Honor and Desire (Gold Sky #3) - Rebel Carter
Seylah had never been a particularly elegant girl. She had little interest in frippery or the latest fashions, and had never been one given to minding her manners. That did not mean that she was uncouth, but simply that her edges may have been rougher than most of the other girls of her age.
After all, Seylah had grown up in an unconventional household. With a former debutante for a mother and a pair of Gold Sky’s lawmen for fathers, Seylah’s upbringing had been one that favored freedom, discipline, and creativity.
Yet for all that, she was polite, pleasant and well-spoken. Seylah’s mind was quick, nearly as fast as her tongue, though her fathers swore it would be a miracle if the two ever managed to pull even of each other. Her heart was bigger than she knew what to do with—the product of her warm family where affection and love were never in short supply.
Seylah had inherited her fathers’ collective stubbornness, resourcefulness, and bravery. She was in possession of her mother’s spirit, that particular strength of will; a character that had carried a debutante to the frontier. Moreover, she had been given the gift of hope by all three of her parents, and so Seylah saw the world as one endless experience of possibility. Adventure awaited her around every corner despite having grown up on the same collection of avenues in Gold Sky. But the influx of new money and people was rapidly changing the face of the town.
Gold Sky had developed from the burgeoning frontier town still finding its legs at her mother’s arrival fifteen years earlier, to a cosmopolitan oasis at the fringes of the frontier. The sheriff’s department had evolved past her two fathers and now consisted of a force of ten men, and there was even a fire brigade given the town now numbered upwards of thirty retail establishments and countless other homes.
And while Seylah loved adventure, lately she found it left a bitter taste in her mouth. She could have settled for less transformation and, quite frankly, for more of what yesterday had offered.
When that development had occurred she couldn't quite say.
Maybe it was that she had just had her fourteenth birthday and had noticed differences in herself that she’d rather not dwell on. And maybe, just maybe, those physical and emotional changes were putting a strain on the one thing Seylah prized above all else: her relationship with her best friend, August Leclaire.
The pair had been inseparable since childhood, with August only a month older than her. A fact that he never let her live down, despite her still being able to beat him in a foot race. Every day they had walked to school together and back again, spending as much time as they could, after and in between, with each other. Theirs had been a fast friendship, one that made Seylah feel at home, as if everything in the world were in it’s designated place so long as August was on her left. But lately… lately, something had happened to their closeness.
What it was she was loath to say aloud, but she knew precisely when it had occurred.
The night the main thoroughfare of town had suddenly become grander, more special—which was an easy task with the arrival of electric street lamps. That was the night something had shifted, or at least it had begun to for Seylah.
It was dizzying to watch the street light up like magic. There had even been a party that evening replete with a countdown to welcome the momentous occasion. Electric lights like this were common in the cities Seylah frequented with her family, such as New York and Paris. But not here, not on a frontier that was still a touch removed from civilized.
August had been with her then just as he always was for any event, big or small. They had stood together laughing with the townsfolk as the excitement mounted, until it was practically buzzing. Perhaps their fingers had brushed and Seylah had forgotten to breathe, her lungs suddenly void of air as the crowd around them gleefully counted down each new number until finally they were at one. Seylah was left blinking in confusion, because when the streetlights blazed to life so did another thing.
The light had formed a halo around August’s dirty blonde hair, making it gleam like the nearby river when the sun was high. His boyish features now seemed sharper, more of a man than the boy she had grown up teasing.