BIG NEWS

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Happy Birthday to Me!

That’s not my big news- but it is my birthday. My big news is BIG, lots of moving parts! This post is just like an awesome birthday present to me!

Part One:
I am super excited to announce I’ve become part of the Griffyn Ink family! I’ve featured interviews here with several of their authors (Savannah Kade, D.B. Sieders, and Victoria Raschke) and now I’m one of them!

Super happy dance!

via GIPHY

Part Two:
Cover Reveal!!!
Did you see it yet?

Twelve Strippers of Christmas coming October 2017

Isn’t it awesome? It’s awesome! I’m excited!

http://lmsylvian.com/the-twelve-strip…mas-cover-reveal/

Part Three:
The Twelve Strippers of Christmas has a release date!
October 26th, it will be available in paperback and as ebook.
Pre-sale information coming soon!

It’s really happening guys! So freaking excited!

Part Four:
I’m excited to announce I will be one of the participating authors in November’s holiday release of St. Helena Vinyard Kindle World.
I will share more details as we get closer to the big event and roll out.

Each one of these announcements has me hand flapping happy!

via GIPHY

The Twelve Strippers of Christmas- Cover reveal

Twelve Strippers of Christmas coming October 2017

The Twelve Strippers of Christmas is a collection of short stories all around the theme of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

With a twist

and a thrust

and some break away snaps.

Available in paperback and ebook October 26, 2017. Presale info coming soon.

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Teaser Tuesday-The Twelve Strippers of Christmas

Whoo hoo, Christmas in July! Well, not really. But I am listening to a lot of Christmas music as I finalize this collection of short stories.

Here’s an excerpt from Les Poules Françaises

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“Dancing Queen.” Nick purred as Katie approach the front of the club. He leaned in and kissed her on the cheek.

She placed a hand over his kiss and blushed slightly. It was cute.

He glanced behind her checking to confirm she had not been followed by the grabby Gwinney.

“Just you?” He asked.

“I told you it would just be me. Disappointed?” Her smile lit up her face. Her eyes looked bigger and brighter with sparkling gold make-up. He wanted to poke his fingers through the loops in her hair style.

“Thrilled it’s just you. That Gwinney is like some excitable puppy who doesn’t understand the commands sit, stay, leave me the f*k alone.” Nick paid for their entrance into the club.

“She thinks you’re hot.” Katie explained as she followed Nick further inside.

“Of course she does. I am hot, and I work damn hard to make sure people know it.” Nick stroked his hand in the air down the front of his body, displaying the artistry that went into tonight’s outfit.

His hair had been shaved on the sides and piled high in the middle. Braids with beads and peacock feathers lined the side of his mohawk and draped down his back with the longer lengths of blue and black hair. His make-up was all in shades of black and silver. He wore a cropped leather biker jacket with a tight peacock print t-shirt. Everything else was black leather and silver studs.

“Modest much?” Katie laughed. She shoved her gloves into her coat pocket and passed it to the coat check girl.

“Oh, you should talk, Miss Victory Curls and swishy skirt. I don’t see you here in scrubs and nursing shoes. Why should women have all the fun in dressing up and looking good?”

“Point taken.” Katie agreed. “But it lures in hapless victims like Gwinney. And it confuses her. She sees the pretty, she wants the pretty, she doesn’t understand why the pretty doesn’t want her back.”

“Are you calling me pretty?” Nick looked down his nose at her.

Katie shook her head and bit her lower lip. He needed to get her on the dance floor before he pushed her against the back wall and messed up the makeup they both wore.

 

 

Teaser Tuesday: Driven

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“Julia, darling, you fell back asleep.”

Julia groaned, “You let me? Why didn’t you wake me?’

“I feel asleep too Lambkins. I woke you when I came back around.”

Julia turned in Roman’s arms. Her face brushed against his. She rubbed her cheek against his, purring.

“This is nice, but did you really just call me lambkins?”

“I did.” Roman smiled as her hair tickled his face. “You like it when I recite Shakespeare, remember.”

“Oh, I remember.” Julia’s lips gently brushed Roman’s nose, before softly pressing against his lips.

 

Driven, Legantum book 2

©2016-2017 Lulu M Sylvian

Character Interview: the Peens

The subjects of this interview more than slightly resemble human anatomy.

Images may be considered Not Safe for Work, or British School Children, or You
Since I don’t know how to make one of those Adult Content Warning things y
ou have to scroll down to get to the interview.

