Tag Archives: Gargoyles

Public Thanks

Hi, Readers!
I’m caught in a wormhole and I’ve lost track of time. It’s been over a month since my release of Lover In Stone, and I owe each of you a thank you for your kind reviews of my latest book, especially since it’s so different from my first series The Luna Chronicle. Yeah, they’re both paranormal romance, but the similarities end there. I won’t bore you by listing all the ways the writing has changed because you already know them.
Instead, I’m going to share what Gemma Davis had to say:

Lover In Stone_FNL

“Well, S C Dane has done it again! This story is about Grotesques before they become encased in stone, kind and gentle beings forced to walk though hell, everyday and night. Is there someone to love them and show them the light of Earth again? By the end of the first chapter, SC Dane got you! Each of the new characters become real – you feel the Grotesques sorrow – their questions and their indecisions. By the end of the book you have met, loved and hated the characters. When you reach the last page, you’ll find a small smile on your face and then that smile turns upside down. NO! I have to wait for the next book to learn the fate of the other Grotesques! I would give Love in Stone – 5 Stars”

Pretty cool, huh? Gemma was a fan of my Luna Chronicle series, so to hear her say how much she liked Lover In Stone let’s me know I’m on the right track writing-wise.
Unfortunately, she’ll have to wait until next summer for Dark Lover, the second book in my Kynd series. This one will feature Darken, whom you all met in the first book (he visited Merrick at Hell’s Archway then gathered the other Kynd when he learned Merrick was in trouble.) If you visit my Pinterest page, you’ll find my inspiration for both Darken and his love interest, Daniela.
Right now, I’m working on the third book, which is all about the bear chimera, Urick, and his struggles with his love, Violet, who embodies everything he hates about himself. Such turmoil!
Anyway, it’s why I’ve been lost in that wormhole. If I can finish it by the end of September, it can be released just a couple of months after Dark Lover and you guys won’t have to wait so long to find out what happens with my gargoyles and chimeras!
Until then, let me say Thank You once again for your support. In my head, my characters are very much alive, so it’s a true pleasure to learn that my readers are as excited about finding out what happens to them as I am.
Have a wonderful day, All, and happy reading no matter what it is 🙂
My very best,
~S.C. Dane

Advertisements

LOVER IN STONE, Installment No. 13

 

INSTALLMENT No. 13
Merrick breathed in the honey lavender of Angelia’s hair, grateful she finally answered him. Her bones felt so fragile in his arms he worried that maybe he’d hurt her, that he’d been too strong.
If she’d been harmed?
Well, there would be hell to pay for it, ironically.
Merrick shunned the real reason for his alarm, refusing to delve into that heretofore non-existent treasure chest. He shifted the woman in his arms, releasing her slowly as he’d done when he’d taken to the air with her. As then, he didn’t want her tipping onto her lovely behind, which had become all the more beautiful since he’d discovered it might be precious to him.
Yeah, right. Forget it, dumb ass.
He was a lost soul, a hopeless cause. It wasn’t going to be long before he abandoned his post at the Archway to Hell and either threw his lot in with Lucifer, or perched his granite-turning butt on the ledge of a building.
Still though, he couldn’t stop looking at her. She was terribly shaken, her eyes almost black and shimmering with tears as she unfurled herself from his embrace to stand up. Her face bore the evidence of his preoccupation with her taunting ass, her cheeks and pert nose were dappled with angry stings.
She swiped at her watering eyes and heaved a breath, yanking Merrick’s attention to her breasts.
Great Christ Almighty. Her chest lifted and dropped repeatedly, and those beautifully bulbous things seemed to fill before his eyes. Two points projected from her shirt, like buttons wanting to be pinched, and Merrick fisted his hands and locked his elbows. He would not touch her like he was driven mad to do.
He’d never touched a female in his long life. He’d probably scare her worse than she already was. What did he know of a woman’s breasts? It wasn’t as if he had instincts in the mating department. It wasn’t like he would know what to do that would make her glad he was fondling them.
Did he?
His tongue certainly thought so. It slid across his fangs, which almost itched with the yearning to nip those points, and his mouth wanted to suckle them in, like a babe to its mother’s teat.
Merrick gave his head a sharp shake, dislodging such notions.
He was no babe, and Angelia no mother.
So, why did he want to cup…
Merrick shook his head harder.
The woman took a step back, her eyes still huge.
He needed to remember how he’d failed her because of his callous attitude over her being just a human. She wasn’t Kynd, or one of the Others, for that matter. She was human, one of the millions who were currently overrunning the earth, who shunned the Grotesques, who forgot to honor them by erecting architectural wonders on which the Kynd could spend their remaining years.
She would shun him as surely as her ilk already did.
God be damned, he shouldn’t care. But he did.
“You should go back. Get another guide.” He wasn’t the one for this mission no matter what the Triumvirate thought. He was too hard, he had been alone too long to interact with something as volatile, and fragile, as a human being.
Especially this one, who reminded him too sharply of all that he used to be.
Of all that he now was, and was soon going to be.

