Exclusive Excerpt of PLEADING RAPTURE and discount on BITE ME, YOUR GRACE
I did it! I finished PLEADING RAPTURE on time! Between getting sick, going to RT, hurting my ankle, and fighting bouts of anxiety and depression, I was afraid I wouldn't make it. It releases on Monday on Amazon and Tuesday everywhere else.
I hope to have the paperback available in the next week or two.
And at the end of the newsletter, I'll have an exclusive excerpt.
In other awesome news, my publisher is doig another Scandals With Bite promo. Now BITE ME, YOUR GRACE is on sale for $1.99! It's been two years since they've put any of these on sale, so you'll want to get these while you can.
I think they might do another book next month, but I'm not 100% sure.
Wondering what these are? Well, I'll tell ya! Sexy Genius and I went to a rock and gem show and I picked up my favorite gem: Idaho star garnets. They can only be found in two places in the world. Northern Idaho, and someplace in India. Well, those of you who've read Conjuring Destiny also know that they were also found in Xochitl's mom's kingdom and Zareth polishes one and puts it on top of the mage's staff that he gives Xochitl. :)
I thought it would be cool to show you what they look like.
And I may just feature one of these in the big Brides of Prophecy themed giveaway I have planned this summer.
In other book-related news, I'm working on Hearts of Metal, book 5, which as I'd mentioned before, will be Cliff's book. I'm keeping the heroine under wraps for now, but I will say that you have met her in previous books. ;)
After that, I hope to start my next Scandals with Bite book. There will only be two more books in that series, and it's going to be tough to say goodbye. So tough that a spin-off is not off the table.
I also need to come up with another series idea for my agent to pitch. I wonder where my muse will lead me.
Until then, I will talk to you all on Tuesday with my release announcement and leave you with this excerpt of PLEADING RAPTURE:
Aurora Lee, drummer of Rage of Angels and de facto band manager, took a deep hit of a joint and looked up at the red gold sunset in the sky of Aisthanesthai. Even after nearly seven months in this world, it was a trip.
Speaking of trips... she looked back at the courtyard where Xochitl, lead singer of the band and Aurora’s best friend was learning to fly. But it wasn’t the sight of the black and silver wings sprouting from her friend’s back that tripped Aurora out. Xochitl was always so weird. Aurora wasn’t surprised to discover that her friend wasn’t human. Instead, those wings and her magic explained a lot of unanswered questions.
When she learned that Xochitl wasn’t human, Aurora was relieved to finally have an explanation for her friend’s otherness. However, a wave of pity clenched her heart. While growing up in a practically all white town, it had been difficult for Aurora to have some time with other black people, especially since her love of heavy metal caused her to be alienated by many of her race. But Xochitl didn’t have any of her people growing up. They’d long been wiped of the face of the Earth and they’d been exterminated from Zareth’s world before she was born. Her mother had moved to Earth to keep her hidden. As a result, humans shunned Xochitl without her understanding why. It wasn’t until she met Sylvis, and later Aurora and Beau, that Xochitl even had any friends.
No, what was tripping out Aurora’s world was the sight of Xochitl’s mother teaching her. Kerainne Leonine had died five years ago. Aurora and her parents had gone to the funeral. Had seen the coffin lowered into the ground. Her mom and dad had taken Xochitl, Sylvis, Beau, Aurora, and their new friend Akasha out to Denny’s afterward, where they had cried, commiserated, and shared memories of the loving preschool teacher who had treated the whole band as her own children.
Yet when Xochitl had sunk into a coma after first sprouting her wings and killing Zareth’s half-brother—who’d been intent on world domination—Kerainne had waltzed into the sorcerer’s tower, alive and serene with wings of pearl and gold, and awakened her daughter. Aurora had cried like a little baby at the sight of her.
Apparently luminites— which is what Kerainne was— were truly immortal. When their bodies died, they transcended to their home realm and formed another body. But Kerainne couldn’t just go poof back to Earth, standing next to the shell of her old body. So Xochitl had mourned her for years, never knowing that her mom was still alive. Aurora thought it was kinda shitty of her not to tell her daughter that she wouldn’t truly be dead, yet at the same time, knowing how good and honorable she was, Kerainne had to have had good reason for keeping quiet on that.
However, Aurora was still a little salty about Kerainne never telling her, Beau, or Sylvis that they too had luminite blood running through their veins. Aurora had always felt different. And it wasn’t just a matter of her skin color. It had been a palpable, lonely sense of being an outsider until she’d met her band.
One of her braids was yanked sharply, pulling her from her thoughts and almost making her drop the joint. “Ow! What the fuck?”
Beau laughed above her. “Are you going to camp on that doobie all night?”
“Shit, I’m sorry.” She passed him the joint. “I’m just tripping out on Kerainne.”
“Me too.” Beau took a hit and returned to his task of beading Aurora’s hair. “I can’t believe she’s here.”
“Do you think she’ll be able to come with us when we go back home?” Maybe they could get Kerainne a fake ID or something. She could stay in Seattle with them, and if they kept pictures of her off social media so no one from Idaho saw her, they should be good.
“Who says we’re going back?” Beau said as he passed her the joint. “We have it good here. Xochitl is the queen of the world, the people here adore us, and we’re finally learning more about what we are. Art’s been telling me—”
Aurora held up a hand, sick to death of hearing the latest about Artavian, the Wurrak healer who’d attended Xochitl during her coma and was now acting as Zareth’s apprentice. Beau had the hots for him, and would not shut up about him even though he didn’t have the balls to find out which way the guy swung. “We have a career back home, not to mention friends and family wondering where the hell we are.”