There are pictures!

You have been warned!

 

 


 

Peens, the Interview

Q. I’m sure everyone’s first thought upon meeting you is what is your origins story? Where did you come from and why?
A. The Peenvengers were created in a yarn factory when there was an
explosion of radioactive crochet hooks. So far the peens in our particular
Legion of Superpeens that have been given life are: Captain Ameripeen,
Ironpeen, Antpeen, Thor, and Hulk.

Q. Not all peens have superhero alter-egos. Tell us about some of your more mundane peen friends.
A. One of the very first peens to emerge from the yarn factory was Mr.
Pinky, followed soon thereafter by Rocky, whom we rescued from Justin
Beaver. Other everyday peens include Shaft, Erik the Peenk, Nick O Dick,
Percy, Mr. Perky, The Brain, Silver Fox, and so many others! I’m sure we’re forgetting some of our sweet peen friends. They all live with their human handlers in happiness and health. Some of them are finger peens, like Antpeen, useful for getting your point across and being a buddy.

fingypeen
And, recently, more superhero peens have begun to emerge, such as Double Deadpeen and Wolverpeen. The radioactive crochet hooks aren’t finished yet. There are many peens to come, and you can actually order one from our handler at https://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftyMeanKitty

Q. As a being of crochet, do you increase and decrease in stitches often, or
are you one of those what we see is what we get?
eyeballs
A. While some of us are bendy, we do not change in size once we have been created. Our pattern is thus: we begin with the magical number of six, usually, and indulge in frequent increases until our faces burst into the world. Eyeballs are chosen with great care. After a severe decrease, we
increase again gradually, lengthening, expanding, and widening until we
reach the pinnacle of our peenness. Most of us, additionally, are created
with hard yet friendly stabilizers to buttress us in our adventures.

Q. Is it true that peens have fortune telling skills?

fortunepeens

A. When in a large enough group (a group of peens is a pentacular of peens, probably), crochet peens are INDEED gifted with the skill of foretelling the future, if our patterns can be interpreted by a sufficiently gifted reader. It is a bit like rolling the bones combined with tarot cards.
Q. What has been your most harrowing adventure yet?
A. Since only one of our adventures has been recorded so far, we’re going to have to go with that time we saved a poor innocent bystander from the wicked Justin Beaver. EVERYONE can join in that adventure in our new coloring pages created by Laura Medeiros.

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Q. Where can we follow the tales of your daring deeds?
A. For now, our adventures and bios are posted on our very own website:
www.crochetpeen.com. There is a neglected Tumblr that our human doesn’t ever update. We have attempted to coax her to be less lazy, but it’s not easy to coax people when you have no opposable thumbs or mouths.

hulkstealhat

Q. Is life better for a peen with a hat?
A. Yes. which is why Hulk is sooooo inclined to steal Captain Ameripeen’s helmet.

Q. What are your secret party tricks?
A. There’s a secret party?? Why weren’t we invited!

erikpercyblueboy2

Q. What has been the most fulfilling moment in your life as a peen?
A. This interview, of course!

peenvengerslogo

****

The Peenvengers’ personal handler is author and crocheter Jody Wallace, who writes [hyterical] SF/F and contemporary romance. Ms. Wallace went to school a long time and ended up with a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. Her resume includes college English instructor, technical documents editor, market analyst, web designer, and all around pain in the butt. She resides in Tennessee with one husband, two children, one Grandma, seven cats, and a lot of junk. PS The Peens are not junk.
You should follow Jody (and the peens)

Website: http://www.jodywallace.com
Catsite: http://www.meankitty.com
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftyMeanKitty
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jodywallace
FB Author: https://www.facebook.com/JodyWallaceAuthor
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jody-Wallace/e/B003XN186Q/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/realmeankitty/
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/jodywallace
Tumblr1: http://jodywallaceauthor.tumblr.com/
Tumblr2: http://crochetpeen.tumblr.com/

You too can get a copy of the Peens Vs Justin Beaver coloring book by signing up for Jody’s email newsletter at  http://www.jodywallace.com

WIP-IT Wednesday Book launch freak out

This is a little different WIP-it Wednesday cause you’re getting thought process not words.

Protective is going to come out!

It’s with the editor right now!

And for reals, and soon (I think), maybe Decemberish, maybe Juneish

Protective-paranormal Romance by Lulu M Sylvian lmsylvian.com

I have to schedule a date!

