I Want – an excerpt

I Want

#fantasy #erotic romance #bisexual #menage

I Want_smAntoinette Travis knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to do exactly what was necessary to make it to the top. Outside of sleeping her way there. And she was certain her rival got the promotion that should have been hers by doing exactly that. Angry at losing the job that would have given her what she wanted, she stalks out of the office and heads for the closest bar, where a deliciously mesmerizing, exotic bartender asks her the one question to which she thinks she knows the answer.

Swept away to a tropical island, sans clothes and stripped of all civilized veneer, she’s offered the opportunity to redefine not only what she wants, but what she truly needs.

 

EXCERPT

Antoinette paced the length of her office like a caged tigress, the interoffice memo crumpled into a small ball cutting into the flesh of her locked fist. She had been passed over yet again for the promotion. Endless nights of work on this last project should have garnered her the recognition she rightly deserved. Dedicating herself to its success, working night and day to see it through to completion before the deadline had all been for nothing. That bitch, Camille, had made the cut and not her.

She’d wanted that promotion—deserved it.

“Antoinette, staff meeting in twenty minutes.”

She whipped around to confront the quivering woman hovering in the open doorway, pinning her in her sights like a doe with no hope of escape. Maggie had been her assistant for the last six months and now stood there wringing her hands together, a worried frown on her face.

Pitiful. How did the woman manage to survive this long in the piranha-infested waters of the business world without being eaten alive?

 Antoinette didn’t have much luck keeping assistants for any length of time—Maggie had lasted the longest.

“I’ll be there shortly,” she bit out, spearing her assistant with a hard, icy look that brooked no argument.

She saw Maggie gulp and watched with disdain as she quickly backed out of the office, closing the door softly behind her.

She spun away and continued her prowl of the confining perimeters of her office, arms folded tightly across her breasts, locking in her emotions. Like hell I’ll be at that meeting and fawn over that slut. Lunging around her desk, she yanked open the bottom drawer and reached down to snap up her hand-tooled leather purse, knowing she couldn’t stay in this office another second without blowing wide open. Patience had never been a part of her make up, and what little she did have could currently be counted among the dead.

A new grill had opened around the corner, and right now seemed the perfect opportunity to check out the bar.

The outer office floor was eerily silent as she strode across what felt like a football playing field length of open space to reach the bank of elevators on the other side. Their eyes latched onto her, trailing her as she left, making it feel like she was caught in the rifle crosshairs of a mob of hunters, all aimed at her, waiting for the right moment to drop her in her tracks.

Well, she wasn’t going to give them an opening, that was for sure. Sonofabitch, Camille had probably fucked her way into this promotion. Literally.

 Once inside the elevator, she spun around to face the front as the doors slid shut. She released the pent-up breath she’d been holding and her shoulders drooped with the burdensome weight of her failure—yet again. This was the second time she’d been passed over. What was it they’d said after the last time when she’d met with them, demanding to know why? She needed to learn to become more attuned to the other employees? She didn’t bond well with her co-workers, something she needed to work on. What the hell did that mean? She knew how to get the job done. Employees were supposed to follow orders, that’s what they were paid to do, weren’t they? A person shouldn’t have to worry about getting all caught up emotionally, and bonding with them. That was for sentimentalists—definitely not for her.

Reaching the main floor, she stumbled out of the elevator onto the marble reception area and hurried toward the revolving door that would allow her to make a quick escape. And good riddance. It was time to take stock and consider moving on. This company obviously wasn’t going to get her what she wanted. She’d thought it was the type of place that recognized the determination to succeed. But apparently she was wrong. They wanted serendipitous mush, not aggressive balls. When she saw opportunity she grabbed it and ran and it didn’t matter who got in the way. If they weren’t with her, they were the enemy and tromped over to get where she was going. Why is it no one could see what it really took to succeed in the shark-infested waters of success? It was one of the things that had been practically beaten into her and she’d never forgotten it. Eat or be eaten.

Control or be controlled.

Her professor back in college had taught her all about the fine art of negotiation. And she’d paid dearly for that lesson. That was a long time ago and a lot of water under the bridge. No one had ever tried to dominate her since then—she was going to be the one with the power and the money. And then they’d see what she was made of. And she didn’t plan to get there by way of anyone’s bed to do it. She’d been that route once. Never again.