Guilt suffused her as the words poured out with more sorrow than she meant to reveal. Her family probably thought she was dead. Dad was probably grief-stricken, and though Aurora and her mom rarely saw eye to eye, Loretta Lee loved her and was probably heartbroken. And then there was her brother and Grandma. Oh God, she didn’t want to think of how Grandma had felt when the band had disappeared. And how had she found out? Had Mom called the police after Aurora hadn’t answered the phone? Or had she heard about their disappearance on the news?
“Yeah, and we’ll have a breach of contract lawsuit slapped on us the moment we set foot back on Earth, not to mention the press in our faces demanding a story we can’t tell,” Beau said glumly.
“So?” Aurora snapped, taking another hit. One thing she could say about this world was that it had excellent weed. “We can make up some sort of bullshit excuse, pay whatever settlement the lawyers agree on, and go on making music. It’s not like we don’t have money. And if it’s astronomical, Silas would float us another loan. He’s rich as fuck, and knows we’re good for it.”
Beau made a noncommittal sound. “But what about when we have to come back here? Xochitl has responsibilities as a ruler, there’s the Prophecy saying we have to prepare for a war, and the people here like our music. Remember when the Kanuri ambassadors came to hear you play?” Beau finished a braid and started the next.
Aurora blew out a puff of smoke and nodded. They had been black like her, and their priestess had borne an eerie resemblance to her grandmother, who was an honest to goodness voodoo priestess. The Kanuri priestess had examined her palms, her hair, and even smelled her before declaring her to be of their blood. And their response to her drumming had verged on rapture. “They wanted me to go live with them, which would have been interesting, except they wanted me to marry one of their shamans. I’m not interested in marriage at the moment, much less a marriage where I have to learn a whole new culture and language. Although it is cool that the women are in charge in their country.” She passed Beau the smoldering stump of a joint and continued driving her concerns, which writhed inside her, more restless every day. “Xochitl wants to go home too. She says she has a feeling, and I don’t think we should ignore it like we did when she was acting weird before Halloween. We know how that went.”
Beau nodded. “You might have a point.”
“Mmm-hmmm.” She did, and she pressed it. “Besides, who says we have to deal with things in Seattle right away? Whenever Xochitl asks Zareth to teach her how to create a portal, she talks about Coeur d’Alene. About Silas and Akasha, about my folks, about your mom.”
“Pssh.” Beau flicked the roach onto the grass and ground it out with his boot. “Mom and I barely talked before all this. But I do miss Silas and Akasha. Razvan too.”
They heard Xochitl yell, “I’m doing it!” Her great black wings carried her upward, coasting on an air current, but then she flapped awkwardly like a baby bird and dropped like a rock onto the grass, right next to the edge of Zareth’s nightmare forest.
They all flinched at the solid thud.
Xochitl groaned as her mother rushed to her side. Aurora would have gone to help too, if her friend hadn’t landed so close to the forest. Whenever Aurora went near it, ghosts poured from the trees and flocked around her. And only her. They didn’t bug the others.
Xochitl scrambled to her feet, closed her eyes, and took a few deep breaths before the wings melted into her back. “Fuck this, I’m done for the night.”
Aurora and Beau watched her slink off with her mom at her tail. The moment they passed from view, Beau met her gaze and they burst into maniacal laughter.
“Oh hell,” Aurora said, wiping tears from her eyes. “I know we’re assholes for laughing at her fall, but that just looked too damned funny!”
“She would have laughed too,” Beau countered. “And anyway, we can blame it on the weed.”
Still, under unspoken agreement, they remained out on the grass even as the sky grew darker and the light from the tower windows wasn’t enough to help Beau with his braiding job. Just in case their friend heard them laughing at her fall.
The door behind them opened and Sylvis emerged, shaking her head. “Even though you’re outside, it still smells like you guys sacrificed a skunk.”
“Yeah. Zareth has good shit,” Aurora said agreeably. Sylvis was usually the straight arrow of the four of them, but when that girl decided to let loose, she blew them all out of the water. Aurora would never forget the time that Sylvis shocked them all by dancing naked in the rain after they did a show in Thailand. Damn, they’d been lucky no one was around with a camera.
“Hey,” Sylvis interrupted the memory, running a hand through her blue hair, which had begun to grow out and show her brown roots. “Do you think it’s about time we asked Zareth if we could go home?”
Before Aurora could answer, the unmistakable roar of Xochitl’s Datsun tore the peaceful night air.
“Xochitl!” Zareth’s shout echoed through the obsidian walls of the tower.
Sylvis, Aurora, and Beau ran across the grass around the tower to see the blue Datsun burn rubber down the cobblestone courtyard. Suddenly, a purple-tinged white oval of light appeared in front of the car and grew into a gaping mouth that swallowed the car whole.
Aurora didn’t think. She ran to the portal and dove in. A flash of bright violet light blinded her as gravity disappeared. She tried to shuffle back, but she didn’t know which way was back, or up, or down. But it was too late for that anyway.
I Hope you enjoyed the excerpt. PLEADING RAPTURE releases Monday on Amazon and Tuesday everywhere else! You can pre-order it on: