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Archive for the 'Sweet Disgrace' Category
It’s always so exciting to have a new story unleashed on the waiting masses (and hopefully there are masses…and they’ve been waiting, heh)–but it’s perhaps a wee bit more exciting today, because this is my first paranormal and I’m very anxious to see how it will go over.
Sweet Disgrace is a story that was born from the premise of a movie. I actually never watched the movie; I can’t even remember the name of the movie…but I was bored and flipping around the channels one day when I came across it. Apparently, whatever the title was, it intrigued me enough to pull up the info screen–and it was about a demon and an angel fighting over the soul of…I think it was a waitress. Wow, I’m just a wealth of information here. Anyway, writer brain kicked in and I immediately thought, “What if the demon and the angel fell in love?” And a plot bunny was born.
From the start, I knew the soul these two were fighting over would be a rock star, because hey, I love rock stars. At first the conflict came about because the rock star, Adam, was going to die soon and he was on the path to hell. The angel was desperately trying to steer him away. But it wasn’t working for me. It just wasn’t going in a direction I particularly wanted to explore. So, I tried to think of reasons that Adam might be so entrenched in his path to hell that there was practically no way in…hell…he could get out of it. One day the light bulb went off. Of course! Silly wabbit, he sold his soul.
That’s when the wheels really started turning. It was a lot of fun writing Celeste and Damael, and I found it interesting (and a little difficult) to write a hero that starts out the story as the villain. Damael was my first go at attempting to pull this off, so I hope I succeeded. I also enjoyed writing Adam and his bit of back story so much that I might even try my hand at a full-fledged rock star romance someday, sans paranormal elements. Seems only natural, right? We’ll see how that pans out. :-)
So, there you have it, a little background on Sweet Disgrace. I hope you’ll pick it up, and that you’ll enjoy following these two mortal enemies on their path to love everlasting.
I’m so excited to finally be able to reveal the cover art for Sweet Disgrace, coming October 12 from Samhain Publishing. Enjoy!
Look at this! I’m back for EM. Today I have a new clip from Sweet Disgrace for you. Release date for this one is October 12 from Samhain Publishing. Enjoy!
Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You don’t have to be published to participate–-just a writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the Excerpt Monday site or click on the banner above.
Through her hazy vision, Celeste saw Damael’s shoes step closer, saw him crouch down beside her. More of the world came into view as he pushed the hair from her face, tugging gently as he pulled out bits of leaves and broken twigs. She let her eyelids close when the whirling in her head intensified, but that only seemed to make it worse, so she opened them again. “Th-thank you. For stopping her.”
He didn’t reply, just continued his task. She found it soothing, now that she was oddly confident he would kill any threatening force that came near her. Soothing…until she looked at him. Remnants of his earlier anger was still in his eyes. The black irises were so large there was hardly a ring of white around them.
“Why did you do that?” she asked, not allowing herself to look away. Trying to figure out his motives herself proved too much for her clouded thoughts. “I’d have been one less for your kind to contend with.”
He blinked at her. “Do you think that’s what I want?”
“Well, there are those of us who would like to strike you all dead on sight, run rampant in the earth and maim and kill and destroy until it’s a wasteland. You just met one such as that. But I, sweet angel, rather like the competition.”
“But I’m no competition, am I?”
He seemed to debate with himself for a moment. “You won the Roman emperor that time. Nailed me on the basic required language I’d been writing for centuries.”
She managed to laugh. “I remember now. You took it with exceptionally good grace.”
It might have been her imagination, but she thought his expression darkened, a haunted shadow crossing his perfect features. For the first time in her existence, it occurred to her to wonder what consequences he faced for failing. She didn’t meet any repercussions except sorrowful embraces and encouraging words that gave no comfort. What did Damael’s masters do to him when he didn’t deliver?
She hadn’t seen him for a long time after that miraculous victory. A long, long time.
Which begged another question that sent a chill through her. Would he really risk whatever hell might be in store for him by releasing Adam if she gave in?
“How do you feel?” he asked, and she realized she’d been staring up at him longer than she should have. Behind him, the sky was black and glittering with stars, but it had to be nearing dawn. She could escape into that great open expanse right now, be done with all of this. Leave Adam to the doom he’d only brought upon himself.
But she wasn’t doing it. And it was becoming more apparent to her that she wasn’t going to.
She shifted on the ground and winced at the sharp pains that crackled along her limbs. There really was no reason to lie to him. “Not well. I still hurt.”