The summer sun seared her skin, yet the midday heat could not rival the blazing, frustrated anger she planned to numb with a few shots of scotch. She slowed her gait as she came closer to her destination and turned as she reached the entrance of the latest renovation on Front Street, peering up at the swirling blue neon sign about the doorway. “DreamTime Bar and Grill.”

Right.

 She grabbed the thick vertical, gleaming brass handle, yanked the heavy oak door open and stepped inside, bracing herself against the cold shock of the air-conditioned interior. As the door quietly closed behind her, muffling the street noises, she stood for a moment as she allowed her eyes to adjust to the dimly lit interior. Except for the old nineteenth century gaslight-styled lighting fixtures flickering around the mahogany and brass bar, it was very dark, but the subdued lighting guided her path straight to the bar. She bypassed the hostess with a wave of her hand, and headed for an empty barstool. Climbing onto the red leather seat, she plunked her purse onto the counter and surveyed the array of bottles setting on the mirrored glass shelving behind the bar. Eyeing her poison, she then searched for the bartender, who she spotted standing at the other end of the room talking with the only other patron at this hour of the day.

Tapping her well-manicured nails impatiently against the satiny wood surface, she pointedly glared at him. Finally, he must have felt the laser of her stare and slowly turned his head. She almost choked on her own breath as she gulped surprise. It was like colliding with a fierce front of hot tropical wind as his gaze settled on her.

Antoinette wasn’t really into relationships or sex—had never found it that great an experience. But looking at the darkly bronzed, blatantly sexual male on the other side of the bar as his eyes blazed a trail through her sent an odd sense of steamy heat spiraling through her frigid bloodstream.

Quickly, she shifted her gaze and attempted to dispel the desire to shed her clothes right there and beg the delicious specimen reeking male testosterone to fuck her. Some undefined elemental electricity he exuded zapped right into her core, and she quickly came to the conclusion she didn’t like the feeling. Not at all. It was as though he pulled at her control mechanism, sought the combination that unlocked the safe she kept all emotion locked behind. And it was a scary thought that he might actually have the ability to discover the right sequence of numbers to pull that door wide open.

Frantically, she grabbed her purse. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.

“What can I get you?” His voice was a blend of chocolate silk and chili peppers, making her body tingle and melt all at the same time. She was afraid to look up, to acknowledge him. What if he saw her response to him? Was she going crazy? Had she finally snapped after this last failure at work?

“Miss?”

Slowly, she lifted her gaze to encounter— Sonofabitch! She blinked rapidly. His eyes pinned her, appeared to pinpoint every secret trapped inside her. She could feel his clear Mediterranean sea-blue eyes penetrating into her, like a laser beam directed toward her soul. She couldn’t look away, mesmerized by their liquid, rippling depths. An ache began in the pit of her stomach, tentacles of sensual feeling moving outward, downward, stroking from the inside out. His eyes—how strange. The pupils looked silver—silver flames that flickered and beckoned, shining molten pools of seduction. She attempted to speak, but couldn’t find her voice. The pattern of her breaths increased until she was almost hyperventilating.

“What do you want, Antoinette?” How did he know her name? But the longer her gaze locked with his, the less she really cared how he knew. Some unheard command regulated her breathing to slower, long, deep sighs, almost as though he held some sort of hypnotic quality beneath the surface of his sensual tone.

The hard veneer of sophistication and control she always maintained eroded the longer she sat there. The sizzling hot-cold flames of his eyes clawed at the brittle surface, seeking a crack, a way to reach inside and pull out—

She blinked. Then blinked again, trying to dispel the haze of lust that seemed to consume her. She fought it, struggled to run from the foreign feeling of desire burning a hole inside her. Yet she couldn’t seem to move. Her lips felt dry and parched, her throat raw and scratched, as though some long-unquenched thirst harboring inside for longer than she could remember needed to be assuaged, and she circled her tongue along their dry, needy surface.

“I-I don’t know what I want,” she finally managed to stutter out. “Not anymore.”

