woensdag 22 oktober 2014

Excerpt: Cover Him with Darkness by Janine Ashbless

Title: Cover him with Darkness
Series: The Watchers
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Tempted Romance (October 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1940550017
ISBN-13: 978-1940550015

If You Loved an Angel... How Far Would You Fall with Him?

What happens when the daughter of the village priest falls in love with an archangel banished from heaven? Milja’s heart is struck when she catches a glimpse of the preternaturally beautiful prisoner her father keeps captive beneath his church’s altar.

Torn between tradition, loyalty and her growing obsession with the fallen angel, will Milja risk losing her family, and her eternal soul, for the love of this divine being? 

Janine Ashbless will transport you to a world where good and evil battle for true love.

If the house had felt strange, the soot-blackened interior of the tiny church, with its icons so darkened by age that only their gilt halos could be madeout clearly, was like something from another era; something medieval and now distinctly unwelcoming. St. Michael, patron saint of our family, stood over the recumbent Devil still, and watched me with mournful disapproval as I retrieved from under the floor tile the key to the narrow padlocked door behind the altar. My hands were unsteady as I probed the lock, but I remembered the old trick of jiggling the key against the teeth to persuade it to turn. I stepped into the passage beyond for the first time in years.
An arm’s length behind the wooden door was something new: a metal door I’d never seen before. Nonplussed, I looked it over. It had deep lintels and jambs, also steel, and no lock but two heavy bracing bars. It was, I worked out, a homemade blast door, welded from many sections. Father must have fitted it himself, when he decided to prepare the world’s last line of defense against the prisoner below.
It took the weight of my shoulder to move the steel door on its hinges.
Down I went, into the dark, the first person in weeks to tread this path. I carried only a two-liter bottle of water and a flashlight. The church’s lingering scent of frankincense gave way to a cellar smell of damp stone. From the niches to either side, the nameless statues of forgotten gods watched me pass.
Down, down, my feet scuffing the stone on which no dust settled. My fingers spread, brushing the rock.
The passage opened out into the cavern. Daylight filtered in from the broken roof far above. Great slabs of limestone lay spilled across the path of my flashlight.
There. There he was. Just as I remembered. My nightmares were all real. I felt my heart pound against my ribs like it would smash them.
Dear God.
I was seeing him with adult eyes too. He didn’t look like a titan, or a demon, or a god. He looked like a man: perhaps in his early thirties, swarthy, with an athletic build and really dark lashes and hair going prematurely gray. Tall, but not inhumanly so. Dirty; naked; abused. His exposed armpits and crotch were exclamation marks of vulnerability. I picked my way over to the slab and knelt over him. His face was just the same as it had been five and more years ago: stubbled, haggard with pain but handsome despite that. Breathtakingly so, like the agonized beauty of certain icons.
I touched his face. He opened his eyes. “Milja.”
I began to cry.
His voice was hoarse. “You…came…back.”
I was shocked: he’d never addressed me before. The words “I’m sorry!” spilled from my lips along with my sobs; “Oh God, oh God—I’m sorry! Papa sent me away! I didn’t want to go, I didn’t—”
My tears were dripping on his face. I wiped clumsily at them, smearing the dirt. “What’s your name?” I begged.
He didn’t answer.
“Who are you?”
He tried to moisten his lips. “I…don’t remember.”
Bending forward, I pressed my wet cheek to his. Did I believe him? I don’t know. He could be Loki or Prometheus or Azazel; I know I didn’t care anymore. When I sat up I reached to the nape of my neck and undid my necklace. The sheath of bright blue plastic peeled off to reveal a supple length of steel-toothed metal: a wire saw.
This was it. The moment of choice.

Janine Ashbless is a writer of fantasy erotica and steamy romantic adventure – and that’s “fantasy” in the sense of swords ‘n’ sandals, contemporary paranormal, fairytale, and stories based on mythology and folklore.  She likes to write about magic and mystery, dangerous power dynamics, borderline terror, and the not-quite-human.

Janine has been seeing her books in print ever since 2000, and her novels and single-author collections now run into double figures. She’s also had numerous short stories published by Black Lace, Nexus, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Harlequin Spice, Storm Moon, Xcite, Mischief Books, and Ellora’s Cave among others. She is co-editor of the nerd erotica anthology Geek Love.

Her work has been described as: "hardcore and literate" (Madeline Moore) and "vivid and tempestuous and dangerous, and bursting with sacrifice, death and love."   (Portia Da Costa)


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