Fiction Friday Week 16

Good morning!  

Since most of the world to the west of me is still sleeping, we’ll call this time of day late-Friday so the blog isn’t late again. 😉

Yesterday was a brain laggy day because I was out of one of my meds and had been for 24 hours.   It sucked.

BUT!  Today I have here a chapter I wrote this week for HW3.  The scene is totally apropos of nothing in the story, except, perhaps, to show the humour and camaraderie with which my Wolves live their lives.  

Callie and Krissy are, again, the girls Anna and Liam scared the hell out of at the beginning of the book towards the end of HW2, they are flower girls in the wedding.  (I believe I mentioned that last week but in case you missed it, there you go.) 

I woke with a brain that works this morning so, before I do anything else, I am going to write some.  It is my goal to write a little every day – again.  I got out of the habit, allowed my health and stress to rule.  No more!  The words shall flow again!  *sounds of a quill scratching across paper*

I shall have an announcement tomorrow and perhaps a surprise.  Be sure to pay attention! 

Have a great day, my lovely people.

Muah!

Chapter Forty-Four

 The pub was half taken over by a large group of tables for the heads of the nearby Therianthrope groups.  They were there to help celebrate the wedding and, in part, discuss some issues that had come up.  Mostly, though, they were there to eat, drink and be merry and not a one of them missed the Vampires.  The creatures of the night had declined to attend dinner, they were even staying at an inn across town, saying that they “refuse to mingle with the curs any more than absolutely necessary.  The only ones who would, as far as Anna knew, were her mother and father.

However, Princes Sarah and Andre and their consort Sebastian appeared at the door soon after Cain and Janelle’s appearance at sunset.  They were followed by the appearance of something that stopped every person in the pub in their tracks:  two small pirates brandishing swords.

Seven year old Callie and Krissy were dressed in identical pirate outfits:  Knee high, folded over black leather boots and black and white striped satin pants covered their legs; frilly white shirts were topped with long tunic-style vests – pink for Krissy and purple for Callie – and held closed with wide leather belts with big bronze buckles; scabbards hung over each girl’s left hip and black bandanas with a white skull-and-crossbones pattern covered their hair.

They ran up to Anna. “Look!” they cried in unison.  “Look what Mr. Con gave us!”  They did a little twirl, swords swinging wide, one knocking Marcus in the hip, the other narrowly missing Anna’s face.

“Watch it!”  Their mother ran up to them and put her hands on their shoulders. 

They shrugged her off after muttering their apologies.  “We’re pirates!” they said, again in unison.

“Oh wow!  That’s fantastic!  You two look great.”  Anna looked each of them over with a fond but critical look.  “Do you think you can do a sword fight as good as Wesley and Inigo?”

Both little faces lit up and then looked at each other.  They’d watched The Princess Bride at least eight times in the last couple of weeks, four of those times with Anna, who had introduced them to it.  They ran to the dance floor and stood in the starting position Wesley and Inigo had taken. 

Callie said, “You seem a decent fellow, I hate to kill you.”  She quoted the movie as she tipped her sword towards her forehead with a little bow.

Krissy swept her sister a wide-armed bow.  “You seem a decent fellow, I hate to die.”

The girls leapt at each other and the thwack of wood on wood sounded through the pub.  They climbed up chairs and across tables, much to the dismay of their mother and the encouraging amusement of everyone else.

“Who are you?”  Callie asked as they paused, staring at each other.

“No one of consequence,” Krissy replied.

“But I must know!” Callie insisted.

“Get used to disappointment,” Krissy said as she lunged at her sister.

They fought for a little bit longer until one of them swept a sword across a table and took a pint of ale to the floor, shattering the glass and spilling beer all over the place. 

“Alright, that’s enough now.”  Ruth stepped in and grabbed each girl by an arm.

Conaire chuckled as two people hurried in to clean the mess.  He raised a glass.  “A toast!  To the most beautiful pirates ever to grace the land, may your exploits live on in infamy and may your sainted mother have the patience to teach you all you need to know to live the best of lives.”  His toast was topped by cries of “here here!”

Ruth blushed to the roots of her hair.  “Thank you, Sir,” she said.  The twins squirmed out of her grasp and ran to Conaire.  They hugged him and whispered in his ears.  Ruth wondered what they said that made him look at her that way.  She allowed the girls to run to Anna to say good night then took them from the pub back to Argyll’s Lodging.

Fiction Friday Week 15… on Sunday

Good morning, folks.

