Tag Archives: Chapter One Excerpt

“If I Said I Loved You…” Stop Three of The Undone Blog Tour At Lovebytes Reviews With Belinda Burke

Day three, and another pause on the endless road of words! Yesterday brought me to Lovebytes reviews for Stop Three on the Undone blog tour – and don’t forget, that giveaway bit means free books!

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Undone Blog Tour With Belinda Burke.

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Undone Blog Tour With Belinda Burke

I still have the power! The darting of yesterday’s day two brought me to The Novel Approach reviews for Stop Two on the Undone blog tour – click, friend, and enter!

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Undone Blog Tour With Belinda Burke.

Author Belinda Burke on Sweet Dreams, Mythology and “Undone” (tour and guest post)

As I have the power, I gather for you in one place the many posts I have written,  as I dart from place to place and day to day along my blog tour! Here, originally at “Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words”, is Stop One on the Undone blog tour!

Author Belinda Burke on Sweet Dreams, Mythology and “Undone” (tour and guest post).

Lost Bite

To celebrate the upcoming blog tour accompanying its full release, enjoy this exclusive Bite of Undone!

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Tighe wandered through Summer, and the wood wound a path to nowhere, because that was his desire. Nowhere was a lake he didn’t know, a quiet river and the warm sun on the green grass beckoning him forward. He lay there, drowsing by the water, and let the silence and the sun’s reflection soothe his new and not unexpected heartbreak.

It was his own fault. Maybe by now he should have learned to look away, close his eyes, not listen when someone said things he couldn’t bear. He should have learned to live with the lie, but it was the same every time. He couldn’t do it, and now here he was again.

He wasn’t focused on Nuala. She would fade fast enough from memory, just like the others who’d been in her place in the past. But the things he missed when he was alone—a warm companion, someone to hold and hold him, pleasure and teasing and conversation… His thoughts turned to those things one at a time, then all at once. Each one was its own small torment.

More than all other things, he hated to be alone, unless he was working. There were only so many hours he could spend in his workshop, and what then?

“What now?” He closed his eyes and sighed. Maybe because of the sun, maybe because of the silence that came to him on the breeze, Tighe fell asleep there by the water, and only woke to the sound of splashing and a sudden gasp. He jerked himself upright and blinked into wary wakefulness in an instant. There was a screen of brush between him and the water, and he peered between the leaves, still but for his stare.

He saw a stranger, shedding drops of water like shining scales, his hair dark with dampness and the silk of his trousers clinging to his skin as he came out of the deep water and into the shallows.

Broken Bite

The first Tale of the Eight Kingdoms, Undone, is now on early release through Totally Bound! As such, it seems like a good time to give you all a taste of Tighe’s story – enjoy!

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Chapter One

“It’s over between us, whatever it was that we had.”

The Summer air was bright, but the beauty of the day did nothing to soften the words that Tighe had come to say to his lover. Blinking, shaken, Nuala stared back at him with something shimmering in her eyes, maybe almost-tears, not quite. “Tighe, you don’t mean it. You can’t!”

“I do.”

“But I love you!”

“You don’t.” He watched her for a long moment, daring her to speak. She said nothing, and he shrugged, almost smiling. They always say nothing. He reached out to the curve of her cheek. “You might want to or wish you did. You don’t. Why would you say you do when you don’t?” He pulled back his hand and shrugged again. “Goodbye, Nuala.”

“Tighe!”

He walked away and didn’t turn back to face her. She would be watching for him to do just that, for any sign that he would give in and return to her. But I won’t, Nuala. Over between us, he’d said, and he’d meant it. She had come to him years ago seeking the secrets and the strangeness of the son of her mistress, her queen. She had been so sure of her own beauty, her own charm, that she had been laughing and unafraid, at least at first. There had been no worry in her when she’d met his eyes.

She had been unafraid until she had learned the truth. Until she knew what it was he was really seeing, the secret heart of her, essence and echo. Fear had grown from that seed, had hidden a no behind every yes. I saw everything you are, Nuala. Ever since you have been pulling away, and now—

The lie had been in her voice. He hadn’t even needed to look at her to see the truth, but it was right there, right in front of him. The only lie he couldn’t forgive. So now it’s over, and in a day or a month or a year of Summer time, she’ll be healed of me, while I go on forgetting how to forget.

