Tag Archives: Excerpt Monday

Excerpt Monday: The Wolf’s Mate

Excerpt Monday Logo
Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You don’t have to be published to participate–just an writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the Excerpt Monday site! or click on the banner above.

The Wolf’s Mate: a Tale of Holtlands releases tomorrow, which is of course making me very excited indeed. I love these two charaters. I love their story, their romance and the way they interact. I am currently writing part 3 The Wolf’s Destiny, and things are really getting dramatic!

Tomorrow, I’m going to have some more information about the story, the things that inspired it, the elements that changed along the way and a little competition or two. I like them.

Today, however is Excerpt Monday, so here is an excerpt from The Wolf’s Mate. Hope you enjoy.


Their love is a forbidden gift. Keeping it means a fight to the death…

A noise in the night woke her. Only cold air met her when she rolled over. There was no sign of Shan, just a faint outline in the furs and blankets where he had lain. Beyond the shelter of the tent, the fire had dwindled away to a dull red glow and the chill in the night made her shiver.


There was no answer. Her side ached as she sat up, reminding her to move slowly and with care lest the wound rip open again. Twice now she had done that and Shan had drilled into her the need to protect it.

“Shan?” she tried again.

A hand touched her shoulder, a cold hand like that of a corpse. Jeren turned with a cry and found herself looking into the face of Mirrow, the handsome young guard who had once been her friend and companion, who had died before she met Shan.

Terror killed the words in her tight throat. Mirrow raised a finger to his lips. “Shh…” His icy breath struck her face and her body stiffened in alarm. She stared at him.

It was him, in every detail. His thick brown hair, the little scar on his chin and the lopsided grin. She had found it endearing, a little rakish. Once, before she met Shan and truly knew the emotion, she had thought she might love Mirrow. A childish infatuation. She knew that now.

“You’re dead,” she told him in a tiny voice, though whether to remind herself or impart the truth to him, she couldn’t say.

His eyes glittered darkly. Not the coppery warmth she remembered but endless black, two windows on the void.

Jeren’s mouth opened but no sound came out. She heard thunder, fierce and loud, and only after a moment did she realise it was her own heart.

“Kiss me,” said Mirrow, leaning closer. “You always wanted to kiss me. It wasn’t fitting though. That’s over now. Kiss me.”

She jerked back, but his arms closed about her like iron, his touch so cold it drained what little warmth she had left. She needed help. She needed Shan.

“Ah,” came the sigh of realisation, of understanding. It flowed around her, chilled her. “Not this face. Not anymore. How fickle you mortals are. Something else then, something more like this.”

Transfixed, she watched Mirrow’s features flow and change, colour draining away, his close-cropped hair growing and twisting itself into braids. Tiny braids of silver-white.

Now Shan was holding her.

Jeren gazed into his eyes. The sorrow was gone. For the first time since she had known him there was no trace of pain. No shadow of the past. No scars left by her brother’s blight on his life. Dazed and confused, she struggled to focus. Her mind dragged its way sluggishly to accommodate this change. Had she been dreaming?

“Whatever were you thinking?” he asked.


“Shh…” He brushed his long fingers down the line of her jaw and her skin shivered beneath his touch. Her lips parted in a gasp of surprise as the tip of his forefinger played across her bottom lip.

In the back of her mind, some instinct struggled wildly. This was wrong. Shan’s smile never looked so hungry, quite so ravenous as this. If anything, this smile reminded her of her brother Gilliad, and her subconscious mind rebelled to see it on Shan’s handsome face.

Then he kissed her.

Shan’s hand closed on the back of her neck, tangling her hair in his fingers so she was trapped. In his strong grip she couldn’t help but let him have his way. And this kiss was far more than his chaste and respectful kisses. Even they stirred every sense she possessed. This time he sent her desire out of all control.

She clawed at his shoulders, hungry for him, desperate despite her discomfort or fear. It wasn’t right. She knew that. Her heart hammered against her ribs as all the time he held her in check, pushing her relentlessly back down onto the soft furs. This was wrong. Shan wouldn’t act this way. His honour was everything to him. And his honour would not allow him to do this to her, not without vows exchanged, a handfasting at the least. But this new, dark-eyed Shan was different. His mouth consumed hers, his kisses tearing away some vital part of her pitiful resistance.

Jeren opened her terrified eyes wide as the first jerk of energy within her snatched away her remaining breath. Now his lips devoured not just her own, but her very life force, tearing her soul and her very essence out with his kiss. Her body sagged, helpless under the enchantment, and her consciousness flickered like a candle in a gale. This wasn’t Shan. Couldn’t be Shan. But then, where was he?

The light in her gutted once more and went out.


The sight of the grey wolf drew Shan through the night. Fluid and beautiful, she crossed the snow without leaving a trail. As she looked back, her glance beckoned him on. It was almost too late when he realised his mistake. Anala would never deliberately draw him away from Jeren. The wolf’s ghost had brought them back together, had helped them to escape.

Dismissing it as another animal, albeit one almost as beautiful as his former companion, he turned his back. As he did so an alien movement caught the corner of his eye and the wolf was gone. Dull dread beat hollowly inside him as he looked instead to find a woman standing in the snow. Her eyes glistened, completely black without iris or white, and her long hair trailed behind her, as black as the smoke of a funeral pyre. Beneath the wolf skin draped around her shoulders she was naked, her pale skin both a lure and a warning.

“What are you?” he asked on a hitched breath.

She smiled, her lips parting to reveal sharp canines. “Am I not your desire? Both woman and wolf?”

Shan frowned and curved his left hand on the hilt of his sect knife, the right one against his sword. Both weapons felt cold, but wholly real. The only real thing about the scene before him. He acknowledged it to himself, swallowing hard on the lump in his throat. “You are not Anala’s ghost.”

“No.” She stepped closer and her features shifted subtly, her hair paling and rearranging itself in a thousand slender braids. Now his sister stood before him and yet he knew it was not, if only by the deviant gleam in her unnaturally black eyes. It could not be her, for Fa’linar would never look at her own brother in that way.

Shan slid the sect knife free. It formed a comfortable weight in his hands, his anchor in reality.

