Rainbow Snippets: First Kiss

I meant to do this a couple weeks back but I’ve been busy on the weekends. Quite a few covers have been created in that time including one for a brand new author! It’s really exciting to create the cover for someone’s very first book.

At any rate, I’m here and I’m about to address the comments I got last time I did this. Last time out I posted from Out of the Pocket, a kiss between Bryce and Joss after they get back together. It’s a kiss that references their first kiss and people wanted to know about that first kiss so here it is!

“You’re so beautiful.”

The breath soft whisper preceded the press of Joss’s lips to his own and Bryce melted. No one had ever kissed him so sweetly or with such leashed passion. In his lifetime, he’d only ever received a half dozen fleeting, perfunctory kisses from men. He’d always feared being caught so he rarely indulged in his sexual urges. Joss’s kiss spilled over with a deep yearning that echoed Bryce’s own cravings. He didn’t know this man, but his body and soul seemed to as they leaped to respond to Joss.

Like last time, that’s actually seven sentences, but it’s my understanding there’s a bit of leeway there.  This is the first kiss between my football heroes and like the last one I posted, it takes place on a football field as well. I’ve kinda decided I need to table these guys temporarily because I need to get my mojo back and, right now, that mojo wants me to work on something else, something new. I’m hoping that they will flow from my fingers and eventually bring me back to Bryce and Joss so I can finish their story and get them published one way or the other! Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed their first kiss!

Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook group and meme for sharing excerpts from your own or others’ stories about queer/LGBTQ characters. The goal is to share six lines—one for each stripe on the rainbow flag. Most rainbow flags have six stripes, but there are variations with up to nine, so participants have some leeway with the exact number.

Find more Rainbow Snippets on the Rainbow Snippets Facebook page or by looking for #rainbowsnippets and #rainbowsnippet on twitter. It’s a great way to discover new authors.

Have a good one!

The Next Big Thing: The King of Dick Lit

My pal Tara Lain tagged me to be in this huge blog hop called The Next Big Thing. You answer some questions about your current WIP, tag the person who tagged you and then tag four more people who will link back to you and four other people and so on and so on…

Me being me, first I couldn’t figure out if I could find 4 people who weren’t already tagged. (I did!) Then I couldn’t decide on the WIP. (It’s not like I don’t have a tough enough time working on 5 WIPs at the same time!) It’s not like be to be so indecisive but…I must have a moon in some weird ass phase or planet or something. Anyway, here’s my Next Big Thing!

What is the working title of your book?

The King of Dick Lit. The title came from the end of Kissing Joan Collins when my hero Logan Moore an author of mysteries became a gayrom author whom his editor Kris calls “the King of Dick Lit.”

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I wanted to write a sequel to Kissing Joan Collins but I hadn’t come up with a plot. Then someone (probably Kris Jacen) said we should all write stories about our characters going to GayRomLit2012. Then I saw the video of Jared Rackler dancing and I got this amazing idea for Logan Moore to go to GRL2012.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a gayrom, of course. MM contemporary

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

Why do people ask this? I don’t usually put famous faces on my characters. *runs to look up some hotties* Matt Bomer looks like he might work for Logan Moore. Trevor Donovan might fit for Chase Courtland. And man, would they look HOT together! *fans self*

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

Author Logan Moore spends a week in Albuquerque at GayRomLit tarnishing his “King of Dick Lit” crown as he dirty dances, ogles hotties, gets horny and sports wood in public all because of his irrepressible, totally luscious, crossing dressing husband, Chase.

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?

My editor at MLR Press has dibs on this one.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It’s not finished yet but it will probably take me a couple of months to finish because I’m juggling other projects too.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre.

It’s predecessor, Kissing Joan Collins. It’s a gayrom with quirky humor and some sweet loving. I don’t know that I’m like anyone else and I almost feel like I’m being presumptuous by saying oh, it’s like this person’s book or that person’s book.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Jared Rackler’s Ass. (Don’t blush, kid!)