“Shall I make it better?”
“If you’ll allow me.”
Wariness crept through her, and she furrowed her brow at him. “That depends on what I must allow.”
He withdrew his hand from her hair and rested his elbow on his bent knee. Under ordinary circumstances, his smile might have been described as seductive, but at the moment she found it to be merely cruel. “A kiss.”
A sound of frustration escaped her, and she turned her face away from him, toward the ground. “You lie. I should have known all of this was leading back to your perverse—”
“It’s the quickest way to draw the energy into myself. Unless you’d rather—”
“Don’t be like that. I can help you.”
“You only want to help yourself.”
“How is that? I’ve offered you everything you want. Adam’s soul. Your healing. I’m a regular good Samaritan here, am I not?”
She gave a bark of laughter and instantly cringed. He couldn’t deny that her vulnerability was tugging at every predatory sense he possessed. She was on the ground, crumpled, helpless. Like a little bird with a broken wing, and he was the cat creeping up on her, step by agonizingly slow step.
Her fingers dug into the ground as another spasm seemed to overtake her, and he made a production of sighing wearily.
“This is needless, I’m telling you. I can take it all away.”
“How long will I be this way?”
“Have you never come under attack before?”
“If I have, it’s been so long I can’t remember.”
“Well, then. You could lie here for days if I don’t help you.”
“And why should I believe that?”
“Because it’s the truth?”
“Ha. Unlikely. You only want me to kiss you.”
“That’s a given. But I’m being sincere as well.”
She glanced at him with a sort of desperation in her blue eyes that left him struggling to conceal compassion he had no business feeling. It made him hope his outlandish scheme to heal her would work, but it always had with humans. Maybe she would be no different. “I want to believe you. So much.” Even as a whisper, her words were strained, agonized.
“What does that say about me? Please, if there is any vestige of selflessness within you, leave me be. Don’t make me into a fool.”
The longer she’d spoken, the more strength her voice had gained, until finally those eyes were blazing at him with righteous anger. He realized his earlier assertion had been off base. Even while wounded, she was not vulnerable. At least not in spirit.
“You’re a worthy adversary,” he told her. “I’ve always thought that. You don’t give up until the end. You deserve more than to be left on the ground, wallowing in pain.” He reached forward and slid his hands beneath her, seeing her eyes fly open wide in alarm. Weakly, she struggled against him, but he was too strong for her at this point. He lifted her and shifted until he was sitting on the ground, cradling her in his arms.
She felt frail against him, insubstantial. The softness of the wings folded tight against her back made his mouth run dry. He’d never touched anything like that before in his life. Hadn’t known such suppleness existed, until she was in his arms.
Her chest was heaving, her hand gripping his jacket even as she stared up at him apprehensively. He couldn’t interpret whether her reaction was from fear or desire or perhaps a combination of both. Sudden frustration engulfed him whole and chewed him up without mercy.
“Stubborn angel, I give you my word, dammit, and I don’t do that often. Let me help you. But I won’t do it without your permission,” he added, hearing the tight, barely leashed desperation in his own voice. “Give it to me.”
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Hello, my name is Cherrie and I’m a bad blogger.
Honestly, I figured when I first got this blog that it would be mostly for updates that aren’t important enough for the Home page and too long for Twitter. And sure enough, that’s what it’s turned out to be. I’ll try to keep you guys informed of what I’m working on here, or any new developments, but really Twitter is much more suited for my day-to-day observations and frustrations and triumphs. See, I’m a stay at home mom now, and my toddler keeps me on my toes. I don’t have much time for anything except drive-by Tweets (but everyone’s out of the house right now so I’m taking advantage). So, if that’s more the thing you’re looking for, please check me out at @CherrieLynn. I also love to interact on Facebook. :)
Now, on to updates! Sweet Disgrace will release in about four months. I haven’t yet seen cover art for this one, but I can’t wait. I’ll pass it on as soon as I have the okay. And, of course, I’ll be really excited to hear what you guys think of the story. I love paranormal romance as much as I love contemporary, so you’ll probably be seeing a nice mix of both coming from me. Right now the project on my front burner is the next in the demon/angel series, which does not feature the same characters as Disgrace (oh, Celeste and Damael, how I miss you!), but the same world where demons wreak havoc and angels try desperately to clean up their messes. I think it’s a lot of fun: sometimes scary, sometimes funny, sometimes sweet. But always with hot sex. Aren’t you glad? :P
A lot of you have asked about the next in the Ross siblings series. Yes, I am planning on giving Gabriella her story. Many of you have also asked about a Ghost/Macy spin-off, which I must say I hadn’t considered at all until I received so many requests for one. I do think those two could make for a fun shorter story. And he’s eccentric enough that I could have a lot of fun with that. A lot. Heh heh. I had also mentioned a Brian/Candace free read in a previous post, and I still intend to do that because I love them so much. The problem is now I realize something will be going on with them in Gabby’s book, so I wonder if the free read would best be put off until after that book is done because I want it to focus on their situation from their POV. Or I guess I could just write two freebies for them. Ah, decisions, decisions!
