Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Too Wyrd Excerpt - The Breakdown

This excerpt is from Too Wyrd, published in 2016 by Black Rose Writing. You can order book 2 of the Runespells series, Fluffy Bunny, published in 2017.

The footsteps had barely faded away before Mercy and Joseph turned on me.
"What the hell!" Joseph said. The shadow that was him stepped forward.

I gasped, feeling the hope that had begun to grow whither away.

Shadow Mercy nudged him aside. "What were you thinking?" she demanded. "You can't help him find the sigils!"


I backed up until I hit the wall. "I know that," I said. I flinched at the whine in my voice, and I struggled to hold myself together. "But..."


Mercy cut me off, closing in on me. "You are supposed to keep them from getting the Runespells, not hand them over!"


I felt smothered, feeling the anger and desperation pressing up against me. I struggled for breath.


Joseph jumped in, stepping closer. "You just gave him carte blanche to kill us all!" he pointed out.


I pressed myself against the wall, my protests dying in my throat. My hands grasped at the wall behind me, searching for a lifeline.


"What happens when you don't find them?" Joseph asked.


A dark red filled my vision, covering the shadows in a bloody hue. A rushing roar filled my ears, muffling the sounds of Joseph and Mercy. I was about to have a full-blown panic attack.


"What happens when you do find them?" Mercy demanded in a muted voice.


"I don't know!" I screamed, throwing my arms out to drive them away. "I don't know, I don't know, I don't know!"


I stepped forward and shoved one of them back with both hands. The shadow - Mercy? - staggered away. I snarled at them both. "I don't know if I can find them. I don't know what happens if I do. I don't know how to stop this. I don't know how I'm going make this work. I don't know!"


I rounded on the other shadow. It backed away from me, stumbling and falling in the darkness. I didn't care. All of my self-control was gone.


"I know he was hurting you," I choked out. I could feel the tears streaming down my face. "I know he won't stop. I know he wants the sigils. I know he will kill us all. And I know," I gagged on the words, swallowed convulsively and forced them out. "I know that I won't be able to handle another death on my hands."


I turned and hit the wall with my fists over and over, screaming wordlessly until my voice gave out. Each strike, a desperate plea for forgiveness through suffering or a strike against those who would hurt those I loved. Who had hurt those I loved. I kept pounding at the wall, screaming a hoarse, voiceless cry. A thick ache built up in my throat.


In my mind's eye, I saw Keith lying in a pool of his own blood. I saw Joseph's head snap with the impact of a fist. I saw Mercy cry out in pain from wrenched arms. I saw the unnamed police officer rent apart. I saw a crowd of strangers ripped limb from limb. I saw the pained, screaming face of my baby, Ella, surrounded by the flames of Armageddon.


My hands gave out, falling limply to my sides from the pain. I stepped back to kick the wall, tripped and fell with a jolt that sent shocks of pain up my spine. I paused a moment before I launched my body at the hated wall, beating at it with palms, arms, legs and even my head. The jolts of pain radiating up my arms and through my head were the only lifeline I had to feeling... anything. There was only desperation, and it filled me. I had to do something, but the only thing I could do was beat myself against this wall. So I did.


Time ceased to exist. The only measure of life was the rhythmic thumping of my body against paneling. My ears were filled with the roar of waves that never quite crashed.


My body dragged across the floor away from the wall. My flailing arms no long struck anything solid, and they dropped limply to my sides. My head lolled backed and I felt my torso being held up. I collapsed against the thing holding me, struggling for breath between the barking sobs and wheezing croaks.


I don't know how much time passed while I lay there, weaker than I'd ever felt in my life. I only lay there and wept until the tears stopped falling. Then I wept without tears.


Slowly, the roar in my ears faded away, and I could hear the sounds of Joseph chanting a healing song and Mercy murmuring over and over, "It's okay. You're okay."


I latched on to their voices, letting them draw my soul back from the terrible darkness that had overtaken me.


The feeling came back into my body. I felt the deep, agonizing ache in my head, and the lesser aches in the bones of my arms and hands. I could feel my fingers start to twitch with the pain, spasming uncontrollably. I felt the pains along the back of my throat from sobbing and screaming, and the periodic jerking of my legs, working out the abuse I'd put them through.


I drew a shuddering breath, rolled over and vomited a glob of mucus, drained from my sinuses into my stomach. I rolled back into Mercy's arms and closed my aching eyes. The sweet sounds of my friends voices lulled me into a deep, dreamless sleep.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Too Wyrd Excerpt - A Dance with the Devil

This excerpt is from Too Wyrd, published in 2016 by Black Rose Writing. You can order book 2 of the Runespells series, Fluffy Bunny, published in 2017.

I stopped and closed my eyes, trying to stop the frustration that wasn't working anymore than my earlier calm had. I stood with the heels of my hands pressed against my eyes, keeping back the tears of frustration. Then I felt the world tilt.

