Welcome to my 49th Birthday Celebration! Some folks are freaked out at the prospect of being “this close” to the big Five Oh, but not me. I couldn’t be happier. I happen to be one of those odd ducks who love getting older.
Okay so I don’t like the aches and pains that come with it, but the idea of reaching 50 and beyond doesn’t freak me out one bit. I have been through a lot during this lifetime and I wouldn’t change a thing. All of it has lead me to the place and the person I am today. I’ve had an amazing 23 year career as a veterinarian. I found my soul mate after giving up on ever finding him. I’m living my dream as a published poet and author several times over. I can’t complain!
To celebrate this milestone in my life, I want to give away signed copies of my holiday novelette, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. All you have to do is leave a comment and enter your information in the Rafflecopter. Now, this version of WordPress doesn’t allow the Rafflecopter to be in this same post. All you have to do is click on the link below and it will take you to a separate page to finish your entry.
That’s it! The giveaway is only open to those in the US and Canada for the print version. For all others, you can still enter, but the prize will then be for the electronic book version (EPUB or MOBI)
Hello all! I know I’ve been MIA for a bit. I’ve been all over the place with my evil day job and gearing up for the holidays…including my birthday coming up in 8 days. In that light, I wanted to help celebrate the debut erotic romance of Elisabeth Joye. She’s a new author to me and I have to say I’m thrilled to have been asked to be one of the first to read and review her foray into the crazy world of romance!
Invisible Ink is right up my alley. It’s strong and in your face erotic right out of the gate. Elisabeth’s writing style pulls you into the world of her characters and you feel as if you’re living the story right along with them. At first glance you may think you’re reading the typical Rock and Roll erotic tale. This is so much more than that!
I posted my review HERE and will put it up on Amazon as soon as the book goes live. Right now, it’s up for pre-order and you’ll want to reserve your copy now. Go on and read my review and see why. Seriously. I’ll wait.
What? You don’t want to read it yet? Okay, here’s the blurb
Lex has never felt more exposed.
She has just allowed Jake Reed, the lead singer of rock band Inkjet, to undress her and tie her to a chair backstage after a show, only to have him leave to go sign autographs.
It is the start of a dark, obsessive relationship that will lead Lex, a 20-something public relations professional from L.A., to lose herself almost entirely as she struggles to break through her sexual boundaries without falling in love with Jake, an intimidatingly gorgeous Hollywood actor/rock star who closely guards his emotions.
What starts as a series of casual hookups ends up a powerful addiction that will push Lex past all her sexual boundaries as Jake moves repeatedly in and out of her life, making few promises along the way. Lex fights to keep a sense of herself while she succumbs to Jake’s glamorous world and his irresistible allure.
Still not convinced? How about a smokin’ hot adult excerpt?
“What are you up to?” I asked.
“Stay here, don’t move.”
He went and flipped on one of the stage lights right on me and then planted himself in a front row seat. I could barely make out his face.
“Strip,” came his instructions over the microphone.
I stood and looked at him blankly for a second.
“This is why you brought me here?”
“I can’t hear you, but if I could, it doesn’t matter, because no talking, baby girl. You know my rules,” he ordered, his soft voice booming through the sound system.
I had already proven to him I was up for anything he asked for, so I did as I was told, removing my tank top and jeans and stepping out of my slip-ons.
“All of it,” he said.
The air was cool on my skin, but the lights were hot as hell. I looked around for a minute, over my shoulder and into the wings of the stage.
“No one’s here, I checked, don’t worry,” he breathed into the mic, his voice lowering.
I took off my underwear and I stood there naked in front of him, exactly what he wanted.
“Good. Now, walk the catwalk for me.”
I shot him an exasperated, confused look.
“See that curved path in front of the stage right before the seats? That thing. Walk it.”
I felt utterly ridiculous as I padded my way down the catwalk and moved back and forth across the crescent-shaped little path that brought me closer to where Jake had perched himself.
I concentrated mostly on not falling and trying to look as poised as possible. I could feel his eyes on me from below, burning into me.
Then he laughed.
It wasn’t into the mic, but I was close enough to him that I could hear him.
