Iniquity: The Premonition Series (Volume 5)
Cover Reveal: October 8, 2015
Release Date: December 8, 2015
“Learn my secrets, Evie,” Xavier says softly, “if you want to stay ahead of me.”
“Tell me why I’m here or I’m not telling you anything,” I demand. “What’s my mission?”
Xavier grips the steering wheel in front of him, bending it. “You came here for me.”
Hi! I know it has been FOREVER since I posted an update here. I also know it's been FOREVER since I published a Premonition series book. It's been almost 2 years. That's a long time. I know. I'm sorry. Feel free to let me know in the comments your feelings on this. I get at least one person taking me to task for it every day on one or more of my social media sites. It's daunting, but it's doubtless that I deserve it. I have been writing, but it's not always this series that gets my attention.
The Premonition series is my first love. Iniquity is so much fun to write. I will finish it, and when I do, it will be the best book I've ever written. You will not see some things coming. I will blindside you at every turn. You will freak out time and time again. You will fall in love all over again. I promise you that. I promise you the kind of story that you've come to expect from this series. One fraught with intense love, heart-pounding excitement, nail-biting fear, up-all-night action, and severe badassery.
I just can't give you a release date, yet. But I can give you a taste. Here's an excerpt from Brennus' POV. I have a new crush on Finn right now. This has not been edited. It is RAW. It is also subject to change.
Me eyes open ta a high ceiling above; exposed stone beams hold up a barrel-vaulted ceiling, shedding its discolored, crumbling plaster. Light from several half-boarded-over windows dispels da shadows from da room. I bring me hand ta da bridge of me nose, pinching it in an attempt ta ease da ache dere. I feel as if I’ve slept in da arms of an aingeal, only ta awake in Hell. Me head spins around as me blood jumps tru me. I’m na accustomed ta dat—me blood flowing freely in me veins—liquid and on fire. Me heart does na pump it; it still lies dormant in me chest. Nevertheless, blood is circulating tru out me body now, making me stronger dan ever before. ’Tis just one of da ways I’m different since Genevieve changed me.
Rising upon me elbow, it sinks inta da soft mattress. One corner of da clean, linen sheet comes untucked. I ignore it. I wait until da pressure in me head eases, and den I drop me hand ta see Finn eyeing me from his poppy-colored, winged chair in a corner of da spacious bedroom. Finn had located dis defunct seminary in a falling-down part of Detroit—Genevieve’s city.
“Any problems?” I ask Finn, wondering why he’s here in me bedroom.
“Plenty, but none pressing,” he replies, shooting out da white cuffs of his dress shirt from beneath his black suit jacket before smoothing his dark sleeve.
“How far are we wi’ da move?”
He smiles. “Farther dan expected—’tis a sound location—easier ta keep hidden dan our place in Ireland.” I nod. Da six-story Norman Gothic Revival building Finn found for us is spacious, constructed of brown ledge stone. Me room is on the top floor of a corner turret that's capped wi' a pointed, copper roof. Finn chose the location because it has several attached building in da same style. They encompass a few city blocks. At da same time, the structures affords us a great deal of privacy in dis abandoned neighborhood.
“Any complaints?” I ask.
“Truth be told, dere were a few,” Finn says with a barely suppressed grin.
“Eh?” I respond with a raise of me eyebrow.
Finn’s eyes twinkle. “Some o’ da neighbors took offense at da paleness of me flesh.”
Both of me eyebrows rise now. “Whah did ye say ta dat?” I smirk despite me aching head.
Wi’ a cheeky grin, he replies, “I told dem ’tis difficult ta get a tan when one’s undead.”
“How did dey take it?”
“Och, Brady ate dem before dey could respond. He was leppin’ wi’ da hunger.”
I shake me head slowly. “Anyting else?”
“I put Comgan in charge of da renovations. Da roof is sound, jus missing a wee bit o’ da slate. In all, ’twas a grand structure at one time: now ’tis a skeleton whose flesh has been ravished by poverty. Dermot has layered spells over da location. I had Erskine aid him. No craitur should be able ta detect our presence here. Since we bought da property straight out, na even da humans will bother us.”
I rub me eyes and nod. “Dat’s good, Finn.”
