I spent the few days leading up to my birthday weekend conducting interviews. I LOVED each of the agents I talked to, which made the decision that much harder. But when it came down to it, one agent (the lovely and talented Weronika Janczuk from Lynn C. Franklin and Associates) had just a little more fire and passion for my work. I chose her and so far am having a blast with revisions.
The odd part about this particular bit of wonderful news is where I was when I received "The Agent Call." It was a dark and stormy night....actually it was a lovely Thursday afternoon, and I was naturally trapped in the basement of a federal courthouse working diligently with my boss on legal stuff. I checked my phone during a break and saw I had a voicemail. Naturally I got anxious, given that Weronika had sent me the most amazing email about how she couldn't wait to offer for me after reading my book from 10pm that night until 2am. So I slunk off to the courthouse basement bathroom to listen to the voicemail she left, praying the one bar connection on my phone would be strong enough for me to get a message. IT WAS! I listened with a racing heart as Weronika said she had some good news and couldn't wait to talk to me! To make a long story short, I called her back later that same evening and received the official offer. I won't ever look at that courthouse bathroom the same way again. It will always hold a special place in my heart.
But the exciting news doesn't stop there.
By the first week of April, I received word that I had finaled in the CTRWA's Write Stuff Contest with League of Rogues, and that League had also finaled in the Yellow Rose's Winter Rose Contest!
Add to that my good news from March where I found out I won the NTRWA's Great Expectations Contest with League and I am floating on clouds!
Now the excerpt as promised....and it's something completely different. Please excuse typos, etc. This is a taste of my new paranormal WIP called Passions of Dark Prince, the first in my Court of Shadows trilogy about dark fae.
“My own brother had betrayed me.” Angus Sidhe growled, the animalistic sound so strong it shattered the nearest crystal goblet. Wine splattered on the white marble at his feet. Angus’s throne room was empty save for himself, a small contingent of royal guards and his traitorous brother.
Drostan Sidhe, high prince of the Unseelie Court of the dark fae, winced as Angus focused his violent gaze on him. The truth was unavoidable. He had tried to betray Angus, his own flesh and blood. Although Angus was his elder by two years and the new Unseelie King, Drostan had every right to the Unseelie throne. Their father, on his deathbed had told the court seer that he wished Drostan to be king, not Angus.
“I’m shocked Drostan. You offer not a word of protest.” Angus’s golden eyes were warm as melted honey, concealing the danger Drostan knew was there. Ever since they were children, Angus had always been so in control of his passions. Drostan and their other brothers weren’t nearly as effective in controlling themselves. But once Angus lost his control, heads rolled, and nations went to war. Many a mortal king had quaked in fear and ceded their lands, jewels and women to Angus when he was but a high prince. Now as a king he was even more dangerous.
“You know as well as I do that the Sentinel warriors follow me. They are loyal to me alone, not to you.”
Angus struck him without warning. The blow cut across his check, splitting his lip. The coppery taste of blood sent his pulse racing, igniting his dark fae senses. Blood, even his own always called to him, made him hard and hungry for sex. But his brother’s fury definitely dampened his mood, that and it would be hard to find a willing female to bed when his brother’s guards were holding him. Drostan would have happily returned Angus’s violence if the guard’s didn’t have a vise-like grip on his arms.
Angus turned to face him, hands wound behind his back, blond hair falling in his eyes. “Anyone loyal to you will suffer your fate.” He unclasped his hands, rolled their father’s signet ring around on his finger. When he raised his gaze, Drostan swore he caught a flash of hesitation, distress. “Is that what you want for your men? To reward their actions by execution? Make no mistake Drostan. I will have every last one of them beheaded.”
Drostan lunged for his brother, fury exploding from every cell. “Don’t you dare! They were once your friends as they are mine!”
“Yes. That is exactly the point. You can’t see it can you, brother? You’re too blinded by greed. You made my own friends, men I grew up with, betray me because they loved you more.”
Angus scowled and nodded to the two men holding Drostan. A boot kicked him sharply on the back of his legs, bringing him to his knees. Angus stopped pacing and lowered himself back onto the gilded throne and glared at Drostan.
“We may be the Unseelie, and unlike our brethren of the Court of Light, we have little mercy in our hearts, but I do not wish to kill you. You raised arms against me, drove my men to revolt, all so you could claim the throne.” The look of sheer rage on Angus’s face softened into one of misery and weariness.