I have to figure out how to have a book launch!

I am running in circles freaking out, because even though I know what I’m supposed to be doing on an intellectual level, I actually have no clue what I’m getting myself into.

So…
I need a date
I need a teaser chapter from Driven to put in the back, cause once you read about Morgan and Honey you are going to want to read what’s up with Julia and Roman
I need to figure out this whole digital formatting thingus

I need to go make a serious to-do list, and start doing!

Happy nervous dance!

Personality Tests

3-question tibetan personality test
https://brightside.me/inspiration-psychology/this-three-question-tibetan-test-can-reveal-a-lot-about-who-you-really-are-216505/

 

I had Morgan, the hero of Protective, take this simple personality test.

He found it to be not too far off, until he reached the colors section.

His answers were for part one:

  • horse
  • tiger
  • cow
  • sheep
  • pig

He was a little surprised that career came in before love, but he was not surprised that family came first.

His answers for part two:

  • friend
  • furry
  • a rat
  • life
  • soothing

He does not equate Honey with being a cat at all. But yes coffee is life, and sex is life. He was good with that answer.

Part three he thought was full of shit. While he does love his sister Julia, he associates her with the color red, because she wears it a lot, not because she is the one person he loves with all his heart. He said that would be Honey.

Teaser Tuesday Protective

Protective-paranormal Romance by Lulu M Sylvian lmsylvian.com

 

We haven’t officially met, have we, Honey?” Morgan’s voice, smooth and deep, felt almost like a caress. That made Honey a bit nervous. Obviously, he was not her type. Honey preferred prettier men with more refined features. Morgan wasn’t pretty. He had a strong square jaw with a cleft dimple in his chin that she could just make out under the bad shave job. With a distinct broad brow and wide cheekbones, he wasn’t bad looking, just not pretty. Rugged, Honey thought. He was more rugged than pretty. She didn’t know if she wanted that kind of attention from him. It also made her nervous because she felt like closing her eyes and leaning into the sound of his voice. After Bryce, she had no intention of falling for another guy anytime soon, regardless of how he made her feel.

No, we haven’t. I’m Honey Gould.” She stuck out her hand and braced herself for commentary on her name. She felt certain Morgan would have some asinine thing to say. Most people did. She certainly didn’t expect him capable of a witty pun. Inwardly, she flinched. She knew she was judging his intellect by his clothing and shave, and not for the first time. She had to stop that.

Morgan engulfed her hand in his large and warm one. Honey noticed the long tapered fingers were rough from use, but the skin on the back of his hand was smooth and his nails were clean and decently manicured. Those small personal grooming habits were the type of detail Honey always focused on. “Morgan Palatine.”

Morgan…” Finney grabbed the taller man by the elbow, “…I have some friends you have to meet.” As Finney steered Morgan back into the throng, Honey grinned. It was obvious Finney had a bit of a crush on him.As she watched the two men thread their way through the crowd, she realized Morgan hadn’t said anything about her name. Honey couldn’t remember the last time some guy who had been ogling her hadn’t. They all seemed to think they were original, and she would find it hysterical. She had heard them all, from being asked if she was sticky or was easy to spread, to being called Golden Grahams after the cereal. Morgan not commenting on her name was a notable relief.

 

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian Protective, book one Rhea Silvia Legacy

Interview with author D.B. Sieders

3wishes

So, if we were sitting somewhere out with drinks having a conversation, are we at a bar or are we at a coffee shop? Just so we know the mood for the rest of this. And what would you be drinking?

Oh, we’re at a bar, a very specific bar in Nashville called Holland House. They have amaaaaaaazing cocktails. If I’m not having something seasonal, I’ll be drinking the Blood and Sand (Pig’s Nose Scotch, Chai Vermouth, Orange Juice, Cherry Heering) – I don’t know much about all of the fancy-schmancy spirits in the mix, but I do know it’s tasty and that I’ll be feeling no pain after one.

And I won’t be driving. Safety first, boys and girls.

What do you write? What have you written, and what’s the next thing we can expect from you?

I started with contemporary romance and have done a couple of contemporary romance microstories for anthologies, but I’m more at home in the paranormal romance/urban fantasy genre. My big projects include the Southern Elemental Guardians Paranormal Romance Series and a soon-to-be-published Urban Fantasy Series. I need to come up with a title for the series before my publisher shoots me, but I’m still brainstorming. Waking the Dead is the first book in that series and the first book I ever wrote. I thought I was going to sit down and write a short story back in 2008. Boy was I wrong! And I’m glad!

