Thursday, February 2, 2012

In Whom You Trust (prequel to the Champion of the Sidhe series)

###ALERT! This is part 6 of a 6 part story. “In Whom You Trust” is a prequel to the Champion of the Sidhe series, an urban fantasy adventure. This prequel is free for you to enjoy, and has been posted on 6 websites as part of a blog hop to promote the series. Begin your journey at for part 1. Follow the links at the bottom of each section to go to the next part of the story. Check out the details posted with part 1 of the story to find out how to register for part of an awesome giveaway prize package.###

Chapter 4

The barrier against teleportation prevented Lugh from bringing them directly to the castle. They instead reappeared in the fey town beyond the castle walls. In anticipation of the summit that was to take place, the fey of the town were busily strewing garland, ribbons and fairy lights as if preparing for the spring festival of Beltaine. Lugh never exhausted in his amazement of the artistry of the fey, gilding the already beautiful hamlet. Voices and music rose in celebration.

Except one voice.

Kaitlin’s choked sob came sooner that he’d anticipated. He’d expected her shock to last a while longer, but perhaps being home made it safe to crumble. Lugh gathered her into his embrace and she clung to him. Gently, he stroked her back, hoping to soothe her. He murmured soft reassurances, to which she shook her head in denial. So very young. So painfully innocent.

Lugh slipped his hand up under the back of her shirt, seeking skin contact. His palm curled against the delicate curve at the small of her back. As he held her, gently rocking, he allowed the Touch to flow once again.

The feel of it was utterly different this time. Her magic accepted his, as it merged with her body. Natural. Beautiful. Restoring. As he loved his people, individually and as a race, he loved Kaitlin. The power of his love flowed with his magic. Flowed into her pain. He gave her more than the comfort and rejuvenation of his magic, he gave her the strength of his faith. Of his belief that she was strong enough to endure, to overcome, to grow. Idealism must bend to the winds of realism, lest the spirit might break.

Having heard his thoughts through the Touch, she smacked lightly at his shoulder. “You are a poet, Lugh.” Kaitlin pushed back enough to gaze up at him, tears still streaking her fair face. “How can you be a warrior, too?”

“I’m just that talented,” he teased and she rewarded him with a laugh.

“Egomaniac is what you are.” It was a familiar game between them, and it was good to see her play at it now. She scrubbed at her face with the sleeves of her sweater. As they returned to the castle they held hands. She Touched him back for a while, and it was just a light Touch. Sharing magic and comfort, without revealing her thoughts or the deep current of emotions he knew must be churning within.

The dwarves manning the outer gatehouse opened the wooden door for them and closed it behind them. Fey warriors lined the inner courtyard wall, and they watched the pair of them cross to the castle. The castle was locked down, ready to defend against attack. The tension was a weight of anticipation.

Lugh spotted an elf on the tower balcony, the very same elf who’d given Kaitlin the message that propelled her on this mission of distraction. He ducked back into the castle, and Lugh suspected whom he meant to warn. As they crossed the threshold Manannan descended the grand staircase. Danu herself, the All-Mother of the Sidhe, watched from the second floor walkway, her hands resting on the railing.

As soon as she saw Manannan, Kaitlin fled toward the family wing of the castle. Lugh had half expected her to confront Manannan, but surely it would come eventually. Manannan watched her depart before joining Lugh.

“She knows about Riley. That you used him to distract her.” Lugh’s tone was intentionally neutral to disguise any inference as to his opinion regarding the facts he’d stated.

Manannan didn’t bother to deny, merely nodded. “A small ploy, but effective.” Manannan put his arm around Lugh’s shoulder drawing him away from the staircase. “The Unseelie king and queen have come. They have yielded. We are to have the unified court!”

Lugh halted, “You jest!”

“No, my friend.” Manannan gripped Lugh by the upper arms and shook him with excitement. “The day we’ve long fought for has come. The preparations are underway. Danu will perform the ritual for the Unseelie to submit their magic.”

“I fought for peace, not for unification of the courts,” Lugh clarified. “I cannot believe any Unseeile, much less their monarchs, are submitting willingly. This is something I must see.” He twisted to head toward the stairwell leading to the throne room above where such a ritual would be performed, but Manannan held him fast.

