They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Okay, so no mafia guys showed up at my doorstep. JR isn’t a Don (right, JR?), but all the same, I couldn’t refuse.
I’ve been trying to get published for years. I got thisclose once. Then JR contacted me through Anya Harker, a mutual friend who also has a story in the anthology, to see if I’d be interested in contributing to Crimson Melodies’ paranormal/horror anthology, Nocturnal Embers.
After a brief mini-dance session and less-brief freak-out session, I said, “Sure! Why not?” *Casual writer is casual.*
All that was well and good, but I knew nothing about NE’s universe. What they would and wouldn’t accept. What to wear. If they had happy hour specials.
Oh right. I wasn’t actually going to the bar.
That’s what Nocturnal Embers is—a bar catering to a slightly more . . . “other” clientele. Vampires, werewolves, sirens, you name it, and it’ll come through that door to be greeted by werewolf bartender Tony (who I kinda have a crush on, because he’s a southern werewolf and I’m southern and love wolves, but he’s gay so I just get to love him from afar). But it’s what’s in the back of the bar that got my attention. Yes, there’s a kick-ass runed portal back there that does who-knows-what. But there’s also a lounge. And where there’s a lounge, there’s loud thumping music and a hot DJ.
The next half hour turned into a major plotting session. My poor, taxed brain said, “STAHP,” but I wouldn’t. I wanted this, needed it. Craved it. So…thanks to Skype, my dear Anya and I brainstormed what would go into the story. And thus, “Lured” took its first breath.
Ayah showed up first. A sweet, bookish were-hawk so unsure of herself it’s not even funny, who dresses like an “eccentric” to cover up the hawk traits that don’t disappear when she’s shifted. Her best friend is Tony, the werewolf bartender, who treats her like a little sister and frequently confuses her with other birds. And she wants what she can’t have—Ronan.
Ronan is the hot DJ. He’s a selkie, a mythological seal creature of Welsh, Irish, and Scottish lore, who is completely irresistible in human form. Most tales of selkies end poorly, with their pelts being stolen by a deceitful human.
Then there’s Gia, the above-mentioned deceitful human mage who stole Ronan’s pelt five years before the start of the story. She is full of evil, willful, and keeps Ronan on a tight leash (not literally; wrong kind of story). She does not like the idea of her beautiful Ronan eying someone else.
Perfect. Drama. Conflict. An improbable love story.
“Lured” is close to my heart. It was born in half an hour, written in three days, edited in two more and then sent off to JR, but the content’s personal. Many times, I’ve been Ayah—unsure of myself, longing for what I can’t have, overlooked—and I wanted this to work out differently for her. I wanted her to fight for what she wanted instead of sitting idly by and letting the opportunity slip out of her hands. And I wanted Ronan to be worthy of her. Thankfully, he is. Otherwise, Tony would’ve eaten him.
It turned into a sweet love story and is one of my favorites. Hopefully you guys enjoy it, too.
***One lucky commenter will win a digital copy of Nocturnal Embers! Excitement abounds!***
Contest ends 4/25/13 at 11:59 p.m. EDT
Were-hawk Ayah accidentally came through the portal in the back of Nocturnal Embers over a decade ago, and has yet to figure out how to return to her dimension. Admittedly, her desire to go home has faded since the bar hired a new, handsome, selkie DJ called Ronan to keep the music thumping in the lounge on Saturday nights. More and more often, she finds herself in the back of the lounge, watching and lusting over Ronan, and finds herself confiding in Tony more and more, often hearing the same thing—it’s a bad idea to mix with selkies. Still, she can’t help herself.There’s a problem, though. Ronan belongs to a human who stole his pelt, a human Ronan cares nothing for and can’t leave. He knows about Ayah’s attraction to him, and has fought his own attraction to the sweet-natured were-hawk who comes to see him every Saturday night. However, the sea’s call to him is stronger than any other attraction; he can’t answer the call without his pelt, nor could he return Ayah’s affections without his freedom. If she helps him reclaim what was stolen, will he be able to live two lives? Or once she learns how to control him, will Ayah keep his pelt for herself?
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