In the Southern Elemental Guardians, Bruce, hero of Firestorm, and resident smart-ass in the other books is my favorite. Where did he come from? As a character did he just fill a need, or did he stroll in open his arms wide and say he was the answer to all your problems–ok that last bit is totally how I picture it, but what really happened?

Bruce is one of those characters who appears out of nowhere, comes and goes as he damned well pleases, and steals every scene he’s in. He was part of a subplot in Book 1, and he just came to life as I stared at my computer screen thinking, “What the hell? Who are you and what are you doing in my scene, man?” I had no choice but to sit back, follow his lead, and let him add humor, heart, and a bit of whimsy to Book 1, and then Book 2, and Book 3 (his own – also figures big in Novella 2.5). He’s already weaseled his way into Book 4 and will probably just keep on popping up because that’s just how he rolls. He’ll tell you that he has the answers to all of your problems—and as an empath and purveyor of happiness and light, he probably does (the cheeky bastard)—but he won’t just tell you. He’s all about the journey, meaning you take the journey and he cheers you on/wheedles you/watches you fall/picks you up along the way.

Yeah, I love him. Don’t tell him, though. It’ll go to his big fat head.

I’ll include a little excerpt from Firestorm (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 3) at the end so your readers can get a sample of the Bruce experience.

Where do your ideas come from?

Hmm, on some level they come from my long-standing fascination with mythological creatures and tales of gods and goddesses of old. I rather like the older notions of divinities as flawed entities that represented all of the best and worst of humanity. I love what old myths can tell us about the people who once embraced them. That’s definitely where the supernatural stuff comes from, which is weird given my uber-rational/skeptical brain. Then again, I see them as metaphor and that’s how I use them. On a psychological level, it’s kind of a safe place to explore scary experiences and ideas. I do more of that in Waking the Dead. Of course, every character a writer conjures has to be some part of herself or himself. I can see that in my work for sure!

Not to sound crazy, but do your characters talk to you? Do they contribute to their stories or do control everything about them?

See above with Bruce. Most of the time they just appear. When I’m writing the first scene (total pantser here), I get am image of the character doing something while they’re thinking. I get to be a voyeur as they go about their business, and they’ll reveal something to me that’ll be important to their story. That’s how it usually works. If I already know a character from a previous book (side character or character who’s come back to help/hinder the protags of a subsequent book), it’s easier to dig in because I already know that character and have a good idea of the motivation and obstacles. With a new character, it’s wonderful and exciting to “meet them.” Take Vance Idol from SEG Book 1. He showed up sitting on stage in an empty venue, looking wounded and sexy (as rock stars do), as he played and sang with his whole heart and soul. It was beautiful, but there was no joy in it. All of that talent and he just…didn’t seem to care. It made me mad. And, by extension, it infuriated his heroine, a mermaid who couldn’t sing because of her deadly siren call and would give ANYTHING to have the freedom he had. That’s how it started with Book 1. Seems to be my process.

For your day job you are a heavy duty medical scientist, how do you mesh your worlds of science by day and author of magic and myth by night? Do you have any internal conflicts as a scientist when it comes to writing about the supernatural?

It’s a strange dichotomy, but I’m lucky that it doesn’t come with conflicts. A wise person once told me that today’s magic is tomorrow’s science (AJ Scudiere), so I figure there’s a logical explanation behind the mermaids, dryads, flying men, and Phoenix I write about even if I don’t yet understand it. I even have a few characters in Book 2 who are working to map genetic similarities and differences between shapeshifting merfolk, humans, and hybrids. Maybe they’ll tell me what they find out someday, and then I can tell you.

Have you been able to integrate your real world thesis work into your fictional world? Is that something you have thought about?

Oh, man, I TOTALLY did that in my first published work, Red Shoes for Lab Blues. Cancer researcher juggling biomedical research with a social life? Yeah, that one’s close to home. It was fun, but I’ll tell you, writing something that close to what I do was a challenge! My editor and betas had to help me cut out the mundane details of laboratory work that I included that, while interesting to me personally, were total pace killers. I may revisit the lab in a future story, but for now it’s more fun and easier to escape into fantastical worlds where I can make it up as I go along.

As an unapologetic feminist, how do you justify/defend being a romance author?

