Tag Archives: paranormal romance

I’M BACK!

I went gallivanting to a different website, but came back to my old hunting ground. In the meantime, I wrote two more books in the Kynd Series. “Lover in Darkness” and “Lover in Chains.” Both continue the tales of my sexy gargoyles. Check ’em out!


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

Bear With Me

Please #bear with me! It’s been a while since I posted anything, but this is my first day off from the ranch in a while and every other free minute I’ve had has been taken up with writing my latest novel. It’s the third book in my Darkest Kynd series, and it features my #chimera character, Urick, who is part grizzly bear.

Compliments of Kuchera at Dreamstime Photos.

Compliments of Kuchera at Dreamstime Photos.

Not only has ranching and writing kept me busy, but I’ve got a new release slated for June 28, 2016. It’s the first book in my Darkest Kynd series, titled Lover In Stone, and I’m wicked excited about sharing it with the public.
There’s a lot of work involved in a new book release, but somehow I’m managing to juggle everything. Besides, hanging out with Uri the Bear Chimera is fun!

~S.C. Dane

Accessing Your Inner Beast

Identifying with Shifters #fur #reading #shifterromance #escape

Last week I talked about camouflage, and how there is an inner beast prowling inside some of us that we won’t let out. For various reasons, and all of them personal. And visceral. But, I’m getting sidetracked already, thinking about guts. Because that’s leading to…See? Sidetracked.

What I want to talk about this week is how when that inner beast gets poked at its damned hard to keep her passive.
So, please forgive me as I stand here as Captain Obvious and announce: We read paranormal romance novels for the pleasure of it. What, you want to know, does reading books you love have to do with our own hidden animals?
Because when it comes to reading the subgenre of Shifter Romance, I think we read it for the escape. From un-reality, my friends. The world most would call normal…isn’t. For those of us who don’t fit into it, the “un-real” world is a confining and confusing space. With waaay too many rules many of us just can’t understand. Or tolerate.
So, we escape to places that do make sense. Sure, some call them fictional. Let them. By now, those of us who claw at the steel of our invisible cages are used to being patronized. Being accustomed to something doesn’t mean we like it, though. We’re baring our fangs, lifting our hackles. But being the awesome, adaptable creatures we are, we camouflage it.
But, man oh man! Wouldn’t it be AWESOME to really show your teeth?
Being the author of my…I’m gonna call them get-aways, I get to create scenes that let me vent. You know, like something happened with some humans, and I so, so wanted to clutch their throats in my jaws. Thrash ‘em around a bit, make them see sense.
Instead of acting on my instincts, I hide my true nature, and retreat to my keyboard. Here’s a scene from my book Kenrickey to show you what I mean:

I shuffled to Hersey’s office at his request when class was over.
“God, Ken, you look like hell.”
I stared at him.
“Er,” Hersey cleared his throat. “Well, then.” He rubbed his hands together like he was cold, or nervous. “The reason I wanted to see you–”
“Stay the fuck away from my house.”
He shut up, his guilt blooming on his cheeks.
The rush of blood to his face stirred me, awakened the predator within and I crept forward, my muscles shivering tensely, aching to hurt him. I stopped when our toes nearly touched, then followed my nose toward his neck, where his fear puffed in whiffs from his quickening pulse. I leaned back to lock his eyes with mine. “Come near my property again, I will personally cut your legs off and throw them in the river.”
“I didn’t-I wasn’t—”
I arched an eyebrow at his stuttering lies.
“Ken?”
I raised my hand to point at his chest and the pussy flinched. “Don’t ever beckon me to your office again, Mark. I’ll come when I think it’s necessary, and not before.”
I turned my back on the pathetic crumb, and left the building without waiting for his reply. ~Kenrickey: Book Three of the Luna Chronicle

See? Of course, there is a ton of pre-story to this scene. Ken is being sucked into the world of wolf shifters with some strange and fearsome side effects. But I think the scene shows the gist of what I’m talking about. Sometimes, you just want to show a liiiitle of that beast inside you. Let just enough shimmer to the surface so the one you’re confronting feels your intensity.
I think of scenes like this in all my books when my hackles are up and I want to shred someone a new a**hole. Don’t you? When you find yourself in these situations, do you remember a shifter character you’ve read about, and picture yourself in their stead? Or imagine yourself adopting their can’t-give-two-shits attitudes when it’s going to kill you to roll over one goddamned more time?
Me, too. It’s why I love to read shifter romance, and love to write it even more. When problems surface, I find myself thinking what would Kenrickey do? 
How about you? Is there a favorite character you fall back on to get you out of crappy situations?