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Excerpt from Fertility Rite

Fertility Rite

(#futuristic #fantasy #erotic #romance #MF)

Fertilite Rite_smA beautiful winged Vrotian female and a handsome Kansas farmer from Earth…a union doomed from the start or a love to last forever?

Lura, a Vrotian winged female, is about to commence the sacred Fertility Rite, or chance complete reversion to the primitive nature of the wild and predatory huntress. Vu, the God of Fertility, has finally revealed the identity of Lura’s mate and at last the Rite may begin.

 

EXCERPT

The silhouette of the tree stood tall and sturdy against the inky night sky. “It has been here a long time.”

He stopped next to its wide trunk, pointing the flashlight upward. “It’s seen a lot here. My father was going to chop it down at one point, but something made him change his mind. I was never sure what it was. It’s been here for as long as I can remember, and it never seems to change. In a lot of the real old pictures, it’s standing in the background. As though it’s waiting for something, sort of standing guard.”

He had his back to her and she removed first the silver girdle and then the length of silk. “It’s been waiting for this moment. Nathan, look at me.”

Slowly, he turned toward her. She saw his eyes widen. “Lura—”

She walked toward him. “Make love to me. Right now, beneath this tree.”

“Why here? What in the world made you decide we had to make love right this minute?”
She took the flashlight from his hand, flicked the switch, and dropped it to the ground. Turning back to him, she reached out and pulled the tails of his blue shirt out of his worn jeans and slid her hands beneath it. Yes, firm, thick muscles met her questing fingers. A strong heart beat rapidly beneath her touch. “Tonight there will be an eclipse of your moon. This moment has been foretold by the Priestess.”

Her quick fingers unbuttoned his shirt and pushed it from his shoulders, then she lowered her mouth to his chest, felt the heat emanating from him. With her tongue she circled the hardened nipples of his flat chest. She sucked a nipple into her mouth as she brought her hands down to the waistband of his pants.

“Love me,” she whispered against his skin as her hands unfastened his pants, slid the zipper down, then pushed them over his lean hips.

“Damn, Lura, you make it hard for a man to resist,” he rasped out. His hands rose to cup her breasts. A shaft of pleasure raced through her at his warm, sure touch.

“Yes, Nathan, touch me. Make me yours.” She slid the pants down his legs, and his cock sprang free, hard and thick, ready for her. “They taught me how to please you at the Temple.” She touched his cock with her hand, slid her fingers along its smooth length, swirled her fingers over the tip, and felt his anticipation seep out, covering her fingers.
Kneeling in front of him, she removed the last of his clothing, then took his thick shaft into her hands and looked up at him. “I have never been with a man. I am ready to take you into my body, but no man’s cock has ever entered me before this moment. I want you to know that you will be the first. And the only.”

She lowered her head and took his cock into her mouth, easing her tongue over the head, sucking him inside. Wrapping one hand around the firm base, she ran her other hand up and over his stomach and felt his abdomen muscles tighten. She slid her mouth up and down his length, drawing him deeper each time, easing the muscles of her throat to take as much of him as she could.

Her womb contracted with the need to be filled by him and she felt her own liquid pleasure release and coat her thighs. She had anticipated this moment, prepared for him, and wanted him more than she could have ever imagined.

He groaned and his hands cupped her face. “Enough, honey, come here and let me love you. I’m going to come right now if you don’t stop what you’re doing.” He thrust his hips as an exclamation to his words.

Lura lifted her head. “I want to taste you. I am not afraid to know you in this way. Give me your seed.” And she drew him once again into her mouth, tasted the salty passion of his pre-cum, and sucked harder, swirling her tongue beneath the ridge of the head, teasing at the slit in the tip.

She felt him tighten, felt the tension in his body coil like a spring, tighter and tighter. He yelled, his fingers twisted in her hair, and he orgasmed in long, pulsing bursts as she swallowed. It was her first real taste of a man’s passion and she was not displeased by its flavor. She savored this part of him, and licked him clean, felt him soften, felt the tension ease from his body.