Finn studies me before he asks, “Do ye need anyting, Brenn? Is dere someting I can do for ye?”
“How long have I been gone?” I ask.
“Asleep? Na long,” he responds. “A few hours.” He leans back in his seat. His calm, regal eyes are missing nuting.
“Ye’ve been here da whole time?” I ask, raising me eyebrow.
“I have,” he nods as if he hasn’t had anyting better ta do. His black hair falls forward onto his brow.
“I can take care of meself, Finn,” I mutter, trying ta clear me head.
“Even so.” Finn shrugs, na at all put off.
“Ye plannin’ ta guard me forever, brudder?” I ask.
“If need be.”
“Ye worried one of da fellas will try ta kill me in me sleep?”
“Ye do smell delicious—very much like Genevieve at da moment—ye may want ta go and wash off her scent before someone determines ta make ye his queen. And ta yer point, ye resemble such a peaceful craitur when ye’re nappin’. ’Tis a wonder I do na end ye meself,” he says with a grin. His green eyes, so reminiscent of our family’s, glow wi’ humor. Dere’s na a bit o’ malice in his voice, jus mirth. In truth, he’d protect me at his own peril, and I’d protect him at moin.
“So ye plan ta be around whenever I close me eyes?”
“Ye sleep too deeply. Ye’re like a wan,” he says critically.
“Ye try sleepin’ lightly after all of dese centuries wi’out—’tis no easy task.”
“Ye’re too auld, Brenn” he teases me.
“I might be at dat.”
“Will ye speak of Genevieve or no? I’ve a care ta know how our queen fairs.”
“Is she now?”
“Da divine aingeals have her in a wintery, mountain enclave—’tis very Palladian—ye’d approve.”
“So Emil hasn’t taken her?”
“Na for da moment.”
“Shall we go and collect her den?” Finn asks, but he seems in no hurry ta move from where he is.
“Dere’s more ta it. Atwater is dere wi’ her,” I say. Finn’s demeanor changes as if I had told him dat a fella had touched his Molly. Quick as a click, he’s on his feet by me side wi’ a killer-shine is his eyes.
“Ye’re sure ’twas him?”
“I did na see him wi’ me own eyes. Genevieve told me he sought her out.”
Finn’s knuckles stand out on his fists, ready ta be bloodied. “Whah does da bugger want wi’ Genevieve? Does he have a plan for her as well?”
“He’s an aingeal. Dey all have plans, one way or da other,” I say.
“Except dat Atwater’s plans never come ta fruition.”
THANK YOU FOR READING MY STORIES! I'M GRATEFUL!!!
If you're dying for more from me to fill the time in between the next Premonition book, and you haven't read Under Different Stars yet, here are some links to check it out:
Amazon US (ebook)
Amazon US (paperback)
Barnes & Noble
Amazon UK (ebook) or UK (paperback)
Amazon Germany (ebook) or DE (paperback)
Amazon Canada (ebook) or CA (papberback)
Amazon Italy (ebook) or IT (paperback)
Amazon France (ebook) or FR (paperback)
Amazon Japan (ebook) or JP (paperback)
Amazon Spain (ebook) or ES (paperback)
Amazon Brazil (ebook)
If you've read Under Different Stars and you're looking for the next book, SEA OF STARS, here's a link to pre-order it on Amazon.
If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen that Amber Lynn Natusch challenged me to a word count competition today. We each wrote for 45 minutes to see how many words we could write. Sadly, I lost. (I know, you're not surprised.) I only wrote 473 words to her 1,100. But then we had another competition privately and she won again (shocker), but in 20 minutes I wrote 350 more words. I plan to write even more after I post this; I just promised people on Facebook that I would let you glimpse a little of what I wrote today. I can't show you everything because it's a HUGE plot point and I don't want to give it away.
Also, I've recently been called out for giving teasers to you. All I can say to that is I always give you fair warning that a teaser is coming. You're adults (well, mostly) and you can make a choice whether to read a teaser or not. I leave it up to you.
I know some of you will ask me for a release date. I don't have one, yet. When I do, I'll post it. I know a few of you will Big Ben me and tell me it's past "early 2014." Yes, it is. My word count is over 50K. That's where I am. I'm really excited to finish it. I seem to be past the hard part that was bogging me down.
