Emma J for Joy Pearce is on the twenty-second floor of Three Embarcadero when the birds begin to twitter. She is sipping her first cup of coffee and watching the rush-hour traffic crawl across the Bay Bridge into downtown San Francisco. A five-car pileup has blocked the Fremont off-ramp for ages, and she shakes her head, savoring her breakfast blend and feeling just a little bit smug. She doesn’t have to deal with that commute, thank her lucky stars. Living on Telegraph Hill and hiking ten blocks to the office is the way to go. She wouldn’t live anyplace else on the planet.

The birds, a flock of lively sparrows, swarm outside her window. Which is sort of odd. Emma just doesn’t see the tiny birds flying so high. Sparrows tend to be ground-bound, pecking at cookie crumbs outside a café on the mezzanine level. Odder still, they are diving and swooping, forming strange frantic patterns against the pink light of the rising sun. They begin to twitter in earnest now, almost screeching, in a weird frenzy. Sounding not like birds anymore, but some other feral creature, weasels or rats.

The birds rouse Emma out of her morning grogginess into mild surprise.

She had spent the night with Timothy and, half smiling, half frowning, has been mulling over what he’d said. She loves him, of course, but she just isn’t sure. No, wait. That isn’t right. It’s insane, what he’s asking. When they’re both so set in their ways. Things going so well, for the both of them, just the way they are.

She’d bounced out of bed with the completely genuine plea of a very hairy deadline. Buzzed into the office an hour early before the first of the flex-timers. Timothy. Dear sweet wonderful Timothy, but after five years, who would have thought? She sets her cup down, stands and stretches. She isn’t quite ready to start tearing apart the manuscript for Genes: Why I’m Me and Not You, Thank Goodness. The first chapter is a mess with lapidary moments, like the rest of the manuscripts Nigel Fontaine has turned in over the years.

More mess than brilliance in his projects these days. She must have a heart-to-heart huddle with the old coot sometime soon. She checks her calendar. Maybe lunch next week?

What’s with the birds?

A hollow booming rises out of the westward fog. Her windows begin rattling. Suddenly, flagpoles are tossing to and fro on the tops of high-rises.

The earthquake strikes.

From Shaken

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Mason

Shaken, a Thriller, is on Nook and Kindle!

An ebook adaptation of Deus Ex Machina, published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in the anthology Transcendental Tales From Asimov’s (Donning Press), and translated and republished worldwide.

A list of Sources is included in the ebook.

Shaken is on Nook and Kindle!

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook and Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook and Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

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New! The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series is also available as The Garden of Abracadabra Trilogy so you can read in three affordable installments.

In Book 1, Life’s Journey, Abby arrives in Berkeley, filled with hope and promise, hoping to land a new job and start magic college, when she stumbles upon a supernatural multiple murder scene. On Nook and Kindle.

In Book 2, In Dark Woods, Abby is drawn into a dangerous murder investigation and torn between three men, Daniel Stern, her ex-fiance, Jack Kovac, an enigmatic FBI agent, and Prince Alastor, a potent supernatural man who lives in the penthouse and may be a suspect. On Nook and Kindle.

In Book 3: The Right Road, Abby uncovers ancient supernatural secrets behind the murders and faces dangers and challenges ahead. On Nook and Kindle.

New! Summer of Love Serials 1 through 7 are free exclusively on Kindle Select but only till March 1, 2013!

New! I’m so excited to tell you my romantic suspense, Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook and Kindle! If you love romantic suspense or historical mystery, this is both. Please give Lily Modjeska a try! Coming soon! Book 2: Jewel of the Golden West, Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom, and Book 4: Terminus in four affordable installments. The Omnibus Edition will include all four books.

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