But she did not stop, and instead licked and coaxed him back to rigid attention, cupping and kneading his muscled buttocks. It did not take long before his cock was again hard.
“Enough,” he said, as he pulled her to her feet. “I don’t know how you’re different from Earth women. What you want.” He took her lips and pressed between them with his tongue.

She drank from him, sucking him inside, pressing her body against him. Her wings extended, arching backward, swooping forward, then back yet again.

 

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Manimal Attraction – Discounted 65% TODAY

Manimal Attraction will be available at a 65% discounted price – February 24th.

Manimal Attraction

(#MMF #MFM #bisexual #shapeshifter #magic #contemporary)

ManimalAttraction_cover_smHe of the earth and water; she of the light and sky above; he of the night and feral underland. Three united through destiny, throughout eternity. Should their line perish, all shall be lost… … Abigail Pembroke, a freelance photographer, ran from Rapture Bay because she loved too much. Now she’s come home to bury her dead, and perhaps finally accept her destiny. Will it be love or simply duty that forces her to stay?

Lash MacKenzie, mayor of Rapture Bay, and so much more, attuned and bred to duty, needs Abby more than she could ever imagine. He’s waited patiently these last two years for his beautiful lover to find her way home.

Taggart Este, sheriff of Rapture Bay, coyote shifter, trickster and rebel, and Lash’s eager male lover is trying to solve a string of murders that someone, or something, wants to look like accidents. One of those dead is Abby’s grandmother, an elder, a Harmonic Euphonical—a protector of Rapture Bay. Abby’s return home will change everything, including Tag’s exclusive relationship with Lash.

Three lovers born to inherit a time-honored power that stems from the roots of the elemental founders of Rapture Bay—it’s a heritage of service that weighs heavily upon their shoulders, and it could destroy them. To serve and protect, to honor and heal, to love with a passion and commitment, may demand their very lives unless they learn to trust not only each other, but themselves, and embrace their destiny…

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Also currently a #kindleunlimited selection

The Midas Bride – #FREE Today

The Midas Bride will be offered #FREE on Amazon – February 22-23

The Midas Bride

(#contemporary #shapeshifter #fantasy #fairytale #magic #eroticromance #MF)
TheMidasBride_cover_smOnce upon a time there was a modern woman who wasn’t looking for Prince Charming. Not anymore.

But there was indeed a prince who needed to find his princess bride or suffer the full effects of the curse brought down upon his family. He tossed a magic coin out into the world in hopes of finding his true soul mate—the one woman who could tame the beast inside his soul and halt the curse. And only her love could save him.

But will a greedy witch find her first and destroy the prince’s one chance at happiness?

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JP542V3

 

Also a #kindleunlimited selection

Captivity – Discounted 51% – One Day Only

captivity_smFEBRUARY 3RD – Get Captivity at a reduced price of $1.99, a 51% discount. Discount will be 26% on February 4th, after which this sale ends.

Captivity

#MM #masterslave #futuristic #fantasy #eroticromance #gay #bdsm

NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK AND DIGITAL.

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01K1BQB8C

 

Captive to the charisma of a powerful, sensual master – and slave to his own unquenchable desire. The winged man, once known simply as sthe wild thing, was free to roam the jungles outside Bendar City. Until he was betrayed, captured, and sold to a powerful lord who covets the birdman’s unique beauty for himself. Lord Adolpho Serratin of the Kalamadur Oasis maintains an unusual collection. Orion Birdwalker soon becomes the most precious of Serratin’s possessions, in more ways than one. The wild thing is soon named, tamed, and trained to serve his new master in all ways…

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Also available as a #kindleunlimited selection

 

Aristaeus, the Original Beekeeper of Myth

Aristaeus, the Original Beekeeper of Myth

bee_flower-9665Although Ambrosia is an original creation orchestrated with the assistance of my muse, it is based on the belief held by the ancient Greeks and Romans that honey is the nectar of the gods. Did you also know that the name for honey comes from the Hebrew word for Enchant?

Legend has it that Aristaeus was a shepherd, the son of the water nymph, Cyrene. It is said that he was the first to teach the art of beekeeping. When Aristaeus’ bees perished (it is unknown whether it was through disease or accident of nature), he went to plead help from his mother. In agreeing to assist him, Cyrene led him to the Prophet Proetus who revealed to him a ceremony he must perform that would help him to rebuild his hives. Aristaeus did as Proetus directed and his hives were restored. Hence, the first beekeeper and the origin of the legend as told through the voices of ancient belief.