The woman’s gaze darted down to it for the briefest moment and when they returned to his face, her features had changed again. Her hair was brown, the deep glossy chestnut of Jeren’s hair. She flinched back from him.

“Shan? What’s wrong?” Her voice rang out in the night air—definitely her voice, every nuance correct. “Don’t you know me?” She reached out with trembling hands. But her eyes were still wrong. So desperately wrong.

Shan shook his head, trying to clear the image, but it remained before him, the human girl he loved, scared of his sudden aggression. Her face paled and she bit on her lower lip, as she always did when unsure.

He almost dropped both knife and sword. His eyes lingered on her face, then dropped down her nubile length. The perfect curve of her side. Without even the trace of a wound. Not even a scar. Flawless.

She stood no more than two feet away from him when he slashed out with the blade of his sect knife.

With speed and dexterity far beyond any mortal, she twisted aside and all her pretence fell away.

“You’re not my Jeren!” He kept the knife between them, and fear clawed at the back of his throat, though he used everything in his power to push it down.

The creature laughed, her illusions tumbling to the snow like the spring thaw.

“No. And soon your Jeren will be our Jeren and you, Shan’ith Al-Fallion, will be mine.”

“Never.” The word was a low growl. “You’re Fell’na. You’re everything my people despise.”

She turned away, her body twisting to smoke and shadows, but her voice lingered on the breeze like a taint. “So is she.”


Shan sprinted back to the camp, the knife heavy in his hands, the sword dragging at his arm with every step. He tore over rocks and through deep snow, reckless in his haste.

The dark form of a Fell’na cradled her, leaned over her mouth like a lover. But instead of kisses, it stole her life itself. Jeren’s arms hung limp at her side, her eyes stared vacantly at the skies overhead, and a thin covering of frost glistened on her perfect skin and twisted through the strands of her chestnut hair.

“No! Jeren!” Shan tore the creature off her and held it so it could not dissolve into mists and shadows. His knife flashed moonlight for the second before it bit into the darkness. The Fell’na cried out in a tongue close enough to his own that he recognised a curse. Then it sagged in his grip, nothing more than deadweight. He dropped it and pulled Jeren from the ground, gathering her in arms that suddenly felt weak, helpless.

Her body hung from his grip, so cold, dangerously cold, and her heart fluttered like that of a wounded bird.

“Curse it, Jeren,” he whispered, trying to rub some warmth back into her body. “Can I not leave you alone for a moment?” The feeble attempt at humour to rouse her fell sickeningly flat. He kissed her unresponsive lips and his heart plummeted when she remained still and cold as stone.

“She’s ours now,” a teasing voice carried on the breeze and he jerked his head up to meet the threat.

“No. I’ll keep her from you, Enchassa, Sorceress, Witch!” He rubbed Jeren’s arms furiously, trying to will her stolen life force back into her while the Fell’na Enchassa laughed.

“If you had the fire of the desire you claim to hold for her, that might do you some good. But it isn’t proper is it, Shan? You can’t save a lover with your love alone unless she’s your wife. That would shame you. And so would mating with a creature like that.”

“You won’t touch her.” He slashed towards the figure as it coalesced from the darkness. But her smile didn’t fade, no more than she did.

Beautiful as night, her skin like water under a moonless sky, iridescent waves of hair tumbling down her back, she moved towards him, each step more bewitching.

“She’ll be our thrall. Her magic ours to use. And so will you.” She laughed, the noise ripping through the air to caress his skin, setting the sensitive hairs vibrating with alarm and unwilling desire. “Ah yes, you can feel it too, Shan. Part of you even wants it. Come with me now and spare your people.”

“My…my people…” A fog drifted over his mind, the Enchassa’s power falling over him. He knew it even as he failed to shake it off.

“She’ll bring ruin to you all.” A fingertip slid down the length of his arm, leaving ice and terror in its wake. “This I prophecy. And though you think you love each other now, that will never endure. She lives for but a moment next to us. She is a brief light and at best you’ll spend countless years in mourning once she is gone. Her home will draw her back and I see only blood there, blood spilling all around, blood covering her, drowning her. And the blood of the Fey’na will stain the ground. Your blood, your people’s blood billowing through the pools beneath the Vision Rock. And all drawn because of a sword, a sword like a grasping hand reaching out from River Holt.”

The Enchassa’s grip closed around his throat. “Let’s end this, you and I,” she whispered, her breath like the first warning of a snowstorm.

“Don’t forget me,” Jeren hissed, her voice brittle from beneath them. She seized Shan’s hand and thrust the knife he was still holding right at the Enchassa’s heart. With a howl of rage the Fell’na threw herself back, turning to avoid it, and the blade sliced along her forearm, trailing a smear of tarry blood behind it.

Links to other Excerpt Monday writers
Note: I have not personally screened these excerpts. Please heed the ratings and be aware that the links may contain material that is not typical of my site. As Excerpt Monday is an international affair, some of the links might not be live as yet, so remember to check back.

Our hosts:-

Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG13)


Alexia Reed, Urban Fantasy (R)

Joining us this week:

Stephanie Draven, Fantasy with Romantic Elements (PG 13)
Danie Ford, Contemporary YA (PG 13)
Babette James, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Cynthia Justlin, Thriller with Romantic Elements (PG 13)
Kaige, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Jeannie Lin, Contemporary Romantic Elements (PG 13)
Shawntelle Madsion, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Debbie Mumford, Science Fiction/ Fantasy (PG13)

Excerpt Monday Logo

Remember to come back tomorrow, for release day music, chat adn a chance or two to win The Wolf’s Mate. Spread the word.

EM: New Release Monday

Excerpt Monday Logo
Welcome to the New Release Monday. This month, in addition to our typical excerpt week, we’re showcasing new releases by several fabulous EM writers. Check out the Excerpt Monday site! or click on the banner above.


The sequel to The Wolf’s Sister comes out on 19th January and follows the continuing adventures of Jeren and Shan. Check out the Excerpt Monday site for competitions and giveaways, including the chance to win a copy of The Wolf’s Mate!