I’m also happy to announce this website will be completely redesigned soon by the wonderful April Martinez. It’s always so exciting to see something new, isn’t it? I’ve seen the design and I can’t stop looking at it. Want a little preview?
Isn’t it purple-icious? I can’t wait to launch.
Other than that, we’re just enjoying the summer here–as much as possible in 100+ degree heat. I hope all of you have a fabulous summer, and, hey, it’s Father’s Day! So enjoy the day with your dads, hubbies, relatives and friends.
‘Til next time,
Happy news! I’ve just contracted Sweet Disgrace with Samhain Publishing. I don’t have a release date yet, but we’re aiming for October/November. Something else I don’t have is an official blurb, but I can offer this dead-on description courtesy of fellow Romance Diva Inez Kelley, who was kind enough to give me a beta read:
Hell’s bad boy and Heaven’s beauty have been battling for eons over souls and fighting a fiery mutual attraction. Now Damael offers Celeste a devil of a bargaining chip, her body in exchange for a human’s precious soul.
How can Celeste resist the temptation to sample rapture in a demon’s arms?
Damael is willing to risk all the powers of hell for one taste of heaven.
God have pity on them if they get caught.
Isn’t that great? *g* If you’d like to read a juicy excerpt, check out my November EM post here.
This story…oh, it’s been a tough one. I started writing it early last year. I felt strongly about it, loved the concept and really wanted to see it through, but it just wasn’t working for me at the time. Then Brian and Candace from Rock Me took over, and for a few months I focused on getting them their much-deserved HEA.
When Samhain put out a call for demon/angel stories, I knew it was time to pick up Disgrace again. But it still wasn’t working. So I scrapped it and started over from scratch with a few changes, and that made all the difference. It was still slow going, but I felt better about it. I didn’t make the deadline for the anthology, but that’s okay (obviously). I ended up with what I think is a really fun, sexy story and I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out. We still have a long wait ahead, but I hope when fall rolls around–and you know it’ll probably be here before we know it–you’ll check it out.
ETA: We have a release date of 10/12/10. Yay!
So my demon/angel story is winding to a close, and for the most part I’m really, really happy with it. (Scroll down to my November EM post for an excerpt.) Unfortunately, it still does not have a title. That’s usually the last thing to fall into place…and I’m usually never quite satisfied with what I come up with. A previous version of the story was called Devil On My Shoulder, but it’s not as fitting now. In that draft, Damael was trying to lead Adam down the path to hell because Adam’s time on earth was almost up. Celeste was trying to veer him in the right direction before his deadline. It wasn’t working, so I scrapped it and started over. It’s been a little easier with Adam doomed from the start of the story, having signed his soul away years ago for rock stardom.
All I need to do is bridge a couple of scenes, finish the sex scene and beef up the ending, and I’ll call it done. Wish I could have accomplished this a month ago. It’s only a novella, but it’s been a really slow go.
Here’s a brief run-down of some of the stuff I listened to while writing:
“Halo” by Depeche Mode — All of my couples have their song; this one is 100% Damael and Celeste. It was on repeat more often than not while I was writing their scenes.
“March of Mephisto” by Kamelot
“Smashing the Opponent” by Infected Mushroom f/Jonathan Davis
“New World in My View” by King Britt/Sister Gertrude Morgan
“In My Darkest Hour” by Megadeth
“I Can’t Do This” by Plumb
“Pretend the World Has Ended” by She Wants Revenge
“Rev. 22:20” by Puscifer
“Reborn” by Stone Sour
“Corrupt” by Depeche Mode
“Babylon” by Soulfly
Next up, I’m trying to think of a neat erotic twist on Grimm fairy tale Jorinda and Jorindel. We’ll see how that goes; so far I’m coming up short. But I love that story. Whenever I would stay the night with my great-grandmother when I was little, I always asked her to read it to me at bedtime. And she always would. Here’s hoping something spectacular comes to me soon, because I really want to write this story.
