An excerpt from FLIGHT FROM MAYHEM for you!
He stood as I came up the sidewalk. “Door’s unlocked, and I left a plate of chicken on the counter.” He dusted his hands on his jeans. “You need to talk, Little Sister?” Chai was like that. We had a bond, and he could sense when I was upset and vice versa. We had always been aware of the connection, but once he moved in, the strength became obvious. Now he followed me into the house, which was spotless. I had never been dirty or a slob, but Chai was a neat- freak and the house was always clean.
I wandered over to the aquarium that took up two thirds of the long wall in my living room. I had a variety of fish swimming in it, meandering this way and that. Coolray came up to the glass and pressed a tentacle to it. Everybody said jellyfish had no minds, but I knew better. They might not have brains like humans or dragons, or even like octopi, but they had a sentience that existed outside the norm. Over the years, I had been able to tap into it. I pressed my hand against the glass and whispered, “Hello,” and Coolray zoomed to the top of the tank and then down again. That was the way he usually greeted me.
As I watched the water, I began to breathe easier. Being in my home, with the aquarium, always calmed me down. It was my safe haven, and even though I lived in the infamous Greenbelt Park District— the most haunted area of Seattle— I always felt like my house had a buffer around it, repelling all spooks and spirits. And it had a good security system to repel the other miscreants.
Chai came up behind me and pressed his hands against my shoulders, kissing the top of my head. “Something bothering you, Little Sister?”
I shrugged. “Glenda, for one. I really didn’t expect her to show up like that. And I have a nasty feeling she’s not done with Alex and me yet. I really don’t want to deal with her.”
“Unfortunately, relationships are messy and most come with some form of baggage.”
I had dated around some— even here, Earthside. In fact, when I first arrived, I took to dating a half- demon, half-Titan named Carter. He was a demigod, really, when I thought about it. And I had discovered that, as wonderful a friend he was to have, he was far too dark and intense for me to endure as a boyfriend.
A thought struck me. “Do you think . . . am I . . . maybe I’m not cut out to be in a relationship? I don’t like mess. I don’t like complications.”
“You just don’t like dealing with people because you don’t know how. You’ve always been a loner, Shimmer. At the orphanage you had to fend for yourself. You didn’t dare trust anybody to help you out, because chances were you’d be let down. And ever since then, you’ve been fending for yourself.”
I sucked in a slow, deep breath. He was right. “I couldn’t trust that anybody would care enough to come through in a pinch.”