An Excerpt from Deadeye

Deadeye

(#darkfantasy #erotica #MMF #MM #bisexual #romance #paranormal #erotichorror #western)

deadeye_smDark and deadly adventure awaits in Deadeye.

Vitus and Caecilia must embrace a world of lustful and devious demons in order to succeed in their mission. And Justus, an incubus, half-breed son of the demon lord of Infernia and a Dreamweaver Sorceress, must shed his dark shadow in order to accept his destiny as a Nacraecian Dreamweaver Sorcerer. Three who meet, three who must face their duty, three who risk everything to be free.

CAUTION: This dark fantasy, dark romance, story contains explicit sexual situations and strong language. Content may be objectionable and beyond comfort zones to some readers and includes dubious consent, multiple sex partners, bisexual activity, some elements of BDSM, involving hot demons, sexy cowboys, seductive soiled doves, as well as titillating satyrs, dominating gods and goddesses, and confronting flesh-craving zombies. Whew! You must be over the age of 18 years of age to read this story.

EXCERPT

Vitus entered the Dark Seducer Saloon, looked around and then walked to the curved mahogany bar. He lifted his saddlebags off his shoulder and dropped them onto the counter.

“Whiskey,” he said.

The bartender brought him a glass, set it down, and poured out a measure. Vitus’s arm shot out to stay the bartender as he was about to replace the bottle back on the shelf.

“Leave it,” Vitus said.

The bartender nodded, set the half-full bottle onto the bar, and stepped away.

Vitus downed the shot, poured another, then turned away from the bar to face the stage. His attention was caught by the performers there. He downed the whiskey. Intrigued by the stage act, he scooped up the bottle and the glass, grabbed his saddlebags, and sauntered toward an empty table.

The young man on stage was quite beautiful and quite obviously from the tone of his skin color, demon. With him were two pale human beauties—one man, one woman. And a tall, portly gentleman with a black waxed handlebar mustache and neatly trimmed beard, orange fire in his eyes.

The demon was naked, the young woman and the other young man were fully clothed, but looking nervous and scared.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the older man began, “Lucy and James lost heavily at the tables and, as agreed, they will perform for us this evening as they have nothing else with which to wager.” He turned to the young couple. “Well? Prepare yourself for the fucking of your lives. And I expect good entertainment for our paying guests.” He waved to someone off stage and two scantily clad women stepped into the spotlight, each going to one of the pair.

As Vitus watched, Lucy and James were slowly undressed by the women, making a good show of stripping them for the crowd, until the quivering pair were equally as bare as the demon. James was escorted to the iron frame at the center rear of the stage. He was shackled arms and legs to the frame by the saloon girls.

“Which shall it be first, Justus, lad? Lucy or James?” asked the older man.

Justus stroked his demon’s cock. Lucy’s eyes widened at the sight. He swaggered across the stage to stand in front of her. Vitus watched her body visibly loosen, the trembling lessened, as she stared into Justus’s vivid blue eyes. Vitus knew exactly what was happening. Justus was using his demon’s glamour to quiet her before the actual seduction commenced.

“I’ll have the girl first,” he said. Reaching out, he clasped the woman’s arm and yanked her forward. A fiddle player sitting near the stage began playing as Justus took Lucy into his arms, plastering her naked body to his. For a moment they rocked back and forth in place. Justus rubbed himself against her; he reached around to cup her heart-shaped ass. He turned until her back faced the audience. As they undulated, he slipped a long finger between her cheeks, slowly sliding it into her anus.

Her gasp was audible. The digit sank deeper and deeper into her tight channel as the couple undulated and danced on the stage. For the next act, Justus brought her to a halt at the center of the stage. He whispered something in her ear and she shifted her legs slightly wider. Justus slid his cock between her thighs, working his way slowly between them. Finally, the audience could see the twin heads peek from beneath her firm young buttocks.

Justus turned sideways, so the audience could watch as he began to work both his finger and cock inside and against the woman in a seductive manner. She closed her eyes, her head tilted back as she gave herself up to his masterful control.

“Fuck her!” came the catcalls from the audience.

But Justus was a performer who had learned from the best. He stretched out the anticipation until his audience was just as completely seduced as the woman on stage.

