Friday, 27 December 2013

Lady's Destiny Cover Reveal - A R Von



BLURB

When dreams haunt you in the most delicious ways and fate pulls you into destiny’s path, what can be done other than to accept and submit to it.

Can Iria truly get what she’s always dreamed of or will it always just remain a memory? Being a rare creature such as her with exceptional beauty and rarity of existence should be enough.  Though, all she wants is her desire, her destiny… To be with a man—one man.

Are these dreams she’s having real? Could she really take on human form and become a Lady to be with the man she craves?

Dezso discovers a magical creature—a being of incredible light and peace. He is drawn to it again and again, and his feelings grow with every encounter. He carries a dark secret that he wishes never existed. The only thing that truly brings light upon his existence is the beauty that warms his heart but seems to only exist in his head—with dreams and visions of a magical woman, full of heartwarming light.

Will he ever know true love and happiness? Will he ever be able to lighten the weight and share his dark secret with another...?

Darkness is growing stronger, weakening the light and killing off what makes the world a beautiful place to live in. Enter a world of fantasy and dreams, passions and temptations. A world where dragons, unicorns, magic and mermaids really do exist. A world where love WILL conquer all!

To be released January 2014.


Bio:
A.R. was born and raised in Bronx, NY and is the oldest daughter of two girls. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Computer Science and Information Technology, which was only briefly used. She’s a mother of two entertaining teen boys (as well as a lovely fawn Chihuahua, whom she considers her furry daughter.) She’s also a wife to a delightfully handsome and amazingly funny man-beast. She loves anything dragon and fantasy related. In her free time she enjoys exercising, writing, listening to music, hiking, cooking, dancing and reading. She also loves a great adventure in and out of a book!
She writes to free her mind of its constant wondering and clutter. She thrives on the fact she can share some of it with readers that have the same passion for a great story.


Stalker links:





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Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Wednesday Briefs - Catherine's Revenge Ch 10


Another Wednesday rolls around, and a darned exciting one at that. MERRY CHRISTMAS

Hopefully I will have managed to pre post and by now I'll be well fed and tipsy :) Happy Happy Holidays to all 

Today I chose There was a fire in his eyes, and the picture of the fire, just because it's cold as heck here. 

“Ash,” Emma said, tentatively. He’d stopped screaming, but was rocking back and forth, his head in his hands. “Please, Ash. It’s me Emma. Look at me.”

Taking Ash’s hands, she pulled them away from his face. He resisted, but eventually she managed to force him to look at her. Emma almost recoiled. His eyes were still white and frozen.

“Emma, please,” Tristan said, desperately. “We have to go. They’ll attack any moment. They can’t hurt me and they won’t hurt Ash, but they’ll tear you to pieces.”

“In a minute.”

Holding tight to the frozen hands, Emma stared into her brother’s eyes. “Remember me, Ash. Remember what we are. We were one the same being, the same egg inside our mother. Part of you is me, and part of me is you. I can’t lose you. I won’t. It would be losing part of myself. I’m here, Ash. Feel me.” Emma put her hand over Ash’s heart, and he jerked, as if a bolt of electricity had passed through him.

“That’s it, Ash. I’m there, aren’t I. Feel me.”

For the first time there seemed to be something behind the frozen eyes. Ash blinked and moaned.

“Come on, Ash. You can beat this. I know you can. Fight. Come back to me.”

Ash moaned again and began to shake violently. He gave a piercing cry and yanked his hands free of Emma’s to cover his eyes.

“Ash? We have to get out of here. We’re in terrible danger.”

Ash lowered his hands and Emma almost fainted with relief. His eyes were blue again.

“E-Emma?”

“Yes, it’s me. It’s me, Ash. Can you stand? We have to get out of there.”

“I…. Yes.”

Emma stood up, and tried to haul Ash to his feet. He seemed to have no strength. Tristan crouched beside him and put a hand on his shoulder. Ash jerked again, and looked up at Tristan, his eyes glazed and confused. Without a word, Tristan slipped his arm under Ash’s and hauled him to his feet. Ash swayed, but was able to stand and, with Tristan’s support, walk.

“Stay between us,” Tristan said, as they stumbled toward the door. The creatures hissed and spat at them, 
but didn’t come closer. In fact, they fell back, letting them pass.

“Why are they not attacking?”

“They dare not. If they harm Ash, Catherine will punish them, and you can imagine what kind of punishment it would be.”

