Two new anthologies are now available!
DRAGON’S LURE, featuring “Perchance to Dream”, a post-Negotiator Janx story:
The mask was nearly as beautiful as the woman bearing it.
They were both dark: it of ironwood so old its chocolate hues had aged to black; she with lustrous skin that said no white men had bred into her aboriginal stock. She was small but strong; had to be to lift the mask’s weight so gracefully, when it was more than half her size. It was never meant to be worn: its fist-sized opal eyes couldn’t be seen through, nor were its interior struts intended to be placed over shoulders. It was to carried, danced with, thrust forward so its size and exaggerated features could bring watchers into a world beyond their own.
Janx knew a thing or two about worlds that went unseen.
RUNNING WITH THE PACK, featuring “Blended”, a Regency-era werewolf romance:
The pack had been born savages and had, almost to a man, died that way.
Almost: almost. She had been a whelp the day the hunters came, dozens of them on their thundering black horses with the pack fleeing before them. Her mother had thrown her beneath a long-dead tree, and she’d watched dark legs flash by, dangerous broad hooves kicking up the snow.
She had seen the blood, from her hiding place. Had seen it when the hunters rode back, triumphant despite their own losses. Stripped skins still steamed in the cold, making their horses toss their heads at the scent of death. She hadn’t known, then, that it was her family, her cousins and her friends, who lay strewn across saddles and stuffed into saddlebags. Not until she was much older did she come to understand what had happened. That her family had run until they could run no more, and then had turned to fight. Beasts, turning tooth and claw against the men who hunted them. Horses died; men died.
But mostly, wolves died.
And just in case you missed it, THE PHANTOM QUEEN AWAKES, featuring “Cairn Dancer”, a story of the Morrigan, has been available since March:
It was not, in the end, the river which waited, not at all. It was instead the cairns, rough tall stone piles which housed the dead, and honored them. It was their song that called her down the length of the river, inviting them to their sacred place.
“I didn’t know,” she said, that first night amongst the tall stone cairns. “I didn’t know they sang to us.”
“Most don’t. It’s easier to let them go if you don’t know,” Aine replied. “Easier to think the spirit goes on, joins the world again, and almost no one hears the song. I don’t,” she added, and Mairaed turned from the cairns in surprise. “My aunt did, and when no one in my generation heard the call, she taught me the dances so they might not be lost. My own daughter knows them for the same reasons, but it’s yourself they’re meant for.”
A fist made itself known around Mairaed’s heart: a squeeze that took her breath and sent an ache through her body. Her palms cramped; the soles of her feet shuddered, and she sipped barely enough air to whisper, “The dances.”
Go forth! Buy! Enjoy! :)(x-posted from the essential kit)