****

Angelia shook her own head, denying Merrick’s suggestion.
Even denying the hunger she’d seen burning in his slate eyes. Because it hadn’t lasted long, and now she wasn’t sure it had been there in the first place. Why would he have gazed on her with wanting?
She was mistaken. She was sure of it; especially when now what she saw in his stare reminded her of flagstone—flat and hard.
Dear God, he just saved my life from—
She swung her arm out as if it could possibly encompass the enormity of what had just trampled passed.
It was that, or open and close her mouth like a fish while she fought for air.
She was in shock and had merely imagined the Chimera’s wanting.
But, she couldn’t go back. She couldn’t look at Aro’s disappointed face and admit she wasn’t the human he should have pegged his hopes on.
Even her guide no longer wanted the responsibility of her, and wasn’t that just the icing on her crap cake.
Oh, she was utterly priceless.
Angelia swirled to face the glowing horizon and put one determined foot in front of the other, her jaw clamped tight with determination.
Fine. If the Chimera wanted to wash his hands of her, then she’d make it easy for him. She didn’t have much in the dignity department, but she had enough to know when she should cut her losses.
Her dream of working with one of the Kynd being one of them.
Never mind that every step she was taking in the opposite direction from Merrick sluiced so much regret down her throat she couldn’t breathe from the pressure of it.
She willed her rubbery legs onward. She would retrieve the Scriptum on her own if it killed her.
What a delusional ninny she’d been. Getting all hot and liquid for a creature Michelangelo would have palavered over. Just as if the Chimera would have welcomed her advances if she gathered the nerve to try.
He was beautiful, mythical, and she was—well, she was nothing special. But she did have one last opportunity to prove her worth. Throwing it away was not an option, not with her future riding on the success of the Scriptum’s retrieval.
Okay. She’d be a little more honest with herself.
She felt a personal connection to that book, and she wanted it safe in her arms. The book sang to her. Its message bypassed her logical brain and speared its truth straight to her heart, which was why she’d come to with Aro’s livid face hovering over her.
She remembered how everything had dissolved around her, including herself, as she’d listened to the strains emanating from the open pages.
The Kynd. They were meant to do something, but she couldn’t recall what. So was she, but she couldn’t remember how she was connected to them or what she was supposed to do about it. She’d passed out. And when she’d fainted, her answers must have dribbled out of her ears and dissolved into the cracks in the stone floor of the study.
I’ll get them back.
With one determined step forward at a time.
~S.C. Dane
~Installment No. 14 coming March 14, 2015

