A BOAT MADE OF BONE
BY NICOLE GROTEPAS
New Adult Paranormal Romance/Urban Romance
While the night-world she enjoys with Will beckons, her waking world has suddenly gotten intriguing. Ty Watts--a guy with looks that could set a thousand housewives free--just walked into her life. He's got a smile and a secret that begs to be found out.
But is Ty a distraction or a savior?
Kate's dreams threaten to take over. She must negotiate the edge of reality, solve the mystery of her nightly rendezvous with Will and either set him free or lose herself forever in the seductively dangerous world he inhabits.
A Boat Made of Bone is a love story that spans worlds, generations, and reaches beyond death into the realm of fantasy.
If you love anything in this world, anything at all, you will only get hurt, Kate thought as she struggled to snap a carabiner into an anchor above her. The metal bolt in question gleamed in the morning light slanting across the granite cliff in a canyon high above the city. Kate’s left arm groaned against her weight and the backwards angle she arched into, to reach the bolt. Her fingertips burned where the skin was raw from two hours spent climbing. Her toes curved into jagged pockets and quivered, threatening to spring loose. Kate had driven up first thing before work to get in a few routes. She had to. To exorcise the demons—those dreams she swore were plaguing her because of Tom’s accusations the day he left.
Like every day since he’d left, she’d woken alone, still searching for him somehow. How many more times would her heart deflate, and collapse into a black void in her chest?
“Come on, you got this, Kate!” Audra—Kate’s best friend and roommate—called from below. The rope snaked thirty feet down and through Audra’s hands, protection from a fall. At this point if Kate lost her grip on the crags, the rope couldn’t stop her from falling ten feet. Not as far as thirty feet, but it would be better once she’d placed the quickdraw and got her rope through it. The granite face slanted about sixty degrees, forcing her to rely on her upper body, rather than her legs.
How long had it been since Tom left? Three months? Five months? It gnawed in her heart like a saw, like a memory or a ghost trying to escape from a cage she’d built around it beneath those tissue-red walls. Once Tom had told Kate that he lived in her heart, in a little hole he’d dug there, and so that was how she always thought of her affections for him.
Kate gasped, every muscle in her body screaming. She took a deep breath and lunged. With a relieving snap, the carabiner clicked into place.
“Nice, Kate! You got it!” Audra cheered.
Now for the rope. Normally Kate would reach between her legs in one quick movement after placing the quickdraw—two carabiners connected with a piece of nylon webbing—and yank the rope up toward the piece of gear and its carabiner dangling on one end, eager to get the protection in place. She should do that, she knew, but her left arm was about to give out. Her shoulder burned from front to back. If she didn’t give her arm a rest, she’d fall. She knew her limits. Her fingers were stiff and locking up, close to spasming in pain. With little quick breaths exploding rapidly from her lips like machine gun fire, Kate’s right hand scrambled across the granite to find the sharp pocket she’d used before placing the quickdraw.
She was going to fall, could feel the fingers of her left hand breaking as she fought to hold on. I’m going to fall, this is it, Kate, brace yourself!
But no, she found the pocket and shoved her hand in, clenching the fingers of her right hand around the protruding knob deep within the jagged hole. With a sigh, she locked her elbow and let her left arm dangle. She shook her cramping hand out and glanced down. Audra stood below in the shade of the wall, her head tilted down and her hands gripping the rope. The babbling river was behind her, tumbling over rocks and winding beneath the umbrella of trees on the other side.
“What’s going on, Kate? You alright?” Audra called, looking up just as Kate lifted her gaze back to her task. Kate’s friend’s voice was a relief to hear. A reminder that though she was alone in fighting her way up the cliffs, there was someone on her team.
“I had to take a rest before I fell!” Kate shouted down.
“Great! Don’t rest too long, this is where you always fall,” Audra helpfully informed her.
“Yeah, I know!” Kate said. She took a few rejuvenating breaths, trying to focus on reaching the top one bolt at a time. She gritted her teeth against the memory of Tom walking out that late, gray winter morning months ago and what he’d said: “I just can’t get into this, Kate. You’re cold. You’re close to me with your body, but you never let me in. And I don’t really feel like you care about me. About us.”
What did that even mean? He couldn’t get into it? Sounded like an excuse to Kate if she’d ever heard one. A lie. A way to escape culpability.
Nicole wrote her first fantasy novel in 7th grade on her mother's old Brother typewriter. It was never finished but it strongly resembled a Dragonlance plot and she's forever wondered what happened to the manuscript and Tonathan--the handsome elven protagonist. After living in Nashville where she worked as an editor, she returned to the Utah desert where she was raised. Nicole now lives near the Wasatch mountains with her husband. She writes and raises her son and three cats full time.
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