Well, that’s all for now. I hope all of you have a fabulous, safe, happy Thanksgiving!
Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You don’t have to be published to participate–just a writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the Excerpt Monday site or click on the banner.
I’m back! This is my demon/angel WIP (which I did NOT finish in time for Samhain’s call, argh). It was once called Devil On My Shoulder, but that title actually referred to an earlier version of the story; I’m sure I’ll rename it soon. These two adversaries are negotiating over a rock star who signed his soul away almost twenty years ago for fame, and now his time is coming to a close. Meet Celeste and Damael. Enjoy!
She held out her hand. “Let me see it.”
Gaze steady upon her own, Damael reached into the breast pocket of his satiny black jacket and pulled out a scroll tied with a black ribbon. One corner of his mouth tugged up with smug triumph as he handed it over. “The wording hasn’t changed since last time. You lost that one too, if I recall.”
Indeed, it was rare to find a loophole. Damael straightened his blood-red tie and lapels as she unfurled the thick parchment and read. The text grew smaller and smaller, and to human eyes would have disappeared altogether before the signature line. There was no way Adam had been able to read what he was signing, but yet there was his hastily scribbled signature amid splatters of blood like obscene teardrops on the pale background.
Her heart fell and cracked. So young. So desperate.
Without a word, she handed it back to him. He watched her, his expression unreadable, as he rolled it up and put it back in his pocket.
“Why do they send you now?” he asked, surprising her with his sudden intensity. “Why don’t they send you to talk some sense into these idiots before they destroy themselves? Perhaps then you could be somewhat useful.”
Secretly, she agreed. “It has to do with free will, choosing one’s own destiny—”
“Blah, blah, blah. If that’s the case, then he’s chosen it. It’s done. Let him suffer the consequences.”
She sighed, folding her hands in front of her as she met his dark gaze squarely. His irises were a starless oblivion. Black and bottomless, she feared they would pull her right into their void and stretch her into nothing if she stared for too long. Yet she would not allow herself to look away. Those eyes were far less frightening now than when he was caught in the throes of lust for a fresh soul.
“What would it take for you to release him from his contract?”
Flashing that singularly gorgeous smile, he stretched his long legs in front of him and laced his fingers across his stomach. Faint tendrils of smoke curled from his shoulders. Amazing, that a creature so beguilingly beautiful could be capable of such cruelty, but she was reminded of his origins with every wisp that rose from his body and every smolder in his eyes. She’d witnessed that cruelty first hand. She’d lost to him so many times. In fact, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d won.
The question that came from his lips then stunned her. “How desperate are you to win him?”
Celeste’s brows drew together. “Desperate? That’s hardly the word I’d use.”
“So then…you don’t care that much?”
“Of course I care. I’d like nothing more than to see him continue his life, and then to bring him safely home when his time is up.”
“Even though he essentially renounced all that is holy when he gave himself to me. And he’s lived a life of nothing but debauchery since, hurting everyone who loves him.”
“He’s no more lost than the others who eventually find their way.”
“Oh, I’d say he is,” Damael said. “I’d say he’s quite off the path, and a monster is eyeing him from the bushes, ready to pounce. It’ll strike in about seventeen hours. That monster is me.” He had never looked away from her once, and while she still found that unsettling, she began to relax somewhat. Damael was no threat to her whatsoever; she was off limits to him. “Don’t you get tired of watching it?” he asked softly. “You’re the only one of your kind who stays, you know. The rest of them flee in the final minutes. Why do you not?”
She dropped her gaze to the floor. “To punish myself, I suppose.”
“Because I lost.”
“How?” He unfolded his tall frame from the couch, walking over to stand in front of her. She knew because his black shoes came into her field of vision, a startling contrast to the pristine white of her robes brushing the floor. His voice was sardonic and cold, nothing at all like those she was accustomed to hearing in her realm. “He lost when he signed himself to hell. Just because you can’t undo his stupidity doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.” Two fingers slid under her chin, exerting enough firm pressure to tilt her chin up until she was looking into those extraordinary eyes.
Inhaling sharply, she couldn’t lend voice to her indignation. She should have backed away immediately and exhorted him to never touch her again. She should have, but she couldn’t. No dark magic he possessed could bewitch her as completely as the feel of his skin on hers. She’d never felt it before, had always assumed it would burn, or pain her in some other way, or at the very least, disgust her. It only called forth a desperate longing for the forbidden. For something beyond her realm of experience.