Anyway, I want to write more today so here's the teaser with Evie and Brennus. (I didn't write a scene with Reed today or I would post it instead. I know you've been getting a lot of Brennus teasers lately. All I can say to that is BANJAX.) This teaser has not been edited, and as always, it is subject to change.
“What are you talking about, Brennus?” I whisper.
“Do ye remember when I told ye dat I saw me soul, Genevieve? Jus after ye changed me?”
“I do, it was when I tried to kill you.”
He grins. “Och, had ye tried ta kill me, I’d be gone. Ye wanted me ta change, and change I did,” Brennus says ruefully, and then he sobers. “I saw him again--me soul--after yer fire tore tru me.”
“Me soul was ripped away from Sheol. He tried ta reunite wi’ me--become one once more, but I am still mostly undead, ye see?” I nod my head in understanding, and Brennus continues, “He gave me a message ta give ta ye.”
“He did?” I ask, my eyes wide with surprise.
“He did,” Brennus affirms with a nod. “He said ta say: ‘Tell her I’ve been waiting for her. Tell her I’ll know her by note.’”
You may have noticed my diminished presence on my social network sites. I know I haven't been around as much lately. I've been trying to focus on writing. The problem I have is that I get really distracted when I'm online, and then I don't write. I'm trying to find a balance between the two worlds.
I think you're amazing and I want to let you in on what I'm doing and where I am with everything.
Just in case you haven't seen it, I posted this on Facebook this week. It's a screenshot of Iniquity and Sea of Stars (The Kricket Series, Book 2). I've been working on both manuscripts at the same time. I did this when I wrote Incendiary and Under Different Stars. It worked well for me then. It helped me keep Incendiary from becoming stale.
After I posted this picture on Facebook, I was scolded by a couple of people because I haven't given you an update on Iniquity in awhile. Sorry. I was also scolded for writing Sea of Stars (Kricket #2) at the same time as I'm writing Iniquity. Some don't like the fact that I'm working on both projects simultaneously.
I understand your concerns. I have a couple of reasons why I'm working on the sequel to Kricket at the same time as Iniquity.
1). Working on the Kricket novel is helping me to write Iniquity. When I get stuck on something, I toggle over to the other manuscript and keep going. It allows me to sort out the issue by continuing to write and find the fun in it. I don't get in my head or worry over small details. I don't over think the problem. I work through it by WORKING.
2). Under Different Stars has been doing really well. Its success has recently garnered some interest from the national columns: USA Today HEA and io9. This, in turn, has helped piqued some interest from a couple of kick-ass publishers. Because of this, as well as the fact that readers don't want to wait a long time for this sequel, I need to be working on it now.
I'm sorry if that makes some of you angry. You don't have to wait for me. You can read something else and fall in love with other characters in other books. I will understand your need to move on. I won't look at it as a breakup. We'll just call it what it is: giving each other space. (That was my attempt to find humor in the situation.)
But, if you'd like to have a teaser from Iniquity, I can give you that.
A Facebook follower requested a juicy BRENNUS and EVIE teaser for her birthday. So this is for you, Cassandra Riley.
(This teaser has not been edited. It is in its raw form and subject to change.)
Brennus scoops me up in his arms and holds me to him. My hands go around the back of his neck and brush up against his velvet-soft black wings. He takes me to a gold silk-covered sofa. He magically retracts his massive wings through his shirt and into his back before he sits down on the cushions with me on his lap.
Brennus pulls the pins out of my hair one by one. My intricately woven hairstyle unravels with each lock he frees. “Emil might come back, Brennus,” I say worriedly, glancing at the double doors still wide open. Brennus sees my fear and lifts his hand; the doors violently swing closed with a slam. “Better?” His eyebrow lifts like it’s asking the question.
I raise my hand and the furniture nearest the door slides across the floor and piles in front of it. I exhale and nod.
Happy Friday! I have a special teaser to share with you. I hadn't planned on posting it, but a reader contacted me on Facebook and asked for a little bit of Brennus in honor of her birthday. So, you guys can thank Teaka Lilly for this one :) Happy birthday, Teaka, and many, many more.