The recipe I offer in this delightfully delicious story is based on the ancient art of ambrosia_smstorytelling. “What if” I combine the “nectar of the gods,” with a fickle goddess as guardian, add in an “enchanting” beesinger named Ambrosia with a vow to fulfill, and one handsome lord with a desperate mission to save his people? For flavoring, mix in the biology of bees with the reviving spirit of a sweet magical elixir, and one has the recipe for an intriguing erotic fantasy romance. My result was Ambrosia.

One last tidbit to leave you with. Did you know that honey comes in many variations of color and flavor? Several factors can influence the taste and look of honey such as the variety of flower, the soil chemistry, and the honeycomb quality. It can have the look of gold, red, or even green. What a delicious combination–sweet, colorful…and sensual. So be sure to enjoy the story…and the food.

Ambrosia, now available at these fine ebook retailers:

Find it on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N9736YH
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Camaraderie – An Excerpt

Midnight Pearl Brotherhood: Camaraderie

(Ep. 2, Midnight Pearl Brotherhood) (#fantasy, #MM, #submission)

MidnightPearl_Camaraderie_Ep2_smThe ancient myths of the Brotherhood of the Midnight Pearl tell of an island formed from the depths of the ocean, in the midst of a sea of mystical, sapphire beauty. It is an island paradise built on love and devotion to a common belief, a society made up entirely of handsome and desirable men. And Alonzo Smith is on a journey to discover his place among them.

In this story, Alonzo has passed his initiation, but now he and the other initiates await their guide who will take them across the Titan Mountains and into the city. These men discover more about themselves, and each other, than they ever expected. In particular, Alonzo finds that there are depths to his sexy comrade, David, that he never anticipated…

EXCERPT

“I think we should go. How long are we expected to wait?” Helmer asked on the fourth night as they sat around the fire, having just feasted on a supper of steamed clams and crabs, none of the young men having been able to spear a fish today. Smart little creatures to have eluded them so. But not so lucky were those buried beneath the shores or scampering across wet sand. Parker, the Silent, as he’d been dubbed early on, was already cleaning up the discarded, broken shells with an eye toward burying the remains farther along the beach. Each of them had been trained well in maintaining cleanliness surrounding the area where they lived.

“Not a good idea,” Krispin, the Immaculata, said as he worked to clean his teeth with the end of a twig he’d cut from a tree at the edge of the jungle. Krispin certainly had a creative knack about maintaining his personal hygiene. No matter how primitive the circumstances, he found a way to always keep his appearance at its best. Alonzo had taken a lesson or two from the Immaculata. Krispin spit into the fire before continuing. Though his appearance was immaculate, there was something to be said for his manners. Alonzo was relieved he didn’t pee into the fire—he’d been known to pull that stunt a time or two.

“If you haven’t learned anything else from staying in these bloody huts,” Alonzo said, “I would have thought you’d learned that patience is one virtue those in authority admire most.”

“Hardly think he’s learned that bit,” David, dubbed the Steadfast, said. “I think he rather likes the punishments his squire meted out to him. That’s what you really want, isn’t it, Helmer? Get us all in trouble just because you prefer the spankings and the whippings.”

Helmer, who had acquired the moniker “Prick,” just grinned back at David. The nickname was meant more to needle Helmer than anything else. Helmer had shown himself to be a most impatient fellow right from the start, giving rise at most inappropriate moments. The group had shared more than one of his “reprimands” during training. In more than one instance the word had been mumbled by men rubbing their sore asses all thanks to him. And that obviously hadn’t changed one iota. A cheeky fellow, too. Not in the least as respectful as he should be. “Maybe. Never have been very good with patience. Not my strong suit.”

“Perhaps,” Alonzo suggested, “you’ll enjoy serving the Painmaster.” He shuddered inwardly at the thought of serving such a harsh man of authority. But here on the island there were all types, to suit every taste.