What else about your book might interest the reader?

It has a very masculine six foot tall hottie in a tight dress…that’s gotta count for something! 😉

Person who tagged me: Tara Lain

Suckers…erm…people I tagged:

Belinda McBride

Adera Orphanelli

Stephani Hecht

WM Kirkland

Now isn’t that fun for a Monday morning?

Here’s some inspiration too! The next Encounters short story has Colin cuffed to the bed for some violet wand play. YUM.

My big holiday giveaway starts on Thanksgiving so come back then for a chance to win ebooks, print books and gift cards from lots of amazing authors! Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!

It’s All Greek To Me

We’re having a little discussion on the Pink Petal Books Reader Group about heroes, Alpha, Beta, Omega, Cowboy, Cop, Construction Worker, Corporate Giant… It got me to thinking, who ARE my heroes? What are they? Do they fit neatly into the Greek alphabet or do they cross the lines? I do, after all, love to blur the lines of sterotypes.

If I break it down by book, the most obvious Alpha hero I have is Roul Verlaine in Mating. Roul is the quintessential Alpha. He’s a werewolf who leads his pack. He’s an action man, a decision maker, and within his world he’s a force of nature. When he meets his mate, the fact that she too is Alpha, totally turns him on and makes him even more eager to pounce on her, take her, and make her his own. He’s a tad bit chauvinistic, but then again, that seems to be an overriding Alpha trait. They always want to be the top of the heap and that means commanding their women too even if the women are Alpha. However, like a good marriage, compromise becomes the key and a smart Alpha will learn to work in tandem with his Alpha mate. Despite the fact that within an hour of meeting Morgan, Roul has her beneath him in bed, he does learn to compromise.

Now, Roul’s twin Ranulf is the Beta.  In Runaways, Ran meets a woman on a train and instantly wants her. However, he doesn’t get up from his table in the dining car and approach her. It’s not until some Goth kids push him into her that he takes the opportunity to hit on her. And Dante is the one who invites Ran to her sleeper cabin, not the other way around. It’s not that Ran can’t take charge because he can. And he does, the instant he has a naked Dante all over him.

Ran’s used to being Roul’s right hand and dealing with pack business in an aggressive manner. But personally, he lacks that instantaneous urge to dominate that his older twin has.  Where Roul made the decision in moments to pounce on Morgan, Ran let Dante come to him and then he took control.  The Beta therefore has slightly less strong instincts to possess and has a bit more finesse when it comes to dealing with their mates. Think of it as the Cro Magnon man compared to the Neandertal.

My quintessential Beta has always been Weylyn Randall. But in Common Ground, you don’t necessarily get the impression that Weylyn is Beta. Set beside Marius, you wonder about both men.  Marius has a lot of confusion about his mate for an Alpha.  Fortunately, I give the reasons for it. When Colin ogles Marius’s mate, the Alpha surfaces and Marius takes his younger brother to task for it. Colin, who is also Alpha, but often doesn’t come off that way (see the beginning of Hot Water where Eden thinks Colin is Beta because he’s so laid back), does back off. For one, Marius is his older brother and for another, he already has a mate. Had Colin not been mated, he might not have backed down so easily.

As for Weylyn, you discover that he has an Alpha, a female Alpha whom he respects and would do anything for. You see that Weylyn is the laid back type who often lets his mate take charge. But like any good Beta, when needed to bring a situation or a person to heel, he can bring some major force to bear. Reading Weylyn you’ll find that he shares a lot of the same qualities of Ranulf. If there’s no Alpha to take charge, they will automatically rise to the challenge.  Betas are not weak. In many ways, they have far more strength than an Alpha because they must always hold themselves ready to support the Alpha. Second in command is often a tougher job than leading because not only do the lower ranks look up to you, the leader himself looks to you for support. So it’s no surprise that Weylyn Randall doesn’t come off as weak beside the Alpha, Marius Granville.

