Back in the Saddle Again…

Good Almost Weekend, my Friends! Yes, it is that lovely time of the week where we all wistfully gaze out our office/house/school windows and dream of all the fun things we’ll do this weekend.

It also happens to be the first day of Autumn.

Or mostly celebrated as this…

And for those of us in the southern portion of the United States…

But where was I? Oh, yes. Back in the saddle.

The imagination horse threw me off during the summer (see previous blogs) and I’ve had a bit of difficulty climbing back on. I figure if there’s ever a good place to kickstart my writing again, why not jump on the new season bandwagon.

So today, I set aside the errands that need to be run, the chores that need to done (scratch that – I had to fold the four buckets of towels that have been staring at me for almost a week), the spreadsheet with my son’s college application status checkpoints (yes, I’m completely Type A – I made a spreadsheet) is at least minimized on my laptop but taunting me because one friggin’ school needs an official certified vaccination record for the application process to commence, and the dog is staring up at me with those big brown eyes wanting to play outside

…but I am going to write today.

Greylyn, the guardian angel who is the heroine of my urban fantasy trilogy, adores Autumn. She, and I, prefer to call the season autumn rather than fall. To us, fall is not a good term. Perhaps due to all the fallen angels that make her existence difficult. Besides one can name a child Autumn, but not Fall. That would be borderline child abuse.

So Autumn is my Restart button.

In order to get this party kicked into gear, I thought I’d offer up an excerpt or two from the trilogy. It also serves to remind me what has transpired so far in the story so I can continue without re-reading the whole 2 1/2 books because that will just get me caught up in editing and I need to finish the draft of book 3 before editing anymore.

So here goes…

Book 1: Rekindled Prophecy Synopsis

Rekindled Prophecy details the adventures of Greylyn, a guardian angel. Once human, she now roams the earth saving and protecting those afflicted or endangered – either from their inner demons or more nefarious real ones. Her destiny will be challenged, as a notorious fallen angel threatens innocent lives in order to force Greylyn to consummate a dormant, but deadly prophecy.

To complicate matters, Greylyn must face a lethal enemy who has plagued her heart and soul for centuries. Circumstances force her to work with the dashing dark guardian, Kael, to unveil the prophecy and protect human lives. However, in the process, she may lose her own heart.

Based in the magnificent Shenandoah Valley, at a quaint vintage Irish bed and breakfast, Greylyn fights her attraction to Kael, while doing whatever it takes to save a young bride. Her adventures lead her into the heart of nearby Washington, DC where the fallen archangel, Olivier, gives her an ultimatum…Fulfill your role and bring about the prophecy or innocents die.

Excerpt:

Greylyn still wasn’t quite ready to turn in for the night. Instead she decided to lounge in the rocking chair on the porch attached to her suite in the Carriage House. The resident bull frogs were in rare form, drowning out any other noises. Strangely, she found the incessant croaking rather relaxing.

She stretched out in the old-fashioned rocking chair. Her eyelids grew heavy. The wine mixed with the sultry smells of early summer flowers and the caressing cool breeze on her skin lulled her into a light doze. Greylyn’s thoughts drifted. She was blessed, a force for good. Kael was a power for evil. Immortal enemies. He was there to cause trouble. She was there to stop him. It was that simple. If she just knew what the trouble was.

Long, thin, cold fingers curled around her throat. Her eyes shot wide open. There was nothing there. She bolted up out of the chair, but the invisible force threw her back down, tightening its grip. Her hands clutched at her throat…at nothing.

That’s when she noticed the darkness surrounding her. Darker than the night. A shadow. More precisely, a shadow demon.

She flailed around in an unsuccessful attempt to throw it off of her. There was nothing for her to grab onto. Nothing to hit, punch, or kick. It was a shadow, a translucent demon without substance. Shadows were simply that…shadows.

She writhed and wriggled under the immense strength of the dark tendrils squeezing her throat shut like a vise. Her lungs burned. Her eyes searched desperately for a weapon. Nothing could fend off a shadow though. Nothing except…light or water.

Clouds obliterated any illumination from the night sky. Still clutching at her own neck to remove the shadow’s grip, Greylyn realized it would have to be the water. Using all her energy, she pushed herself out of the rocking chair and stumbled towards the koi pond. Though made of air, the shadow was strangely heavy, like a barbell weighted down with iron plates. It resisted her with uncanny strength, slowing her progress, at times jerking her backwards. All the while continuing to tighten its grip on her throat.

Her field of vision shrank into a tight tunnel. Deprived of oxygen, she’d soon black out. A fire burned in her chest burned. What she needed was enough momentum to fling them both into the murky pond. But did she have the strength?

Using the few precious seconds she may have left in this world, Greylyn centered herself in order to gather all her strength. Lumbering forward, she tapped into a well of energy. One final push propelled her over the rocks and into the frigid, aphotic water. The instant her body broke the lily-pad-covered water’s surface, the pressure on her throat released, followed by a shattering pain as her head struck a protruding rock. The shadow had let go in time to avoid the water. The relief was great, but she still could not take a breath to refill her lungs. She was under water. The icy water shocked her senses like a defibrillator to her chest.

She was part angel, but her body was still human and would need oxygen soon. Also, too late she remembered…she didn’t know how to swim.

Under the water’s surface, she tried to peer up to see what the shadow was doing. All it had to do was wait for her to re-emerge, or simply let her drown. The black form hovering just above the surface made it clear. The shadow planned to wait her out.

Panic began to set in as seconds dragged into minutes. Her chest ached so much as the pressure built up in her lungs. Silently she chided herself for not thinking through this particular course of action.