“But why? If she wants Ash dead….”

“She wants him for herself. If she takes his life she gains power from him.”

“What kind of power?”

“The power to transcend death. Even though she will have wiped out the Loughbridge line, and satisfied the curse, she has no intention of eternal rest. Once she absorbs Ash’s life force, she will have the power she needs to break free of the cycle of life and death, once and for all. She will have terrible power and will not hesitate to unleash it on anyone who stands in her way.”

“In her way to what?”

“Who knows? Catherine is insane. Who knows what she’s capable of or what she might seek to achieve with that kind of power. I would rather not find out.”

“Me too.”

By this time, they had stumbled down the steps and ran, almost dragging Ash with them, back to the house.
Adam was pacing restlessly in the hall.

“Oh my god, what happened?”

“It’s a long story,” Emma said. “We have to get Ash somewhere warm.”

“This is getting ridiculous. We’ve got out of here. It’s not safe.”

“Nowhere will be safe.”

“I’d feel a lot better if we were back in civilization. Get Ash in the car.”

“Are you sure this is a good idea?”

“There’s nowhere in this house we’re going to get warm. We’ll drive to the closest hotel, and come back in the morning for our things.”

“Can you come with us?” Emma asked. “I mean, can you leave?”

“Yes. I will come.”

They loaded Ash into the car, and Adam skidded gravel in his eagerness to get the hell out of there.

“It will make no difference,” Tristan said. “You cannot run from her. She will follow wherever you go.”

“That’s as may be,” Adam said, but I’ll feel better being back on familiar territory. That house gave me the creeps from the start.”

“Oh thank you. Now you tell us.”

Emma, sitting in the back with Ash wished the car would heat faster. She was trying not to think of the fact that, no matter how warm the car became, Ash wouldn’t warm with it. She put her arm around her brother, shivering at his touch, and drew him close. He rested his head on her shoulder.
Ash rolled his head, to look up at her. “What’s happening to me?” he whispered, through blue lips.

“You’re going to be alright. I promise you’re going to be alright.”

“You cannot make promised like that, Emma,” Tristan said, turning in his seat. A fire burned in his eyes. “It is not true. It is unlikely Ash will survive.”

“Tristan,” Emma hissed, but Ash smiled.

“I know that, Em,” he said. “I feel…cold inside. Sometimes things are clear, but mostly it’s like a dream, and I’m sliding into it, more and more. I’m slipping away, and I can’t stop it.”

“Yes, you can. I won’t let you slip away. I won’t let you die.”

“There’s nothing you can do, Em. She’s too strong.”

“I won’t accept that, Ash. She may be strong, but I’m stronger, and I won’t let her take you away from me.”
Ash stared up at her, his eyes very blue.

“Jesus Christ,” Adam cried before the car swerved  violently to the side, skidded and there was a moment of sublime peacefulness, when everything hung suspended.


“Ash,” Emma cried, trying to shield her brother with her body, then there was a tremendous crash, and everything went black.

Now, go check out the other flashers here Hopefully, the new site will mean I no longer have to list every flasher individually. We'll see how it goes. Please leave a comment to let me know if it doesn't work

Friday, 20 December 2013

The Coming Storm -

The Coming Storm, By Valerie Douglas

Spanning an epic series of books, 'The Coming Storm' by Valerie Douglas takes you to the heart of a conflict between magic users, and those without magic, good and evil, love and loss. Join Ailith and Elon as they have to choose between love, duty, and everything they've battled for.

about-the-book-valerie

Elon of Aerilann, Elven advisor to the High King of Men, helped negotiate the treaty between Elves, Dwarves and men. He suddenly finds that fragile truce threatened from without by an unknown enemy and from within by old hatreds and prejudice. With the aid of his true-friend Colath, the wizard Jareth and the Elven archer Jalila, he goes in search of the source of the threat.

Ailith, the Heir to Riverford, fights her own silent battle. Her father has changed, but her quest to discover what changed him puts her life and very soul in danger and leaves her only one direction in which to turn. Elon.
To preserve the alliance, though, Elon will have to choose between his honor, his duty and everything for which he fought.

Amazon | Goodreads

series-buy-linksA Convocation of Kings (The Coming Storm, #2)

(The Coming Storm, #3) (novella will be 99¢ during the blast)

(The Coming Storm, #4) (novella will be 99¢ during the blast)

review quotes

Read more reviews on Amazon

meet-valerie-butt

valerie-douglas-001Valerie Douglas is a prolific writer and a genre-crosser, much to the delight of her fans. A fan of authors of almost every genre from Isaac Asimov to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, she writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and as V.J. Devereaux, erotic romance. Who knows what will pop up down the road!