In the Pixie Prince, Max doesn’t come off as Alpha when sharing the page with Alexa, his snapping, growling, take charge vampire best friend. Yet, with his mate Bliss, it becomes much more obvious. The fact that Max is a nice guy tempers his aggressive tendencies. And besides, the fae aren’t as territorial as werewolves and vampires anyway.

The obvious Alphas in my books are the ones who are Doms. Ride the Lightning‘s Vahid Delrey may brown nose his boss Sean Antaeus (the most Alpha of Alphas in the Tales series) but in his own domain, his own dungeon, Vahid is a Dom. He controls his mate Emily sexually. The submissive Emily comes off as Alpha while at work because she is in charge of the finances of a multi-billion dollar empire. At home, she has a penchant for pain and submitting to Vahid is what makes her happy. Readers may have thought she was Alpha, but she is not. They may have thought Vahid was Beta, but he is not.

In their case, it’s a question of business versus sex. Just because you are an Alpha doesn’t mean your job lets you be one while on the clock and vice versa. However, at home, their true natures are obvious as Vahid takes control and Emily revels in it.

My other Dom is Aric Calderwood in Insolence. Aric is a total Alpha male and his best friend Ainsley Connor is Alpha too. All Aric has ever known of Ainsley is her strong personality and her need to lead. As children, their similar personalities are what made them best friends. As adults, Aric doesn’t want Ainsley on his turf – his BDSM club Insolence –  because he can’t bear the thought of watching her with another man, even if it’s a Beta or Omega.

For Ainsley, her love for Aric is so strong that she would do anything to have him, including shoving her Alpha into a box and nailing it shut so she can sub for her best friend. The very fact that she has the strength of will to subdue her Alpha tendencies for Aric tells you what she is. And for these two, life has a dividing line similar to Ride the Lightning’s. Sexually, Aric has control. He is the Alpha in the relationship. Outside the bedroom, the two resume the give and take they have known all their lives and Ainsley’s Alpha has free rein.

Over all, my heroes tend to be Alphas, but often my heroines are as well. And my Beta heroes are strong while some of my Alphas must bow to other Alphas. There’s Garret and Holden in Fire Season who must learn to work together despite both of them being Alpha. And in the office, Garret answers to Emily while Holden looks to his older brother Sean. Both of these Alphas have had to learn to compromise in business and in their private lives, but they make it work.

The same holds true of Declan Antaeus who also answers to his brother Sean.  But in Shifting Winds, we also learn that an Alpha who gives control over to the woman he loves can be hotter than the Mojave Desert in August. When Declan lets Elysia fuck him with a vibrator…well, it’s not exactly a very Alpha thing to do. Or is it? Declan still controls the situation. He’s asking her to do this, giving her the toys to use, the whole scene is orchestrated by him very subtly but still. He may be the one being fucked, but it’s what he asks for in order to achieve a certain level of pleasure. He’s definitely still in control.

With the M/M dynamic, you have to be a little more subtle about things when you have a pair of Alphas. Of course, it would be a lot easier to write if one was Alpha and the other not. I don’t tend to take the easy way out of emotions when writing though. In Where There’s Smoke, Zander is clearly Alpha with the aggression to prove it. His mate Voth is Alpha too, but Voth is a bit less aggressive, a little bit more cerebral, and his emotions aren’t as Neandertal as Zander’s. Of course, Voth was raised in a very different culture than Zander and his future was always destined, not something he’d have to fight for. The very fact that Zander’s spent his life fighting makes him appear more Alpha than Voth.  They are essentially equals, but it manifests itself in different ways. When Voth gives in to Zander, it’s because intellectually, logically, it’s the thing to do. Or in the case of sex, he just wants to cause he knows his turn is coming. 😉

So where does all this leave us with regard to the Greek alphabet? I’m not sure. A character like Roul Verlaine is obvious to a reader. A character like Declan Antaeus or Weylyn Randall may not be. There are subtleties to these characters and things that they may have to do to survive in their world that may not fall strongly under the label of Alpha or Beta. Personally, I think the blurring of these Greek lines is what gives a character depth and endears them to readers. But what do I know? In the end, it’s all Greek to me.