Women love sex, and feminists are no different. We love sex with men who are our equals and who view us as equals, so I *try* to write heroes who respect their heroines. Consent is a must, and often enough my heroes ask for it directly or make certain their ladies are on board with the program. They respect the heroine’s intelligence and work with them rather than trying to think or act for them. That’s sexy as hell. Plus, often enough, my heroines are the powerful paranormal creatures falling for mortal/hybrid men. I love that twist and I hope readers enjoy it as well.

When did you start knowing you wanted to be an author?

Around 2008, when I figured out my short story was going to be longer—like maybe 2-3 books!

Can you remember the first romance novel you read?

I don’t know if it was the first, but an early one that really sticks out for me is Montana Sky by Nora Roberts. It made a pretty big impression and I became enchanted with the romance genre after that.

Where you a big reader as a kid and teen? What do you like to read?

HUGE reader! I loved (and still love) Stephen King. Right now I read an eclectic mix of romance (all genres), mysteries and thrillers, and nonfiction related to my field and personal interests. I’m in the middle of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and HIGHLY recommend it. It’s a great (true) story that touches on cancer research, medical ethics, issues of class, race, politics, and the molecular genetic revolution that does and will continue to affect us all.

Tesla or Edison?

Tesla! He was robbed. Big time. Didn’t seem to have Edison’s PR skills, at least from what I’ve read. Plus, as a fan of The Oatmeal, I have a Tesla bias.

How much time do you get to focus on writing, actual writing? About how many manuscripts do you average in a year?

Wow, that’s a tough one. I don’t have a set schedule (advantage of being Indie/Small Press), but I try to write a little bit each day after 8:00 pm and whenever I can squeeze in more words throughout the day. If I have a deadline, I tend to do lots of sprints and exhaust myself. If not, I take my time. I actually had 2 ½ books written in SEG before I started publishing, along with 2 ½ novels from another series and a half-written Rom Com. This year, I wrote 2 novellas from scratch, finished one novel, revised and edited another, and am 1/3 finished with another SEG Book. I published 2 novels and 2 novellas this year, so 2016 has probably been my most productive year.

Do you work on multiple ideas at a time, or do you focus on one story until it’s finished?

I used to work on multiple projects, but now that I’m focused on new material in a single series, I work on one project at a time.

Names are hard, your characters have great names. Do your characters show up with their names, or is that sometimes a struggle for you?

I STRUGGLE with names! Seriously bad at them, and often enough my publishing partners talk me into being sensible and changing difficult to pronounce ancient mythological names with more conventional names.

What’s your not so secret party trick?

Does making Sangria and other wonderful boozy concoctions count as a party trick?

(me: I’m pretty sure it does.)

Any hobbies?

Adult coloring books (including Psychedelic Marbles), kitchen experiments, and backyard bug hunts with Kid 2.0.

Do you model any of your characters off of any favorite actors or characters?

I do, but after the fact. The character comes first, then an actor/actress with those physical attributes or charisma.

Which would you prefer to have your books to be picked up for a feature film with theatrical release and be true to the story, or a cable TV series where they veer wildly off your established plot?

Ugh, that’s tough. I’d love to see an adaptation and, let’s be real, the cash would be awesome. But given what HBO did with True Blood after Season 3, um, yeah, I’d rather have an adaptation stay as true to the plot as possible.

What’s the funniest thing you have ever read/ seen?

That’s so hard, because I know LOTS of funny people (present company included) and spend way too much time on Facebook. The funniest thing I’ve seen recently is Granny Potty Mouth. Check her out. Seriously. You’ll pee your pants laughing! I want her to adopt me.

Oh, and someone keeps sending me really awesome/funny short stories about strippers. Good stuff!

Bio:

DB Sieders

Award-winning author D.B. Sieders was born and raised in East Tennessee and spent her childhood hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, wading barefoot in creeks, and chasing salamanders, fish, and frogs. She and her family loved to tell stories while sitting around the campfire.

Those days of frog chasing sparked an interest in biology. She is a working scientist by day, but never lost her love of telling stories. Now, she’s a purveyor of unconventional fantasy romance featuring strong heroines and the heroes who strive to match them. Her heroes and heroines face a healthy dose of angst as they strive for redemption and a happily ever after, which everyone deserves.

D.B. Sieders lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, two children, three cats, and her very active imagination.