“Mmm,” Helmer said. “My squire spoke with me at length about apprenticing with that particular man of authority. I will say it does sound rather intriguing. I wouldn’t ever have to worry about getting enough…if you get my point. I’d think he’d be delighted having a man like me apprentice to him. Someone who rather enjoys being bad, more than being perfectly amenable…like our lad Alonzo here.”

Not the most wondrous nickname, but rather that than some other. Amenable Alonzo. And it had been the damned Prick who had thought it up.

“I’m not perfect, Helmer. In fact, I’d say I rather enjoyed the odd whipping from Squire. He has a very good hand. But I’d rather not have a steady diet of it, such as you’d enjoy, I’m sure.” He settled back between David’s thighs and felt the stiff presence of his friend’s cock poking insistently between his shoulders. He rubbed against that alert presence. David softly groaned. “I wonder who we’ll all end up serving once we make it to the city? I have a feeling it may not be who we think it is. But I must say, I am looking forward to the challenges that await us there.”

“First we have to get over the mountain,” Parker said, as he came back and dropped down cross-legged onto the sand. “My Squire said it’s not going to be any picnic crossing the Titans.”

“Yes, mine said the same,” David injected. Alonzo closed his eyes and David kneaded his scalp, combing his fingers through Alonzo’s long, dark hair. “He said we should get plenty of rest because we’re going to need every bit of stamina we can muster.”

“Well, this waiting around is killing me,” Helmer complained.

Parker leaned toward the pile of driftwood and picked up a sturdy stick. He directed the end toward Helmer. “Would you like some help? Just so you can sleep better, of course.”

Now Available

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Azurene: Divine Seduction, an excerpt

Azurene: Divine Seduction

(#futuristic #eroticromance #MF)

Azurene_DivineSeduction_cover_smPassion awaits on the Northern Shores far from the arid heat of her desert home. Lessons in pleasure from a water-dweller awaken a desire that is doomed from the beginning, because Elita Watende, youngest daughter of the High Lord of the Desert Borders, has been promised to the Lord Guardian of the Northern Shores. The match is tied to an important treaty for Elita’s rebellious tribe, and it is a union she cannot refuse.

More danger than she can possibly imagine awaits her beyond the desert borders. When the fiery-haired Elita rides one last time in her beloved homeland she is captured by the minions of Kadin, the Dark Underlord, whose plan is to use her as a pawn in a battle for control of the planet.

Elita believes all is lost, but before the dark minions can mark her as the property of the underlord, a fierce blue warrior from the Northern Shores descends upon the horde, freeing Elita from their clutches. He serves Lord Raoul Duarte, Lord Guardian of the Northern Shores, and Elita’s future match.

Yet he is so much more. For he is also an instructor in the arts of Amak, a mysterious man whom Elita knows only as Teacher who will school her in the knowledge of love for her union with another man…

Excerpt:

She saw the darkling nod and her body shifted as someone behind her began to tear at her clothing. In moments every piece of material was ripped away, exposing her to the night and to these devil’s minions.

He removed a glove, letting it drop to the ground, and she shuddered when he reached out to stroke a clawed hand over her breast. The touch was hard and cold as death.

“I’m going to take my time with you, pretty. You will grovel at my feet before we leave this place. You will beg for mercy. Our lord will see how well his new possession can be tamed for his pleasure.” He touched her chest, just above the full swell of her breasts, a spot that would be front and center visible for all to see. “Right here,” he said as he pressed the palm of his cold hand flat against her skin. There would be no way to hide such a horrible mark that would be seared into her skin forever.

Elita had never been so frightened in her life. But it wasn’t death that she feared, so much as living. A quick death in battle she understood. But looking at this creature standing before her, the smile on his face a parody of pleasure, she knew she would have an eternity in hell to regret her impetuous actions.

She had played on her father’s love and guilt in arranging a match she did not want, to get him to allow her to ride one last time in the desert. His guilt and her desire for freedom had overridden caution. And she would forever suffer for that act.

“You might as well relax, pretty, because there’s nothing you can do. Your pitiful guards all dead, no one to alarm your weak father to your disappearance until long after we have reached the labyrinth. And once inside, no one would dare to enter. Count your moments of freedom, for they are fast dripping away.”