Auld Lang Syne

I’ve taken an old acquaintance of mine from The Bar and breathed new life into him. Or rather, have begun to breathe new life into him. Weylyn Randall, my perpetually horny werewolf, will be making his book debut in Common Ground, due out in April 2010. I’ve only just started work on CG, and it’s got about 1300 words in it at the moment. (Not counting notes and tidbits.)

The idea to use a character who has a strong presence in my head didn’t come easily to me. At The Bar, Weylyn is a hero in his own right. No secondary character at all. When I envisioned who he would be years after his story in The Bar, I wrote The Were & Chair where he meets his mate. Again, no secondary status.  Now, in Common Ground, I’m relegating him to the lesser role.

Yet, I can already see that a great deal of Common Ground will be shaped by Weylyn’s unique personality. In a menage a quatre, you’d better have strong personalities to deal with the repercussions of sex outside your bond with your mate. Weylyn and Keir have an open relationship in the sense that they do have sex with other people, just always with their mate along for the ride too. They are a team and when they decide to take on a temporary partner for fun, it’s with the understanding that that person is there for both of them to enjoy.

Slotting such an adventurous couple into a story about Marius Granville seems awkward. Well, it is awkward. Marius is very straight laced. He doesn’t let go of his emotions. He doesn’t do outrageous things. Weylyn is all about the outrageous. When Marius begins to fall for Sair and discovers that to have her he has to become involved with Weylyn and Keir too… well, it’s a big step for Marius to take. He’s been strictly heterosexual up to this point, but now the woman he wants more than anything is asking him to step out of his comfort zone.

Pushing Marius out of his comfort zone wasn’t the difficult part either. I knew Sair could do it. But pushing him into a M/M situation and not having him be squicked out… that was the thing I had problems with. Until I hit upon the idea of bringing Weylyn to this book. If anyone could suck Marius’s cock and not make the vampire feel like he’d lost his masculinity, Weylyn could.

And that is how I happened to bring a strong character, a main character, into a book where he stands in the secondary slot. It’s a very important job I’ve given him and I truly think he is up to it. He’s a special character and holds a piece of my heart because of it. No one can roll with the punches like Weylyn. I hope that when Common Ground comes out, you will see exactly what I mean. It’s my intent that you fall in love with Marius and Sair… and with Weylyn and Keir as well.

Black Angel

Well, I did it. I killed off Macaire the Fallen Angel. Those of you who read my earlier post about Macaire know this wasn’t an easy thing to do. Originally, Macaire was supposed to be redeemed at the end of this part of his story. However, in my head, I visualized Macaire as Heath Ledger. When Heath died, it became increasingly difficult to write Macaire. That’s when I knew I had to kill off the character.

Writing Macaire’s death should have been easy. I’d been steadily making him more unhinged and evil from the time Heath died, with the idea that it would be simpler to off a really bad guy. I mean, killing Onyx the evil black dragon was a piece of cake. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out the way you want them to. Macaire was always essentially a good guy, so in the end his death wasn’t the happy event Onyx’s was. It was just tragic.

Here’s some background for you and then I’ll give you the actual post where Macaire dies. Macaire is after Nyx McClaren. Nyx is a water fairy who is bonded to her mate, a silver dragon named Valerian Kronos. Nyx is also a legendary spy called The McClaren. The McClaren is protected by an ancient being, a guardian called an Am-feare fair. Alfred is Nyx’s Am-feare fair and he usually looks like Batman’s Alfred, a white haired old man. The other characters in this post include Sterling and Mal, both of whom are new Fallen Angels, who were set the task of keeping an eye on Valerian, Nyx, and Macaire. Their boss is Elysia, who is in charge of the angels. Her boss is Marius, the Archangel. Elysia’s two sisters, Venetia and Althea are also angels. The song that accompanies the post is by The Cult and it really fits this post well, so make sure you play it. And now, here’s the death of Macaire:

