Hey, S. M. Boyce here. Shimmer is the second book in the Fairhaven Chronicles, a series inspired by the beauty of the west coast. Enjoy the first 6 chapters on the house and ride along as Victoria Brie (yes, like the cheese) and her best friend Audrey Xavier continue their journey.
Did you miss the previous chapters? Here they are:
Chapter 1: http://oriceran.com/shimmer-snippet-1/
Chapter 2: http://oriceran.com/shimmer-snippet-2/
Chapter 3: http://oriceran.com/shimmer-snippet-3/
Chapter 4: http://oriceran.com/shimmer-snippet-4/
Chapter 5: http://oriceran.com/shimmer-snippet-5/
Here’s chapter 6:
Glow: The Revelations of Oriceran, The Fairhaven Chronicles, Book 1
By S. M. Boyce & Martha Carr
Audrey was careful to keep her eyes peeled on her way home. She had stayed behind to train with Bertha after Victoria headed back to the house to come up with a plan. While most of the city were scared of whatever darkness plagued them, Audrey and Victoria could handle themselves.
Grinning, Audrey fiddled with the magic stone in her pocket. She could definitely handle herself now that she had secret magic that could create sparks and feed her energy. Part of her ached to use it, even wished she would run into a creature so that she could discover the true capacity of these crystals’ magic.
But she knew better. She shouldn’t invite danger into her life just to play with power she didn’t understand.
Aside from a few shifty glances from strangers she passed in the street, nothing notable happened on her way home. No attacks. No eerie sensations.
As she closed the front door behind her, the homey aroma of cooking pasta captured her attention. She smiled and followed her nose into the kitchen, to find Victoria ferociously stirring a pot while Styx sat on the edge of the counter kicking his tiny legs.
“You’re stress-cooking,” Audrey said.
Victoria laughed. “What, I can’t do something nice for my friend?”
Audrey crossed her arms and quirked an eyebrow, giving her friend a once-over. “I’ve known you since middle school. You only cook when you’re stressed out about something. Spill.”
Victoria’s shoulders drooped, and she put a bowl filled with some kind of creamy sauce on the counter. “Just eat my food.”
Audrey chuckled and sat at the table. “If you insist.”
Victoria set a banquet on the table, everything from spaghetti and meatballs to a tray of dumplings. Starchy, carb-filled goodness.
Audrey grabbed two plates from the cupboard. “Oh man, V. Are you trying to make me fat?”
Victoria chuckled. “Maybe.”
With no one to bother them and the evening to themselves, they tucked into the feast. Audrey lost count of how many dumplings she ate. Each one tasted better than the last. “How can you be so good at making food when you only stress-cook?”
“I’m going to let you figure that one out, genius.”
Audrey laughed. “Well, let’s not think about stressful things.”
Victoria chewed slowly on one of the dumplings and leaned back in her chair. “That rules out Fyrn.”
“Yeah, no kidding. If he ever smiled, I’d check to see if someone was wearing a Fyrn mask.”
Victoria laughed. “He’s better than Diesel. My God, that wizard is insufferable.”
“Because he’s arrogant, or because he thinks you’re soul mates?”
Audrey laughed and batted her eyes, doing her best to imitate Diesel’s baritone. “Victoria, my truest amour, if I badger you enough perhaps I’ll wear down your defenses and you’ll fall madly in love with me!”
Victoria threw a piece of spaghetti at Audrey’s head. Audrey tried to catch it in her mouth, but the noodle splatted on her face. They chuckled.
Audrey reached for another dumpling, even though her stomach felt as though it would explode. “These things are addictive.”
“No kidding. Bertha taught me the recipe and I can’t stop making them.” Victoria popped another in her mouth.
“If we’re too fat to protect Fairhaven, it’s her fault.”
The girls lounged in their seats, arms draped over the armrests and feet resting on the other chairs around the table.
Audrey resisted the impulse to grab another dumpling, mostly because it would require moving. “So, say we kill Luak. It’s done. We’re free from the need for revenge, and Fairhaven’s free from his control. What’s next?”
“For you? You should go home to your family and go to college. I’ll give you my fortune. You go start the next big company that sells for billions.”
Audrey laughed. “As fun as that sounds, we’ve been over this. I’m not leaving you, Victoria.”
A thin smile crept onto Victoria’s face, and it warmed Audrey’s heart. It was thanks enough. Victoria didn’t have to say a thing.
“Well, if you stay here with me, at least we’ll live comfortably.” Victoria gestured to the grand house.
“Are you used to being rich yet?”
Victoria snorted. “Hell, yeah. I love it, but I won’t forget where I came from. It’s just a tool to make our lives easier.”
Victoria laughed and tossed a dumpling at Audrey this time, which she caught effortlessly in her mouth.
“What will you do?” Audrey prodded.
With a happy sigh, Victoria settled back in her chair. “Stay here. Take care of Fairhaven. Maybe usurp the throne.”