“God, Jake, don’t be a fucking asshole and laugh at me up here!” I glared at him and he looked so smug. I wanted both to climb on top of him and also to punch him. If I would have known I would be naked on a stage, I would have worn heels or hit the gym more this week or…
“I was thinking about how a lot of girls wouldn’t do this if I told them to,” he said, smiling. “And if they did, they’d try to…do a stripper show for me or look seductive. But you’re …like…” he searched for the word he wanted to use. “there. You’re real. It’s fucking perfect.”
“You don’t have to flatter me, Jake,” I said, suddenly feeling more exposed. “You already have me. Obviously.”’
He looked me in the eye for a long time. His stare made the moment suddenly serious. Then he looked me up and down for longer than I was comfortable.
He was silent and I felt sick to my stomach with nerves, overwhelmed with self-conscious fears. He was pushing me too far.
I faced him again and stood there, my hand on my hip.
“Jesus Christ, Lex,” he said. “You’re so fucking hot. And you don’t even know it.”
I looked down at him, shrugged slightly, and said, “It only matters that you know it, Jake.”
He smiled big, showing off his perfect teeth.
“Is that so?” He stood up and used all his strength to lift himself up on the walkway. He pressed himself up against me, picked me up, and moved us both back to the main part of the stage.
My naked skin rubbed against his clothing as I wrapped my body around him, my legs gripping his waist, his hands cupping my bare ass. I kissed his neck lightly and then moved to his lips as he set me down and cupped my ass in his hands.
“So you said you wanted to do something I’d never done before,” he said, pushing my shoulders down so I knelt on the stage in front of him. “I’ve always wanted to fuck a girl on a stage and where better to do that than the Los Angeles Amphitheater, right?”
On my knees, I knew he wanted something else first. A blow job. My stomach flipped again. Although we’d obviously already had a lot of sex, I had tactfully avoided trying to put his erection in my mouth until now.
I didn’t have a ton of confidence about my blow job skills in the first place, and his cock was by definition intimidating — larger than average, attached to a famous, super hot guy, and sexually powerful enough to take over my mind and life. It had unwittingly become the center of my universe.
Oral sex with Jake would put me in control for the first time. What if I didn’t do what he liked and I was desperate to please him the way he had pleased me.
“Don’t worry, I’ll tell you what I want you to do,” he said softly, cradling my chin with his long fingers. He was a mind reader.
He undid his zipper and lowered his jeans on his hips enough that I had access to his full length.
I gripped one hand around the shaft and positioned my mouth around the tip, waiting for whatever instructions he had in mind. But instead of speaking, he grabbed me roughly by my hair and pushed into me as far as he could until I let out a muffled cry.
I closed my eyes and let my tongue dance around while he pulled my head into him and then out again by my hair, slowly at first so I could adjust and then at the pace he wanted.
I could not have been more compromised or exposed on a stage meant for an audience of thousands giving a fucking blowjob. But all I could think about was him and my hot breath and his skin against me. The setting fell away and time fell away with it.
Elisabeth Joye used to write about Congress. Now, she writes about sex. A former political journalist, she’s wanted to write a romance novel since she was 12 and finally found the inspiration to do it by incorporating her love of concerts and musicians. Invisible Ink is her first self-published novella.
When she’s not writing, Elisabeth is a stay-at-home mom to her four year old son. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and family.
I had a wonderful time at the Emerald City Writers Conference held at the Westin Hotel in Bellevue, Washington. It was the first local gathering I’ve been able to attend since my husband and I moved to this beautiful state. Not only did I get to meet new readers and introduce them to my body of work, I attended several workshops. I came away with a renewed excitement about my writing career and many recommendations to put into practice.
My favorite lectures were given by M.L. Buckman. Series Thinking in a Hybrid World and Managing Your Inner Writer spoke directly to me answering several questions I had been asking myself over the last six months. I’ve been overwhelmed by how to proceed with my career path as a writer and balance that out with getting our fledgling publishing house running smoothly.
By definition, I am what you would call a hybrid author. I have published traditionally with Siren Bookstrand, and Indie/self published. Some take the definition a little further and call a hybrid one who has published with the larger publishing houses as well as smaller presses and self published their own work. No matter how you define the term, being a hybrid can be one of the best things to happen to an author and can be used to our advantage to keep readers coming back for more. Mr. Buckland does this by self publishing short stories and novellas in between the release dates of the larger novels he has traditionally published. Along with that, he offers a free short story on his website each month at the same time it’s for sale for purchase. An additional free short story is provided to his newsletter subscribers.
