The prequel to my debut novel, Blood Life, is Devendra, which I am working hard on at present. I decided, just to test the waters a bit, that I’d post a few excerpts until its release. Things may change a little, but these excerpts are very close to final form, if not final.
My planned release date for Devendra is Halloween. Of course, life gets in the way sometimes, so that hopeful date could be pushed. However, if I can help it, Halloween it is. I’ll keep you posted either way. For now, an excerpt of Devendra. Please feel free to post your thoughts! They are not only welcomed but encouraged. And, above all else, ENJOY!
“Nooo!” she screamed, the tone reverberating off the stone walls, vibrating in her chest. “Leave him alone!!”
The sound of jingling keys echoed down the hallway as footsteps drew close to her cell. There was a moment of hollow silence before a burly, iron-clad guard moved swiftly in her direction. He unhooked the keys that dangled at his side, used one of them to grant himself entry to her cell, and moved squarely in front of her. Without warning, he raised a powerful arm into the air; she had only a moment to think to lift her hands to guard her face before the back of his right hand landed hard across her cheek.
Devendra saw a white flash behind closed eyes before she lost her footing and fell to the side. In the eerie silence of the strike, with ears ringing, she fought to pick herself up from the ground as quickly as possible, to show him a semblance of strength. Devendra ignored the enclosing darkness and tiny dots of light in her vision, struggling to steady herself in front of him. Her head spun gently as she fought the urge to faint, lifting a cool hand to comfort her injured cheekbone. It felt good resting against the swelling, a cool and cold palm to soak in some of the heat.
In her magical mind’s eye, she willed the fluid of the swelling to be reabsorbed by surrounding cells as quickly as it had risen. But, as bad luck would have it . . . nothing happened. She swallowed rising fear, feeling naked suddenly before her jailer.
The man they called Stoughton towered over her, a shadow of evil, threatening to strike again. His hair was short but full against his head, peppered with grey and black, collecting at his temples in white cotton wisps. If not for his malice, he was quite a handsome man, strong and lean standing at what she gauged at about a foot and a half above her own five-foot-four stance. But he was infused with evil. He carried a scent of it that sickened her. It hovered around him like a dense fog, suffocating to those with an ability to sense it.
Releasing her incapacity to conjure up the protective magic she needed to resist another strike to mere happenstance, she tried again. She reached inside her soul and called up a force, a mystic shield to protect herself so that his hand might just fall asleep and he would merely decide not to hit her again.
Devendra found that mental manipulations worked well when a quick, secret summoning of magic was necessary, but this didn’t work either. He repeated his attack with even more vigor than before. Reeling as she picked herself up a second time from the hard stone ground, she realized she was empty. Her magic, usually responding with vibrant force at her cue, made no attempt at all.
She panicked, quietly, fighting to maintain a mask of calm before him. Once maybe, but twice? Her magic refused to move two times in the matter of seconds. Instead it whirled within her solar plexus, the eye of a great storm, watching and waiting. For what?
Quickly coming to terms with the newfound failure to call on her gifts, Devendra made the decision to ignore the stinging vibration of the hit. The will of a mortal was strong, but the will of a witch had to be stronger. At least strong enough to will away pain. Strong will demanded no illusion, only focus and determination. But even this didn’t work. A new little sack filled with fluid under the original tingling warm spot left behind on her face. She could feel it rising, throbbing with her heartbeat.
“Stoughton!” a voice rang out, ricocheting off the walls, causing Devendra to flinch. Their eyes remained locked for a moment before he whipped his head in the direction of the call. “Give me a moment,” he yelled over his shoulder.
Turning his head to look back down at her, he said, “I’ll deal with you later,” and turned to walk away, leaving her to as much peace as she could find in her current situation.
Sobbing in whispers, Devendra closed her eyes and lowered her head, muttering, “Oh Viktor.” Lifting her head once again and inhaling deeply, she curled her right hand into a fist and pounded hard on her chest once, twice, leaving behind a pink mark. She pounded a third time, hoping the action might begin to calm her racing heart. Her heart muscle responded by palpitating fiercely in her chest.
Moving on, she reached down with both hands and clutched at her dirty ivory chiffon dress, pulling on it fiercely, feeling crazed. She wanted desperately to ease the anxiety by ruining something beautiful. She ripped and tore at the dress until Stoughton returned to her cell, his eyes ablaze, lustful even. She stared back at him, defiantly, daring to challenge him in silence. Her hatred hung in the air between them like stagnant tobacco smoke, seemingly connecting them in the space.
“Don’t look at me like that, Witch,” he warned in a dangerous tone, moving so close to her that she could feel the heat rise from his body. His pheromones tried to seduce her, unseen tendrils daring to reach out and request an audience. Repulsed, she averted her eyes slightly, just enough to ease his stance, but not to indicate submission.
Stoughton reached down for her arms, lowering his face in line with hers, and clutched her wrists viciously. He squeezed them until she looked up into his face again. Her sapphire eyes burned bluer than they had ever been, but there was no lust there, only pure, unadulterated hatred. His eyes held hers confidently for a moment before tossing her wrists away with a snarl. Satisfied with the moment, feeling in complete control of his witch prisoner, he smiled wickedly before leaving her once again to herself.
When Stoughton was gone, Devendra exhaled dramatically, shifting her thoughts to her magic, or lack thereof. Since it was somehow blocked in that awful place, she could not use any spells to release herself from captivity. She could only watch and swallow the rage. She chewed on her nails, looking once again to Viktor’s cell across the dark stone-tiled hallway from her own.
Devendra’s sad eyes traced over her battered lover, caressing him. Viktor sat in a slump against the stone wall. His torso hunched over and his legs slayed out in front of him. He was completely motionless in the corner of his musty cell, half hidden in the shadows and light that crept in through the small window above, reflecting onto the walls around him.
She didn’t need much light to adore his beauty. His chocolate brown hair and olive skin lived bright and beautiful in her memory. She craved the morning look she received each time she opened her eyes for the day to his vibrant hazel eyes. Even in captivity, Viktor was magnificent. Pulling her hand from her mouth, she moved slowly to the bars and extended it across the empty void that separated them, longing to touch him, to save him.