This is a teaser with Brennus and Emil <--(new character in Iniquity), but it's told in Russell's point of view. (As always with most of my teasers, this has not been edited. It's in its raw form and subject to change.)
“Tell me who killed my mentor!” Emil demands. He’s torn up about it.
“Casimir? Was he yer mentor?” Brennus asks, toyin’ with Emil. “Ye should tank da aingeal who did it. Casimir wanted Genevieve for himself. He planned ta use her ta gain power in Sheol.”
“He’d never betray me.” Emil’s anger is a tangible thing.
Brennus shrugs. “He did. Maybe ye’re na dat important after all, Emil. Dey’ve probably been spoon-feedin’ ye dat nonsense since ye were born. Finn, whah’s worse dan an evil aingeal?”
Finn grins. “A spoiled evil half-aingeal?”
Brennus grins as well. “Och, ye have ta luv me brudder; he’s so cheeky. He was always da favourite.”
Emil isn’t amused. “You’ve kept Simone from me.”
Brennus’ expression becomes serious; his fangs engage, click. “She’s Genevieve, and she's moin.”
Okay. We have to talk. Many of you have been more than understanding and patient with me regarding the release of Iniquity, and for that I'm eternally grateful. For the few who are not, the next part of this post is going to be for you.
I've been feeling your displeasure with me lately. A few readers have been very vocal about it. It's clear: I'm not living up to expectations as far as the publishing and the release of Iniquity are concerned. Believe me when I tell you that I KNOW that I'm not. I just want to clear up a few misconceptions so that you have the facts regarding my books.
I wrote Under Different Stars WHILE I was writing Incendiary (book #4). I finished them at roughly the same time. I have not put Iniquity on hold in order to write Under Different Stars. Some people have expressed their anger with me for publishing Under Different Stars before Iniquity. Writing and publishing are ways that I help to support my family. It would be silly of me to have a book finished and not publish it just because I haven't finished the series that you already love first. And again, it has little to do with the delays to Iniquity.
I did put Iniquity on hold for a month and a half to write The Divided. The Divided is a short story that will be included as part of an anthology and was originally due to the publisher in September of 2013. (I've already turned it in, but the deadline has since been extended to the end of January 2014 for the authors who haven't finished theirs yet). I'm not getting paid for this short story. I did it to benefit an organization that I believe in. All proceeds will go to that organization. The Divided should release this spring/summer. (I have no control over when it gets published, but I'll let you know when it comes out, just in case you're interested.) So, Under Different Stars didn't hold up Iniquity, but The Divided did for a bit.
The real reason I haven't published Iniquity yet: I'm still writing it. The reasons I'm still writing it are complicated. I can pinpoint a few. I can't rush or force the way a story develops for me. It would be insane for me to try because it wouldn't turn out well. I have to go where the story takes me and that's what I've been doing and it simply takes what it takes to write it.
I have really high expectations to fulfill: yours and mine. I've said it before: this book has to be better than every other book that came before it in the series. Every. Single. Book. So it's a lot of pressure and emotion and I get in my head a little and I have to step away from it from time to time. I'm trying really hard to be a better writer. It's important to me that when you read my books, you escape this world for the fictional one. When you finally return to this world, I want you to feel like this one is the fictional one and mourn the loss of the other one acutely. In the beginning of my career, it was flattering to be compared to other authors and their work. It was like, "WOW, that's awesome!" But now, my goal is for you to read me and say, "Wow, that was unlike anything I've ever read." I don't know if I'll get there, but I'm going to try.
I'm going to keep typing words into my computer, string together sentences and paragraphs, and hopefully create a world to which you can disappear. When I reach the end of the story, I'll tell you. You will be the first ones I tell. I promise. If I miss this "early 2014" deadline, too, then I miss this deadline, too. In a few years, most people won't know or remember or care how long it took me to write Iniquity. They'll only care about whether or not it was any good.
I want to show you something. It's not the Bestseller list or the Hot New Releases list, although, I do like those lists, too. It's Amazon's Top Rated list. It's a list based on customer reviews. Because of you and your reviews, Under Different Stars made this list. Thank you, it means the world to me. It says that maybe I did something right. I know that it'll probably be off this list soon because it's really hard to make it and hang out on it for any length of time. But, for a moment on January 7, 2014, you put me on it, and that's amazing. And that's also why I won't rush Iniquity.