In the audience soiled doves, gunslingers, and gamblers found their partners, even as they watched the performance on stage. Pants lowered, skirts raised, men with women, men with men, women with women, and every combination in between copulated with abandon.

Justus’s complete focus was on the woman—on preparing her for when he finally did choose to penetrate her with his cock. His actions mirrored the rhythm of the music.

“Don’t do this to her,” James pleaded, trying to break free of the chains that imprisoned him. “I was the one who cheated, not her. Please let her go.”

“Too late for that,” the old man with the black beard said. “You wagered, you lost. She agreed to pay the price along with you. I could have simply released you to find your way on the flats. At midnight. By the time you reached the forest you’d have a fine party of hell-zombies waiting on your company. Is that what you would have preferred?”

“No. But, please, Lucy only came with me because I said I’d come here without her. She’s not responsible for what I did.”

“Should have thought of that before coming to Deadeye. She’s agreed, same as you. She claimed her ticket, same as you. Now shut your mouth before I put it to better use. Your turn will come.”

Lucy was now twisting, writhing, rubbing against Justus, pleading for him to fuck her. She moved against Justus, back and forth, her enthusiasm and arousal quite telling in her actions. Justus moved faster, more deliberately. He began to shift her backward, toward a bench near the front edge of the stage. One that would allow the boisterous audience full view of what came next. Although, most of the audience was now engaged in their own interpretations of the lusty demonstration taking place on stage.

Vitus poured himself another drink, lifted it, and swallowed the contents of the glass. A pale female hand covered his larger, tanned one, then removed the glass. She drew his attention away from the stage.

“He puts on quite a show, doesn’t he? And he certainly has a way of firing up his audience.” Vitus studied the woman dressed in white who seated herself at the table. He noted the necklace. She still wore it and the sight of his ring pleased him. A surge of possessiveness erupted inside him, pooling in his groin, arousing him in a way the stage performance had failed. The burn of desire steadily grew brighter. Caecilia reached up to curl her fingers around the ring in almost a protective fashion. Her hand rested about the curve of her voluptuous breasts. She caught his eye, slowly unfurled her fingers and released the ring. It caught the gaslight of the room as the ring dangled against her skin, finally nestling happily in the valley between her breasts.

It took effort for Vitus to lift his gaze to meet hers. He’d not seen her in a hundred years and, as it always did, the sight of her aroused him to heights he found difficult to wrangle into submission. Emotions clashed and sparked inside him. He watched as she poured the whiskey, turned the glass to the spot from which he’d just drunk. She lifted it, licked the rim, watched him, dipped the tip of her pink tongue into the golden liquid, then licked her lips.

“Caecilia.” His tone was one of warning.

She dipped the end of her finger into the glass, then thrust the tip into her mouth. Her cheeks hollowed as she sucked on the digit. Vitus’s cock jerked, hardened, as he watched her. He damned Apollo, he damned Aphrodite, he damned Diana. But most of all he damned himself for wanting Caecilia as much as he had when he’d first seen her on the banks of the Tiber. She tipped the glass and swallowed the contents. It took every last bit of his self-control not to reach for her, to stroke her slender throat, to press his lips to the beautiful column, to claim what her lips promised.

She smiled, grabbed the bottle and poured another shot of the whiskey into Vitus’s glass. She lifted it and swallowed the fiery liquid. “It’s been a while, Vitus. It’s good to see you.”

“Is it? Why tempt me, Caecilia, when you know what the punishment would be?”

She shrugged. “After all these years maybe I’m just tired of fighting.” She leaned over the table, her plump breasts pale and enticing. “Don’t you want to forget them all, just for one night? Wouldn’t one night of just us be worth whatever punishment they meted out?”

He took her hand between both of his. He stroked his thumb across the silk of her flesh. “You don’t have a clue what it would mean to become a source for Infernia. I do. There will come a time when we’ll be together. I vow to you. One day this weight—this pain—will be gone.”

Something in her eyes shifted. He saw the need, the yearning. He released her hand. She drew away.

“Of course, Vitus. You’re a Roman warrior, after all. You’re used to deprivation. You think to save me from myself, but I think it’s slowly destroying us both. How much of your humanity is left, Vitus? After Apollo? After Zevodious? Can you even feel anything anymore?”

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Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N34E83T
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Smashwords Buy Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/719849

Just a quick like side note here. The background for the banner is the design I created representing the brand that Vitus carries, with an eye and the letter “Z.”

