Father’s Day Weekend – The Hollow Living sample

Hello my darlings,

So, father’s day is just around the corner. While not one of my favorite Hallmark holidays in real life it is definitely a fun one around the house because if there is one thing my boys know – it is crippling Daddy issues.

That being said, I would like to do a character interview tomorrow with Encarz – so be sure to comment and have some questions to throw at him! Don’t make me come up with all of them by myself. :p It will be his weekend, so today you will get a sample chapter featuring his majesty, and tomorrow will be his interview. This is what he gets for being the oldest man with the most children in the house at this moment. He is eyeing his opposite at the moment (Cyrano Ercole, whom you are about to meet) but I have to keep reminding him that Cyrano only has one child and he has five or six.

So to kick off Father’s day weekend, here is a sample from The Hollow Living. Enjoy, my darlings!

Your most adored,

C.N.F.

Sample from The Hollow Living
Copyright Sarah Carraway 2010-2013

When Encarz entered the dining hall, he did not see everyone rise for his presence. It was only out of habit did he wave after a moment or two for them to be seated and eat. All he saw was Adriel sitting amongst his hated enemy’s set, with Baron Castlemaine’s hand on his.

When he turned away, he did not see Castlemaine’s hand get impaled with a sleek dagger. The man’s scream also did not rise above the chatter of the rest of the room.

Encarz seated himself moodily at the head of the table, gesturing sharply for Cyrano to move a seat closer to him. Cyrano did so gladly, gingerly dismissed himself from the rambling Duke’s presence. As the baron settled down next to Encarz, he did not miss the look in the king’s eyes.

“Good morning, your majesty, I trust you slept well-“

“What is your nephew doing?” Encarz snapped.

Cyrano blinked, and then sighed, picking up a new goblet that was in front of him and filling it to the brim with wine. “I don’t know. Castlemaine came and picked him up a few moments before your timely entry.”

“I thought you warned him about associating with Cavalla’s set,” Encarz said darkly.

“I did,” Cyrano insisted.

“Warn him again,” Encarz said. He did not touch the food on his plate. His guests could not know that eating any of it would turn his stomach and allow him to retch it up again in a matter of hours. He would have to dine later, in private, on a slave more than likely. “I do not wish for him to – for your good name to be sullied by the company of vagabonds.”

Cyrano’s mouth twitched, but he did not allow himself to smile. “As you wish, your majesty.”

Cyrano busied himself for the next few minutes eating. Encarz slipped into a brooding silence, and did not allow himself to be addressed, not even by the servant who was prodding him wearily for permission to bring about the second course. Eventually, they cleared away the dishes and brought it out anyway.

“Your majesty looks tired,” Cyrano pointed out.

“I am,” Encarz admitted.

“A long night last night?”

“Made longer by the visiting ambassador, who insisted upon an audience.” Encarz rubbed his face. “If it weren’t such bad form to kill an ambassador, that one would be dead.”

Cyrano nodded, and he caught Encarz’s gaze wandering again to Adriel. “Does he please you, my lord?”

“What?” Encarz asked, snapping out his reverie.

“My nephew. Is he pleasing to your eye?”

“He annoys me,” Encarz snorted.

“He is the pride and joy of our family,” Cyrano sighed. “Nerissa is quite pleased with him.”

“Azrael save the future generations of Ercole, then,” Encarz quipped.

A wry smile twisted Cyrano’s lips. “With our luck, Adriel – and not Austric – will live to carry on the family name.”

“With your luck, baron, Adriel will lose his life to a thankless war and die choking on his own blood, and you will have no one but Austric to supply you the heirs you need.”

“This is true,” Cyrano admitted. “Do not curse me.”

Encarz laughed dryly. “I wouldn’t dream of allowing my fate to affect yours, Cyrano.”

They spent the next few moments talking idly of their disappointing children, commiserating on how much hope they had held out and how their dreams were now long dead. Encarz admitted that his only hope was in the promise of grandchildren. Cyrano admitted likewise.

“We should ride tonight, you and I,” Cyrano said after a lull. “We haven’t gone riding in a long time, and I think it would do both of us some good to get some fresh air.”

“I think I should like that,” Encarz said. “I haven’t been riding for pleasure since I was a youth.”

“An hour after sundown, then?” Cyrano suggested. “That should give us sufficient time to be rested from last night’s activities.”

“Indeed, I intend to sleep the rest of this day through and not wake up unless someone is dying.” Encarz rubbed his face. Cyrano chuckled.

“I don’t blame you. I hadn’t intended to get up until Monday. Adriel was insistent, however, and refused to attend breakfast alone and leave me to shirk my social duties.”

“I would hardly call this a duty,” Encarz glanced around the room. “There are few souls here, and those who are here aren’t awake.”

Cyrano looked around to observe for himself. “Except for Cavalla’s set,” he pointed out mildly.

Encarz’s eyes sharpened. “I hate Cavalla,” he said.

“Why, because he’s trying to snatch your throne out from under you?” Cyrano asked dryly.

“No,” Encarz replied, shooting Cyrano a look. “That’s nothing new. I just don’t appreciate his type. He is the sort of man who gets under my skin.”

“And not in the good way,” Cyrano added with a lascivious grin.

“I am beginning to see the family resemblance,” Encarz said.

“It’s a small wonder you didn’t catch on after all these years,” Cyrano added, the grin vanishing.

“Not for your lack of trying, I’m sure.” Encarz dumped his folded linen napkin on his plate and stood. The company stood as well, or what half was awake enough to pay attention, and Cyrano bowed as Encarz made his way towards the double doors.

“Eight o’ clock, just after sunset?” Cyrano called as Encarz exited.

Encarz paused. “Eight o’ clock,” he said, and vanished into the hallway.

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