Thanks to Jolie Du Pre over at Precious Monsters for organising this hop :D. Pop on over here to see the other blogs involved in the hop, who are all sharing excerpts from their Paranormal Romances too.
So, today we’re celebrating all things paranormally romantic, and we’re sharing excerpts from that genre. Ghosts, incubi, vampires, demons, we’ve written them all here at Wittegen Press, so today we’re sharing two excerpts from our multi-genre anthology, Myriad Imaginings. Plus, if you’re feeling wordy, we have a romantic crossword for you, both cryptic and quick clues [Please note – click continue reading below to see the crossword]. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win one of two copies of the Myriad Imaginings eBook as well.
Myriad Imaginings – Excerpts
So today we’re taking excerpts from Myriad Imaginings. This is a multi-genre anthology of short stories, which includes erotic romance stories. We have each chosen an excerpt from one of our paranormal romance stories.
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Excerpt: Incubus Shadows
Arran lives in a world of magic, so his interest in the arcane sciences of the past is frowned upon. That is until he meets Lord Robert, master of the castle beyond the edge of Arran’s village. Robert is an unusual man, a immortal and powerful man, who shares Arran’s interest in the history, and Arran agrees to be his apprentice. Yet, with Robert comes Mark, his twin, an apparently much more dangerous creature, and Arran must meet each brother on his own terms.
This excerpt is taken from when Arran first meets Lord Mark.
Incubus Shadows - except - click to expand
“You must be the new boy,” a smooth, somewhat amused voice broke through Arran’s awed reverie and, startled, he looked round for the source of the words.
What he found surpassed any legend and the way his heart threatened to beat out of his chest told him he was looking at Lord Mark. No human who had survived the magic wars had come out untouched by the power that had destroyed the past, but some had been more touched than others. The confident, eye-catching figure before Arran had Lord Robert’s sharp, young, handsome features, long dark hair and strong shoulders, but this was no man the like of which Arran had ever seen before.
Lord Mark’s skin held the palest of green hues, a trick of the light perhaps if not for the darker shadows glittering with silver that traced down from his hairline over the contours of his face, over a long neck and down under an unlaced white shirt that parted just enough to show off a muscled chest.
The legends said ‘demon’, ‘sex-monster’, protected from being hunted down like others of his kind by the power of his immortal brother. In the presence of the myth, however, Arran knew instantly this creature needed no protecting and his stomach knotted in a very different way to his original nerves. Arran swallowed hard and dropped his eyes.
Even without looking, Arran could still feel Lord Mark’s presence, his skin bristled with it and, more, his libido took notice. In that, he guessed, the legends might be true and, more to cover his own reactions than knowing what to do, Arran bowed.
Lord Mark’s reaction was unexpected, he laughed, and the deep, warm sound sent a skittering of nice feelings right down through Arran’s body, settling in his cock.
“Such manners,” his host observed and Arran tensed as he heard footsteps coming towards him.
He didn’t dare look up, his reaction would be all over his face and he had no doubt Lord Mark would see it. He did not want to offend his master’s brother before even taking up his new position, so he found himself staring at Lord Mark’s long, suede boots. They were very handsome boots, much like their owner – Arran tried to halt that thought before it carried on, but this close he could even smell his tempter, all man and musk, and his senses went spiralling outwards.
Arran’s magic was also reacting to whatever power this devil possessed and he had always been hopeless at controlling what little sorcery he had, so, he was forced to take the bull by the horns.
Carefully, Arran took a step back and then looked up. He forgot to breathe at that point, because he looked right into Lord Mark’s eyes and the tug on his soul was unmistakable. Bright blue irises flecked with decadent red drew him in and he felt his mind tumbling away, the blood descending rapidly from his brain to his trousers. Yet, before he could fall at this creature’s feet, something inside him stalled, and, defensively, he took a second step back and he blinked.
“My Lord,” he stammered at his smiling doom.
Lord Mark, thankfully, did not move closer again, which Arran knew would have been his downfall, but he did drag those unusual eyes up and down Arran’s body, which really didn’t help the way Arran’s trousers were becoming too tight.