Sorry about the delay for this week’s sampling.  Once again, I’m forced to blame it on chemicals scattering my brain.  Toxic exposures have been at a ridiculous volume this week.  This morning, my brain is a miasma of my usual intellect peeking  at me through a swirl of coloured fog.  It gets quickly swallowed up again so let’s see if I can get through this before I vanish once more into the haze.  

Yesterday was another of  my daughter’s dance competitions, this time in Chatham, Ontario.  It’s a lovely theater staffed by lovely people (except for this one surly usher, don’t know what was up her butt… maybe it was people squishing her between the door and the wall.  Of course, if she hadn’t hid behind the door she wouldn’t have been squished.) and it was less toxic than some places we have been but… it was still toxic, especially with all the people in it.

Her groups did well, though there were some mistakes in her Open group.  The Musical Theatre was near flawless, IMO.  

Today I am home and recovering.  

Thursday was therapy, shots and a bit of a runaround trying to get a prescription refilled.  It left me in much the same condition on Friday that I am today.  I totally spaced on the blog.  It did pop into my head at one point.  We were in the car and the thought flew out the window but some dark corner of my brain did start pondering and considering the matter.  

I didn’t get much writing done this past week so I’ve been trying to think of something to share with you.   I figured it out yesterday, while at the theater.  

GK and I were discussing the Highland Wolves books and got to talking about the people attending the wedding.  This conversation came about because I was writing on my phone.  Three of those people are Sarah MacLean and her fiances, Andre and Sebastian.  GK wanted to know why Sarah had two fiances and how that came about.  

That’s what I’ve decided to share with you, chapter one of HW3 – Sarah’s coronation and the proposal by Andre and Sebastian.  

You enjoy that, it’s lovely, and I am going to transcribe the paragraph I wrote into my phone and hope I remember the rest of what I meant to write.

Have a great Sunday!

Muah!  

(PS.  The edit isn’t perfect in the blog portion [and the chapter is a first draf] but my thinking is slipping away again so you’ll just have to deal with it. 😉 )

Chapter One

Present day, Glasgow

Liam Taggart and Anna Connor stood before the new Prince of Glasgow, Sarah MacLean; they were the last to speak to her in this coronation save Andre Whyte, Prince of Edinburgh.  It had been just over two weeks since the bloody coup that had overthrown and killed the previous Prince and set Sarah in her place.  Liam carried a chest about four feet long, seven inches high and a foot wide.  There were jewels crusted in it and a scrolled SM was embossed in gold on the lid.  Gold latches were placed in two spots along the length, hinges on the other side. 

Liam’s voice rumbled through the large hall Sarah’s people had commandeered for the coronation.  “We, the Alphas of the Four Claw Pack, pledge our friendship and allegiance to you Sarah McLean, Prince of Glasgow.”

Anna took over.  “We offer you this gift of friendship, made for you by artisans unknown in this world.”  She smiled at Sarah as she and Liam turned to face each other.  She opened the latches and lifted the lid.  Inside, nestled on a bed of royal purple silk, was an archer’s sword to rival Anna’s.  Anna lifted it out and laid it across her palms before turning to offer it to Sarah. 

Sarah looked at the beautiful weapon.  Despite the jewels, she could see that it was indeed a weapon.  The edges gleamed in the soft lights and their wickedness was evident.  The blade itself was a metal she couldn’t identify.  Marquis cut pink stones spread out across the guard from the mottled green and red stone in the center.  The hilt was wrapped in what looked like butter soft leather.  The pommel caught her attention.  It looked like a sapphire but when the light caught it a star burst from the core.

Anna spoke only when Sarah lifted the sword with a smile and began to examine it.  “The blade is Damascus steel forged with a small amount of ground Dragon scale to add to the strength.”  There was a collective gasp at this.  Dragon scale was next to impossible to come by.  Indeed, Anna had called in several favours to get this sword made as she wanted it and done in a fortnight.  It had taken a lot of magic to temper and cure the blade to its nearly unbreakable hardness in so short a time.

Anna smiled at the awe on Sarah’s face and continued.  “The guard is the same metal.  It is inset with a bloodstone in the center.  We chose bloodstone because it is said that with this stone you can track the course of the sun through the heavens.  We gave it to you so that you will always have a piece of the sun with you.”  She gestured at the sharp ovals alongside the bloodstone.  “These are moonstone, chosen because it allows you a glimpse into your future, so that you may see your enemies before they see you.”

Sarah opened her mouth to say something but Anna touched the small sapphire in the pommel.  “With this star sapphire we unite the sun and the moon as you must unite the Kisses of Glasgow.”  Anna smiled and stepped back.