Pandemonia: Combustible – Discounted 65% Today

Pandemonia: Combustible will be available on Amazon at a 65% discounted price – February 18th – gete it for only .99!

Combustible (Pandemonia)

(#MM, #futuristic, #dystopian, #erotic romance, #BDSM)

Combustible_smEarth of 4035 is a wasteland populated with sectors of penal colonies, seeded through the generations by its life-long inhabitants of criminals, lunatics, political prisoners, and DNA-spliced mutants, all ruled by a powerful conglomerate of scientific researchers called the Nucleate.

One such sector, Pandemonia, is situated on the former European continent in the vicinity of Paris, now a hunting ground of a world gone horribly awry.

Drayce Eth, of dragogen-spliced DNA creation, rules one quandrant of Old Paris with a strong hand. He has never mated, never taken a long-term lover, and has always denied the instincts of his dragogen-spliced DNA. But then he encounters an attractive disciple and slave of his arch-enemy, Dr. Francois Beljon, and a simple game of poke-the-bear to relieve his ennui may just result in more than Drayce ever expected. It may also be exactly what he needs when his mating instincts are aroused by this least likely of potential mates.

Crispen Wills is a product of the mean streets. He’s a survivor—a dancer, a liar, a scavenger, and whatever else will serve to keep him alive. But when he becomes a desirable pawn in a treacherous game, it could easily cost him his life. What Crispen never expects is to fall in love with the powerful dragogen that his master has sent him to destroy.

Passions mix with danger in a highly flammable game devoid of rules and safe words, where all’s fair in love, lust…and death. Only a fool would dare to risk everything for a fleeting chance at love, especially when that lover could easily barbecue you should you make one false step.

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Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079674H85

Currently a #kindleunlimited selection

Read an excerpt

An Excerpt from Gulietta

Gulietta

(#eroticromance #darkfantasy, #mfm)

guliettasmallOne explosive encounter with an immortal shapeshifter finds seductive Gulietta embracing her powerful, magical destiny…and so much more…

Kansas City-raised Gulietta. Fathered by a far more magical species than human – the identity of whom her mother never shared. Sexual needs and desires not fully understood. Secrets abound.

Gulietta’s uneasy reality is tossed onto its head when a handsome stranger enters her life and whisks her away. Games played, lives and freedoms hang in the balance. This ain’t Kansas City, and Gulietta isn’t Dorothy, but she may be the hope for the future of the Sabine females in Antius’s court. Will she also be the savior of the immortal shapeshifter, Quintus–apparently the one man who has the ability to satisfy her in so many ways? Or is he the only one? The biggest prize in this game may be love…once all the secrets are finally revealed…

EXCERPT

Kansas City, Six Months Before

 Quintus watched her from the darkening shadows of a damp, garbage-infested alley, having only just arrived in Kansas City on orders from Antius. To approach the woman too quickly would send her running like a doe sighting the hunter who tracked it. He glanced up at the black sky. No, the moon would drive her to him. He slowed the breaths in his huge body, and his cock surged as he watched her pass slowly along the dark, wet pavement.

“She’s beautiful,” the man standing next to him murmured.

“She won’t be happy when she discovers what Antius has planned for her. You should go to her apartment and wait there. I will bring her along when she is more…agreeable.”

Within moments the other man had shifted to wolf form and loped off, swallowed by the darkness. Quintus turned back to watch Gulietta as she made her way along the deserted street.

She was not what he’d expected for the daughter of a Sabine woman and a powerful, lusty satyr. Although, as far as Quintus knew, she was not aware of her heritage and perhaps that was the reason for her easy grace. She didn’t look the predator. She looked human. Thus, his purpose for being there—to make her aware of her ancient lineage. To return her to her proper place at the side of her father, Antius.

She was…striking. A fitting mate for a man of Roman blood. She walked with purpose, her strides measured yet graceful, shoulders back, forcing her firm, young breasts up. Temptingly full. Lean hips, strong flanks. Perfect proportions. Not as tall as some of the women of Antius’s court. Many of them were almost Amazonian in their lusty proportions. Strong, fierce women.

Not this wench. She intrigued him. More dangerous than the others. Her sexual energy, a gift from her sire, undulated, crackling the night air, surrounding her, beckoning lovers to her side. No problem for this female to assuage her sexual hunger.