You can find her on her Website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Firestorm_SEG3_CompFinal_150dpi

Firestorm Excerpt

Can your brother fly?” he yelled over his shoulder, surprised and pleased that Sera had followed him rather than trying to escape or staying to sulk back at the clearing. He scanned the skies, reaching out with his senses, but he got nothing out of the ordinary.

No. We don’t fly. Too risky.”

Bruce snorted. “Right. Too risky to spread your own wings, but perfectly reasonable to strap yourself to a mortal and jump out of one of their flying machines.”

Uh-oh. Just got a little warmer.

The air vibrated around them with something akin to water on the verge of boiling. He turned to find Sera standing in the middle of the small clearing, stiff with tension, her brother’s urn in hand. Her eyes screwed shut and her lips pursed, she held her hands in tight fists at her side. Probably counting to ten. Maybe one thousand. He had that effect on most people and was self-actualized enough to admit it.

Oh well. She’d calm down. Eventually. Time was wasting.

It wasn’t the best plan, but it did have advantages,” she said, opening her eyes and staring him down with defiance.

Oh? Do tell.” Learning about this harebrained scheme might give him clues as to where and how it had gone wrong. “I doubt it was coincidence that a rogue hybrid interfered with your plans.”

Probably not,” she conceded, blowing out a breath and looking around. She bent and ran a gentle finger over one bit of scorched earth. Gods, the weight of her sadness nearly brought him to his knees, as did the reek of failure and regret. “Hawk masked his signature well. Almost as well as I can.”

Bruce shook off the vile taste of her negative emotions and tried to lighten the mood for both their sakes. “So you do have some skills. Concealing that level of power isn’t easy.”

She shrugged. “It’s what I’ve been doing since I was twelve. Brandt taught me as soon as my powers started to manifest. It’s probably why his trail’s gone cold. He’ll have gone into hiding.”

Who taught him to mask his power?”

Rising, she dusted bits of ash off the clothing she’d conjured, a tight, shimmering body suit of gold that accentuated subtle curves he hadn’t fully appreciated before. She wasn’t buxom, but her sleek, streamlined form would work well in flight and held a natural grace. The wings were gorgeous. Yeah, the ancient Phoenix race had been feared, but also held in awe and venerated. Bruce could see why.

He learned a bit from other elemental guardians, or so he told me,” she answered with some hesitance. “I think he disguised himself as a low-ranking Lampade hybrid and sought help with the basics. He didn’t like to talk about it. I think whoever helped him must have grown suspicious.”

So he could add Lampades to his list of elementals to investigate. A clue and more questions. So many questions. Where to begin?

Well, the beginning would probably be a good start. “Who and where are your parents? Why didn’t they train you? And how many others of your kind are there, anyway? As far as we knew, the Phoenix went extinct ages ago.”

She scanned the skies and scented the air. Good instincts, this one. He could train her in more than the basics given enough time. Whether that was a good idea or not remained to be seen.

We never knew our father or mother. Brandt rose from ash with little memory of a former life, assuming he had one. Whoever sired us left his urn, a book of instructions for hiding and surviving in the mortal world, and my ashes. I rose later.”

Why did your brother allow you to rise?” he asked. “Seems risky for a race as dangerous as you claim yours to be.”

Anger flared from her essence. Good. If he could get her to question the necessity of this death wish she harbored, maybe he could convince her to stop pursing it.

He needed me!”

Why?” he asked. Given the latest spike in temperature, he was probably pushing his luck. Still, pushing boundaries was one of the things he did best.

She threw her hands up in the air. “To help him, of course. He couldn’t scatter his own ashes after immolating.”

Defensive much? He wondered if she’d ever pondered the conundrum inherent in her logic. Only one way to find out. “If that’s true, who was supposed to scatter your ashes? Did he have a plan, or did he leave you to figure that one out on your own?”

I told Brandt I could manage. And I would have, too. I will,” she said, more to convince herself than him, he sensed. “I owed him that much. As you said, he let me rise, gave me a chance to live for a time. It was good for him, too, I think. He wasn’t alone anymore.”

And neither were you.

The sweetest tastes of love and devotion swept from her and he drank deeply, inhaling great gulps of the goodness that sustained him.

What are you doing?” She’d stepped closer, expression painted with curiosity and a smile of reminiscence on those full, enticing lips.

No use being coy. “Sylph, remember? We thrive on positivity and light. Keep thinking about your brother. It makes you taste much better and will keep you focused on finding him.”