Black Angel

My Rhapsody Playlist

Sometimes being Marius’ right hand sucked ass. Elysia paced her office as she thought, trying to come up with a way to solve all the things that had gone wrong so quickly. Althea was falling in love with Lorenzo Moretti. She should be pulled off of the blue dragon prodigy case, but now that the blues knew there was danger, Elysia wouldn’t be able to place someone else that close to them. For now, to protect the prodigy, Althea had to stay with Lorenzo despite how much it went against the grain with Elysia.

Venetia had her hands full containing the mess that was Ogilvie’s death. Elysia knew she would take a considerable amount of heat from Marius over it too. Originally, Macaire’s assignment was to protect Ogilvie. It had been a long term assignment, something Elysia had never liked, but Marius had strangely insisted on. In fact, Marius had been reluctant for some time to rein in Macaire, something that made Elysia very edgy.

Now, the whole situation with Macaire was blowing up with no one experienced on hand to contain it. Sure, Sterling was ex-CIA, but she was a new angel and Mal was just a baby despite the sexual feelings he already had for his partner. Macaire was rogue and dangerous. He’d killed the man he was supposed to be protecting, just to cause a diversion that would keep Venetia tied up for hours. Now, he was intent on killing his sister and her new husband. On top of that, he had no qualms about taking out an ancient being, the Am-feare fair. Neither Elysia nor Marius knew whether the Am-feare fair would be able to protect the McClaren from Macaire. Neither of them knew whether Oberon’s Ogham rings would protect the couple. The situation was fraught with a host of unknowns and Elysia had no help.

It had been years since she’d been in the field. Not since Althea had become strong enough to handle a job on her own had Elysia actually worked a job herself. This time, she had no choice. Not only was she the only angel available, she was the only one stronger than Macaire. As she transported herself to the dock, she wondered if that was why Marius had allowed things to shake out the way they had. He’d known no one would be able to contain Macaire but her.

When Elysia stepped out of the shadows and revealed herself to Sterling and Mal, she found the young man antsy to get involved in the drama that was unfolding at the Dragonfire.

“Aren’t you going to stop him?” Mal demanded, gesturing toward Macaire, who was tossing a bolt of energy at the McClaren.

“It’s not that simple, Mal,” Elysia said evenly, her eyes never leaving Macaire’s angry form. “I can’t just put whammy on a creature as powerful as Macaire. He’s not a human or a being with a lot less power than me. In order to contain him, I need to use my power judiciously.”

Sterling’s sharp eyes went from Macaire to Elysia and back again. “Even our combined power…?” she trailed off, her voice questioning.

Elysia shook her head, her long brunette hair fluttering. “The two of you are not to do anything but observe. That was Marius’ direct order,” she intoned coldly. “Also, because of the Ogham rings, we must bide our time. There are things at stake in this conflict that must be resolved. We must wait and watch as the scene plays out. I will know when it is time for me to take Macaire in hand.”

The three angels turned their eyes to the Dragonfire in time to see Macaire’s bolt of energy pick Nyx up and fling her against the yacht twenty feet behind her. Mal winced and Sterling’s eyes darkened. Elysia herself betrayed her concern with a tightening of the corners of her mouth. Still, the three of them stood in the darkness and watched Macaire go supernova.

“Aren’t you going to fight back, sister?” he spat as he stepped onto the dock. “You’re not even going to make this challenging for me, are you?”

“You’re not my brother, Macaire,” Nyx panted angrily. “You’re just a pain in my ass!”

At the last word, she threw her hand out and a golden bolt of light shot out directly from her Ogham ring. Elysia’s eyebrows rose. The ring had absorbed the bolt of energy that Macaire had thrown at her and now she was directing it back at him. Unfortunately, Macaire disappeared and the bolt of energy hit the back of the Dragonfire with a muffled boom that rocked the big yacht. He reappeared, laughing delightedly.