Liam gave the chest to Sarah’s new aide to put away and lifted his voice as his eyes met Sarah’s.  “May there be no equal a leader, no better a governor, no rival a judge.  May your life be long, with just enough strife to make the peace always a pleasure.  May there be enough pain in your life to make you appreciate the love and joy.  May there be enough tears to make the smiles well earned.  We of the Four Claw welcome Glasgow’s new Prince!”

Sarah cradled the sword carefully in her arms.  “Thank you, Liam and Anna.  I look forward to a long and peaceful relationship with the Four Claw Pack.”  She leaned forward and whispered.  “The sword is absolutely beautiful; I can’t believe you did this for me, thank you.”

 Anna grinned.  “I have a feeling you’ll prove worth it.” 

Andre approached and Anna and Liam took their places to the side again.  Close behind Andre was Sascha and both men were smiling.

Sarah couldn’t help it, her love for them bloomed in her face and she smiled before she managed to quickly school her face back into a neutral expression.

Both men knelt on one knee and placed their right fists over their hearts.  Andre spoke for both of them.  “I, Prince Andre Whyte, leader of the Edinburgh Vampires, pledge my friendship and allegiance to you, Prince Sarah MacLean of Glasgow in times of peace and war.”  As Sarah opened her mouth to speak Andre and Sascha reached into their jacket pockets with their left hands and held out small, square jeweler’s boxes. 

Sarah looked confused.  “Andre?”

Together the two men opened the boxes.  In Andre’s was a ring with a large princess cut arctic opal in a platinum setting.  Small square diamonds were nestled on either side.  In Sascha’s box was a simple platinum circle with small round cut arctic opals set halfway around the band.  They lifted the boxes to her and spoke simultaneously.  “Sarah MacLean, will you do us the honour of becoming our wife?”

Sarah looked up from the green-blue stones in the rings to the green and brown eyes of her lovers.  “Andre…  Sascha…  I…I don’t know what to say.”

Anna, who was grinning from ear to ear, moved forward and had to be restrained by Liam.  She settled for stage whispering, “Say yes!”  Her actions made several people in the large room chuckle and whispers swept through to the back.  The entire assembly leaned forward to hear Sarah’s answer.

“Yes!  Dear Goddess, yes!”  She set the sword in its case and threw herself at her men as they leapt towards her.  Everyone burst into applause as Andre then Sascha put the engagement rings on her finger. 

Sarah’s aide, who had been acting as Master of Ceremonies stepped forward and lifted her hands.  Once the crowd calmed down she shouted, “All hail Prince Sarah!”  The echoed sentiment shook the rafters and windows and the members of Sarah’s new fiefdom surged forward.  Anna and Liam slipped out the side and headed home.

Alas, poor Yorick…

Not that I knew him well but there are days I can certainly relate.

Good morning!  I have just had the most fun conversation about stuff I need but can’t afford that I’ve ever had.  Everybody say, “Hi Jae!”

I’ll pretend you did.  Jae, of the incredibly sexy voice I’d happily listen to while he told me exactly what to do to make myself cum for him, works for GoDaddy.com.  And he could give me those instructions over the phone or blindfold me and do it in person.

I bet he’s blushing now.  *grins* I did tell him that I’d stopped paying attention to what he was saying because I had begun to try to figure out how to describe his voice to my readers.  After I told him I write “very adult fiction” he looked up my website and blog and bookmarked them both.  

Isn’t it lovely that the first one he’ll read (presumably) is about him, even just a little bit?

Now, the reason Jae called me is because today my ownership of my domain names, and the hosting, for my website runs out.  I do not have the money to renew.  Being disabled and perennially broke makes doing anything to get out of being perennially broke extremely difficult.  

I love my website.  I truly do.  Jason did some good work there. I know that a few things need to be changed – like the fonts on some pages and the Where to Buy page (continue reading for information about that) – but it is gorgeous.  I really want to keep it but I cannot afford the original $308 to renew for two years, nor the near $200 for the single year (see why I chose 2 years? Cheaper.).  

Jae gave me all kinds of info about penalties and how long I have before said penalties are applied to renewals.  We talked for a while.  I admit to prolonging the conversation (and coming away with damp panties).  

I prolonged it with bits like this:

He said, after he’d had sufficient time for his brain to process very adult fiction, “It’s too bad there isn’t a button you could click and …well, I’d be happy to read a few sentences for you.”

I sucked in a gasp at the thought of him reading lines from scenes like when Liam claimed Anna as his slave and ordered her to suck Marcus’s cock.  I said, “Duuuude! Don’t say that. That would get us off on a whole other tangent that should not be recorded for your boss.” My word, he has a sexy laugh too.

