I know that some of you prefer a book in your hands to reading an e-book. I can totally understand. It’s tough to worry about getting suntan lotion or sand in your e-reader or computer.
So the good news is – HONOR CALLS – my novella for Nocturne Bites will be part of THE AWAKENING THE BEAST collection that will be out in October 2009 from Silhouette Nocturne.
I love the characters in this novella – Michaela and Jesus. They are opposites in so many ways and yet drawn to each other by their strength and honor. Their honor, however, is what one day may pull them apart.
I am so hoping I will get to further explore their relationship in the future in a full length novel, but for now, I hope you enjoy their very sexy and very conflicted time together in HONOR CALLS.
Today’s Wicked Wednesday is an excerpt giving you a hint as to Michaela’s troubled past. I hope you enjoy it. *Warning* It does contain violence.
New Jersey Shore
Twenty Years Earlier
Her mother was bleeding.
Michaela could feel the warmth and wet of it drip down onto her as her mother held her hand and dragged her through the tall marsh grasses along the edges of the dunes. The stalks, dry from a lack of summer rain, crackled, the noise overly loud in the silence of the night.
Too loud, she thought, recalling the creature that had attacked them. The creature who would surely hear them, pounding and crashing through the grasses as they tried to escape him.
Suddenly her mother stopped short and shoved Michaela away toward a larger patch of foliage.
She fell to the ground, the sharp edges of the grasses biting into the palms of her hands as the tall stalks swallowed her up. The saw edges of the plants cut her hands and arms, but she bit down on her lower lip to stifle her cry of pain, aware it would reveal where she was.
Aware that her mother was ready to sacrifice her life in order to hide her.
Holding her breath, she tried not to move and peered through the ever-shifting mass of dune grass stalks that had covered her.
Her mother stood there, her chin at a defiant tilt. Blood dripped down the side of her face from a large gash above her brow. The blood looked black thanks to the palette of the night. Her face was washed to a pale almost green ghostly hue by the light of the full moon.
“You didn’t think you could run from me again, did you?”
The tone of the creature’s voice was low, almost soothing except for the odd rolling sound beneath, like the purr of a cat.
Her mother said nothing for a moment, then picked up her chin another rebellious inch. “You will not take me again. I will not allow it.”
The odd rumble in the creature’s voice intensified as he laughed and said incredulously, “You will not allow it?”
Something flashed before her mother. A bright white blur so close to her . . .
A gush of dark liquid erupted from her mother’s throat and spilled down the front of her bright yellow sundress.
Her mother picked up her hand, brought it to her throat, but the creature yanked her hand away, laughing cruelly as he said, “I will have you now, as you die. I will have you after, as your body cools. But first . . .”
The creature wrapped an arm around her mother’s waist, holding her up as her knees did a slow motion buckle. Burying his head against her ravaged throat.
The horrible sounds of his sucking and her mother’s moaning carried across the still night.
Michaela covered her ears, but it was too late to avoid hearing him say, “But first I will have your blood.”
Curling up into a tight ball, she tucked her head against her knees, brought her arms up over her head and closed her eyes. Tried to escape from what was going on just a few feet before her. Imagined other places and times. Prayed for her mother to be safe. Thought about the yellow sundress her mother wore and how they had bought it at the thrift store just earlier that week.
The rough shake of the ground beneath her body pulled her back from where she had gone.
Only then did she realize the night was now almost quiet. The only sounds those of the stalks as the wind moved them and the far away susurrus of the waves washing up against the shore.
She was alone. Or at least she thought she was.
Peering through the brittle green stalks, she saw what had made the resounding thud that had snared her attention.
Her mother’s body lay less than an arm’s length away, staring sightlessly at the moonlit sky. Her dress torn, exposing her breasts and the bite marks on them. The cheery yellow of her dress bloodied from the hideous hole where her throat had once been.
She wanted to keen and cry, run to her mother, but instead she grabbed hold of her knees and forced herself to remain still, fearing that the creature lingered nearby. Knowing that her mother had given her life to save her. That she could not dishonor that sacrifice with her fear.
A second later the ground shook again and suddenly there were shafts of light piercing the night, moving back and forth across the dark sky. Another tremor of the earth came beneath her and she realized the tremors were footfalls. Coming closer and faster as the intensity of the lights increased until suddenly there were blue pants legs standing before her hiding place.
“Shit. Holy shit,” the man said and passed his flashlight over her mother. Across her still beautiful face and sightless eyes.
She cried then, a puny wheezing sound, but it was enough to snare the man’s attention.
He parted the grasses before her and the silver and gold badge on his chest gleamed brightly against the royal blue of his uniform.
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” he said and reached for her.
Awakening the Beast
October 2009 – Silhouette Nocturne
A collection of sexy Nocturne Bites featuring:
Honor Calls, Return of the Beast, Mortal Enemy,
Immortal Lover, Claws of the Lynx and Wilderness
by Caridad Pineiro, Lisa Renee Jones,
Olivia Gates, Linda O. Johnston and Barbara J. Hancock
Pre-order your copy today!