Harka signed up for the monitor program to get money for a new business. She wants to open a small shop but will have to hire help. Her people skills are crappy.
Her assignment is to go into a man’s mind and keep him distracted until he is healed from a life-threatening plague. She never imagined what she was walking into.
Derin has been asleep for centuries, content to reread the books and reports he archived in his life before the Edinar plague. When the stranger drops in on him, he believes she is a fantasy female, but when she starts cracking jokes, he knows she is far much more than he dreamed.
He doesn’t want to wake.
She landed in the mind of her patient with a thud. The grass was green, the trees were tall and she had landed ass first into a meadow of wildflowers. It was definitely not a scene from her own mind.
As Harka got to her feet, she brushed at her thighs, surprised to see skirts in the way. “This is different.”
Her arms were clad in golden leather over long white sleeves. The slight nip in the air made her thankful that her host’s mind had such a default, though walking through grass with a long skirt was more awkward than she had anticipated.
“Now, where are you?” She turned and listened to the sound of metal striking something very hard.
Harka hiked through the grasses and entered the woods, following the rhythmic strikes.
Wearing a loose white shirt with rolled-up sleeves and plain brown trousers tucked into boots, her Edinar was hacking large blocks of wood into smaller blocks.
She looked around and found a tree stump. Harka perched on it and watched for a while.
“If you are going to stare, you might make yourself useful instead. There is a storm coming, and we will need to get this load to the house.”
She jumped in surprise and got to her feet. “How can I help?”
He turned and looked at her with black eyes crinkled in amusement. “Pick up that axe and cut wood if you can.”
It was a challenge and she clearly identified it as such.
A second axe was leaning against a cutting block, and she reached for it. It was heavy and off balance, but she guessed that was the point.
She put an uncut piece of wood down and swung the axe. It glanced off and the log tumbled to one side.
Harka huffed and righted the wood again. This time, she focussed her grip and tightened it for the strike. She made it three inches into the wood and lifted the two connected items, smacking them down hard.
To her shock, the wood split into two semi circles. “Woo hoo!”
She heard a laugh, and her host was leaning on his axe, watching her.
“Bravo. You just need to repeat that a few dozen more times and we will have enough wood to last six hours.”
“Then stop gawping at me and get to work yourself. I have some catching up to do.”
He raised his eyebrows in surprise, and his tanned face split in a grin. “Yes, ma’am.”
She focussed on the task and the pile of wood grew, though her hands felt it keenly.