And then, sadly, the time came for our time together to end.  He ended the call with “Is there anything else I can do for you?” I said, “Yes but it doesn’t go with your job.”

*ahem*

Needless to say, that this point, it looks like my long-awaited, beautiful website is going to go down.  Hopefully, at the end of the month, maybe as early as next week, it will return but who knows.

Meanwhile!  You can actually buy HW1 on Amazon and Kindle. If you want an autographed copy you can email me at caitybowman@gmail.com . The cost for that is $15 – I have to pay for shipping but it is the same price no matter where in the world you are.  It is the Amazon cover.

I, Caity Bowman, do solemnly swear to put Lizendale up next week.  I will be going over HW2 one more time as soon as I finish HW3.  My goal for publication is July 1st.  After that, Birdie and Rolf will see print.  

I am going to have lunch now and do some more writing in HW3.  

May you find as much pleasure in this Wednesday as I did this morning. 😉  

Muah!

Fiction Friday Week 14

Hello!

My goodness!  Apparently, this week has been a bad week for blogs again.  However, I can make up for it!  I have been WRITING!  Making real progress in Anna and Liam’s wedding.  I am thrilled with myself.  

My Scotsman has been encouraging me.  We talked about doing CampNaNo this month but it was already the 5th and it is a lot to do in 25 days – he was looking to do 50k and I am looking to finish HW3 in 25k words.  I can accomplish it, I think, but he felt pressured.

Instead, we’re going to do CampNaNo in July and each write 50k about pirates. Yep, that’s right.  Pirates.   We have decided there is more than one way to write a pirate story and we’re going to see who writes the best one.  

Should be fun.

The Great Hall

 Meanwhile, I’m getting closer to the actual ceremony at Stirling Castle.  This chapter I’m going to share is something that amuses me.  Conaire is quite the charmer, truly.  I’m charmed by him and I love the men in my life. 😉

I am going to relax for the rest of the evening.  My eyes are getting pretty bad.  I hope you enjoy this chapter as much as I do; keeping in mind, of course, that it’s first draft material.  (If you don’t remember the twins, it’s because you haven’t read the entire book. *laughs*) 

Good night.

Muah.  

Chapter Forty-Two

 

The helicopter’s rotors slowed then came to a stop as the occupants stayed in their seats, waiting.  Finally, the pilot pulled the door open and the group tumbled out.  Anna and Chelle each retained a tight grip on the hand of a twin.

Anna took a moment to admire the tall, imposing looking man came towards them, ignoring the growl from her Mate.  He was taller than Liam by a couple of inches, broad shouldered and looked like the movie version of a Highlander with long, dark, wavy hair that brushed his shoulders.  Blue eyes were surrounded by thick lashes and faint laugh lines creased his face as he smiled broadly.  He was wearing a loose white shirt with laces at the throat, a kilt, tall, thick socks and 8-hole Doc Martens.

He reached them and clasped Liam’s forearm.  “My Alpha, how are you?”

Liam clasped his arm in return and clapped his free hand to the man’s shoulder.  “Conaire.  How many times must I tell you not to call me that?”  He let go and drew Anna forward.  “This is my Mate, Anna Marie Connor.”

Conaire took her free hand in his and bowed low over it, brushing his lips across her knuckles.  He winked at Callie as the girl giggled then rose.  “My Alpha,” he said again, “I am Conaire Quigley, Alpha of Stirling.  It is a pleasure and an honour to meet the woman who brought Liam to his knees by stealing his heart.”

Anna smiled.  “Conaire.  It is a pleasure to meet one so generous as you.  Thank you so much for the use of the castle and your town for our wedding.  It is exceedingly kind of you.”

“’Tis nothing.  It is my greatest pleasure to witness such joy.”  He leaned close and whispered, “Don’t tell them but I love weddings.  I cry at every single one.  I expect your’s will cause a deluge.”

Anna’s smile changed to a grin.  “Don’t worry,” she whispered back, “it’s our secret.”

Just then, Callie let go of Anna’s hand and tugged on Conaire’s kilt.  “I am Callie Ainsley.”

Conaire took her hand and swept her a bow.  “Lady Callie, it is a pleasure to meet such a beauty.”  He pretended he hadn’t seen Krissy.  “Surely, there is no other beauty like you in all the land.”

Krissy let go of Chelle and ran to stand beside her sister.  “There is!  There’s me!  I am Krissy Ainsley!”

Conaire feigned shock and fell, quite deliberately, on his ass.  “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!  There are two of you!  I can hardly believe it.”

