(Liadan, this is for you, lol.) I'm usually pretty bashful about sharing bits of my unedited WIPs, but here's an excerpt from Broken Pentacle, the sequel to my current release, Nature's Pentacle. This one isn't under contract yet (just turned it in recently), so think positive thoughts for me!
Here's a very rough draft of the blurb:
Seeking revenge, Sky and Alec return to the states to help draw Jaimis--the rogue witch who raped and tortured them a year ago--out of hiding. To heal and regain her shattered powers, Sky must reclaim memories wiped away by Jaimis’s dark magic. Alec, who remembers every detail of the horrific attacks, holds the key to her recovery if he can find the courage to face his demons. They discover strength and passion in an unlikely ménage with Aaron, their ex-cop bodyguard, but if they’re going to survive Jaimis’s plans for them, the only hope for these witches lies in the power of three.
And now an unedited PG rated excerpt set soon after Alec and Sky's reunion after a year apart:
Sky watched in fascination as Alec worried a thin braid between his forefinger and thumb. After his shower, he’d braided a length of hair near the front, thinner than her pinky finger, and secured a small bead made of green stone near the base. He looked fierce and untamed, golden skin stretched across lean, runner’s muscles interrupted only by his jade green boxer shorts.
Alec seemed more approachable without the accouterments of political life. Gone were the two hundred dollar haircut, blond highlights, manicure, expensive suit, and butter-soft shoes that probably cost more than her house. Strike that -- her former house, long since consigned to ashes by a bunch of anti-witch vigilantes. He’d clung to the trappings of civilization while they were healing, those first few weeks at Sorren’s estate, wrapping himself in designer suits even with his back still raw, his psyche still battered.
“The wild man image suits you.” Despite herself, she inched closer and rested the palm of her hand over his wrist. Something about him tugged at an emotional chord deep inside her. “I missed you, after Sorren moved us out of the country to safer territory.”
Afraid she’d revealed too much, Sky tugged the terrycloth robe tighter around her, a thin shield between her and disappointment. Alec regarded her with clear, brown eyes flecked with amber, and when the silence stretched between them, she looked down at her knees, crossed yoga-style on the blue bedspread.
“Your hair’s longer. I like it that way, like a black waterfall down your back.” Alec swallowed audibly. “You don’t wear it long to hide -- I mean you don’t still have…”
The pain in his voice spurred her into action. “No. Here, see?” She untied the loosely knotted belt from her borrowed robe, let folds of terrycloth drop around her waist, and lifted her hair clear of her back.
Bending forward, she let him study the unmarred expanse of skin. She shivered when he trailed his fingers along her spine, exploring smooth flesh where she knew he remembered a mess of healing lacerations. Relaxing under his gentle exploration, she let her face rest on her arms. The witch healers had done their job well, and though she’d still had scars when she left Sorren’s estate just under a year ago, within months the continued healing charms had smoothed the knotted tissue.
“See? This is the only one I have left.” She sat up and lifted the soft terrycloth clear of her left thigh, taking Alec’s hand and tracing his thumb over the crescent moon shaped scar, no longer than her thumb. The one place Jaimis’s whip cut too deep to heal completely, despite the witch healers’ formidable power.
“Mine’s here.” Alec eased the silk boxers down on his right side, revealing a jagged scar a hand span long across his hip. “The rest healed clean.”
Without thinking, Sky bent down and kissed the tip of puckered flesh, then trailed a row of kisses along the length of the scar. Alec clawed his way into her head again, hungry and amazed at her casual acceptance of the ugly mark.
“What Jaimis did to us, the way he tied our fates together, it’s like he was some sort of dark artist…” Alec’s breath came in short gasps as Sky kissed her way along the length of the raised line of tissue again. “And after a point, he’d shed so much of our blood that it was like mixing paint, blending the colors until he left some of each of us with the other.”
Tears welled up at the corners of her eyes, and she blinked them back. “No one could make me laugh, all those months I spent in
. But you could, back at Sorren’s -- those six weeks when we were too sick to travel yet, while we spent our days huddled in the elder witch’s gardens together. You could always think of something to make me laugh through the pain.” Mexico
She left the rest unsaid. And no one else could help me cry.
“That’s what you want tonight? To cry? Or to laugh?” Alec lifted her face and helped her sit up beside him, cradling her chin in his palm. “Because whatever we do here, I don’t plan on wasting any time discussing the dark witch, or what comes next, until morning.”
“Is busy playing guard dog downstairs. He’s a friend, Sky. He and I go way back, and he’s not going to waste any time developing opinions about how we choose to spend our nights.” Leaning close enough that his chest brushed her bare breasts, Alec cradled his palm at the back of her neck. “No tears tonight, okay? Trust me?”
Of all my characters, Sky and Alec's story was the hardest to write, because they were hurt so badly at the end of Nature's Pentacle. And of all my characters, they're the two I believe I'll always love the most. I developed a huge crush on Aaron, their burly, no-nonsense ex-cop bodyguard, too!