Hi everyone! Here’s an exclusive excerpt of the Swan Princes: A Christmas Tail –
Sometimes I truly believe that crying is the one human emotion that can express everything words can’t. Crying for joy, crying as one laughs, crying for help…Well, right now, it was none of those things that had me bawlin’.
Crying out in pain as George Pickskip slammed me in the gut, I had to wonder why he had chosen me as his target. The pain was terrible, my eight-year-old self unable to fight back against his massive size. The pure white snow around me was now rolled with dirt and splatters of my blood.
Having never bothered him at school, I didn’t know why George had followed me from the schoolyard and thrown me in the ditch, deciding to beat me into a pulp. The school bully, I suppose everyone had their turn being his punching bag. Today, it seemed, was to be my turn. No matter how I fought back, he was too strong for me to fight off.
“No one will save you now,” he crowed, pulling a huge wad of my hair out. Tearing the bow from my hair, he sneered and wrapped a hand around my throat as I tried to worm away. “I’m going to make you so ugly that no one will recognize you when you get home!”
He laughed, pulling back his fist to slam me in the face again as I cried. But then he was torn off of me.
Sitting up in shock, I saw another boy tackle him to the ground, and a much bigger one. He beat George with a ferocity that shocked me; kicking him in the gut and then hauling him up by the shirt collar.
“You don’t touch her!” the boy roared, slamming a third, furious punch into George’s jaw. Blood splattered from his lip, splitting as George fell to the ground.
George gave up struggling with a cry and curled in on himself, trying to edge away from the onslaught. The boy let him go; George running away, wailing like a girl at his defeat. My savior stared after George, spitting in the snow after him and turned back to me.
My mouth dropped open in surprise. It was Odetton DePrynce, my father’s boss’ son. Where had he come from? Had he followed me back from school? He had never paid me any attention before.
“Why did you save me?” I asked tremulously, shrinking a little and wondering if he had come to beat me up, too.
An eyebrow went up as he looked down at me, seeming surprised by the question. His eyes narrowed, and filled with some emotion I didn’t recognize. Then he smirked. “Because I’m the only one allowed to bully you. That’s why! Now get up. We have a long walk back.”
As he picked up my bow and put it back in my hair for me, I couldn’t help but stare. Hazel eyes that swallowed my soul met mine, Odsie taking his sleeve and wiping off blood from a cut on my cheek. “You’re a mess. We need to get you home. You coming?”
But as Odsie kindly extended his hand to help me up, something happened that would change my life forever. I took his hand, wanting to never let go as his wrapped around mine. Looking up at my savior, my heart warmed in a way that it never had before.
That was the day I fell in love with Odetton DePrynce.
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