Happily married, she’s companion to two dogs, four cats and an African clawed frog named Hopper who delights in tormenting the cats from his tank.

You can find more information at Valerie Douglas Books, or at Alexandria Publishing Group.

Facebook ~ Blog ~ Twitter

And to celebrate her book blast, Valerie's lowered the price of The Coming Storm on a Countdown Deal. Head on over to the page and see what it's set and and grab your copy at the lowest price you can! Her novellas Not Magic Enough & Setting Boundaries have also been priced at $0.99 for the duration of this project.

And in January....

join-the-tour

In January, Valerie is visiting blogs, talking books and sharing her experience. As author of more than 20 books, she's got a lot to say about indie publishing and would love to visit with you.

If you'd like to join in you can sign up here or fill the form out below

 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Wednesday Briefs - Catherine's Revenge Chapter 9

There is no fireplace in my story, no fish men and, in fact, nothing Christmassy at all. The prompt I chose...well, the one that fitted, was to include a poltergeist, and even that is somewhat strained :) However, I couldn't resist putting cheery, Christmassy pictures in, just because I can





Ash was dancing. At least, he was moving; swaying, with his eyes closed and his arms raised, as if encircling someone. All he was holding was air.

“Ash?” Emma asked tentatively, as she took a step forward. A hand on her arm stopped her.

“Wait. Something’s going on, and it’s not good. Be careful.”

Emma nodded and took another, cautious step forward. “Ash, are you okay? It’s me, Emma.”

Ash ignored her, dancing with someone that didn’t exist, a rapt expression on his face. 

Emma took another step forward. “Ash?”

Finally reaching her brother, Emma put a shaking hand on his arm and gasped. He was cold; preternaturally cold, as if there was ice in his veins, stiffening his body. At her touch, Ash shuddered and dropped his arms. He opened his eyes and it took all Emma had not to scream and run. Ash’s eyes were white, as if ice had formed across them. 
They glittered in the cold light.

“Oh God, Ash. What has she done to you?”

“He’s mine now,” a voice hissed in Emma’s ear. “Soon, my chill hand will enclose his heart and he will die. Until then, you will watch him fade, knowing there is nothing you can do to save him.”

Emma whirled and found herself face to face with a woman with long dark hair and wide blue eyes. She was dressed in a wedding dress, but it was no longer white. An ugly red stain spread from the chest to the hem and dripped onto the floor where she walked, leaving bloody footprints on the polished floor.

Laughing, Catherine pushed past Emma and pressed herself against Ash, stroking his cheek. “Dance with me, my beautiful boy,” she purred and Ash raised his arms to embrace her.

“Ash, no.”

Hands closed on Emma’s shoulders, holding her back. “No,” Tristan said softly in her ear. “Don’t touch them. You’ll be caught in the spell, too.

“But I can’t just stand here and watch her do this to him. He’s so cold. He can’t stand 
up to it for long. His body will go into shock, and he’ll die.”

“Not yet. She won’t kill him yet. She’s like a cat and likes to play with her kill. She’ll toy with him…and me.”

“You?”

“Part of this whole thing is to torment me; to punish me by having to watch my family die, one by one.”

“Ah,” Catherine said, spinning out of Ash’s arms. “The inimitable Tristan Loughbridge. I knew you’d be here.” She glared at Tristan. “You never could resist a pretty face, and I have to admit, this one is pretty. The boy is, too.” Catherine turned and stroked Ash’s cheek. “Such a pretty baby,” she cooed. Ash stood, immobile, showing no sign he’d heard her.

Turning back to Emma, Catherine gave her a cold, appraising look that made Emma shiver.

“I think he might be the prettiest,” Catherine said, “except, perhaps, for Edward. Edward was so sweet, so adorable. It was almost hard to kill him. He took such a long time to die. Who would have thought it from someone so delicate, and frail? He had a sister, too, didn’t he? As pretty as this one. What was her name?”

“Anna,” Tristan said, flatly.

“Ah, that’s right. Such a beauty. You had a dalliance with her, I recall. She quite fell in love with you. Poor Anna, she was devastated when her brother died. She really thought she could save him – with your help of course. You didn’t tell her you had the means to save him all along, and you’re not going to tell this one, are you? You’re not going to tell her that you will comfort her, lead her on, and mourn with her when he drifts away – and all the time you could have saved him. You could have saved them all.”