He could keep no one. He would be alone without her, as he had been alone before. I knew it would happen. Already he was missing her. If only there was someone else…but who would bother? He had grown famous in Summer, and for a while it had seemed as if he’d never have a shortage of partners. There were so many eager to try their luck. But luck wasn’t with him—or them.

It occurred to him that it might be time to leave Summer again, wander out of the hidden kingdoms of the west and travel into the gray, to seek some other secret world—the silk lands, the dream lands, the Yaksha kingdom or the ships of the middle sea. But that was running away, and he knew it.

Instead, he walked around the front of the palace, entered the great gates and strode through the gleam of the entrance hall looking for his mother. She was in her throne room, alone in her high seat and smiling. Even when she looked up and saw him she was smiling, not a flicker of distress. It was disturbing.

Not since the first time he had met her, a boy of twelve, had she failed to react to the peering curse of his glance. Now all he saw in her was softness and a loving glow. “I thought you should know. Nuala won’t be happy for a while.”

“You left her? Tighe.” She sighed.

Accidental Master

As I’ve been whining about it everywhere lately, I thought it only fair to share with you a snippet of my newest and most all-consuming work in progress: Holy.  

This bit comes from what is  currently scene two of draft one!

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Angel-face didn’t stir until Artemio had made his way almost a full block, past the screaming lights of a half dozen ambulances to the emergency tent that had been set up on-scene. Even then, it was only to press his face against Artemio’s shoulder, to sigh and breathe deeper, reach his arms around Artemio’s neck.

“You awake? I thought you’d gone out on me. Think you can stand?” There was a pause, and then he felt the head against his shoulder shaking no. “Don’t worry about it then, not like you weigh much.” It wasn’t far, anyway, just around to the other side of the tent where the parmeds were clustered together, speaking in low voices.

Female, all of them, but not women – not, definitely not women. What they were exactly, Artemio didn’t know. Taj would, always did, but it was enough for Artemio that they were Other, and therefore trouble. As much as he was capable of, he was…quiet with them.

“Hello, ladies. Got another patient for you.”

Six pairs of eyes turned to him at the same time, though he’d no doubt that they had noticed him long before he’d spoken. The murmuring was quiet, but only one stepped forward, peering at the Angel-face in his arms.

“This one is not like you, this one is Other – all the rest were human, had mortal mothers.”

He stopped. That was…interesting. “He was marked for a sacrifice, tied up, kept captive -” Their faces were growing darker with every word, and he took an involuntary step back at the sound of hissing, rattling, snake-and-shadow-sounds to which his most primitive instincts were vulnerable. “Yeah. I know – he’s cut up and bruised but I think the worst of it’s probably mental. I think…” He hesitated, then shrugged. “I think he’s been captive for a while.”

“This is not done -”

“It was, so take care of him, will you?” Artemio stepped forward, and the parmeds parted around him, let him into the tent. It was only when he tried to put his burden down on one of the medtables that there was trouble. The blond head snapped suddenly upright, and tight fingers clutched at Artemio’s duty vest, then at the sleeves of his jacket beneath it.

Oh please no. Don’t let go.”

Artemio shook his head, lay him down on the table and unwound his arms, but he couldn’t get away. Soft fingers plucked at his jacket, tried to keep him close. “Angel-face you’ve gotta – you’re hurt. You need to let the parmeds look at you, they’ll bring you to -”

“No don’t send me away not back not anywhere not – no – Master – Master.” It was a babble of words on the edge of terrified hysteria, and despite himself Artemio took a step back toward him, reached out and lay his hands on shaking shoulders.

Angel. You need -”

You.”

Artemio pressed the heel of his hand against his forehead, huffed out a breath. “Look I – I’ll stay while they check you over, all right? I can do at least that much.” He turned to get the attention of the parmeds again, finally, but they were standing by the wall, clustered together, staring not at Angel-face but at him. “One of you gonna help him, or -” He was interrupted by all of them in turn.

