The story is called "Ancient Magic," and is a departure from the contemporary paranormal stories I usually write. What makes "Ancient Magic" so unusual for me is, this is swords-and-horses fantasy, a pond in which I rarely dip my toe. Of course, there's a paranormal angle, but whatever you're thinking, there's a pretty good chance that's not it. For all that, though, there's not going to be any mistaking this story for anything but what it is: a J.S. Wayne story. Complete with all the twists, violence, and hawtness you've come to expect from me. This is also my entry for the "Timeless Desire" series of novellas, and I'm looking forward to the November blog tour of the same name!
I don't have cover art for "Ancient Magic" yet, but I'm assured by the lovely and talented Fiona Jayde that I should within the week. Keep watching my spot over at http://jswayne.wordpress.com, because as soon as it hits, I'll put it up! Speaking of, on the 17th I'm hosting a VERY special guest over at my blog: Mr. Maxim Jakubowski. If the name doesn't ring any bells, Google him. If it does, you won't want to miss it. This is a huge honor for me, because I first read his erotica back when "erotica" to me meant "dirty stories to read to girls so I'd have a better chance of getting laid." And don't forget, I'll be back here on the 20th, and also blogging over at Tabitha's Nocturnal Nights!
In the meantime, though, I'm going to give you a little taste of things to come with this excerpt. It's still in edits, so there may be some slight changes from what you read here in the final, but I hope you enjoy it!
More than two decades have passed since the Hodans invaded the peaceful kingdom of Jurav. In their zeal for conquest, they have mercilessly rent the Juravian national character asunder, starting with the temples of their gods.
Varath was raised from a young age by his uncle to one day assume his father's mantle—that of the command warden of the Temple of Noradi, the most beloved goddess of the Juravian pantheon and the deity of heart, hearth, and the fires which burn in both.
Melody would have been the High Priestess to Noradi, and her own family has groomed her with equal care against the day when the Hodan hordes would be expelled and she could assume her rightful place as the most powerful figure in the entire nation . . . and as Varath's bride.
When Varath departed to serve in the Hodan army, Melody saw it as an unconscionable betrayal. Now Varath has returned to take his father's place as the sole guardian of a temple where no one dares enter, and he has made overtures to claim the other half of his bequest: Melody herself. But can Melody see past the deceptions and lies his rebellion has forced and learn to love the man who seems to have turned his back on his own people?
There! His battle-sharpened eyes picked out a flicker of movement in the trees beyond the moon-silvered, ruined courtyard. He stretched one hand casually toward his battle-axe; at the first sign of anything amiss, the heavy weapon would be ready to his grasp. Aside from that slight motion, undoubtedly undetectable at the distance that separated him from the interloper, he stood as still and quiet as the stones that surrounded him.
Varath watched intently as she parted the delicate shadows of the sacred grove as if the moonlight had willed itself a pleasing form for his benefit. She drew closer, her feet making no sound on the ground beneath her as she came. Stark black and white resolved into myriad subtle nuances of silver, turquoise, amethyst, and onyx, crowned with a cascade of falling-star hair that rippled and flowed around her shoulders with every step.
Oh, she had all the requisite curves and loveliness, of that there could be no denial. But she was much, much more than merely a soft collection of pleasing angles and lines that drew his eye, his hand, his desire. She was a goddess, a dove amongst crows, a sensual virginal temptress. There was something eternal in the way she moved, an intangible hint that while she could touch and negotiate her way in this world, she was still somehow untainted by it. The dirt and filth that accrued to mere mortals and the grief and pain that layered their souls could find no purchase with her.
As Varath studied her approach with growing excitement, he wondered how this erotic apparition could possibly find any merit in him.
She stepped lightly over the tumbled ring of once-grand columns that had denoted the inner boundary of the temple's grounds. He noted that her feet were bare beneath her gown of deep purple, piped with silver embellishment at wrists, neckline, and waist. She wore one ring on each hand, and a silver bracelet of craftsmanship that no mere human could ever hope to duplicate encircled her delicate right wrist.
Varath's breath caught as she stopped just a hair's breadth beyond his arm's reach and offered him a shallow nod.
Melody favored him with a cool smile. "How have you been keeping?"
Varath grunted, taking refuge in his best, brusque military manner to conceal his desire to say something foolish . . . like, I love you. "I've been lonely. Can you even conceive of how stultifying it becomes to stand watch over this same ground night after night for as long as I have? If anything ever happened here, I would undoubtedly feel different." His tone lost some of its edge as she cut her eyes down toward the ground; he realized he had unknowingly hurt her with his abrupt, clipped speech.
"You—you've forgiven me?"
And, a parting thought: If you haven't checked out Angels Cry yet, you should take a look at the reviews that are coming in for it. I'm very proud of this novel, and hope that you'll give it a look!
Until next time,