The Wolf’s Mate: a Tale of the Holtlands

from Samhain Publishing

ISBN: 1-60504-702-3

ISBN13: 978-1-60504-702-7

Coming: January 19, 2010

“It’s well written, fast paced and filled with interesting and unique characters….The best part of the story is Jeren herself. I liked her in The Wolf’s Sister but in this release, she really grows and shines, as she turns into a confident and determined woman, willing to fight for her man. I’m very curious to see what happens to these two mates with the next and last release.” – 4 Nymphs, Mystical Nymph, Literary Nymphs Reviews Only

Their love is a forbidden gift. Keeping it means a fight to the death…

A Tale of the Holtlands, Book 2

Continue reading EM: New Release Monday

Excerpt Monday: Old Friends, part one

Excerpt Monday Logo

Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You don’t have to be published to participate–just an writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the Excerpt Monday site! or click on the banner above.

Old Friends: a Tale of the Holtlands by R. F. LongOld Friends: a Tale of the Holtlands

Part One

Invitations weren’t part of a warrior’s day to day experience. Tyria knew two things: people who wanted to see or spend time with her always had an ulterior motive; people in need of help just came straight out and asked.

Reese’s note was curt, almost rude. As her oldest friend, there should have been some sort of greeting at least. It had been four years and she hadn’t even had word he was home. He asked to see her, but didn’t say why. It had to be bad. Continue reading Excerpt Monday: Old Friends, part one

Coming Soon: an early Christmas present to you all

Who doesn’t love getting something for Christmas? Something free and packed full of excitement?

Starting Monday 14th (and tying in with Excerpt Monday too), I’m planning to post a five part Holtlands short story up here for you guys. Set in the same world as “The Wolf’s Sister” and the forthcoming novella “The Wolf’s Mate“, “Old Friends” introduces a new character, Tyria Scion of Tyr. Her story takes place many years after Jeren and Shan’s, but also features their enemies the Fell, some True Blood magic, and the mystery of a missing woman to be solved. You don’t need to have read the Holtlands stories before however. This one stands entirely on its own.

There are more Tyria stories on the cards too, one day.

Old Friends


  • Part One – 14th December
  • Part Two – 16th December
  • Part Three – 18th December
  • Part Four – 21st December
  • Part Five – Christmas Eve, 24th December.

(dates maybe subject to change but I’ll try to keep you up to date).

Come one, come all, invite your friends, blog me, tweet me and please please please comment!

Excerpt Monday: The Scroll Thief – Halia and Trask

Excerpt Monday Logo
Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You don’t have to be published to participate–just an writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the Excerpt Monday site! or click on the banner above.


The Scroll Thief: a Tale of Ithian comes out in print on 1st December. The ebook is currently available. To have a bit of an early celebration, here’s a section featuring the lawman Trask and former courtesan Halia, a chalk and cheese couple if ever there was one.

The horse trader didn’t have the most noteworthy reputation in the city, but he was more honest than most. The animals weren’t fed Dew to make them look stronger and brighter. But it also meant that the mounts they needed would cost them.

Mind you, thought Trask, sickly horses would cost us a hell of a lot more if it came to a chase.

Cerys had watched their inspection of the animals with a sceptical eye before interrupting as Trask made to select one.

“No. She’s too old.”

He frowned at her. “How do you know?”

She fixed him with that tight-lipped glare. “I come from Fean, famous for the horses bred there. I grew up on a ranch and unless I’m wrong, horses haven’t changed that much.”

He backed down, leaving her with Malachy, and joined Halia, who sat at the edge of the enclosure. She glanced at the sword Malachy had given him when he asked for a weapon, the same one she had held on him in the hall. Whatever she thought about his possession of it now, he couldn’t tell. She bore a hard-to-read expression. If the weapon belonged to Malachy he had no great attachment to it. Perhaps they were just practical enough to let the known swordsman carry the sword. Perhaps she didn’t really care. On noticing his scrutiny, she looked back at her brother and Cerys.

“She’ll pick the best he has and Malachy will argue the price down,” she assured him. “Not very far, but enough. If we need the money we can always send him back to steal it later.”

“No. That man is only trying to make a living.”

“Aren’t we all?”

He didn’t answer. Two women were picking out vegetables at a nearby stall. His ears pricked up at a snatch of their conversation.

“But they don’t know who His Lordship is, just that he seems like a gentleman, pays for the best, selects a girl and then…” She made a slashing motion across her throat.

“But in the Silken Jade…” her friend began dubiously.

Halia started to say something to him, but Trask caught her hand, squeezing it to silence her. He stood, pulling her after him towards the next stall, a baker’s.

“What are you doing?” she asked indignantly.

“I’m getting you some sweet pastries,” he told her, his steely gaze fixed on the two women. “Don’t argue. Just be quiet.” He jerked his head towards the women and then fell in beside them. Halia’s face fell and she slipped around to his other side, clinging to his arm like a lover.

“I know them,” she hissed.

But Trask didn’t reply. He gently squeezed one or two of the sweet cakes on offer, testing their freshness, for all the world trying to pick the finest one for her, an indulgent, if poor, lover. The baker’s boy glared at him, but Trask paid him no mind.

“It’s at least five girls in the last two months, all over the city,” the first woman went on. “It’s that Animus, I heard. It would take an animal to do that sort of butchery.”

“But wasn’t the High Enforcer in jail when this last one happened?”

“Who knows what they can do? Beliat’s boy is a guard and he said that Trask went clear through the walls to escape from Hopewell. He said the man’s a demon.”

Trask gritted his teeth. If this ever got sorted out, if he ever got his job back, he would find Beliat’s son and show him what a demon he could really be.

Halia pulled back from his tightening grip with a small cry and the scarf dropped from her face. The women looked around sharply.

“What is it, love?” Trask asked tenderly, pulling her to him and tilting her face up to his, hiding her from the others.

“Nothing,” she managed, just embarrassed enough to sound convincing. “I just stubbed my toe.”

He sensed her panic. If she said the wrong thing, those women could identify them. He had to shut her up and quickly, to turn the attention of those suspicious old biddies away.

“No one ever accused you of grace.” He laughed and bent to kiss her.

Halia froze as his lips met hers, her body hardening in his arms. He thought for a brief, desperate moment that she’d pull away in outrage, reveal their masquerade to the whole market, and pinpoint them to every guard and informant for miles around.

