Raif

For those who have read Secrets, you know the story is told from Leah’s POV. This page is dedicated to telling the beginning of the story from an array of characters…

~ Raif ~

Raif crouched between the lush, fragrant rose bushes and watched as David’s truck drove away. Not even the throne pulling harshly at his shiny blond hair could dampen the feeling of excitement raging through him. Raif was as ready to get David out of his life as Donovan was to get out of town.

David had been a throne in his side since he came to Serenity twenty-three years ago. Thanks to Judith, he’d become a permanent fixture while Raif had been busy in New York setting up a construction company for Donovan. Why a tantalizing woman like Judith wanted such a depressing man to be part of her life was beyond him. All the man ever did was brood and work.

He’d worked some much in fact, Donovan no longer trusted Raif to handle any of his financial affairs. Sure David was brilliant, but that didn’t mean he had to control every economic aspect of Donovan’s life. His total involvement in every venture Donovan invested in and Raif’s exclusion from it had become the main point of content between them.

Besides work, Donovan made it a point over the years to keep him close. He assured Raif it was only because he needed to retain David’s complete trust. Until a few nights ago he’d harbored serious doubts. Trust was overrated and no amount of butt kissing was worth what Donovan had been doing all these years.

Or so he thought.

All was explained the night Donovan finally came clean. David’s half-breed daughter was to serve as payment for the years her father had been in Donovan’s keep. With a mother like hers, Donovan knew she would grow up pure, capable and loving. He also knew she’d be completely ignorant to what she was. Once his plan was set in motion she’d need a savior. Donovan stood ready to be just that.

“Good riddance,” he mumbled as the taillights faded from view.

He emerged from his hiding place to find Judith. He knew getting Michael to listen wouldn’t be hard. Not many can resist a chance to humor the younger generations. Especially when the one listening made the one talking.

There was no doubt in Donovan’s or Raif’s mind that Michael would be able to ignore such a rare creature. Raif’s part was to keep Michael thinking he’d turned his back on Donovan, do whatever Michael asked until the girl was safely behind the doors of Serenity.

Time away from home was worth it if Donovan got what he wanted. David disappeared. And he would finally be able to claim Judith as his own.

Character from Secrets, Book One of the Serenity Series.

 

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Not Your Traditional Book Club

Guest post by David Lowry

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Have you ever been so busy that you don’t have time to attend every book club function you want? Do you love to read but haven’t in a while and don’t even know where to begin when looking for a new book? Do you like fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, erotica or anything in between? Do you want to find others that like the same types of books you do or discover new authors?

If so then Club Fantasci is the book club for you.  A little different from your average meet once a month at the coffee shop book club, Club Fantasci meets once a month on Google+ and we talk about the Book of the Month, Wine of the Month and the music that each host feels best relates to the book we are reviewing that month.

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In Club Fantasci we will discuss speculative fiction and it literary merits. The marketing of it, its effectiveness, and whether or not it shifts to much from it expected outcome from it genre. We wants to bring our members a deeper understanding of not just story telling, but what goes into the book itself on every level.

Our first Google+ hangout is August 31st at 7:00 pm CST. You can interact with us on our individual twitter accounts @lowryagency, @ciaraballintyne, @dionnelister and @ShannonMillion to discuss your views on the book or just to have fun with us live. The video feed will be live on the Club Fantasci website.

More about the club:

Club Fantasci is a book club taking the stigma out of speculative fiction. We want to expose you to the full gamut of the speculative fiction genre, including science fiction, hard SF, militaristic SF, high/epic fantasy, dark fantasy, dystopian, cyberpunk, steampunk, space opera, paranormal, urban fantasy, SFF romance and erotica, and everything in between.

We want to educate readers on good writing in speculative fiction, entertain with witty banter, and above all have a fantastic time. Fiction need not be literary to be well-written, and good writing need not be boring or mundane! We promise you we’ll do our best to bring you a good book every month, and if not, we’ll tell you why it’s not! For a bit of light fun, we’ll also be featuring a wine of the month and picking a song that best fits the book. So bring your book, keep that wineglass topped up, and don’t forget your i-pod!

Your hosts are David Lowry, Dionne Lister (author of Shadows of the Realm), entertainment personality and model Shannon Million, and Ciara Ballintyne – your resident fantasy writer/lawyer extraordinaire combo!

