Living between worlds has never been comfortable, but it’s where I’ve always fit: between human and fey, illness and health, magic and reality.
I’ve spent the last six years looking for a cure for the nameless sickness eating me up. If I believed there was one out there, I would keep searching. But there isn’t, so I’ve come back home, where my past and present tangle. Come home to live . . . and to die.
But my father insists I meet Kin. He’s a healer, and determined to help, even though I’m not so hopeful anymore. But Kin isn’t what I expected, in any way. He sees me, not my illness. He reminds me of what it’s like to be alive. And I can’t help falling for him, even though I know it isn’t fair to either of us.
Kin thinks he has the cure I’ve been looking for, but it’s a cure that will change everything: me, my life, my heart. If I refuse, I could lose Kin. But if I take it, I might lose myself.
In this scene, Luca, the main character, has bumped into Kin, a man he met a few days ago and hoped to see again, but was nervous about contacting. Luca’s sister has engineered a second meeting between the two of them, but now that Luca’s found Kin, at a dance club, he’s not sure what to do.
I hesitated, unsure now that I realized how out of place I was there.
He lifted his hand to me. “Come on.”
“Why didn’t you come see me?” I bit my lip. I didn’t like sounding needy, but I wanted to know.
He let his hand drop. He frowned, the expression small and tight, but he didn’t let his eyes move from mine. “I was nervous.”
“Why?” I noticed that there was a scrap of something sheer attached to his wrist, running down his arm. It caught the lights and shimmered when he moved his hand. A fin. It was a small fin. I could see the fine bones that lined it, like the bones in a bat wing.
He shrugged, a casual gesture, but it was almost uncomfortable, embarrassed. “I didn’t know if you wanted to see me again. I don’t tell you anything good.”
“I do. Want to see you.” Awkward, everything about this moment, everything I was saying. But it didn’t seem to matter. It seemed, instead, like he was as nervous, as unsure, as I was. Afraid that I would tell him there wasn’t anything between us. It made me want to say true things, instead of flirting or playing around like I might have with anyone else. It made me want to reach for him, show him I meant it when I said I wanted him near me.
He held my eyes for another second, and I saw that his were green, deep in color, shimmery, like diving underwater and looking up, past the surface, to see the trees above. He offered his hand to me again.
I took it. His fingers wrapped around mine. It was another reminder that he was fey—he was thin but strong like a willow branch, and his fingers could circle my palm, they were that long. He pulled me deeper into the club. People moved out of his way. They didn’t even seem to notice him slipping past, but they stepped aside, and I followed. We reached a spot in the middle, and he turned to me. Our bodies were pressed close by the people around us. The music made me sway. Kin raised his hands over his head, wrists straight, fingers loose. Scales, moss green and chocolate, curved around his arms like bracelets. He tilted his head back and smiled. He was as free as he had been that first time I’d seen him, as glorious and at home, as if he didn’t care what anyone thought of him in that moment, or maybe didn’t even realize that anyone was watching. Anyone but me.
His body twisted as he danced. One hand came down and rested on my hip. His touch was almost hesitant, his fingers on me light. I moved in to him, pressing against the heat of his palm, and his grip tightened, holding me to him. I was dancing with him. I couldn’t stop. He was so comfortable, and I wanted to be in that space with him. He opened his eyes and smiled wide, and it was directed at me this time, not at the place and the atmosphere. All for me. His fingers tucked themselves into my belt loop.
“You’re not like my sister.” He wasn’t like anyone. He didn’t behave like the fey I knew. He didn’t act like them or speak in circles like them or pretend to be genuine when he was really telling a crooked lie that could be interpreted as the truth.
Kin just shook his head. I didn’t know how he’d heard me over the music and the laughter and shouts around us, but I knew he had. He pulled me closer, which seemed impossible. We danced together, and we danced with the people around us. I could feel his body all along mine, the flat planes of his stomach, the points of his hips, the bump of his knee against my leg. He stared down at me, his body still moving effortlessly to the music. He didn’t look at me like I was all he could see. It would have been impossible, wrong in a way, to deny everything, everyone, else around us. But he looked at me like I was important. Like maybe in that second, I mattered the most.
Now available from Riptide Publishing http://riptidepublishing.com/t
All I can say about Eli's debut novel is...wow.
It's deeply emotional and highly poetic. Luca is so very strong and very brave. Faced with an illness he or any doctor, human or fey alike, know nothing about or how to cure. The fact that this illness takes a toll on him both physically and mentally and yet he still searched all over the world shows a lot of courage. Even more so to accept that fate and prepare for the inevitable.
The relationship he has with his sister is an odd one. Seeing as she's full fey and has this way about her that seems aloof and uncaring, when in fact it's quite the opposite. Sabin just doesn't know how to approach Luca anymore, and she didn't know the extent of his illness until after he'd come back.
Luca is told about this special Japanese healer and is to meet with him to see what he has to say. Kin, a water fey, upon meeting Luca was about to refuse him, as he thought Luca was just some privalaged "royal" until a bought of his illness disrupts their meeting. After meeting Luca and seeing what he's going through and just getting to know him a bit, Kin is bound to try and find him a cure.
This story is pretty sad, kind of reminds me of A Walk to Remember, but with fey. I was crying on and off through at least the first 50%. The "cure" that Kin offers Luca is a very heavy one and Luca doesn't take this choice lightly. It's basically tearing him up. There's a lot of indecision at this point. Either Kin loses him early or he loses Kin later, much later, and then lives on. Only, it's not a guaranteed cure in the first place as it's just a myth. When I said Luca was brave before, by the end of the book I think so even more. It took a LOT of courage to make his choice, regardless of the outcome of losing Kin or not. I personally would have made the same choice.
Without death this life would not be a gift.
It was a very powerful thought, and I'm glad to have read this book. I will definitely be looking for this author in the future.
About Eli Lang
Eli Lang is a writer and drummer. She has played in rock bands, worked on horse farms, and has had jobs in libraries, where she spent most of her time reading every book she could get her hands on. She can fold a nearly perfect paper crane and knows how to tune a snare drum. She still buys stuffed animals because she feels bad if they’re left alone in the store, believes cinnamon buns should always be eaten warm, can tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the tardigrade, and has a book collection that’s reaching frightening proportions. She lives in Arizona with far too many pets.
Connect with Eli:
- Website: www.leftoversushi.com
- Blog: www.leftoversushi.com/blog/
- Facebook: facebook.com/EliLangAuthor
- Twitter: @eli__lang
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/eli_lang
To celebrate the release of Half, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 18, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!