Lover in Stone, Installment No. 4

Installment No. 4
#gargoyles #shifter #romance #MFRWauthorscdane
Oh, man, this is so not good. Angelia stepped into the room, yet no one acknowledged her presence. Not a good sign at all considering the occupants of the room were hypersensitive Vampires. They continued arguing as if she wasn’t there at all.
Aro, her boss, paced. His violet eyes snapping, his fangs barely sheathed.
Upon the dais abutting the far wall of the gallery sat two of the Vampyres of the Triumvirate, Godrick and Kristov, who watched him march, bemused expressions clapped onto their faces.
The third Vampyre of the Triumvirate, her dear father Anton, remained on Aro’s level, leaning against the wall, his blonde head resting on his arm. The lesser Vampire ignored Anton, preferring to address the Vampyres on the raised platform instead.
“She is a sworn member to the Literati, do not forget,” Aro fumed, barely veiling his threat to the ancient members of the Triumvirate. He shook with his insubordination, yet couldn’t seem to help himself. “She has pledged her oath,” he seethed, his fangs lengthening.
“She is merely human!” Anton raged, slicing across the room with his claws unsheathed. The Vampyre veered from his assault at the last second, swirling back to his original post along the wall, his control tamped. “She will never survive this mission,” Anton hissed, his demeanor deflating as if his body wasn’t like iron.
Angelia barely tracked her father’s averted assault on her boss it happened so fast.
“She is my daughter,” he groaned, not caring to shield the torment of his dilemma from the others in the room. Or from Angelia, whose heart strangled in her breast to see him so defeated.
To heck with tradition and protocol. Angelia clapped her jaw shut and went straight to her father to comfort him.
She couldn’t not. He was extremely upset. She could see it in his silver eyes, the centuries weighing heavy in them when usually they sparkled bright.
The sight of them turned her blood to freezing slush.
This meeting was about her and her blunder with the Scriptum. They were convening to decide an appropriate punishment. So, what mission were they talking about?
Anton’s fingers curled around her hand, and for an instant, Angelia didn’t know if she felt trapped or comforted. But she held her ground. Whatever retribution was due her, she’d face it. Even if she was glad her stomach was empty so she wouldn’t vomit. Much.
Puking wasn’t exactly a hallmark of bravery, so she took the tight smile her father gave her, and let him lead her to a wooden chair situated a little off-center of the room.
To sit? Oh, heck, no. She wanted to bolt.
But that would make her a coward, and she already had a long list of inadequacies chalked up against her. Angelia took the seat her father offered.
Then watched him trudge to the dais like a man heading for the gallows. She gulped past the knot gripping her throat.
Okay, she could do this. She had signed on with the Literati knowing full well what was expected of her. Of course, her father had been beyond livid when she’d done it. He’d threatened to kill Aro as soon as he’d found out she’d daubed her blood to the contract. He’d accused the Vampire of treachery and deceit. Even went so far as to say the only reason Aro would want his daughter was because she was human.
A lovely revelation that stung like a mother. Yet, she’d refused to cry over it. So what if that was the only reason Aro and the Literati wanted her. For once in her life, being human had some merit. And Anton’s fears that she’d be traipsing all over the world, going into places where only her kind could go? Remained unfounded.
Angelia hadn’t left her desk for ten years. No Indiana Jones adventures for her. Nope. Since her debacle with the Recovery Team, she got the drudgery, the research where the only excitement came from getting off her stool to stretch her back.
The Scriptum had been the first and only thing she’d ever been assigned to because she was human, and that was because Aro and the other Literati couldn’t pry their greedy little fingers under its cover.
And I’ve bumbled my one chance to prove my worth.
Her shame and guilt overrode her fear like a three hundred pound jockey.
“Aro, sit.” Godrick commanded quietly. But then, his authority wasn’t to be breached, so he didn’t have to raise his voice. The chairman of the Literati plunked his butt at the long table, his alabaster fingers drumming on his briefcase.
Angelia cringed inwardly. Inside that briefcase would be her contract, with her stamp of blood on it.
“Angelia Delacroix.” This time the voice that spoke carried a soft undertone, and it did wonders to soothe her. Which would be the intention, of course. Kristov had always been kind to her.
“Yes?” She sat up straighter, facing the Triumvirate. Her poor father had paled beyond pale, throwing wide the door to her fear so it crept back in subtle as an elephant.
“We are sorry for having kept you in the dark while we weighed our decision.”
Angelia decided to study her boots rather than watch Anton suffer. If she was going to face her punishment with any dignity, she couldn’t look at him. Not if she wanted to keep her backbone, spindly as it was.
Because he was her Papa. She’d cave like the weak little girl she was, and he would happily bundle her up in his arms to comfort the both of them.
She knew that. Anton adored her.
Even after his son had been born, Angelia still resided in the same cherished place of his heart.
“Is there anything you can tell us about the disappearance of the Scriptum, Miss Delacroix?”
Huh? Angelia dragged her gaze off her shit-kickers to gawp up at the Triumvirate. The disappearance of the Scriptum?
“She doesn’t know a blasted thing,” Aro griped from behind her.
Angelia turned to her boss, still too stupefied to play catch up.
“She was completely unconscious. And we did a mind sweep.” Aro swept his hand out, indicating the two Literati Ghouls who sat like well-preserved, sagacious corpses at the long table with him. “She knows nothing of the theft.”
“The theft?” Angelia’s jaw finally worked just enough for her to say something, but it fell back open as she stared at her boss. This meeting wasn’t about her punishment? She felt the one-two punch of relief and panic. “The Scriptum has been stolen?”
She didn’t need a verbal answer. Anton’s distress hadn’t been about the punishment she was going to receive, it was about this mission. And—ding, ding, ding—her brain finally grasped what was taking place.
She was being assigned to retrieve the Scriptum. Hence, the mission Anton had referred to. Angelia swung around to look at her father, her worry for him beaming out of her eyes now that her cowardly butt was no longer on the line.
“Miss Delacroix, it is our understanding you are the only one capable of retrieving this artifact. Is this so?”
Angelia turned her attention to Kristov. The only one? “Yeah, I guess. I mean, I’m the only one who can read it.”
Which didn’t exactly mean she was the only one who could retrieve it. Did it? Excitement revved in her belly, tingling her skin.
Was this finally it? Was this her chance to prove her worth, to show everyone she wasn’t entirely useless and clumsy? She’d waited a decade for her Indiana Jones crusade, and now it seemed as if it was finally going to happen.
She bowed her head so no one would see the flush of anticipation coloring her cheeks.
“You will not be expected to endure this treacherous journey alone, Miss Delacroix, if you should accept the terms of your contract.”
Blah, blah, blah…treacherous journey?
Okay. She needed to get focused here. Indiana Jones and his stunts were fictional—she was about to embark on the real deal.
“You will be escorted through Hell by Merrick the Chimera, the Guardian to Hell’s Archway. Is that acceptable to you?”
Angelia didn’t know whether to collapse into her chair from fright or shriek like a teenager at a rock concert.
A Chimera.
Taking her straight to Hell. The real Hell. Not the figurative one.
The information rendered her dumb. She didn’t know how to respond. Her emotions hovered, immobilized by the colliding of two climactic moments in her drear life.
It was a few moments before her situation finally melted over her, and she sucked in a fortifying breath.
Okay. Right. She could do this. She had been waiting ten years for such a chance, and had always known that the places she could pass where Aro and the rest of the Literati wouldn’t be pleasant.
Hell as a destination had traipsed across her imagination more than once.
But a Chimera to guide her? She’d be safer than a glass of holy water at a Literati Convention.
But wait. Kristov had asked her something. She glanced up, not hiding her confusion, or her embarrassment.
“I’m sorry. Could you repeat the question?”
“We asked whether your escort would be acceptable to you,” Godrick repeated, his patience a trifle thin. She couldn’t blame him. As much as he respected Anton, he had always wondered how the Vampyre could be so smitten with a dull-witted human.
“Ah, yes. Yes, it’s acceptable to me. I mean, yes. He is acceptable.”
~S.C. Dane
~Installment No. 5 coming Tuesday, February 10, 2015.

