Tag Archives: The Burning Season

Shadow Bite

To celebrate today’s early release at Pride Publishing,  today I’m sharing an exclusive excerpt from chapter one of The Shadow Road, Eight Kingdoms book four! 

Enjoy this crunchy little bite, and of course, if you want more, grab a copy here!

Through the barrow, across the ice, over the bridge and the river’s black water, Macsen ran quickly, following the promise of heat. Summer fire was making its presence known in the middle of Winter, fire and coiling smoke and the scent of golden power.

A smile crawled across his face, eager with anticipation. He knew where Bran was now, and he stalked around the palace, through the green of the orchard. Yes. Yes. He could see through the open spaces of the entryway that Bran was at his forge, muttering to himself, shaping the precious metals Macsen had left for him with practiced movements.

Bits of work were scattered here and there on tables. The beginnings of what might be a silver bridle, golden baubles filled with fire and a dozen gossamer lengths of chain were coiled and piled on each other.

Macsen’s attention was drawn to Bran’s hands, the smoothness of their movements, the easy way his fingers shaped the softness of the gold. There was something sensual in the motions, in his perfect focus, the way his eyes didn’t wander at all and a tiny wrinkle deepened between his brows. The intensity of his attention to his work was such that he still hadn’t noticed Macsen’s presence.

He almost took a step forward, arm outstretched, but caught sight of his own fingers, dark with bloodstains, and grimaced. Quietly, still unnoticed, he slipped away, up to their room and the bath. Macsen stripped out of silk as bloody as his body, and the water went red as he stepped into it. It grew redder still as he bathed, scrubbed gore from his face, his hands, even his hair.

When it flowed clear, he lingered for only a moment before he grabbed a towel and wandered back into the bedroom, considering. Talaith was gone. He would have to do everything himself, or find some other servant, and even the thought made him scowl. When Macsen opened the wardrobe, it was empty, nothing hung. His clothes, where were they? But then she did that too, didn’t she? He’d have to go down into the storage closets and find everything there.

He wrapped his towel around his waist, pushed wet hair back out of his eyes and contemplated a secondary irritation. His comb, where was that? He scowled, then turned to face the door as it opened.  It wasn’t Bran, he knew that instantly, and who else would dare? But he saw first not the one who had come, but what they had brought with them—his clothes, and things glinting silver. Momentarily, a familiar face emerged from behind the pile.

“Saoirse! What are you doing?”

“I… Since Talaith… I thought you…” And she stopped dead, but still peered up at him, curious and perhaps confused. “Should I leave? I didn’t mean to be trouble, but I helped Talaith sometimes and I never once saw you come down where everything is, so I thought you would need…” Again she stopped. “Red King?”

He had too many thoughts for words, and only shook his head and turned away. Whatever she thought of that, he didn’t know. Her stillness dissipated and she came into the room, began to lay things out on the bed. Tunics and trousers in red and silver, blue and gold, more choices than he needed and some that weren’t even his clothes.

“Girl—”

“There’s things for Bran, too. He likes new clothes after he’s been working. And I brought combs and brushes, but not jewelry. Bran doesn’t need it, not with your gift, and I haven’t seen you wear anything but your crown. Do you, Red King? If you do I’ll bring it next time but—”

Next time. Have you appointed yourself my keeper, Saoirse?” But he was already laughing before she could answer, laughing and shaking his head. “Do what you please, I won’t complain. You’ve done well. I don’t know where anything is, not after so long. But how did you know? How did you know I needed you?”

“I told you, I helped Talaith—and I was watching for you. Bran asked me to. He said he gets distracted when he’s working. He said he wouldn’t notice when you’d come back. I don’t know why he wanted to know, it’s not like you wouldn’t go to him first. You always go to him first. But you looked like you wanted to surprise him and you were very bloody, so I haven’t said anything, not anything. I went downstairs instead.” She wrinkled her nose. “Red King, tell him please that I did notice, and it’s only your fault that I didn’t say.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You think he’ll be angry?”

“Not Bran. It’s not easy to make him angry—you know that.”

Macsen studied her more closely when she smiled. Subtle changes that he had missed were making themselves known to him now, and he was…confused. Were her features sharper, her teeth more pointed?

She is not the same as she was.

“Girl, you’re changing.”

“I am. I am!”

“And you like it.”

“Yes.”

“Good.” And as if he had never said anything else, he returned to the previous subject. “Since you’ve done so well, this will be your responsibility. You’ll be our handmaid, mine and Bran’s.” He met her gaze. “You don’t mind? You were a princess once.”

She dimpled, grinning, and he saw that, yes, her teeth were sharper. “This is more fun, Red King.”

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Darkest Bite

To celebrate the contract being signed just this morning, and because a few lines of this were shared during #1lineWed on twitter today, enjoy a tiny Bite of Deathless!

 

Deep in the winter’s dark promise, as far from spring and his own country as he had ever been, Myrddin finally encountered something completely beyond his experience. Slim, naked, wild-haired, beautiful, a stranger was crouched by the water of a trailing spring, black as the night, black in the chill, and when he turned at Myrddin’s voice, the wide of his black eyes was the wide of the startled deer.

