(PDF or Print) http://www.melange-books.com/authors/torilridgewood/windandshadow.html
Wind and Shadow: Cover Reveal Party!
Rayvin Woods, photographer and natural witch. She just wants to start her life over again after a series of misadventures. She didn’t count on rekindling a lost love when she came home to Talbot…or battling a malevolent vampire and his coven for her life.
Grant Michaels, police officer. He thinks Rayvin is a murderer. He will do whatever it takes to protect the community he loves from danger…but will he learn to trust his heart, and the word of a witch, before it’s too late?
Malcolm de Sade, cunning vampire. Imprisoned underground for a year by Charlotte Fanning and Pike Mahonen (“Mist and Midnight”, Midnight Thirsts), his accidental release unleashes his hunger and ambition on a small, sleepy town…
* * *
Wind and Shadow, Book One of the Talbot Trilogy, coming soon from Melange Books — and you’re invited to celebrate the cover release of this paranormal romance with me!
And yes…there will be games and prizes! Collectible Wind and Shadow pens, magnets, a mug, a notebook, a t-shirt, free e-copies of Midnight Thirsts with the prequel novella, “Mist and Midnight”, AND a pre-ordered signed, print copy of my debut novel, Wind and Shadow (to be sent to the winner asap when the book is released).
Rayvin Woods, professional photographer and natural witch, is returning to her hometown to start her life over, even though it’s the last place she wants to be. In the small community of Talbot, people think she tried to kill someone when she was only a teenager. It’s the place where she was orphaned, and where her high school crush betrayed her. It’s also the place where, unknown to all, a vampire has been trapped underground in an abandoned mine for a year — and is about to be released to wreak havoc on the community. Will her magick be enough to stop this ruthless predator? With practically the whole town against her, who can she turn to for help against a non-sparkly, non-angsty, all-malevolent fiend?
Grant Michaels became an officer of the law to protect Talbot, the town he grew up in and has always loved. As a teenager, when his best friend survived an attempt on his life, and ended up in a wheelchair, Grant stood by him even though it meant hurting the one girl he’d always had a crush on, because she was the murderer. Even though the court had released her, everyone knew she was different, that she was wild and couldn’t be trusted. When Rayvin Woods comes back to Talbot, and unexplained deaths begin to occur, Grant knows where to begin his investigation. He believes in logic — not in the supernatural.
I can’t wait to see the cover! Please enjoy this excerpt from Chapter One:
Lost in her thoughts, the appearance of red and blue pulsating lights in her rearview mirrors escaped her attention for a full five minutes. A brief pulsing siren woke her up. Shock and disbelief exploded in her chest and throat, as much from interrupted anticipation of the journey’s end as from embarrassment. Her heart accelerated with adrenaline, and she had to fight the urge to accelerate. “Breathe, Rayvin,” she told herself, aiming the vehicle for a section of straight road shoulder. Braking carefully, she laughed ruefully — she had never gotten a ticket before. Magick had nothing to do with it; she was simply good and careful. She made it a general rule to avoid problems with civil authorities but here she was, not twenty minutes away from her destination, already being cited or warned or fined or whatever. This was not an auspicious start.
She should have remembered to check her almanac. It was probably a waning moon.
Waiting with her hands on the wheel and looking straight ahead as her driving instructor had advised, so many years before, her eyes couldn’t help but stray to the tall, well-proportioned male figure in dark navy blue striding along the pavement to her car door. The bulky standard-issue padded jacket enhanced his broad shoulders; corded muscle and tendon were thrown into brief relief above the collar as he got closer, and the gun belt slung almost casually around his narrow waist suggested a healthy contrast in size between shoulders and abdomen. Clearly, this was neither a sergeant close to retirement nor a fresh recruit. Then he was there, tapping gently on the glass with the butt of a long-handled flashlight. At his gesture, she lowered the window, squinting against the orange glare of the sunset. Unable to make out a face from the officer’s position, silhouetted against the dying sun, she looked directly at his mirrored glasses. The convex angle distorted her nose and the wrinkle of skin above it, produced by her squinting; she hoped that she didn’t look as hag-like as Smokey suggested, and tried to relax her vision as she asked the inevitable question.
“What’s the problem, officer?
The silence stretched a trifle longer than it should have, and just on the edge of discomfort, the policeman responded. “License and registration, please.”
