Search

The Ninth Star

The Ninth Star

The Ninth Star is a historical supernatural folklore low-heat fantasy romance laced with humour and is Novella 1 in The Wild Hearts & Hunts Duology. The second novella in this duology is The Wild Hunt by David M. Simon. 
Enjoy the book excerpt below. 
*****************************  

Manon lifted her chin to the final word of this round, but not the war. She would find a way to contribute to the war effort, keep the towns of LaSalle and Sandwich, and her family farm, safe. Manon peered over the edge of her glass at the window. 

 Inky purple coated the sky. Tonight, was the ninth night. The ninth night. She tapped her foot against the floor but bumped knees with her oldest brother. 

Jean-Pierre cast her an annoyed look and angled his leg away from hers. 

 It was the ninth night. Manon had to find a way out of this house. 

 “What do you think?” Mrs. Tremblay asked.

“Pardon?” 

"Will you have time after church to visit Céline? She’s due any day now.” 

 “I’d be delighted to pay a visit.” 

 “Excellent. We’ll go together. I’ve made some nappies for her and a baby’s blanket.” 

 “It was a wonderful dinner. Can I help clean up?” 

 “Are you feeling unwell?” Never better. Never more excited. Never more determined to march into a starry night. “I have to get used to the humidity again. I seem to forget it every winter.” 

 “My joints feel the same. Your family is always welcome here.” Mrs. Tremblay’s cheeks were round, the way all women’s were after their fifth child. 

 Manon rose and collected her plate from the table. 

 “Don’t worry about cleaning up. The girls will help.” 

 Manon’s second oldest brother Louis-Philippe ate a second helping of roast and chatted with Marie-Hélène. Chatted in the way a man enthralled with a woman chatted. Private jokes and soft chuckles and an all-consuming attentiveness to Marie-Hélène’s slightest gestures. 

 “It’s getting late,” Manon said. 

 Louis looked at Manon, and disappointment chased the confusion on his face. The line of his shoulders sagged, and for a man of twenty-six-years, Louis looked small. Small like the one thing that brought him joy had been taken from him.  

 A mile. 

The Tremblays lived a mile from them. Louis would survive until his next meeting with Marie-Hélène. 

Jean and Louis lingered behind. Jean to talk about the farm, and Louis to spend every possible second with Marie. 

 Manon stepped outside on the cloudless spring night. Grandmaman had said to count nine stars for nine nights and on the last night, the ninth star would point her to her true love. That’s how Grandmaman had found Grandpapa. 

 For the ninth night in a row, Manon counted nine stars. 

The last star winked, and her heart bobbed with joy. 

The star winked. 

 The legend was true. 

 She half-walked, half-skipped down the stone path. She followed the star, heading home and towards someone who would fill her heart from now until death. 

The air had a sweet smell to it, one overlaid with the tang of the Detroit River, and carried hope. Hope of a life of love and happiness and sitting outside to watch sunsets. 

 A man kneeled by a cart, inspecting its damaged wheel. His profile was elegant with a straight nose and strong chin. A flat cap obscured his brow. 

Manon ran her tongue along her lower lip, imagining the first kiss with this man—her future husband. 

The stars didn’t lie. Count nine stars for nine nights and the last star will lead you to your true love. 

And there he was, fifty feet away. 

He stood and looked her way. “I didn’t see you there.” He spoke with an Irish accent, thick like he had recently travelled over. His tone was pleasant, and friendly.  

 An Irish accent? That couldn’t be. The stars would never send an Irishman. 

“Miss?” He stepped towards her. She stepped back. 

He stopped advancing. His cap still shaded his eyes, but the line of his jaw was clearer now. Clean shaven with wide cheeks. “I didn’t mean to startle you. What are you doing out this time of night alone?” 

About to be robbed by a brigand. “Walking home,” she answered in French. 

 “Do you live nearby?” he answered her in French, a thick lilting French, almost unintelligible, but French. 

She frowned. Those lying stars and grandmothers. How dare they lead her to this man.