Read Between Online

Authors: Kerry Schafer

Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #General

Between

BOOK: Between
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Sweet dreams aren’t made of this…

Vivian was going to have to sleep soon, and she knew it, but she feared her dreams and where they might take her. Forty-eight hours and counting since she’d last slept. Deprivation hallucinations could be right at hand, or maybe they’d already happened and none of what she remembered from last night was real. The other alternative, the one that said schizophrenia was hereditary and maybe this was a psychotic break—that was a thought she refused to entertain.

BETWEEN

Kerry Schafer

ACE BOOKS, NEW YORK

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL,
England • Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin
Books Ltd.) • Penguin Group (Australia), 707 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3008, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) • Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community
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Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) • Penguin Books
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Penguin China, B7 Jiaming Center, 27 East Third Ring Road North,
Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020, China

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

BETWEEN

An Ace Book / published by arrangement with the author

PUBLISHING HISTORY
Ace mass-market edition / February 2013

Copyright © 2013 by Kerry Schafer.
Cover art by Larry Rostant.
Cover design by Judith Lagerman.
Interior text design by Tiffany Estreicher.

All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or
electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of
copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-61923-0

ACE
Ace Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

ALWAYS LEARNING
PEARSON

To David, for all the reasons

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I owe so much to my mother, who taught me to read and imparted her love of books; to my wonderful and creative sons for tolerating my writing habit; and especially to David, who always believed I would finally succeed and had no patience with my doubts.

Jamie and Wes—thanks for inspiring this story before moving on to explore the next great reality. I hope you’ve found cheesy guitars and fast cars and an abundance of beverages with the word
Glen
in their names.

Deep and abiding thanks to all of the people who have read for me, especially: Trudy, who was my first reader ever; Tasha, who read literally every single draft with unquenchable enthusiasm; Adrien, who had the guts to point out the fatal flaw and helped me see the book as it needed to be (I’m sorry for the names I called you); Julie, who not only read but induced her agent to read; and Jeffe, who inspired me to do one more revision. Also, I want to thank Jo Taylor, who read the medical bits and provided her expertise.

Thank you to the wonderful folks at Book Country, in particular Danielle Poiesz and Colleen Lindsay, for their part in creating the supportive environment at Book Country and providing the opportunity for me to post my work.

And to my publishing team—editor Susan Allison for loving the book enough to sign me, editor Danielle Stockley for her wonderful vision and keen eye, and last, but certainly not least, Deidre Knight, the best agent a writer could ever dream of—from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Prologue

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Twenty-one

Twenty-two

Twenty-three

Twenty-four

Twenty-five

Twenty-six

Twenty-seven

Twenty-eight

Twenty-nine

Thirty

Thirty-one

About the Author

Prologue

L
ater she will remember him so: impatient with the waiting, restless feet carrying him back and forth in the grassy space in front of the fountain. She will remember the murmur and splash of falling water, the fragrance of roses, her own heart fluttering against the wall of her chest.

If only there were time, more time, enough time, she could spend an hour loving him from this distance: his chestnut hair silvered by moonlight, the lithe flow of muscle across his shoulders, the easy, swinging step. But time is something she has little of and so she steps out into the open and he turns to her in midstride, although she has made no sound, done nothing to betray her presence.

“Isobel.” Only the one word, but his heart’s blood is in it, and she sees by his face that he knows what she has come to say.

“When?” he asks, and she answers him, “Tonight; soon.”

She crosses the dew-damp grass and they stand, not quite touching, feeling in that space between them the form and shape of a long good-bye.

“Must you go?”

Later, she will remember her own laughter, cool as the water, falling, always falling. So young, she was, her head full of widening horizons. “Silly boy, it’s not forever. My
father has come, as I told you. I am to become a Dreamshifter, as he is. I’ve so many things to learn.”

All of the blue gone from his eyes, behind them the water falling, always falling like rain or tears. “I have a gift for you,” he murmurs against her hair. “Come and sit.”

She lets him seat her on the stone bench beside the fountain, where the breeze blows a spray of mist onto her face and hair. He drops to his knees before her and pulls a velvet box out of his pocket. Inside nestle two circles of gold. He lifts the smaller and she sees three drops of crimson set into the band.

“My heart’s blood,” he says, in a voice scraped raw with loss and hope. “If you wear it, it will bring you back to me.”

“And the other?” she whispers, no longer laughing as the ring encircles her finger.

“Blood calls to blood.” He holds out his hand and she slips the ring onto his finger.

“One thing more,” she whispers, “just to be sure.” She holds out to him a crystal sphere, a precious thing, and rare. Even in the moonlight it shines, and she knows if she looks into it she will see a miniature of this place: a tiny fountain, a space of grass, the bench where she is sitting. “Keep it safe,” she says, curling his fingers around it.

“A dreamsphere,” he says, eyes wide with wonder. “I’ve never seen one. Is it permitted? Where did you get it?”

“I was summoned, last night, to the Cave of Dreams, and given this. Our secret, yours and mine. Nobody else need ever know.”

This she believes, as she kisses him good-bye, for she is very young and knows so little of what lies in the worlds beyond.

This, too, she will remember with regret.

One

Q
uiet.

The curse word of the emergency room, and Vivian had been careful not to say it aloud. Still, it wandered through her head and lodged there.

Too quiet. The waiting room was empty, as were all seven treatment bays at Krebston Memorial Hospital. Staff puttered in silence, cleaning and restocking with the watchful air of coast dwellers preparing for hurricane season.

Knowing the inevitable storm could manifest in any number of forms, Vivian took the opportunity to slip into the staff lounge and dial a number on her cell. Eight rings before a drowsy voice answered.

“How is she?”

BOOK: Between
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