Whoohoo! Over the weekend, we officially broke the 25% mark in our fundraising efforts to pay Desz to grace the newest book’s cover.
You guys are amazing!
To celebrate the milestone, I’m releasing a tidbit from Mirror of Ashes that didn’t make it to the final cut but will definitely pull some heartstrings. This (slightly expanded for sharing purposes) scene was originally couched as a memory that snaps Cora out of [REDACTED FOR SEXY SPOILERS] and reminds her [REDACTED FOR BADASSERY SPOILERS]. Enjoy!
Cora growls at herself, embarrassed at her behaviour but unable to stop crying. She’s far too big to curl up in her father’s lap the way she did as a little girl. Yet here she is, thirty years old, covered in snot and tears, clinging to him in the aftermath of Jeremy’s exit from her life as if Daddy can magically make everything better.
“Don’t worry, piskie,” he’s saying in his soft Irish voice. “Your ma and I’ll take care of you for as long as you need us. That’s what we’re here for.” He tightens his arms around her shoulders, pressing the side of her face into his now-damp shoulder.
She sniffs and wipes at her eyes with the back of her hand. “I just don’t get it. I thought this was it—him and me forever. And then I got sick and he stopped….” She chokes as another wave of grief crests and crashes. “What’s wrong with me, Daddy?” she squeaks.
“Hey now.” He shifts his posture so she sits up. “There’s nothing wrong with you,” he insists. “There are a million things right.” She starts to argue, but he shakes his head. “Heartbreak makes the world collapse around you, but you’re not broken. It’s important you understand that.”
Her gut reaction is dismissal. He has to say that because he’s her dad; he doesn’t know what it’s like to try to claw your way out of the dark pit of depression and then have your almost-husband step on your fingers when you reach the top.
But their matching grey eyes meet as she gears up to protest, and she notices tears stand in his eyes, too. It slices another wound in her heart. She puts a hand against his red-stubbled cheek, trying to comfort her comforter.
He gives her a gentle smile. “You don’t need anyone else to be complete, piskie,” he says. “Stand on your own two feet, believe in yourself, and you’ll be okay. Promise.”
Cora sighs, fight and fury and fear draining away, and she leans her weary body against her father’s chest. Though it goes against everything she’s feeling, she wants to believe him. She wonders how long it’ll be before she can.
*hands out tissues*
*waits for nose-blowing and ‘aww’s to stop*
Thank you all so much for bringing us this far in our crowdfunding journey! But this is only the first milestone: We still have another $1,232 to raise before May 1 to reach our total goal.
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