His scent surrounded me, warm vanilla with the spice of cinnamon and nutmeg. It overwhelmed my nostrils, immediately calming my anger. I let my head fall back on my neck. The deliciousness of his smell trickled through my nose and down my throat until I could taste him on my tongue.

I went numb. Not the kind of numb where you can't feel, but the kind where you don't have the will or desire to move.

"You don't deserve this, Nicola," his voice rumbled in my ear. His warm, sweet breath tickled my ear and brushed against my neck. "You had a good life, a simple life."

His deep voice lulled me, filling my head, pushing away all thoughts.

"This was forced upon you."

"Forced," I murmured in agreement.

"You deserve peace."

"Peace," I whispered. Longing bloomed in my chest for my child, for a single peaceful moment with Ella.

"Happiness," his voice rumbled. "With your daughter."

I could see Ella in my mind, laughing, dancing.

"Leave this chaos for someone else to take care of," the voice continued. "For someone who wants to be a hero."

I smiled at the memory of Ella's smile. So much like her father. I felt a jolt in my gut, and the smile faded from my lips. Keith had wanted to be a hero. He was dead now. He'd been killed.

A tear fell from my eye. I could feel his finger touch my cheek. My eyes fluttered open and I glimpsed a strong hand. The tip of one perfect finger held a tiny piece of amber. My eyelids were too heavy and I let them drift shut.

I felt his arm around my waist. Who was he that held me? I couldn't remember. I couldn't think.
"You don't want to be a hero," his voice said, tantalizing me, drawing me in.

His lips moved against my neck, right on the sensitive spot under my ear. I tilted my head to allow him access. My limbs felt heavy, impossible to move. Like the moments after the demon threw me against the wall.

The jolt ran through my gut again. I lifted my head and struggled to open my eyes.

"No," I murmured.

"No, you don't want to be a hero," his voice affirmed.

I relaxed into the surety of his comment. His arm tightened around my waist, holding me securely. His other hand was at my breast. He gently pinched my nipple and pleasure arced through my body. My thoughts fled and my awareness narrowed to the skill in his fingers. His lips brushed against mine.

But that wasn't right.

I struggled to stand upright. I reached for my thoughts. I grasped for the logic that was my confidence, my skill.

My "no" wasn't an agreement with him. My "no" was for him.

His arms and hands and lips tried to draw me back in. I struggled to block out the sensations in my reaction to him, the reaction of my body. I was a creature of the mind, of thought.

And I had told him "no."

Because I had not given him permission to touch me with such familiarity. I latched on to this thought, my ability to keep my wits returning.

Skill or not, this man was groping me. And I had no idea who he was.

My eyes popped open and I bent the astral world around me to transport my body away from his grasp.


****

I stared at the beautiful man in shock. His face slowly curved into a smile and he clapped his hands approvingly.

"I had heard you were strong of mind," he said in his voice of melted chocolate. "Not many can break free of my temptations."

I tried to speak, but my throat was still tight. I cleared it and tried again. "Who are you?"

He smiled smugly, his perfect expressive eyebrows arching into an inverted v as he shot me a look of pure sin. "Can't you guess my name?" he asked.

I shook my head. This was a game, and one of symbolism. I could feel the brush of the double-entendre in his words on my mind. I mentally reviewed the conversation and his actions. A look of sin. Break free of temptations. Can't you guess my name... I rolled my eyes as the answer hit me. "Seriously?" I asked. "Isn't quoting sympathy for the devil a little trite?"

He threw back his head on his perfect neck and laughed, a deep harmonic sound. He clapped his hands together like a child. "You, my dearest Nicola," he said, running his gaze down my body suggestively, "are a perfect delight!" He bowed. "I am he. Lucifer, Satan, the Devil, Father of Lies, Prince of the Devils, any number of names."

He waved his hand dismissively at the list of titles. His gaze locked on me, a smile teasing his lips. "I much prefer 'Tempter'."

I narrowed my eyes. "I'm sure you do," I said. "What do you want with me?"

He laughed. "You are not as fearless as you act, my dear," he said. "But you do act the part well." He straightened and became serious. "I am here to tempt you into my... bed." His eyes gleamed with lust and desire.

I snorted. "Not gonna happen, Lucy," I snapped.

He shrugged and turned away. "It matters little to me, but I can help you get out of this little pickle you are in."

I considered his words. No doubt he was going to offer me an easy way to reneg on my unwanted mantle of hero. And it was tempting, without question. But it was also against every moral and honorable fiber in my body. I wanted to abandon my quest, but I would never be able to go through with it. I had some ethics, such as they were. "I don't want anything to do with your little pickle, thanks," I told him, smirking at my witticism.

His face contorted beautifully with a momentary rage before he regained his poise. He stared at me for a moment, then broke into an unpleasant smile. "You will regret your choice," he warned.

"And my little dog, too," I said, with a sneer.

The world tilted again throwing me to the ground, and he was gone.