Then her body melted against his, sleek and compliant and all too intimate. She returned his kiss with a passion he had never experienced and a skill for which he found himself completely unprepared. His breath caught in his throat and his pounding blood centred on his groin. The pastries fell back into the stall as he caught her other hand and pulled it to his chest. Deep in her throat Halia uttered a groan, so quiet and smothered by their kiss that only he could hear it. Her fingers burrowed into the folds of his shirt, their tips brushing against the skin beneath and sending sudden sparks of desire shivering through him. Her perfume surrounded him, addling his mind, filling his senses. He stroked her hair through the scarf and held her to him, never to let her go.

The two women laughed gently as Halia pulled back and hurriedly wrapped her scarf around her face again.

“People will talk, love,” she said, a note of warning in her soft voice. “Maybe we should forget the cakes and just go home.”

Unable to think of a single argument, Trask allowed her to lead him back towards the stables, like one bewitched. Once they slipped around the corner, Halia slapped him hard across the face.

“Don’t ever do that again. Not even if our lives depend on it. Don’t come near me, don’t touch me, and don’t ever use me to eavesdrop on people.”

He caught her wrist before she could hit him again, twisting it up behind her back and holding it there. Her mouth opened in shock when he didn’t immediately release her, and then her expression stained with fear.

Good. She’d made a fool of him and he didn’t take that sort of thing lightly. She wasn’t invincible and it was time she realised it. No one was.


“Links to other Excerpt Monday writers
Note: I have not personally screened these excerpts. Please heed the ratings and be aware that the links may contain material that is not typical of my site.
Excerpt Monday Logo

Alexia Reed, Urban Fantasy (R)

Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG13)

Jane Bled, Yaoi/M-M Erotica/Vampire/Paranormal/Horror (PG 13)

Danie Ford, YA Urban Fantasy (PG 13)

Heather S Ingemar, Dark Fantasy (PG13)

Babette James, Fantasy Romance (PG13)

Cynthia Justlin, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)

Kaige, Historical Romance (PG 13)

Julia Knight, Fantasy Romance (PG 13)

Jeannie Lin, Historical paranormal romance (PG 13)

Shawntelle Madison, Paranormal Romance (PG 13)

Debbie Mumford, Fantasy (PG 13)

Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG13)

Megan S, Paranormal (PG 13)

Rosalind Stone, Women’s Fiction (PG 13)

Jo Lynne Valerie, Paranormal Romance (PG 13)

and many more on the Excerpt Monday site.

Excerpt Monday – Soul Fire at Samhain

Excerpt Monday Logo

Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You don’t have to be published to participate–just an writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the Excerpt Monday site! or click on the banner above.


With Halloween (Samhain) fast approaching, I’ve posted one of the scarier moments from my novel Soul Fire. Daire, Sidhe Prince of the Seelie court is trapped in the mortal world, aided by Rowan Blake, a human with an uncanny ability both to produce Soul Fire on which the Sidhe thrive, and to turn his world upside down. Fighting his growing attraction to her, Daire struggles to protect her from the dark Sidhe forces which follow him. Ambushed and driven into the forests, their only hope is to reach her home, before their enemies reach them.

Daire dropped to his knees, only the sword holding him up. Rowan sprinted to his side, leaping over undergrowth. She seized his arm, pulling him to his feet.

“Come on,” she urged. “Before they wake up or come back. Let’s go!”

Daire allowed her to lead him. The trees swept by them, shadowy sentinels which Rowan feared at any second would morph into another Dark Sidhe.

Almost within sight of the house, Daire pulled her to a halt, his hand firm but gentle on her upper arm.

“Do you recall what you did the other night?”

The confused images flared behind her eyes again, the coiling of roots and vines, the upheaval of the earth, the flow of raw energy from her innermost core. Nervously, she nodded.

“We’re going to do it again. When the spell activates, we need to stand ready to run for your home. Do you understand?”

Run? Could they outrun whatever lay in wait? Rowan’s chest tightened. “Yes,” she whispered.

He pointed to a tall yellow-flowered gorse. “Pick some of that.” Rowan didn’t think to argue but used her pilfered sword to hack some of the longer growth off. She offered it to him, but Daire shied back.

“No. And be careful with it. Once inside, lock the doors and windows and light a fire with that, understand?”

“Yes, but…”

“No buts,” he warned in a voice that would brook no dissent. “They will kill us if they catch us and that is the best treatment either of us could hope for.”

She glared at him, guessing his plan. He intended to remain outside and hold his enemies off. It was plain on the determined lines of his face.

“And what about you?” she asked, keeping her voice as diamond hard as his gaze. Daire didn’t answer.

Rowan followed him through the trees. They moved slowly, with the utmost care, each step judiciously placed. As they made their way forwards, Rowan tried to work out what she had actually done the night they met. Daire had been holding the sword, the world was going insane all around them and she had grabbed the hilt, needing to do something, anything! Seeing his fading strength, she had reached out with her own and…and what?

In the shadow of a horse chestnut’s wide, spreading branches, she reached out to him. Her fingers brushed his arm lightly, to get his attention, intending only to tell him she didn’t know what to do. He turned so quickly, the sword sweeping towards her, that Rowan gave a tiny cry of surprise and saw the darkness flooding his eyes.

“You must be silent.” His voice emerged as a hiss.

“But I don’t—” she managed, but then laughter came from the narrow clearing ahead, a cruel, thin sound, the sound of the mean-hearted, the laughter of a tormentor. Rowan recoiled, but didn’t dare retreat. The Dark Sidhe were all around them, waiting for such a mistake.

“Prince Daire has a plaything,” one voice called out.

“Will he share?”

“No. His heart is gone. He doesn’t love us anymore. He doesn’t love anyone. He won’t share.”

“No fair no share.”

Rowan’s breath scraped against the insides of her throat. “Oh, God.”

Something to her left—far too close to her—spat out a curse.

“All the gods abandoned you, little one,” said a deeper voice, filled with the sound associated with the worst kind of leer. “There’s only us.”

And Daire, she thought. His broad shoulders rose before her, his curling hair brushing the place where his neck joined them. She could smell his scent, the deep, rich aroma of earth and wood, of the natural world.

