It's been a bit quiet over here on the blog lately, but I'm back with the wonderful Rhenna Morgan who is celebrating the release of her contemporary romance, What Janie Wants. Here are the first five hundred lines. Use the moment section to let Rhenna know if you're ready to read further.
Juliette Cross is sharing her first 500 of Sealed in Sin. Would these 500 words have you reading further, I know I would.
Kat literally appeared out of thin air with a sharp electric snap, slamming down today’s copy of the New York Times on the breakfast table. My hand jerked. I dropped my spoon into the Froot Loops with a clink, milk splattering my chin.
“Damn it! Don’t scare me like that.” I scowled, wiping milk from my pajama top.
Ignoring the fact that she nearly gave me a heart attack sifting into my kitchen without warning, she straightened to her full six-foot height, hands on hips, blonde braid swishing over one shoulder. Dressed in typical Kat attire—black jeans, tight knit top and close-fitting leather jacket—she pointed at the cover story.
“Look, Gen. Don’t you see what this means? A high demon has stolen the prophecy. Well, half the prophecy, anyway.”
Kat had once shown me her picture of the torn relic, the first half of the prophecy, which up until now had been protected in the vaults of the Vatican for centuries, guarded by wards to keep it from ever leaving the premises. What we still hadn’t found and needed desperately was the lost half of the prophecy.
I picked up the paper and read, “‘Officials reported a breach into the Vatican Library Secret Archives recently. Authorities report the discovery of tampering with ancient documents on Thursday evening’.” I skimmed through a quote by local authorities, saying not much of anything, then continued reading. “‘No documents were reported missing; however, ancient manuscripts had been shuffled aside and left in disarray.’ Kat, this doesn’t mean it was about the prophecy. This could be anybody—some secret society or religious fanatic. A cult. Who knows?”
She narrowed her eyes and leaned over the table. “Listen to me. I know without a shadow of a doubt this is about the prophecy. I don’t know how I know, I just do.”
“Wait, the Vatican is sacred ground. A demon can’t break in there.”
“No, but a human in service to a high demon can. A sentinel. Or…a Vessel.”
I flinched. A demon could possess a captive Vessel and use her as a shell to go anywhere and do whatever he wanted.
Kat snatched the paper back and folded it on the table. “Now, we have to assume one of the demon princes has the prophecy, or at least the half that we have.”
“Why a high demon? Why not an angel or some other Flamma?” Flamma were supernatural beings created by heaven and hell to battle for the Light or the Darkness. I’d recently discovered that I happened to be one of these beings.
“Because an angel or Flamma of Light could sift in without detection. It was definitely a human serving a high demon.”
High demons, essentially the aristocracy of the underworld, had the power to bargain with and compel humans to do their will, typically with some immoral payoff for the human. Could be nice if there wasn’t that whole burning-in-hell-for-eternity thing.
Check it out on AMAZON
Welcome back to High Five Friday. The feature where you get to say whether these first 500 words would have you reading further .... or not.
This week, I'm giving you the first 500 of Nobody's Angel, due for release March 31st. Be sure to leave me a comment on whether you're tempted or would pass.
Come fly away to a sunnier day
The islands are calling your name
Feel the caress of warm, tropical breezes—
“Sadistic shits.” Lucy snapped off the radio and watched the wiper blades sweep the snow apathetically across the windshield, as if they sensed the sheer futility of the task. Her plane from Seattle had bodysurfed the crest of the rising storm into O’Hare barely an hour ago. Now the weather settled in enthusiastically. Snowflakes hit her windshield in drunken clumps and gummed up behind the wiper blades.
“Welcome home, Lucy Flint.”
From across the street, a light went on in the house—a red-brick Edwardian that had long since drifted past shabby chic and into dilapidated. It was a shame. It was a beautiful, old classic built square and solid out of wood and rufous brick, standing like a citadel against the hostile climate.
A shadow darted past the window as she watched. Lucy pictured her mother moving around in the golden glow from that second-floor light. Mom moved like a squirrel, quick and fearful, darting away from danger as fast as she could and busy, busy, always busy.
Lucy wasn’t holding her breath for the fatted calf. In that house, he would be waiting too, nursing his spite along with his nightly tipple of cheap drugstore wine—one and no more. Lucy made a snorting sound. She’d obviously not inherited that from her father.