She knew very well about the labyrinth to the cavernous kingdom. There was only one way to navigate it and that was through the benevolence of its underlord. To meld body and soul with the darkness, accept him as master.

She was to be used as a pawn, as a taunt to her father like a yellow banner to a ferocious minnocat. Her father could die because of her thoughtlessness.

She felt the tears threaten, but she refused to let this creature see her fear. She swallowed them down, forced the rage to burn inside her. It was the only way she could fight the pain she knew she was about to experience when that brand iron touched her flesh, searing and burning its way toward her soul.

The creature lifted the hand holding the iron, and she closed her eyes, then flashed them open again as screams rent the air. All around her were flashes of blue light swirling and arcing. The creature dropped the iron and turned to engage in the battle.

A tall man dressed in silver battle garb ran toward her, the thick blue plume on his helmet and the azure silk material emblazoned with an emblem she couldn’t quite make out marked him as the leader. He raised the sapphire blade of his sword and brought it down across the chains that imprisoned her legs. Sparks flew, his actions a blur.

He curled a strong arm around her waist as he chopped at the chains imprisoning her hands, and he steadied her as she dropped into his arms.

He slashed at the underworld wraiths as they made their way through the battle. As his blade ran through them, Elita was shocked to see them dissolve into black dust at his feet.

She wanted to yell, “Give me a sword, I can fight,” except she was still gagged and he had her imprisoned so tightly in his strong, muscled arm she couldn’t reach up to remove it without causing him to lose concentration. And she knew, as most women in this kingdom did not, that loss of concentration for even a second, could mean death.

The battle was over quickly and then the warrior picked her up and strode into the darkness beyond the scene of battle. She saw a pale shadow in the distance. As they drew closer she recognized the lines of a gigantic white battle steed. The warrior pulled a blue velvet cloak from the saddle and wrapped her in it. Then he removed the gag.

She worked her jaw to ease some of the ache. Before she could say a word, he had mounted and she was secured before him.

“Who are you?”

He looked down at her, the molten glitter of his strange eyes pinning her like a bird caught in the sites of a hunter.

“I serve at my lord Duarte’s command.”

She gasped. “You’re from the Northern Shore? But I thought you weren’t due for another week.”

She saw the shadow of a hard smile split the hard lines of his face. “My lord has heard of your headstrong ways. It was his intention to offer you protection in case something like this happened. It appears he was correct in his assumption.”

“I didn’t plan this,” she said mutinously.

“Nevertheless, it happened.”

“Where are you taking me?”

“To safety. To where the underlord would not dare trespass.”

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Trumpeter Swans and the Development of Swan’s Lake (Primal Magic)

Trumpeter Swans and the Development of Swan’s Lake (Primal Magic)

swans6croppedI love Trumpeter Swans. And this is prime wintering season for Trumpeter Swans here in the Pacific Northwest. Shallow wetlands being prime nesting grounds, they should feel right at home in this area of Washington.

Research and foundation are prime requisites in creating story and there must be time devoted to discover and relate elements and symbology to create an engaging and fully-realized three-dimensional story that is able to draw a reader into my world, as I see it.

“She is very beautiful.”

Reynaldo couldn’t look away from the view of the serene lake surrounded by the lush forests. So different from the barren fields and fallow grounds on the other side of the estate.

At one time, the lake had been just as stagnant as the dried up land. Before she came. But only the lake and the surrounding woodlands seemed to have been affected by her magical appearance.

He felt Satrius’s presence behind him, but Reynaldo was focused on the beauty of the swan who was about to take flight. He watched as her powerful wings extended and she glided across the lake, her mirror image reflected in the shimmering, clear blue water, and finally soared into the air. His gaze was glued to the arc of her neck as she stretched out, and he could almost feel the wind against his own face, the freedom of the sky as he followed the perfect symmetry of her form. He felt his soul reach out to her, yearning to soar with her.

swans-0748Swan pairs mate for life and usually form pair bonds on the winter grounds, often where the pen (female) was hatched. The pen will choose the nesting site, the cob (male) will defend it. A Trumpeter Swan’s life expectancy can span as much as 20 years. If one mate dies, the other with find another mate.