Lover in Stone, Installment No. 3

Installment No. 3
#gargoyle #shifter #MFRWauthorscdane #romance

Like a gift, the Scriptum lay open upon the table above the unconscious woman. A single lamp spilled warm, buttery light on both, leaving the rest of the narrow room in shadow.
Where the intruder lurked a few moments longer, waiting. Watching, despite the fact most of his attention was on the book. Which looked like any other relic he’d stolen during his base life.
Old. Valuable not because it was made of anything precious, but because its worth lay in what he was going to get out of it.
Power. Unlike anything he’d ever experienced.
In exchange for this book—if he could get it into the right hands.
But the man understood greed as a supreme motivator, and he would deliver the Scriptum into the right hands.
Come hell or high water.
The soulless man let his lips twist into a smile he felt nowhere within himself; an odd reflex to something sublime he couldn’t emotionally fathom.
Yes. Hell would come, if he handled this right, but not the high water.
He nudged the unconscious woman’s wrist with the toe of his soft, leather moccasin.
She was not beautiful.
Plain.
Definitely not Vampire, or Fae.
Which explained why it was she he was stealing this book from in the first place.
The man suspected enough about the Scriptum to know that few would most likely be able to touch it, let alone decipher its mystery.
But this brown paper bag of a female?
Indecent.
If he didn’t have this matter of stealing the book pressing upon him, the power coming to him in lieu of cash payment, he would do her justice.
The man uncurled his fingers from the bowie blade riding his hip.
He would not cut her as he so desired to do. Yet, how remarkable she would be if only he could slide his sharp knife from one cheek bone to the other. Give her a puppet smile that would permanently grace her unexceptional face.
Only the anticipation of the payment awaiting him stayed his hand, and he stepped off from his inborn urge to carve beauty where it was lacking. He turned his attentions to the relic, to the object that, should he succeed at delivering it into the guts of Hell, would gift him an eternity of joyful sculpting.
He bothered not with wondering why the woman had been studying blank pages. That wasn’t where his interest lay. The soulless man stepped over the woman to reach her work table, and closed his gloved hands over the Scriptum.
He was surprised by its heft.
For such a small, unassuming object, it seemed as though it was weighted with the things not written upon its blank pages.
The man yanked and lifted the tome, then slid it into a silk bag, which he then placed inside his backpack.
As he stepped back over the unconscious woman, his hand once again drifted to his hip, to his bowie knife.
Just one quick sweep of his blade.
And yet.
He would not. He could not.
During his lifetime, he had gambled only so far, had never taken unnecessary risks. Besides, he had far too much to gain if he won this game. His hand reluctantly slid from the cool steel of his blade.
With a stealthy tweak of the doorknob, the man slid into the dimly lit hallway, skulked along the rows upon rows of dusty manuscripts, and made his way to one of the many dark recesses of the vaulted library where his ropes hung as quiet and unnoticed as jungle snakes.
With practiced ease, the soulless man pulled himself upward toward the vent at the height of the thirty foot wall, and disappeared into it as silently as he had emerged, like a spider born from one of the hundreds of billowing webs stretching like banners across the ceiling.
Bound for Hell, with the Scriptum riding safe upon his back.
*****
Sometimes it’s a blessing to remain unconscious. At least, to Angelia’s way of thinking anyway. Once she’d come to after having fainted like a wuss, she’d had to endure Aro’s wrath. Which came in the form of silence. Not a good sign at all. He had picked her off the floor with a grip shying just short of breaking her arm, and had her escorted to a “room” at the Triumvirate’s holdings.
For her safety.
Bah!
She knew exactly why Aro had sent her here. She was to await her punishment for ruining the Scriptum. She sat on a stool in the middle of a ten foot square cell, thinking the only thing missing from this interrogation scene was the bare bulb overhead.
Running her palms up and down her arms did nothing for her shivering as she remembered her last botched job. The details of which dug their sharp nails into her fragile ego.
She’d been in a similar predicament before, when she’d first joined the Literati.
Well, okay, it was similar only in the sense she’d effed that job up, too.
The Recovery Team wasn’t even out the door before Angelia inadvertently bungled the protection magic painstakingly conjured by the Mage to keep them safe. To this day, she didn’t know how she’d done it. But she could remember the faces glaring at her. Each one was covered in soot, like the spell had blown up, turning the faces of her teammates into cartoon characters.
Which was kind of funny. Except no one laughed with her.
Aro had yanked her off the team faster than she could say whoops.
And figuratively chained her to a desk for the next ten years.
Until the Scriptum had been unearthed, and remained stubbornly shut for six months, even for the Demon Decipherer.
Angelia had again proven how inept she was when she’d gone into the room to ask Aro and the Decipherer a question. Somehow, she’d managed to trip on the flat stone floor and brush her fingers along the Scriptum’s sealed cover as she’d thrown her hand out to catch herself.
Aro and the Demon Decipherer had watched in helpless horror as the great tome teetered precariously upon its binding.
The Vampire had a flaming curse on his lips when the impenetrable Scriptum split wide open to finally reveal its secrets.
Well, not quite.
The text on the immaculate vellum promptly disappeared the moment Aro ordered Angelia’s clumsy ass out of the room. Which was the only reason she had been assigned to translate it.
Because the writing didn’t remain for any eyes but hers.
And now those pristine pages were forever marred with a blotch of her pathetic human blood.
Angelia’s insecurities assailed her as she sat on the stool in the cell. As if their weight was too much to bear, she turned in on herself, curling her body around the growing hole of humiliation, the shame that had taken up permanent residence in her gut years ago.
God, Aro was going to fry her for this.
The clank of the heavy steel door had her hopping to her feet, like she was going to kick butt. Or run. A more likely outcome given the current strength of her spine.
The same Vampire who had escorted her here came into the cell. “They are ready for you, Miss Delacroix.” He bowed his blonde head as if he felt bad about her situation, offering his arm like an usher at a formal wedding.
Angelia took it, even if it was just to hold onto something to keep her hands from shaking. She felt hard muscle under the shirt sleeve, and shut her eyes as she sucked up a little comfort from the solidity of it.
“Where are we going?” She peered up at a strong, tight jaw.
Her escort kept his eyes straight ahead. “The Triumvirate wishes to see you.”
The Triumvirate?
Holy Moses, she was in bigger trouble than she thought. Was Aro demanding they give permission for him to release her from the contract?
Her father would be flipping cartwheels while he sang Yes! So, Aro would get at least one vote in the affirmative. Angelia gripped a little tighter to the young Vampire leading her down the stone paneled corridor, her stomach churning as her feet turned to slippery clay.
She would be stripped of her duties. Severed from the one thing making her feel a little special in this world of super beings. Cold, familiar fingers of inadequacy clamped around her guts, just as her escort halted in front of a thick wooden door. He leaned forward to open it, revealing the stone gallery where the Triumvirate conducted their interviews.
~S.C. Dane
~Installment No. 4 coming Saturday, February 7, 2015.