He called you Master -”

“You, no king, no lord, no caster!”

“If we could we’d take him from you-”

But what has been done is not in our power to undo.

The last phrase was blazed only across his mind, not in his ears, and Artemio jerked himself away from clutching fingers, took a full step backward, angry, averting his eyes awkwardly. “Stop that, just – stop. This one’s one of you and I just pulled him out of that house, and you don’t want to help him?”

As he does not want us to, as he wants only you – and what a disaster! A servant of the Master – so mastered!

“Get the fuck out of my head!”

The lead parmed drew herself up and threw a scornful glare in his direction. “He is yours. We will not, cannot touch him. Go to the Council, if you’d make much of it!”

They streamed out of the tent past him in one unbroken line behind her, but his glare was tempered by the need to steady himself against the table as Angel-face crawled all the way out of the tapestry he’d been wrapped in and up into Artemio’s arms. “Master -”

“Oh, no. Don’t get comfortable, I’m going straight to the Council with you, I don’t care if it’s two in the morning, I’m not dealing with this -” But his arms were closing around the worn, warm body, drawing him close, and when Artemio looked down again, the coffeecream eyes were already shut, and his face was relaxed, and Artemio knew, knew, that he was doomed. “Fuck.”

Artemio lay him back on the tapestry, wrapped it up around him despite the sound of protest he got when he let go, and then picked him up again. “’S a damn good thing you don’t weigh much.”

“Yes, Master.” But it was more of a yawn than words, and in the five minutes it took Artemio to make his way back from the tent to where Taj had parked his car, the Angel-face in his arms had fallen asleep.

“Hey Art, you need a ride home, or -”

Artemio whipped around, knot between his brows. “Shh. And yeah, I need ride, but not home.”

Taj blinked at him when he came around the corner and saw his arms still full of blond, sleeping Other. “What are you still doing with him?”

“The parmeds wouldn’t take him. He’s – he keeps callin’ me master, Taj.” The word came rough and thick and hesitant off his lips, still quiet. Even if he was causing trouble, Artemio didn’t want to wake the poor bastard. He’d suffered enough.

“Master? The fuck did you do, pick up a -”

“I don’t know. But I’m not gonna keep him no matter what he calls me or what the parmeds think. You know I can’t.”

Suddenly bright with djinn-fire, Taj’s eyes met his gaze. “But you want to.”

“I -” The word came out loud, angry, and Artemio caught himself, stole a glance down at the sleeping angel-face. Fucking Taj. Fucking djinn. Knows too much for his own good.

“I don’t know what I want. He’s gorgeous, yeah. But he’s Other, and that means he’s trouble. Plus he was…fuck, Taj, you know what I like. I can’t do that to him. Not the way he was…not how he was when I found him.”

Taj’s brow knit into a dark maze of disturbance. “That bad, huh?”

Worse. Let’s go – Council never sleeps, but I do – and I don’t wanna hold onto him for too long, might give him the wrong idea.” Carefully, groaning faintly as he bent, Artemio slid into the front seat and settled Angel-face on his lap, tucked his legs in so Taj could shut the door. There was a content murmur against his throat, lips and sound both whisper soft, and the arms around him tried to squeeze tighter. Artemio shook his head. He had never been a safe space for anyone, and now this Other was clinging to him like his life depended on it.

Well, maybe it had – but only for about five minutes. So why wouldn’t he let go now?

Lick of Fire

This  Lick completes the teaser  from The Burning Season, currently available here! Remember, Licks are NSFW excerpts, so read carefully – and look forward to another erotic excerpt on the smutty seventeenth of next month!

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Bran let his head drop back against the bed, cried out and bucked into Macsen’s touch. There was nowhere to go, no escape from those hands, that mouth sucking against his flesh, but escape wasn’t what he wanted.

He wanted more, and more. More than the languid stroking of Macsen’s thumb against the head of his cock, more even than the rush that was the sharing of Macsen’s deepest nature. The dark of it came over him like he thought his own heat must come over Macsen, sudden, full, undeniable.