ALL of the stories are within the SAME SERIES. I kid you not! He has traditionally published books that can take a year in between release dates. The smaller works keep the stories going, in real time, so the readers never lose interest. Of course each can be a stand alone, but in this way all can be connected too. He does this with more than one of his series of books. I know what you’re thinking…
How can he do that when he has a contract with the publisher?
Simple answer is that he negotiated his contract this way. He had it spelled out the word count of the novels the publisher wanted under contract. The short stories and the books less than the contracted book count are his to do as he sees fit. This production model has turned into a win/win for him and the publisher and is simply BRILLIANT!
I now have a fire lit under me to come up with something similar in order to keep the interest up between the main books in my Now and Forever series and the Kayne Legacy Series. I’ll combine the special free short stories for my newsletter along with the limited free shorts on this site and for sale.
His second workshop was all about separating your Publisher side of your brain from the Writer side. This has become a major issue for me lately. Having to wear multiple hats in this career as well as adding in my full time job as a veterinarian has been exhausting to say the least. What happens more often than not is that I stare at an empty page on my computer and get absolutely nothing done. What Mr. Buckman does is set up schedules and deadlines for his Writer to complete which includes time away for the family and other responsibilities. By sticking to this schedule, he can accomplish a lot and have BALANCE.
My biggest problem is my Writer side of my brain jumps up and down with new ideas at least three times a day. With six pen names that can be confusing. Mr. Buckman suggested having Writer submit a book proposal to the Publisher. This is then filed away and offered to the Writer after the current deadline is met.
Yep. Mind. Blown.
I thought I was being smart putting my pen names on “vacation” while one was working. Now to add this into the mix and I think I can accomplish all my goals for the coming year. How fun is that?!
One other event that I enjoyed was the Passport to Readers event during this convention. They set it up differently this year so that participating authors were given tables to offer freebies to attending readers. This was an informal meet and greet that ended up a huge success. I’m not going to lie to you. When the doors first opened up, I was a bundle of nerves and afraid my table would be avoided. For most of the readers and authors there, I was an unknown element.
I gave away free signed copies of Meet Me Under the Mistletoe as a way to introduce myself to these new potential fans. I also included a magnet bottle cap with the Sassy Vixen logo on it.
My banners drew people in and I received tons of compliments on them. I was more than happy to tell everyone I got them from BuildASign. They did such a great job with my designs, I couldn’t help but spread the word about their site.
Most of the folks who stopped by asked that I personalize the books as well. I had them pre-signed to save time so I could keep talking to anyone who said hello. The event was two hours long, but I was out of all of my books—including my display books in an hour. I even gave away the mouse pad, key chains and pens. LOL! Next time I’ll have even more fun stuff to give away. If I save up now, and purchase them throughout the year, I can spread out the expenses and make the event even bigger at my table!
Focusing on one book to give away and having a few others on display worked best for me. If they asked about my other pen names I was more than happy to let them know about them too. After I got home, I found some of my fellow attendees online and we are now Facebook friends. Now we can keep in touch and continue to encourage each other throughout the year until the next gathering.
Now I’m off to put all I learned from this convention into action. Catch you later!
Welcome to this week’s Scintillating Sunday Showcase hosted by the Mile High Muses. This is a weekly blog hop showcasing eight words, sentences or paragraphs the participants find scintillating. The hop is open to all romance and erotic romance authors of all heat levels. There is something for everyone during this fun showcase and this week I thought I’d share the opening paragraphs from the POV of my heroine in Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. A few weeks back I shared the opening 8 paragraphs from the hero.
At the end of the post you can click on the special photo that will take you to the linky list of all the participants. This version of WordPress does not allow me to post the list here so the fun meme is the next best thing.
So here’s my eight for this week…
“Mayday, mayday, mayday. This is the Northern Star. Rogue wave hit disabling the vessel. Engine room taking on water. Sinking fast. All eight are abandoning ship into life rafts. We’ve lost all power. Last known position nearly thirty nautical miles east of St. Matthew. Repeat. Mayday, mayday, mayday. Northern Star is taking on water. Entire crew is heading for life rafts. All in survival suits.”