Lover in Stone, Installment No.2

Installment No. 2
#gargoyle #shifter #authorscdane
Merrick craned his neck to get a better look at the path beneath him, and felt the pull of his thick shoulder muscles run the length of his spine. The screech of stone assaulted his ears as his claws scored the wall. His talons, formidable weapons that they were, bit perfectly into the holes already etched into the granite—from his centuries of crouching exactly where he was now—perched on the Archway to Hell.
Condemned to killing its trespassers.
Thank you, God, you lousy son of a bitch.
Rage swelled inside him like the flooding waters behind a crumbling levee. Another soul, burdened with guilt, plodded beneath him. Resigned to its fate in Hell, where the doomed bastard would remain. Because Merrick knew no souls discovered redemption. Instead, they forever perpetuated their crimes, twisting ceaselessly within their self-designed tortures.
Like a twitching whip, Merrick’s rope-like tail slashed his fury as he tracked the sinner’s route.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
Dante might have mistranslated the words carved into the Archway’s keystone, but he hadn’t mistaken the circular levels.
Not the misery. Nor the horror.
Merrick knew every shitty bit of it—he’d been forced to witness every doomed soul since the creation of this infernal cauldron. And he’d had enough. His guts were swimming in the filth of the madness, the terror. His skin grew thick, rough as stone—the telltale sign of what he and his Kynd were fated to become.
Grotesques.
Condemned by God to this unholy patch of sunshine, he was inevitably turning to stone, just as thousands of his brethren already had. And he couldn’t stand it, had to circle on his paws to relieve the twitching of his skin, the compulsion of his muscles to act. To do something to alleviate his furious despair.
The archangel Lucifer had been right: God was a heartless bastard who turned his back to the cruelty He Himself created. Was it no wonder the souls consigned to Hell were so full of hopeless misery?
Just like the one entering Hell beneath him.
Shrieking assailed Merrick’s ears, and he roared his anguish while his heart weighed heavy as the rock it was fast becoming.

