Lies Excerpt

A short excerpt from Lesserblood Lies:
      Merianne gazed at her daughters, two pale and one dark, as they sat around the heavy stone table. “I spoke to the freesearcher yesterday.”
      “I know you think Iserve is wicked, Mother. But he’s not trying to cheat us. He’s kind.” Eda lifted her sharp little chin defiantly.
      Eda’s loyalty to Iserve surprised Merianne. How could this freesearcher mean so much to her? Was it because he superficially resembled their father? Just because he looked a little like Kier didn’t mean the freesearcher was the same sort of man.
      “Yes, I suppose buying the necklace was kind,” Merianne said. “But one action doesn’t define a man’s character. There are many bad people in the universe. Some of them seem pleasant enough.”
      “But he really is kind.” Eda helped Merianne remove the firstmeal plates from the table. “Through and through.”
      “You can’t possibly know that,” Merianne said.
      Eda’s blue eyes flashed. “I do.”
      Staring down at her child at the very threshold of her majority, Merianne had a strong desire to strike some sense into her. Instead, she scrubbed the table. How had her own parents managed to raise seven children?
      “Eda, you barely know this man,” Merianne finally said.
      “You’re wrong, Mother. I know a lot about him. I know he loves us. And I know he doesn’t understand why. I even know he loves to go from place to place to place.” Eda smiled cockily. “And I know he’s worried about Mayu and science.”
      “Well, I love Iserve back,” Mayu declared.
      “I like blue ’chine,” Beli added. “’Chine pull hair up.”
      Merianne’s stomach twisted with alarm. “What’s Beli talking about, Eda?”
      “Oh, it’s not scary. It’s funny,” Eda said. “Mayu says the special magnet metal in Iserve’s machine wants to hug the metal in Beli’s hairdecors. The machine pulls Beli’s hair straight up.”
      “The magnet never hurts her, Momma,” Mayu said.
      “Never hurts her?” Merianne asked. “How many times have you visited him?”
      Eda’s open, silent mouth and disconcerted expression told Merianne plenty.
      “Obviously you’ve visited him and his machine more than once,” Merianne said. “Well, your visits to him end today. I can’t let you girls wander around the science cluster bothering people. From now on, Eda, you’ll pick up your sisters after school and come to my office.”
      “It’s stupid of you to be afraid of his machine!” Eda ran down the stairs and out of the house.
      Merianne groaned. Knowing that the transition to adulthood was supposed to drive parents crazy didn’t make it a bit easier.
      Mayu rested her cheek on the damp stone table. Was this child grief-stricken about not seeing the freesearcher, too? Or was she ill?
      Merianne stroked Mayu’s dark head. “Are you sick?”
      “No. I’m just trying to understand the stone. It’s confusing. It’s sort of like liquid. But it doesn’t move.”