Her stomach clenched. She knew the wives of five of the fisherman on that boat. Two of them worked with her at the hospital. As one of the few registered nurses on the island, Jolene knew all the local families. Any kind of emergency brought them all together and it looked like today was going to be a doozy. Better get rolling. No point in trying to go back to sleep. Might as well head in and start my shift early.
She tossed the covers back and slowly slid her swollen feet into her fuzzy slippers. There was no way she’d walk barefooted over the freezing hard wood floors this time of year. Although at eight and a half months pregnant, the cold often felt good when they were as swollen as they were at the moment. She stopped her shuffle to the bathroom and slipped her right foot out of the slipper and onto the floor. The chill radiated up from the floor, taking her breath away, and that was before her sole even made contact. She shoved her foot back into the warm slipper and continued on with her morning routine.
The hot water of the shower worked out all the kinks in her back as she ran the washcloth over her ever-expanding belly. “Well, little one. Your daddy is heading out on another day to save lives. Don’t you worry, though. He’ll be here for our kiss under the mistletoe. This same time next year, you’ll be joining us there, but this time you’ll just have to settle for kicking him through my belly.”
In response, she watched as a little foot made its way across her stretched skin and gave her another kick. She smiled as tears rolled down her cheeks. These were the things Steve missed out on when he was underway. It’d taken them nearly ten years to finally get pregnant, and now she had to experience all the little things alone. Keeping a detailed baby journal helped her husband stay in the loop as did their Skype calls, but somehow it wasn’t the same.
Six other times she’d managed to conceive, only to have their excitement dashed a few months later with miscarriages. This pregnancy was the only one nearly to term and so far everything had gone without a hitch—for the baby that is. Jolene suffered from debilitating morning sickness for her entire first trimester leaving her on bed rest for most of it. Two weeks ago her doctor dropped another bomb. She had gestational diabetes. It wasn’t unexpected, but just one more thing to add to the list of issues she had to go through alone.
As the steamy water continued to work on her muscles, she remembered the weekend they conceived their baby. Steve surprised her in the middle of her shift at the hospital with a dozen pale purple roses. He had won the lottery in his unit and gotten an extra two days of liberty. Lucky for her, the other nurses had been more than willing to cover the remainder of her shift.
As soon as they’d made it through the door of their condo, he had tossed her over his shoulder and bolted toward the bedroom. “I’m going to taste every inch of your body until you beg for mercy.”
* * * *
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe Blurb
When Steve Sanders became a US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer nearly twenty years ago, he knew he’d have to put his life on the line with each mission. Unfortunately, only three days before Christmas, Steve has to come face to face with the real possibility he’d break his promise to his wife and not return back to her and their unborn child.
Jolene Sanders is nearing the end of a difficult pregnancy and looking forward to finally spending their wedding anniversary with her husband. However, her holiday spirits are shattered when a distress call from a sinking fishing vessel calls the Coast Guard into action and puts her husband’s life on the line once again.
Left behind in a life raft during the rescue, Steve’s fate is now at the mercy of the wicked Bering Sea. Will this truly be his last mission, or will a miracle bring him back to meet his wife under the mistletoe?
Yay! I made it back again this week. It was touch and go there for a day or two as my “Evil Day Job” took over and sidelined me from quite a few things on my author to do list. No worries! I’m here and ready to share another eight paragraphs from my new special release Meet Me Under the Mistletoe.
In cause you’re new to Scintillating Sunday Showcase, let me bring you up to speed. This is a weekly blog hop for erotic romance and romance authors of all heat levels. It’s hosted my the Mile High Muses and they’ve asked all participants to share EIGHT words, sentences, or paragraphs of one of our stories we feel is scintillating. The definition varies and that’s why you’ll see a variety of different posts each week. It’s also a great way to learn about authors new to you, or get sneak peeks at the works in progress of the authors you’re already following.
Okay enough of the yammering. Here’s my eight…
“Open your eyes, Jo. I need you to look at me.”
She did as he asked. Her hazel eyes positively glowed in the dim light of the room. Her pupils dilated even further and pulled him in.