The twins giggled and helped him to his feet.  They inserted their hands into his and refused to let go until they were forced to in order to get into the vehicles waiting to take the group to the castle.  They weren’t going to do the full tour until the following day but they wanted to see the wedding venues.

They first stopped to see the Queen Anne Garden and Anna gasped when she stepped through the arch by the Forework.  “Oh my!  This is gorgeous!”  Spread out before her was a large two-tier garden shaped like a flat-topped A with the smaller end at the arch.  The lower tier was a vast expanse of thick, lush verdant green grass edged with flowering gardens, holly bushes and small trees.  It was surrounded by a tall stone wall and a large, ancient tree provided shade in the middle of the bottom end of the garden.

The top tier was narrow and tucked up against the palace outer wall.  As Anna wandered deeper in the garden, following the girls – who had taken off at a run to examine the flowers – at a much slower pace, she studied the upper level.  Small shrubs hugged the wall, ivy climbed it.  The ancient stones glowed pale yellow in the sunlight.  A low stone wall bordered it on the opposite side; roses and other flowering shrubs were planted tight against it on the ground level.  It was accessed through another arch from the palace courtyard.

Anna leaned against Liam as he came up and wrapped his arms around her, hands on her belly.  She put her hands on his and smiled.  “It’s perfect.”

“Aye, ‘tis.  You’ll look lovely standing up there in the moonlight.”  He kissed the top of her head then slid his arms from around her, taking her hand in the process.  “Come, let’s go see the Great Hall.”

The group, with the girls firmly in hand once more, passed through the Forework and headed across the courtyard to the ancient hall.  Anna stopped again, staring.

Conaire stopped beside her with Janelle on his other side.  “The Great Hall was built for James the IV around 1503.  It was part of a major rebuild for his new queen, Margaret Tudor.  Five fireplaces, a large dais for the king and queen and a soaring hammerbeam roof made it the largest of its kind ever built in medieval Scotland.  Indeed, it was pretty damn big no matter where you come from.”  He led them to the large doors and stopped them there before continuing his narrative. 

“It was used as soldiers’ barracks in the 1800s.  The roof was torn down and it was subdivided.  We started the rebuild in the late sixties, using seven hundred and eighty tonnes of stone.  We felled three hundred and fifty oak trees to build a new hammerbeam roof and finished the job by farling the exterior walls with plaster tint with gold.”

“It’s breathtaking,” Anna whispered as she craned her neck to look at the details in the stone work around the windows and eaves. 

“Thirty-five years it took us to complete and we are extremely proud of it.”  Conaire stroked the stone surrounding the door.  “Come in!”  He threw open the doors and led them inside.

“It looks just like I remember,” Janelle sighed softly.  “There are a couple of differences – the lights, the curtains you have along the wall there – but it looks just like I remember. 

Conaire looked at her appraisingly.  “You’d be her mother then, Janelle, the living Vampire.”  

“I am.”  Janelle smiled at him.

He took her hand and brushed his lips over her knuckles.  “A pleasure.”

Anna frowned.  “I don’t remember ever being here, Momma.”

“You weren’t, you were in Spain at the time.”  Janelle tipped her head back to study the roof.  On one side, right angled brackets rested on rounded stone ledges, bolted to the walls.  They support thick trusses that soared high before crossing the roof to come to rest on matching brackets on the other side.  The trusses went from one end of the building to the other, reminding Janelle of the ribs of a ship.  The oak had been stained dark and it made the entire thing entirely imposing.

Anna nodded, remembering that trip, then turned to Conaire.  “The space is glorious.  It looks enormous but are you sure there will be enough seating?”

Conaire laughed.  “Aye, don’t worry.  Whether you want long trestle tables or the round ones that seat ten, there will be room.”  He paused to think for a moment.  “Given the mix of Vampires and Shifters, I’d suggest the round tables.”

Chelle spoke up from where she’d been studying the building, several meters away.  “I’ve already done seating charts for the round tables.  Your planner and I have already discussed it.”

Anna smiled at her then turned back to Conaire.  “It’s settled then.  I know that my mother must be ready to relax; it’s been a long day for her.  May we see our hotel now?”  She refused to admit that she was the exhausted one; her belly ached and her feet felt like watermelons filled with tiny needles.  She sighed inwardly, if this is what the rest of the pregnancy was going to be like she was in trouble.  Maybe it was a good thing it appeared to be going to be shorter.  She was kicked three times simultaneously, as if the babies could read her thoughts.  Rubbing her hands over the babies, she thought calming, loving thoughts at them.

Liam frowned at her then nodded in agreement as he came to her side and tucked her hand into the crook of his arm. “Aye, it’s time to settle in, make sure the rest of us have arrived in one piece.”