“I thought my brother was mad when he announced he had invited one of the yokels into our home,” Lord Mark finally broke the silence and began to walk around Arran like he was on display, the sensation that attention generated would not have been altogether unpleasant had the situation been different. As it was, Arran ground his teeth and prayed for deliverance. “However, I can see the potential he saw in you. Do you think you have potential, Arran?”
The fact this nobleman had taken the time to learn his name did not pass Arran by. Nothing about the exotic magic within arms’ reach was passing Arran by and most of it was descending to his cock.
“Yes, My Lord,” Arran eventually replied, loaded question or not, choosing to answer it directly. “I want to learn.”
Lord Mark remained silent as he completed the rest of his circuit and Arran watched when the sorcerer came back into view. He’d been warned a thousand times by the old tales that, with strong magic came dark forces, but he had never experienced them before. The legends were true, Lord Mark was an incubus, Arran could feel that fire in his belly, but, as the creature came to a halt in front of him once more, that power ebbed a little and he knew the tease was over. As Arran settled back onto his heels, Lord Mark viewed him more seriously.
“Welcome to Castle St John, Arran,” the nobleman eventually offered and held out a hand.
Never having had a rich man hold out his hand to him before, it took Arran a moment to respond, but then he took the palm in his. He shivered as his magic leapt unexpectedly in his belly at the contact, but it felt good and he smiled.
“Thank you, My Lord,” Arran replied.
Excerpt: Cleave to Until Forever
Ewan works for an organisation that investigates and deals with paranormal threats and runs a team for them. Several months ago one of his team, Adam Craven, was injured in an explosion and left paralysed. They were on the brink of becoming more than simply friends, but the organisation’s rules have kept them apart since the accident. Prior to this excerpt Adam has been accosted by a shape changer in the form of a leopard in his garden, which spoke to and then bit him.
Cleave to Until Forever - except - click to expand
Ewan looked up from the notepad on which he was making notes. Everyone else in the house where they had set up base was supposed to be asleep, but he had just heard something. His team were in a safe house waiting for their next assignment and it was dark in the room he had co-opted as his work space, the only light being from the desk lamp. Shadows filled the rest of the space and he suddenly felt as if he was not alone.
“Who’s there?” he asked, stretching his senses to try and pick up anything that might be hiding.
There was the click of something on the wooden floor from the far corner and he stood up slowly, eyes glued to the darkness. He lifted the table lamp off the desk, pointing it towards the dark corner, but before the light reached it a huge shape walked forward.
The cat was enormous and there was nowhere it could have come from. All that lay behind it was a wall. It looked up at him with intensely blue eyes surrounded by its inky coat and for a moment they just stared at each other. Those eyes seemed hauntingly familiar, but the shock of a leopard standing where none should have been able to be chased away the reason why in Ewan’s head.
“Adil,” Ewan called out loudly, breaking the silence and then the cat came straight at him.
He didn’t stand a chance as it leapt the desk with speed even a cat should not have had. Its teeth dug into his shoulder through the thin shirt he was wearing and pain blossomed through the whole left side of his body. As he fell, he and the cat went separate ways and he knew he would not have a second chance. Whatever it was, it had attacked him and he had to defend himself.
Pushing the pain away with long-practiced ease, he reached for anything that could be used as a weapon. The cat roared when he stabbed it with the pen from his desk, half going down as the pen imbedded itself in the creature’s leg. The letter opener hit home on the cat’s side as he used that as well and the beast staggered back.
It collapsed completely almost straight away, low sounds of distress coming from its mouth and Ewan scrambled away trying to gather his wits. His shoulder hurt, but there didn’t seem to be any major damage and he dragged himself to his feet just as Adil charged into the room, throwing the light switch.
“Wait!” he shouted as Adil immediately went to shoot the fallen creature.
The cat was lying there, half on its side, clearly in pain and it was not fighting. There was something all too familiar in the eyes that met his and Ewan knew he was not looking at an animal. Something was going on here, something he did not understand, but he knew he needed to.
“Who are you?” he demanded.
The cat made a low growling sound, something that made Ewan think of confusion rather than anything else. Now that he had a chance to think he realised that he may have been attacked, but if it had wanted to kill him, his throat would have been far more vulnerable than his shoulder. Everything seemed far too confusing.