This moment he craved every second they’ve been apart from each other. The connection between them deepened beyond physical at that instant and he finally allowed himself to let go completely. His orgasm slammed through his body as he exploded deep inside her. Even though his knees nearly buckled from the intensity of it, he kept pumping into her, filling her with his seed.
He rested his forehead against hers as their breathing slowed and the hot water rained down upon their flushed bodies. “God, I missed you.”
She brushed her hair off her forehead as he placed her down on her feet. She settled her back against his chest, her head under his chin. “I can tell.”
He kissed her forehead and reached for the shampoo. He loved to wash her hair while she clung to his body after sex. Caring for her like this made him feel just a little less guilty for leaving her alone for a month or more at a time.
She reached around and rested both her hands on his thighs as he lathered her hair. “You sure know how to treat a gal. I may just have to marry you one day.”
He chuckled. “You say that every time I come home on leave. Am I away so long you forget we’re already married?”
I hope that’s enough to spark your interest in this one. Sassy Vixen Publishing has released it exclusively on Amazon for the next three months only. Next month I’ll have special signed print copies to hand out to readers at the Emerald City Writer’s Convention in Bellevue, WA. I can’t wait to find out what you all think of Jolene and Steve’s love story!
Now for the hopping part! Since I have the WordPress version that doesn’t allow java, I had to come up with a way for you all to find the list of the participants. All you have to do is click on the following graphic and it will take you to the list. Easy peasy! Go on and click away and have fun!
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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…
When you see the notice about explicit content, do you gravitate toward it, run screaming from the room, or scroll on by when surfing the web? As an author of explicit books written for adult eyes only, I’m required to warn readers about the content of my blogs and my books. This gives them the choice to stick around or bolt for the hills if they don’t wish to be offended by something they may see in my posts or books. Even with the warning, there are still people out there who will click through and then complain about the content. I don’t get it. They have made the conscious decision to enter after the warning, proceed full speed ahead and then cry foul when they read something that offends them.
The same can be said for television and movies but I want to focus on books. I’m an author who writes under five pen names and I run my own publishing house…okay, it’s a small cottage but one day we will be larger! Back to the reason for today’s post…
I’m curious. Why would a reader pick an erotica or erotic romance book to read if they already know it’s not their cup of tea? I understand the curiosity of some, and the desire to try something new for others. Those are not the readers I’m referring to here. Why choose to read a book in a genre you don’t like, detest, or find gross when you know it will offend you?
Far too often I see reviews posted for erotica and erotic romances with “No Way” as the review and a one star. Some complain the book is all sex and no plot. Others are repulsed by the explicit language. Hell, even my mother asked me why I had to describe every little detail in the love scenes. Explaining to her that’s what is EXPECTED in erotica and erotic romance was easier than explaining it to some readers who have been reading books labeled as erotic and explicit when they’re not. Yes they’re steamy, but the play by play details are not there. When the genres are misrepresented to readers by authors and publishers, it makes it very difficult for those of us who do write explicit scenes and don’t use purple prose to showcase our work.
The complaints stating the stories are unrealistic or too over the top to be believable are also an enigma for me. These tales are SUPPOSED TO BE over the top. They’re FANTASIES. Whether they’re of the sweet variety or the melt your thong, down and dirty “fuckfests”, each and every one of them are fictionalized fantasies from the mind of the author. Just because you’ve never experienced any of it yourself doesn’t mean it could never possibly happen.
Before you think something is too over the top to believe, turn on the television and watch the news or scroll through the feeds on social media where over the top is the norm. In my first novel, For the Love of Quinn (Now and Forever 1) I introduced a group of characters who are all close to each other and are there through all the good and bad times. For a few readers, this was over the top and would never happen in real life. She felt there was no way so many people would be involved in the the lives of a couple or work together to bring a couple together.
Hate to break it to that reviewer and anyone else with similar questions but Quinn’s story is my story. I lived most of what was portrayed in those pages. Yes, some of it was dramatized and names were most definitely changed to protect everyone’s privacy. Some characters were combinations of real people…they know who they are and got a kick out of the book. Jacob Hartley is a combination of three men and Steve Eischer is one of those with a name change. While the real “Steve” didn’t own all of Vegas or have more money than God, he was (and still is) very well off and enjoys giving his friends a chance to fulfill all their wildest dreams.