“No,” Tristan said, sharply.

“You made your choices. Now you have to live with them. You all have to live with them.” She turned to Ash and smiled at him, caressing his cheek and hair in a way that made Emma feel sick. “Except you, of course.”

“Leave him alone. Don’t touch him.”

Emma tried to grab Catherine’s arm, to drag her away from Ash, but as solid as Catherine’s arm seemed, it was as insubstantial as smoke in Emma’s hand.

Catherine laughed. “Oh dear, little girl, did you think you could touch me? That you could drag me away by force? Silly little thing. You see, I’m not really here. I’m in there. She tapped Ash’s forehead. I’m doing all kinds of things in there, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me. Of course, you have modern medicine now, don’t you, in your shiny hospitals, with doctors and nurses. You could probably keep him alive for a while, a long while, maybe, but I’ll get him in the end, and all the time you’re holding on, all the time you think he’s calm, sleeping, inside he’ll be doing this….”

Catherine tapped Ash’s forehead again, and he crumpled to his knees. Holding his head in his hands, he rocked back and forth. Then he started to scream, and didn’t stop.

All around, the dancers took up the cry, shrieking, their lovely facades fading to reveal twisted creatures with sharp fangs and claws. Their eyes glowed in the fading light, as the illusion shattered around them and darkness fell in shards of dark glass. In every shard, a mote of white light danced, and laughed at them.

“Come on,” Tristan said, grabbing her arm. “We must leave this place. We are in grave danger. It may already be too late. Keep tight hold of my hand and we may yet escape with our lives.

“I’m not leaving Ash.”

“It is already too late for him, Emma. His end is close. Please, save yourself.”

“I’m not leaving Ash, Emma repeated stubbornly, and fell to her knees beside her tormented brother.

As usual, you now have the joy of even more free flashes by other, even better writers. So go check them out.






Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Wednesday Briefs - Catherine's Revenge - Chapter 8


After not having participated for two weeks it still seems like no time since I posted the last installment of Catherine's Revenge. Since then, there's been a lot of water under the bridge. It's been a very full two weeks. In another two weeks it will be Christmas WOOOOO.

Anyway, here is Catherine's Revenge 8. I hope you enjoy

There were some very interesting prompts this week and it was gutting that none of the pics fit with what I was writing this week, I would love this one to have applied.


OR THIS ONE  



But no, so instead I chose  "Damned if I know!"


Emma must have fallen asleep where she was sitting, because she woke suddenly to find herself lying across Tristan’s lap, her head pillowed comfortably on his thigh. Someone had wrapped her in a sleeping bag and blanket, and she was warm and contented.

The crack of a knot popping, as the fire settled, startled her. That must have been what woke her. In the eerie, flickering firelight, she raised her head, for a last glance around before settling again. Ash’s chair was empty.

Emma raised her head a little more, and looked around. There was no sign of her brother.

“What’s wrong?” Tristan asked, his voice sleepy. She’d thought he was asleep. Did ghosts sleep?

“Where’s Ash?”

“He may have needed to relieve himself.”

“Maybe. I should check.” Emma reluctantly sat up, shivering as the blanket slid from her shoulders.

Putting his hand on her shoulder, Tristan rose quickly. “Remain here, in the warmth of the fire. I will locate your brother.”

Emma covered his hand with hers and looked up into his eyes. “Thank you,” she said and Tristan gave her a shy smile, his eyelashes fluttering as he ducked his head. Emma thought that if he hadn’t been…whatever he was, he’d have blushed.

“It is my pleasure M’lady.” Tristan raised her hand briefly to his lips, before stepping away. With a last smile, he hurried to the door.

“What’s happening?” Adam asked sleepily, sitting up.

“Nothing. It’s okay. Go back to sleep.”

“Why are you up?” Adam sounded more awake. He looked around.

“Where are Tristan and Ash?”

“I don’t know where Ash is. Tristan went to look for him. He’s probably only gone to the loo.”

“Probably,” Adam echoed in a tone that sounded unconvinced.

Emma pulled the sleeping bag up to her chin and huddled against the sofa. The cold that began to seep into her had nothing to do with the temperature outside.

It seemed to Emma, that Tristan was gone a very long time. When he returned, he looked very grave.