Thanks for getting what I’m talking about. There’s nothing scholarly, or particularly rational about this post. I’m just sharing. And, hopefully, letting you know you’re not alone in there.
Enjoy your day. Shake your fur. It needs fluffing.

~S.C. Dane is a paranormal romance novelist with four books to her credit, and two in the works.

Animal in Human Skin: A paranormal romance writer’s confession.

I’m an animal in human skin. #socialmisfit #borderlander? #freethinker #furries #freebook And I am NOT crazy, or unstable, or a freak. I’m not unique either. There are a lot of people out there in the world who identify with animals. I just happened to tap into a way to live inside them, to look out from behind the eyes of the furry.
I love to write. It’s as crucial to my well-being as surrounding myself with animals who think like I do. It’s how I fell into writing paranormal romance writing.
I didn’t start out with that goal at all. I simply wrote a story made up of characters with touches of me.
Turned out, the only way for publishers to look at it was to cram it into a box and label it. Luna became the first book I ever wrote. Beth a.k.a. Luna was my first, and tentative, venture into the land of the furred-made-public.
I’ll delve deeper into that in my next blog post (look for it Tuesday, April 14, 2015).
For now, I need to apologize for the interruption in “Lover In Stone” serial. My publisher is taking a look at it, along with the sequel. In the meantime, I thought I’d use the break to connect with other “furries.”
Do you feel as if you shouldn’t have been born with bare skin? Are you missing your tail?
Tell me about it. Really. I wouldn’t mind a howl from another pack. If you’re shy, please visit my website http://www.paranormalromancebyscdane.com.  OR just click on the “website” link at the top right of this page. I think once you sniff around, you’ll realize this blog isn’t a trap, and you may venture forth. For the first couple of brave souls who leave comments, I’ll give a free, signed copy of Luna: Book One of the Luna Chronicles if they would like to have one (I swear this isn’t a trap and the books aren’t bait!!). That way, when I start sharing the inside poop on my characters, you’ll know who I’m talking about.

Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!
~S.C. Dane

LOVER IN STONE, Installment No. 21

INSTALLMENT No. 21 #lips #Angel #gargoyle
“Merrick?” Angelia’s voice quavered like the chicken she was, and she silently cursed herself. The Chimera needed someone sturdy, not some quaking ninny, so she’d better stiffen her Ramen noodle spine to be strong for him. Even if she had to fake it.
Her lips had not suddenly gone dry, dang it. But the swiping of her tongue to moisten them was like a slap to the face of her denial. Which she chose to ignore, and stood up, coiling her sweaty fist tighter with Merrick’s hold so he wouldn’t let her go.
Because she saw his agony. Heck, she felt it.
Whatever he did up on that Archway wasn’t good.
She’d seen the bony carcasses, so did she really want to know the gruesome details?
Yes. If it meant she could ease some of that drowning grief from his gray eyes, then yes. She wanted to comfort him so bad the need to do it quivered inside her, her body demanding she open up and take him into herself.
Acting on instinct, she reached out, pulling Merrick’s rough hand around her back and pressing her body to his.
He hissed as his arm drew her in tight. Through the opening of his unbuttoned leather jacket, she could see the hammer-like blows of his heart punching the thick muscles of his chest.
Jiminy, she could smell him, forcing her to remember there was a reason she’d let herself get squashed this close to Merrick, and it wasn’t to bask in that crystalline wildness. She was trying to give him solace.
“You stop souls from entering Hell, don’t you.” It wasn’t a question; she’d seen the evidence. But she wanted to come across as accepting, not as some dang coward.
He growled his answer, and Angelia closed her eyes as the scrape of it dragged delectably across her skin, erupting goosebumps in its wake.
“Yes.”
Ooh, she so, so, so loved his growl. Why didn’t she want to bask? She needed to dredge up every ounce of self-restraint she had to keep herself on track. But she would, for Merrick’s sake. “And humans without souls who wish to pass?” She knew such beings existed. They were the stuff of her nightmares from as far back as she could remember. They were the things the Gargoyles and Chimeras of her dreams protected her from.
They were probably why she idolized the Kynd.
His forehead pressed to her crown, his uneven breaths caressing her hair. “Angel, no more.” When he pulled back to look at her, he somehow plumbed a reassuring grin, and the sight of it made her go all gooey inside. Maybe it was because he seemed to be asking for mercy while his strong teeth reminded her that physically, he wasn’t vulnerable at all. “This Castle is probably the last beautiful thing you’ll see for a few days. You should be paying attention to that instead.”
Pfft. She highly doubted it. Merrick was beautiful, what with his black bangs curling in little spikes across his forehead, like a row of mini scythes, and cupping his smallish ear, which dragged her attention so her gaze followed the cords of his neck to the leather of his collar.
And he’d just called her Angel.
She bet he didn’t even realize it.
Besides, when she pulled her mind out of the sexual gutter, she noticed she was experiencing something far more beautiful than architecture or a sinful body: she was aglow from receiving the compassion of a Chimera.
Now that she knew how well-guarded a secret that was, she felt the privilege of his gift. He was treating her like Kynd.
Which made him irresistibly sexy.
Even to a virgin.
Her core squirmed again, but this time it pulsated, wetting her panties.
The muscles of Merrick’s broad shoulders bulged as he lowered his head to take a deep breath.
Dear God, he was sniffing her! He’d feel, too, the heat of her hand, the heat of her thighs, and she had to struggle not to place his hand where she readied for him, she had to resist the flaming urge to pull it between her legs and ride his rough palm.
His fingers gripped hers so hard she thought maybe he might break her bones. But she couldn’t stop her eyes from wandering low, to watch his manhood thicken, stretching the leather of his leggings. Her tongue stole out to caress her lower lip, for different reasons this time.
“Come on, Angel.” As Merrick tugged at her to resume their march toward the Castle, she caught the glint of thick fangs. Which should have frightened the bee turds out of her. Seriously, what was he going to do with those? Bite her?
Oh, please, yes.
She ought to wash her brain out with soap. She wanted the Chimera to bite her? Maybe it was time to stop living with Vampires.
Kynd didn’t drink blood, she knew that much. But she couldn’t shake visions of Merrick’s sharp teeth pinching her nipples, or sucking her breasts in between them.
Gads. She wasn’t helping the situation here, not when her nipples went rigid with the promise of what Merrick’s mouth could do.
Turning her attention to where her feet were going would be far more helpful. Merrick was dragging her toward the Castle, so she shifted gears to follow willingly, and freed her mind from her breasts to think about the words he’d spoken as he’d pulled her with him.
He’d called her Angel again. Merrick might have spoken to her like his teeth were smashed together, but he had called her Angel.
An endearment, not a curse.
She knew that because he didn’t let go of her hand.
He kept hold of her.
And she took it for the truce it was.
~S.C. Dane
~Installment No. 22 coming Saturday, April 11, 2015.

LOVER IN STONE, Installment No. 19

 

