Sunday, September 16, 2012
For One Kingdom (A Work in Progress) by Jena Galifany
The concept developed from a combination of the gold mines in the area where I live, coupled with the need to be loved, a need that every living creature has. I've added in a local lung disease to further complicate things. But now, (here it comes) what if? What if you have no control over killing anything that you love or that shows you love? What if jealousy has created a curse that keeps you from ever enjoying love? That would be a hard thing to live with. (Yes, I know. My mind works in unusual ways. Sometimes it's a blessing and sometimes a curse.)
Cole must live with a curse. His hair has a mind of its own and will strangle any woman who responds to his attention. Ashur is so jealous of Cole, he has made sure that his son will never know love. Their kind is dying out because they live in the abandoned mines near the futuristic city of Nelac. They don't know about the spores in the earth that are infecting them. Ashur and Cole are trying to sire children to save their clan. With their breeder women weakened by the spores, they have each chosen a human woman from Nelac.
Ashur strangled Cole's mother in front of him as a child because she loved her son more than Ashur. Now, Ashur is determined to do the same to Erin, the woman that Cole wants to love. When a woman is chosen by Cole, she must not show any affection or his hair will do its evil job. Which ever creature is able to sire a healthy child first will have the power to destroy the other. The question is, who will win the battle For One Kingdom?
This is a work in process that I hope to finish in the near future. I'm posting an unedited excerpt from the manuscript for your entertainment. Cole has just finished a fight with Ashur that leaves him bleeding from several piercings ripped from his chest and a slice on each cheek, "so you won't be so pretty". He is used to being tended by the breeders and believes Erin to be one of the slave women. Please feel free to let me know what you think. Readers leaving a comment will be entered into a drawing for a $5.00 Barnes and Noble eGift Card. Be sure to include your email address for delivery if your name is drawn.
Cole pulled himself across the floor and up to the side of his bed. He clawed at the clips that secured his tunic, pulled it from his body and threw it on the floor. Blood ran from half a dozen of his piercings, but only three had ripped completely through. He fell to his back on the softness of the mattress; the shattering pain in his head left him breathless.
He closed his eyes, and waited for the dizziness to subside. "I suffer for his vanity," he rasped. He draped one arm over his eyes.
"Let me help you." The small voice startled Cole. He pushed himself up on one elbow, and faced a woman. She was not dressed in the simple shift of the breeders and her hair had not been properly prepared in their fashion.
Too weak to sit up, he allowed himself to fall back. "Get the basin from the cabinet."
The woman looked around, apparently undecided which cabinet he meant. He waved a hand across the room. "That one." He kept a close watch on the woman as she collected the basin and a cloth that lay beside it.
"Good. Bring wine, on the stand there." He waved again toward the table situated near the cabinet. She hurried to pour the dark liquid in the chalice and returned to his side, offering the wine. As he took a gulp she offered the basin and the cloth. His brows rose in surprise. "Tend me."
The woman starred at him. "Like hell. I don't think so." She set the basin on the bed within his reach and tossed the cloth on his bloodied chest.
Cole lashed out, and grabbed the woman by the wrist. He jerked her, and she fell on her knees beside him. Without releasing her, he repeated his request, with a bit more force. "Tend me. Now."
After a tense few heartbeats, Cole released her so she could use both hands to cleanse his wounds. Their gaze locked on each other, the woman took his chalice to set on the bedside stand and picked up the cloth, soaking it in the basin. He watched her with questioning eyes as she wrung out the cloth. She lightly dabbed at his face, careful not to press hard. She had a light touch. An angel's touch.
"Who are you?" His question caused her to stop for a moment, her dark gaze on his face. She weighed her response before she returned to her task.
"No one." She placed a cool hand on his chin, and turned his face to carefully tend to his other cheek. The sweet sound of her voice sang to him, soothing and kind. No breeder ever dared to speak, even when spoken to. She had not been fully prepared for the ritual; that was obvious. Cole liked her fire.
"I'll not be choosing again this cycle. You'll return to BreeAnn. Tell her to keep you—for me alone. Ashur is not to have you."
The woman smirked. "I suppose that's a compliment—in a left handed sort of way."
Cole found it difficult not to smile at her bravado. He laughed, a deep warm sound. "BreeAnn should train you before you get yourself killed."
The woman gave him a gentle smile. "Just because I felt sorry for you getting your butt kicked doesn't mean you own me." She rinsed the cloth in the water and turned her attention to his chest.
"You are either brave or very foolish. You are new to the ritual."
"Absolutely virgin." She gently lifted the chains, and blotted the blood from his damaged skin, wincing herself once or twice at the torn flesh.
"Don't let Ashur know. He has an insatiable thirst for your kind but he won't tolerate your mouth."
A slow, one sided smile tilted the woman's full mouth. She was truly a rebel. Cole felt warmth grow deep within him, the awakening of a long buried emotion that he daily longed to embrace. It spread from his core, and flowed through his being. He reveled in the feel—until his tresses began to stir around him.
"Ashur's curse," he said, and tried to roll himself away from her.
"No problem, pretty boy," said the woman. She dropped the cloth into the basin, grabbed the half-full chalice of wine, and doused his chest liberally with the alcohol. He gasped, and fell back. The pain was exquisite, and flushed any thought of affection from his being. As his tresses stilled, she pushed off of the bed and walked toward the door. "You're on your own, Master."
Cole laughed again. The memory of her touch tingled his skin as the burning from the wine subsided. He watched as she exited and pulled the doors closed behind her. "Welcome back, Angel."
There you have it. A small slice of For One Kingdom. Remember that leaving a comment will enter you into a drawing for a $5.00 Barnes and Noble eGift Card. Be sure to include your email address for delivery if your name is drawn. I will post the winner Monday morning.
Have a wonderful day!