The villains in the story were based on two real life people as well. Iris and Jackson of course aren’t their real names but they are based on real people and their actions I witnessed first hand. I gave Jackson and his family many of the same habits and mannerisms of my ex and his family. To me, that’s what made those characters believable. I guess in this case, being true to life is too over the top for some readers. I get that. Really I do. I mean, who would want to think this sort of crazy mixed up group of people could actually be real?
I got the same sort of flack about Julia. One of my editors wanted her to be redeemed earlier on in the story. That doesn’t happen in real life, but in the world of romance you want the story to move along so redemption should take place earlier in order to get readers to root for the heroine. Obviously I didn’t agree. I wanted the readers to see Julia in all her nastiness and then see why she was the way she portrayed herself to those in her life. How many times do you see the bitch turn around and earn a happily ever after right off the bat? Usually those witches continue to get what they want no matter who they hurt in the process. In Julia’s story, she came face to face with the consequences of her actions and had to fight to find her way to her HEA. It wasn’t in the first third of her story, but over twenty years later. She is the woman we all love to hate—until she bares her shattered heart and soul.
Are my stories over the top? Damn straight. Are they too over the top to be believable? I don’t think so. If I was still stuck in an emotionally abusive and loveless marriage I might have a different outlook. I lived through all the badness and made it through to my happily ever after. I want my characters to be able to do the same.
What’s so over the top or unbelievable about that?
Go on. Read my books and decide for yourself. Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you!
I’ve gone and done it again! I told you I was going to release the first book of The Kayne Legacy Series on it’s own, separate from the Season of Sun and Sin collection…
And here it is!
The cover is something different than you’re used to seeing from Sassy Vixen Publishing for my books but we wanted to make this series different from the erotic romances and erotica I usually write.
Yes this book has some hot sex scenes but the story as a whole isn’t a romance. This is Cain’s journey to save mankind from destruction at the hands of his brother Malachi. It’s the start of the entire legacy all of the Kayne family must accept or turn their back on forever.
For those of you who have read my vampire inspired poetry book Courtship of the Vampyre, you already know the basic outline of the series and have been introduced to a few of the main characters. There is so much more coming your way! You need to grab this one and immerse yourself in this heartbreaking tale of Cain’s early years.
And here you all thought you knew his story. Think again!
In the first book of the Kayne Legacy series, we meet reporter Abigail Matthews after she is awarded the interview of a lifetime. She’d been granted no holds barred access to everyone associated with one of the most powerful foundations in the world, including the current CEO Michael Kayne. Sparks fly between them the moment they meet but nothing compared to the jolt she receives when she comes face to face with Michael’s grandfather—the biblical legend Cain.
In hopes she’d accept her destiny as his grandson’s chosen mate, Cain opens up and shares his heartbreaking tale— everything from the tragic fight with his brother Abel to his journey to find Lilith and make her his wife. Together they were to create a family of immortals sworn to protect the Essence of the Tree of Life from the one hell bent on destroying it.
Thousands of Years Ago, Somewhere in the Middle East
Cain secured the last stone into place and stood back to survey his work. He stretched his legs and rubbed the kink out of his lower back as he circled the altar. He’d spend hours in his gardens and the surrounding forests in search of the perfect pieces for his offering to The Three. Each stone, piece of wood and plant held special meaning to him and as such had to be included.
In addition to the first fruits of his garden, he’d included the largest of the fish he’d caught in his nets that morning as well as six of the freshest eggs from the nests of the waterfowl inhabiting the nearby marsh. He’d asked the animals permission as he’d gathered and thanked them for blessing him with a beautiful bounty to share with the gods.
The serenity he’d enjoyed on his venture came to an abrupt end as his brother made his presence known.
“Those won’t appeal to them you know. They want a blood sacrifice and they’ll accept no less. You should know that by now.”
Cain rolled his eyes and sighed. Why can’t he mind his own affairs and leave me to worship in peace?
“It’s none of your concern, brother. How I present my gifts to Them is no reflection on you or how you choose to worship.”
Abel snorted. “Do you really think your paltry offering will help you win Jezebel’s heart and hand once more? The decision has been made. I’ll make her my mate before the next full moon.”
