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Dumped (sneak peek)

On Tuesday I published my 2015 year in review. I mentioned that I have a story called Dumped in Intrepid Horizons (coming in early 2016). I realized I’d never mentioned this story or shared a sneak peek, so I thought I’d do so.

 unicorn 1I think I owned this poster when I was 8

As a child I adored unicorns. Although a bit obscure, one of my favorite series growing up was The Secret of the Unicorn Queen a six novel series about this modern girl who gets swept away to a magical land. There’s a group of warrior women riding on unicorns, a hunky love interest, and (although I didn’t know this was such a cliché at the time) scaring away the powerful sorcerer with the “magic” of a walkman. (I’m not the only fan–there is fanfic out there, people.) It seemed as if the series was coming back into print, but after the first two novels were published the final four were not, much to my disappointment.

From there I read all manner of unicorn related fantasy, and then graduated into the talking white horses of Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series (which are, let’s be real, unicorns sans horns) as a teenager.

The thing about unicorns is that they’re always presented as such magical beings of good and kindness and would NEVER do anything harmful.

Although I read a short story in one of Bruce Coville’s unicorn anthologies when I was maybe nine or ten, it has always stuck with me because the character was the first I’d seen who broke that stereotype. (It featured a jerk unicorn and a cat, if anyone remembers the story and can tell me the title.)

When my friend Jessica asked me if I was interested in writing a story for her upcoming anthology Intrepid Horizons, I wasn’t sure what she would think of my story–A Unicorn’s Virgin is fired for the crime of turning thirty, and is then kidnapped and left as bait for a rampaging dragon. Luckily Jess enjoyed it, and Dumped will be included in that publication. Below is an excerpt.

unicorn 2

“You’re turning thirty.” Storm remarked.

Neri had been weaving flowers into his mane. “Yes, tomorrow,” she said cautiously. A ball of dread formed in the pit of her stomach. Something about his tone made her nimble fingers suddenly thick and uncoordinated. Storm had been acting secretive for the past few months—she’d known something was amiss, and it seemed that Storm was ready to lower the boom.

Thir-ty,” the Unicorn repeated, drawing out the blasphemous word. He shuddered. “I have to let you go, Neri. I’ve grown so used to you, but thirty? It’s time for a change.”

“But—” Tears pricked Neri’s eyes. “What am I supposed to do now? All I’ve ever done is take care of you. I turned down offers of marriage for you!”

“Please. You wouldn’t have been happy as a trophy wife. If you want to get married, some widower will probably take you on to mother his passel of brats. Your standards are slipping anyway—there’s a dull spot, there.” Storm critically inspected the polish on his hoof.

“Who will look after you, Storm?” Neri asked. Storm might be prissy, but he was familiar. “You can’t curry yourself, and you don’t like strangers touching you.”

The Unicorn’s eyes turned dreamy. “Lyria turns eighteen today. Eighteen,” he repeated with a shiver of delight.

Lyria. You could have more interesting conversation with the grinding stone in her father’s mill. Apparently honey blonde hair and dazzling green eyes made up for a dull personality in Storm’s world. They would be a striking pair, especially once she started wearing the gorgeous gowns donated to the Virgin.

Neri glanced down at herself. She wore a comfortable pair of fawn trousers with a draped top. The top had once been the same color as Storm’s eyes, but years of wearing it for the morning curry session had faded it to a dull green. Neri’s waist-length brown hair was back in a serviceable braid. She wore boots, rather than delicate slippers.

Maybe if I’d put in more of an effort to look prettier, he’d still want to be with me?

“Eighteen, eighteen, eighteen,” the Unicorn was practically singing the word.

Maybe not.

I’ll let you know when Strange Horizons is available for pre-order/purchase. If you want to see what I can do with a non-erotica story and enjoy fantasy, you’ll like this one!

One Response

  1. […] shared a sneak peek before. Here’s […]

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