Club Fantasci is also featuring a ‘Wine of the Month’ – August’s pick is a 2011 ‘Suited Muscat’ from Sort This Out Cellars Winery in Solvang, CA. Club members are entitled to a discount – check out the club website for more information.

You can learn more about us by:

Joining our group on Goo dreads

Liking our Page on Facebook

Checking out our Website

 

***Thanks so much to David for allowing me to help spread the word!*** 

In Dreams – Part 2

In Dreams – Part 2

                Several long nights have passed since he slipped into her dreams for the first time. He hadn’t wanted to scare her, but given the circumstances he had no other choice. Going through her was the only way he could get the truth about his death to come to light. After seeing the fear in her eyes he’d decided to wait a few days before he entered her mind again. There was still so much she needed to see. So much she needed to know…

                Sage plugged in the fountain and slipped into bed. Book in hand; she pulled the covers over her body as she settled in for a quick ten minute journey to fantasy land before sleep took over. Smiling to herself, she glanced at desk thankful for such a peaceful way to fall asleep. Who knew one little fountain could make such a difference in her life?

                She’d had her doubts about it that first night. A nightmare wasn’t exactly what she expected a waterfall to induce. The dream had felt so real then. Every hit, every stab sliced through her subconscious mind as if she were the victim. The cruel man still haunted her thoughts, though he’s never made another appearance. Honestly, she hoped he never would.

                Shaking the memory off along with the desire to read she put the book on her nightstand and turned off the lamp. Once the room fell dark he stepped out of the shadows. The sound of running water would have her sleeping in no time. He was so eager to invade her again he was willing to risk being caught.

                 He listened to her breathing…calm, steady, rhythmic. Her breath turned into a thick vapor as the temperature around her dropped. Unlike the first time, she didn’t move. Satisfied the fountain had done its job; he placed his hand on her forehead and closed his eyes. He pulled up the memory that had sent his life on a crash course, forcing her to take it in.

                Warmth engulfed her body. She felt a hand slid around her waist and pull her closer. Gentle nibbles sent a shiver down her spine. She turned her head to look behind her and found herself staring into the most stunning set of blue eyes she’s ever seen. They looked back at her with love and admiration. Sage wanted to ask who he was, but when she opened her mouth the words that came out weren’t hers. Neither was the soft voice.

                “You know you’ll probably catch hell for missing curfew, don’t you?” the soft voice asked. She turned over, snuggling her naked body closer to his. It was the same man from her nightmare. His name came to her as she spoke again. “Roy told you that the last time.”

                “Do you really think I care?” Russ asked. He slid his hand down her thigh and smiled. His hand strayed behind her back, gently stroking up and down her spine.

                “Sure doesn’t feel like it,” she giggled caressing his face. She loved it when he didn’t shave for a day or two. The stubble made her rugged man look tougher. “We better make this worthwhile then. I don’t see you getting away from the house for a long while once you go back there. He’ll make sure he gives you plenty of work to keep you busy for a month.”

                “Let him try,” he said. His hand moved up her side. Goose bumps popped up beneath his calloused fingertips. Sage felt the heat rise in her body. “I’ll get all that and more done by the time he finishes breakfast.”

                “Don’t get cocky, Russ. You and I both know he can hurt you. All he has to do is lift his hand.”

                “What’d you go and do that for?” he asked, rolling on his back. Sage felt a pang of rejection shoot through her. She propped herself up on her elbow and put her hand on his chest. He stuck his hands behind his head and frowned. “You really know how to kill a mood, you know that?”

                “Sorry,” she said quietly. “I’m just worried about you.”

                “Don’t be, Julia. I can handle myself. Roy may be mean, but he hasn’t been as strong since he had that last heart attack.” He ran his hand through her hair and smiled. “What would you say if I told you I wanted to leave here?”

                “I’d say you were just thinking out loud,” she snorted. “You’re not going anywhere until you can talk your mom into going with you.”

                “She’s already gone,” he told her. Sage’s breath caught, though she didn’t know why. He smiled. “That’s right. She left him a couple of days ago. He tried to hit her again and she finally decided she’d had enough.”

                “Why are you still there?”