Man after man passed her, giving her hungry looks that she scorned. She could take her pick of the lot. Humans unable to resist her. Quintus could tell she had not yet peaked. He had chosen the time with care. The only way to bring a female like her to heel was to take her at her most vulnerable moment.

She rode the edge carefully. Quintus had never seen such self-control in a Sabine of the satyr court. They usually submitted to their instincts quickly and effortlessly. This one fought the natural order.

She staggered and clutched at the hard edge of the brick building, hunched over in pain. Her knees started to buckle, but she didn’t drop. It was the satyr blood—it had to be what kept her on her feet. Most of the women of his acquaintance would have shed their clothes long before this, flat on their backs, legs spread, welcoming man after man to quench the lust.

He smelled the earthy cinnamon scent of her and dragged the smell deeply into his lungs, filling his lungs with her aroma.

Another man passed by. Quintus saw her clench her fist. She fought valiantly against her sexual nature. He was impressed by her control. But he knew that eventually she would have no choice. She would give in to the lust. The need for that connection only fucking would provide. Straightening her shoulders, she staggered forward. Two steps and another attack claimed her. Her natural-born instincts would win out.

Quintus heard the soft groan. The breathless siren’s call spun through him. Her need was desperate. Twenty feet more and she would reach where he stood in the shadows. And the full moon would drive her passion. It would be her most vulnerable moment. And then he would take her. Binding her to him in the most elemental way of their immortal kind. Only then would he take her back to Antius. The old satyr would not cheat him of the prize. Not this time.

His cock pulled hard, demanding surcease. His muscles knotted as he readied himself to pounce. A deep growl rolled from his throat. Fangs bared, he gathered strength, calling from his animal core. There would be time for explanations later.

Would she fight him? Or would the need be too fierce? Would she spread her thighs for him without a battle? Did she cry out when she climaxed? Would the juices of her quim taste of honeyed mead, sweet enough to quench his millennia of thirst?

The night reeked of danger, cutting through the scent of her. Could she smell it as well? Did her mother’s warrior blood flow hot and heavy through her veins? Or was she too far gone to be able to detect the danger, her drive now only to appease the lust burning her up?

How soft would the female petals between her legs be? How tightly would her cunt grip him? By the gods, her strength crackled through the air. The need to mate her ruined his mind. Quintus studied the light and shadow of the street.

His preternatural awareness heightened, honed in and caught the scent of immortal attack. But who?

And then he saw what he had missed. A portion of the mist solidified into form.

“Fuck.”

As soon as he formed, the man rushed at Gulietta, shoving her to the pavement. One who would usurp his right to her. Quintus shifted to his wolf form and leaped at the attacker, fangs bared, a growling rage erupting from his throat as he fastened his teeth onto the thick wrist of the satyr.

The satyr howled and struggled to free himself. These lesser satyrs were by no means fighters. The woman was no victim. She curled her fingers and scratched at her attacker’s face, causing him to yelp even louder with pain. Tracks of blood decorated his dark skin.

Quintus used his large furry body to shove him off Gulietta and onto his back. A human corner of his brain warned him not to kill the fool beneath him. Too many questions if his kind where discovered on human soil. Quintus shifted back to human form.

“Leave now, Titus, before I forget Antius’s law and kill you right here. You will not claim what does not belong to you.”

“Damn you, Quintus. You can’t have it all. She doesn’t have a speck of Roman blood.”

“She is not for you. Try it again and the next time you will die and your satyr’s horns will hold a place of honor on my mantel. Now get out.”

He cautiously lifted off the blood-streaked satyr.

“One of these days, Roman, you will pay.” He flung the words at Quintus.

“She’s Antius’s daughter. Do you really think he’d let her mate with you? All you want is the power you think she has or will have. I am here to safeguard her from the likes of you.”

“She doesn’t even know what she is. How can she begin to use her power? She doesn’t even look like one of us.”

“Leave, Titus. Now.”

“This is not the last of this, Quintus.” And then he was gone, a trail of mist rising into the sky and vanishing.

Quintus whirled around only to find that Gulietta was no longer where Titus had dropped her to the ground. Already one block farther along, she was on her hands and knees in front of a man. Her hands at his belt.