But another smell drifted closer, from behind, the smell of decay, of rot. Rowan’s eyes widened as she realised what it meant. A hand grabbed her shoulder, pulling her aside and the knife flashed in the twilight, heading straight for Daire’s unprotected back.

Rowan did the only thing she could; she shouldered the arm aside and thrust the sticks she carried right into the torso and face of their attacker. The Dark Sidhe fell back, screaming. His knife flew from his hand into the darkness.

“Now!” Daire yelled and she flailed around, grabbing his shoulders with her free hand and willing every ounce of strength she possessed into him.

A wave of dizziness engulfed her. She sank back against the horse chestnut tree, no longer ready to run, incapable of doing anything but collapsing slowly, sliding down the rough bark. It pulled at her shirt, lifting it, scraped the length of her back.

Daire exploded into action. Four figures coalesced out of the long shadows, each one formed as handsomely as the Sidhe prince, but each one a pale comparison. They would have circled their prey, but Daire dismissed the one to his right with a high, spinning kick, while his sword lashed out at the one on his left, disarming him on the fore stroke, disembowelling him on the back.

Rowan gagged as the Dark Sidhe fell, clutching at his stomach, as if trying to stop the inevitable. His body twitched and then lay still. Daire scooped up the fallen sword and hurled it at the third. It impaled his shoulder, tossing him back with the power behind the throw.

The final Dark Sidhe curled his upper lip and snarled at Daire. Their swords clashed as he flung himself forwards, but Daire slipped his blade up and over his opponent’s. His enemy’s own weapon and arm guided Daire’s sword straight towards the heart. The Dark Sidhe opened his mouth, though whether to speak or scream Rowan couldn’t tell. Blood gushed from between his clenched teeth.

Rowan sobbed, curling in on herself, unwilling to look any longer. For the first time the danger became real, took on an actual, concrete reality in her mind. It wasn’t make-believe or a hallucination. Her imagination would never contrive such scenes. They were real. He was real. And if things went wrong they would both end up as dead as the Dark Sidhe littered around Daire now.

Daire breathed in, the muscles on his back flexing and relaxing beneath the thin layer of his leaf clothing. He allowed the breath out, slowly, and surveyed his work, a professional, she realised. A professional killer. Logic told her to direct her fear at him, but somehow she couldn’t. She clutched the plant stems and wondered where she had dropped Cathal’s sword.

Satisfied with his kills, Daire stalked back towards her. “I thought I said run for the house?”

She shook her head. It was about all she could find strength for. She felt icy cold and drained, like a wrung-out dish cloth. “I’m sorry.”

A frown creased his forehead and he knelt down before her, studying her face. The exhilaration in him faded. In its place she saw confusion which was swiftly surpassed by guilt.

“Rowan.” He touched her face tentatively, his fingertips brushing her skin. Energy crackled between them and a little more strength seeped away from her. He withdrew. “I’m sorry. I took too much from you. I never meant for you to give your all.” Before she replied, he slipped his arms around her and lifted her as if she weighed no more than a child. He studiously avoided her skin but cradled her against him. “Hold on to me.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck and Daire flinched. Grey shadows tugged at the edge of her vision. She couldn’t seem to stop this burst dam of inner strength. She tried to keep the plant stalks away from him, for fear that he would react in the same way as the Dark Sidhe. As her remaining strength flagged still further, she rested her head on his shoulder, held on as best she could, and allowed his strength to carry her home.

Want to read more? Soul Fire is available as an ebook from Samhain and in Amazon Kindle format. It will be released in print format on the 1st May 2010.

Links to other Excerpt Monday writers

Note: I have not personally screened these excerpts. Please heed the ratings and be aware that the links may contain material that is not typical of my site.
Excerpt Monday Logo

Alexia Reed, Urban Fantasy (R)


Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG13)

Joining us this week:

Jamie Babette, Fantasy Romance (PG13)
M.G. Buehrlen, YA Fantasy (PG13)
AJ Chase, Paranormal Romcom (PG13)
Stephanie Draven, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Heather S. Ingemar, YA (PG 13)
Cynthia Justlin, Romantic Suspense (PG13)
Kaige, Historical Romance (PG13)
Julia Knight, Fantasy Romance (PG 13)
Nadia Lee, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Jeannie Lin, Historical Romance (PG13)
R.F Long, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Shawntelle Madison, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Christa McHugh, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Debbie Mumford, Fantasy Romance (PG13)
Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG13)
Megan S, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Dara Sorensen, Historical Fiction (PG13)

And many more on the Excerpt Monday site

Excerpt Monday – from May Queen by R. F. Long

Wow! Excerpt Monday time came around very fast.

The links to other Excerpt Monday posts are underneath my excerpt, so click through a few and see what wonderful writing is available for you this month. (If any of them don’t connect right away, don’t panic. It’s international, so come back later)


I thought I’d do something a little different this month and post a snippet from something as yet unpublished.

May Queen is my recently completed YA novel about a young woman who stumbles into the Faerie Realm, the place where all the fairytales were born of blood and sacrifice. The villaness of the piece is the Realm’s Queen, Titania. Or is she?

(please bear in mind that this is still a work in progress and hasn’t been edited professionally as yet.)


Titania’s hands shook as she smoothed back her golden hair from her face. She hid it through sheer force of will and an expertise garnered from centuries of being watched. Five of her courtiers stood behind her, in a group by the door and she knew—knew— they were watching. They were always watching.

And so was her reflection.

She lifted her eyes to meet those opposite her and she had to bite the inside of her gum.

They weren’t her eyes staring back. Mab, dwelling within her like a spider at the centre of a web, could look out from time to time, but it was easiest when she looked in a mirror. Titania drew in a breath and tried to calm herself, to hide her fear. Even after so many centuries, the terror never died.

The old Queen was hungry.

“What do you want?” Titania hissed, attack her only defence.

A smile flickered over the mouth inside the mirror, a movement that did not originate in Titania’s smooth face.

A May Queen has come. I sense her in the forest, in the water, changing things as she journeys towards us.

Mab’s voice echoed around Titania’s mind, like old nails scratching on dry skin. It reeked of malice, of hatred, and bloodlust. Mab was old, older than any of them. She kept to the old ways, forcing Titania to do the same when she willed it. And the old ways cried for blood.