                “She needs somebody to make sure he doesn’t trash her things. The house may be his, but he doesn’t own everything in it.”

                “You’re not worried he’ll take her absence out on you? I mean he goes nuts when she’s five minutes late coming back from the store.”

                “Julia, I’ll be fine.”

He pressed his lips against hers, ending the depressing conversation. Her legs wrapped around his. Sage could feel her heart racing. His hands were everywhere and they felt good. He rolled her onto her back, cocking his eyebrow slightly. Sage smiled up at him, not knowing what to expect. Julia may be used to his ways, but this was new to her. He gripped both her hands in his and held them firmly over her head. She closed her eyes, tilting her neck while his free hand raked over her neck.

Cold replaced warmth. A thud echoed throughout the room. Her eyes shot open. Something darted in front of her. Russ! He pressed her firmly into the mattress, shielding her from something she couldn’t see yet. With her heart pounding, she looked around the room frantically trying to see the thing he already feared.    

                “Stay down,” Russ whispered.

                “What’s wrong?” she asked. Tears were falling and she didn’t know why.

                “Roy’s here.” Sage’s body stiffened. Fear took hold. “Whatever you do, don’t leave my side.”

                “Well, well. I knew I’d find you here,” the harsh voice from her nightmare said. She struggled to get a look, but the dark shielded him. Damn. “One of these days you’re gonna learn to mind. You’re supposed to respect your elders, not take advantage of them.”

                “Respect is earned,” Russ said quickly.

                “So I need to earn your respect? Is that what you’re saying?” His tone turned dangerous. Cold chills ran down her spine.

                “Don’t answer that!” Sage screamed.

Wait, did she? Her voice was in her head. All the words she’d spoken before had been Julia’s. Sage was only a bystander here.  She wanted to shake Russ, somehow get his attention, but she was trapped in Julia’s terrified body. Why couldn’t they hear her in this dream the way Roy had in the first?

                “That’s exactly what I’m saying,” Russ answered.

                “How do you propose I do that?” Roy asked. She thought she heard him walk around the bed, but Russ had her pinned down so tightly she couldn’t see anything.

                “How about you go wait in the living room and we’ll discuss it on the way home?”

                “Sounds agreeable. I’ll give you five minutes then I’m coming back to get ‘cha.” When he chuckled, his voice sounded further away. Russ’s body relaxed. “Better find your clothes quick.”

                “Not a problem,” Russ said reaching for the lamp. Sage looked towards the door. She wanted to know who Roy was.

                A loud pop rang out. Sage’s body, Julia’s body crumpled. Pain ripped through her chest. Russ dropped to his knees, grabbing the sheet. He pressed it against the wound, trying to stop the bleeding. Her vision started to fade.       

                “How’s that for respect?”

USED

USED

 

   “You’re really gonna sit there and tell me that’s all you wanted me for?” Shay asked, as Mara rolled off him and reached for her jeans.

   “Yep,” she said sliding back into her clothes. She looked down at him, surprised to see his green eyes could possibly get any darker. “Most guys don’t mind a quick romp now and then. No commitment. No ‘call me in the morning’ bull shit to deal with.”

   “What if I want the bullshit?” he asked reaching out to touch her hand. So soft, so warm. She jerked it away and sat back down to put her shoes on. He didn’t dare try to touch her again. “You’ve gotta give me something here. I’m not a love ‘em and leave ‘em kinda guy. I never would have done this if I knew it meant the end of everything.”

   “Look Shay,” she said, her hand sliding across his firm thigh. God, touching him felt good. “I like the chase. Catching and using my prey is and will always be my goal. Nothing’s gonna change that.” She stood up and stretched, bowing her back until it popped. “I got mine, you got yours and now you get to go home and tell your friends all about it.”

   “I wasn’t planning on telling a soul,” he told her angrily. Shay grabbed his jeans and pulled them on without even standing up. How could she think for a minute he’d want to brag, he thought to himself. He cared about their relationship too much to jeopardize it, especially now. “You know, I’ve told you before I’m not like everybody else in this town. When are you gonna figure that out?”

   “Maybe you should be,” she said, anger flashing through her beautiful black eyes.

