Spend the hottest nights this summer with Emmat and Vane.
I’ve been waiting people. Holding my breath. But the cover is ready and I can show it off, at last! Get ready to bargain with the hangman:
I’ll be honest, there were scenes in this story that were hot AF to write. I’m hoping that’s how you’ll feel when you read it, too. And that’s what I wanted to convey with this cover: a sense of mystery, darkness, sensuality, and history, seen through the eyes of a pair of outcasts and told reckless and dirty how you know I like to do.
As I said a couple weeks ago, this novella was inspired by the Led Zeppelin version of the song by the same name. Only now I have this cover to show you and a release date: July 23, 2016!
Gallows Pole will be published by Blushing Books on July 23, and you know I’ll have some buy links for you on release day. And of course, I’ll be sending out a notification email to people on my mailing list, so signing up is probably a good idea, if you’re interested. I really don’t send a ton of emails. Last one I sent was in February, if that gives you any idea. So only useful announcements, no spam, why the heck not?
And here’s a little taste of it to whet your appetite:
Gallows Pole, Excerpt:
It was one word, one syllable.
It was a trigger.
Everything happened at once.
Emmat drew the dagger she’d hoped not to draw. Peter leapt from the cart but, witless sod that he was, lost his balance with his arms pinioned and fell to the ground with a yell. The hangman lunged to put a boot on Peter’s back, but Emmat was on him with the dagger.
And then she wasn’t.
The man seemed to twist like a falling cat in mid-air, his body everywhere at the same time. A fist was in her hair while other fingers dug into her wrist and sent the blade spinning. Her brother shouted at the jolt of another well-placed boot in his ribs.
“So that’s the way of it,” the hangman said, latching into the laces of her stays at her back for a better grip while Peter groaned and curled tighter on the ground. A brisk, rough search cost her the second dagger in the side of her boot, as the hooded man transferred it from her person to his.
“Peter, get up!” she pled, not knowing how unhinged the executioner might become. Her brother struggled to rise, slipping and kicking like a grasshopper missing a leg. The clutching hand at her stays gave a yank and Emmat bounced backwards against the hangman. She blinked into the mist at the impact, and then down at her squirming sibling.
“Forged a letter from a judge. Interfered with a lawful execution. Stole a horse—oh yes, I can tell.” The rasp of the voice came low at her ear, scruffing her where she stood. The threat was there, even unspoken. As if Emmat needed more capital crimes added to her tally.
“Emmat.” Peter managed to sit upright, coughing.
“I’ve changed my mind about bargains today,” the hangman said, ignoring her brother’s whimpering. “It’s so godawful important to you this one don’t swing, I’ll make you a trade.”
Silence on the hill. One of the horses snorted and stamped a hoof, she couldn’t see which. Emmat knew what was coming.
“You for him. I’ll only ask once.”
It was a bargain the man had no authority to make, though it seemed a poor time to remind him of it.
Peter stared at her, unmoving as a petrified deer, his mouth hanging slack, copper hair sticking out in muddy disarray.
Come home with your brother …
At her back, she felt the hangman’s chest expand with his waiting breath. Her jaw flexed. Eyes bored through her wretched brother’s to a vision of her parents’ faces when she told them Peter was dead. She exhaled.
… or not at all.
A drop from the noose could not have been more final.
In the space of a breath, he was hustling her towards the black mountain that passed for a mare, not a second left for doubt. When she balked at the last moment, he drew her up short.
“You can ride in the saddle or over it. It’s all the same to me.”
She opted for ‘in’ and he vaulted up behind her as soon as she’d righted herself. It was happening too fast.
The hangman clicked his tongue at the horse and gave it a sharp kick. The cart jerked into a roll and Emmat twisted her upper body to steal a frantic look back at her brother, who knelt now in the mud.
A strange man’s arm circled her waist, a seal to a costly bargain.
“Don’t make this be for nothing, Peter!” she called back to him, craning her neck. “Get up! Go!”
The man at her back pushed on, ignoring the parted siblings’ last desperate exchange. He’d tossed her other dagger aside and it was still out there, somewhere among the damp stubble of grass atop Gallows Hill where Peter remained, wounded and bound. Emmat hoped he could find it and free himself.
That would at least make one of them.