“As you wish.”  Conaire spoke briefly into his phone then took them outside again and led them across the courtyard, “You lot, those of you who came in the copter, and the girls’ mother, will be staying at Argyle’s Lodging.  Your rehearsal dinner is also there tomorrow night.  The rest of you will be staying at The Boar and the Thistle.  The Boar is a wonderful, warm pub.  You’ll find good ale, good food, darts and great music there.  The Thistle is the inn above.” 

Conaire bowed as they reached hedges that marked the entrance to the inn; it was just a couple dozen meters down the path from the Forework.  “I shall see you again tomorrow.  Enjoy your stay.  The cars will be at your disposal, you have but to call.” He bowed to Anna and Liam, handing Liam a card with the number for the cars, then turned to Krissy and Callie.  “And you, my princesses, there is something special awaiting you in your rooms.  Be sure to be good girls and earn the privilege of keeping it.”  He bowed to them too, like they were indeed princesses and he was a courtier.

The girls giggled then surprised everyone by wrapping their arms around his neck and hugging him tight.  They then allowed themselves to be swept into the small maze in front of the inn with everyone else.

Fiction Friday Week 13

Good evening! 

It’s week 13 and that makes it a lucky week, right? 😉

I was meant to share Anna & Liam’s wedding with you this week, however, this was not a writing week, as much as I wanted it to be. Three days of appointments equals three days of chemical exposures.  It really saps my brain power, as well as affecting me physically. I think I managed a couple of hundred words but that’s about it. So instead, I’m going to share something else.

Lizendale is a favourite book of mine. I wrote it in 2008 and spent quite some time editing it. It’s as good as I can make it, I think. Truthfully, it may not be as good as I think; I’m a tad biased. 

Oh, I’m sure if I went over it again I’d find things to change, but would that make things better?  Probably not.

I am going to put publishing it to Amazon and Kindle very soon and I thought I would share an excerpt with you today.  I’m trying to decide where to pluck bits out of.  Should I share the prologue?  The first chapter?  Some place else that’s super exciting?  

hmm….

Chapter one, I think.  It is a good introduction to two of the main characters.

Here is the blurb for the book I wrote in a blog a couple of years ago.  (My brain is not yet working well enough to create a new one, sorry.)

Lizendale is a land home to a species of human genetically different, (dare I say superior?), named Talos. They are magic.  They have the ability to shape shift, heal and communicate telepathically.  They have more focused abilities as well, such as an affinity with plants.  They are creatures of Light with the capacity for great Darkness.   Each Talos is born with but half a soul and must find the other half; if they do not, they tumble into the Dark.  

Magni Tenoch is one such man.  He is an Enforcer, one who hunts the Talos that turn to the Dark, and he is about 225 years old.  As soon as he sees Alexi his soul knows her.  He resolves to wait until he can claim her.  

Alexi Brandt is half human, half Talos, living as a human with her mother.  She is a creature of prophesy, one the Dark has been waiting for.  She is thirteen when Magni first finds her.  When she turns eighteen, Magni’s family steps forward to introduce themselves.  Little did they know that someone was hunting Magni and all of the Tenoch family.  Hours after Alexi and Magni are mated she is kidnapped by that someone. He wants her life force for his own. 

The story is, as the cover says, a tale of love, terror and loss.  It’s also a story of triumph and great passion.

It is my first NaNo book and, I think, is quite the story.  It’s violent, sexy, and dark. There is a great love story at the core of it. All the things I love in a book. 😀

I am off to cook dinner. 

Have a good evening, a happy Easter and I shall see you later this weekend with a photo blog!

Muah!  

(I am reading this excerpt over before I post it and, yes, I probably do need to make a few grammatical changes.)

Chapter One

  

Magni Tenoch was sitting on the patio of Sarah’s Tea House, watching, waiting for his quarry.  His eyes skimmed over the humans in the marketplace in a casual way.  He had no interest in them.  He was Talos.  He was an Enforcer.  It was his family’s job to keep this town safe; they had been ordered to do so more than a decade ago by their King.  However, Magni and his brother Matheus were often sent hunting worldwide. 

This week, however, Magni’s parents, Llyr and Artie, were Realm hopping.  Magni smiled a bit and the serving girl nearest him stumbled as his good looks increased tenfold.  Magni sighed impatiently, blurred both his appearance and her memory and went back to his musings.   Llyr claimed it was a multiverse, not a universe, and that there were other worlds, other people, other creatures, coexisting alongside theirs.  He went occasionally to visit, to watch over events there.  Magni didn’t quite get it, nor did he care.  He just figured it was his parents trying to get away from their duties for a bit.  Not that he blamed them.

