#2 Excerpt from Blood Mines
Then, unexpectedly, vice-like arms clamped around her body and her head broke through the surface of the water so quickly that it shocked her system like a jolt of electricity directly to her heart. She sputtered and coughed all at once before she opened her eyes in slits. As if in a haze, she saw a most welcome face.
Uncle Jack looked at her with his big, scary eyes, his face pale as he gazed at her. Drenched himself, he held her in his arms and she wrapped her arms around his thick neck, crying hysterically while he patted her back, all the while trying to calm her down. It felt like she was on fire. Everything burnt. She coughed a few times, trying to focus on anything that brought light. The haze disappeared with each blink.
Her dad was beside her the moment they stepped back on solid ground. She could feel his presence close to her. Out of breath, troubled, he asked, “Are you okay, sweetie pie? Please talk to me.”
She nodded in acknowledgement as she slipped into his warm embrace, nestling into his neck searching for more warmth and safety. The way she always did when she was in Daddy’s arms. His burly chest wide and comfortable; she could always lay her head down on his shoulder finding comfort there.
“Oh, honey, are you okay?” Mommy asked so close to Tanya that she could feel her warm breath heating her wet cheek.
“Get something warm to wrap her in!” Uncle Jack bellowed. The next moment Dad and Tanya were swaddled into a blanket. She still coughed, her lungs burning with the effort of inhaling and exhaling.