“Shifting Balance” — Excerpt from BLOOD DEBT (Project Prometheus)

Project Prometheus BadgeTheir mission is to search out and bring down those who trade in terrorism, fear, and human suffering by whatever means necessary. To do this, they must be willing to give up their freedom, and even their lives. They are a mercenary unit with a mission, and a motivation that has nothing to do with what they get paid, and everything to do with the innocent lives they save. Meet the men and women of…

Project Prometheus

While a battle for control of a power capable of reshaping time itself rages, one man’s doubt in the side he’s chosen may be all it takes to tip the balance, and save the world from plummeting straight into a hell beyond all nightmares.

“Shifting Balance” — Excerpt from BLOOD DEBT (Project Prometheus, Book 4) —

He watched the woman’s manic pacing with weary resignation. He’d never admit it, even under torture, but he grew tired of these women and their erratic — sometimes downright psychotic — mood swings. They all had a common element — all of them except Magdalena, whose place as a Widow he’d never been able to figure out in the nearly eighty years he spent serving Onuris and the Brotherhood.

Rachel and Joy, he understood. A psychopathic need for power fueled them, and — in Joy’s case — a psychotic narcissism. Saphra was bent on vengeance, and rarely killed unless it suited her thirst for revenge. And Ramona allowed her lusts to control her, rather than being in control of them. All of them were perfect hosts for a demon like Satmet. But Onuris’ lover set her greedy sights on Magdalena, as well, and that didn’t sit right with Dimitri.

“Are you even listening to me?” Joy’s sharp demand cut through his musing like a heated blade, jerking his attention back to the glaring woman who was Satmet’s current host. He sighed.

Da. If you are so worried that the American doctor will fail, why did you give him the key? Why not do the task yourself?” For once. But he was wise enough to leave those last words unspoken.

It would certainly make his life easier, Dimitri thought bitterly. With every day that passed in the presence of these deranged women and their demonic puppeteer, he questioned his decision to join forces with the Brotherhood more. It had been babushka‘s idea, her urging, that first directed him Rachel’s way, all those years ago. But eighty years of this insanity was more than any man should have to tolerate.

He sighed inwardly, even as he faced down the glaring Widow before him. “Da?

Those dark blue eyes narrowed as if she could read him, but Dimitri refused to be cowed. He knew the Black Arts, and he comforted himself to know he could control the demon, if not the woman.

“I gave him the key because he’s our best chance, and I refuse to go traipsing around in the jungle like bloody Indiana Jones. He actually wants to do it.” Her fingers walked up his chest in a seductive meander.

He grimaced, and his hand closed around her wrist, yanking her touch away. “We have already discussed this. I am not your lap dog. And I do not have to want treasure — or you — to do my job. Do not toy with me, Joy.”

And, as she yanked away, turned on those ridiculously high heels, and stalked from the room in even higher sulk, the door slamming behind her, Dimitri sank into a chair, scrubbed his face, and tried to banish the image of wide turquoise eyes and a beauty too pure to be so selflessly sacrificed, from his mind. He couldn’t wait for this to all be over.

Find out how the story begins! Pick up your copy of IN HER NAME and HOPE OF HEAVEN today, at Amazon.com or Desert Breeze Publishing, and look for SHADOW WALKER, coming soon!

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“A Mother’s Pain” – Excerpt from BLOOD DEBT (Project Prometheus)

Project Prometheus BadgeFrom the moment I realized I wasn’t getting out of writing a whole series for Project Prometheus, I knew there was one character whose story needed to be told. She was an enigma in IN HER NAME, and a staunch ally and protector in HOPE OF HEAVEN. She started out as one of Manara’s priestesses, but it quickly became apparent to me that Shahdi Nahid had a lot more to give, and become, than that. The more of her story that’s revealed, in BLOOD DEBT, the more amazing this woman proves herself to be, and the more perfect a match she becomes for the man who harbors an otherworldly soul.

 

“A Mother’s Pain” – Excerpt from BLOOD DEBT (Project Prometheus, Atlantis Silver, Book #4) —

 

When Michael finally emerged from the lab that evening, it was to a sight that took his breath away.

Bathed in the soft orange glow of the setting sun, Shahdi sat rocking a baby in her arms, humming softly in a way that pierced his heart.  She looked like a Madonna, with her dark hair and lightly-browned skin, her unusual blue eyes soft and sheened with tears as they watched the child in her arms sleep.

“You’re a natural.”  He broke the silence with a murmur, surprised at the huskiness of his own voice.  Startled by the sound, Shahdi’s head jerked up, and he read the heartbreak in her eyes that she wasn’t swift enough to conceal.  Those eyes stabbed him deep, like a knife through the heart, and he couldn’t stand not knowing, anymore.  “Why don’t you have any kids, Shahdi?”

Her eyes overflowed with tears, and Michael felt like the worst kind of bastard as he watched those tears silently course her cheeks.

“Damn,” he muttered, moving quickly to kneel at her side, his fingers raising instinctively to brush away her tears.  “God, Shahdi, I’m so sorry—”

“I cannot have children,” she managed in a wavering voice, her lips trembling with the effort of remaining composed.

“Not at all?”  He swallowed hard against sympathy he knew she wouldn’t want.  What must it be like for her, to see all of these children, and feel that emptiness?  He’d never wanted to hold her as badly as he did now; but, for once, his need was entirely pure, and she was inaccessible.  Conscious of the sleeping baby in her arms, he took her hand instead, squeezing gently.  “But you’re young, and healthy.  Why—?”

Her face turned away.  “I do not care to discuss this, Michael.”

“Please,” he begged, reaching to turn her face back, pleading with his eyes that she let him in.  “Don’t shut me out, honey.  Please talk to me.”

Her eyes met his for a long, torturous moment, during which Michael fought his impulse to hold her and comfort her, as he was certain no one ever had.  Finally, her gaze released his, dropping to the child in her arms as she heaved a shuddering sigh.  “When I was sixteen years, I gave birth to a daughter…”

Her voice broke, even as her words slugged Michael hard in the gut.  “What?  You just said—”

“The birth was long, and very difficult, and she was born far too early.  There was much damage done to both of us, and it was a miracle that she survived even the birth.  I… I held her in my arms, an hour after, as she let go of her life.  I have been unable to conceive ever since.”  Her eyes grew hard and determined in a way that told Michael she battled grief every day of her life, burying it beneath her smiles.  Her words, as she spoke, confirmed his suspicion.  “It is the will of Ishtar, and I will endure it, but I will never stop mourning my child, nor hoping that, one day, Ishtar will see fit to give me another.”

“Shahdi—”

“Now,” she rose in a fluid, graceful motion, as regal as a queen.  “If you will excuse me, Dr. Banks, I must return Paco to his mother.  We will not discuss this matter again.  It is over.”

And, as she walked away, her shoulders squared and her head high in a motion he now knew hid all her pain and sorrow, Michael’s need to comfort her grew stronger.  It wasn’t over, no matter what Shahdi thought.  “Not by a long shot, sweetheart.”

 

Be there from the start! Look for IN HER NAME, coming from Desert Breeze Publishing in September 2014!