“Macsen, more, please, I need more.”

The words came aching from his mouth, and Macsen pulled away, licked his teeth and looked up with blood on his lips still. The sight made Bran tighten his grasp against the bedclothes. The fingers pulled out of him, and warm hands spread Bran’s thighs apart farther, left him empty, needing, feeling his pulse in the hundred marks Macsen had left on his body. He felt a soft tongue on the wound Macsen’s teeth had left in his thigh, soothing, reminding…still not enough.

Not nearly enough.

Now that his hands were free, Bran reached down to tug at Macsen’s hair, pull him up. Yes, up. He didn’t have the strength to move his lover, not if he didn’t want to be moved, but Macsen was pliant, let Bran tug him into place between his thighs, nuzzled his cheek against Bran’s cock.

Macsen, please, suck—”

His tongue lapped around the head, pulled Bran a little at a time into his mouth. Slow. So slow that Bran could feel every stroke of tongue, the coolness of Macsen’s breath, the softness of his lips. “Oh yes—yes.

Before he knew what he was doing, Bran was holding Macsen’s hair tight in his fists, guiding the movement of his head, thrusting his cock up into Macsen’s mouth. Red-violet, heavy-lidded, pupils wide, Macsen stared up at him, and Bran’s gaze traveled between that wanton look and the way Macsen’s mouth stretched around his cock.

Again, Macsen pulled back, and this time all Bran’s tugging was for nothing. “Macsen—”

“Have I proved yet that I’m the patient one?”

Bran sucked in a breath, scowled but couldn’t sustain the expression. “You—”

Macsen only grinned. “I.” He leaned forward, lapped at the underside of Bran’s erection, laughed huskily at the sound of Bran’s groan and closed his mouth over the head of his cock again. His tongue moved in darting patterns, and no matter how Bran pulled at his hair or bucked his hips upward, there was no more than that—only a tease.

A minute, two, and Bran tensed, so close, not close enough. Easily, Macsen’s fingers slipped inside him again, and that was more than enough to prod his nerves higher, always higher, but not enough to bring him the release he craved.

There was heat at the curve of his hip, the dip of his pelvis, Macsen’s mouth, one kiss after another. Macsen’s tongue drew wet lines of desire across his skin, along the length of his cock. He spoke in a murmur, close to Bran’s skin.

“I want the taste of you to bring with me, Bran.”

The words licked at him like that wicked tongue, sent a jolt through him and invoked a new flush of flame.

Lick of Fire Teaser

This  Lick is a teaser from The Burning Season, currently available for pre-order here! Remember, Licks are NSFW excerpts, so read carefully – and look forward to the rest of this excerpt on the smutty seventeenth!

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Bran let his head drop back against the bed, cried out and bucked into Macsen’s touch. There was nowhere to go, no escape from those hands, that mouth sucking against his flesh, but escape wasn’t what he wanted.

He wanted more, and more. More than the languid stroking of Macsen’s thumb against the head of his cock, more even than the rush that was the sharing of Macsen’s deepest nature. The dark of it came over him like he thought his own heat must come over Macsen, sudden, full, undeniable.

“Macsen, more, please, I need more.”

The words came aching from his mouth, and Macsen pulled away, licked his teeth and looked up with blood on his lips still. The sight made Bran tighten his grasp against the bedclothes. The fingers pulled out of him, and warm hands spread Bran’s thighs apart farther, left him empty, needing, feeling his pulse in the hundred marks Macsen had left on his body. He felt a soft tongue on the wound Macsen’s teeth had left in his thigh, soothing, reminding…still not enough.

Not nearly enough.

Burning Bite

Pre-order for The Burning Season  starts Friday! As promised,  I thus deliver to you this second Bite, which continues from where Summer Bite left off!  And of course, keep an eye out for a tiny, exclusive preview of this month’s Lick, to be posted tomorrow!

Winter’s love is blood and chaos…but fire isn’t all that smolders at Summer’s heart.
Winter’s love is blood and chaos…but fire isn’t all that smolders at Summer’s heart.

