrolling marquee
attached to the ceiling of the train car. She had been asleep for
nearly an hour, and the train was arriving in Philadelphia.
Shifting in her seat, Ryan stretched her neck to the left, the
muscles aching. “Ah, no, it’s fine. I’m going to New York.”
The blonde removed her hand, and settled back
into her seat. “I figured it was better to make sure.”
Leaning forward in her seat, Ryan extended
her arms out in front of her until she could lay her palms flat
against the back of the seat. Yawning, she stretched the muscles
between her shoulder blades. “I appreciate that.”
It was the second time the woman had helped
her, and though Ryan usually wasn’t one for small talk with
strangers, she could use the distraction. It didn’t hurt that the
blonde was exactly Ryan’s type.
“I’m Ryan, by the way.” Extending her hand to
the woman, Ryan flashed her most charming smile.
“Leah. Nice to meet you.” The woman took
Ryan’s hand, a warm smile spreading across her face. “You’re going
to New York then? Me too. Business or pleasure?”
Ryan released Leah’s hand. “Neither.
Leah chuckled. “I get that.”
“And you?” Ryan leaned back in her seat, and
still feeling hot, she pushed the sleeves of her long sleeve gray
t-shirt up to her elbows.
Leah’s brow furrowed, and a look of sadness
crossed her green eyes. “I’m seeing an old friend.”
Ryan didn’t want to make the woman
uncomfortable by prying, and she didn’t want to open herself up to
a tragic telling of a personal story when they still had nearly two
hours left on the train together. Besides, she was in no mood
herself for emotional outpourings.
“Do they live in New York?” Ryan tried to
think of the most innocuous question.
Leah’s expression lightened as she nodded.
“They - they do.” The woman laid her iPad on her lap. “Do you live
“I do, and you?”
“Just outside of Baltimore.”
The two women sat for several seconds in an
awkward silence. Clearly neither knew what to talk about, beyond
the few perfunctory questions deemed appropriate to ask a stranger
on a train.
“What do you do for a living?” Leah managed
to break the silence.
“I just finished my doctorate in social
policy.” Ryan felt the train slowing down, and looking outside the
windows, she could see flashes of the Philadelphia skyline.
“Really? How is that different from social
?” The scent of vanilla and fabric softener wafted over
Ryan as Leah leaned on the arm rest between them.
Ryan instinctively shifted so she was facing
Leah. She was pleased the woman knew there was a distinction.
“Social work is the proverbial boots on the ground - case workers,
foster care. That sort of thing. Social policy deals more with the
policies that guide those workers and helps maintain and build the
infrastructure they work in.” Ryan hoped she wasn’t going off on a
tangent and boring Leah.
“So more of the government and administration
end of things?” Leah asked.
Ryan nodded. “Yes. Specifically the
partnership of government with business, charities, and
“So nothing too important?” Leah teased. Ryan
had to focus so she wouldn’t stare at the blonde’s full pink lips.
“How does that translate into a career?”
Ryan forced her attention to Leah’s eyes, but
found the light green irises even more distracting than the woman’s
mouth. “Well, I’ve had several job offers with local municipalities
for program administration work, but nothing seems right. I don’t
want to have gone through all the time and expense of my education
to end up settling.”
Ryan turned so she was facing forward again.
She continued to feel very hot. “Typical crap really. Nothing but
school and internships for the past eight years, and now - well,
now it’s go time and I’m sputtering at the gate.”
Jesus, why am
I telling her this?
Leah nodded. “Cross roads can be a
Ryan laughed. “You have no idea.”
The two women looked at each other, the
awkwardness from earlier forgotten. “What do you do?” Ryan asked,
wishing they could open the window. Her face felt flush, and her
palms were sweating. She wondered if she was coming down with
something. Either that, or the dread inherent to her trip was
causing hot flashes.
“I own a small book store in Ellicott City.
Just outside Baltimore.” Leah saw Ryan look down at the iPad in her
lap. “I know, the harbinger of my own demise, but I hate lugging
books when I travel.” Leah ran her long, tapered finger across the
device’s screen. “Trust me. My house is bursting at the seams with
Ryan smiled, and laid her head back on the
head rest. The train had stopped, and passengers were exiting the
car. “Then you won’t mind me telling you, short of a text book, I
haven’t read anything besides my Kindle in over two years.”
Leah gasped, an exaggerated, shocked
expression on her face. “You’re the reason my retirement planning
is falling by the wayside.”
Ryan chuckled. “I thought it best if you
heard it from me first.”
Leah laughed, and even over the noise of the
now boarding passengers, Ryan marveled at the pure delight the
sound sparked in her.
Why did I have to meet you on this
The train began to slowly roll forward as a
dark haired woman in her early twenties stood next to Ryan in the
aisle, an infant resting on her hip. “Ma’am?”
Ryan looked up when she realized the woman
was addressing her. “Yes?”
“Are you two travelling together?” The woman
looked at Leah. “Because my husband got a seat up near the front,
but if you would let him take your seat, he and I could sit across
the aisle from one another.” The woman lowered her voice. “And
trust me, two parents are way better than one with a teething
baby.” The woman scanned the train compartment. “You’d be doing
Ryan squelched her disappointment at having
to leave Leah, but there was really no good reason why she couldn’t
help the couple out. “Ah, sure.” She got up, and squeezed past the
woman. Looking at Leah, who had a noticeable frown on her face,
Ryan shrugged. “It was nice talking with you.”