Her eyes went wide and she took a step back. “Taste? You actually taste emotions? I thought it was more like an extra sense kind of thing. More…cerebral.”

Oh, wasn’t she just adorable when she blushed? Maybe he could deepen that enticing shade of rose flooding her cheeks. “Little sparrow, it’s more than just cerebral, I assure you. It’s soul-deep, visceral, and can be quite carnal, at least for me. I’m a bit of an anomaly. It’s a family trait.”

With the added bonus of a curse that heightened his sensitivities, but there was no need to bring that up and spoil the moment.

Ah, that’s the shade he was looking for. She bloomed crimson, his favorite color.

Then she frowned and his sweet treat disappeared.

So what happens when you get a taste of something less pleasant?”

Shit. He gave what he hoped was a casual wave of dismissal and said, “Meh. A little heartburn. No big deal.”

The look she gave him practically screamed “bullshit,” but fortunately something else caught her attention. “Look! Over there.”

Sera jogged past him and over to a cluster of shrubs. The rich flavors of exhilaration and triumph flowed from her as she lifted a brilliant crimson feather. “It’s his!” she cried. “He left a trail— that way!”

He shifted his gaze to the direction she pointed, but she was gone before he could blink. Running gave her a bit of momentum and her wings lifted her a few feet from the ground with each leaping bound as she ran down the trail. Bruce followed until they reached a small clearing.

The grass appeared undisturbed, as did the surrounding foliage. Still, Sera seemed to sense something. Blood ties or experience, perhaps. Best let her sort it out. She moved with more confidence and grace when focused, her intensity masking those horrid emotions that rumbled just beneath the surface. How fascinating she was, such a small, delicate form filled with such untapped power. What would it be like to taste her heat flesh to flesh? He might not survive the experience, but he’d die a happy Sylph.

She bent low to examine the ground. Oh, gods. She had a great ass, too.

He’d best stop ogling, though, before she caught him and sent a jolt of fire to his balls.

The wave of triumph that surged through her inspired a much more pleasant sensation in his balls and had his cock standing up to take notice, too. She unleashed a small flame, fortunately not in his direction, but into the center of the clearing. Orange and red flashed, then blue and white-hot flames emerged and flowed until the seared earth spelled symbols in black char. He didn’t recognize the symbols, but clearly Sera did.

He left me a message. ‘Save yourself and the book. I’ll find you.’”

She hesitated, confusion and mistrust emanating from her aura. Lots of symbols littered the ground. Too many for such a short message. “You may as well tell me the rest,” he said, and then added, “I gave you my solemn vow of protection, remember? Trust me, Serafina.”

She turned to face him, eyes narrowed and jaw clenched. “Can I trust you, Bruce?”

Uh-oh. “Why do you ask?”

Because the rest of Brandt’s message reads, ‘Don’t trust the Sylphs.’

The Twelve Dates of Christmas: the twelfth date

12

My True Love

I sat, despondent, on the couch, staring at the credits scrolling past on my TV. I did not have it in me to get up and change the DVD. I looked at the remote, hit the menu button, then started the movie again. Chris had gone into work, leaving me alone. I wanted to take another pain pill, but I couldn’t, not for three more hours.

I hurt, and I was alone.

Someone knocked on my door.

“Hold on, I’m coming, but I’m moving slow,” I called out.

It felt like an ice age to get me from the couch to the door. The pain management medicine skewed my perspective. For all, I know I actually sped over to the door.

I peeked to see Pat standing outside my door. I unbolted the chain and opened the door.

“Oh honey,” Pat said as soon as she saw me. She stood there with her arms full of grocery bags. What is it with the urge to feed people when they get sick or hurt?

She put her bags down and folded me into a large warm mommy hug. I needed a mommy hug, it was the best thing ever. So, of course, I started crying.

She eased me back onto the couch, pulled her bags in from the landing, and closed the door before joining me.

“What’s wrong?” She eased my head onto her shoulder.

I gulped and kept crying. “I just miss my mom, and I hurt. And I’m alone.”

“Sweetie, that’s why I’m here.” She patted soothing strokes along my hair and back.

“What?” I asked sniffing back my tears. I honestly did not expect to see Pat. I pretty much figured she didn’t like me and had just been playing nice since I was a surprise guest in her house.

“I’m here because my son is in love with you, whether he’s figured it out or not, and he is worried about you. You don’t need to be alone right now. I came figuring you could use a mom seeing how yours is across the country.”

