Thumping his hands on his desk, Cole pushes his master’s chair back and jumps to his feet. It rams into the wall and James looks up from his book.
Cole: Break out the drinks. We’re celebrating. *heads for the door*
Cole: *sends a telepathic message to everyone* In the parlor. Now!
Rushed footsteps pound from the floors above. The twins dart from the kitchen. Birdsong fills the receiving hall as a sparrow dives past them and into the family room. Dressen lets himself in the front door, followed by several reporters.
Vincent: *eyes Dressen then leans on the hearth* What’s going on?
Cole: This isn’t just a family counsel.
James: *smiles, dimpling his cheeks* Is this what I think it is? *pours Ambrosia. Linda and Elaina pass them out.*
Cole: *Leans back into the sofa, pulling Mianna with him* I’ll let Charlene do the honors.
Reporters poise their cameras at the door and wait. Mandy and Mechenzie squeal and wiggle into a chair. The doorknob turns and twitters pierce the air. Dressen cocks a grin, glancing at his little friend. Charlene enters.
Charlene: Wow. That was fast. Is everybody here?
Cole: I believe so. *big smile*
Charlene: Kyle, you even brought the press?
Dressen: Most certainly.
Charlene: *clears throat. Pats hair.* Um… I’m not a public speaker.
Dressen: Allow me…
Cole: Wait! *tries to jump up and Mianna shifts to allow him to his feet* If anyone’s going to announce this it’s going to be me.
Dressen: This is my story as much as yours, Cole Shilo.
Vincent: What? Wait. Charlene, is this about what I think it is?
Mianna: *jumps up* It’s about book two, isn’t it! Our story is getting published! That’s it isn’t it? *twirls and the twins giggle and join her*
James laughs and pulls Linda into a hug. Vincent jabs his fists toward the ceiling and sparks fly. Elaina throws her arms around his neck. The bird launches into wild flutters around the room.
Dressen: *looks at Cole* To be released on February 15, 2012. *folds him arms, a satisfied grin on his lips*
Cole: *scowls but can’t stop the smile that follows*
Charlene: *looks around and her heart dances at the sight of her character’s joy*
A tap sounds at the door and Ray enters. He ups his brows and leans to Charlene.
Ray: Am I late?
Charlene: Let’s let them have some fun before I tell them you’re here for book three. I have a feeling there are going to be some very mixed emotions when they find out.
Ray: *folds his muscular arms and looks at James* Well, I know of at least one that won’t be too happy.
Charlene: Give it time, Ray. Give it time.