Tracy  Fabre

Excerpts From The Other Novels

 

Evan's Castle, ©2008 

Excerpt
#1
          
      “You know what,” I said. “I think it’s time you told me something about yourself.”
        Evan raised one eyebrow. “Oh, yes?”
        “You have somehow wormed a lot of my secrets out of me, and you’ve come to my rescue with both legal and illegal skills. I feel like an open book.”  Okay, that was a bit of  a lie, but he did know a lot more about me than I ever expected he would.  “Yet you, on the other hand, remain a closed book.”
        He leaned back in his chair, smiling speculatively.  “What don’t you know? Read an article.”
        “Such modesty,” I tsked. “I know the basics, yes.  You learned Latin in the womb, you built a hydrogen car from scratch on your first birthday—before your nap—and by the time you were five you'd translated the complete works of Shakespeare into Finnish, and constructed an equation for time-travel that allowed you to go back and prove that dinosaurs became extinct because of second-hand smoke.” 
        Evan was laughing. “I was a wonder, wasn’t I?”
        “But tell me something I don’t know. Tell me something you wouldn’t tell an interviewer.”
        “Ah,” he said, still amused. “I’m not sure what you’re looking for.”
        “Something to explain… you.”

 Excerpt #2 

        “So why did you take this job?”
        I blinked. “What do you mean?”
        He grinned. “What do you mean, what do I mean? You know what I mean. I looked at your resume and cover letter. You ran an entire section. Your supervisors called you a gem in your evaluations. Your whole career has been one of increasing responsibility.”
        “Well, I…” I stopped short, and stared at him intently. “My evaluations were not part of my application materials.” Nor would they have been released by any of my previous employers.
        Evan had the grace to look a little embarrassed for a moment, but he rallied. “This is the age of the Internet, Miss Kane.”
        I laughed. “So you hacked into their computer system and read my evaluations? That is so… I don’t know what that’s so. Wrong? Illegal?”
        He said simply, “I wanted to know what you were like, professionally. You were going to be here in my lab every day, and I wanted to know who I’d be dealing with. If there had been something bad to know, you weren’t going to tell me—and neither were your employers. But that’s not the point. The point is, now I want to know why you wanted this job.”
        I leaned back in my chair and surveyed him. What had I just learned about him, this scientific marvel of a man? That he was not above sheer nosiness? That he was not above unethical behavior? Fascinating. “It surprises me that you would do that kind of thing, given your reputation.”
        “Why?” His face was guileless, his gaze more curious than anything else. “Is it so unfathomable? I didn’t read your email, or look up your financial records. I didn’t eavesdrop on your last date or follow you around to see where you go at night. I just looked at what your supervisors had to say about you. In truth, I wasn’t even expecting to read anything negative. I just wasn’t expecting to read anything so glowing.”
        “Why?” I echoed him. “Is that so unfathomable? You barely know me. I could be utterly fabulous.”
        “That’s most certainly true,” he agreed, smiling. “I wasn’t suggesting that you might not be exactly that. It’s just not typical for an apparently excellent manager to give it up to become a solitary worker in a warehouse.” He looked around the lab, shaking his head. “And I could flatter myself that my professional reputation was the lure, but you applied for a position that you thought was just one of many research librarians in the Center itself. No glory there. And the pay wouldn’t have been better than you were making back home.”
        “I thought you said you didn’t look at my financial records?” I inquired.
        “I didn’t,” he said firmly. “But I know what we were offering for the job you applied for, and I know you had to be making more than that where you were.”
        We gazed at each other for a moment, and then I finally said, “Look. Some people don’t understand why you would choose to put yourself away from society, and some people think you have exactly the right idea. Some people love to be in charge, to rise up through the ranks, and some people tire of responsibility and need a break, and when an opportunity comes along, they take it. I had the opportunity. I took it. Frankly, despite my initial reservations about working so closely with you in what amounts to a windowless box, I’d started to think this was the best possible turn of events for me.”
        Evan was still just looking at me, as if I were speaking some other language simultaneously and he was trying to translate that one into English as well. Finally he asked, “Do you still think that?”
        “You mean since this conversation began?”
        He smiled. “Yes.”
        I considered it. “Well, like you said, and oddly enough I do believe you, it’s not like you pored through anything really personal. Of course, I might feel differently if there had been something negative in the evaluations.”
        “So might I.” He straightened up, and put his hands in his pockets. “But if there had been, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because you wouldn’t be in my employ at all.”
        Of course not. “And did you hack into any of the other candidates’ personnel records?” I inquired archly.
        Evan gave me a slow smile. “Nope. None of them were worth the trouble.” He started down the steps.
        “Hang on, there, professor.” I went to the head of the stairs, and studied him. “Why was I worth the trouble, based on a four-minute meeting during which I referred to you as a blowfish?”
        He looked out across the lab for a moment, and then smiled back up at me. “Because in a four-minute meeting, during which I acted like a blowfish, you had enough gumption to call me on it.”
        My eyebrows went up. “You like being talked back to?”
        “No. I hate it. But you were right. And that made it okay.” He went down to the main level and headed for his work table, looking back only once to add, “And when I say ‘okay’ I don’t mean you should make a habit of it.”
        But he had smiled, so I called down, “Then don’t make a habit of being wrong!”