“I won’t argue with you about this anymore. Father feels you would be the better match for our sister. I have no choice but to accept it and move on. Jezebel has made it clear she’ll not go against the wishes of our parents either. You’ve won, yet again.”
Cain reached for his gathering bag and attempted to walk away rather than continue their fight one more day. Unfortunately, Abel had no intention of leaving.
“I’m not through with you yet. Jezebel has asked to wear a jade pendant during our ceremony. She mentioned you found one large enough for me to carve into the shape she desires.”
Cain glared. “No. It’s part of my offering. I have others for you to choose from to use for her necklace. This one belongs to the Goddess Fate.”
“What does it matter? They’ll not accept your offering whether the stone is included in it or not. Why should it go to waste when I can make better use of it?”
Cain stood his ground. “I’m the elder brother and you’ll show respect to me in front of The Three. I’ll not allow you to treat me this way, not today.”
Abel’s laughter cut Cain deeper than any sharp rock. “What makes today different from any other? You may’ve been born before me, but you mean nothing to our parents. In fact, it would be much easier on all of us if you would never have been born.”
He leaned against a nearby tree and sneered. “Why do you think no one remembered today would be special to you? If they cared at all, we would have dedicated the entire day to celebrate the moment you were born. Instead, our family chose to forget and live their lives as if you never existed.”
Cain’s stomach clenched. “Leave me, before we both say and do things we’ll regret later.”
“You have something I want and I’ll not leave until I have it. You can give it to me freely or I’ll take it from you like I’ve taken everything you’ve held dear. Good thing father came to his senses. I’d hate to see what kind of life you would be able to provide for our beautiful sister.”
“I would’ve cared for her and our children until the day I died. They would’ve wanted for nothing.”
Abel doubled over with laughter that echoed throughout the forest. “With you they would have nothing. Why on earth would she ever want to marry a man the gods themselves have ignored?”
“You interrupted me before I finished my preparations. My offering isn’t complete—”
“Oh, so now you must give your heartfelt plea for Them to accept your shortcomings as one of Their creations? You insult the gods and bring shame to our family.”
“Shame? I’ve done nothing to you to warrant your insolent behavior toward me. Leave me if you’re so shamed by my mere existence.”
“Not until I have that jade.”
As Abel took another step toward him, Cain snatched the gemstone from the altar and stuffed it into his gathering bag. “You’re still welcome to any of the other stones I’ve gathered but this one is spoken for and not to be touched.”
Abel grabbed the bag and yanked. “Give it to me now!”
Cain leaned back with all of his weight and held fast. The handle of the bag slid out of Abel’s grasp and burned his palms.
“You would mark me so before my wedding?” He stared at his bloodied hands in disbelief.
“You brought this upon yourself. If you would’ve left me alone as I’d asked, this wouldn’t have happened. When will you learn you can’t force people to bend to your will? Your cruelty will catch up to you in time and your life will be as black as your heart.”
Abel didn’t appear to hear one word Cain had said. “When father sees what you’ve done to me—“
“Go ahead. Make up another wild tale about how I’ve mistreated you. What does it matter now? As you’ve pointed out, you have everything that had been promised to me. All I ask now is to be left alone.” Once again Cain attempted to walk away.
Abel latched onto both of Cain’s upper arms and dug his fingers into the skin and muscle. “You’re not going anywhere until you pay for this.”
Cain narrowed his eyes. His body temperature rose and his cheeks burned. No more of this. I’ve had it with his antics. He planted both palms against Abel’s chest and pushed with all his strength. “Leave. Me. Alone!”
Abel’s eyes flew open and he appeared stunned by Cain’s sudden outburst. He frantically swung his arms around in an attempt to regain his balance, but to no avail. He toppled backward and crashed into the wood and stone altar.
An unmistakable pop sounded as his head connected with the corner stone. Blood pooled and then covered the surface.
Cain rushed to his brother’s now still body and lifted him into his arms. The back of Abel’s head gave way at his touch. His life force continued to flow from the gash and covered Cain’s hands and chest as rocked back and forth. “What have I done? Abel! Wake up. Please, wake up.”
Abel’s eyes glazed over as his spirit left his body.