Anyway, that's my spiel. If you're still with me, then I have something about Iniquity that I want to share with you.
Iniquity has so many highs and lows for me already. But I'll share one of the highs with you. It happened a couple of days ago. I was writing a scene and Brennus kept pushing into it and talking when I hadn't thought he would be in it at all, so now he's in it because he insisted. Anyway, after I wrote it, I was getting ready to go to my neighbors' house because I've blown them off so many times they think I hate them, but really it's because I don't feel like I have any time in my life right now to be social. They're really very lovely people, it's just that any time I'm not writing or thinking about writing, or dreaming about writing, I feel guilty. Anyway, not the point, the point is: remember in Indebted when Evie picks up Brennus' weapon in the armory and it sings to her? Well, I never really knew what that song was. It never was like I could really hear it, I just wrote that it made music and went on with the story. So I was getting ready to go out and thinking about Brennus and the battleaxe that makes music and I started hearing the song in my head--the whole song--it's like having an orchestra playing the melody in my mind. And since then, the song has been with me everywhere I go, like a broken record. And now, finally, I think I know what it is and what it means to the story. It's really important, but I can't tell you why because that would ruin it. But here is a portion of the scene where Brennus forced his way in. I hope you like it. It's told in Russell's POV. (This scene hasn't been edited. It is in a raw form and subject to change.)
The doors of the library swing open behind me. “Aww, whah’s dis?” Brennus’ smooth voice asks. “’Tis aingeals, Finn.”
“’Tis.” Finn’s voice agrees.
“Uckkk,” Brennus makes a rude sound, “and da other.”
“Brennus,” I hiss.
“Why are ye lettin’ dem have da pretty dark-winged aingeal, da other?” he asks me conversationally, as he walks into my line of sight. He looks at the Power angel holdin’ me hostage by my throat. His eyes shift to Djet and Anya. “Hallo, pretty aingeal,” he says to Anya, “I’ve missed ye.” Her eyes widen as her hands grip Djet’s arm that holds the sharp dagger just below her chin.
“What are you doin’ here?” I growl at Brennus.
He moves in front of me and bends down to my eye level, studyin’ me. It’s shockin’ to see his black, velvet wings beyond the unbuttoned collar of his stark-white dress shirt. They're almost like an elegant accessory to complete his ensemble of dark, tailored dress pants and expensive shoes. His meticulously well-kempt black hair doesn’t even move as he leans near me. Faerie writin’ scrawls in intricate tattoos over Brennus’ neck. Behind his ear, there's somethin’ I’ve never noticed before; it’s another small, glowin’ tattoo on his not so pale flesh—one that looks like the battleaxe I’d found in the armory back at his castle.
“I came here ta retrieve da portrait of me queen dat da Reapers stole from me castle,” he nods toward his brother Finn on the other side of me. Finn demonstratively holds aloft a rolled up canvas; his iridescent green eyes twinkle like this is all very amusin’. “Nasty wee craiturs, dose Reaper aingeals—tink dey can reap everyting, but dat portrait is moin—given ta me in trade by a Fallen one.”
“Ahh, who are ya tryin’ to kid? You killed Freddie and kept it.”
“I did na say ’twas a good trade for him.”
“You must be Brennus,” Djet says behind him. Brennus’ eyes narrow as he straightens to face Djet.
“If I must,” Brennus says pleasantly enough, but his anger is recognizable to me. “And ye must be Emil.” Fallen angels move in closer, surroundin’ Djet protectively, while their eyes focus on the back of the room by the doors. Behind me I hear click, click, click, click, click, click...hundreds of Gancanagh fangs engagin’ at once.
“How do you know that name?” he asks Brennus.
“Ye’re Emil. Yer last lifetime was in Lille, France, was it na? About a century ago,” he states, exudin’ confidence. “And, like a coward, ye enjoyed frightenin’ wee lasses den.”
Judgin' by the look on Djet’s face, I should start referrin’ to him as Emil.