INSTALLMENT No. 19 #skin #Aristotle #first circle of Hell
Angelia didn’t like the honesty chiming through the words he spoke. Merrick was dead serious, which quieted her all the way to the bone.
“Don’t worry. I’ll get you back out before I do.” The Chimera’s moment of being unguarded evaporated as if it had never been. He was again the storm cloud passing over the sun.
And his snide comment pissed her off, a visceral reaction that rarely happened to her. Usually, she just got sad. But, maybe Merrick was right, and being in Hell did have its advantages.
Angelia balled up her sleeping bag and stuffed it into her pack while she indulged in a rare mental tirade.
Did he really believe she was so shallow that the only thing she could be concerned with was her own safety? Did he really think his choice wouldn’t bother his friend, Darken, either?
Merrick was the selfish prig, not her, believing that staying in Hell wouldn’t bother anyone.
How could he do it?
Yeah, she knew he harbored a thick rage he barely concealed, but still, it didn’t mean he had to dwell in this ungodly place.
She slatted at the drawstring of her bag, cinching it taut like a hangman who relished his job.
“Angelia.”
Merrick calling her name was just as enthralling as the voices in the river.
At least this voice she heard. Regrettably.
Swallowing a deep breath, she cocked a disgruntled hip. “What.”
Merrick ran his hand across the top of his head, mussing his black hair. He seemed frustrated with her, like he didn’t know what to do with himself. His whole body tensed, his jaw clamping. She saw the slate of his eyes harden as his rage resurfaced.
“What?” She wouldn’t gulp, damn it.
The Chimera, still in his sexy Gargoyle form, drew up to her. He was a full head and shoulders taller than she was, and definitely twice as wide. Angelia’s head fell back, just so she could keep looking at him.
Towering over her, his body electrified hers. They weren’t even touching and her hips felt the pull of him, so that she had to fight to keep herself from slinking up against him like some big cat in heat.
Merrick glared down at her, the depths of his rock-like eyes fluctuating, plunging impossibly deep, then constricting till they were flat and shallow.
“The Castle,” he growled, lifting a muscle-roped arm with a clawed hand at the end of it.
Well, hookay. She couldn’t see the muscles rippling under his coat, but she sure as dogcrackers was imagining them. Angelia peeled her wanton gaze from Merrick to look where he pointed.
“Full of learned men, from before Christ.” His voice scraped thick, menacing.
Yeah, that growling factoid ought to register a little stronger than it did. She should be heeding the message, not the vibration.
The Castle housed the greatest minds of all time. Aristotle, Ovid, Socrates. Yet, all she could think about was the Chimera, who moved to stand behind her. Very close behind her.
He felt huge looming back there. She could smell the leather he wore. She could smell him.
What were a few dusty, old minds when she stood next to such heat? Such life? She didn’t want to meet the revered minds of history, she wanted to get to know this Chimera who delivered her to them.
She didn’t need a side trip away from this Gargoyle-shaped man.
Merrick lowered his head to drag his nose along her nape, erupting goose bumps over every inch of her skin. “Someone might know where the human who stole the Scriptum was headed.”
Dear God, she was practically panting. “Good point.” And oh yeah, it was a lead to follow, even if he’d said it to taunt her. Because they were on an important mission.
Except.
“Merrick?”
“Hmm.” Ooh man, she loved his growl.
“I’d rather learn about you.” There. She said it. Looking dead ahead and not at him, but she’d said it. Maybe her little fit of anger had given her the courage. She didn’t know, or care, but she would risk his denial.
****
Merrick’s heart pinged, then swelled, then constricted again, like it couldn’t figure out what its job was. His whole body went rigid, so Angelia’s softness, in contrast, seemed like a warmth cushioning the thin space of air between them.
He didn’t want to tell her a damned thing.
He didn’t want to refuse her, either. Not this angel who strung every nerve within him to singing.
She had given him something of herself when he’d carried her across the Acheron, even if she hadn’t known it, and had been asleep while doing it. Christ, she was giving him something now, a thrill in his skin he’d not felt since…
Never.
Merrick had never felt this taut sensation before. It maddened him, drove him wild. It was all he could do to rein in his urges. He could and should give a little something back to this woman, no matter how she tormented him. No matter if she was human, she deserved his consideration.
He wanted to give her more than his consideration.
Jesus. What was happening to him? A day ago, he wouldn’t have given a rat’s ass about hurting any human’s feelings. Now? Now, he’d met Angelia, Anton’s miraculous, beautiful daughter, and his own emotions had somehow gotten tangled up with hers.
She wanted to know about him. The Vampyre’s adopted darling was looking beyond the Chimera’s thickening skin, past the rage simmering in his very muscles. Merrick knew how volatile he was, yet she was seeing beyond that.
No, she was coaxing him beyond his consuming rage, and it unsettled him.
So, for both of their sakes, he would opt to tell her something a little safer, a little easier on his baffled emotions, while he steered them toward the Castle.
He dared to brush his knuckles against the small of her back to bump her forward. Even through her clothing, his fingers measured the inward curve of her spine, the bowing out of her wonderful ass, and his hand curled into a tight fist lest it grope for something more.
“Kharon is Kynd, like me. That’s how I got you across the Acheron.”
~S.C. Dane
~Installment No. 20 coming Saturday, April 4, 2015.