Cain stood and ran through the forest to Abel’s altar. He placed his brother’s body on the center and then raised his bloodied hands to heaven. “Please. I beg of you. Bring him back. Take me instead.”
Screams and wails erupted behind him and brought him out of his own grief. He spun around to find his mother, sisters and brother Malachi with their eyes wide with shock. Eve dropped to the ground in a heap at the base of the altar. “My son! My beautiful boy!”
Malachi stepped forward, removed Abel’s lifeless body for the stone slab and placed it on the ground. “What have you done, brother? How could you do this?”
Cain shook his head. “He fell against my altar—“
“You mean you killed him upon your altar!”
“You wanted him gone so you could have Jezebel’s hand again.”
“No!” Why will he not believe me?
Cain knelt beside Eve. “Mother? Please hear me.”
She turned from him and ignored his plea. She raised her hands to the sky. “Why have you allowed this to happen to your favored son? His innocent blood cries out for justice…”
The women cried louder as their mother collapsed over Abel’s body and became inconsolable.
Cain’s other brothers arrived and shouted at him. They, too, demanded he be brought to justice. Malachi’s voice rang out over all the others. As they circled him, intending to do him harm, the sky rumbled and then exploded with flashes of lightening.
There in front of them stood Lucius in his black flowing robes. His amber colored eyes blazed with the intensity of the sun. He lifted his staff and shield to protect Cain. “Step away from your brother. No one is to lay another hand on him.”
“But he killed Abel. Surely you’ve heard our mother’s cries for justice. Let us punish him for this heinous crime against our family and The Three.”
Lucius raised one dark eyebrow and he clenched his jaw. “Not one of you here are without sin. Why would We allow any of you to speak for Us?
Malachi stepped forward. He alone appeared unafraid of the god. “He took Abel’s life in anger.”
“And how do you know this?” Lucius tilted his head and waited for an answer.
“He said as much when we found him here with Abel’s body.”
“Really? That’s not what We saw take place. Do not dare to speak of something you didn’t witness with your own eyes. Abel is as much to blame as Cain—if not more.”
Eve shrieked. “Abel! Abel! Bring back my son.”
Lucius turned toward the copse of trees behind the altar. “Adam, stop hiding and remove your mate from my presence. It’s time you grieve for your sons together for you are also at fault here for allowing this behavior to continue. Go now. Prepare him for burial. The rest of you will stay.”
“Why do you punish them? They’ve done nothing to deserve this.” Malachi appeared to shake in anger.
“That’s right. They’ve done nothing to stop Abel from putting himself before all of you and your needs. Their inability to rein him in and teach him humility led to this sad day.”
“Then they’ve paid the ultimate price with the loss of his life. Now Cain should have to do the same.” Malachi lunged but was met in midair by a protective force field and his body slammed to the ground.
“Once again your true self emerges, Malachi. You’re no different than Abel with your defiance. Do not test my patience any further or you’ll pay the consequences. Fate won’t intervene on your behalf. My decision here today will be final. Yeshua has granted me full authority to do as I see fit.”
Seth helped Malachi to his feet and then turned toward the god with his head lowered in deference. “Please, Lucius. Tell us why you’ve allowed this to happen? Abel was the best of us. Now we are lost.”
Jezebel fell to her knees before Cain and clutched at his chest. “If you’ve ever loved me, kill me now so I may join my betrothed.”
Cain’s heart shattered. Even Jezebel believes I did this on purpose. “I could never do what you ask of me.”
Jezebel collapsed against his chest and sobbed.
Cain tried to hold her but Malachi ripped her from his arms. “You can’t harm her but you could smash Abel’s head against the corner of your altar?”
“I didn’t do it.”
“You lie! Go ahead and compound your crime before the gods. You’ll not get away with this.”
Lightening flashed across the sky and the earth shook. “You will say no more, Malachi. The decision has already been made.”
“If it doesn’t include wiping Cain off the face of the earth, then I’ll not listen to another word from you.”
Cain closed his eyes and braced himself for what he was sure would be the last time he would hear Malachi’s voice ever again.
I hope you enjoy the book! Let me know what you think of it and if you like where this series is headed. Don’t know yet? Grab the poetry book as a companion to the series. It will be your guide to all things Cain, Lilith and their descendants.