I posted this excerpt on the PNRromantics blog Wednesday, but I had serious formatting issues. (I’m not the most tech-savvy person, you know.) So I’m giving it another go on my blog. This is an excerpt from Evermine. I’m editing now, so it will be cleaned and tweaked before submission, which I’m hoping will be in the neighborhood of March first.
Earthen Realm, Dempsey Colony
Home smelled odd, welcoming in a way the place lacked since my sister moved out with her mate. Instead of old wood and winter, it smelt of warm oven and sugar cookies. My favorite. Wrinkling my nose, I sniffed the air, followed the sultry current from the front door to the rear of the house and the galley-style kitchen. I touched the stovetop. Heat ebbed through the cracked ceramic and thawed my fingers.
Winking flame teased the corner of my eye where candles danced in crystal holders.
“Maddie?” My voice bounced off the walls, absorbed by the pitch-black living room.
Shame churned my gut, but hope was my antacid. Maybe she and Clayton had fought. Maybe she had come home. Maybe she was waiting in her old room, upstairs, across from mine.
I strained my ears, but heard wind and the promise of thunder. “Come on,” I said, yanking off my coat and toeing off my shoes. “I know you’re in here.” Hopping on one foot, I peeled off damp socks while guilt wriggled through me. I didn’t want her mating to fail. I wanted her happy. Clayton fulfilled her, but their union drained me dry of purpose, left me empty inside.
“Sorry to disappoint.” A rumbled male voice swayed me off balance. “No Maddies here.”
I jolted upright, leaving one sock hanging while I scanned the darkness. “Harper?”
Silly of me to ask when he’d been home for months. Yet his presence still startled me.
He blew out the candles with a sigh. Mood, or whatever he’d meant them for, ruined.
“I should have called,” he said. “When Marci told me you’d left work, I couldn’t resist.”
Dual clicks filled my ears and light flooded both rooms. Blinded, I blinked white spots.
I heard his footsteps rush seconds before his hard hands trapped my hips.
“Steady there,” he said. I guess I’d listed. “Let me get that.”
He hooked his arm around my waist so his cheek brushed my navel. His skin warmed me through my soaked shirt as he slid the sock from my foot so I could stand without slipping. “Thanks.”
“No problem.” He knew where the dirty clothes went, and took them there. So domestic.
“Did you need something?” I called to his broad back. “It’s a hell of a night for a visit.”
“I found your candles and matches.” He came out wearing a lopsided grin…and no glamour. I licked my lips, swore I already tasted him there. “I thought we could watch a movie.” He shrugged dark muscles, adjusted his wings. “I’m sure we can find something to do after.”
I’m sure he thought so. He chuckled as I stared, captivated by the flush of scarlet through his carmine wings. Glamour made him human, handsome with his black hair and blue gray eyes. Without it, words failed me. His burnished ebony skin fed into thick, leather wings. Fathomless eyes returned my gaze, rimming silver around his irises. His midnight hair was darkly tousled.
I wanted to run my hands through the shaggy length, twine my fingers, tug his scalp and bend him to my lips. Would he taste of dates and cardamom? He had once, when we lived in another realm, in another time. Before the private war raging against his race’s enslavement by mine held him prisoner. Before he ripped my sister and me from our homeland, saved us, brought us here to Earth to live among his people. Act human, look human, and all will be well.
Only, it wasn’t well. Not even a little. I swallowed a hard lump. They told me he died. Five years, I dealt with his death every morning while my mind teetered on the brink of waking or never waking. Every night when I cried until breath left my lungs and my soul wept for him.
God, I never would have… So many things I wouldn’t have done, had I known.
Shame glazed my skin with a thin sheen of sweat. I’d failed this beautiful creature.