Quintus raced down the street, ripped her away from the stranger, and shoved her back into the dark alley. He turned and growled at the man, baring his fangs. It was enough. The man spun around and ran down the street.

Quintus turned back to face Gulietta.

“You don’t need him. I’ll give you what you need.”

Her arms were wrapped around her waist as she tried to hold back the pain. When she looked up at him, her eyes blazed with blue-violet fire. Her teeth clenched tight, her lush, red lips drawn back in a grimace. He understood the war waged behind that look.

The lust was upon her. He saw it in the lines of her body as they softened and yet the sexual aura intensified, the look of the siren predator in every line. Her fingers slowly unfurled to shove her jeans down over her hips. He gripped her hand and felt the red-hot heat of her skin that almost singed him. The glow of sex, ruby silk flesh, the scent of hot cinnamon, spicy and enticing permeated the air as she revealed her sex.

“Then take me, damn you. I can’t stand the pain any longer.”

Quintus shoved her back into the alley as he released his cock from the confinement of his pants. It bobbed thick and tall. Larger than most men’s. But Gulietta was not most women. She would take him. Again and again and again.

She was a satyress and was meant for him.

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Universal link for other bookstores (B&N, KOBO, etc.) : http://books2read.com/gulietta
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Best Friends Forever…

Best Friends Forever…

EyeforthePrize_cover_smThere’s something about childhood friendships.  I don’t know if it’s that as children, we possess that sheen of innocence, that certain unquestioning acceptance about the people who are a part of the formative years of our lives.  But there’s also a fear of losing special friendships if we reveal too much of what is in our deepest heart.  The moment is lost and we live with the regret of things not said. Sometimes we move on as we mature to new friendship spheres, and then sometimes not.  And we’re left with that lingering question in the back of our mind, “what if”?

Perhaps we have to move on, experience other things, follow different adventures before, maturing into our true self, like Dorothy discovering where the home of her heart truly lay, we recognize that one person who undeniably touches us heart and soul, giving breadth to our lives in a way we would never know without them.

Eye For the Prize is a discovery not just of an odd, supernatural object, but the rediscovery of friendship, of love, and perhaps the one person that makes anywhere truly home.  What would you give up to be united with that one true soulmate?  How far would you go?  And what if it came down to a choice between the man you love, or the family who raised you, whose blood you shared?  And there was no middle ground.  And what if the incident you’ve been set to investigate will eventually be the thing that changes your whole life?

In every object is a story, in every story there is a pulse of truth.  Finding the truth is Detective Larke Ava’s job.  Finding the object is Zhalazti researcher Roan Dwellen’s purpose. Reuniting with the boyhood friend who completed you was never part of the plan for either man.

Mystery, danger, heritage, and love.  Was there ever a more explosive combination?

Read an excerpt from Eye for the Prize

Buy link on Amazon

Currently a #kindleunlimited selection

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Morphing Into Pandemonia

 

Pandemonium: a place or scene of riotous uproar or utter chaos.  Bedlam.  Turmoil.  Babel.  The capital of Hell.

 I saw a cave, I saw two men, and I began to write, and I called this piece, “Dragon City.” I let it take me where it wanted to go.  Crispen had heard the rumors, but until this moment, he hadn’t believed they were real.

Combustible_smOne sentence leads to another, one thought follows, and barrels into the next.  The man glared at him steadily until Crispen was certain he could see flames in both his eyes.  He reared back, landing against the wall.

 And suddenly a premise materializes: It was the animals who ran the asylum and the humans who served.  But tied into that premise is the next: that humans are sometimes the savages, the predators.  And thus the crazy world of Pandemonia began to morph.

“You have no life anymore.  You belong to me now…”

 “Forfeit,” Crispen said.

 “For as long as I want it.  Isn’t that the law in Dragon City?”

 And so it began, the morphing of a world, the shaping, the creation, the defining of character.

Pandemonia is a dangerous future, where earth is now made up of prison colonies and societies are not what they once were.  Pandemonia is controlled by a conglomerate of scientists called the Nucleate.  And mutants, such as Drayce, one of the gen species they gleefully, maniacally create, have been incarcerated in Pandemonia when the end of the most recent intergalactic war ended their usefulness to the interglobal councils.