The water? She chose the ice-cold, algae-infested water. Splendid idea! And yet, what else could she have done? Why had she not turned on the porch light? Why wouldn’t the clouds part for just a few moments so she could escape? A lot of questions, and no good answers. Everything was in complete and total darkness. She had been so distracted by the playback reel in her head of Kael and his umber eyes, and his firm derriere, she hadn’t sensed the inevitable danger of the pitch-black night, nor had she felt the shadow’s presence until it was too late.

Looks like he will be the death of me.

Her vision narrowed further as she contemplated something she’d seen on a cartoon once – the cartoon character used the stem of a lily pad to breathe while in the water. All she needed was a one well-positioned ray of light and she could make a break for safety.

Suddenly, another shadow appeared beside the creature. This one had more substance to it. Probably Kael checking on his pet. A moment later, the first shadow disappeared.

Unable to hang on to consciousness any longer, as her lungs burned for air, Greylyn was a second away from succumbing to the blackness.

Someone grabbed her hands and hauled her to the surface. Startled koi swam past. As her head came above the water, she gasped. Strong muscular arms pulled her up and over the edge of the rocks lining the pond to lay her gently down in the grassy area in front of the Carriage House. After retching up as much water as she could from her lungs, she pushed herself up to a sitting position with trembling arms. Covered in algae, with a stray lily pad wrapped around her leg, Greylyn glared up at Kael.

He knelt beside her with what looked like a genuine expression of concern. She waited for him to spring his trap since she was in the perfect weakened position for him to take advantage. If he had been biding his time, waiting for his moment…this was it! The shadow had nearly drowned her. Now he could finish the job.

“Wish you had told me you liked moonlit swims, darling. I would’ve brought my swim suit,” he chuckled. “Second thought, skinny dipping would be more fun.”

Ah, there’s the smartass demon I know all too well.

“Seriously, though, could you please explain to me what you were thinking jumping into the koi pond to get rid of the shadow? It could’ve waited all night for you to re-emerge while you would’ve drowned in the meantime.” After a pause, he asked, “So why didn’t you simply swim away?

Gulping in more fresh air, she stared down are herself and picked a lily pad off her leg before answering…truthfully.

“I don’t know how to swim.”

Kael reached down and grabbed her chin, forcing her to look into his deep eyes. His voice filled with laughter. “You’ve been walking this Earth for 450 years and you still can’t swim?”

Offended, she retorted, “Well, I’ve kinda been busy doing other things.”

“You mean to tell me that you simply couldn’t find the time to take a lesson or two at the local YMCA or something? Really? That’s just so…you.”

Her first impulse was to push herself up and stomp away. Too bad her knees buckled as she took her first step, and she fell back, right into the strong upper body of her ‘rescuer.’

“Steady there, love,” his amused voice whispered into her ear.

A minute ago, she was chilled to the bone from the pond, now a bolt of extreme heat scorched every place her body touched his. Unable to move, Greylyn’s mind went foggy again. Kael stood up, carrying her body along with his own. His arms turned her around so they were face to face.

Mesmerized, she allowed him to guide her over to a wooden bench where they both sat down. Still, she couldn’t look away. It was as if he held her in a trance. Perhaps he did. At the moment, she’d have given anything to be able to discern what lay behind those swirling chocolate pools.

They sat on the bench, silent. Seemed like it could’ve been for seconds, or for hours. Their eyes remained locked until he moved to shrug off his shirt. Then her gaze fell to his smooth, ripped pectoral muscles and abs.

Oh, dear Lord. Help me now.

The tips of her fingers twitched as she fought the urge to reach up and trace the outline of his pectoral muscles. The moment was broken only when he dabbed at the blood dripping down her forehead with the shirt. She’d completely forgotten she hit her head on the side of the pond. A blow to the head of that magnitude would’ve caused a human to lose consciousness, resulting in, at best, a bad concussion.

That’s why I’m acting so strangely. Must be a concussion.

But Greylyn knew better. She didn’t get concussions, and the gash in her forehead would heal by morning. There would be no evidence of the incident when she saw Maureen for breakfast.

As it was, she was certain the dizzy sensation she experienced was more from Kael’s proximity than from the head injury. Not exactly a reassuring revelation.

She didn’t understand. A shadow creature had just attempted to kill her. It was perfectly reasonable to assume Kael had employed the shadow. But now, here he was tending to her injuries.

To make the situation worse, her body started shaking as if from severe cold. The temperature wasn’t the problem. Of that, she was positive. His face was bare inches from her own as he inspected the cut on her forehead. She could feel his breath on her cheek. It felt as warm and soft as a caress.

Satisfied the wound was healing, Kael began to briskly rub both her arms. “You could be cold in the Sahara Desert, I swear.” The contact only caused her to tremble more violently. Not able to withstand the intensity any longer, she wrenched herself away.

He let go of her arms. The warmth evaporated instantly. Looking up, Greylyn saw his expression change. The grin he wore while teasing her transformed into something else she couldn’t quite place. Hurt? No, that couldn’t be it. Whatever it was, it spooked her out of her reverie and back to reality.

He was the bad guy. They were enemies. There was a strange comfort in the truth. Clinging to that thought as if it were a life preserver in a raging storm at sea, she tried to indignantly march back to her suite in the Carriage House without so much as a “thank you.”

****

Well, I hope that entices you to want to read more. It certainly inspires me to write more.

Until next time, when I may tease you with a snippet from Book 2 and/or Book 3.

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