He clapped his hands politely. “Bravo, Nyx! Very well played. Those are nifty little rings for sure. I wonder what Valerian’s ring can do. Shall we ask him?”

Macaire snapped his fingers and an immobile Valerian appeared on the deck of the Dragonfire. Nyx McClaren’s eyes flashed blue green fire. Sterling shifted restlessly on her booted feet, and Elysia knew her first instinct was to protect the man who was held captive. Her CIA training allowed her to remain focused on the target, Macaire, all the while plotting how to release the victim. Elysia was more than pleased with the cool logic of Sterling’s thoughts under pressure. Mal, on the other hand, was showing signs of impatience, something Sterling was going to have to train out of him.

Valerian Kronos was glaring angrily at his mate while she glared angrily at Macaire, who was grinning with triumph. Casually, he tossed another bolt at Nyx. She moved with lightning speed, trying to avoid the bolt but it followed her like a heat seeking missile, tossing her a good hundred feet down the dock. Valerian’s eyes flared with heat and his Ogham ring glowed brightly. Nyx picked herself up and stalked back toward the Dragonfire, her ring glowing more and more the closer she got to Valerian.

“Let him go, Macaire. This is between you and me. If I die, you know he dies too, so there is no need for you to keep him here,” Nyx gritted out, her voice cold as ice.

Macaire shook his head. “Oh, on the contrary, Nyx,” he told her in a smoothly contemptuous voice. “I have every reason to keep him here. You would do anything to save his silver hide. That is an ace in the hole to me. Just a little insurance in case the Am-feare fair here gets out of hand.”

“I cannot engage you, Macaire. You know that. I can only protect Mrs. Kronos. I cannot raise my hand to stay you until your overt actions become more than she can handle on her own,” Alfred intoned, his huge robed body as motionless as stone.

“Well, then. I suppose it’s time to up the ante, eh old man?” Macaire’s laughter was filled with insane delight as he waved his hand toward Valerian Kronos.

As if a hand had pushed him, Valerian toppled over the rail of the Dragonfire into the murky river. Nyx let out a startled cry, knowing, as they all did, that Valerian was unable to move because of the whammy Macaire had put on him. He was sinking like a stone in the river, unable to swim.

“You sonofa…” Nyx rushed Macaire, her movements a blur. In the blink of an eye, her hands were around his throat, squeezing powerfully into the muscle.

Macaire’s face turned purple as he stared unblinkingly into Nyx’s furious eyes. Elysia made a motion with her hand toward the river and Sterling took off running, diving off the dock into the oily water in one swift movement. Mal rushed to the edge and crouched there, waiting for her to come back up with Valerian.

As Nyx struggled with Macaire, both the Am-feare fair and Elysia closed in on them. Elysia wasn’t sure what to do other than play a waiting game. This was the Am-feare fair’s responsibility. If by chance he was unable to contain Macaire, Elysia herself would do it.

“I will make you pay for what you’ve done to my family,” Nyx growled into Macaire’s face.

“MY family. Mine before it was ever yours!” Macaire rasped. His arms came up and knocked hers away. He tried to put the whammy on her, but strangely, it didn’t work.

Nyx’s Ogham ring was emitting a high pitched whine and Nyx herself was glowing with a weird purplish light. The Am-feare fair hadn’t made a sound, but Elysia knew he was concentrating on Nyx and Macaire. A glance at the river showed that Sterling and Valerian still hadn’t come up. That worried Elysia a little, but she had to stay focused on Macaire.

“Fuck you, Macaire,” Nyx spat as Macaire grabbed her arm, twisting it painfully. “You’re no McClaren. A McClaren would never do anything as dishonest as what you’ve done. You had the opportunity to be more than the McClaren. You had a chance to help people as an angel, yet all you’ve done is feed into the base emotions of greed and jealousy and envy. You do not have the qualities necessary to BE the McClaren!”