She shivered slightly, trying to pretend it was only from the chilly air that was quickly invading her car. The presence of the police officer, so close to Talbot, was forcing up flashbacks that were taking her breath away. The strobing lights, primary colours casting shadows against her bedroom walls. The degradation and disgrace of interrogation, first in front of her foster mother in the spacious living room of the house she had come to love after her mother had died. The further humiliation as she was marched out, in handcuffs, and had seen her foster sister’s tearful expression reflected in the hallway mirror. Rummaging through her purse first for her wallet, and then leaning across to the glove compartment, Rayvin fought down rising panic, recalling the glaring, accusatory stares of the neighbours, gathered in little bathrobe-dressed groupings, muttering acidly amongst themselves as a firm hand pushed her head gently under the edge of the car door. The officer shifted his posture, and something metallic clinked against her car door, echoing the cold sound of a key locking her into a sterile, tiny isolation room. Restrained by the seatbelt, Rayvin had to strain slightly to reach the papers she needed; the movement pulled her sweater up her body, a hands-breadth from the waist of her low-rise jeans, and as she wrestled the insurance papers from between maps and Canadian Tire money, she felt a perceptible change in the atmosphere — almost as if the cop had suddenly sucked air through his teeth, and she had heard the slight sound register only in the most primal part of her brain.
Her heart thudded. Magick flooded her body, an instinctual survival tactic. She closed her eyes, pretending to fumble with the document, struggling now for control. Great Mother, if she lashed out now, she’d be back where she’d started in every sense of the term. The radio came to life for a heart-stopping few seconds, crackling with static, as a field of energy built around her and rang in her ears. She trembled with the force of it, and then the momentum ceased as she regained control of her breathing. The yoga classes and meditative visualizations had been worth every penny of her tips, if they helped her to avoid repeating history.
Rayvin swallowed uncomfortably as the officer scanned her papers, pulled a pencil and pad out of a pocket and wrote something down. He shifted his stance, and with an effort, she stopped biting her lip. He was probably trained to see that as an indication of guilty behaviour or something, she thought to herself. Attempting to keep her forehead smooth as she strained to see past the shadows on his face was impossible. Maybe if she appeared to be furrowing her brow in concern he might be more lenient. “What’s the problem, officer?” she finally asked, half-embarrassed at the way the cliche sounded — it felt phony, but the silence had stretched to the breaking point. Mentally running through the last moments of her driving, she recalled the speed limit — she’d been within five kilometers per hour over or under, she was sure — and the last time she’d checked, all her lights were functioning, no dents or broken glass. Her stickers were up to date. Maybe he just had to fill a quota before the end of the month, or something.
An SUV approached from the east, heading in the opposite direction; automatically, she turned her head as it passed. The light from the SUV’s headlamps, just starting to wash the road in the early twilight, passed across the cop’s face, clearly illuminating every feature. Rayvin’s heart skipped a beat. It couldn’t be. Please, please, let it not be true. Let this be a trick of the light. She couldn’t breathe.
Suddenly, everything clicked into place; time seemed to slow down as he tucked the notepad away and folded her papers. The backwash of air from the passing vehicle caused his scent to surround her. She felt heat rising from deep between her thighs, tendrils of warmth sparkling upward through her core, swelling into her breasts and tightening her nipples. No other man had ever made her feel this way, and deep in her heart, she knew no-one else ever would. She had felt this urge to be with him when she was too young to know better, when these feelings had both thrilled and frightened her. She had managed to ignore the strange magnetic pull she had felt then, by ignoring him as much as possible. But it had taken so much strength to stay away from him, to protect him from herself; in this state, she wasn’t sure if she could find it again. Turning to face away, desperate to compose her expression before he saw her, she gripped the steering wheel with both hands, pressing her palms into the raised leather chevrons and curving her fingers until her nails just bit into the sensitive skin folding out beneath the curve at the midsection. Time had passed; they had both matured; she was an adult and could control her impulses. How had she not recognized his voice? It had deepened since the last time she’d seen him, suspicion and hatred rippling from his aura; he’d refused to look at her directly, then, but she’d felt the burn of his gaze against her back. Once more, she could sense him staring at her; how she had blocked his energy before, she wasn’t sure — maybe her exhaustion from the eight-hour drive had something to do with it. But as now she had recognized Grant, and a light was growing inside her that she was powerless to control. Vitality, a powerful earth energy, melded with something not quite tame and entirely masculine, penetrated her awareness, forcing her to concentrate on her own mental and emotional shielding. He was clearly waiting for her to turn and look at him, but in her own vulnerable state, she couldn’t risk looking at him and losing herself. Not again.
“So, where are you headed, miss?” the officer asked gruffly. “If you’re not from the region, you need to be aware of the night dangers this far north.”
“Isn’t that a bit obvious, Grant Michaels?” Ravyin kept her voice low, unclenching her teeth just enough to speak. “Drop the ‘miss,’ you know who I am.”
“Just being professional, Ray. Don’t take it personally,” Michaels replied, leaning down to rest his right elbow on the edge of the window. “But seriously, what are you doing here?”