“Then we must get rid of her.”

She’s too precious to kill just like that. We need her. She will make us young and whole again.

“We are young,” she snarled, and ran her hands down her body. “And whole. What more do you want?”

Mab laughed, mocking laughter than rang around Titania’s mind, tormenting her, shaking her to the core. And are we innocent? She’s fresh blood, Titania. And she’s ours. Quickly, before Oberon claims her. His Jack is already with her. Time is short.

“You want to replace me.” Her voice whined. And Mab was not the only one who would hear it. The court hung on her every word, even those she wished they would not. And they loved to hear weakness. Especially in her. Why not, when she had no patience for it in them?

The mirror image of her lifted a casket. It was rosewood inlayed with gold, carved with filigree designs. The catch was a golden heart pierced with a knife. Titania knew it and recoiled, her throat tightening.

But Mab just held it out to her, an offering. Titania stared, bewildered as the casket moved closer to the glass and then, with only the slightest resistance of reality, pushed through. The mirror bulged as it passed between realities, distorting her image. The hag who appeared in her place grinned, revealing needle-like teeth. Her eyes flashed when Titania reached out to take the casket. Nails scraped over her fingers as they pulled back into the far side of the mirror, tearing her skin.

Nothing can replace you, Titania. Not if you make it yours.

And then she was gone. The Queen gazed at her own perfect reflection and the casket weighed heavily in her bleeding hands.

She turned slowly and glared at her courtiers.

“A mortal girl is loose in our forest. Whosoever brings me her heart to place in this casket will be rewarded. Beyond measure. Now leave me.”

They scurried away to send out the word, to call their beasts and their allies, to turn all the Realm against the new May Queen. Titania inhaled deeply and then let it out in a long, low hiss.

The heart wouldn’t stay in the casket of course. She would do as Mab had done with her rivals’ hearts. She would eat it.

She placed it on the table beneath the mirror and tried to quell the trembling in her limbs.

“My Queen?” said a nervous voice.

Warm relief swept through her body and she turned around, smiling on him, her errant lover. And someone else who would soon know of the blood required by the old ways.

“Piper.” Her voice was a purr of satisfaction. “Play for me. Something soothing.”


Excerpt Monday links:

I have not checked all of these sites so please heed the ratings provided and be aware that the excerpts may contain content not typical of this blog.

AJ O’Donovan, Poetry (PG13)
Stephanie Draven, Paranormal Romance (PG 13)
Heather S.Ingemar, Dark Fantasy/Poetry (PG13)
Babette James, Fantasy Romance (PG 13)
Cynthia Justlin, Romantic Suspense (PG 13)
Kaige, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Julia Knight, Fantasy Romance (PG13)
Ansha Kotyk, Middle Grade Adventure (PG13)
Adelle Laudan, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Jeannie Lin, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Caitlynn Lowe, Epic Fantasy (PG13)
Shawntelle Madison, Paranormal Romance (PG 13)
Crista McHugh, Contemporary Erotic Romance (PG 13)
Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG)
Leigh Royals, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Megan S., Paranormal (PG13)
Dara Sorensen, Historical Paranormal (PG 13)
Bethanne Strasser, Historical Romance (PG13)

And there’s tons more at the ExcerptMonday site itself. As this is an international event please allow for time zones and if the links don’t all work immediately, try later as they may not yet have gone live. 🙂

Excerpt Monday – Another Soul Fire tease…

It’s Excerpt Monday time again. Since Soul Fire released on Tuesday 7th, it only seems fitting to have another sneak peak at it, this time from Daire’s point of view.

The links to other Excerpt Monday posts are underneath my excerpt, so click through a few and see what wonderful writing is available for you this month. (If any of them don’t connect right away, don’t panic. It’s international, so come back later)


Daire took his sword and plunged it into the soft earth, feeling the blade bite deep and hold. Then he knelt beside his brother.

Aidan moaned as Daire slid his arm under his shoulders, preparing to lift him. “If you can hear me, brother, listen. I’m going to try something. We’ll need to act at once when I do.”

“You shouldn’t move him,” said the girl, her voice more strident than he would have expected. She had been terrified, helpless, and now she decided to argue. Now, when he needed her to be silent and obey, she argued.

Daire bit back a snarl. There was no time. His strength was failing in this mortal world and Aidan’s was almost spent. If they were to have any sort of chance, it had to be now.

“I do what I must. Get to your home and be safe. Forget what you have seen. This is no place for the likes of you.” He lifted Aidan, holding him as gently as he could.

“The likes of me?” she exclaimed, pushing her unruly hair back from her face. “What is that supposed to mean? Just what do you…?”

Her voice fell to shocked silence and the air around them stilled abruptly. Daire cursed beneath his lead-weighted breath and within him an ancient instinct sighed, “Too late.”

Aynia glided from the tree line on artful feet, beautiful and sleek, a huntress. Lorcan trailed behind her like a dog. Four of her other guards flanked her. Daire’s sense of danger grew. Not from her guards. He could handle such scum. It was Aynia. Her face remained calm, but he could see the glint of triumph in her violet eyes. She shook back her hair, glossy and dark like a raven’s wing, and smiled her cutthroat smile.

Daire gripped the sword and unleashed his power. Magic spiralled down the bronze blade, the entire store of magic within his heart, crackling against the metal and burrowing into the soil, driven by his will.

The ground reared up under his opponents as root and vine erupted, seizing her guards and tossing them left and right.

Only Aynia stood unaffected, the calm at the centre of his world-storm, her hair billowing out behind her. Once he had run his fingers through that hair, whispered words of love while his lips had brushed against her flawless skin. Before she turned traitor.

“You’re weaker than I remember, Daire.” She stretched out her hand. Something thudded against his stomach, almost bowling him backwards, but he kept his footing, holding Aidan and trying to push all the remaining energy at his disposal through the sword and into an attack. But it was slipping away, his strength fading. Cursing the mortals, their world and their iron, he strained to renew his efforts, but the magic within him spluttered and failed. The garden and the forest beyond it started to calm and Aynia’s companions picked themselves up.

Daire swore as his vision blurred. He was weakening. The putrid air and the frailer nature of this world not only drained him, but made the environment more difficult to control.

