Monday, January 25, 2016

Really, I'm Not Slacking! Death Mask Excerpt

The blog has been quiet lately. Even my weekend wishlist has been absent. I've been really busy editing Werewolf's Tale and a Druid Sword, the second book in the ION series. The publisher sent the manuscript to me right before the New Year and it's sucked up all of my time.

This must be a writer thing, because there was a point where I wanted to print out the ms and have a bonfire in the backyard. ...okay, so there wouldn't have been that much paper for a true "bonfire", but still, the action would've been cathartic. I was very dissatisfied with the prose, but it was fixed and sent back recently.

Now, I'm working fast to finish up my Roughouse Raiders submission. Then, I can move on. But like I was telling a friend this past week, I'm now in the mood for the ION world. I have a partial standalone waiting for me. It is on the, "What Else I'd Like To Squeeze In" list. And if I'm in the mood, then perhaps it will be written faster, and it is already partially written... Hmmm. I'll see after I finish with the sub call. Right now, it feels like a very big, yes.

Actually there are a lot of projects that I would like to work on r.i.g.h.t. n.o.w. and unfortunately, I'm just not that talented to get it all done together. Plus, I promised myself that I would work in more family time, which makes me feel like I'm a slacker for not always working on something. :)

Saturday's wishlist posts will go back up this coming weekend. There are a couple of guests on the blog in February. Soon, I should have an update on Darksoul. In the meantime, I'll leave you with an excerpt from Death Mask. Enjoy!

Death Mask
© Lexi Ander

When I went to ask what the fuck he was waiting for, Night placed a pale finger over his lips, biding me to listen. The sound was faint, but the soft whines of some kind of dog or… Well, fuck me sideways.

"Someone find Hog and Lalios." My request was made in a low voice, but the brothers jumped to it as if I had yelled. Perhaps they could feel the tension coming off of me or they too scented the blood wafting from the back of the truck, now that the door had been raised.

More than one person drew a weapon. Grabbing the handrail on the side of the door, I readied to climb into the back.

"Misery," Night called to me softly, but I ignored him.

Even if werewolves had hidden in the truck, I didn't worry about my safety. The sound of the pitiful tiny snarls and growls intensified when my heavy boots struck the bed. Pausing to listen, I couldn't hear an adult werewolf voice among the pups. With the scent of blood heavier in the confines of the cabin, I could only surmise the parent was severely injured. A werewolf in pain was a dangerous creature, more animal than man. Blinded by the agony, instinct would take over, and he, or she, would attack first to protect their young. If that were to happen, then I was the only one of the brothers best equipped to handle the werewolf. Sure, I could be hurt like anyone else, but I was very hard to kill. Living for over two hundred years had proven that.

Listening intently, I could make out three, perhaps four distinct voices which was surprising. Nowadays, werewolves lived much longer than they did five hundred years ago. When they became the stuff of folklore, instead of legends, people stopped hunting them. Living a more peaceful existence, the number of litters they had dropped off to where now pups were born singly to couples every hundred years or so. Now more than ever, the young were precious to the packs. That there were four together here made my skin crawl with foreboding. This just kept getting fucking better and better.

Gabbing a box, I crouched and handed it over to Nightingale. Several brothers jumped forward to help. Before Hog and Lalios hurried onto the loading dock, I had removed several rows of merchandise, uncovering a pocket. When I removed a box near the ceiling, instead of another box behind it, there was only darkness. The scent of blood was stronger, sharp and metallic…and fresh.

The angry frightened growls didn't sound menacing, but I still moved with caution, alert to any additional noises to tell me whether or not the adult was conscious. I didn't want to lose fingers—or an arm—while removing the last of the barrier between me and the werewolves.

Hog, the club's doctor, and the only hedge witch, hopped into the bed, his nose wrinkling in distaste. His short dark hair dripped as if he jumped out of the shower and neglected to dry off. He wasn't wearing his cut, the leather vest that held motorcycle club's patch. Hog was a big man whose lazy rolling stroll and the size of his gut caused people to underestimate him. Lord help the poor bigot who called him fat. The last arsehole who did spent two months in the hospital.

"What the—"

Hog didn't get to finish because Lalios leaped and landed in a crouch in the back of the truck. With hair almost as red as my own, but whereas mine was long and wiry, his was short and artfully spiked. The visible scars on his person and an intensity of power made humans and preternaturals alike give the half-werewolf a wide birth. The only exception were full-blooded werewolves who felt they had to test the alpha power rolling off the "half-breed". Lalios never lost. Even so, the packs shunned him because of his mongrel status, but neither could he build a pack of his own.

The tiny snarls turned to high whines which Lalios answered with one of his own. "Well, shit," Lalios rumbled when the pups went quiet. "Let me, Misery."

I stepped back and Lalios removed the last two layers of boxes to reveal a fucking nightmare. There on the floor lay a man, not an adult werewolf. His back was to us, but the blood pooled around him and soaking his clothing allowed no doubts where it came from. The pups paced between us and the man, tripping over the long dreads, tracking the blood all over the front of the end of the box truck. With that much blood loss, the man should have been dead, but I could see the slow rise and fall of his chest.

Then I felt the hint of passive magick, sensed several threads of life intertwined. "Motherfucker," I said under my breath. The club didn't need this kind of trouble knocking on our door. The packs would demand a life for this broken law.

"Lalios, did those little ones do what I think?" After all of these years being away from the land of my birth, the Irish accent I worked hard to hide emerged when my emotions ran into overdrive—like now.

He crouched, but the pups didn't make a move toward him. Instead, they huddled closer to the unconscious figure. In fact, inhaling deeper, I caught the whiff of a specific magick I hadn't run across in quite some time—with good reason.

I smelled a warlock.

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

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