“Our father named me as successor, Angus. I wanted my rightful place.” He refused to plead. He wouldn’t beg. But Angus deserved to understand why Drostan had revolted. It went against every dark fae instinct in him to deny himself something that was pledged to him and his father had pledged his throne to Drostan on his death bed.
“He may have given you the throne, but he didn’t have the right to do it. Fae law dictates the eldest son rules. I’m sorry Drostan. I have no other choice…You are hereby banished from the Court of Shadows. If you set foot here in Court without my knowledge or permission you will be executed.”
Drostan’s heart stopped, his blood pounded against his ear drums in a deafening roar. Banished? No one had ever been banished from Court. No one.
“But I’m fae. My life is here! Where would I go? The Seelie Court?”
Angus laughed, the sound more amused than cruel. “I doubt the Seelie Queen and her guards would let you get even one mile near her Court. You’d corrupt her darling princesses.”
“I probably would,” Drostan agreed. For a brief instant they were brothers again, not enemies.
Angus sobered, the hint of merriment in his honey gold eyes vanishing.
“I could restore you to your life here, Drostan. If you agree to two things. You swear fealty to me, a blood oath of loyalty. And you must return to court with the fae changling that our father sent away years ago.”
Drostan raised his head. Fae changling? If their father had sent a fae away that meant… “We’ve had a human changeling at our Court? How was I not informed of this?” More importantly, how had he not bedded the female?
“She was raised as fae, but now she has taken her place as servant. She is but twenty six years old.” Angus steepled his fingers, eyeing him thoughtfully.
“Bring me the fae changeling who lives in the mortal realm. I wish her to be returned to me. She is of our blood. And if you swear an oath to me, you can return.”
“And if I don’t agree?” Drostan lowered his brows and fixed Angus with a grim look.
“Then you will never see the moon over Unseelie lands and you will lose your powers.
“Drostan was on his feet again, bellowing in outrage at his brother. You cannot do this Angus. Without my powers I will be helpless. Mortals are vicious, vain creatures who will have no mercy for me.”
Angus barked out a sharp laugh. “On the contrary, I believe you fit right in. Guards, bring me the armband.” He stood, his figure impressive as he stoically accepted a golden armband decorated with Celtic knotwork on it. He marched down the steps of the dais to where Drostan stood and he tore Drostan’s tunic sleeve off, baring his bicep.
Drostan fought against the guards, but they held him fast as Angus clicked the band around his arm.
“Whatever your decision brother, you may call to me through this band and I will answer if I believe you choose to accept. If you do not, then I fear this is the last we see of one another.”
Angus laid a palm on Drostan’s chest, over his heart. The new Unseelie king’s face was ravaged with grief. “Please think on your choices. Find happiness in whatever path fate gives you.” It was the way fae always said goodbye. For some reason the words cut through Drostan to the bone and his heart ached for what he knew was coming.
Words failed Drostan. He had nothing to say, his own anger and fear at banishment swallowed him whole. Once exhiled, he would perish. Mortals were primitive and stupid creatures, not to be trusted or depended upon. He met Angus’s gaze one last time before the world around him exploded into a supernova and all lights winked out.
“It’s certainly not what I expected.” Rebecca Harding followed the middle-aged realtor up the steps of her new home.
The massive mansion was circa 1880s, with marble columns and extensive gardens in the back, according to Mrs. Dudley, the realtor.
“Your attorney said your father never told you about this place?” Mrs. Dudley fiddled with a heavy set of keys on a large ring, a string of curses escaping her lips until she found the right one for the front door.
“Nope. Never mentioned it.” Rebecca brushed an errant lock of hair away from her face and craned her head back to look at the massive glass chandelier hanging above the entry. It looked like a glass lantern.
How had dad kept this place a secret? It had been two years since his death and she’d only just discovered this mansion near Hancock Park in some old letters in her father’s desk. One quick call to her attorney and she’d been driving over to meet Mrs. Dudley and take stock of her new home. And what a home it was.
Rebecca’s heart skittered wildly in shock and excitement when Mrs. Dudley swept the front door open. It was less a mansion and more a palace. Old paintings littered the entry way, the ceilings were painted in wedgewood blue and white style. The furniture was covered with thick white sheets, but Rebecca knew it would be lavish as the rest of the house seemed to be.