“Two princes of the Seelie Court,” Aynia gloated. “Our rewards will be without measure. And what entertainment you’ll both provide. Take them.”

Before the Dark Sidhe could move, the mortal woman reached out and closed her hand over Daire’s where it rested on top of the sword hilt. Her palm felt like something carved from ice. The jasmine-and-orange-blossom scent of her overpowered him again, and with it came something else, something totally unforeseen.

Power flooded his system, glowing through his eyes, through the pores of his skin, warm and blinding, speeding his heart and wringing breath from him. Such fire could not be wasted, would not allow itself to be wasted. It seized him with an imperative all its own.

Rushing to obey while its power burned hottest, he turned it directly on Aynia. She screamed in fury, falling back against the onslaught. The Dark Sidhe dissolved to shadows once more.

“What did you do?” the woman gasped.

“What did I do?” He pulled his hand clear of both her and the sword. His skin tingled where she had touched him, glowed everywhere else. “I used whatever you just gave me, woman. But we haven’t much time. I must get him to safety.”

He hadn’t expected her aid, but she moved without his say-so and between them they lifted Aidan and retrieved the sword. Was it his imagination that the hilt still felt warm, or that the back of his hand itched with a need he couldn’t define, a need to feel her touch again? Madness. And thoughts that did not become a prince of the Sidhe.

Daire led the way, swiftly as he dared, through the woods to the stone circle where the veil parted. Evening wore on and the moon would soon rise. With sun or moon falling on it, the gateway would not budge without the most powerful enchantments – magic far beyond him – and he needed to get his brother to safety.

The woman, brown haired, solemn eyed, helped him carry Aidan through the forest without a word of complaint. For that Daire felt grateful because he couldn’t be sure he would have been able to carry him alone. He needed whatever help she could give. She staggered under the weight of the unresponsive body, her body still bearing the hallmarks of one left dazed from such a powerful casting. She would sleep sound tonight, if the nightmares let her. Even so, Daire could not allow her, a mortal, to see the way back. The old saying was ingrained in his memory, as much a part of his early lessons as how to count or write in ancient ogham.

Iron born and iron bred.
Trust not iron, it will see you dead!

On the banks of a stream, within easy reach of the slope leading to the circle, he stopped and laid Aidan on the ground.

“My thanks, milady,” he told her with a bow. “But you must leave us here. I am sorry for any distress my brother and I might have caused you.”

“But…but who are you?” She gazed at him with eyes bright as amber and pushed her hair out of her face with a trembling hand. An attractive thing, though her looks were nothing like the beauty of the Sidhe. Frail and mortal, a mayfly existence, yet beautiful nonetheless. In another time, another place, he might have-

Daire shook his head, dismissing that fantasy for once and for all. With another man, perhaps… Aidan had been right and Daire could admit it. He had not been made for love.

He caught her face in his hands, cradling her for a moment. She jerked back, but not so far as to escape. Beneath his touch, with glamour flowing from his palms, she stilled, gazing at him in wonder. Her soft skin warmed him. Part of him wanted to linger there, but it was impossible, impossible. He leaned forwards, brushing his lips to hers, letting her gasp of surprise fall against his mouth and he released a final spell, one of forgetting. He relinquished her with an unexpected tinge of regret.

“Go,” he told her. “Shut your doors and turn your iron keys. You’ll be safe at your own hearth. The moon has almost risen and we must be gone.”

She nodded solemnly as the enchantment encircled her, or perhaps she truly understood the gravity of the situation. It would be nice to think so. It was only after she had gone that he realised he hadn’t asked her name. A small discourtesy, but less so than seeing her become a toy of the Dark Sidhe. Still, it grated.

Aidan came to as they reached the veil, groggy and with legs as wobbly as a newborn lamb. He groaned, trying to pull away and stand alone, but he wilted a moment later. Daire caught him before he fell.

“Are you ready for home then?” asked Daire with a laugh, pulling his acorn key out from his shirt and closing his hand around it to activate the spell. Only one Sidhe at a time could pass through the veil and the key, this tiny pendant in the form of a golden acorn, was the Seelie Court’s chief defence against infiltration by the Dark Sidhe.

Aidan reached inside his collar for his own key. His face turned the white of a swan’s wing. “It’s gone,” he whispered, his voice hoarse and pained. “My key’s gone.”

Behind them, Daire could feel the light of the moon creeping through the trees. Briefly he wondered if the young woman was safe, if she had made it home. But the problem at hand loomed larger: one key, two Sidhe, one of whom was hurt. Time had just run out.

“Damn it Aidan, you’d better send help fast!”

Daire wrenched the key over his head and slid the chain around Aidan’s neck. He pressed the golden acorn into Aidan’s hand and pushed him through the shimmering mists of the veil.

The gateway to their world snapped shut, leaving Daire alone in the mortal realm. Moonlight enveloped him and his strength, such as it remained, gave out.


Other Excerpt Monday excerpts – Please note these are just a small selection and I have not personally checked them all. Please be aware that they are rated by the authors, and click accordingly. For a full list of excerpts this month go to the Excerpt Monday site.

Mel Berthier, Urban Fantasy (PG 13)
Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG)

Joining us this week:

Kinsey W. Holley, Paranormal (PG)
Caitlynn Lowe, Epic Fantasy (PG)
Dara Sorensen, Paranormal (PG)

Babette James, Fantasy Romance (PG13)
Christina DeLorenzo, YA (PG 13)
Nika Dixon, Romantic Suspense (PG 13)
Bryn Donovan, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Kaige, Historic Romance (PG-13)
Julia Knight, Fantasy Romance (PG 13)
Adelle Laudan, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Jeannie Lin, Historical Romance (PG13)
Rebecca Savage, romantic suspense (PG 13)
Crista McHugh, Paranormal Romance (PG 13)
Leigh Royals, Historical Romance (PG 13)

Excerpt Monday: Soul Fire sneak peek

For this months’ Excerpt Monday I’m posting a sneak preview of my forthcoming novel “Soul Fire“.

“Iron born and iron bred.

Trust not iron, it will see you dead.”