“Unification will bring a final and lasting peace. One people. One court.” Manannan smiled more joyously than Lugh could ever recall seeing before. “But the magic of the ritual is delicate. I anticipated this success, and made what preparations I could. Distracting Kaitlin was but one small part, the least of the plans I set into action. Other distractions were placed into motion as well. I need you to make sure that if those distractions fail, as Kaitlin’s did, that the enemies of unification do not succeed in destroying the peace process. We have good warriors on the courtyard walls, but none that could hold back the Unseelie Elite. I had them prepare your armor.” Manannan looked over the human clothing Lugh wore. He mused, “Unless you think this costume more appropriate.”

Lugh cast a glance up at Danu. She watched, listening to all that was said, but in true Seelie fashion giving nothing but a calm, serene expression. Too peaceful. Too controlled. He knew her too well to miss such obvious signs.

Manannan continued, “I need you, Champion. I need you to be the final and ultimate protector of the Sidhe. Will you do this for me? For our people?”

Lugh leveled his attention upon his king. He knew the truth with certainty now, even as he allowed his silence to linger and chill the space between them. Finally, he said, “Though I doubted this victory, Highness, I have never been your enemy.”

The king feigned surprise. His grip on Lugh’s shoulders tightened. “I have always relied upon your devotion, your dedication.”

“You never worried young Kaitlin would disrupt this summit. Not to a degree justifying the lengths to which you went. You have been cultivating Riley for this very day for quite some time.” Lugh’s expression remained even, civilized though in truth, this realization cut him. “You jeopardized the princess’ safety to distract me.”

“She was never in danger. Not with you there to ensure her safety.” Manannan’s voice hardened. “Champion, I know your fidelity extends beyond the service of the Seelie Court, and beyond what even I might task you to do. We might debate my methods at length and with leisure once this day’s labors are done. You say I may trust you, and I am entrusting you now. Allow none to disrupt this ceremony for the consequences would indeed be dire for all involved. Take up your spear once more and be our Champion. Lead the guard as no one but you might. For though you have doubted this day might truly come, it has indeed. Though you doubted the Sidhe could be one people, you have always protested they you hold them all with equal regard. That you would defend the Unseelie as fervently as the Seelie. That when you have represented the Sidhe in negotiation with other races that you have done so with the good of all Sidhe at heart. For you the Sidhe has always been a unified people. Let us today make it so.”

Lugh raised his face to Danu once more. The Creatrix. The one connected to the realm and all within it. Although loyal to the Seelie Court, its king could not compel Lugh against his will. The All-Mother possessed that power. She merely nodded her assent.

“I shall lead the guard, as you have asked. For all our people.” Lugh bowed his head to Danu, but pointedly did not offer the same sign of respect to Manannan. He departed to the armory to prepare himself. If the Unseelie Elite did come, and Lugh highly suspected that at least one would, the fey warriors he’d seen manning the watch would not have the strength to subdue them. He loved his people, light and dark alike. If Danu believed a unified court was the path to lasting peace, he would defend it. For his people. For all Sidhe.

##Make sure to place a comment below to enter into the giveaway! You have to comment on all 6 parts to be eligible to win. And THANK YOU for joining us on this blog hop!##

One Dangerous World
Three Intense Story Lines

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Prequel to the Champion of the Sidhe series

 Coming Feb 2nd!

You'll be able to read the entire short story “In Whom You Trust” online. We will be hosting the blog hop for the story, which will be posted in 6 parts over 6 different blogs.

"In Whom you Trust" is a prequel to the Champion of the Sidhe series, an urban fantasy adventure. Begin your journey at for part 1 on Feb 2nd after 8am EST. Follow the links at the bottom of each section to go to the next part of the story.

Not only are we sharing “In Whom You Trust” for your enjoyment, but we are also having an awesome giveaway with this blog hop! This is how you play: Leave a comment at the bottom of ALL 6 parts of the story. Make sure you include your email address or we can't send you your prize! During the month of February 2012, every single person that leaves a comment on all 6 parts will receive ebook copies of End of the World (Champion of the Sidhe #1) and Champion of the Fey (Champion of the Sidhe #2). And at the end of the month ONE winner will be selected to receive the uber prize package of ALL 3 of The Sidhe mini-series (Champion of the Sidhe, Rise of the Unseelie, and Touched) 15 ebooks in all. (Note: Each mini-series is 5 books long. Books 1 and 2 for each series will be awarded immediately. Books 3 will be released in the Spring, books 4 in the Summer, and books 5 in the Fall.)