LOVER IN STONE, Installment No. 18

INSTALLMENT No. 18 #Acheron #Hell #sleeping bag
Angelia stirred as she awakened, snuggling deeper into Merrick’s arms, closer to his chest. The sleeping bag she was cocooned in seemed thicker than a pillow, dulling the delicate feel of her body against his.
Which shouldn’t matter. But still, he found solace in the wafting of that honey-lavender scent billowing from deep inside the warm nylon of the woman’s bedroll.
Not once did he put her down, not even during the crossing of the Acheron. Holding her had replaced his instinctive urge to take Kharon in his arms, to crush the other Kynd to him in a desperate hug to assuage his longing for touch.
To make up for his selfishness, he’d pressed close to Kharon, unabashedly sharing himself without having to put Angelia away from him.
Much to his surprise, the Ferryman peered down at the sleeping woman without saying a word. A strange light suffused the Kynd’s expression instead, and he reached out to caress a stray lock of her golden hair from her forehead.
Merrick’s whole body tensed, as if to lunge.
At what? Kharon, his brotherkynd?
Thankfully, the other Kynd had chosen to ignore the base growl seeping up out of Merrick’s lungs, and for his part, he’d done his damnedest to shove it back down where it boiled up from.
He was not furious that Kharon touched the human he held in his arms.
But the Ferryman curled his rough-tipped finger into his palm just the same, and drew his hand away.
Respecting my possessiveness.
Merrick apologized by clasping that retreating hand in his, holding it tight for the rest of the trip downriver. Angelia slept like a swaddled babe the whole time.
Even now as they traveled on firm ground, she wasn’t fully awake. But he felt her soft gaze on him, and he glanced down to steal a precious glimpse of those twilight eyes, which were lazy with sleep.
The small body he cradled in his arms stiffened under his glancing scrutiny, the woman’s senses firing to full alert. He didn’t relinquish this stolen chance to hold her, but drew her tighter against his chest to still her.
And his thoughts, which kicked like the hobbled horses they were. He refused to delve into his reasons for not setting her down, preferring instead to fall back on the excuse of who he was. Kynd needed touch almost as much they needed air to breathe, so of course he stole physical contact where he could.
Liar.
Ignoring that, too, he squeezed out the hint of a smile.
Which she ignored. But she no longer squirmed to get out of his arms. Now that was a gift. He could enjoy the feel of her a little longer, even if she didn’t care whether he offered her a rare smile or not.
“Where are we?” Angelia craned her neck to get a better view of their surroundings.
“Nearing the Castle of the First Ring.” His attention forcibly returned to the path before them, Merrick thought again of the Scriptum, and how it had made it through Kharon’s scrutiny, too, even though the Ferryman had seen the soulless man with the relic.
Maybe it does have a mind of its own.
What was it about that damned book that another Kynd would let it slip beyond his grasp? Well, Merrick wasn’t going to find out as soon as he hoped, which also meant he hadn’t been able to indulge in the company of his fellow Kynd beyond the length of the boat ride.
