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I’ve had my head down finishing a certain book 5, so I’ve been super quiet in social media-land lately. Can’t make any announcements – YET. But here’s a teensy tiny snippet…

The warehouse loomed, music throbbing. Threads of the melody filtered into the night. There were no bouncers, and the door was closed, but as Emma and her people approached, the heavy steel door slid aside to reveal brick walls and soft red light. The music grew louder, tempo building, plucking at Emma’s nerves. She caught Ivan’s low murmur. Kal and then Leah grunted affirmatives.

“We’re good to go,” said Andres.

The entrance corridor was wide enough for Fern to flank Ricky and Ivan to flank Red, with Emma in the middle, the bass vibrations of the music growling through the soles of her pumps with every step. Concrete floor, brick walls, muted red and blue bulbs throwing the corridor into disorienting contrast. More steel doors loomed several yards away. By the time they were halfway there, the music was too loud for talking, and by the time they reached those massive doors at the end of the corridor, the bass seemed to be pounding against the inside of Emma’s ribcage.

Panic edged into the spaces between the beat, quickening her breath. It was too much like the bleak concrete of the compound in the Urals where Alan had held her captive, and the walls were edging in on her with every crash of electronic sound…

Alexi’s mental touch lit her up, warm and welcome as winter sunlight, and this time her heart skipped a beat for an altogether different reason.

If he was here, there was no danger on the other side of those doors.

She broke away from the men, braced herself, hit the heavy steel doors with both hands and pushed.

I REALLY want to bring you good news about the Wild Rites Saga…

But I can’t yet, it’s too soon! Arrrgh!! But it’s a “no news is good news” kinda thing, if you catch my drift – I’ve been working my butt off on book 5, which is also why I have been TERRIBLE at blogging and posting updates etc.

So I can’t give you news, but I can give you a snippet!

And ooooh it’s a rare subchapter from Alexi’s point of view 😀 (As always, beware spoilers if you haven’t finished reading the current books, blah blah blah…)

Wringing his hair out in the bathroom sink, Alexi prayed to any god who might listen that the hotel suite stayed empty but for Emma and Fern. Gods, he was tired. Fatima had healed him, but there was only so much she could do with the extent of his injuries.

He’d been bleeding internally, not to mention the fluid on his brain, which he’d known about, and the blood-clot making its way to his heart, which he hadn’t known about. Fern suspected; Emma knew, he couldn’t hide it from her.

One day, she would lose her cool and “freak out,” as Fern might say, like a normal human, but that day was not today. Instead she’d taken command of the situation with Seshua, diverting him completely so that Alexi could conserve his energy for healing himself.

Sleep. He just needed a little sleep.

He wrapped a bath sheet around his waist. Wrung his hair out one more time, and then squandered the metaphysical energy on willing it dry. He was so tired he could barely see, but he made it to the bedroom in slow, measured steps without kicking any furniture and making an ass out of —

He stopped. Blinked. All the air went out of him in a rush.

Emma and Fern were in the bed. Boots and jeans and sweaters on the floor. They’d each taken a side, so the only place for him to lay was in between them.

Emma propped herself on one elbow and met his eyes, her gaze serious, her mind calm even though he felt how hard her heart tripped. That fierce heart. It was all he needed to be well again, to feel her incredible heart beat against him.

“You need rest,” she said. “Come to bed.”

Ah, her voice. She had no idea how much power there was in the sound of her voice. It wasn’t obvious; her power hid itself, humble and unhurried, and by the time one realized how strong the compulsion was, one was already lost.

She gave an impatient wave. His entire body tightened. Her hazel eyes sparked with mirth, and he forgot almost everything he’d ever had to endure as his spirit hummed with a love so crystalline it felt like terror.

She patted the mattress. “Come on, Fern has an idea.” Her eyes widened. “Not that kind of idea.”

“Well,” said Fern.

“Ha ha.” Emma pulled a face at him, and the Aranan smirked back. Warmth, laughter, affection all fluoresced through the bond between them, but Alexi was bound to Emma in a different way, and his telepathy was far more sensitive. He caught the undercurrent of sadness that tugged at her heart.

Oh, she masked it so well.

I must be insane, Alexi thought, shielding from them easily. He was more afraid of what her feelings for Fern would do to her, than he was for her safety when the Captain of the ravens took her.

Enough with that. Alexi climbed onto the bed. Fern’s idea would save him hours of healing. If it hadn’t been for the concussion, he likely would have thought of this particular idea himself.

He heard Emma swallow a small gasp as he shucked his towel. Breathe, he reminded himself. Just breathe.

He slid beneath the covers. Emma tucked herself against his arm, her cheek warm against his shoulder. He bit back a hiss of pure possession. Then Fern reached across him and drew Emma’s arm across Alexi’s chest.

“The more contact, the better,” Fern said. Emma’s breath came a little faster, and Alexi kept his mind in careful neutral.

Fern draped a leg over Alexi’s thigh. A moment later, Emma followed his lead and did the same. There was some more shuffling and adjusting. Alexi was on the verge of either going up in flames or passing out from the sheer relief of no longer needing to remain upright. Then Fern and Emma reached for each other, mind-to-mind, and merged.

Their power flooded him, washing over him like a dark tide, peaceful and deadly and vast. It felt like pure, all-encompassing rest after centuries of striving and killing and hating and surviving. He heard himself cry out and made only a half-hearted attempt to quiet himself. Gods, he was so fucking tired. And this…

Fern reached through the merge with Emma and took hold of Alexi’s physical systems, his touch deft and utterly sure. Oh, he was far better at this than Emma knew. Fern had his secrets. But they would not hurt Emma, those secrets, so Alexi let them be. He let everything be. He let Fern pour strength into him through Emma, gave himself up to them, and let them heal him.

Latest release + new series launch

HEART OF FLAME is now available to buy on Kindle and to read for free in Kindle Unlimited, so I can take a three-year nap!

Just kidding, I have to write the next one now, so I don’t expect to get any sleep until late 2017. I’m still working on book 5 in the Wild Rites Saga, by the way! I know I’ve been saying that for months! I actually write pretty fast, but there have been two major delays: final rounds of editing for Heart of Flame so the publishers could get it out there, and a month-long bout of what we here in Oz call glandular fever and my friends and fans in the US call mononucleosis or, y’know, just mono. That was fun, guys! So much fun! I’m all better now, aside from not being able to climb stairs without getting winded, which thankfully doesn’t affect my writing pace any.

Oh yeah, the other reason book 5′s taking a while…it’s sort of…a lot longer? Like I don’t know how much longer than the previous books it’s going to be, but it’s shaping up to be kinda epic. I swear I thought I was setting out to write a lighter book! But what do I know, I’m just the author.

Okay, so this was meant to be a post about Heart of Flame and launching a new series and all I’ve done is talk about the other series – oops. Heart of Flame is kinda quirky, because while it’s very much a paranormal romance, there’s a distinctly urban-fantasy flavor to the world and the characters. So if romance isn’t usually your thing, but you don’t mind your urban fantasy with some hot not-fading-to-black sex scenes, then you might just like it.

Heart of Flame is the first in the Wayward Heart series, and I’ll be returning to LA’s paranormal underworld for subsequent books, with book 2 – Heart of Glass scheduled for release later this year. This series will alternate with the Wild Rites Saga, but the books are shorter (though still full length – with me, “short” means 300 pages instead of 500 :P) so there won’t be too much of a wait between books for either series.

That’s enough from me today! Blog posts will now return to their irregularly scheduled programming – look out for the Wednesday snippets starting up again next week. Xoxo

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