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Excerpt: There are Specters in the Storm!

Specters, Automatons & Evil, oh my!

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I got a nice note from a friend about how much she liked Specters in the Storm, so I thought I’d share an excerpt from it this week. And don’t miss my Behind the Book interview about Specters in the Storm on Friday!

First, what is it about? 

Specters, Automatons & Evil, oh my!

The Great Storm of 1900 changed Ernest Warren’s life. 

Destroying Galveston, Texas, the storm took the lives of thousands of people—including the love of his life. Vowing to steer clear of love and devote his life to saving the lives of others, Ernest sets out in his steam-powered airship with his trusty automaton crew, determined to unravel Mother Nature’s deepest secrets. 

But when strange and disturbing storms begin to brew in unpredictable places, Ernest must face his grief head-on. Reluctantly, he accepts the help of inter-dimensional time traveler, Prudence Pinkerton. Together, they must act fast, as time is running out. But trusting a woman might even be more impossible than fighting the storms for a man like Ernest. Clocks are ticking faster than usual as the world is on the cusp of a life-altering change. Can Ernest and Prudence conquer Mother Nature and weather the storm together?

Pauline Baird Jones’ is known for writing smart, quirky, funny fiction. Check out her venture into a steampunk time-bending paranormal detective story with Specters in the Storm.

And now for the excerpt:

The sensation of being watched crept over him. He needed to look up. He feared to do so. Off to his left, the setting sun sent rays of light under the storm, though this light did not reach them. It acted more like a distant beacon. And indicated that the storm had limits, an end if only he could reach it. The sight of the distant light eased the growing panic, gave him hope, though the sense of being watched did not ease. If anything, it became worse. The sensation was one of animus, but more than that. He felt fear in there. Anger, malice, nothing positive. His hands gripped the gunwale until his knuckles turned white. He tried to speak, but his throat went dry and closed as if something gripped it to hold in the call for assistance from his automatons. 

He wanted to claw at that hold, but he couldn’t let go of the gunwale. Couldn’t move. His chin started to lift as if impelled. When he could fight no longer, when he thought he must look and die, he was distracted by movement along the surface of the water. He blinked, sure it must be an illusion. But the sight of it, for whatever reason, eased the sense that he could not move or speak. 

“Winston! ‘Ware!” He called out the alert command. This was not his imagination, he realized. It was real. The wake made a perfect “V,” like an arrow pointing straight at him, with waves falling away from the edges of something just under the surface. It came on, swift and straight as an arrow. 

A sort of howl, like the wind, but not like it either, sounded above him, then the surface of the water came to a boil. Out of the maelstrom, he saw—

Tentacles? 

A different kind of panic rose inside him. Giant tentacles. 

He started to back from the edge as two of the monstrous things reached up, sliding along the bow, then gripping the gunwale close to where he’d stood. 

“Ware!” he called again, the sound more a croak than a call. 

A large red dome rose from the water and giant eyes regarded him for a long moment. 

There was another howl, like a wind he couldn’t feel. A jerk. Then a jolt as The Weatherman slammed into the surface of the water, yanked downward by the tentacled grip. 

Ernest flew backwards hitting the deck hard enough to knock the wind out of him. Just before his head connected with wood, he saw what he’d feared to see…

…faces…

Thousands of them. 

The specters in the storm…

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt! And don’t forget to stop back to read the behind the book interview!

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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