He and Kharon parted with longing hugs, and said nothing about Angelia beyond the obvious. Merrick figured Kharon felt bad enough as it was, that if the human woman in Merrick’s arms was the only one to retrieve that book, then the Ferryman wasn’t going to deny her passage.
“The Castle? I missed Kharon?” Angelia’s dismay yanked Merrick into the present. “How could I have missed a whole darned trip down a river?”
Merrick had known she’d be disappointed, but he still hated the sight of it. Wasn’t too fond of how it clenched like a vise on his heart, either.
Exactly where it shouldn’t.
“I figured the river would do its thing as it had done with Dante. It knocks humans out, makes them swoon.” He shrugged. “Or sleep, as it was in your case.” Even with his leather jacket acting as a buffer, he still felt the slide of her sleeping bag in his arms.
“But not you?” God, he didn’t want to see such disheartening failure crowding into those blue-black eyes, but there he was gazing down again just the same.
“No. The river doesn’t have the same effect.” If only she’d leave it at that. But he knew better. She was a scholar, wasn’t she? It was her nature to know, even if she wouldn’t like his answers.
“Go on.”
Merrick stared straight ahead, watching the path in front of him so he wouldn’t have to look down at the woman he pressed close to his chest. He’d been enjoying his hike with her in his arms. While she slept he could indulge his senses, could even pretend she wasn’t human, that she was an angel sent down from Heaven to bestow upon him some quiet moments of peace.
Which she had done. For a little while, the fomenting fury that pressed from the inside out of him, toughening his skin, abated, giving his body a break from its inexorable transition into stone.
Even now, she didn’t fight to get out of his arms, and Merrick savored the feel of her, which unleashed his tongue so it roved like a stray dog.
“The river has a voice—many voices.” He risked another peek down over his cheekbones to view the woman he carried. “Its flowing is like breath passing through the voice box, making sounds. The pitch is too high for human ears, so they can’t hear what’s being said. But on a subconscious level their brains are getting flooded, hypnotized. Which is why you swoon, or pass out.” Could he blabber on just a bit more?
“And you hear these voices?”
He nodded, not daring to look down again. Besides, awake, her body was heating up the sleeping bag she was in, as though the speeding up of her pulse warmed her from the inside out. “They’re mesmerizing, spellbinding.” Shut up, Merrick. “They make me want to stay, to enter into Hell and stay here.”
“But you can’t.”
Merrick snorted. “Yeah, well, it’s easier than you might think.”
At least, it had been easier, until he’d met the woman he now carried in his arms. He set her down, steadying her as she shimmied out of the constricting bedroll.
She clutched his arm as she did so, and the grip of it shot a twinge straight to his balls.
God Almighty.
He’d have to take her back to Acheron just so she’d pass out again, so he could function normally.
“But now that you’re away from the river, surely the urge is gone? I mean, you can’t want to spend the rest of your life in Hell.”
“Why not? It certainly has its advantages.”
~S.C. Dane
~Installment No. 19 coming Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