Societies and civilizations turned and twisted, no longer recognizable, laws of humanity mutilated by needs, instinct, and the powers of the Nucleate.  This is the world of Pandemonia, a future world gone reimagined darkly.

 

Read an excerpt of Pandemonia: Combustible

 

Purchase on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079674H85

Currently a #kindleunlimited selection

Scars and Baggage and Small Towns

Ternekill is a small sleepy town in the Catskill Mountains of New York, with a lot of secrets and I love writing about small towns. Having grown up in a small upstate New York kind of town I know what’s it like living there. I am intimately familiar with small towns and with a writer’s imagination, I take this fictional small town of Ternekill and expose just a few of the secrets riding my two favorite guys from “My Soul He Seeks,” Ravol Nova and Byron Shepley. “My Fate, My Destiny” takes you a little further into their relationship and the depth of their commitment, one to the other. They do face challenges. But then again, it would be a pretty boring story if they didn’t.

MyFateMyDestiny_smRavol is a werewolf, no secret there. He’s been very up front with Byron about that part of his background. But up to this point Ravol has refused to allow Byron to witness his change from human to werewolf. Nor will Ravol agree to change Byron into a werewolf. Just one bone of contention between the two lovers.

Ravol carries a lot of baggage, including the death of his first love, Francesco. He’s a secretive man who tries to keep his life compartmentalized, but Byron is making that harder and harder to maintain. Notwithstanding, Ravol has a lot of baggage because of who he is – a part of the ancient Zhalazti tribe nobility that carries with it a great deal of responsibility and tradition.

Byron may be human, but he has his own set of secrets and full load of baggage he carries around with him, not the least of which is that he can communicate with the Ternekill House ghostly ancestors. Ghosts that are a sure part of his heritage and tie him quite closely to the town of Ternekill. More so than either Byron or Ravol knows.

But soon, some of those dark secrets for both Byron and for Ravol are about to be revealed Some revelations are expected, others not quite so much. Ravol’s past is about to meet his present with a life-altering, perhaps murderous climax. Secrets, if left to fester can kill. Secrets if finally revealed and faced can ultimately heal.

I love genealogy and dabble in it regarding my own family. Digging into the families of Ravol and Bryon and doing the research, fictional and not-so fictional is always exciting. And Ternekill reminds me of some of those smaller town in New York that were lost in the aftermath of flooding from Hurricane Sandy that destroyed forever certain quint towns where I picnicked, and did some steamy parking too.

Oh, yes, there are secrets among those back roads and small towns. And in “My Fate, My Destiny,” a few more of Ravol’s and Byron’s dangerous secrets will be revealed as the past merges with the present.

 

Read an excerpt from “My Fate, My Destiny.”

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Link to purchase on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CXLWS75

Currently a #kindleunlimited selection

Nightingale – an excerpt

Nightingale

(#darkfantasy, #angels, #MM, #eroticromance)

An earthly balance is at stake. Nothing happens by chance. And fate, here on Earth, will demand its bloody tribute no matter how high the cost…

The thirst for deliverance and absolution are transformed into explosive flames of forbidden passion when a mysteriously charismatic masked man encounters a brilliant and handsome composer. Their lives are intertwined with those of two others, and only the ultimate sacrifice will satisfy the greedy appetite of fate…

Retribution is his only desire…Fabienne Brunetto, a 17th-Century castrato of amazing vocal talent, is brutally attacked by a twisted enemy. But agonizing death is not his destiny. He is saved by Annatoly Constantine, the immortal hand of a brotherhood of fallen angels devoted to protection, balance, and order on Earth. But Fabienne bears the scars of his terrible encounter, and his song has been extinguished forever—at least until a rite of redemption can come to culmination. He must wait two hundred years before his hunger for deliverance can fully be sated.

Wounded and shamed…Annatoly Constantine, whom centuries before was also a man, is the protector of the Gios of Nightingales, a choir of immortal voices created to soothe and heal the world. Annatoly has always been destined to lose what he loves, never able to fully offer himself to a lover. Until Carne Giraint, a gifted composer, appears in his life, making him yearn for something more, something exquisitely forbidden.

A composer marked by the cursed blood of his ancestors…Carne Giraint is a mortal of extraordinary talent, tapped by the brotherhood of angels to accept his destiny as composer to the gios. Carne’s greatest passion has never been ignited until he encounters a masked man known to him only as Maître. One night of fiery desire leaves him ravenous for the touch of Maître, a man he cannot forget.

A greedy man willing to give his soul for power and money…Dandrae, a slave to the dark beings who seek to alter the course of Fabienne’s and Carne’s destinies, is tasked with quashing Carne’s mystical gift for composition.

An earthly balance is at stake. Nothing happens by chance. And fate, here on Earth, will demand its bloody tribute no matter how high the cost…

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EXCERPT

Annatoly’s blood tasted rich and Fabienne sucked deeply, until Annatoly gently pulled his arm away. Fabienne licked his lips. His emotions evened out.

“Not too much,” Annatoly said.

Fabienne looked up at Annatoly. “Haven’t I paid enough penance for my thirst for vengeance?”

“First we need Geraint’s composition to complete the demands of the cycle. You must face and accept that which has been your vulnerability. You need his music.”

Fabienne rose from the table and cupped Annatoly’s cool cheek. “Summon him to us then. Perhaps it’s only here that he’ll be able to complete his composition. I want this over.”

“Soon enough,” Annatoly answered softly.

Fabienne walked to the window and stared out across the darkened raw volcanic landscape, a gray dawn hovered at the fringes of night. Fabienne recalled how the world had been ready to fall at his feet. At nineteen, his first legitimate appearance on stage using the name Fabienne Brunetto, he had performed at the request of a cardinal of Rome. The night had been perfect. Coin in his pocket, discussion of an engagement in Rome, and a powerful man ready to give Fabienne anything he wanted. Strutting back to the conservatorio after the dinner party, the world his, was when Carlo and his bravos had accosted Fabienne. And his destiny was brutally ripped from him. The last thing he recalled hearing was the echo of ducats spilling from the pockets of his fine blue velvet coat onto the empty streets. But long-awaited vindication would soon be his.

Fabienne removed the hood from the nightingale perched in the golden cage next to the window. “Sing for me, Lodo, sing. Remind me of my youth when I could mimic so well the nocturnal trills of your song. How I envy the perfect instrument of your voice.” The nightingale peered up at Fabienne and then the notes lifted into the silvery sky. So beautiful it brought tears to his eyes. Both the haunting memories and the music.

He felt Annatoly move closer and they watched as the sky grew lighter.

“It’s only through Geraint’s music and your voice combined that this curse binding you both will be broken.” Fate tied them together. Fabienne could have immortality, he could belong to the gios. But in order to heal completely he needed Geraint and that damned composition.

“Damn him and his whole accursed line,” Fabienne said, a guttural cry of deep bitterness.

“Geraint has taken a lover by the name of Dandrae Edmund,” Annatoly said at last.

“And?” Apparently another complication.

Annatoly pressed a kiss to the side of Fabienne’s neck. “It’s believed he’s attached to the Accademia degli Incogniti and that the Incogniti now align themselves with the Diadune. Zabrael thinks that since they can’t kill Geraint, they’ll somehow attempt to influence the music and in that way nullify the ceremony. They know that without the balance—his composition and your words, the exchange cannot be effected successfully.”

“I thought the Incogniti had all died out, especially after the inquisition, not much was heard of them.” The Accademia degli Incogniti, or Academy of the Unknowns, had consisted of prominent citizens of Venice, including historians, poets and librettists who follow Aristotalian teachings toward a disbelief in the immortal soul, grounded instead only in the pleasures of the moment.

“It seems some members have resurfaced. They aren’t as visible as they once were. Zabrael thinks Smopheus has instigated this resurgence. He’ll attempt to use them for his own purposes. Nevertheless, on my visit to Venice to complete the preparations, I’ll see what I can discover about Smopheus’s actions and any resurgence of the Incogniti.”

“You shouldn’t go. It’s too dangerous. Send someone else,” Fabienne said. “Let me accompany you.”

“I must go, and you are safer here surrounded by the Viadine sentries. We can’t trust anyone to deliver this package. The blood of Geraint’s ancestors could never be replaced and all would be lost. I must be certain matters are handled correctly in Venice.”

“I think there’s more that draws you to Venice than the preparations. Ever since Paris I’ve known you were attracted to the composer. Are you in love with him, Annatoly? Have you become infatuated with my enemy?”

 

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