*****
The pose didn’t suit her. Although far be it from Angelia to notice she formed the perfect imitation of a long-legged grasshopper. Not with her attention riveted to the skin-bound book spread open in front of her.
She felt like a member of the bomb squad holding the wire snips. Kept her breath locked in her lungs. And not because the pages of the book were fragile, either. Given its age, the darn thing had defied the ravages of time.
What worried her, and kept her from breathing, was the aura of magic surrounding the thing.
The relic sitting in front of her was volatile as a real bomb. All it would take would be one wrong move, one offensive stumble from her, and the book could do anything.
So, she couldn’t screw up.
As it was, the only reason she sat in the same room with it was because she was the only being it allowed to read its pages.
Like the Scriptum had an inkling of its own.
And that made it one scary so and so.
Because, let’s face it, she wasn’t anyone special. Not in this world of Fae, Vampire, Demon, and Ghoul.
And Grotesques.
How could she forget to add the Gargoyles and Chimeras to her list of supernatural wonders. When she was younger, she used to fantasize about the Grotesques, spending countless nights conjuring histories for them, fabricating stories of derring-do for her Gargoyle heroes.
Which was fine when you were a little kid. Playing make-believe was as normal as snot hanging out of your nose. Even as a teenager, she could be excused when she’d gripped tight to her fascination, practically wallpapering her bedroom with pictures of Chimeras.
She’d never outgrown her fascination.
Which made her a loser on all counts. A human living in a realm populated by creatures with innate talents that left her wanting.
And feeling pathetically inadequate.
Ugh. Yeah. She’d polish that nugget of loveliness later. Right then, she was preoccupied with sliding her silver reading blade along the pages she was translating. She had come to the running end of an unfinished sentence about her favorite subject: Gargoyles and Chimera.
So to her, the Scriptum read like a New York Times best-selling novel: a real page turner. Hastening to devour more, she flicked the blade to roll the page. Only to slice her finger on the vellum—even though she’d been using her knife.
“Ooh, crap!” She jabbed her bleeding finger into her mouth, her eyes dancing like frantic maids to find something, anything, to dab the blood off the ancient page.
“Oh, God, oh God, how could I be so stupid?” Mortified, she jumped to her feet, tipping her stool so it clattered to the floor behind her.
The droplet of her blood spread in a widening circle into the page. Like an atomic cloud.
And just as flipping devastating.
She’d marred the ancient Scriptum. With her stupid, human ineptitude she’d scarred a relic which had remained in near pristine condition for centuries.
Faltering back, she couldn’t peel her helpless stare from her blunder.
Oh, man. She would have to confess it.
Fear snatched her breath. Droplets of sweat stung her armpits, prickled the small of her back. Aro, her Vampire boss would be…catatonic with rage.
See? Pathetic. Aro would never lay a fang on her. Not when her father was Vampyre, one of the ruling Triumvirate.
Okay, so he wasn’t her real father. But she’d been raised since infancy as Anton’s own, and it was no secret to the Vampire realm. Inept human she might be, but Angelia moved within her father’s world freely.
No Vampire in their right mind dared touch her.
Including Aro.
Right. Taking a deep breath to calm her panic, she bent to put her stool back onto its three feet. Then bolted upright, her hand clutched to her heart like a clichéd heroine wrapped tight in her corset and long skirts.
Singing expanded inside her head.
“Holy rum raisin ice cream.” The Scriptum hummed. The voices stuck to her pulse, pulling and twisting along her veins as they sang. They magnified inside the amphitheater of her skull, to the point she thought the bone would fissure and sound would blast forth like footlights—to illuminate the ceiling over her head.
Her knees buckled, as if she knelt in supplication to the concerto. Tears tumbled down her cheeks. Trembling, she reached forth, as though Jesus himself stood in glowing magnificence in front of her, and she wanted nothing more than to touch his modest robes.
The voices flew ever higher, and Angelia’s heart strained to devour every truth, every glorious exultation…until the pounding lump of muscle stuttered, fluttered, and fibrillated.
As her vision tunneled, the Scriptum shrunk into a tiny pinprick before disappearing, just like scenes in old movies ended.
Last thought? Darkness. Angelia cashed out like an empty register, her body folding to the flagstone floor.