“Hello -” Myrddin paused, heard something riled, whispering, but it came from the air all around him and not from the stranger he had spoken to. “Where did you come from, where are you going? Will you let me stay a while, will you answer my questions?” He took two steps closer, then three. “I’ve been looking for someone. Someone to help me with a rite of spring. To invent something beautiful and take away the power overflowing my soul. Someone… Do you know anyone?”

He was answered by nothing, and at the same time by a myriad of silences, one quiet become many voiceless truths. The wideness was fading out of the dark eyes that confronted him a little at a time. The voice that answered him was soft, but it only spoke his own words with the intonation of some other power heavy behind them. “Some…one. Anyone?”

The words were halting, the sound of them almost swallowed, more a questioning echo than real speech. Myrddin took one step closer. The stranger took one step back. “Can’t you answer me? Who are you? What’s your name?”

“Your name?”

“Myrddin—my name is Myrddin. And you?”

“You…”

“Do you not have a name? Do you not know words? Who are you?”

“Who are you?”

“I’m Myrddin!” But this time he started laughing and couldn’t stop—it really was like talking with an echo. Maybe this stranger didn’t know how to speak? But he was gorgeous, and the dark of some terrible, magnetic power leeched out of his skin like rain from clouds, soaking and unavoidable.

 

Lick Twice

This  Lick comes  from The Burning Season, book three of Eight Kingdoms 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 lay quiet, his eyes closed and his breathing growing slowly steady.

“When do you have to go? How soon?”

Soon, but not now.”

Bran’s hands wandered across Macsen’s chest, up to cup his jaw, drew him close so Bran could kiss him, skimmed the sides of his body. “Good. Good.” Bran reached across his hip to run his fingertips along the underside of Macsen’s cock.

“Again, Bran? Impatient and insatiable.” There were heat and amusement both in Macsen’s voice as he turned against Bran’s body, reached over to close his fingers around the swift thickening of Bran’s erection.

Yes. I want to still be feeling you when you leave.”

Macsen pressed his lips to Bran’s throat, licked the stinging punctures there, stroked him slowly. Bran turned his head again, lifted one leg over Macsen’s thighs behind him and shifted so that Macsen’s cock pressed between his buttocks.

Please.” Macsen pushed , and Bran let out a broken moan. There was no discomfort now, his body still stretched and more than ready. There was only pleasure with every inch of Macsen’s penetration. “Want it harder, Macsen—” One slow thrust after another filled him with rigid thickness, then pulled back.

If Macsen kept to this pace, slower than before, Bran might die. He tilted his head back, exposed the vulnerable curve of his throat and met Macsen’s eyes. There was more red in them than violet now, red of blood, red of fire, and beneath those things, the swirling of a winter storm.

Harder, Macsen. Please—cock in me, teeth in me, harder please.”

The more Bran begged the more he felt Macsen tensing behind him, coming closer to an edge he rarely crossed. As if he were afraid. Now, as always, Bran could tell he was holding back, and that was the opposite of what he wanted.

“It’s too much, Bran. I’ve already taken too much.”

“I want too much.” Bran rolled his hips and felt the sharp heat of Macsen’s exhalation against his back, the tightening of Macsen’s fingers at his hip. “Give me what I want, Macsen. Give me what I want, you know you can’t say no.”

In a moment, Bran was flat on his back again and empty, so empty. The glare of Macsen’s eyes blazed down at him through the fall of his hair.

“I can’t say no. I can’t, I can’t.” He spread Bran’s legs with warm hands that went cold without warning. “That means you should be careful what you ask for.” Wholly, fully, Macsen thrust deep, pulled himself forward over Bran’s body and set a pace that was fast and hard.

 

 

 

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.

Upcoming Events!

With the recent release of The Burning Season and the upcoming release of Undone (June 9th! Woo!) I’ve started appearing all over the place!

For now, you can check out Once Upon A Time, a short piece about inspiration, fairy tales, and what they’re doing in our world. (Though for some reason they posted Undone’s cover with The Burning Season’s blurb. Don’t be confused!)

A new Bite that is actually from Undone will be out later today, in anticipation of my upcoming Blog Tour!

Speaking of which, take note! On June 9th,  visit with me at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue words. On the 10th, I’ll be with The Novel Approach. The 11th sees me with Love Bytes Reviews, and finally, on the 12th, I’ll be finishing up at Crystal’s Many Reviews! I’ve been hard at work on guest posts covering everything from where gancanagh come from to LGBT characters in modern fairy tales, and each stop on the tour comes with it’s own exclusive excerpt from Undone!

Accompanying this lovely little tour are a couple of interviews (fates preserve me), which will be wild in the world on Tuesday the 9th and Friday the 12th…and, finally, to wrap it all up, keep an eye out for an upcoming giveaway of signed copies of The Burning Season, Eight Kingdoms book three!

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.

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…