Audrey laughed. “The important thing is to set achievable goals.”
They chuckled, and in that moment everything was perfect. It was like when they had gotten together in Victoria’s empty house for sleepovers while her parents were on assignment. Just the two of them, and loads of food.
Those had been good times. Too bad Audrey had to ruin the mood. “Tell me why you’re stressed, Victoria.”
Audrey caught her friend’s eye and quirked her brow, daring Victoria to finish the lie.
“Ugh. Yes, fine. I’m stressed out.”
“That’s understandable. But don’t worry, we’ll figure something out. We’ll find whatever’s attacking people—”
“It’s not that,” Victoria interrupted.
Audrey hesitated, squinting a bit in confusion. “So what’s going on?”
Victoria bit her lip, shaking her head as she stared out the kitchen window. “A lot is going on. Too much. It’s been two months since my parents died, and I’m no closer to killing Luak. I’ve been training hard, but my body can only take so much. I’m not strong enough to wield the Rhazdon Artifact as it should be used. Fyrn’s looking for a spell that can make me stronger, but I’m not optimistic.”
“Victoria, we’ll figure it out.”
Victoria sighed. “That’s not even the worst part, Audrey.”
Audrey waited for Victoria to continue, heart skipping beats as she nervously wondered what was coming next.
“I’ve been ignoring you,” Victoria finally said.
“Except for little moments here and there, I’ve completely ignored you lately, and I’m sorry. I’ve been so caught up in revenge and bloodlust that I haven’t spent time with you. I’m gone every day, and Bertha works most of the time. She can’t train you constantly. You must be bored to tears.”
Audrey was a bit confused. She didn’t quite know how to take this. On one hand, Victoria was absolutely right. She had left Audrey to her own devices. On the other hand, the jealousy within Audrey burned brighter every day, and she wished with all her heart she could lock it away.
“I think you’re being too hard on yourself,” Audrey said.
“I don’t,” Victoria said softly.
Audrey laughed. “What on Earth has you feeling so guilty?”
Victoria studied Audrey for second, and the intensity made her squirm. It was like she knew something Audrey didn’t—and Audrey didn’t like that one bit.
“Do you still trust me?” Victoria eventually asked.
“Then why are you hiding something from me?”
If Audrey had been drinking something she would’ve spit it out from sheer surprise. Victoria knew. Somehow, someway, Victoria knew.
“Victoria… ” Audrey didn’t know what to say. She rubbed her neck, searching for the words to make this right.
Someone banged on the front door, and Audrey couldn’t help but be grateful for the interruption. At first Victoria didn’t budge. She didn’t even look at the door, keeping the full weight of her gaze focused on Audrey.
“I’ll get it,” Audrey said. She hurried to the front door and swung it open, to find a small creature hovering in the doorway. It was no more than two inches tall, and looked like a very tiny human with long brown hair and rapidly humming wings that had faintly green coloration.
“I must speak with Victoria Brie at once,” the fairy said, her voice high-pitched.
The tap of boots in the hallway meant Victoria had heard. Seconds later, she appeared beside Audrey and shook her head. “I’m a little busy.”
“Fyrn needs to speak with you at once,” the little fairy said.
“He can wait.”
“Please, Miss Brie, I urge you to hurry. He said you will want to hear what he has to say.”
Victoria sighed, one hand on her hip as she stared into the distance, no doubt weighing the pros and cons of interrupting the conversation she had started with Audrey. “Fine. Tell him I’m coming.”
The fairy bowed and darted off. Victoria slammed the door and stared at Audrey.
To fill the silence, Audrey nodded toward the door. “Do you think he found the strength spell he was looking for?”
Victoria shrugged. “I doubt it. I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but my gut says it’s not possible.”
Audrey ran her hand through her hair, unsure what to say. “Look, I don’t… I’m not sure how to… ”
Victoria lifted a graceful hand to silence Audrey and shook her head. “You don’t have to tell me anything. That’s what being friends is all about—you never have to do anything. At least not with me. I’m just… Well, Audrey, I’m hurt, that’s all. I’m hurt that you don’t trust me enough to tell me what’s going on, but maybe I deserve it for not being here for you lately. But here’s the thing: I will always be there for you: to help you, to listen, to give you whatever you need. I’m sorry if I’ve been a terrible friend.”
With that Victoria opened the door and took off into the street, leaving the door ajar so as not to slam it in Audrey’s face. Styx flew after her, moving so fast he was nothing but a white and brown blur. As Audrey watched her friend head toward Fyrn’s house, she wondered if she was doing the right thing by keeping her new magic a secret. Victoria probably wouldn’t be jealous. She would probably celebrate with Audrey, do everything she could to help Audrey learn to control this magic she channeled through the white stones.
But that deep, dark voice in Audrey’s soul warned her to be silent. This was deadly magic, coveted magic, and all who knew of it were at risk.
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