Hope you will join us for this blog hop!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Aftershock 16/16

Chapter Ten

The band of Dark Elves, calling themselves The Fury, started up another set of rock music. Not something Donovan was very familiar with, but he liked the heavy percussion and the determination in the voice of the lead singer as he roared at the crowd that he would not bow and he would not break. Very Unseelie in sentiment. Apparently, the band played popular music because most of the fey sang along during the chorus.

Kieran and Dawn danced among the crowd, undulating against each other with more than a casual familiarity. The view from Donovan’s private table situated against the simple but elegant guardrail overlooked the dance floor set a couple of steps down from the main bar area of the Glamour Club. Leaning back, he cast a proprietary glance around the rest of the club, not the least surprised to find it packed on opening night. They’d had trouble keeping the fey out until the construction was completed.

The sound of the pool balls cracking against each other echoed from the back alcove. Bryce managed the game without setting the table on fire. The training in concentration and focus was beginning to pay off.

Donovan set down his empty glass on the low table in the center of a circle of four easy chairs, and leaned back. Beyond his own chair, the others remained unoccupied, a condition that did not appear to be long lasting, as Trip turned from the bar with two glasses and headed in Donovan’s direction. She handed one to Donovan, for which he nodded a simple thanks. The Sidhe had styled her hair to cover her altered ears, an interesting decision. She’d told him that she’d had plastic surgery so she would not feel out of place around the humans, and now that attempt to “fit in” made her feel out of place around her own kind. The life lessons among the earthborns certainly had a unique twist compared to what he’d grown up with in the Mounds. The lack of guidance showed in all of them.

Trip settled into the chair to Donovan’s right. She hadn’t thanked him for saving her, not that he expected that from an Unseelie. The last few days she’d permitted Dawn’s healing efforts and otherwise evaluated her new circumstances with uncertainty. They regarded each other with a causal acceptance as she toyed with the ice in her glass with the tip of her finger. Clearly she had something she wanted to say, but Donovan waited for the young woman to sort out the words in her head at her leisure.

“You know, the other Sidhe are real impressed by you,” she said and then waited for him to respond.

Donovan said nothing yet. That had not been what she wanted to say. Little more than stating the obvious. Lengthy discussions of the obvious may amuse the Seelie as a pastime, but Donovan didn’t waste effort on that pursuit.

Trip nodded to herself, switching her gaze from him to her drink and retreating deeper into the chair. Apparently, not yet done with her exploration of the obvious. Or perhaps working things out in her head as she went. Starting with what she knew first and then extrapolating. “So, you really are going to rebuild on Earth what you lost from the Mounds? Starting with us newbies?”

“You are including yourself in the number.” Donovan cracked a hint of a smile. “I thought you might, when you stuck around.”

Trip leaned forward and placed her drink down like it no longer interested her. “There’s a lot of bad out there in the world. As soon as they find out about this place, they’ll do everything they can to crush it.” Her dark eyes lifted to meet his. “But you know that already.”

“I do indeed.”

“And you are not afraid?”

He gave her an amused smirk. “Let them come.”


Thank you for reading "Aftershock" Rise of the Unseelie: Part 1! See what happens to Donovan next in "Scars of Silver" Rise of the Unseelie: Part 2

If you have enjoyed this story, please consider leaving a rating or review. That would mean a lot to us!

Aftershock on Kindle US, Kindle UK, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Aftershock 15/16

Nothing to see with physical eyes now. Donovan wasn’t seeing with them at the moment, anyway.

Tentacles of mud burst through the windows of the buried car. He felt the movement fighting the rising mud. People attempted to swim in the quicksand. Magic fluttered against the mud like the wings of moths, but nothing hindered the flow.

No wizard left alive. Donovan knew that directive. Believed it. A single wizard would slay hundreds of fey in their lifetime. Mercy shown a wizard was a death sentence to all the fey they would encounter. The reign of terror for at least these few magic-stealers ended today.

He ignored those who struggled against the soil. Only when the magic-laced mud twined against something cold and ceased to respond to his will did Donovan close his eyes. His focus wrapped around that spot. The sediment retreated, following the shape of the body attached to that coldness and forming a bubble around it. Donovan brought forth the body. The soft mud pillowed around the form and coaxed its unresponsive shape through a window and up to the surface, where the bubble rose like a bud of a flower and then burst open and disintegrated.

Donovan crossed the ground to the person lying there. The earth below them solidified into solid rock once more. No one else would escape the car. No one else below the surface now lived.

Donovan knelt next to the mud-caked young woman. The mud ran from her in streams until she was completely free of it. She was curled on her side. Wrists bound behind her back. Unconscious.