“You stay and subject yourself to the terror of those you’re trying to protect. Why?”
“Because…” She couldn’t find any more words, lost in the roiling black sea of his eyes. Usually flat and glassy, just now they were turbulent.
She didn’t owe him any answers, but… “Because in that moment you rip their soul from their bodies and take them down, I don’t want you to be the only thing they see. I want them to see me, and feel my love for them, and know they were loved. That they didn’t have to choose this path.”
“That’s noble of you. But under the circumstances, rather cruel.”
“Maybe my compassion for them is something they can hang on to throughout the torment they face.”
“Most of them deserve it.”
“No,” she said, finding firmness at last but not the strength to step away from him. He held her completely bound with nothing but his fingertips nudging the tender flesh under her chin. “If I allowed myself to believe that, I couldn’t do this.”
“So again I ask you, little angel, what you would do to win him back. To not have to witness the horror this time.”
She swallowed thickly, a tiny flare of hope and excitement coursing through her. “You keep asking me what I would do, but I have the suspicion you already have something in mind.”
One black wing-shaped brow edged higher in his forehead. His fingertips fell away, and all at once she felt as if the power that had been holding her upright buckled and collapsed. She almost stumbled, but managed to catch herself. “Perhaps.”
His gaze roved down from her face then, taking in the folds of her white gown. A liquid ache pooled at the juncture of her thighs, spreading farther the longer he looked at her. Why did he have to always have this effect on her? She wasn’t unaccustomed to this sensation where he was concerned, but still it dismayed her every time. Wickedness seeped into his expression…nothing perceptible, really, but a subtle shift she could sense rather than see. She had the terrible feeling that he knew exactly what sensations he was creating in her.
“W-what do you want?”
That flat black stare lifted to her face again. This time she felt certain it was pulling her in. “You.”
She blinked, pressing her thighs together in a feeble attempt to squelch the unsettling throb between them. “I don’t understand.”
“I think you do.”
“You want me to take his place? I cannot—”
“No. I want you naked and writhing beneath me.”
Stunned outrage flashed through her, followed too closely by a rush of heat that could have blown up from the very depths of hell. She should have stepped back, or struck out at him—at the very least, she should have demanded for him to not speak to her in such an appalling manner. It wasn’t proper, it couldn’t happen—
But his voice drew her along as easily as a bit of tissue caught up in a strong draft, blown this way and that, helpless as to the direction or the destination. “I want you, your sweetness, your light. I want to bury myself in it. You, crying out my name…that’s what I want. And I’ll set him free.”
“I’ll never say your name,” she snapped, as if this were the most offensive suggestion he’d made. “You want to ruin me.”
“Oh, no,” he murmured, and she closed her eyes as his hand came up and stroked her hair. “You’re the loveliest thing I’ve ever seen. For all my centuries of hatred, death and decadence, you…” He exhaled shakily, and she opened her eyes in time to see him close his own. “You are somehow perfection.”
He was insane. Or was she, for even allowing that sort of talk? This proposition from any other of his kind would send her fleeing. And as he implied, he should be repulsed by her, not tempted. Why he’d wanted her throughout all these centuries was a mystery to her. She’d always felt it, sensed it, though he’d never put his desire into words. Until now.
Gathering her frazzled senses at last, she straightened and lifted her chin. “There will be no deals struck between us. I want to take the matter before the mediator.”
He looked at her, his brow wrinkled. “For what? We have a contract. Adam agreed to this. Don’t make yourself look foolish because you’re angry at me.”
“No foolishness. I simply think it could be argued Adam was too young and impulsive to fully understand the consequences of his agreement. I’ll plea for intercession on his behalf.”
Damael scoffed. “They’re all too young, whether they’re eighteen or eighty. Don’t you think?”
“My mind’s made up.”
“Very well. But keep in mind, there’s an easy way to get through this, with guaranteed victory on your part.” His gaze took another journey down the length of her body and she fought the urge to wrap her arms around herself even though she was completely covered. “Easy, and dare I say, far more pleasurable than listening to Nicolae’s prattling.”
Still reeling from his suggestion, Celeste turned and exited the room. She had to get him out of her sight. Had to. It wasn’t because she was tempted—
Well, all right, she was. To the tips of her wings, she was tempted. If she let him see just how much, she’d be lost.
But Adam might be saved.
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