~S.C. Dane
~Next Installment (no. 3) coming: Tuesday, February 3, 2015.

Gargoyles or Sexy Guys? Lover in Stone, Installment No. 1

Hey, Folks!
It’s been awhile since I finished “Wolf Love” and you’re probably wondering where the heck the new story is. Chew your fingernails no more! Here it is:

“Lover in Stone.” A paranormal romance dripping with spicy love scenes and a spicier man. Or, Chimera, in this case. What the eff is a Chimera? He’s a triple threat kind of beastie–three yummy creatures in one.

In this story, our Chimera is Merrick, who’s Gargoyle, Lion, and Angel. Don’t be put off by the Gargoyle portion. This is a paranormal romance. Men are hot, hot, hot. Forget what you know of ugly gargoyles. Mine are hunks of granite with a capital G.

Now, I’ll shut up, so you can get reading. Installments will come twice a week: Tuesdays and Saturdays. Yeah, I know today is Wednesday, but I was anxious to reveal “Lover in Stone.”

Here’s your blurb and the Prologue.

Enjoy!

To the world they are the Grotesques—hideous chimeras and gargoyles of stone. But before they are locked in their granite prisons, they are Kynd——magnificent beings condemned to prowl the nightmares of every realm.

Their tortures will doom them to stone.

The love of a Chosen One could save them.

For more than two thousand years, Merrick has borne the misery of being the guardian to Hell’s Archway. He has witnessed millions of condemned souls, slaughtered thousands of trespassers, and his enraged despair is pushing him to the brink of becoming what the world expects his Kynd to be.

Go to Hell. A mission the Triumvirate instructs Angelia Delacroix to undertake, and she doesn’t blink twice. Not when she feels it’s her destiny to retrieve the Scriptum, an ancient text stolen from the Literati and absconded with to the bowels of that infernal cauldron.

As the pair quest for the Scriptum, will Merrick surrender his battered heart to the beautiful Angelia? Or will he succumb to his rage, dooming himself to his stone fate for all eternity, and his Chosen One to the innermost Circle of Hell?

Lover in Stone

Prologue

            “So it is written?”

            “It is, my Lord.”

            “And sent forth?”

            “To Earth, as you instructed. But?”

            “Speak freely, Alielle.”

            “If the Scriptum is not found in time?”

            “Ah, your fears are well grounded, old friend, but let us have Faith.”

            “But if it is found not by whom you have intended?”

            “You play devil’s advocate.”

            “I do.”

            “Then I have a worthy companion in you, Alielle. All will not be lost.  There is still hope, even then.”

            “Yet, if the Chosen One and the scriptum are not united?” 

Then its secrets will remain locked.”

            “But Your Kynd, my Lord.”

            “Ah, yes. My beloved Witnesses, angel. There lies the conundrum of Free Will, even for them. They will suffer until they decode their own Truth.”

I fear for them. Even if they free themselves and choose sides, they may not find Love. For all their discretion, my Lord, they are a fierce lot.”

            “So they are. But have faith in Love, Alielle. It has power even you cannot imagine.”

            “And you trust the Kynd will gain knowledge of it? That they will discover Love, along with their Chosen One? That seems improbable, with all due respect.”

            “It will take a Miracle.”

            “I hope you are joking.”

            “Faith, Alielle. Take courage in our Kynd and their ferocity. For still they are Witnesses, and see much.”

            “I hope you are right.”

            “I love them, too, angel. Let us pray they learn firsthand what it means to love, to understand the elemental joy of sacrifice.”

            “Sometimes, I think Lucifer is right. You can be cruel.”

            “Not cruel, little one. You shall see.”

            “As it is written?”

            “You are a wise angel, Alielle. Bless Our Kynd. Yes, as it is written.”

~S.C. Dane

Next Installment coming Saturday, January 31, 2015.