With a tender stroke of fingertips, he brushed her hair from her face. A beautiful face. A face with fine, sculpted features few but the fey possessed. His fingers drew her hair back further, tucking her brunette tresses behind her ear.

A rounded ear.

Like a human’s ear.

Donovan traced the shape of it. Very unlike the Sidhe’s slightly pointed ears. Feeling the smoothness of a scar, he bent had for a closer examination.

“Is this what the Sidhe have come to? Self-mutilation? To pass for a human?”

Of course, the unconscious Sidhe didn’t answer. He examined the bonds on her wrists and ankles. Just heavy-gauge zip ties. Easy enough to cut loose.

The silver the wizards used to bind her magic took the form of a collar. Donovan cupped the woman’s head, careful not to brush the silver directly with his skin. He lifted her enough to examine the device. He removed a handkerchief from his pocket and used it to release the simple catch. The collar dropped from her. The beginning of a silver burn ringed her neck with an irritated redness. Two distinct points blistered beneath her jaw. Donovan turned the device, ever careful of not touching it. “Silver shock collar.”

Wrapping it completely in the handkerchief, he ensured no silver remained exposed, then tucked the end into his back pocket. He scooped the girl into his arms and stood. The humans from the rest of the train finally drew close. He could hear their startled shouts of horror at the bizarre landslide. Paying them no mind, Donovan teleported away with the unconscious Sidhe in his embrace.

Part 16/16 of "Aftershock" coming on 1/17/12!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Aftershock 14/16

Chapter Nine

Didn’t matter the time of the year, the Alps were always freezing. Donovan drew deep into the earth to catch a thread of magma and feed it up to the cliff where he perched. The heat from the pool of molten rock warmed him more effectively than a campfire, and without the telltale beacon of smoke giving away his position.

The tracks for the Artesia de Nuit train threaded through the mountains for a good six hours between Milan, Italy, and Dole, France. According to Tiernan, this was the route the wizards chose to transport their captive. The path carved into the rock passed fifty feet beneath him. Rock walls lined both sides of the track at this expanse, allowing only enough room for the train and a buffer for safety. The line ran nearly flat for a couple hundred feet before taking a downward curve.

Already Donovan sensed the vibration of the train pulsing through the ground. He crouched and gripped the edge of the crag.

Magic flowed from him. Merged with the earth. Felt the infinitesimal warping and up thrusting of the mountain range. His element. His magic. A perfect blending.

Donovan waited.

The train marched along at an even pace. Drawing nearer.

Focusing on the track beneath him, Donovan willed cracks to form around the railway spikes.

The train chugged into sight. To see Donovan, he appeared to idly watch the scene unfold before him. When the last car came into view, his magic flexed. His head turned to follow the train car. Timing its speed. Gauging when it would pass precisely below him.

The rock beneath the train suddenly sheared upward as if blasted by dynamite. The placement of the upheaval caught the joints between two lengths of track and lifted up at the exact moment to uncouple the last car from the train and pummel it into the far wall of the crevice.

The passenger car smashed sidelong, crumpling the metal sheeting. The crash tossed the occupants within the car, but should not have had enough force to kill. Only to stun.

The rest of the train curved the bend. Though the braking metal wheels squealed against the rails, it would take a while to bring the train to a halt, especially on the decline. Even still, Donovan lifted his gaze to the rock wall past where the single passenger car had crashed. The cliff surrendered, crumbling into a rockslide that barricaded this section of track from easy access by foot.

Physically, Donovan remained still. A tremor shivered the ground as rock formed from compressed sediment released its tension and flowed like a liquid instead. The sides of the crevice melted. The mudslide flooded over and around the train car, burying it fully. It continued to rise until the new surface leveled evenly with the cliff where Donovan knelt.

Part 15/16 of "Aftershock" coming on 1/13/12!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Aftershock 13/16

The fairy inclined his head again, obviously fighting against his instinct to further supplicate himself. Just how much prostration the Seelie Court encouraged truly annoyed Donovan; he fought the urge to roll his eyes, but failed. The fairy flustered as he rushed to his point. “Sire, we have heard of your glorious endeavor to create a place for the fey in this realm, most especially to restore the glory of the Sidhe in the wake of the disaster.” He covered his heart with his fine-boned hands to convey his feeling. “We, my people, have been honored to serve a Sidhe whose renowned powers of healing have saved many lives of fairies and other fey in our county.”

