First of all, I extend a huge thanks to Danica for letting me take over the DJ booth for today. I’ll try and not put her to sleep with my selection J
I’ve written for as long as I can remember. The worlds that I build for my paranormal works always drag me deep into them. I know, that might seem a bit crazy. But I’ve been called much worse.
Music is my tether. When I’m fully immersed within anything from the darkness, the depravity to the spiraling pleasure of a happily ever after ending, the conduit I use to channel those emotions and pull myself back to reality is music.
Although I’m in the process of writing quite a few paranormal works, I have yet to let one of them go. Perhaps it’s the fear of letting others foray into what I built. Perhaps it’s an unwillingness to part with the characters. Either way, quite a few of these works are in the final stages of completion and will be cast out this upcoming year.
One of these works is tentatively titled Relinquishing Destiny. Evanescense has been playing during quite a few of the scenes. The song My Immortal helps set the tone I wanted to convey in this work, where the hero has spent centuries in anguish over his failure to protect his true love.
Determined to avenge her death, he accepts his fate as an immortal warrior and fights the demons threatening humanity. Centuries later, Jayson now finds himself numbly existing until he’s called on to protect a woman who reminds him of the love he lost.
Jayson lurked in the shadows even though the moon cast its pale light like an arrow, as if daring him to defy common sense and make his presence known. For once his nightly hunt wouldn’t end with a demon’s heart pumping its final breath within his hand. The quarry of the evening moved within the small garden atop her building with the ease of a fairy and the beauty of a goddess.
Fiery strands melded with sun-kissed cinnamon in a silent torture designed to awaken the few shards of humanity within his marrow. Each hue reignited memories of a life lived, a love lost yet again. Although the innocent female tending her small patch of existence would remember nothing of today—let alone the lifetime they’d shared—the compulsion to protect her had drawn him back from monotonous darkness.
The crisp air thickened with raw power and Jayson inhaled deep. So much for tending his curiosity alone. Gravel crunched beneath his general’s weight. The man had no qualms about risking his life for his men and no regard for how detrimental that sacrifice would be.
Imperator Balint was too important to lose.
“You shouldn’t be out alone. Until we find the rest of the hoard they’ll be out for your blood.” Jayson curled his fist around the hilt of the KA-BAR blade strapped to his side. The weapon would only piss off a demon if they attacked, but the few seconds of agitation would go a long way to summoning aid for Imperator Balint.
“Funny, I was about to say the same to you.” Balint crossed his arms. “Her name is Bettina Matthews.”
Her fingers trembled as she covered her plants and then disappeared into the warmth of the building. She had no business out in the sting of winter. If she was his in this lifetime he’d bundle her up beside a fire and…
She was not his. Bettina. The name didn’t suit her.
She’d always be Marcella. His Marcella.
“You shouldn’t be here, Jayson. A second wipe of her memory could cause irreparable harm.”
Her life’s breath still coated his lungs. His mind burned the taste of her sweet lips into his memories, a new torment for the long centuries ahead.
“No one will touch her.” Including him.
The finality punctuating his words wrought an uncomfortable tension as the Imperator beside him allowed the friendship they’d forged over centuries to take control of a fucked up situation. The demons had changed tactics.
“They’ve made it personal.”
“Killing one is easier than killing many.” Balint shrugged. “It’s only taken them how long to figure that out?”
“You’re the second in command—the highest authority on the frontline no matter how many times I demand otherwise. You dare them to take you on in each skirmish. The Centurions you lead and their warriors have all expressed their concerns. The risks you take worry them.”
“You question my abilities?”
“I question your reasons, never your leadership.” Balint’s voice lowered. His words carved finality into Jayson’s soul. “Leave this place and her while you still can. It won’t get any easier later.”
The door thudded open behind them. Jayson pivoted and drew his weapon. Shock weighted his limbs as the wisp of feminine beauty enthralling him earlier trudged her way toward them.
Long, curly locks tumbled in errant disarray around slight shoulders. Full, lush lips thinned into chilled lines of frosty annoyance he tasted in her aura. Long eyelashes fluttered against the harsh wind as it whipped its warning to stay away. She shivered slightly and drew the thick coat around the curves his hands itched to expose.
Balint remained silent, as still as Jayson. How the hell had she sensed their presence. More importantly, why would she come?
“I didn’t save your life to have you die of exposure.” She unzipped her coat and withdrew a thermos. Hazel eyes flecked with gold widened as they raked over Balint and down to the container. “I’m afraid I didn’t bring an extra cup.”
A gloved hand held the offering out with determination. Although her body trembled Jayson could feel the sweltering awareness burgeoning between them. Her words settled in him, an acceptance that somehow they’d failed to wipe her memories.
“Since you insist on being out here, you could at least dress warmly.” The censure swept him into another lifetime—a time when he would’ve crawled through hell to appease the female before him.
His body hardened under her perusal. She took a deep breath and settled the container into the crook of his arm.
Balint cleared his throat and Jayson realized his common sense had shut down. He took the thermos and edged himself between her and the Imperator.
“You shouldn’t be up here,” he warned.
“You don’t scare me.” Her spine stiffened and her gaze darted upward until it locked with his.
He moved closer until the warmth of her breath fell on his neck. He inhaled vanilla. The scent ripped him back to another time and ruptured the scant distance between them with anguish.
She was not his. Not in this life.
“Be terrified. Leave while you can Bettina Matthews.”
Her eyes widened but she remained still even though he leaned down until the air between them became a turbulent, warm wisp of rapture. Her voice was a satin caress wrapping him in an inevitable tangle of duty and wanton hunger. “And if I don’t?”