I rested against her shoulder, just taking comfort that someone was here to mother me.

We sat like that for several minutes before I adjusted and let Pat get up.

“I brought all the ingredients for the butterscotch bars, and Chris said something about you liking bacon cheddar mashed potatoes. So I brought bacon, and cheese, and potatoes. You can tell me how to make that for dinner.” She carried the bags of food into the kitchen and began pulling things out onto the counter, and away into the refrigerator. “It looks like you are well stocked.”

“Yeah, my coworkers pulled out the stops and brought over all kinds of stuff. Which is good, because I didn’t have any food.”

Pat made herself familiar with my kitchen and began baking butterscotch bars.

I picked up my phone and texted Chris to let him know his mom had shown up.

He called me back, I picked up on the first ring.

“Hi.” I may have been overly enthusiastic to hear his voice.

“Hi, yourself. So mom’s there? Good, she said she would drive down.”

“I was definitely surprised, but I’m glad she’s here. She’s already baking. I think there is enough food in this apartment that I can safely eat myself into a food coma for the duration of my recovery.”

“You should rest, take a nap if you need to. You’ve got mom in case you need help with anything.”

I nodded and yawned, the nap suggestion was already working on my fuzzy brain.

“Are you coming by tonight?” I asked.

“I have to swing by my place to pick up some more clothes after work, but after that, I’ll come straight home.” He said.

“I like that. I like that a lot. I’ll see you later.”

“Call me if you need anything at all okay?”

“I will,” I said then I hung up the phone. I got to my feet and shuffled into the kitchen. “I’m going to go take a nap. You’ll be okay if I go pass out?” I asked Pat.

“You go rest. I’ll be fine. I can figure out how the TV works if I need anything I’ll just call Chris.”

I nodded and made my way back to my bedroom.

When I woke up the apartment smelled heavenly.

“I made butterscotch bars,” Pat announced as I shuffled into the living room.

“I can smell.” I closed my eyes and thought of Chris. I would forever associate this with him. “Can I have one? Or ten?”

Pat chuckled, she handed me two after I made myself comfortable on the couch.

“So what’s the plan?” I asked between bites.

“No plan, you don’t need anyone to cook. So I’m here for company, and to make sure you don’t need anything. A little later, I’ll let you talk me through those fancy mashed potatoes.”

I smiled as Pat took a seat. “I’m glad you’re here. I was really feeling sorry for myself after Chris left for work this morning. I didn’t want to be alone all of a sudden.”

“Good thing he called home, and that I have a flexible schedule. Grace is at work, and Mike is in school, so here I am.” She shifted in her chair. “Nat, I need to apologize again for what you overheard.”

I shook my head. She had apologized several times before we left. “You were expressing concern for your son. Nothing you said was really a personal attack. Just pointing out I am different. I’ve had time to think about it. I’ve met his ex, so I think Mike got it in his mind that women Chris like all look a certain way, and that Chris is a certain way. However old Mike was when that impression was made, it had been that way for a while. So in Mike’s head that’s the way it should be. Chris has changed along the way. Chris has been different for a while, even before I showed up on the scene. But with me being so much more different than his last girlfriend, it just pushed Mike’s buttons, and his reality is shifting, on top of that he’s sixteen, so his reality is already skewed.”

“You are being very understanding.”

“I think it’s the drugs talking. I’m not typically this insightful. He was still rude, and I’m not going to give him a pass on that. I just think I understand where it’s coming from.”

None of our other conversations for the rest of the afternoon were that deep.

Pat fried bacon, and I sat in the kitchen grating cheese. She had already boiled and mashed the potatoes, we were now preparing the goodies to be mixed in before it was put back into the oven to bake. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I typically use the frozen pucks of mashed potatoes or instant potato flakes. This would taste better with real potatoes anyway.

Chris walked in the door much earlier than I expected. He came straight to me and gently wrapped his arms around me before kissing me. He stroked the hair back from my face, “how are you feeling?”

“I’ve been good today. Your mom has been really helpful.”

He looked up, still holding me, “hi mom. Thanks for coming.” He released me, then gave his mom a quick hug.

I saw the look on her face. It was a mixture of pride and a touch of sadness. The pride that her son had found a woman to love and take care of, sadness that she had lost him to me. And that’s when I knew for certain, that on the twelfth day of Christmas I had found my true love. 

The End

catch up on the eleventh date.

©2016 Lulu M Sylvian. The Twelve Dates of Christmas