“He will destroy you, Martine. If you do not act soon, it will be too late and Satrius will find a way to be rid of you. Of all of us.”

She turned swiftly to face one of the elder shifters, Arwen. He was a gruff old man, but beneath that she had come to determine he had a heart of gold and he meant well. He led the northern flock, those who had arrived in the first week. Yet all seemed to look to him for guidance. News traveled quickly in this magical world, and when word reached them of a strange swan maiden from the other land, they had begun arriving daily from throughout Valliana. Usually a bird or two at a time, but within Arwen’s flock there were at least eleven.

“I cannot act too quickly, Arwen. I know the urgency—you have all more than made that clear.”

“You are the chosen one. We all knew it when we heard of your arrival from the other world. What we attempt here has never been done before. For a swanshifter to mate with one outside our species—we do not know if it can even be done. Not even in Valliana.”

Martine Cullen, the swan maiden, is of of Celtic descent; Reynaldo Donata, lord of Terragatto, is a shapeshifting predator, who is lord of the castle in this realm. A dark magic has settled over Valliana, and only Martine can break the spell of Satrius, a very powerful warlock, who has cast a spell over Reynaldo.

swans-1540When I’m researching, I usually start with symbology, and in this story, I wanted to know what the swan symbol represented. What I found is this: Swan is a symbol of gracefulness and intuition. In alchemy, it is a symbol of hermaphroditism, being either male or female, It is a marriage of opposites – perfect for my story. But, of course, as any writer will, we take great liberties with the what-ifs, at least jumping one step farther. What if this, what if that? I’ve never been good at taking just one step…

She again turned toward the water and gazed out at the shifters resting there. It was then she came up with a dangerous alternative. Would any of them agree? Could she accept it, herself?

She whirled back toward Arvin. “What if we could give him what he seems to desire? It would be taking a chance, but if we can break the darkling magic it might be worth a try.” Suddenly, it all became clear. “That’s it.”

“What are you saying?”

She laughed and a weight lifted from her shoulders. There was a way to beat Satrius and possibly to break his hold over Reynaldo. “It has never been done before—not among the swanshifters.” Would it be such a sacrifice for her to accept another into the pairing? She felt a tingling begin between her thighs at the idea she was considering. It was a desperate chance, but one she was willing to take if the others could agree.

“You can’t be considering what I think you are.”

“Would it be so wrong? Help me, Arwen. You have told me how dangerous it would be for a child of Reynaldo and Belinda to be brought into this world. If it was not so, this gathering would not be taking place.”

“It is dangerous. If you have not found a cob to your liking thus far, what makes you think you will find one acceptable for the relationship you are considering?”

“I was not thinking of a cob instead of Reynaldo, but someone who would enhance our pairing. Help me find the right one. One to tempt him from Satrius—one he could not deny. Please.”

“You ask a great deal, Martine.”

“I know. I know he wants me, but he holds back. If we present him with something more, something he cannot deny, strong enough to turn him away from the evil. Offer him so much pleasure he is blinded by it. If Belinda is allowed to bear his child, the chasm of evil will rip wide open. Is that what you want?”

“No, of course not.”

“You know the flocks better than I. Help me find the right cob who could bond with two others for a lifetime. One who is strong enough to help me woo Reynaldo away from his sinister lovers. Yes, he seems to want me, but it isn’t enough.” She again turned to scan the waters. “There must be one among the many—one who would welcome this strange pairing.”

“You are asking that he submit to another. It will not be easy to find one that will accept the sharing of a pen. This is far beyond anything that has been attempted before. For you to share yourself between two—is this really what you want?”

She turned to look up at him. “I must pair with Reynaldo. To lose this chance, could mean all of our deaths.” She touched her abdomen. “In here, I know this is right. What we plan is the path I must follow. That we must follow.”

One step farther. Our Martine is a very clever woman. And it will take an adventurous, determined shapeshifter to save Reynaldo and this world, one who isn’t afraid to break boundaries, to bend mating rituals long followed in the past.

Thus, we have the story of Martine and Reynaldo, shifters who will break all the laws of their respective kinds in order to save their world.

 

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