The silhouette was framed briefly against the curtains of her old bedroom and Lucy sighed. Mom would be getting her room ready. Lucy would rather dispense with the frenzy of anxious preparation. It couldn’t be helped, however, when you were an only child.
She’d been away long enough to be shocked by the cold that felt as if it would eat your face off before it quit. Ah, yes, Chicago. Other cities had climates, but Chicago had weather— lots of it and all the time.
Suddenly she thought of an old joke. How cold is out there? Cold enough for hell to freeze over and the Cubs to win the pennant. Lucy let out a huge guffaw that was so much more than the tired old workhorse of a joke deserved. Yup, she was so losing it, and she hadn’t even gotten out of the car yet. As an augury, it pretty much sucked.
She stared through the snow at the waiting house and took a deep breath and then another. In her head, she chanted the Serenity Prayer. It was all she had against the angry mob of memories clustering around the wooden front porch and jeering at her. The prayer granted her a moment’s reprieve, so she said it again. The knot in her stomach unraveled some. She was here for a reason, and that reason was good and just. Lucy reached for her phone and a teeny bit more reinforcement.
“Hey, you.” Mads was waiting for her call and answered on the first ring.
“How was the flight?”
“Fine.” Lucy snickered. “Boy, are my arms tired.” It was her night for elementary school jokes.
You can find more about Nobody's Angel #1WillowParkRomance under the MY BOOKS tab above.
Welcome, welcome! This is where I give you the first 500 words of a book, and you get to decide would you read further or is the journey over for you. Don't forget to leave me a comment and let me know what you would do - read on or stop.
Let me start with 500 of my words. These are the first 500 words of my medieval romance, The Bride Gift.
Spring, 1193, North of England
Guy of Helston hated heights.
Dangling sixty feet from the ground and hanging on by his fingernails was not what he’d had in mind when he declared at the tender age of eight summers that come what may, he would one day win a title. Mayhap it was his just deserts for foolishly declaring to his brother, Crispin, he would stop at nothing to achieve his ambition.
Guy grabbed the next handhold. It had seemed such a good idea from the ground. Roger had made it sound like the logical course. For certes easier than lengthy explanations yelled at the gatehouse for all within earshot to hear. The earl had led him to the hidden postern gate and they’d slipped undetected through the curtain wall into the inner bailey.
The castle bristled with men at arms. A witch’s cauldron of trouble brewed around their lady. Change crackled in the wind with new rumours circulating faster than flies on a midden heap. The war between King Stephen and Empress Maude ripped through the land and threatened all.
An owl hooted. Roger’s warning. Guy froze. A soft tramp of feet signalled the guard. Beneath him, two men at arms passed into view. All it would take was for one of them to glance up. The sentries stopped and changed direction. He counted a heartbeat more and continued his ascent.
Closer he climbed to the open casement. He forced himself to go slowly. One hand at a time, find the foothold before moving on. A slip now would mean certain death.
The casement inched nearer. He got his fingers over the edge and hauled his aching muscles onto the window embrasure. He rested with half his body hanging off the edge and his boots still wedged against the rough rock. The rope around his waist jerked.
"Jesu." He glared into the shadows below him. Could he not just have a moment to catch his breath?
He slithered into the dark beyond the embrasure. Then stopped, his senses alert to discovery.
He jerked the line. The rope grew taut, and Guy braced his feet against the wall. Roger was many summers past the wall scaling age, but needs must. The rope strained across Guy’s back as Roger climbed.
Roger was a smaller man, but compact and muscular. Guy gritted his teeth, his muscles protesting the extra effort. He didn’t make a sound as he hauled, hand over hand, the rope hissing softly over the edge of the casement. He prayed Roger was right and the lady was not a light sleeper.
A fine tremor shook Guy’s arms.
Roger’s head finally popped over the lip of the embrasure. The earl was breathing hard, perspiration streaming in rivulets down his cheeks. He slipped over the edge and landed beside Guy.
“What did I tell you?” Roger whispered. “She has the place sewn up tighter than a duck’s arse.” He beamed with pride. “That is my Nell.”
See all links to this book under the MY BOOKS tab.