Then he felt it, heat coming from the wound and his vision shifted strangely for a second.
“What, what did you do to me?”
He felt light headed and had to grab the side of the desk.
As if satisfied, the cat put its head down and made what could only be described as a sighing sound and went limp. It was either dead or unconscious and given that Ewan didn’t think he’d hit anything vital, he suspected the second. He wanted answers, but they definitely weren’t coming from that direction.
“Get Lilian,” he said in a bitten off tone, refusing to give in to the need to pass out.
Adil did not argue, but as the Arab turned towards the door something began to happen to the cat. For a moment Ewan thought his vision was playing tricks, but the way Adil stopped told him he wasn’t the only one.
First of all the fur began to get shorter, as if being absorbed, and then the body began to shift and change. There was the sound of twisting bone and cracking ligaments and before his eyes the cat became a man. A naked man with a scar on his leg, bleeding from the wounds Ewan had inflicted. A man with a very familiar face.
“Adam,” he whispered, not believing his eyes.
For a moment Ewan’s thoughts stopped in shock, but then he began thinking again.
“Get Natalie here as well,” he said, “we need to know who the hell that is.”
Adil disappeared through the door and Ewan moved himself along the desk, hanging on and concentrating on not letting whatever was moving through his veins get the better of him. The facsimile of Adam was completely still, pen through his upper arm, letter opener in his torso. He had to be alive, because all the wounds were still bleeding.
“Ewan,” Lilian ran into the room and came to a dead stop.
“It wasn’t Adam until a moment ago,” Ewan said immediately, “it was a leopard; Natalie is coming.”
Lilian clearly didn’t know what to do and stood there staring. They had left Adam in the hospital a little under three months ago and he could see all of Lilian’s protective instincts coming out.
“That’s Adam,” she said, but Ewan put his hand out as she went to step forward.
“It bit me,” he told her and for the first time she really seemed to look at him.
His shoulder was throbbing and he could feel blood running down his arm.
Natalie and Adil appeared through the door and distracted him from any further discussion.
“What is that?” Ewan asked without ceremony and pointed at the unconscious form on the floor.
Natalie appeared startled, but immediately narrowed her eyes, held out her hands and concentrated. She was the sensitive on the team and very good at spotting traps left by the hidden paranormal world. For several seconds her face was completely focused without any distinctive expression and then she looked honestly shocked.
“That is Adam Craven,” she said, almost as if she did not believe her own conclusion.
Ewan swore and Lilian moved instantly.
“Adam,” Lilian said, falling to her knees beside her prone friend.
There was no indication from Adam that the younger man had heard and Ewan tried to take another step forward. The room span alarmingly and he started to fall, only missing the edge of the desk because Adil caught him.
“Patch him up,” he just about managed to say as darkness began to close in around his vision. “We need … need …”
Any justification he was trying to give died on his lips as whatever had been in the bite saturated his brain completely. Blackness reached up to claim him and all he could do was fall into it and surrender.
They could not call a doctor, that much was a given, but Adil was well versed in general first aid. Natalie took over when Ewan collapsed, which did not make Lilian very comfortable, but it meant she did not have to make any of the hard decisions. Adil saw to Ewan first, but there was little they could do except put him to bed and hope. The bite was not deep and other than disinfectant there was nothing to be done.
Adam on the other hand required triage.
“This is already healing,” Adil said, short and to the point as ever after removing the pen.
“How can that be?” Lilian asked, leaning over to see.
Adam had never healed fast; Adam has been a perfectly normal human being with just the faintest touch of precognition (if the wind was blowing in the right direction and the stars aligned as he had been so fond of saying). Yet, there, right in front of her was the proof. The hole in Adam’s arm was bloody, but it was already scabbing over.
“Clean the wounds,” Natalie said, “then keep an eye on them. I want to know what the hell is going on.”
Lilian wanted to protest, but it seemed to be the only course of action. She was worried about Ewan and about Adam and it all seemed completely crazy. Shape changers were born they weren’t created, it was a fundamental principle and it seemed to have been broken. That Adam could have done something drastic after discovering he was paralysed did occur to her, but she didn’t think he was that stupid.
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