With all the craziness surrounding my release of Under Different Stars, I want to assure you all that I haven't forgotten about Iniquity. I also haven't forgotten that you are, first and foremost, a fan of the Premonition Series. I'm still working on Iniquity. It's kicking my butt, though. It's darker than the first four and it's not always easy for me to live in that world.
I still plan to put it out in early 2014. I'd like to share a little snippet of the story with you. I hope you enjoy it.
“You’re a fighter; it’s woven in every fiber of your being, Evie.” Xavier’s soft tone does something to me. I want to hide beneath it, wrap myself in it like a blanket and rest.
“Maybe I’m a fighter because that’s what you’ve made me—lifetimes of fighting for you. Was that the price we paid for being together? Did we have to agree to mission after mission just to see each other?”
It’s in his eyes. I’m right.
I put both my hands to my face and cover my weary eyes for a moment. When I pull them away, I ask, “Did it get to be too much for me? Was the price too high to pay? Maybe I can’t remember us because I wanted it that way. Did I decide to cut my heart out rather than to have it die slowly?” I feel like sobbing.
“No. You’d always fight for us,” Xavier replies without a hint of doubt. “The answer lies in Simone—in her memories.”
“You want me to go back there! Back to Lille with Emil!” I begin to pace again, biting my thumbnail anxiously.
“I want you to find out what happened,” Xavier says in an even tone.
I point my finger at him. “No. You’re asking me to relive what happened!”
“If it means defeating Emil in this lifetime then, yes, that’s what I’m asking. I need to know the debt owed to iniquity.”
“The debt to iniquity—to wickedness?” I murmur aloud.
“Emil’s power is a concession—that’s plain to me. I want to know why.”
Hi. By now you've noticed that summer is over and I haven't published Iniquity. There is a reason for that: I'm not finished writing it. Because of this, I owe you all an apology. I hate missing deadlines. I try really hard to manage everyone's expectations; I failed in that this time. I'm truly sorry from the bottom of my heart for it not being ready. I can make excuses for it, but it really comes down to one simple reason: I won't put out a book unless I'm absolutely in love with it. This story has been my life for almost 6 years. I want it to be as close to perfect as I can make it. Therefore, I'm going to postpone the release of Iniquity until early 2014. If I get it finished and edited before then, I'll move the date up and we can all party our brains out. If not, I think that will give me enough time to do what I need to do to make it exactly what it needs to be. I owe you an amazing story after all of your dedication to these books.
I know how disappointing this is. Please feel free to vent your frustration here. I'm not trying to torture you. This is not a marketing strategy, in fact, I'll probably lose fans over this. I want this book to exceed all of your expectations. It has to have passion, romance, danger, betrayal, intensity, gut-wrenching sorrow, life-affirming love, suspense, and in the midst of all of that, it has to have the type of humor that makes you laugh out loud, even when you're feeling hopeless. In order to do that, I need more time.
I've made another decision regarding publishing. I had intended to publish the first book in my Kricket Series entitled Under Different Stars after the release of Iniquity. It's a Young Adult/Dystopian novel. I've now decided to bump up the release date for it to either November or December of 2013. I've been working on getting an amazing cover for it for the past month.
To show you that I'm not a heartless monster, I'll give you another teaser from the story, so you can see that I'm really dedicated to telling this story.
This is a Reed and Evie teaser.
My hand stills. I panic. Time could change us, like it had with Xavier and me. I feel like my heart unravels, but I don’t let him see it. “One day, Reed,” I begin dabbing at his cheek again, “you and I will get in the car and just drive. We’ll wander from silver cities to golden coasts.” I use an alcohol swab to clean the blood from his cheek. “And we’ll sleep when we’re tired and when we wake, I’ll find a way to make you laugh and I’ll live in the sound of it.” My throat gets tight because I long for that day to be now. “We’ll find somewhere you’ve never been and we’ll make it ours—fill it with memories of us. That’s what I want.” I finish with the alcohol swab. Leaning close, I gently blow on his healing wound to ease the sting.
Reed takes my hand and brings it to his lips, kissing it tenderly. “And when we get that sleep, there will never be a your side or a my side of the bed—we’ll always meet in the middle. And when I hold you there, in our bed, you’ll let me rest my lips here.” Reed lets go of my hand to move his thumb to caress the sensitive skin of my neck just beneath my ear. I get swept up in him: my body his with one touch. I turn and rub my cheek gently against his palm.
“And we won’t rush...ever,” I murmur, forgetting to be scared for a moment as I kiss him. I want that future with him.
“The world can spin around us but we’ll take our time, savor every moment.”
My head rests on his shoulder. “Just you and me.”
He kisses the top of my head. “I doubt Buns or Brownie will allow that.”
Coming in early 2014
I just reached 5000 likes on my author Facebook page!
To celebrate the occasion and thank my Facebook followers, I posted an Iniquity teaser there. I like FB because I'm able to talk with readers there throughout my day and post things on it that I can't post here very easily. I'm going to post the teaser below as well because I know that some of you aren't on Facebook.
I chose a Brennus and Evie teaser because I've recently given you ones from Reed, Xavier, and Russell.
He holds me close in his arms and we begin to dance. One of his hands moves slowly from my hip to travel up my side, infusing his energy into me as it goes. I gasp as the current flows under my skin. I bite down on my lip as pleasure-pain makes me breathe deep, like I might drown.
Brennus murmurs in my ear, “Bite down hard, it feels better.”
He’s right. I clench my teeth. He guides me around the room; we skip ahead at supernatural speed for a few moments. His energy spreads through me, first from my heart, through the roadmap of my veins, to places I never wanted Brennus to go. I gasp as my body involuntarily curls toward him like a flower to the sun, for the pleasure of it. He holds me close, his nose grazes the length of my neck; he breathes me in. I feel the roar and rush of my heartbeat. I’m his toy; his energy streams into me. He winds the invisible key in my back and the euphoria ratchets and coils inside of me: tick...tick...tick...
We slow to a human pace. He bends me in a dip; my back arches and I feel him above me as his hand holds my back while the other one traces lightly over my side. I respond to his light touch; my skin becomes a magnet drawn to his. He straightens me again with a snap, pulling me close. His hand travels from the side of my breast to my back. Another wicked surge of energy flows from him into me. Pain. Pleasure. Bliss. My jaw unclenches as my lips part. I make a small, breathy sound as we dance.
Brennus responds with something close to a growl. “Ye’re killing me, mo chroí,” he murmurs. His hand moves down my back infusing me with a golden glow of power. My wings punch violently from me, tearing a hole in my day dress. My wings spread wide, a red stain beyond my pale skin. I’m dancing now for the thrill of it; I follow his lead.
As the song comes to an end, Brennus kisses my throat tenderly. He whispers in my ear, “When ye get back, come find me, mo chroi. I’ve healed ye...now wake up and banjax whoever banished ye here...”
I've been working on Iniquity whenever I can. I'm nowhere near to being finished. It's a monster to write. I thought I'd be able to write it as fast as the other books, but this one is so much more intricate. The characters all have stories to tell and I have to tell those stories in order for you to understand why Evie is here--her mission. (<--That is the ultimate goal of Iniquity in my mind: to explain why Evie is here.) The funny thing I'm finding is, as I write, many of the other characters have missions, too.
I'm not giving a release date for Iniquity, yet. I can't. There is too much left to write for me to pick some arbitrary date. I know I will get hate mail for that. I'm sorry! Hopefully you'll thank me later for not compromising. (I will pray for it.)
I want to let you in a little more than I have on the story, though. The original Iniquity teaser I planned to publish below was almost 2,000 words. Then I thought, That's not a teaser, that's a freaking novel. Instead, I chose a smaller excerpt. It's still over 800 words. I'm silly. I can't help myself. Just go with it.
This teaser hasn't been edited. It is RAW and subject to change. It's a glimpse into Evie's last lifetime on Earth; the lifetime prior to the present, when she was Simone. (Chapter 3 of Incendiary gives you the first glimpse of this lifetime from Russell's perspective. Now you get to see it through Evie's eyes, but unlike with Russell's telling of it, you're going to have to live through it.) If you'll recall from Incendiary, Simone is in France during World War 1. She's now in German occupied Lille, in the year 1918.
I've posted music with this teaser. When you read it, its relevance will be explained.
“Is a ghost whispering in your ear?” Emil asks me now. He touches my cheek softly. “You’ve gone quite pale.”