Once more his eyes swept over the crowd of shoppers as they wandered the avenue.  A flash of gold caught his attention and his breath caught in his throat.  He moved to get a better view even as faint thoughts started pouring into his mind. Utter nonsense like Momma knows pale colors wash me out, why would she even suggest it?   It made no sense to him at all.  He dropped money on the table and ghosted off the patio, unseen by all.  Masking his presence was an easy task for him, one of the many abilities the Talos took for granted.   He skirted around a couple of rather large old women, following the bit of gold floating through the air.  Finally, it stopped and he moved even closer, sneaking up on it and listening.

* * *

Alexi Brandt sighed as her Momma once again held a pale yellow ribbon to her hair.  “Momma, you know as well as I do that my hair will merely make the ribbon disappear.  And besides, I hate having that crap in my hair.” 

Irisi smiled at the one person who brought her joy, her daughter, her piece of Alexander.  “Sweetheart, the whole point is to have it disappear.  You’re starting school again and you must wear the uniform, look appropriately like the mayor’s daughter.  So we will continue.  At least with the yellow, having your hair up will kind of look miraculous.”  She said this last with a totally straight face, waiting.

Alexi glowered, then blinked in astonishment as it registered that her mother was joking with her.  That happened so very rarely it was always a surprise.  Alexi giggled.  “Fine Momma, we’ll get what you think will look best.  Then can we please visit Chuck’s?”   Alexi tried very hard to glance around her without her Momma noticing.  Something was making the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.  There was a curious wrenching in her heart and it almost sounded like male laughter in her head.  She was both terrified and happier than she’d ever been.   She steered her mother away from the market stalls as quickly as possible.   She nearly ground her teeth when Irisi insisted on stopping at the milliner.  “I do not need any hats, Momma!” 

* * * 

Magni growled at the male name before he realized it was the chocolatier.  He smiled.   He could hear Alexi’s thoughts. This was his mate.  This was his woman and no man had better lay a hand on her.   He set himself as a quiet shadow in her mind so he could learn about her.  Magni hurried to Chuck’s shop and handed the startled man a bag of gold coins.  “Alexi…” he stumbled over the last name for a moment before remembering the name of the pompous ass that was mayor, “Brandt will be in here soon with her mother.  Please be sure she gets whatever she wants as often as she comes in here.  When the money runs out, I will be back.”

Chuck nearly swallowed his tongue when the incredibly imposing man of Magni Tenoch walked into his shop.  Every shopkeeper, at some point or another, had glimpsed the Tenoch family.  They were all beautiful, all tall.  Magni was particularly so.  His hair was black as night and his eyes twilight blue. And he positively exuded power.  Chuck winced as Magni reached out and grabbed his wrist, slapping the small bag into his palm.  He finally found his voice, “Alexi comes in here about once a week, to watch us make candy.  She rarely buys more than a truffle or a piece of hard candy.”

Magni nodded, “Then be sure she gets two, or three, or six. Allow her to buy for her friends if she wishes.” At that, Chuck’s face fell and sorrow filled his features.  Magni’s eyes sharpened and he used his voice as a tool, turning it silky, melodious and compelling.  “Tell me what the problem is.”  He shamelessly thrust the command to answer into Chuck’s mind.

Worry filled Chuck’s voice, as well as relief at having someone he could finally tell.  “Alexi has no friends.  There isn’t a single person, besides her mother and a few select adults, she will talk to.”

Magni frowned.  “Why is that?”

Chuck looked around the room then leaned closer, as if imparting a secret, though it seemed that most of the town knew already if the rumors were anything to go by.  “Alexi has these abilities.   People are afraid of her.  The children are cruel to her.  She is the oldest thirteen year old I know.”

Magni’s expression turned thoughtful.  “What kind of abilities?”

Chuck swallowed nervously and tried to turn away.  Magni caught his eyes and Chuck spilled his guts helplessly.  “It is said that she can read minds, that she can commune with animals and nature.   She never cried as a babe, except when her mother was not present.  It was like she could tell Madame Brandt what she needed.  She hunts better, rides better, shoots better and is better with a blade than most of her father’s friends.   These are just rumors, although I personally have seen her ride. It is as if she is one with her horse.”

Magni nodded then lifted his head as Alexi’s presence got closer.  He leaned into Chuck, holding his eyes for a moment longer.  “You will not remember me, or this conversation, only the gift of the gold and that it is for Alexi and Alexi alone.”  Then Magni disappeared.  He didn’t leave, he merely blocked his image from all humans and leaned against the back wall.

