What does the one quarter have to do with anything, besides the obvious possibilities in the direction of pun? (Since tomorrow is Abet and Aid Punsters Day. Look it up.) Well, one quarter, in American currency, will buy you two stories in my latest e-book, a collection of Fiction Friday posts. Not that it's available by the piece, sadly.
Could you go back through the blog here and find all the Fiction Friday and Made-Up Monday posts, and copy their text into your own e-book? Of course you could. But why bother? I've done all the work for you, and I've even recategorized everything into my own wonderfully silly categories. Named after weekdays, naturally, since the entire collection is called Week in Review (yes, it did stick).
The link above will take you to the short stories page here on the website, where the Smashwords page is linked. That accepts both credit cards and PayPal, and hosts most of the common e-book formats. Links to ALL the Amazons will be here on the blog, after the main body of this post... because did you really think I'd forgotten that it's Fiction Friday? Or that I could stay away from the Dangerverse for more than a week at a time? Of course not!
If you can't afford to buy Week in Review, or you feel that you've read the Fiction Friday stories and don't need to read them again, you know what? That is perfectly fine. I've made this writing available to you in many different ways on purpose, and most of what I ask in return is that you read and enjoy it. Though I admit I would like to see, just once, what a double-digit number looks like on my Amazon daily sales chart. (Four sales as of posting time, about 1:40 PM Eastern Time in the US...)
If you would like a print book, you can go immediately to CreateSpace, or to my Etsy site for a pre-order of a signed copy, which saves $2 off CreateSpace/Amazon's print price for US readers! However, if you are not from the US, shipping from the Etsy site is VERY expensive, and I suggest either waiting for your local Amazon site to link up with CreateSpace, which should be around November 11, or holding off on any Etsy ordering you want to do for the holidays until you know everything you want.
Okay, business out of the way (except for the Amazon links, which will be after the story). Now for the fun. As you may recall from our last installment of "Stolen Cub", Charlie, Tonks, Brian, and Corona had gone back to one of the valleys inside dragon preserves where nastier werewolves were housed during the war, to break up a new encampment of just that sort of werewolf, and Charlie brought back a little more than he'd expected to number twelve, Grimmauld Place...
Bobby felt himself starting to wake up, and moaned a little in protest. He didn't want to wake up. Waking up meant losing the dream, the dream where he was warm and dry and clean and not hungry or scared at all, where there were grownups who smiled at him and looked at him and listened to him, who picked him up and carried him places carefully, instead of grabbing him by his collar or his arm to drag him to where they wanted him.
Once upon a time, none of that had been a dream to him, but that was before. Before his dad had started to get weird and scary, before his mum had gone away because of the weird and scary, before The Night (he could see it in his head with the capital letters he'd just begun learning how to print) when his dad had turned into a monster, a true and honest monster, right in front of him, and he'd tried to be brave and fight back—he really had!—but it hadn't made any difference, the monster was too big and too strong, and—
The voice jerked Bobby awake, out of nightmare through dream and into reality—
Only reality was the dream, or the dream had turned real, because he was curled up on a soft cushion with a blanket tucked around him, and he could see a ceiling over his head and a flat, smooth wall to one side, and a woman was sitting next to him, a woman with short pink hair and a worried look on her face. She'd looked worried before, too, Bobby remembered from the night before (could it be real?), but then she had laughed and shaken her head at something the man with the red hair had said, the man who'd looked at him, who'd talked to him, who'd asked his name—
"You're Bobby, right?" the woman went on, and smiled at his tentative nod. "Good to know you. I'm Tonks. You hungry?"
Bobby nodded again, sitting up and trying to look around him without making it too obvious that he was looking. The room looked a lot like he could remember rooms in his old house looking, except his mum never let him put his mattress on the floor, and here three mattresses were lined up with people lying on them. The man with the red hair was one, and on the next mattress over was a fair-haired woman with a couple of babies cuddled beside her. Next to them was a tangle of blankets which might have had a human shape somewhere inside it, but Bobby wasn't sure.
"Well, come on, then, we'll see what we can find." Tonks held out her hand, and Bobby put his into it. "Kitchen's downstairs from here. You want a ride?"
"Yes, please," Bobby whispered, remembering the please part at the last second, and Tonks smiled again and slid her hands around him and lifted him up, settling him onto her hip, just like the red-haired man, like Charlie, had last night—
But it wasn't quite the same, because the way he fit against Tonks was different, and so was the scent she carried with her, a scent like fresh green growing things and the burning-air smell of magic. Charlie's scent was a mixture of smoke from a fire and the flat, brightly-colored ovals Bobby had found in the place his dad had taken him (dragon scales, whispered a voice in the back of his mind), and he couldn't quite sort out the scents from the other people in the room yet, except—
He whimpered once and tried to squirm himself free, tried to get away from the scent of the monster, but Tonks caught him again just before his feet hit the floor, and went to one knee with him, holding onto him firmly. "Bobby," she said again, pulling his attention back to her. "Look here, look at me—good. You see me?" She jerked her chin down at herself. "I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere, and I'm going to keep you safe. Whatever's scaring you, we're going to take care of it, okay? But you have to calm down enough to tell me what it is. Can you do that?"
Bobby gulped against the scream that wanted to get away from him (screaming only told the monster where you were, so it could find you faster) and tremblingly pointed at the tangle of blankets. Tonks turned to look. "That's Brian," she said, sounding puzzled. "He's a friend of mine, and Charlie's, and—oh." Her voice turned suddenly understanding. "You can smell him, can't you? And he smells kind of like your dad, and those other ones?"
"Mm-hmm." Bobby shivered. "Like the monster."
"You poor kid," Tonks murmured, drawing him close to her again and holding him there, one of her hands stroking his hair awkwardly. "But how I'm supposed to explain this one—well, let's start with heading down for some breakfast like we were going to, huh?" She got to her feet again, lifting Bobby easily into the air and swinging him in a wide arc to land on her hip once more as she walked towards the doorway. "And I'll tell you a story while we're down there. You like stories?"
"Yeah." Bobby smiled, remembering a big, soft chair, and his mother's voice, and a colorful book held where he could see it. "What's it about?"
"Well, it's about monsters, and about the people who go out and fight them, and the places where those people go to be safe. Like this place." Tonks waved her hand at the corridor around them, tall and narrow and dim, with a light at the far end over a flight of stairs. "This is called Headquarters, and it's one of the safest places around. No monsters here, Bobby. I promise." She smiled a little, with a funny twist to one side. "Werewolves, sure, but no monsters..."
Amazon links for Week in Review (in no particular order):
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PB3AZB0
Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00PB3AZB0
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B00PB3AZB0
Amazon IN: http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B00PB3AZB0
Amazon FR: http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B00PB3AZB0
Amazon ES: http://www.amazon.es/gp/product/B00PB3AZB0
Amazon IT: https://www.amazon.it/dp/B00PB3AZB0
Amazon BR: https://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B00PB3AZB0