The fairy extended a grand sweep of his arm back toward the entrance and two more fairies escorted a young Sidhe woman before Donovan. Her caramel-colored hair was braided at the temples and drawn back behind her gently pointed ears. The glittered clothing cascaded down her tall frame, clearly fairy made. Silver strands of tinsel were woven into her hair. Though the fairies began an excess of bowing as if presenting a gift, the Sidhe merely smiled tolerantly. She extended a hand to Donovan. “I am Dawn. The fairies have spoken of little else since you decided to create this club.”

A slight smirk stole across his lips. Where she could have expounded with poetry and excess, as the fairies had, Dawn spoke plainly and directly. The fairies might have taken pains to dress up their healer in the height of Seelie fashion, but beneath all the glitter, the earthborn hadn’t lost her Unseelie sensibility. Donovan accepted her offered hand and lightly kissed the back of it.

“Then consider yourself at home, Dawn.” As the young woman walked past him and then wandered the workspace, Donovan turned to appreciate the view from behind.

A soft whistle of came from over his right shoulder. Under his breath, Tiernan said, “Now that is a nice piece of… craftsmanship.”

With a cocked eyebrow, Donovan glanced back at him. “You looking for your next piece?”

Tiernan’s wolfish grin answered that question. “Tried to recruit her to my services and she turned me down flat. Lucky mongrel.” Whether the services he referred to were healing or sexual in nature was left unspoken. “I want details if you tap that.”

“You don’t pay well enough for that kind of information.” Donovan turned at last toward the Unseelie that fancied himself a kingpin, rather than a prince, among the lesser beings.

Tiernan chuckled, an easy laugh that he shared liberally. He enjoyed himself and his life of questionable morals with full Unseelie relish. After the pretentious fairies, the unapologetically direct Sidhe was a welcome change. “I tell you what information I did pay well enough for.” He handed over a folded piece of paper, getting to the business of the meeting. “Apparently even the earthborns who manage to get a handful of decades under their belts can get themselves into trouble.”

“What flavor does this trouble come in?” Donovan unfolded the paper and examined the contents before crumpling the paper in his fist. “Bloody wizards.”

“Shadow weaver. Thought that to you, she might be worth the rescue.” He shrugged.

“She’s Sidhe. That is reason enough.”

Part 14/16 of "Aftershock" coming on 1/10/12!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Aftershock 12/16

Chapter Eight

Donovan leaned over the table created by propping a section of drywall across two sawhorses. Eircheard pointed to the construction plans with a screwdriver, belting out heavily accented orders in a mingle of Gaelic and Dwarven to his crew. No one appeared to be paying the foreman any mind, though the flow of work continued unabated, like a hill of worker ants.

“See here, Master Donovan, the lower chambers have been completed.” Eircheard tapped the screwdriver on the rooms designated to contain the full force of magic training.

“Your office and quarters in the back are furniture ready. The apartment’s on the skyward floor…” he scrunched his wrinkled face in thought, making the long braids of his mustache sway and bang against the barrel of his chest. “Dark to dusk, give or take a wink.”

“And the Glamour Club itself?” Donovan glanced around the wide expanse of the warehouse space, now clear of the former industrial waste and replaced with construction debris in its stead.

“Well, now, if you’d shoo, it’d be about a turn of the head. If you gander over our shoulders, a good two weeks at best.” The dwarf chuckled, then rolled up the plans and waddled off to swing the rolled-up papers at the first brownie, dwarf, or banner who failed to hop to their duties in double time. The string of Dwarven profanity he tossed about apparently served just as much a motivation as the threat of getting whacked upside the head.

Light footfalls leading from the Glamour-shielded entrance drew his attention. A flutter of fairies in their tall form of just shy of five feet tall, rather than in the three-inch tall version, strode into the warehouse. Their gossamer clothing glittered with the same iridescence of their wings. Long, flowing blonde or silver hair trailed down their backs, even on the males. Of the lesser fey, the fairies tended to align themselves with the Shining Court, but the affiliation of any of the lesser fey truly fell where their interests lay.

“Sire,” the forefront fairy spoke with the musical voice of a flute. He bowed with an excess of flourish that would have pleased the Seelie. His companions followed with curtsies and bows of their own.

As a Sidhe, one of the nobility of the fey, such demonstrations conveyed respect. This Donovan could appreciate, even if lengthy pleasantries taxed his patience. He gestured for them to proceed with their business.

Part 13/16 of "Aftershock" coming on 1/6/12!