Archive for 'excerpt'



Release Day!
by Annette McCleave on January 4th, 2011

Forgive me. I’m interrupting the regularly scheduled topic because today marks the release of the third novel in my Soul Gatherer series, Surrender to Darkness. I had to share my excitement.

Surrender is the story of Jamie Murdoch, a medieval Scots warrior turned Soul Gatherer, and Kiyoko Ashida, a Japanese mystic.

Murdoch is one of my favorite heroes so far, full of gruff humor, sexy charm, and courage. I’ve wanted to write his story every since he knocked out a bad guy in Bound by Darkness, only to have the fellow make an awful racket when he rolled down the stairs like a bag of bowling balls. Despite the danger of imminent discovery, Murdoch’s reaction was a shrug. :wink:

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Here’s the back cover blurb for Surrender:

As an immortal, Jamie Murdoch has spent lifetimes battling demons. But he’s cursed with an inner berserker, and his expertise as a Soul Gatherer is overshadowed by uncontrollable rage. Sent to Japan to investigate a mystical weapon that can destroy demons, Jamie feels out of place in a society that values tranquillity and self-control.

Kiyoko Ashida has dedicated her life to fighting evil. Now she’s dying, and her remaining days are linked to a mysterious artifact, which is the only thing keeping her alive. Still, her path is clear—until the day a valiant Soul Gatherer storms into her life and, with one fateful touch, steals her heart.

The Veil is both destroyer and healer, and Jamie knows Kiyoko cannot survive without it. But when the malicious ambitions of a fallen angel target the artifact, he’s torn between fulfilling his duty and saving the life of the woman he loves.

And to whet your appetite, here’s a short excerpt:

Murdoch closed the door to the shower stall with a crisp snap.

What a bloody awful night. He’d lost track of Kiyoko Ashida, drawn far too much public attention, and racked up a whopping bill at the restaurant that he had no spare funds to pay. It could have been worse, though. Had the two warriors not hobbled away at the first bleat of sirens in the distance, he might have kept fighting until the police showed up.

Killing cops would have brought him to a new low.

Hands braced on either side of the white ceramic sink, he peered at his face in the foggy bathroom mirror. Not a scratch on him. Not a bruise or a strained muscle anywhere on his body.

Unfortunately, his two opponents couldn’t say the same. Both had left with a collection of injuries ranging in severity from a gut wound to a broken limb. Exceptionally nimble, they’d lasted longer than most, but judging by the way their feet had begun to drag, their destinies had been about to meet the cold hard ground. Given that their only crime had been protecting a young, defenseless woman, that knowledge didn’t sit well.

What the hell had happened?

Sure, his berserker was a tad unruly and taming the beast was a constant battle, but tonight it had beaten him senseless. He’d lost complete control, much as if he’d been thrust into a situation with overwhelmingly poor odds and his berserker had burst free in a last-ditch attempt to survive. But against two puny humans, such a severe reaction didn’t make any sense.

He rubbed his bare chest with a rough hand.

The minutes following his descent into full-on berserker rage were a blur of battle moves. But his memory of the moment just before he sank beneath the waves remained clear as spring water: The accidental touch of Kiyoko Ashida’s hand. The sultry hot brush of skin against skin, the sweet burn of desire in his veins, the sudden and very urgent need to possess her.

In seven hundred years of existence, he’d encountered every type of woman imaginable and enjoyed every delicious facet of physical desire. Hell, he’d long ago lost count of the number of women he’d tupped. But the craving that had risen up inside him tonight could barely be described as desire. It was more like . . . mindless frenzy. He’d wanted Kiyoko so badly that his mouth had gone dry and his wits had fried. Tossing her over his shoulder and absconding with her had seemed a perfectly rational notion.

Not that rational thought had prevailed. No. Primitive instinct had taken over.

And that had left the door wide open for his berserker.

Murdoch spun on his heel and returned to the main living area of the hotel room. The room was comfortably large, with a modern king-sized bed and plenty of space to move around. But the hotel’s ample hospitality was diminished by the nine black-robed men who waited outside the bathroom door, swords strapped to their sides.

Any other man dressed in nothing but a towel, with sopping-wet hair hanging to his shoulders and his weapon lying useless on the bed, might have felt intimidated. Murdoch had to squelch a bubble of satisfaction.

Nine was much more of a fair fight than two.

To celebrate my new release, I’m giving away a signed copy of Surrender to Darkness to one random commenter on the Silk & Shadow’s blog. Comment on any of this week’s blog posts (Jan 2nd to Jan 8th) and you’ll be entered in the draw. Your odds of winning will depend on how many people enter. The winner will be announced on January 9th.

Spring, Sprang, Sprung
by Annette McCleave on March 16th, 2010

I have to say, the best part of spring is the increased daylight hours. The energy flows, the smiles bloom, and walking the dog is so much more enjoyable during the day.

Spring is my favorite season. I love watching the snow melt away and the grass turn green. I wait impatiently for the trees to sprout pale green leaves that darken over the weeks leading into summer. And apple blossoms. LOVE those frothy white and pink explosions. The only part of spring I don’t like is the bugs. By early May, the gnats and mosquitoes are usually out in full force. This year, because it’s warmer than usual where I am, they’ll likely come sooner. The price you pay for warmth, I guess.

This year, spring will also bring a visit from my sister, who lives on the west coast. With any luck, the weather will be nice and we can sit out at one of the many outdoor cafes in the city. Coffee and sunshine are an unbeatable mix.

May will also bring the release of the second novel in the Soul Gatherer series, Bound by Darkness. Here’s a short excerpt:

Checking for occupants before he unlocked each door, Brian searched the rooms one by one. An art gallery, a home theater, a library. The gym, filled with metal weights and equipment, took him the longest. When he reached the last door on the left side of the hallway, he stopped.

People.

One, two . . . he sniffed a little deeper . . . three.

The breathing noises sounded slow and even, but there was no way to know whether the folks inside were awake or asleep, not without cracking open the door. The odds favored them being awake: These weren’t bedrooms. But the gain outweighed the risk—according to the floor plans, this was Duverger’s office.

Praying the group inside was seated, Brian zapped the room with a sleep spell. Then he opened the door and slipped inside.

The boot heel that connected with his jaw came out of nowhere. Had he been a regular guy, the powerful, well-aimed blow would have knocked him out cold, guaranteed. Even so, the unexpected attack rocked him off balance, and he was headed for a face-plant in the colorful Moroccan carpet when his attacker kindly snagged his arm and eased his fall.

With a small hand, he noted. A kid, maybe.

There was no time to be offended. He grabbed an ankle and yanked his attacker to the ground. A little twist of his hand and the body fell atop a nearby leather armchair with a soft grunt. No attention-calling crash or bang, he noted with pride. Bounding to his feet, his hand still latched on to a slim ankle, he glanced around the room, verifying the slumbering state of two guards on the sofa before turning to his captive.

His breath snagged.

Not a kid, a woman.

To be more precise, an elegant woman with killer brown eyes and masses of gleaming dark hair pulled into a tight knot. Her black military-type outfit was boring, but the body inside was anything but. An endless cascade of long limbs and lush curves, it triggered the floodgates on his hormones and he got swept away like a drowning man. About a mile downstream, he realized his fingers were digging into the soft skin above her boot and he loosened his grip.