Tuesday, June 9, 2009
A Touch of Velvet..
Sorry, long time no blog! It's been crazy on my end trying to get Velvet Haven into shape for my editor. I finally got it done and sent to my editor yesterday. What a relief.
Bran was the devil to write. Even Lindsay with his opium addiction and Wallingford with his taciturn disposition were easier than Bran. Getting to know him was BRUTAL! Writing his love scenes were suprisingly easy! Aaargh!
Anyway, let's keep everything crossed that my editor is going to love it!
So, everyone has been so supportive of this book and new series, and I'd like to thank EVERYONE who has blogged about it, posted the cover etc...I REALLY appreciate it.
So, as a little treat, I'm posting the first couple of opening pages of Velvet Haven. Remember, it's un-editied and some things might change, but this is it. How it came to me! Enjoy!!!!
OH, and if you're feeling creative, I'm holding a contest over at the Lust In Time blog. We need to rename the Annwyn Chronicles, and I'm giving away what I hope is a cool prize! Check it out! Already there's some really good suggestions!!!
And here's VH....
Death. Even now it was bearing down upon him, waiting to take him unaware, its arrival thick, menacing. Unstoppable.
Kneeling on the ground, eyes closed, heart beating heavy in his chest, Bran waited for the inevitable. Just as he did every night when the moon rose and the winds stilled, he awaited his midnight visitor and the journey that never revealed anything but how he would die.
It was a gift, this divination to see death. It had saved many of his people over the centuries. But now his gift was more curse. His ability to prognosticate his own demise but to know not when or by whom left him wondering why the powers of the universe had allowed him to glimpse this visual warning. Why bother when none of the necessary information to protect himself from his untimely end was given to him?
When would his murderer arrive, and who would it be? Those two questions had plagued him for months. Tonight, he would get answers.
Listening, he heard the shimmering birch leaves coalesce with the whisper of wind that swept through the dark woods. Combined, the two reminded him of a woman’s sultry laugh. The sound made his body tighten with anger he found hard to restrain. Morgan. She was the reason behind this. Even from the Wastelands her spell bound him to her.
He should have just married the witch and been done with it. Then Carden, his brother, would not have been damned and lost to him, and the other curse he was carrying around, The Legacy Curse, would not have been his to bear.
But now was not time to dwell on the past. It was the future that brought him here tonight. A future he must find a way to alter.
As the minutes ticked by, the moon ascended higher in the sky, the beams creeping through oak branches, penetrating the grove in a slow, graceful arch across the black velvet which draped the altar he was kneeling before. Once the silver rays illuminated the pewter chalice, filling the body of the cup, it would be midnight, and time for him to die.
The silver beam, Bran noticed, had just crept to the rim of the chalice.
It was nearly time.
Time to put aside his regrets about his brother, and his hatred for Morgan. Time to forget about the curse that was calling, ever stronger, to him.
Schooling his thoughts, he stilled his mind. Quieting his breathing, he gazed deep into the glow of the candles that surrounded the altar. Almost immediately, he found himself at one with the grove, the trees, the animals in the forest. The life force of the elements weaved around him, wrapping around his knees then his body until he felt the energy on his face. He harnessed the strength, the protectiveness of the magick circle he had created, and watched the first glimmer of moonlight sneak into the chalice.
Seconds later, Death arrived.
As it always did, it claimed him in its cold, unrelenting grip. It came out of nowhere, the images. The scents. The sounds. The familiar imagery floated before him and he swayed, trying to search deep within for the strength to hold on and divine as much as he could from Death’s visit.
Bran experienced the precise moment of his death, when his lungs burned, and his heart slowed. He buried the panic of waiting for the last thump of his heart, and the beat of silence where another thump should have been.
It didn’t come. Only quiet. Followed by darkness.
He felt his soul lift, saw his physical form lying face down upon a pile of white cloth. His arms were spread out, his thick wrists shackled with iron manacles, his own athame plunged between his naked shoulders.
It was always the same. Night after night. His death coming to him in a vision that never revealed any more, or less. Frustratingly, it was always the same. His death by an unknown hand and in an unfamiliar place.
The seconds of lifelessness hovered, started to fade. Air and warmth soon began to flow back into his lungs and veins. But he fought it. He was not yet ready to return to the land of the living.
Luring the bastard back, Bran refused to fall into any other state than the deep divination trance that would bind him and Death together.
Death had screwed him for the last time.
Pressing his knees on the cool, mossy earth, Bran grounded himself, sending the excess elemental energy into the earth to be dispersed. Eyes now opened, he focused on the black candles and inhaled the scent of incense as Death struggled in his grip. But Bran was stronger, able to hold Death in his grasp until darkness once again descended and he was dead once more.
This part of the journey was all new to him. The onslaught of sensory stimulation overrode everything. Scent—the smell of female arousal mixed with nightshade and male musk. Sound. The husky pant of a woman, the heavy breaths of a man. Touch. The sensation was everywhere, surrounding him from all sides. His sigils, which adorned his chest and arm, neck and temple, tingled as they absorbed the stimulation and the incredible power he felt cocooning his body. Yet there was a weakness there, too. It superseded the strength, draining him. Making him vulnerable. Yet he craved it, that haunting touch that hurt as much as it aroused.
Sight. He tried to see, to look deep within the flickering glow of the candles. Tried to reach out to Death, forcing through his strength to piece together the rest of the vision.
And then it happened. His sight swirled for the briefest of seconds, then stilled. The pupil of his right eye dilated, allowing him to see his world. Annwyn was still. Quiet. His left pupil opened to the mortal realm. The same disquieting calm was seen there. But before he could close the portal, he was assaulted by the cries of a screaming woman. Splashes of red swam before both eyes. The acrid stench of burning flesh stung his nostrils while a low chant of invocation swam in his ears.
A shadowy image followed, and he reached out, his hand slicing through grey fog. The image was gone, evaporating in tendrils of smoke. The sight, scent and sounds of the vision were sucked out of him as if it were a separate entity, leaving him spent, panting, and wondering what he’d just witnessed.
He had never seen that vision before. There was a dark malevolence to it. In his previous visions, he had merely died. In this one, there had been suffering and pain, and a sinister tone that made the preceding visions laughable.
Death, it seemed, ewas fucking with him.
Head bent, Bran sought to slow his breathing while his body continued to hum with the life force that surrounded him as well as the remnants of the vision. He still smelt the scent of sex, the heavy perfume of a female nearing orgasm. His nostrils flared, taking it in, that heady, arousing aroma. Shuddering, he felt his skin flicker in awareness by an imaginary caress.
He was aroused, he noticed. His cock thick. Erect and straining. Pulsing with unspent desire. It was not the idea of dying that had him turned on, but the scent of a female that clung to his damp skin and the sensations of touch that still rippled along his flesh. He had never been touched in such a way. Had never felt himself strengthen yet weaken. He had been at someone’s mercy. But who’s?
A Sidhe female.
No mortal woman could have aroused him so deeply. No mortal could threaten his control by him just taking in her scent. No, it was one of his own kind who would lead him by his cock. And straight to a mortal who would kill him. How like Morgan to send him a female that stirred the deep rooted passion he kept hidden.
A twig snapped and he glanced up, snarling at the sound of someone approaching. No one dared interrupt him. Especially not here, in Nemed, his sacred circle of magick. No one would think to intrude on him, the King of the Sidhe.
“Your magick cannot keep me out, Raven.”