Nyx wrenched out of his hold. Fury lit Macaire’s expression and the wind began to tear at everyone’s clothes. He drew a deep breath and when he exhaled flames shot out of his nostrils, licking toward Nyx. She laughed at him, which seemed to infuriate him even more.

“My mate is a dragon. You think I cannot withstand fire?” she taunted him, her long ponytail whipping in the wind. “You’re foolish, Macaire. Just give up before you do something that will require that Alfred destroy you!”

Elysia shook her head. Nyx shouldn’t be taunting him. It was a bad move on her part. She had no idea what she was up against. Thus far, Macaire had only been toying with her. Elysia wondered if he was done playing now. He certainly looked as if he was.

Sure enough, Macaire made a movement with his hand and Nyx floated up off the dock, as if held by an invisible hand. She struggled, but couldn’t free herself. The Am-feare fair took two steps forward.

“Let her go,” he intoned.

Macaire tossed the huge man in the purple robes a sardonic look. “I think not, Alfred,” he said mockingly. “I think it’s time I showed you all what kind of power you’re messing with. Valerian is gone to the bottom of the river now. Next will be Nyx. If you get in my way, Alfred, you will go before her.”

Alfred took another step toward Macaire. “I cannot let you harm the McClaren.”

Macaire put out his free hand toward Alfred. “I AM THE MCCLAREN!” he yelled furiously. “She is nothing! Just a fucking girl! A girl who got everything that should have been mine! She got my title, my castle, my very life! SHE TOOK IT FROM ME!”

Macaire’s fingers twisted and Nyx twisted in his grasp, as if her body was being crushed by a giant unseen hand. Blood trickled from her nose as she struggled to get free. The Ogham ring was emitting a loud ringing whine now.

“Fuck. You.” Nyx’s words were obviously a struggle to get out, but the fury in her eyes matched Macaire’s.

He twisted his hand again and her body bent in the air, blood now trickling in a stream from her ears and the corner of her mouth. “I will never give in,” she panted, blood spraying with every breath she exhaled.

The Am-feare fair made a movement, his hands emerging from his robes. Macaire laughed at him, making Nyx twist even more grotesquely in the air. Alfred took a step toward Macaire, intent on making him release Nyx.

Elysia’s eyes widened then as the leg of Nyx’s black catsuit split down the thigh as if rent from within. There was a glint of metal there, yet Nyx’s arms were nowhere near her thigh. Elysia bit back as gasp as she saw a deadly little blade appear. She recognized it at once. The Am-feare fair began to smile and lowered his hands.

“Giving up, Alfred?” Macaire mocked, his laughter maniacal. “You know you cannot win. I am the true McClaren. This bitch imposter will now die and I will take back what is rightfully mine!”

As Macaire moved his hands to crush Nyx, the lethal little sgian dubh shot through the air toward the angel. Just before it buried itself in his throat, Macaire saw it coming and screamed. “Noooooo!”

There was a gurgle as the dirk buried itself to the hilt in Macaire’s flesh. His hands came up to claw at it, but he could not remove it. No longer held in Macaire’s power, Nyx fell to the dock unconscious. Alfred ran to Nyx. Elysia ran to Macaire. Behind her, she heard a splash as Sterling broke the surface of the river.

Macaire lay on the dock, his pupils expanding as black blood poured from the wound in his throat to puddle beneath him. Elysia knelt beside him and took his hand. He worked his mouth, but no words came out. In her head, she heard his thoughts.

Why?

Because this was not your destiny, Macaire. You are not the McClaren and were never meant to be so.

Then why show me what should have been mine? Why?

Elysia shook her head sadly. I don’t know. At some point in our existence, Marius takes us each back to our pasts to show us who we were. I do not know why. I have my suspicions, but they are only conjecture.

Why did the sgian dubh attack me? I am a McClaren.