LOVER IN STONE, Installment No. 16

INSTALLMENT No. 16
Watching Angelia, Merrick felt his heart pinch, then decided to ignore it. She was damned beautiful standing there, her lids growing heavy over eyes that reflected the deep maroon of the water rolling by. “As you should be. Go get some sleep, I’ll wake you when it’s time.”
“You’re not sleeping?”
Merrick suppressed a rueful grin. “No. I’m Kynd, remember? We don’t exactly sleep.”
Angelia shrugged. “I suppose not. But don’t you nap, at least?”
“Yeah, when we need to.” Or wanted to, as Merrick did just then. He wanted to slip into Angelia’s sleeping bag right along with her, feel the weight of her body pressed to his as she drifted off with her dreams, while he lay with her in his arms, protecting her.
“And, you don’t need to,” she said, reminding Merrick all too clearly of who and what he was.
“We aren’t alone along the river. Souls are gathering for the crossing.”
“Right. Forgot.” Angelia stumbled from the riverbank to her bedroll, where Merrick hoped she’d settle in soon.
Because he could feel her eyes on his back, and he thickened with his need for her, the leather of his leggings pulling tight.
Bloody hell.
Just what he needed, another torment to contend with. As it was, he stood mesmerized by the murmuring rustle of voices in the water as it rushed past his boots, beckoning him to follow, to surrender his will and loose his Chimera from its singular Gargoyle form. His heart strained in his chest, rending him in different directions.
Merrick cursed as he turned to follow the woman. Better he risk her seeing his physical need for her than succumb to the invitation of the voices. He was rewarded by a spontaneous smile when she spotted him, and his chest grew tight.
Without undressing or removing her boots, she spread out her sleeping bag and burrowed into it. Merrick leapt onto a larger boulder and crouched, facing her. To his sensitive ears, her held breath seemed as loud as the creaking of his leather coat.
Because the human woman scrutinized him as closely as he did her, and the third of Merrick, his lion, wanted to devour her one sensuous lick of his rasp-like tongue at a time.
“Tell me what you know about Kharon,” he growled, his voice thick with need.
“What I know about Kharon?” She looked like she was trying to reconcile his expression to his words, her feather-light brows pinching over her sleepy eyes.
Merrick rubbed his palm across his mouth and nodded. He hoped talking would get both their minds back on why they were in this predicament in the first place.
Heaven knew, one more minute of watching her watch him and he was going to do something he’d never thought possible of a Kynd. He was going to ask a human woman for the novelty of a kiss.
“Yes. You know he’s the Ferryman,” he said, leading her, his eyes following the dip and rise of her throat as she swallowed.
“Of course. He escorts dead souls to Hades,” she nodded. Wisps of her blond hair, tinted by the red of the sky and the river, framed her face, her braid curving like a tail across her shoulder.
Dear God, help him; Merrick wished it was his tail draped there.
Angelia yawned and rubbed her fingers into her eye.
She was getting sleepier, falling under the spell of the Acheron, as he knew she would.
As it should be.
Merrick turned to stare back out at the river, letting Angelia surrender to the sleep that was fast creeping up on her. He felt the stirrings of unease that he duped her, that she wasn’t aware of what was happening to her, and he almost caved, almost blurted out the deception.
But he recalled her determination to get the Scriptum, and bit down on his urge to confess. She’d be upset if they were refused entry, and that clinched his resolve.
He’d let her fall into a dreamless slumber, exactly where he needed her to be in order to get by Kharon. Because, no matter how refreshed she’d be from a good night’s sleep, she would never be ready for the Ferryman.
She wasn’t supposed to be, that wasn’t how the crossing worked. Besides, Kharon would know she wasn’t destined for The Circles. Angelia, upon her death, would cross a more pleasant plane than this one of fetid, bloodied water and fire.
Which was why Merrick could not give in to his base desires. No matter how bad he wanted to feel and taste every inch of the woman’s bare skin, no matter how he longed to slide his hard, stone-rough body into her soft one, he could not.
Angelia’s destiny was the exact opposite of the Chimera’s. Merrick understood only too well what his future held in store, and it had nothing to do with God and his chosen angels in Heaven.
So he kept to himself while he waited a while longer until he was sure Angelia wouldn’t stir when he moved her. Then he knelt down to lift her so he could carry her across the river.
Yet, as he lowered himself, the scent of honey-lavender spread through him, and he couldn’t resist dragging his face along the skin of her slender neck, where the smell of her lingered strong, pooling where the shorter, gossamer strands of her hair curled along the base of her delicate skull.
So wondrous. He followed his nose along the slender line of her jaw to behind her ear, and it was all he could do not to press his lips to the silk of her skin, to drag his tongue so he could taste her. He thickened at his groin, grew uncomfortable with its urgent, unfamiliar weight.
God in Heaven, he could cast aside his resolve as easily as he could steal a forbidden taste of her, so he backed off, biting down on a frustrated snarl.
He wanted her as desperately as he wanted to stay in Hell.
Merrick took a steadying breath, then crammed his wanting down into the same abyss where his fury swirled. He gathered their things, then gently plucked Angelia off the ground, sleeping bag and all, and started down the path toward the Ferryman.
~S.C. Dane
~Installment No. 17 coming Tuesday, March 24, 2015.

Lover in Stone, Installment No. 7

 