“I have searched the house,” he said. “Ash is not here.”

“Not here? Are you sure?”

“I am very sure.”

“Well, where the hell would he have gone?” Adam asked, scrambling to his feet. “It’s the middle of the night.”

“I’m damned if I know. We must search. You make a better examination of the house, while I—”

“You know where he is,” Emma said, her heart fluttering wildly, almost choking out her words.

“The summerhouse.”

Emma and Tristan locked eyes, fear flashing in both.  Then Emma was flying. Throwing off her covers, she would have run as she was, if Tristan hadn’t stopped her and pointed out she wasn’t wearing shoes. With immense impatience, she pulled on her boots and grabbed a coat from a pile of clothes on a chair. It was only when she was doing it up, she realized it was Ash’s. Somehow, that made things a whole lot worse.

Adam followed them across the room, but Emma stopped him.

“You should wait here, in case he comes back.”

“But, I’m his father. I—”

“Yes, I know, but I don’t want to think of him coming back here and being alone. That might be the very thing Catherine wants – to lure us all away.”

“Maybe you’re right,” Adam admitted reluctantly. He pulled Emma into a brief, fierce hug. “Be careful.”

“I will. Tristan will take care of me.”

Grabbing Tristan’s hand, she ran.

Outside, the night was cold and very still, as if the world was holding its breath. It was the same deep hush that falls with snow, although there was none.

Without a word, Tristan and Emma started to run toward the lake, their feet leaving footprints on the dewy grass.

It was the time of day known as ‘the time between time’ – not quite day, but already leaving behind the night. With every step, the world lightened around them, and as visibility increased they were able to run faster and faster.

They burst out of the trees, onto the bank of the lake and froze.

The summerhouse was ablaze with lights. The sound of music and laughter carried to them through the still air.

“What the hell’s going on?” Emma demanded.

“I don’t know but it’s not likely to be good. Stay close.”

With more hesitant steps, they crunched across the frosted ground, drawing closer to the building, which appeared to be hosting a party.

As they drew closer, they could see the front doors stood open. A jumble of colour swirled and flashed within, eventually resolving into gorgeous ballgowns. The notes of what sounded like a live string band hung thick the air and brittle laughter tinkled like broken crystal.

“What’s going on?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

“Is it real? Is it a vision?”

“It might well be both.”

“What do you mean?”

“Look.” Tristan stalled any further questioning with a hand on her arm. He pointed through the doors and Emma caught a glimpse of blue jeans through the whiling satin.

“Ash.” Emma would have bolted, but Tristan dragged her back.

“Wait. We can’t just go rushing in there.”

“Why not?”

“Well….”

“To hell with this.” Emma wrenched her arm free and ran for the summerhouse.  Ignoring Tristan’s calls, she fled across the lawn and up the steps. No one paid her any attention as she pushed through the press of bodies, searching for her brother.

She didn’t stop to wonder why the huge chandelier hanging above her was unbroken, or why the mirrors were intact again. She didn’t worry that the dancers stopped dancing and drew back to the walls, leaving an open space at the centre. She didn’t notice that the dancers were thickest near the door, blocking her way back.

All Emma saw, was Ash.







Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Wednesday Briefs - Catherine's Revenge Chapter 7



Wednesday again and another installment of my spooky new story, Catherine's revenge. It's another new thing - to try to write spooky.

The prompts I used this week are



Which Catherine has none of, and Failure is not an option.

“She must have been mentally unstable” Emma said, cold shivers tickling her neck, “completely insane. Why would she kill herself just because she thought she’d been stood up?”

“In those days, being jilted at the altar was a much greater thing; a matter of slight, of dishonour. The entire family would be thrown into uproar and consider it an insult to them, as much as to her. I believe, however, there was more to it than this. I fear she had the propensity for madness; something no one knew before, or perhaps had not spoken of, for fear she might become un-weddable.”

“But that was awful. Her family knew she was unstable and didn’t tell anyone in case Tristan changed his mind?” Emma tossed her head. “Huh. That’s horrible. Her parents must have been cold and mean.

“It must have been hard bringing up a daughter like that. Mental illness wasn’t seen the same back then, was it? If it wasn’t the result of possession, it was a character flaw. So, they shut their mouths about their daughter being completely bonkers, hoping she’d be married off and someone else’s problem.

“So…the curse? Did it work?”

“Oh yes. Since that time, every Loughbridge male who reached the age of twenty one years, took ill with an unknown malady, and after lingering on for a time, and sinking into madness, they all, without exception, died.”

