I know I've been doing Thursday Thirteen, but today I thought I'd give an excerpt. This is my werewolf book which I need to get back to. At the moment, it's due out December, but I've got to get moving. It's Alec and Seamus's story, but Ira also plays an important role. (This excerpt has not been edited.)
“Mr. Alec?” said the rather wobbly voice. Each week, Ira’s first question required bravery and a fortifying deep breath. As if Alec often snarled at the children and made them cry.
“Yes, Ira?” Alec smiled encouragement, looking into the eight year old’s round brown eyes. So serious.
“Do bears dance for fun?”
“Probably not,” Alec admitted.
“I think they only dance when people make them dance.” Ira evidently found this a little sad.
“I’m sure you’re right. The bears in the book aren’t quite the same as real-life bears.” Though Ira knew that. He just wanted a discussion. Alec winked. “Bears don’t actually speak either.”
Ira glowed at Alec’s wink. Any show of camaraderie appeared to thrill Ira no end. Which led Alec to forgive any and all questions, no matter their number. And there were many.
Ira opened his mouth to say more and Alec held up a finger. “Let Sandy have her turn.”
The tiny, freckle-faced girl piped up. “Mr. Alec, will you read us another Boxcar Children book next week?”
“And…” Here, Sandy unknowingly adopted a sly look. “…a Babysitter’s Little Sister book?”
As if hoping Alec wouldn’t notice the name. “Afraid not, Sandy. That’s an acquired taste.” Meaning, the boys wouldn’t sit through those books. “But please, take out as many as you like from the library.”
“I like it when you read books,” she said winningly. Alec was tempted to cave with that devastating smile of hers, but he held firm.
“Why thank you, Sandy. I like to read books.” By now Ira was openly glaring at Sandy as if she had encroached on his territory, namely Alec.
Sandy was oblivious, as she should be. “See you next week, Mr. Alec!” she sang and skipped off to join her friends.
Ira, alas, did not seem to have friends to skip off to. He planted himself beside Alec, placing a hand on Alec’s knee, then glancing quickly to see if it was all right.
Alec smiled casually.
“I like Boxcar Children,” allowed Ira. “But couldn’t you read Harry Potter?”
“Too long, Ira, for reading hour.”
“You could break it up.”
“You’ll have to read yourself. Sorry.”
“I can’t read Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix.”
Alec hadn’t been thinking of that tome but the first, shortest book. “No?”
Ira shook his head solemnly. “My brother won’t let me.”
Brother? Did that mean no parents for Ira? Alec hoped not. “Then I really can’t read it to you, bud.”
Ira’s lower lip stuck out. “I guess not.” He gazed up at Alec beseechingly. “Maybe you could tell Seamus I’m old enough now.”
“Seamus?” The name startled Alec, though the golden Seamus he’d met two months ago should have long been scrubbed from memory. Ira blinked and Alec collected himself. “Is Seamus your brother?”
Ira removed his hand, unsure of Alec’s reaction. But really, there wasn’t only one Seamus in the world and dark, curly-haired Ira did not resemble Seamus one bit.
“Yes.” Ira stared at his feet. “He looks after me.” Again, he darted a look at Alec to see how he took such information.
Ira’s face brightened at the affirmation. “I like him, even if he won’t let me read Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. And Seamus likes me.”
“I’m sure he does.” Alec looked up to see the teacher gathering the kids together to leave. Ira resolutely ignored the activity.
“You know, Ira, best to listen to your brother. Wait and read the Order of Phoenix when you’re older.”
“We’ll see you next week.”
Alec pointed to the other children and Ira trudged over to the class. Mrs. Sellers’s class chanted "thank you" and "goodbye" to Alec; thirty children and three adults marched out of the library.
Sharon, his lifesaver, bustled over. “It would drive me batty reading to all those squirming kids. I’m grateful you don’t mind. You’re so good with them.”
Alec eyed her. “You don’t have to act like I’m doing you the favor.” Sharon had got him this job at the library and then convinced their boss that Alec would be great for reading hour.
“Pshaw. You are. Not everyone is cut out to work with kids. You should be a teacher.”
Alec redirected the conversation back to the library. He had no resources for something like teacher’s college. “It’s a good outreach program.”
Sharon paused. Before she could launch into her teacher’s-college spiel, Alec asked, “Ever meet a Seamus?” Alec rather hoped Seamus was some burly genial guy well-known at the library.
Sharon gave the question some thought. “Once. Ten years ago.”
“Huh.” Alec remembered Seamus’s shaking hand and frowned.
“Hey, he’s not worth it if he doesn’t appreciate you.”
“Nah. I don’t even know him.”
But evidently Ira knew Seamus, or his namesake.