“Did your father inherit this place? I checked city records and it seems this house hasn’t seen the market in over fifty years.”
Rebecca trailed a hand over the heavy brass doorknob of a room nearest the front door. The metal was cool beneath her fingers, but strangely welcoming.
“He must have, although he never told me.” How many more secrets would she uncover about the man who raised her?
“Mrs. Dudley could you tell me what the market value of this house?”
“Heavens, I couldn’t even guess…but certainly in the milions.”
Rebecca stumbled on the ornate runner carpet. “Millions?”
“Millions, most definitely.”
Stewart Harding hadn’t been rich. He’d lived a normal life with enough money to help Rebecca through college. It made absolutely no sense that he’d been keeping his place a secret.
“You must have one interesting family tree in order to have come by Reynard Hall.” Mrs. Dudley flicked a nearby light switch and the bulbs in the wall sconces and chandeliers over head sparked to light. “Thank heavens for small miracles. The power company was able to get it up and running. I take it you plan to move in right away? I’m sure your boyfriend will love it.”
“Boyfriend?” The word snapped Rebecca out of the hazy dream of the house.
“Yes…I thought…you aren’t…”
“No boyfriend.” Rebecca’s pride was pricked. The sting was a little irritating.
“That’s such a shame. A nice girl like you should have a man.”
Rebecca swallowed a scream. It wasn’t the first time she’d been told it was a pity she didn’t have a boyfriend. Sure it would be nice to have a guy to cuddle up with, to see each morning and tousle his hair playfully before…She paused that train of thought and got off before it left the station. That train led to pain and disappointment. Men, except for her father, weren’t to be trusted. She’d fallen in love three times, and each time was worse than the last. Men? No thank you.
“Well, if you don’t have anything else you need to show me in the house, I’ll just take the keys and…”
“I’d love to help you sell this.” Mrs. Dudley cut in.
Rebecca narrowed her gaze on the realtor. There were dollar’s signs practically flashing in the woman’s eyes.
“I doubt I’ll see. But thank you for the offer.” She marched the realtor to the door and plucked the ring of keys from her hand. With a little gasp of indignation, Mrs. Dudley was shoved onto the doorstep and Rebecca slammed the heavy oak door behind her. She ought to have restrained her relief at being alone, but she couldn’t.
However, the second the she knew she was alone, the silence of the house settled around her. It eased into the corners and bled along the walls like a living, breathing presence. Rebecca braced herself against the nearest wall and dragged in a ragged breath. The feeling of suffocation eased bit by bit. But the strange bouts of claustrophobia and the need to breathe were happening more frequently. Ever since her father died, her life was unraveling at the seams.
Rebecca put her back to the wall and slid down until her bottom hit the floor. She rested her arms on her knees and drew a shaky breath. She had to pull herself together. Coming apart wasn’t a good idea, not when she was only a few months into her new job. As an associate attorney for Pelwin & Pierce, she was an entertainment law lawyer. And if she was going to be handling movie stars and singers, she’d need her head on straight.
The sharp chime of her cellphone made her jump. Email. With a sign she pulled her phone out of her jeans pocket and checked her work email. She’d taken a week off to find the house and hire movers to get her stuff from her studio apartment in Korea Town to here. She wasn’t supposed to be worrying about work. Breezing through the multiple emails, she decided nothing was overly critical and she pocketed the phone.
“Time to unpack.” She got up and headed to the door. There were several boxes of clothes and items she didn’t want to trust the movers with, like her grandmother’s china, which Rebecca had brought here in the trunk of her car.
She was halfway down the hall when she heard it. The soft slide of feet on the carpet behind her. She whirled, heart thrashing against her ribs, to find only the empty hallway. A metallic taste filled her mouth when fear reared its ugly head. She wasn’t crazy, those had been footsteps.
“This is exactly why I don’t watch horror movies,” Rebecca muttered and started walking away.
Rippling laughter brushed her ears and she squirmed, breath quickening.
“Tasty little morsel, curves I’d like to sink my teeth into…” A masculine voice growled in sensual delight. Rebecca flung herself against the wall, frantically eyeing the hallway.
It was empty.
“Wonder if she hears…” another voice spoke, faded and then silence reigned.
The first thing Rebecca decided to do was fetch her mp3 player from her car and turn on some music. If she couldn’t hear anything, then she couldn’t get scared, right? For once in her life, her hyperactive imagination was a curse rather than a blessing.
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