It was probably driving him crazy, the way she kept her face in profile to avoid looking at him. She remembered how easily he could read truth and lies into a person’s expression; she was denying him the chance to judge. In her peripheral vision, Rayvin saw his jaw clench. He was biting back an urge to order her out of the vehicle, she just knew it. Heat moved through her skin when he finally snapped. “Fine, keep your secrets — that’s nothing new. Ten, eleven years — it’s plain to see you haven’t changed. I’ll find out sooner or later anyway; this isn’t the place you want to be if you want to be left alone. But it’s not like you don’t know that.” His anger stung, but she refused to rise to the bait.
“If I’ve done something wrong, officer, I’m happy to take my ticket,” Rayvin responded. She enunciating each word carefully, her voice filled with ice. “Otherwise, I’d like to have my license and registration back, please, so I can be on my way.”
Silently, without changing his stance, Michaels extended the arm he was leaning against the door, offering the papers just outside of her range of vision so she was forced to turn to see them. She moved to take them, and he pulled them away, just out of her reach. Rolling her eyes, she turned again and lunged, this time catching them firmly.
He didn’t let go.
Exhaling sharply in frustration, she tugged once, and then finally turned her eyes up to his face. Her skin tingled as she took in how very close he was — only inches away, so close she could feel the damp heat of his breath on her skin. The dark brown of his eyes searching her own was nearly irresistible — pulling her in, inviting her even with their fury, or because of it, to explore the passion she could sense just beneath the surface. It was too much. Imperceptibly, he was closing the distance between them, anger turning into something else just as dangerous. Electricity crackled again on the radio, though no power was reaching it from the stilled engine.
“Let go, Michaels.” Rayvin’s voice came out in a whisper, nearly a plea.
His eyes moved to her mouth as she spoke; she saw them widen as she licked her upper lip in nervousness.
For the space of a heartbeat, they were frozen together, a breath from sweet, scorching contact.
I’ve been tagged in a blogging game by the magnificent Su Halfwerk!
The concept of this game is to take one’s latest work in progress or current manuscript and search for the word “look”, then post some of the surrounding text/paragraphs and tag 5 authors.
(and yes, that fabulous 80s song is on a looping track inside my head right now)
I’m going to post an excerpt from my current WIP, Blood and Fire: Book Two of the Talbot Trilogy.
In Blood and Fire, a good witch named Rayvin Woods has found herself trapped in a dangerous situation as a concubine/hostage of the malicious, perverted, ruthless vampire Malcolm de Sade. Having encountered him already in Book 1: Wind and Shadow, and been unable to break his hold over the vampires who were once good townsfolk, Rayvin is trying desperately to find a way to destroy him. She has more than one problem to deal with, though: she may also be mother to a witch-vampire hybrid. She believes herself to be on her own to deal with the growing coven of undead creatures, unable to escape the isolated Northeastern Ontario town — little knowing that help is on the way, in the form of the good witch Charlotte Fanning Mahonen and her husband Pike (“Mist and Midnight”, Midnight Thirsts, 2011), two experienced vampire hunters (wood-nymph Marcy Richmond and gargoyle Siobhan O’Connell), and her lover, Grant Michaels, whose unexpected survival at the end of Book One: Wind and Shadow resulted in an important transformation. Rayvin’s conflicts are many, but she’s tough, and refuses to give in even when survival seems impossible.
Here’s the excerpt, featuring LOOK:
“Go on and take your shower, Rocky,” Marcy muttered her pet name for her girlfriend, after one more delicious squeeze. “I’m just the sensitive wood nymph. Bend, don’t break, and all that.”
“I really am sorry, Em.” The blue in Siobhan’s eyes deepened, reminding Marcy of the sky at sunset. “Forgive me?”
“Yes.” Marcy cupped the blonde’s velvety chin between her own slender brown hands. “And I love you. Go on, take your shower first. I need to check in with S.H.I.P. and Dad, anyway.”
Her routine was predictable, which was really somewhat dangerous in their field, but Marcy knew it helped Siobhan to cope with the nightmarish memories that came with the job. Five minutes to pick and complain, then a shower, then lounging pyjamas and an instant cappuccino while they went over their next move and filed the latest report. She would then touch up her French manicure, buff her feet, wax wherever a stray hair had dared to appear, and then disappear under the down quilt stuffed into a plastic bag. Unless there was an emergency, she wouldn’t emerge again until it was time for her workout in the morning.
Whenever it was safe, or time allowed, it was Marcy’s pleasure to slip into her 300-count cotton nest for a few sessions of passionate, energetic, and/or tender love-making.
Her body warmed at the thought that tonight, the probability of sex was looking better and better by the moment. From the look Siobhan gave her as she closed the door, her lover agreed.
