I feel lucky as an author to be able to express myself in different ways. Writing for Harlequin’s Silhouette Special Edition is excellent practice for honing and refining the art of conveying intense emotion and conflict. It requires some discipline, and I feel as if I’ve been flexing my mental author muscles. 🙂 I’m looking forward to finishing the second book, as much as I’ve loved writing it, because I’m getting hungry for the creative freedom I can get while writing for Samhain. Next up on my writing goal list the second book in the Princes of the Underground series. If you haven’t read the first, here’s an excerpt.
by Beth Kery
In his battle to resist, he found the impossible. His soul.
Christina Astor’s telepathic ability is an asset in her job as a psychiatric social worker. What’s driving her crazy, though, is her elusive, gorgeous landlord. She senses that Saint Sevliss wants her with an all-consuming hunger that’s somehow…different. Just how different becomes all too clear when his dangerous world collides with hers.
For centuries, Saint’s kind have been called vampire and werewolf. Even soulless. But their true nature remains a mystery. Bound by a magical mandate to control his bloodthirsty clone, Teslar, at all costs, Saint will do anything to keep Christina away. She infuses his gray universe with life and color, but his world—and his need—would destroy her.
When an attack reveals the true power of Christina’s gift, one thing is certain—Teslar won’t rest in his underground labyrinth until he possesses her, body and soul…
“You’ve got a lot of nerve, you know that?” She slammed the door shut and swept across the room like a wildfire on the rampage. “It’s you who put this fixed idea in Aidan’s head that we shouldn’t move away from Whitby. Didn’t I tell you to stay away from him?”
“You’re wrong. No intervention was required on my part. Aidan is very upset about the idea of leaving Whitby. It’s his home.”
“Wrong. Whitby Manor is your home,” she corrected, pointing accusingly.
She stepped back when he stood abruptly, quick as a snake at the strike.
“It’s my home because you’re there,” he growled.
Christina was set off-balance by his unexpected revelation accompanied by a focused explosion of feeling. The vivid memory of the gazebo made her recover. “Maybe you should have thought of that before you brought your girlfriends to what should have been our first date.”
She’d never seen Saint show an emotion as mundane as incredulity until now.
“First date? You saw what I am! Saw it with your own eyes, and yet the only thing you consider is that I was unfaithful to your infantile fantasies?”
She snarled and picked up a heavy marble paperweight from her desk, fully prepared to hurl it at Saint’s stunned expression of disbelief. A frustrated cry left her lips when he was suddenly beside her, restraining her wrists. He wrapped his arms around her and pushed her back into his chest.
For a few seconds, she was dazed by his resonant, deep voice and the sensation of his body pressed against her. She twisted furiously in his hold, but her body slowly sagged. When she realized she was following Saint’s order without conscious thought, her fury erupted.
“_God_, I hate you! How could you have done that to me?”
“I am what I am. If I could change my nature, I would in a second. You gave me no choice but to reveal to you the truth about why your dreams are merely that—the fantasies of a child.”
Fury bloomed in her chest, feeling as if it would explode through the skin at any moment. “I told you the other night. I knew you weren’t like everybody else. I didn’t guess you’re…whatever you are…a vampire?”
“Humans have called me that. The truth is a bit more complicated.”
“Vampire or not, you’re an asshole. Some things remain consistent across the species. Even the paranormal variety.”
She braced her legs and twisted viciously to push herself out of his hold. She might as well have been trying to throw a mountain off her. His strength was effortless, as though she were being restrained by steel instead of flesh.
“Let go of me.”
“When you calm down.”
She tried to ignore the shiver of excitement that raced down her neck when she felt his voice rumbling from his chest to her back and his warm breath brushing her ear. She inhaled his familiar scent. As usual, it started an unstoppable chemical cascade of arousal in her body. Her lack of control over her reaction infuriated her further.
“I’m about ready to scream myself hoarse. Do you want to upset Aidan?”
“No. Do you?”
She twisted her neck around and glared up at him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Do you think you’re really doing the best thing by taking him away from Whitby?”
“As a matter of fact, I do.”
“Who’s making that decision? The loving mother? Or your battered ego?”
She went completely still. For a few seconds she thought she’d go stark raving mad if she didn’t get to punch Saint Sevliss’s gorgeous, smug face just once. He stared down at her with those amazing blue eyes while she panted and her breath burned in her lungs.
Using every ounce of her willpower, she forced herself to calm. She inhaled slowly several times, trying her best not to notice the sensation of Saint’s arms enclosing her expanding and contracting ribcage.
“Let go of me, please,” she said with as much dignity as she could muster.
When she felt him slowly release her, she gave full rein to her fury. She turned, stepped back, cocked her fist and swung. Two weeks of pent-up anger and frustration went into a well-landed right hook to Saint’s angular jaw. His chin swung at the impact of the blow.
He slowly turned to face her. What she saw in his eyes made her take a step back in alarm. He halted her retreat by grabbing her upper arms and hauling her next to his body. Anxiety and anguish mixed with Christina’s fury when she stared up at his face.
How can he feel so much and show so little? It was as if her punch had popped the lid off a tightly sealed container of frothing, scorching-hot emotion. A tear skipped down her cheek when he shook her.
“I didn’t want to hurt you, Christina. I hate myself for having done it. But you gave me no choice, the way you were pursuing me.”
His heat seemed to pour into her body. She experienced his inner turmoil clearly, felt his desperation, his need and his pain in equal degrees to her own. It was unbearable, the friction it caused inside of her. Without thinking about her actions, she struggled to get her right arm free from his hold. Much to her surprise, he released her. She grabbed a handful of soft hair at his nape and jerked fiercely.
“I would think you’d be glad we were leaving. Wasn’t that little show you staged the other night precisely for that purpose?”
She sobbed as tears spurted down her cheek. Despite her unbridled fury, she couldn’t stop staring at Saint’s mouth for some god-awful reason, couldn’t stop from pressing her body against his long, hard length, or rubbing her aching nipples against his ribs.
“I was trying to stop you from getting me into bed. I’m trying to keep you safe from me. Can’t you see that? That doesn’t mean I want you and Aidan to leave Whitby for good.”
“Well, I guess your little plan didn’t work too well, did it?” She jerked on his hair one last time for emphasis before she went up on tiptoe and pulled him down closer to her face. She didn’t stop until she felt his warm breath brushing against her lips. “Why in the hell do I need to be kept safe? You must know by now I can read people’s minds, Saint. I have never been afraid of you.”
His upper lip curled; his eyes blazed. She cried out in surprise when he wrapped his hands around her waist and lifted her roughly until they were groin to groin, heartbeat to heartbeat.
“You should be afraid.” He swooped down and took her mouth in a ravaging kiss.
A torrent of emotion and sensation surged through her. Christina dazedly realized Saint was right. A woman should be afraid she might drown in the deep, frothing well of carnal delight that suddenly submersed her entire being.
Nevertheless, she craned up for him hungrily, all vestiges of rational thought burned into a mist by her lust and need.
Five Lips from Two Lips Reviews: I was enthralled. I can’t wait for the next one to come out.