“What kind of malady?”

“They grew cold, to the point no fire was able to warm them, as if the life that heated their veins was being drawn out of them.”

“And the madness?”

“They believed themselves possessed by an unquiet spirit who tormented them in dreams and, finally, in their waking hours. They were all found dead in the summerhouse with expressions of horror on their faces, as if they’d witnesses something so terrifying it stopped their hearts.”

“Catherine?”

“Yes, I believe so.”

Emma looked over at Ash and said fiercely. “That won’t happen to Ash. I won’t let him die.”

“I will help you, Emma, but it will not be an easy path.”

“I don’t care how hard it is. I won’t let my brother die.”

“Let’s say we believe this crazy story,” Adam said, “which I’m not saying I do. What does it have to do with you? What do you get out of it?”

“Peace,” Tristan said, drawing himself up and meeting Adam’s eyes.

“You’re him, aren’t you,” Emma said. “Catherine’s fiancĂ©e.  You weren’t named after him; you are him.”

Tristan gave her a tired smile. “Yes. I am he. I have watched for so many years, as Catherine has taken one young man after another. The last was such a long time ago, I had begun to hope…. I should have known I would not be here if it were over. I can sit by no longer. This has gone on too long. Too many innocent lives lost and ruined.”

“But how…? How can you be? Are you a ghost?”

“I don’t know. All I know is that I have lingered here; watching helplessly as Catherine torments me with her goddamn curse.”

“Does she know you’re still here?”

“Oh yes; she knows. I believe it is partly because of me she keeps it going. It is to punish me as much as anything else.”

“Does she know what happened? That you didn’t stand her up? That you died?”

“She knows.”

“Then why? Why is she doing this?”

“Revenge, Emma. She is determined to make me suffer as long as she can for the way she believes I made her suffer. Although I was innocent, she sees me as the man who left her at the altar, who brought shame to her and her family, who was the cause of her madness and death. As irrational as it is, that is her belief. She will not stop until the last Loughbridge man is dead, and I cannot rest until she does.”

“But…. It’s Ash. The last Loughbridge man is Ash. There’s no one else; no distant cousins or remote members of the family. My mother was an only child and both my grandparents had only sisters. Ash is the last.”

“Yes.”

“Then why are you doing this? Why now, after all this time? All you have to do is wait for him to die and it’s over for you. If you hadn’t told us about the curse we’d never have known; never have fought it.”

“Do you think I have stood idle all these years? Do you think I have not tried? With every one?”

“Oh. I…I’m sorry. I didn’t…”

Tristan gave her a weary smile and shook his head. “I understand.”

“So, what can we do? How can we save Ash?”

“I don’t know.”

“What if we leave? What if we go far, far away.”

“Catherine has her claws into him. Wherever he goes, she goes. There is no escape.”

“Then what…?”

“He cannot escape her. Perhaps we can help him fight her. Drive her away.”

“Have you tried before?”

Tristan looked uncomfortable. “Yes, but your brother is a fighter, I believe. More so than others. He reminds me of myself.”

“So, what should we do?”

“Watch him carefully. Perhaps we can prevent the madness. In other cases the family have not accepted the truth. You are the first who are so open to the truth. The descent into madness was as much fear of their own sanity as Catherine’s tormenting. If we support him and reassure him that what he sees, what he believes, is truth, is her…. Perhaps it will make the difference.”

“Do you think it might?”

“I hope so. It’s all we’ve got.”

“It has to,” Emma said, staring at her twin, who suddenly seemed fragile and precious. “Failure is not an option.”

This week, we have a new format. Instead of me posting links to all the other flashers, Andy Gordon has very kindly posted them all on the Wednesday Briefs website, along with the first hundred words of each story. Head on over there and support the rest of the briefers, you never know, you might find your new favourite author.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Wednesday Briefs - Catherine's Revenge Chapter 6



And we roll around to another Wednesday. It's a difficult week and a nightmare day, so let't celebrate that tomorrow is another day.

As everyone knows I often play fast and loose with the prompts. This week the link is more tenuous than ever. I had a kind of bet with Julie that I would use the Disney Princess. So.... Here I have Catherine in her wedding gown and, although it's not specifically stated, she definitely looked like a Disney Princess.



Emma was half way across the hall, when a hand grabbed her arm, none too gently, and swung her around. “I told you; you are not to talk to that man,” Ash snarled.