 

 



Reasons
,
©2008
~ 
 

Excerpt
#1



        Three weeks later, the train was pulling into Statler, Colorado, a community of about fifteen thousand situated between Denver and Colorado Springs. It was an old town, its residents comprised of descendants of the original settlers, new residents seeking an escape from city life, and those who just never got around to seeing if there was anything better out there than the glorious blue sky, the rolling green hills, and the snow-topped mountains on the horizon.

I was having fourteenth thoughts. I had decided to come because I wanted to see Annie and Robert, and the ranch, and if my memories of happiness here would measure up in the light of another decade. I had no plans to tell anyone what I’d learned from my parents, but I did plan to make as much of a study of Bobby and Tam as I could.

But the closer the train got during the two-day journey, the more I found myself wondering if this had been, in fact, a dumb-ass decision. At every stop I considered getting off and hitching a ride on the next train back east, and at every stop I told myself I was being a doofus and might as well go forward.

I wished more than once that my parents hadn’t told me about the accident. It was more than likely I’d have gotten through the entire summer without anyone sitting down with me to say, “So, let me tell you every detail of this terrible thing that happened nine years ago, and by the way, I notice you have this jagged scar running from your calf all the way up your thigh; how exactly did that happen?”

Leaning my head against the cool glass of the window, I concluded I was an idiot, but more to the point, I was an idiot about three minutes away from beginning my summer with at least one person who knew he’d once struck someone and driven away in the night.


Excerpt #2
 

 

Hazel retorted, “It’s not just a party. It’s the party in Statler. Carla should know whoever she goes with is the person she’ll be linked with for the next year.”

“By people like you, Hazel. Not people Carla’s age. They’re just there to have fun.”

“What do you mean, people like me?” The rolling pin was being waved in Tam's direction now. “What do you mean?”

“Easy, girl,” he said soothingly. “Just think back to when you were seventeen.”

“When I was seventeen,” Annie said, bemused, “the dance was held over in the fairgrounds under a big circus tent.”

“When I was seventeen,” Tam echoed, gazing at me, “they moved it to the town square. But after the usual dozen cases of heatstroke, they realized air conditioning was really the way to go.”

When I was seventeen, either you or Bobby or maybe even Artie ran me down in the road, and dancing wasn’t in the cards for a long time. “I found out why I’m called Delph-eye,” I said abruptly.

“Oh, yeah?”

I told him about my father’s musical pun, and he laughed, but before he could make any comment, I turned to Annie and inquired, “Why is he called Tam instead of Tom?”

Annie smiled. “It’s a Scots thing.”

“That’s what he said when I asked him. But what’s the real reason?”

“Robert’s grandfather was called Tam, and when he showed us old family photos he’d brought from Scotland, we could all see Tam looked just like him as a child.” Annie smiled at her son. “It seemed only natural for little Tommy to turn into Tam.”

“Little Tommy?” I repeated, trying not to grin.

Tam arched one eyebrow, and went to the microwave when it dinged. “I have no recollection of ever being called ‘little Tommy.’”