   Mara wasn’t mad at him. She was mad at herself. Shay was the sweetest guy she’d ever met in her life. He liked talking to her. He always knew how to make her feel better when she’d had a bad day. Sleeping with him on a whim was the last thing she wanted to do, but when she felt the pull of the change come on she knew she had to do something. Nailing him where he stood, expending every ounce of energy she had kept the animal from rearing its ugly head.

   She’d do anything to keep the wolf within from gaining control. The shift itself didn’t hurt. Though it felt far from natural, the pain was never more than a dull ache. The trouble was nights were unpredictable when the animal came out. Her mind blanked out. She never came out of a shift where she’d gone into one. More than once she’d returned to human form with blood smeared all over her body. Sex she’d found, stopped the change in its tracks.

   Shay stood up beside her, brushing a stray clump of icy white hair behind her ear. He could see the mental struggle burning in her eyes. His fingers gently traced her jaw line. His thumb brushed her lip. He could feel her body relaxing into his.

   Shivers ran down her spine. She tried to push away from him when she felt his hold tighten, but his arm held her waist firmly. He wasn’t going to make walking away easy.

   “What are you running from?” he asked. “I’ve watched you for years. You never let anyone in, not even your mother. Why?”

   “Do you blame me?!” she asked incredulously. A master alcoholic wasn’t someone she wanted to let in. “She’s not in her right mind half the time. The other half she’s just mean.”

   “No. I’m just saying you need somebody to be there for you. I’m offering to be that somebody. All you have to do is trust me.” His eyes bore into hers as if he were trying to break down some invisible wall. “Talk to me. Tell me what’s going on.”

   He didn’t know how bad she wanted to tell him about the nights she couldn’t control the beast inside her. How bad she wanted to tell him about the times she’d found herself miles away from home stark naked and drenched in blood. He didn’t know how much she wanted to tell him she thought she loved him…Had always loved him. Walking away now was the only way to protect them both.

   “I told you, Shay,” she said flashing a fake smile. “It’s all about the chase for me.”

   “I don’t believe you,” he told her. He’d learned how to read her smiles over the years and that one was forced. “If sex was all you wanted from me, you wouldn’t have let me get close to you.” She looked up at him, her eyes softening. “I’ve watched you with other guys. You may flirt, but you always have your guard up.”

   “And you think you’re any different?”

   “I know I am,” he said confidently. He loosened his hold on her waist. She didn’t move away. “See, you trust me.”

   “No, I’m cold,” she told him quickly. “It is the middle of winter after all.”

   “I still don’t believe you.”

   She pushed him away from her and jerked her jacket off the ground. She wasn’t cold, but he didn’t have to know that. Once she steeled up her nerves and pushed her tears back as far as she could, she turned a pair of cold black eyes on him. The chill he felt coming from her was obvious. Goose bumps broke out all over his broad chest and arms.

   “Listen, I’m not gonna stand here and say the sex wasn’t great. I’d even be interested in doing it again sometime. The thing you need to get through that thick skull of yours is ‘love’ isn’t me. No matter how sweet your words are or how softly you touch me I’m not gonna fall for you. Come tomorrow morning I’ll mean less to you than you do to me.”  

   “So I’m nothing to you now?” he asked, digging his fingers into his black hair. Hurt reverberated in his voice.

   “No more than you were before,” she answered, shrugging as if the pain he felt wasn’t there. Deep down she was screaming. It hurt her to say those things to him, but it had to be done. She couldn’t risk him discovering her secret or worse, him getting hurt because of it. He took a step towards her. She backed up. Time to sever it, she thought to herself. “You’re no different than the other guys I’ve been with and believe me, there have been a lot. To me, y’all are just one long train. I’ll bang away as long as I can, as much as I can. When my time’s up, I’ll move on to the next.” His shoulders dropped in defeat, but she wasn’t done. She flashed a fabulous smile and twiddled her hair through her fingers. “Who knows, I may even get a chance to find out if your brother is as good as you are.”

   That did it. Shay’s hands balled up into fists. His jaw twitched. He’s never wanted to hit a girl as bad as he wanted to hit her right now. He knew she could be cruel, but he didn’t think she’d ever turn it on him. They’ve been friends, good friends for four years now. He thought he knew her. He thought she cared. Clearly he was wrong.