“Let me go. I’ll talk to whoever I want.”

“Not him.” Ash started to drag her back toward the stairs.

“Stop it. You’re hurting me.”

“I’ll hurt you more if you don’t obey.”

Emma looked into her brother’s eyes and saw someone else looking back at her, through the flames that still flickered in his pupils.

“Oh my God, Ash. What’s happening to you?”

Suddenly, someone grabbed her other arm and pulled her free from her brother’s painful grip. Emma stumbled and almost fell into Tristan’s arms. Tristan steadied her. He had a grim expression on his face, and his eyes were fixed on Ash.

“Leave them alone, Catherine,” he said. “Your quarrel is not with these children.”

Ash sneered. “My quarrel was always with you, Tristan. My curse is upon you, and your descendants.”

“Haven’t you had enough, Catherine? Enough lives to satisfy you?”

Ash threw back his head and laughed. It wasn’t a nice laugh. “There will never be enough lives to satisfy me. You took my life and I will have my revenge on all the men of the Loughbridge family, until the very last. This was my curse, and this is my desire.”

Ash laughed again, then shuddered and fell to his knees.

“Ash,” Emma cried and knelt beside her brother. He was so cold.

“Take him somewhere warm,” Tristan said, urgently. “Let me help.”

“What’s happening?” Emma asked, shocked to her core.

“I’ll explain everything,” Tristan said. “But not here; not now. We must warm him, or she will take him, here and now.”

With Tristan’s help, Emma managed to get Ash to his feet. He seemed to be totally stunned, unaware of what was going on around him. He stumbled as they dragged him up the stairs.

Adam met them at the top of the stairs. “What the hell’s going on?” he demanded.

“Ash fell,” Emma said. “I think he’s hurt himself.”

“Bring him up here.” Adam was suddenly all concern, and led the way back to the only warm room in the house.

When they settled Ash in a chair near the fire, he started to come round and blinked up at Emma. “What happened?” he asked

“Don’t you remember?”

“I…. The last thing I remember was looking into the fire. Why am I so cold?”
He looked around. “Who’s that?”

“Don’t worry.” Tristan said. “We need to warm you up. Explanations will come later.”

Adam tucked an unzipped sleeping back around Ash’s legs and Ash stared at his father as if he had never seen him before.

Emma draped a blanket over his shoulders. Even with these he was still shivering, his lips blue with cold.

“Let me help,” Tristan said. He grabbed Ash’s hand and rubbed it vigorously. Ash shuddered and tried to pull away.

For a moment, flames flashed in his eyes, but they died quickly and he shuddered again. “I feel warmer now,” Ash said then, with a sigh, he closed his eyes and seemed to fall instantly asleep.

“Ash,” Emma said, alarmed, but Tristan drew her away.

“Leave him. He is merely asleep. He is warm and that’s all that matters. Let him rest. He’ll be better when he wakes.”

“Will someone please tell me what the hell is going on?” Adam demanded.

“Of course.” Tristan looked at each of them in turn, a searching look. “Perhaps we should sit,” he said.

“To hell with that. Tell me what’s going on; what’s wrong with my son. Now.”

Tristan nodded. “I respect your concern. Try to have an open mind when I tell you my story. Many find it difficult to believe.”

“Try me.” Adam glared at Tristan. Emma knew he wasn’t really angry with the man, but with the situation. Her father hated to feel helpless and, if he was
feeling anything like she was right now he was hating it just as much as she.

“Many years ago – centuries - Catherine Anne Hambley was betrothed to Tristan Loughbridge, who lived here, in this house.”

“Were you named after him?” Emma asked.

“Indeed.”

“Then you’re a Loughbridge too?”

“A very distant cousin, yes.”

“But….”

“May I finish my story? There will be time for questions thereafter.”

“Of course.”

“On the day they were to marry, Tristan had an appointment in town that could not wait. He was late returning and rode carelessly to the church. His horse threw a shoe in the wood and he was thrown, dying instantly from a broken neck.”

Emma gasped. “Oh no. Was Catherine broken hearted?”

“Indeed. Tristan was foolish enough to have taken a little used track and it was some time before his body was discovered. Catherine believed she had been jilted, and she flew into a rage. On the same day, she took a dagger and plunged it through her heart. With her dying breath she placed a curse upon the Loughbridge family - that all Loughbridge males who dared cross her path would die.”

Now go check out the rest of the flashers