And now for something completely different, here's an excerpt from my first fantasy novel, THE STRANGELING, a pagan sexmagick extravaganza! ;-)
One woman alone holds the power to undo the hundred-year-old curse of an invincible army of dead men who wait to prey upon the living. Maerose, a beautiful, resilient maiden must drive back the evil spirits by mating with a man of faith on the dark night of Samhain at the very gates of the underworld. Her dormant magic can only be unleashed by willing submission to her predestined lover . . . but a mad man aligned with the demonic forces of the underworld threatens to possess her in his place.
The atmosphere across the land was filled with nervous anticipation. Bron sensed it the moment he made contact with the outside world through the visior pool. The whole of Edren was troubled, as if under a dark, foreboding cloud, and it was growing all the time. News traveled from village to village about Maerose’s disappearance, about the movement and action within the elders. They spoke in hushed tones about the ancient curse coming to pass. More than that, the very land itself shivered in anticipation, for the underworld stirred. He stood up and paced back and forth silently, watching Maerose as she leaned over the pool to view the images of her family and friends.
Her hair fell over her shoulders, tumbling down her back. He stroked it with his gaze, longing to hold her again. Her lips parted as she looked at her family, her eyes bright with wonder and withheld tears. He wanted to kiss the tears away and crush her mouth with his. Instead, he tore his gaze away, drawing his resources together in order to move their lessons on. At this time on the morrow, they would be at The Strangeling. There was much to do and talk about. The sands of time slipped through the hourglass; the moment of their departure would be upon them soon.
He took a moment to cast a watchful presence up and scent out the surrounding countryside, circling the enclave, his vision far above them, taking in what movement there was beyond the divide. The more predatory birds still circled, but the foreboding in the atmosphere had driven most of the smaller creatures to their burrows. A hungry wolf scouted for the pack that followed his trail. Skirting the forest, the need that had driven them out in daylight hours weighed heavy in the wolf’s wake: hunger, awareness of the changing atmosphere. Bron observed and then beckoned the scout, drawing him closer with a scent trail. The wolf paused, lifted his head, and turned in their direction.
A tremor ran across the skies as he turned back to Maerose. She lifted her head, her expression changing. She looked at him for explanation.
“You feel it?”
She nodded and stood, walking over to him, her upturned face expressing resolve, a depth of acceptance that he had not seen in her before.
He reached out to touch her face. “The demon lords of the underworld stir, stretching their limbs. In the forest the small creatures take shelter and hide. Others sense the danger and hunt for food. They sense the darkness that comes.”
She crept closer to him, her body against his. What if she couldn’t shelter with him? He needed to know. Her instincts were true and pure, but was she strong enough to act alone, if necessary? He lifted her chin and assessed the emotions he found in her. “It isn’t easy to be brave, in the face of complete darkness and evil. Death...”
She returned his gaze, steadfast. “If you are by my side, I am prepared to face it. I’ve thought about everything you’ve said and I will be ready. I would give my own life, for the sake of the village, for Edren. For those I love.” Her expression was earnest and she searched his eyes for his acknowledgment of her vow.
“You would forsake your own safety to win this battle, and trust me to lead you, no matter what?”
“You know it already.” Her eyes shone, and deep within her the spirit of summer was growing; the gift that she carried made real by their passion. Maerose from Riversbend was a woman now, a woman who carried a wealth of female power, as yet untapped.
He nodded, for he felt her soul rise to join his. In her heart he found the unspoken acknowledgement of their union in fate. Energy flared between them as they joined in purpose, in passion.
She reached to touch his lips with her fingers. “You are my master, Bron. Show me the way.”
He captured her wrists in his hands, his will to have her growing fierce. Drawing her closer, he watched her lips parting with anticipation. She was so soft in his arms, yet so ripe and full of vital, life-giving elixir. He drew her hands behind her back and reached for her lips, his mouth bruising hers. She struggled against him, her body warm against his. Supple. As darkness shifted in the land around them, his need to brand her as his own took over.
“My master,” she whispered again, breathless. As he looked down at her she dropped to her knees before him, her hands trailing over his body, her touch making his blood roar. She was full of incandescent heat. She rested her face against his breeches, moaning softly as she rubbed herself against him. “The power to make magic and change things is yours, Bron.” She looked up at him, her face flushed with arousal. “I am your handmaiden in this,” she whispered.
“We are joined now,” he breathed, barely able to speak with her touching him so bravely. “We are as one now, in this and in all things.”