Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thursday's Opening Scenes - Moon Summoned by Janet Lane Walters

Since this book is on sale, I thought I'd do some of the opening scenes from each of the heroines of Moon Summoned during the next few weeks. Though the sale will end in about 4 days. Right now it's $0.99 but will go up to $1.99 in two days.
A moan of pleasure escaped the lips of the woman named Ashiera. As Sieper
found his release, his arms tightened around her. He rolled to his side and held her against
his chest. His lips brushed her honey-colored hair. He inhaled the fragrance of the herbs
she used as a rinse. As always, her amber eyes were devoid of expression.
Sunshine streamed through the windows of the sleeping chamber, clothing them
in colored light. Chips of multi-hued crystals embedded in the headboard of the massive
bed splashed bright tints on the sheets.
He stroked her smooth skin. “The Cabal and his mind mages named you as an
undead. Thus I claimed you as my reward for their use of my ship for their cargoes.” His
jaw clenched for the service hadn’t been a willing gift but one demanded. No man of
Keltoi dared to refuse the orders of the priests of the Lord of Shadows.
She pressed her lips against his chest. For years, he’d carried her image in his
heart, but he’d never believed she would be his for more than the single night they’d once
shared. Since then, his life had changed again and again. From deck hand to officer and
then to ship owner.
He thought of the day he and the Wind Skimmer had sailed into Zandara. The
holds had been filled with exotic goods from the other nomes and, he’d had hopes of
enough profit to outfit a second ship. Alas, those dreams had come to naught. The priests
had seized control of Keltoi. Since the defeat of the Mistress, the gray robes and their
minions had ruled the nome. Their taxes had eaten most of his profits and for nearly
thirteen years he’d sailed at their bidding.
His hands curled into fists. “I’ve worked hard and dreamed of a fleet of ships, but
these hopes slip further from my grasp.” He stared into Ashiera’s empty amber eyes.
“Why do I tell you these things? Do you even hear me?”
For an instant, he thought he saw a flicker of awareness in her eyes. A foolish
thought. Under the Cabal’s torture, her mind had fled.
Gently he stroked her face and traced her lips. Nineteen years ago she’d been his
for a night. He’d been the one she’d chosen for her passage from maiden to woman. Their
joining, hot and urgent, had created a dream of forever with her.
He caressed her breasts. Her nipples tightened and she moved against him.

Though her mind had fled, her body remembered the ways of passion. He wanted to hear
his name on her lips, but since the day he’d claimed her from the pens, she hadn’t spoken.

He kissed her. Regret that he’d begun what there wasn’t time to finish filled his
voice. “My love, we must leave soon. The Wind Skimmer sails on the evening tide. Until
I return you will bide with Maran’s wife.” He pulled her to her feet. “Remember, you are
Was that a flash of denial he saw in her eyes? Her forehead wrinkled and she
opened her mouth. A croaking sound emerged. He waited. Would she speak?

After long moments of silence, he walked with her to the bathing room where a
glass dome filled the room with light and heated the pool. Like a child, she played in the
water, but she uttered no happy sounds, not did the placid expression on her beautiful
face change.

He dressed her in a shimmering spidersilk gown. The iridescent fabric reminded
him of the gown she’d worn the night she’d walked in the garden of the Mistress and had
taken his hand. He pulled on trousers and a shirt that laced at the sides.
“Come, we must eat.” With his hand at her waist, he steered her to the garden

A wall of glass bricks let in light and distorted the lush growth outside. The table,
set for two, stood near the wide door leading into the yard. A maid checked the clothes
hanging on the line. Her spouse leaned against the wall and watched her work. In these
days, no woman walked through town unguarded lest she be taken by the priests. Even in
their homes, there was little safety if a priest wanted new women for the pens.
“Ashiera,” Sieper whispered.

She stared. “Who is Ashiera?”

“You are and you are mine.”
As though a black curtain had been torn, her expression changed. “No.” She
backed away.
He went to her. “What do you remember?”

Her eyes reflected myriad emotions. “Dying, yet I live. Heated winds searing my
head. Falling into darkness. I am Ashiera, but I don’t remember taking vows with you.”

“Much has changed in Keltoi. The Lord of Shadows has placed his shroud over
the people. The Mistress and her servants are gone.”

“Gone! Who protects the land and makes sure the seasons follow their proper
courses?” She bowed her head. “Once I sat on the seat of judgment. Once I knew the lore
and the legends. I solved disputes and made prophecies for those who asked for sight.”
He caressed her shoulders in an attempt to leach the tension from her taut
muscles. “Those days are no more.”

She looked up. “All is gone.”

His thumbs brushed her cheeks. “Alas, ‘tis the truth. Since you are now aware, I
can’t leave you in Zandara. You must come with me, for you are mine.”
His words frightened her. She couldn’t be a prisoner. Though his blue-green eyes
were kind, she couldn’t sail with him. There was a place she must find and she couldn’t
let anyone stop her. Yet, she wished she could remain with him.

She touched his face and explored the rugged features. She ran her hands through
the honey-hued hair that brushed his broad shoulders. He was a man she could love
forever, but the compulsion to flee his tender care grew unbearable. Her muscles tensed
for flight.

His arms closed around her like a cage. “Sail with me.”

She struggled to free herself from his embrace. She couldn’t. She had to leave.

A voice sounded in her head. Come! Now!
Ashiera grabbed a heavy crystal salt cellar and smashed it against his head. He
staggered and fell, pulling her atop him. Until she caught her breath, she listened to the
steady beat of his heart. He groaned. She jumped to her feet. As she raced across the
garden to the gate, she pulled clothes from the line.

1 comment:

Melissa Keir said...

Sounds like she's determined but I hope he will keep her from trouble!