INSTALLMENT NO. 7 #gargoyles #romance
Merrick didn’t look at the woman. He needed to keep his gaze drilled on the ancient trio seated in front of him. The clothing he wore had grown tight enough as it was, he didn’t need it cinching his crotch. Nor did he need to dwell on why he thickened in that region in the first place.
“The Scriptum, it seems, won’t come back in your hands.”
Oh, but damn. Her voice stroked like warm silk across his skin, making his chin tilt to better indulge the caress of her tone. He ground his jaw the second he realized what he was doing.
He was acting like a dog who loved the scratch of his furry ears.
“I’ll bring it back,” he growled, and instantly regretted the alarm flaring in those blue-black eyes. Merrick took an unpracticed step back. “What I meant was–”
“Of course you will, Mr. Merrick,” she assured him, as if she’d never flinched. “But I’m afraid that’s not the issue.”
Mr. Merrick. Like he wore a business suit and wasn’t part Gargoyle.
“Only she can bring it back. The Scriptum wanted her to touch it. She has to be the one to bring it back.” Aro’s needling grated on Merrick’s one nerve, and his claws pierced into his fisted palms.
Ignore him. Ignore her. Concentrate on the Triumvirate.
No better advice had ever been given. With a practiced eye, he watched the trio’s every subtle movement. His sharp hearing trained on the slender thrumming of their pulses, on Anton’s heartbeat.
The Vampyre suffered, yet did not speak against his daughter’s participation, or Aro’s assumption.
“If you don’t trust me…” Merrick dangled the bait, his sly gaze holding to the three in front of him.
“It is not a matter of trust, Merrick.” Anton rose, pushing his knuckles against the highly polished table top. “It is a matter of my daughter’s safety. She must go in, but she cannot go in alone. We need you, Chimera, to escort her, to keep her safe. That is all we ask.” He spread his hands, as if defenseless.
Because he was. This daughter meant a lot to the Vampyre. “And the Scriptum?” Merrick challenged.
Anton hesitated less than a heartbeat, yet Merrick couldn’t have missed it. He wasn’t just Gargoyle. His blood was an elixir of three formidable creatures, and Merrick knew the Vampyre could smell the subtle potency of the combination.
Even without being the one to escort Anton’s daughter through Hell, the Vampyre would deem it necessary to respect him. It would be perilous to do otherwise.
Resignation softened Anton’s expression. “I wish I could say it meant nothing. But I, too, have my duty to my kind. We will all benefit from the teachings of the Scriptum, its secrets. We cannot leave it in the hands of those who have stolen it away to Hell.
“My daughter is the one to retrieve it for us,” he admitted, his breath vacating his lungs on a long exhale. Anton’s silver eyes held Merrick’s, and hid nothing of his fear for his adopted daughter.
Merrick locked his gaze where it was while he chewed on his predicament.
The seconds limped by.
Keep not one, but two, precious items from getting destroyed? A nearly impossible feat given where he and the woman were expected to go.
“It will cost you,” he finally conceded, as forthright as the Vampyre who stood at the dais.
“Anything, Chimera.” The deal steeped down to the two players, as if the others in the room evaporated like non-essential vapor.
Well, not all of the others. Merrick never lost the trace of the human woman’s scent, of her watching him. She watched her father, too. He couldn’t have missed a single gesture of hers if he tried.
Anton and the Triumvirate would pay for that, too. Why not. “When I bring your daughter back with this book, you will owe the Kynd a building in their honor. One engineered with their retirement in mind.”
He couldn’t bring himself to say their deaths. The Kynd didn’t truly die. At first, anyway. They spent centuries encased in stone, perched on eroding ledges. They witnessed ceaselessly, watching the living below them until their bodies crumbled under the incessant ravages of time and weather.
Christ on the cross. Where was the deliverance from that torture? Oh, right. There wasn’t one. The Kynd got the nosebleed seats to the eternal game of life. Perennial passes for every season.
“It will be done, Chimera.” Anton’s acceptance rained on Merrick’s pity party, but his attention snapped back to the fore, like a pitbull scenting blood.
Just like that? This woman meant an awful lot to the Vampyre, and he cursed that he might fathom why. Merrick risked an appraising glance toward the woman who had cost the Vampyre so much, surreptitiously observed her dark eyes pool with tears, her fingers press to her lips before they formed the words Papa in a dreadful sigh.
Dear God. He wanted to hold her. Not just feel her small body enclosed in his arms, but to rub himself all over with that honey-lavender scent.
By thunder, Anton would pay. The Chimera would not rescind this deal, not when this human woman confounded him, made his body ache to do things it had never done before.
Merrick nodded his agreement, then peeled his attention onto the rest of the Triumvirate. “You mentioned packs for the journey. We’ll leave before this hour is up.” He didn’t wait for their reply, but stalked from the stone room that had begun to press on him like a cave.
He hated the underground. But more than that, he hated that he felt as if he’d just bargained for more than what was on the table.
~S.C. Dane
~Installment No. 8 coming Saturday, February 21, 2015