Welcome to the Smoke and Shadows
Greetings everyone. It’s been a long time. For those astute observers, they’ll have noticed that it is now May which means last month was April. It also means that there was little activity on the site. That’s because I was neck deep in work and thus unable to post regularly. However, I have finished the first draft of an exciting new novel called The Nanny State. But don’t expect to hear that name for quite some time.
What is more exciting is the release of our first novel Thyre. You may have noticed an announcement for its availability on Amazon. You may even notice it advertised in our little banners on the sidebar of the main site. This is a very exciting time for us and I just wanted to try and share that enthusiasm. As such, I thought it would be a good idea to post a little taste of the book for people to gauge whether it would be something they are interested in or not.
So, without further ado, here is the first preview for Thyre: City of Smoke and Shadow. Enjoy!
So loud was the beating of his breast that even the haunting lamentations of the Raven Tower could not drown its song. A chilling jolt swept his body, snaking along his skin and reaching the tips of his tingling fingers.
And something stirred within him. An alien sensation that caused ecstatic shudders to run along his spine.
He adjusted the sleeves of his long coat and stepped into the shadows as the other guest brushed passed without a word – two familiar strangers passing in the night. Only a hint of vanilla lingered in his wake.
The moonlight broke through the scattered clouds, casting down in grand beams that filled the cramped courtyard. Beneath that heavenly light, she was there. She stirred from the ground and the softest of moans emitted from the deepest crimson lips.
Tattered breaths came in short spurts as she crawled to her knees. Her hands cast about the cobbles, alighting upon a small string of shimmering stars. Her fingers wrapped about those beads as she pulled herself to her feet. Her mouth quivered, addressing the shadows that enclosed her on all sides.
She parted those lips and with the sweetest of voices she began to sing.
He could see her clearly now, illuminated as she was in the glow of the pale moon with the stars clutched in one hand and the ribbons of her gown in the other. She called out to the darkness, a gentle string of epitaphs floating upon the midnight air.
She raised a slender finger to her face. Blues and purples decorated her cheeks like a harlequin’s mask. She drew back, admiring the soft train of tiny rubies left against her flesh. A small, moist tongue slyly drew across her beaten mouth.
She was more beautiful now than he had ever seen her. Her visitor had come and enacted his will upon her. She sang so beautifully for him, a familiar tune he had heard so long ago. The stranger left his mark and it made her radiant: just like he had always remembered.
He wanted to go to her as she stumbled upon cracked heels. But he dared not emerge from the shadows. Fear clasped his heart. It squeezed the life from it till the muscle hung limp in his chest. He could see rejection lingering on her tongue and he dared not tempt fate.
She inspected her attire in the fading light. She cursed its torn skin and stained flesh. She plucked at the loose strings, tying what she could until it hung more naturally upon her frame. Then she turned to the prize still in hand.
She raised those glittering jewels to her neck, the string gently resting against her painted skin. It was a stark contrast of brilliant white against the dark circles of purple and blue. Her arms reached behind her as fingers worked sightless upon the clasp.
Suddenly, her fingers slipped and the stars fell to earth.
She bent to reach them but stopped as nails scraped the ground.
“Are you still there?”
Her eyes seemed to pierce his dark cover and stare directly into his own. She held him captive in that look, drawing him slowly into sight.
He took one careful step forward and then another. She straightened at his approach and the cloth of her dress clutched at her bosom. His eyes lingered upon her chest as it rose with each cautious step. He could see the prickling of her flesh. He could see the flush of her skin.
Slowly he bent and fetched her discarded jewels.
“You weren’t who I was expecting,” she whispered.
A smile caught at the corners of her lips. He held out her fallen prize and she turned her chin to him, exposing the long nape of her neck. With those languid fingers, she plucked the gentle flow of her hair and drew it back to reveal her full glory.
She was so beautiful.
Tentatively he reached out, holding the string against her. Fingers brushed against her and he almost dropped the gems.
She laughed. It was a sound as gentle as chimes.
His breath caught in his throat as he pulled the ends together. The clasp was cold in his hands but her skin was so warm.
“You are too kind.”
She had given him praise. She had laughed at his touch. He wanted to say something. He wanted to speak the words that had grown knotted with his tongue.
But as he leaned to her ear, all words but one stuck in his throat.
He could feel the heat drain from her.
“How did you…”
She turned, the unclasped jewels falling limp over her shoulder.
“Who are you?”
Her eyes clouded with suspicion as the smile evaporated from her lips. He could see the growing sneer. His heart fled before the inevitable lashings. He wanted to turn and make his escape while he could.
But his hands had other plans.
They sprung to life of their own accord, snatching the loose end of the string and pressing those beautiful stars tight against her neck. She stumbled back, her body striking against the red brick wall.
She raised her fingers to loosen the string. Chipped nails scratched at the inset stones. Her lips twisted, those dark words boiling up from within her. He pressed harder and harder, attempting to stop them before they could escape.
A hand lashed out, striking at the old spots. But they lacked the force they once had.
She tried to push herself from the wall but he slammed her back again and again until her resistance subsided.
She was disarmed. Her words were gone. Her strength was gone.
He wrapped his fingers tighter and tighter around that dainty throat until even the stars failed to shine.
Thyre: City of Smoke and Shadow is available on Kindle or for online reading from all Amazon sites. Canadian customers can find the digital copy here: Thyre: City of Smoke and Shadow Kindle Edition
Paperback versions are also available but only from a limited number of Amazon sections. If you are in Canada, you’ll need to order from Amazon.com. If you’re in the United States then you don’t need to worry! Check it out: Thyre: City of Smoke and Shadow Paperback Edition