“I was just on my way to Olympia to see if they have any more of the jam you like. We’ve run completely out, and I thought you might want it for the journey,” I lie.
He has a faraway look. “You’re just as you were on the morning I found you--so pale--so beautiful. Has it really been more than two years ago?”
“Almost two and a half,” I murmur.
“The needle in the hay, that’s what you were, Simone, and I found you.”
“I hardly remember that day,” I lie. It’s etched in my brain; I have nightmares of it often.
Emil smiles at me now in admiration as he had then. “Nothing breaks your heart. You’re bulletproof. You’re like me--we both keep so many secrets.”
“If I don’t go now, it will be closed.”
My excuse to meet Xavier slips away from me the moment I see his scowl. “I don’t want your French jam. It will taste like the bitterest defeat now. I’ll never eat it again.” He watches me for a moment. His thumb comes up to trace my lips. I drop my chin. He lifts the silver wolf head of his cane beneath my chin, raising it so that he can see my eyes. “Do you know what I want?” he asks.
“I’d like a kiss.”
I show no emotion as I lift my lips to his cheek and press them lightly against his skin. As I pull away, my eyes meet his.”
“You belong to me, Simone. You know that, don’t you?”
He touches the lace of my collar, admiring the fine detail of the day dress he chose for me. “Good. Come, I want to hear you play while the staff packs.” He takes my hand and leads me back toward the grandeur of the main house. I don’t resist. Entering through the kitchen, I nearly stumble to a halt as I see the blood-spattered wall and lifeless body of Tomas, the head chef, near the cast iron stove. Emil’s hand gestures toward the blood pooling on the floor. “Tomas cannot come with us to our next location. I will miss him; I enjoyed his soufflé.”
I avert my eyes at once. Death is a regular occurrence here. I had thought Tomas had a better chance than most of surviving the German occupation. I was wrong.
Emil leads me to the music room. He opens the enormous doors, spreads them wide, and allows me to enter before him. The room is arranged with opulent furniture: centuries old carved mahogany chairs, gold-silk covered sofas, and a light-blue silk tufted settee among others. Most of the artwork that had adorned this space has been removed, shipped to the Fatherland to be hoarded by relatives of the officers who reside here. Large, discolored patches of plaster remain as a testament to where they had been.
We cross the immaculate blue and gold carpet to the black bench placed in front of the piano of the same hue. All of the silver frames near the piano have images of the family who had once lived here. I don’t know what happened to them, but they’re richer by far for not having to remain.
As I settle on the bench, I lift my eyes to Emil’s blue ones. The strawberry-blond highlights in his hair shine in the waning sun from the window as he doffs his Fliegertruppe cap. “What would you like to hear?” I ask.
“Play Johann Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D,’” Emil smiles. He drops his cap on the chair near us.
I remove my white gloves and take my hat from my hair, placing the gloves inside of it. Emil takes them from me and puts them on the chair beside his. As I rest my fingertips on the smooth ivory keys, gunshots explode from the floors above. My eyes rise to look at the ceiling, hearing the violent, high-pitched screams of women’s voices and the heavy pounding of running feet. “It’s just a bit of housekeeping, Simone. The staff cannot come with us; we have to be sure they won’t see something that they shouldn’t. I’ve given orders that they be...retired.” His hand rests heavily on my shoulder.
“You’ll kill them all?” I choke on the words.
“All but you, Simone. I have spared you.” He caresses my cheek before he urges, “Now play for me.” I hesitate for a moment, trying to think of a way to convince him to spare the lives of the staff. Emil leans close to my ear and growls, “Play!”
The first staggering notes of ‘Canon in D’ are hardly discernable above the chaos and clamor. The pistol reports shatter the very air. Agnes, one of the chambermaids, pleads for her life, but her terrified cry is cut short. I concentrate on the keys so that my fingers won’t shake and I fade away into the music. I hide in the notes, momentarily free from the terror of the Lille chateau. It’s only when the song ends that I begin to pray.
I cannot stay here a moment longer...I can’t stay...Xavier, please come, Xavier, please...
Emil whispers in my ear, “Again, Simone.”
I wish I could show you it all. Soon! I will soon :)