Alexi opened the door to the chocolatier’s shop and was immediately comforted by the smells of melting chocolate and cooling sugar.  Her smile lit up the room and made Magni’s breath catch.  He hadn’t left, he’d just become part of the background.  He wanted to see her up close.  He watched as her eyes changed from a cool jade green to moss as she smiled at the shopkeeper.  Magni was instantly jealous, then in the next second he was worried.  

* * * 

Alexi entered, paused and looked around, sensing something out of place.  She looked all over the room, her eyes catching a faint shimmer by the back wall.  She moved closer to it, reaching out her hand.  Just before she touched Magni Chuck called out to her.

“Alexi!  Something wonderful happened.  You have an admirer; he left some money here so that you may buy any treat you wish.”

Astonishment made Alexi’s jaw drop and she turned away from the curious shimmer.  “Who?  I can already buy anything I wanted.  I have a substantial allowance.”

Irisi nodded, her curiosity warring with a sudden fear.  Who wanted her baby?  This was not acceptable.  “That she does, Chuck, and you know she doesn’t buy more than one treat at a time.”

Chuck bowed his head.  “I know, Madame Brandt, but the man left enough here to treat her for a year.”

Alexi shook her head. “I do not want it.  I don’t know this man.  And why would any man be interested in me anyway?  I am not of age yet.”

“He was quite adamant, young Miss; I cannot go against his wishes.”

Alexi set her teeth on edge.  It was probably another of her father’s friends.  The lecherous old fiends were forever trying to trap her in a corner and she had not yet gained the curves of a woman.  “I do not want gifts from my father’s friends.”

Chuck swallowed visibly.  The idea that she would not use the money scared him to his toes, though he couldn’t figure out why.  Quickly he concocted a plan.  He would put Alexi’s money aside for her eighteenth birthday.   Then he would present it back to her and offer to put it towards a charity of her choice.  “As you wish, Alexi.  What do you want today?”

Alexi smiled and dug through the little purse tied to the belt at her waist.  It was nearly hidden in the long folds of the dress her father insisted she wear in public.  She could almost hear his voice in her head, “You will dress as a lady!  You are my daughter and you will always look the part when you leave this house.”  She mentally sneered at the memory, hoping her Momma was almost done with their shopping so she could go home and get out of the ridiculous clothing.   She came up with a coin and laid it on the counter in front of Chuck.  “Something with caramel today I think.”

Chuck laughed then grabbed a small bag and looked through his display counter.  “I know just the thing.”  He reached with tongs and plucked a caramel filled chocolate truffle.  He surreptitiously slipped a raspberry filled one into the bag too and closed it up tight before handing it to her.  “You have a wonderful day with your mother, Alexi.”

Alexi leaned forward and kissed his cheek.  “Thank you, Master Chocolatier.  Hopefully we will be done soon, my animals need me.”  On the way out the door she noticed the plant hanging in the window.  “Chuck, this looks a little lifeless.  You should give it some food and water.”  She stroked a couple of the leaves then held the door open for her mother. 

* * * 

Magni watched as they left the store then glanced at the plant.  It was once again vibrant green.  He sucked in a breath.   It can’t be, he thought to himself, no human has ever had that ability.   He resolved to learn more about her and turned himself into a mouse, slipping through the door just as it closed and racing after Alexi.  He got ahead of her then squeaked loudly and fell over in a shameless display.  He desperately hoped his brother didn’t see him.

Alexi stopped abruptly.  “Oh the poor mouse!  Momma, stop a moment.”  She could hear Irisi strangle a sigh as she bent over to pick up the mouse.  A jolt of electricity went up her arm and she nearly dropped the tiny creature.  She smothered a gasp then smoothed the animal’s fur.  “You poor thing, you must be starving!”  Alexi turned towards the stalls in the middle of the marketplace and headed for the one selling cheeses.  “Would you like some cheese, little one?”

Irisi followed, bemused but unsurprised, as Alexi proceeded to purchase a small wheel of cheese then find a bench.  She sat beside her daughter and let herself lapse back into the oft replayed memory of her one night with Alexi’s true father as Alexi broke off a small hunk of cheese and set it and the mouse in her lap. 

* * * 

Magni felt the electricity run through his tiny body too and had nearly lost his grip on the image he needed to keep in his head in order to maintain the shape shift.  He chuckled mentally as he allowed Alexi to feed him cheese.  He examined the thoughts and memories of both Alexi and her mother.  Irisi’s memories told him everything he wanted to know and he sat very still in Alexi’s hand as he assimilated the facts.