 

From Chapter One

Macsen opened his eyes and stared up at the golden ceiling of Bran’s room for only a moment before he was blinded by dazzling reflections. He covered his face with his arm again. There would be time enough for those thoughts. For now…he would have to think of a proper good-bye. Bran wouldn’t like it, but he had responsibilities… And Summer isn’t good to me.

He knew the first thing Bran would suggest, but Macsen couldn’t bring Bran with him, not this time—not so soon, and not when his intentions were to make a point that couldn’t be questioned. “It will be sharp and deadly…at least for you, Elenn.” His smile gained teeth. I promised you pain. I always keep my promises, always.

“Macsen, you can’t kill my mother.”

He turned and caught Bran looking at him, wide-awake and a smirk on his face to match the tone of his words.

“How long have you been up, Bran?”

“Long enough.”

“Summer’s made you sneaky.”

Bran snickered at him. ”Like that means anything coming from you. What are you thinking? I thought you said you’d be good.”

It was Macsen’s turn to laugh. “Good? Me? Never.” He turned and took Bran into his arms. “I wasn’t really thinking about your mother, I was thinking about you. About courting you, and what her face will look like when she’s forced to acknowledge me as yours.”

Bran blinked at him. “Don’t you mean acknowledge me as yours?”

“No. It will be far worse for her to know that you have chosen me. After all, she already knows you are precious.” Macsen drew his fingers across Bran’s chest, up past his throat and tangled them into his hair. “Just like I know it.” Macsen kissed him, pressed closer. Bran was heat and eagerness in his hands, and Macsen took full advantage of his willingness to deepen the kiss, nip at his lips.

“Too soon I’ll miss you, Bran…”

Summer Bite

As the pre-order date for The Burning Season draws closer (April 10th!) snippets and bits – and thus bites! – shall begin to appear. This first one comes from the very beginning, which is always the best place to start! 

To claim Bran forever, Macsen has begun the ancient ritual of sidhe courtship—but such a rite is a trial in more ways than one. Tradition requires that Macsen seek Bran’s favor in his own country, and a Summer courtship is teasing and promising. More than that, Summer’s Queen will come between Macsen and her son however she can. But despite his mother’s disapproval, Bran’s will is bent to the same purpose as his Macsen’s—the achievement of four proofs of love, proofs that only Bran can determine or acknowledge. One step at a time, they come closer to a day when nothing will be able to separate them—but a familiar foe is more than willing to try. In the mortal world, the year has continued to pass without a hint of green. The Green King has prevented the spring, and thus all seasons but winter…but it’s Macsen whom Dealla blames, and all her plans for violent retribution are directed at him. Failure may cost her everything, but that is a price she has long been willing to pay.  In the wake of her invasion, Macsen is left with a dilemma that might not be easy to solve. Love, or vengeance—which should he choose? Can they live together in the same heart?
This is that shiny, shiny cover I was bragging about – Beautiful, Bran!

 

Chapter One

Macsen lay unmoving, not sleeping, a hand over his eyes to block out the damned and brilliant sun. He was as the wolf in his winter coat, oppressed by the Summer swelter, but he endured for Bran’s sake. He had made a promise to stay, despite his discomfort in a place ruled by the sun. He had kept it, would keep it, but the time had come to go back to his own place. To return to the Red Kingdom, even if only for a little while.

He smiled to himself. Yes, only a little while. Then I will return for you, Bran. The last time Macsen had come here had been for him, too. For the oath that almost shattered us…but nothing will come between us now. He bared his teeth. Despite himself, he knew that nothing wore the shape of the Summer Queen. Your mother does not want me to have you, lover.

Privately, he considered that she might have good reason for her fear and suspicions. The last few times he had come here had been for Bran, love on his mind, but long before, he had come here in response to a challenge. He closed his eyes, and the memories were there within him, waiting. Winter chill superimposed over the green of the leaves. The great lake frozen and red with blood, and all the blossoms fallen under the weight of snow.

If there was one thing that was the same, it was that even then, he had come for a son of the Summer Queen…