But first, she had to take care of their professional obligations.
Marcy was full aware that there were some individuals in the Society of Investigators and Hunters of the Paranormal who were doubtful of the practicality of their partnership. Never before, in the history of their peoples or in the records of the Society, had wood and stone formed a working pair like theirs. Maybe the prejudice was understandable, on that basis, but it still burned.
If they could only track down and destroy Malcolm de Sade, the vampire on the top of S.H.I.P.’s most-wanted list, the nay-sayers would have to eat their words.
The Society’s best hunters had been on the creature’s trail for two centuries, but he had always evaded them somehow. He was smart, quick, ruthless, and a loner. Two years ago, he’d vanished from Toronto just when two teams had been ready to move. By the reports Marcy had read, they had delayed by thirty minutes, making sure everything was ready. It had been thirty minutes too long, at the least.
Tired of being given token assignments and pats on the head, Marcy and Siobhan had borrowed a copy of the de Sade file and gone off on their own, following the crumbs that other, more senior Society members had dismissed as unlikely or unimportant.
“Your people are starting to slack, Bill,” Marcy murmured, looking at his signature on a report two decades old. “Isn’t that our motto, not leaving any stone unturned in the search for truth and elimination of threats?”
It seemed that ever since the Society had acquired their living vampire specimen two years earlier, all efforts had turned inward. Scientists and hunters were burning the candle at both ends, using their specimen to test new detection technology and micro-biological weapons, at the expense of real hunting. Marcy didn’t understand it. What was the use of making a new weapon if the enemy was breeding, unchecked?
The response to her query on the organization’s recent withdrawal from field work had been brusque, to say the least. “If you think you can do better than those with experience, by all means. But you won’t find a vampire who’s gone to ground, especially one without a coven like de Sade.”
Marcy ground her teeth at the memory.
“But waiting for him to surface — for any of them — is like asking innocent people to be bait!” Her temper had risen enough that she’d given into shouting. “We have to keep looking! It’s not fair–”
“Life isn’t fair.” The squat, overweight bureaucrat behind his polished oak desk had steepled his fingers, pressed them to his nose, and looked over them at her as if she were a bug in a petrie dish. “The board of governors has decided that the best use of our efforts at the moment is to find a rapid and convenient solution for all vampires. Tracking and killing one or a few at a time is no longer good enough, not now that we have a specimen to use for tests. There will be some losses, yes–”
“Collateral damage, you mean,” Marcy spat.
“–but in the end, it will be worth the sacrifice.” The fat, balding ass had leaned forward at that point and flicked the thick de Sade folder in her direction. “As I said, you’re welcome to go with your gargoyle partner and try. The trail is cold, and under the current climate, I can’t offer you more than token support…”
Marcy had taken the file and left without speaking. It had not been worth her job to unleash the torrent of insults building inside her. At least, not then.
It could wait until she had de Sade’s ashes in a sample bag.
Watch out for Wind and Shadow, Book One of the Talbot Trilogy, coming April 2013!
And now for my five tagged authors!
David Margetson: http://orangepearwritings.blogspot.ca
Robert Fuller: http://www.robertfullerauthor.com
Mysti Parker: http://mystiparker.blogspot.ca
Maya DeLeina: http://www.mayadeleina.net
One of my dear friends, Kate, posted this recently on Facebook in response to my question on how she liked the draft pieces I had sent her, as I work away on my NaNoWriMo novel (Book Two of the Talbot Trilogy: Blood and Fire)… I so depend on her to keep me going!
Here’s what Kate said, about my writing:
I crave more dammit.
Also, I know you sent me just bits and pieces but the way it’s set up, jumping from group to group, would be kinda a neat thing to do in terms of style and structure, but only for getting them all to talbot. It adds …umm …what’s the word I’m searching for… Intensity ? I found myself wanting to read faster and wanting more .. Sucked in… I’m struggling to find the words at 1am but you know what I mean? I think you should switch to that structure but just to get all the groups to Talbot and even as the hunters meet up with Charlotte and then there is two groups together forming one group. Then you get pike finding ray. There is another group formed. Then the good vamps(Matt and Andrea) and then the bad vamps ( Susie and Jason and their plans). Then you get De Sade and then the werewolves. So it’ll tricky to get it all working and flowing right but if anyone can do it properly, it’s you. Just my opinion though. I feel like It adds the “edge of your seat” effect. When I was reading it, I was getting pumped the wolves were heading out, pumped pike is searching for rayvin, pumped the hunters are on their way. So much toget pumped for the way the today bits are set up haha. Ok. Done ranting haha. I’m starting to ramble.
Love you, Katey-bear!