Above them Alfred intoned, “The blade is cursed in several ways. Primarily, it will seek out evil and seek to kill those who act with evil intent. It is also cursed to only work when thrown from the hand of the McClaren. The last part of the curse is that it will seek to protect the McClaren from any harm. The blade was forged by the first Am-feare fair and cursed by his lover, a witch. The blade was made to perform its duties flawlessly. And so it has this night.”

Alfred turned and walked away, picking up Nyx’s limp body and stepping onto the Dragonfire. Elysia looked over her shoulder and saw Mal carrying the dripping body of Valerian Kronos. Sterling’s eyes were filled with concern.

“You can save him,” Elysia told her. “The Ogham ring protected him from drowning, did it not?”

Sterling nodded. “It’s why I couldn’t get him up to the surface. The damned ring was fighting me. I couldn’t get a grip on him,” she said. “It was like he was in a protective bubble.”

Elysia gestured toward the yacht. “Take him to his mate. They need each other to recover,” she said quietly.

“What about Macaire?” Mal asked.

Elysia turned away from them. “He is my responsibility.”

Sterling and Mal stepped onto the Dragonfire and disappeared below the deck. When they were gone, Elysia stroked her hands over Macaire’s golden hair. Tears were leaking from his eyes.

I am to go now, aren’t I? he asked her.

She nodded. I cannot stop the blade from doing its duty. It is your time to go, Macaire.

He blinked at her, his throat working, causing the blade to sink in further. More black blood gushed from the wound. I’m sorry, Elysia. I was wrong. His eyes pleaded with her.

I wish I could help you, Macaire, but I cannot. You set yourself on this path, and it is not for me to alter its course. I wish you peace in the Afterworld.

Elysia pulled the dirk from Macaire’s throat and a flood of black blood spurted from it, soaking through his clothes. The light in his eyes faded swiftly, the pupils expanding until the irises were gone. Elysia closed his eyelids and looked for the dirk but it was gone. When she looked back at Macaire he was fading swiftly until the outline of his body became whisps of fog that disappeared into the night.

Rising to her feet, Elysia sighed heavily. This was not the first angel she had seen go to the Afterworld. However, every time she witnessed it, she felt sick to her stomach. She looked up as Sterling and Mal joined her. Sterling had already removed the water from her clothes.

“What do we do now?” Sterling asked Elysia.

The tall brunette cleared her throat. “Just make sure they get back to Scotland without any further trouble,” she said softly. “I need to check on Venetia.”

Sterling and Mal nodded and Elysia took herself back to her office. Sitting in the corner on the settee was Marius. He had a tray of tea and was sipping from a porcelain cup. Elysia bit her lip and sat down in the chair across from him. He leaned forward and poured her a cup of tea, adding a bit of cream and a lump of sugar, just as she liked it. He handed it to her and she sipped the hot beverage, thinking there was nothing a good, hot cup of tea could not overcome.

“It is done.”

“I know.” Marius sipped his tea, his pale blue eyes on the woman who had been his right hand for centuries. “You never like this part.”

“No.” Elysia refused to look at him.

“You liked him.”

She sighed and set the cup down, her eyes finally meeting his. “I did. Until he decided he didn’t want to be one of us any longer. Then I knew he was on borrowed time. I just did not want to be the one to witness his passing. I like the creation of life, Marius, not the ending of it.”

Marius stood up and walked over to where she sat. He stroked a hand over her glossy brown hair. “I know, love. I know.” He bent and kissed the top of her head and dissolved into thin air.

Elysia sat sipping her tea for a long time, staring out the window at the puffy clouds in the night sky. There should be something to herald his passing, she thought, like the bell ringing in that Christmas movie when the angel got his wings. He’d had so much talent. It made her heart ache to see it all wasted.

After a long moment struggling to set aside her sadness, Elysia pulled a file folder toward her, seeking to bury herself in her work.

This post is dedicated to Heath Ledger, a talent that left us far too soon.
4 April 1979 – 22 January 2008

Have a great day!