“That’s not surprising,” his mother said. “You weren’t even one.”

Hazel cleared her throat. “When I was seventeen, I had respect for the opinions of my elders.”

We all turned to her. Annie was the one to laugh first. “You did not, you cranky old bat.”

  

 

 

 

 

Sending Rupert Home©2010 ~


Excerpt #1

        “No giggling at the cemetery,” Rupert said sternly, and Noah swore with surprise, trying not to swerve into the wrong lane.
         “Rupert,” I breathed, turning to stare at our unexpected guest in the back seat. “You do like to make an entrance.”
         “I do,” he said with a broad grin. “Leanne, my sweet, life is all about making an entrance, so there’s no reason death should be any less fun.”
         “For you. The rest of us would rather not drive into ditches,” Noah countered testily.
         “Relax. You’re all right. Would I let anything happen to my ducks?”
         I studied his lean face, thinking again that he looked as… alive… as if… he were. “You might. You could be a bad witch, Rupert. Don’t think that hasn’t crossed my mind.”
         Rupert laughed delightedly. “Leanne! You wound me! Noah, this one, she’s very tricky. You need to watch out for her.”
         “I need to watch out for dead men,” Noah muttered. “What are we looking for today? Have you figured that out yet?”
         “And shouldn’t you be at your own funeral?”
         Rupert leaned back in the seat, his hands behind his head, as if this were just another ride on just another fall day. “Hardly. I did pop in for a bit, but it wasn’t much fun. You know it has occurred to me that the reason I’ve left so many women behind is it started to get sad. I don’t much like sad. I mean, I don’t mind teaching sad; there’s some excellent sad literature out there. But being face to face with sad in my own life makes moving on preferable in every case.”
         “You could have stopped making women sad,” I pointed out.
         He only smiled. “Easy to say that now, isn’t it?”
         “Are we supposed to be looking for a woman today? Someone whose heart you left in pieces?”
         A shadow passed over his fine features, and he sighed. “I really don’t know. I know there’s something I left undone in my life that I’ve got to fix before I can go all the way home, and the key—or at least the first of several keys—is going to be at the cemetery today.”
         Noah glanced at him in the rear-view mirror. “Well, we’re in it, Rupe. We’ll do what we can. As long as you don’t kill us by turning up when we least expect you.”
         Rupert smiled slowly. “No promises, Noah. They take promises very seriously on my side of the wall.”
         “They also take them seriously on this side,” I observed.
         He nodded. “And it’s easy to say that now too, isn’t it? Now look out front, love. I’ve got to pop out again and you’re really not supposed to see.”


                        

Excerpt #2  

      
I heard voices from afar after she’d gone, and I was taking a coat off a hanger when Noah said, “Hey,” and I jumped about two feet. “Sorry. Maryellen said I could come back here while she talks with the neighbor.”
       His dark eyes were fixed on mine, intently, and I was utterly tongue-tied, because what I wanted more than anything was to fling myself into his arms, but his expression said I would have to explain myself before I had that right.
        “Good Lord, it’s about time,” Rupert snapped.
        We both jerked around; he was in the back of the closet, leaning against the wall.
        “If you could knock books over, why couldn’t you just talk to me?” I asked testily.
       “I can’t break the rules, love, I can only bend them. But if you’d taken any longer to call him, we’d all have been dead, and I’d be recruiting someone else to solve my little problem.”
        I couldn’t look at Noah, but felt his gaze. “Well, what’s the big deal today?”
        Rupert sighed. “It’s one of the books. You have to find it before my attorney brings the dealer over.”
       “Which book? And are you proposing we steal that, too? The laptop thing didn’t work out so well,” Noah reminded him.
        “Just get back into the living room,” Rupert retorted, “and we’ll see.”
       “I’m supposed to be in here sorting your Miami Vice collection,” I protested. “And Noah’s supposed to be toting boxes out to his car.”
        “Oh, do work it out. Don’t you know how to improvise?”
        I threw the jacket at him, and of course it passed through and hit the wall, sliding into a linen heap at his feet.
        “Very mature,” he said. “Can we go now?”

 

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