I’m in the final stretch of prepping my Valley of the Bees manuscript to go to print, and I found this particular chapter so thrilling that I wanted to share an excerpt. I think you’ll want to go right out and buy the book to see what happens! Here’s an excerpt from Keeper of the Bees: Valley of the Bees #3, which you can now pre-order from most eBook vendors:
Excerpt from Chapter 46: On the Bat’s Back I do Fly
In a few short hours, they had loaded the wagons down with as much as they could hold, while still leaving room for passengers. It was only then that Valley looked to the sky and noticed the dark clouds that were rolling in from the west.
“I think it’s time we packed up and headed home before we get drenched,” Valley said. She pointed toward a horizon line that was obscured by an ominous, green layer that moved quickly in their direction.
“I think you’re right,” Brute said. “Green skies are never a good sign this time of year.”
“Boys, load up!” Dan said. “Let’s get moving!”
The boys scurried to find places to park their behinds on the loaded wagons. Valley hopped up into her tractor seat and fired the machine up. She divided her attention between the road and the skies as she gunned the engine and took off toward home. Dan was close behind her with the other tractor.
They hadn’t gotten far before fat water droplets began to explode around them, one here and there at first, but coming faster every second. Thunder echoed across the prairie. The main body of the storm was distinguishable by the sheets of rain that fell from its clouds. The scent of bare soil mixed with falling rainwater filled the air around them. Valley’s hair was plastered to her head, and the raindrops stung her eyes. Brute tried to block the rain from her with his body. The metallic tang of the storm lingered on Valley’s tongue. She felt compelled to speed up but was afraid of losing her cargo, which included several children. She glanced over her shoulder to make sure she wasn’t losing anyone. The boys who rode on the back of her wagon had grabbed a piece of plywood to hold over their heads.
As they pulled up in front of the farmhouse, tiny bits of ice began to peck at Valley’s head and arms, stinging her skin with the force of their fall from the skies above.
Dan pulled his tractor up beside Valley’s and shut it down. “Get inside!” he yelled.
The boys didn’t need to be told twice. They evacuated the wagons and ran for the house as hail pelted their heads. Valley was close behind them. A large hailstone hit her shoulder with a twack an instant before she managed to get through the door. The impact stung, and she knew it would leave a bruise. Dan and Brute pushed their way in behind her. Once everyone was safely inside, Dan slammed the door shut. They rushed to the large kitchen window to watch the carnage as the growing hail stones stripped branches from the trees in front of the house.
Granny shoved her way into the crowd so she could see what they were looking at. By then, the hailstones had reached the size of golf balls. She gasped and then began to holler. “Get away from the window!” she cried. “Don’t any of you have any sense?”
Bree pushed forward to see what all the fuss was about. Her eyes spread wide when she saw what was happening outside. There was a loud crack as a huge tree branch split off a tree in the front yard. It tore away from the tree, leaving a long, creamy gash in the trunk’s flesh, as though it had been split open by a giant’s ax. A loud crash shook the entire house. The falling hail stones began to thin out and were soon replaced by a downpour of blowing rain. The wind howled, and the rain fell sideways.
“Boys!” Bree cried. Her eyes were wide with a terror that only a parent can know. “Get to the basement, now!”
“Come on, Mom! Do we have to?” Aidan whined. “I want to watch the storm!”
“Me too,” the twins both hollered.
Joaquin stood with his eyes wide and his face pressed against the window. Granny took him by the shoulder and jerked him away. “To the basement,” she said. “All of you. Now!”
Valley stood transfixed by the storm as the children were herded away from the kitchen window and toward the basement stairs.
“I’ll be shocked if someone doesn’t get a tornado out of this storm,” Dan said as he headed down the stairs.
“Valley, come on!” Brute stood at the open basement door and motioned for Valley to follow the rest of her family.
She knew she should join them, but an image of her father being washed downriver with all of his belongings flashed in front of her eyes. “I can’t,” she said. “My dad. I have to go get my dad.”
“Valley, no!” Abigail screamed.
Before anyone could stop her, Valley was out the back door and running through the driving rain toward the river bottoms.
To read more, pre-order your copy of Keeper of the Bees: Valley of the Bees #3 today!
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The print edition of Valley of the Bees, which includes all three eBooks in the series, is due to release in March of 2017. For updates, please follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter.