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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Castle Intrigue...Palace Passion by Sam Cheever


I love castles. I mean...what's not to love about a castle, right? Okay, they're cold and drafty. The floors are hard and gritty. The windows don't have screens. They'd be a nightmare to heat and impossible to keep clean.

But look how dang cool they are!

There's nothing more romantic than blazing walk-in-sized fireplaces and fur rugs on the floor. Who hasn't dreamed of romance before a raging fire, nestled in a dense, silky bear rug?

And then there are the secret passageways...  sigh... The kid in me is obsessed by secret passageways. Narrow, winding passages with uneven floors and slimy walls, stinky oil lamps belching black smoke and flickering light along the way. Footsteps echoing in the distance, threatening discovery...

Sometimes castles aren't about romance at all. Sometimes, as in the excerpt below of my action-packed post-apocalyptic romp, Tall, Dark & Apocalyptic, they're about danger and intrigue. Nothing embodies the rough and dangerous Medieval times better than a castle built of rough stone and perched on the side of a craggy bluff. Think boiling oil and flaming arrows shot from parapets. Shudder.

And if you combine romance and danger, you have a heart pounding, pulse spiking seat of the pants winner! Maybe that's why I write castles into my stories whenever possible. Or maybe I just like the idea of no bathrooms to clean, or dealing with dirty floors by just flinging straw on them.

Yeah, now that I think on it...that's probably what it is. *grin*


Apart they are pain and death...apocalyptic. Together they are fire and magic...destiny.


He’s a warrior, a bounty hunter in a world turned upside down. She’s his latest bounty...a creature of dark power. As everything in their world implodes, they must work together to set it right, while the fire burning between them threatens to consume everything in its path.

~~*~~

"Sam Cheever manages to make zombies cool and not so…Night of the Living Dead. Cheever’s writing was great. It flowed well and kept me entertained throughout. I had to know what would happen next for Audie and Yeira.

This was a great standalone book and I recommend it. There’s heat, heart and lots of action."

~~*~~

A fireball crashed through the far wall, whistling past Yeira’s head and embedding itself into the stone floor with a concussive force that belched dust and pieces of rock into the smoky air.

She covered her head with her arms and ducked as debris rained over her.

The battle between Edwige’s forces and the Sorceri Bounty Hunters continued unabated beyond the castle walls. Yeira looked around the battered remains of the castle lair, wondering how the Sorceri had found them again. She and her fellow Reborn had chosen that place with care, figuring an abandoned castle in ancient Scotland was far enough removed from the Sorceri to be safe. It seemed they had a traitor in their midst, someone who had a foot in both camps.

Yeira was pretty sure she knew who it was. She only had to figure out what to do about it.

A husky bellow sounded beyond the heavy wood door and Yeira twitched in surprise.

Kord! Her nemesis. The man had played cat to her mouse for months, stalking her through time and space, always seeming to be right on her heels. She’d managed to avoid the sharp edge of his blade up to that point. Sometimes fleeing ahead of him on a razor’s edge. But Yeira was afraid her luck might have just run out.

Like many of the Sorceri Bounty Hunters, Audie Kord was a single-minded ass whose view of the world was black and white, good or evil. Yeira didn’t quite fit within those exacting parameters so she had to die. In fact, Kord seemed to have made it his personal quest to remove her head from her body.

Like she was no better than those gooey, rotting husks that shambled mindlessly, easily controlled and disposable.

Yeira was no zombie.

Though many of the Sorceri saw no difference in the Reborn and the moldering dead, their equal opportunity hatred had long ago ceased to bother her.

At least that’s what she told herself.

Another explosion…closer than the last…spurred Yeira into action. She’d fled to the dilapidated castle after a Sorceri’s guide magics had lasered through her, ripping a hole in her middle the size of her fist. The death magics that had made her what she was were able to contain the worst of the damage, but she was still dying. She wasn’t immortal after all. Just a little harder to kill than most. Yeira had to get to her bag and her bluestone. If she didn’t get to the healer soon—

The walls shook and debris crumbled down on her head as another blast of Sorceri magics hit the already weakened exterior. She only wished she had something left to fight them with, aside from her acerbic wit and scalding disgust—not very effective weapons against Sorceri swords and magics.

Yeira continued to claw her way across the floor, her limbs locking and clamping as horrific pain wracked her slim frame. A fresh blade of agony speared through her as she struggled to crawl just another sliver of space. The pain jolted her to a stop as she sucked in a breath, sending her into a coughing spasm. Blood sprayed the floor as she crawled. Her dazed, blue gaze stared down at the bright droplets arrayed before her over the oily stone and she knew a stark moment of pure fear.
What if she didn’t make it in time?

Beyond the crumbling, stone walls of her hideaway, the sound of explosions and chaos were a constant drone, an unrelenting impetus pushing her ever forward.

With a monumental effort of will, Yeira gritted her teeth and dug her fingers into the rough surface beneath them, dragging herself another inch.

She barely noticed the spark of pain as her soft, exposed belly was ripped open by shards of debris on the battle-ravaged floor. Her goal was a mere five inches away.

She thought she could make it.

She had to.

Yeira closed her eyes as agony washed through her again and lunged another inch. Her fingertips stretched…strained…mere inches from the leather strap of her bag.

The world beyond the door exploded and Yeira’s head snapped around. The blast had sounded close. Too close. Panic made her heart pound. “No!” Tears filled her eyes as something heavy hit the door.

He’d found her.

With a cry of desperation, Yeira dug her toes into the stone and shoved. The pain erupted in a burst that made her vision gray. She screamed as agony gripped her gut with icy needles, tearing and dislodging the ordered cells of her flesh.

Yeira fell onto her back, her fingers clenching against the torment. Warm, thick blood drenched her lips, dripping down her chin.

The door blasted inward, sending smoke and shrapnel through the room and driving the razor-sharp projectiles into her flesh.

On some level, Yeira felt the pain of the tiny missiles piercing her skin. But she was in the grip of a misery so complete that her mind could barely form a thought. All she could do was scream, her fingers closing convulsively around the thin strap of leather she’d been fighting to reach.

Yeira’s gaze slid to the large shape framed in the door. He was nothing more than a gray haze behind the smoke. A vision of massive male, whose form all but filled the ragged hole that had once been the door.

A fine vision.

Yeira shook her head, offended by the thought even in her tortured state. No! The man was there to kill her. She couldn’t lose sight…

The enormous figure shimmered and she realized he was moving closer. On some level Yeira knew she needed to move. But the pain had finally receded as her body gave out. It felt good not to be consumed by it. For just a moment she longed to lie there, enjoying the numbness, and let her life slip away.

Death.

Her fingers moved along the leather strip in her hand. Oblivion would be bliss. Yeira slipped her hand inside the bag, feeling for a smooth, oblong shape.

The sound of his footsteps across the littered floor was like a series of canon blasts, and she winced under every one. His massive arms arched from his sides as he walked, the huge hands loosely fisted. He held a long knife in one hand. Thick, muscular legs stuck out from underneath a bloody and tattered kilt, the burgundy and black pattern barely visible under the filth of an extended battle.
Yeira noted the blade in his hand, knowing it was meant for her.

He stopped a foot away, his intense, dark-blue gaze sweeping over her. “My god, woman. You look like hell.”


7 comments:

Cara Marsi said...

Sam, I love that cover! What a great excerpt!

Melissa Keir said...

Exciting excerpt. But I'm sure if the woman was not at death's door, she'd yell at him. No woman wants to be told that she looks back. I can see a feisty future for them!

Judy Baker said...

Intense excerpt, loved it.

jean hart stewart said...

Talk about a cliff-hanger!!! Who could resist wanting to know more???

Lynda Bailey said...

Love castles, though I wouldn't want to live in one - LOL. Fantastic excerpt! Just what will happen next...? ;)

Fran Lee said...

Sounds fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing with us.

Janice Seagraves said...

Love the excerpt, and the last sentence wasn't what I was expecting.

Good job.

Janice~

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