Rowan Blake could really use a magic wand to keep her struggling art gallery afloat. But the faerie key she stumbles across is far from a lucky charm. It’s a magnet for danger, and by touching it she’s unwittingly put herself in the middle of a war between the forces of light and dark. And in the arms of its rightful owner, Prince Daire.

While searching for his brother, Daire finds himself trapped in the Iron World with a mere mortal woman who ignites his passion like no other. Each stolen kiss deepens their attraction and sends him spiraling closer and closer to the edge of his inherent dark desires. Desires that act as a homing beacon for the Dark Sidhe, who are intent on forcing him to fight on their side.

The longer he lingers in her arms—and in her bed—the closer his enemies get to her door. And the greater the risk that the gateway to the Faerie Realm will shift, destroying not only his power to protect her, but his very life.


Rowan batted at the bird, but it just kept attacking her, wheeling in the air above her head to dive on her again. She heard Daire shout her name and as he reached her side, the magpie flew away, leaving her dishevelled, flustered, but otherwise unharmed.

“Are you all right?” He caught her shoulders too tightly in his concern, holding her still so he could study her face.

“Yes!” She pulled back and he relinquished his hold on her. “I… I’ve never seen a bird do that before. I’ve heard magpies are nasty but…” She searched the skies warily.

Daire sighed and glanced back towards the woods. “One of Aynia’s creatures. An evil thing.”

Rowan’s mouth went dry. “The woman from last night.” He nodded and waited for the question she still had to ask. “It was watching me, upstairs. It was trying to get in the window. Why attack me?”

“Because I am here. You sheltered me. I would leave, Rowan Blake, but I have nowhere to go. I would not trouble you at all, but I must find that key. Without it, I am trapped here.”

Rowan tried to remember a key. To tell the truth, though the events of the previous night remained stark in her mind, they were frightening images, impossible scenes, jumbled together with nightmares. She recalled nothing resembling a key.

“I don’t remember,” she said. “Not a key.”

“And there is nothing in the garden.” He frowned as he spoke and looked away.

Had she dashed his hopes, she wondered? Had he thought she found it? “What about the woods?”

“Maybe.” He studied the sky.

Nervously, Rowan checked for signs of more magpies but saw nothing other than the thin puffs of white cloud high above them, like wisps of smoke. “What is it?” she asked.

“You are planning to go somewhere.” It was a statement of fact rather than a question. Given that she was wearing her jacket and carrying both her bag and car keys, it wasn’t much of a stretch.

“Yes. To the gallery. I have to sort out the mess the withdrawal has created.” He almost looked like he was following what she said, but how could he? This had to be alien to him, let alone the fact that he did not know anything about her. “I own a gallery,” she explained. “I had a famous artist lined up, but he pulled out at the last minute. I have to see what I can salvage.”

Daire frowned. “I should come with you.”

Rowan’s heart jerked up with relief. But then her eyes registered his peculiar clothing and his weapon and she heaved in a breath.

“No, really,” she replied, deciding that politeness was her best shield here. “You need to search for your key. I’ll be okay.”

Unless another maniacal bird sent by some pathological fairy woman decides to attack me, of course.

She left the thought unspoken. Daire didn’t look keen about accompanying her anyway, especially not when he looked at the car. His presence would only complicate matters.

“I think otherwise,” he replied and Rowan immediately bristled.

How dare he? Turn up here after her life had fallen apart and expect to take over? Typical man. He’d want to fix her mess for her yet.

“Really,” she insisted, making sure that her voice told him that this was no longer a negotiation. “I can manage. I’m a big girl now. Besides, you’d draw rather a lot of attention dressed like that.”

Satisfied that she had solved the problem and put him in his place, she turned her back on him and strode towards the car, humming a little victory theme to herself.

“Is this better?” Daire asked.

She glanced back, couldn’t help but do so, and the car keys slid from her abruptly numb fingers to crash onto the path.

Mr. Darcy stood in her driveway. Okay, not Mr. Darcy because Daire had red hair tied back neatly, but he wore the outfit with practiced ease and undeniable comfort. He carried a long cane where his sword had been and he could have walked straight out of a Jane Austen novel. If he walked back in again, no one would complain.

No one would complain in the slightest.

“It’s…um…” She struggled for words, then gave up and crouched down to scrabble for the keys.

Daire spread his arms wide and studied his clothing. “Is there something amiss?”

The bewilderment in his voice forced her to look up and before she knew what was happening, she smiled. “No. It’s wonderful, very accurate, but people don’t dress like that anymore.”

Understanding warmed his features. “Ah. They wear workman’s clothes. Like your brother.”

Rowan checked back a laugh at the thought of Matthew’s reaction if he heard his designer jeans and limited edition hand-printed T-shirt referred to as workman’s clothes.

Her fumbling hand found the keys and she got to her feet. “Yes,” she replied firmly. “Like Matt. But maybe a bit plainer…”

He nodded and the clothes shimmered around him, patches of light flickering off each leaf, the noise a faint rustling noise filling the air. For a moment, Rowan stared, catching brief glimpses of naked skin beneath them, just for instants, like looking at images between the pages of a flicker book. Her eyes met Daire’s and, embarrassed at the beauty she found, she looked away.

The sound stopped. “Like this?” he asked.

Dressed in jeans and a black T-shirt, he still caught and held her eyes. The clothes accentuated the lines of muscles underneath. The burnished red-gold of his hair was still tied back, but not so tightly. Loose curls softened the hard lines of his face, his high cheekbones, his jaw. It lightened his bronzed skin and made his green eyes glow with an inner light.

The clothes were plainer than Matthew’s, but that did nothing to lessen the impact of the man inside them.

Sidhe, Rowan’s mind whispered. He’s Sidhe, not human. And not mine.


Soul Fire releases on July 7th as an ebook and next year in print.

All the Excerpt Monday links can be found on the Excerpt Monday Site. Here is a small selection:-

Note: I have not personally screened these excerpts. Please heed the ratings and be aware that the links may contain material that is not typical of my site.

Christina DeLorenzo, YA (PG 13)
Bryn Donovan, Paranormal  (PG)
Babette James, Fantasy Romance (PG 13)
Kaige, Historical Romance (PG  13)
Adelle Laundan, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Jeannie Lin, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Crista McHugh, Paranormal  (PG 13)