Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Excerpt from Candy Hearts and Flours - I'm No Saint, Valentine

Sorry to step on Tiffany's post, but she'll be stepping on me with her excerpt soon, lol. I have to go out for a little while, but will check in after I buy this week's hamburger!

[Scene is beside the Las Vegas Convention Center. Mariah leans against the building, hungry and with sore feet.]

She looked down again at her attire.

Some kind of black cowhide tube started at her waist and ended long before her knees, and a flimsy little scrap of material barely covered her breasts. Pointy-toed boots with unbelievably high heels made her feet ache as well as forced her to concentrate when she walked for fear of falling on her butt.

Even with so few clothes, the heat of the Las Vegas desert drained her energy. And when someone from Hell felt hot, it said a lot. Of course, it was a dry heat.

Besides being tired, hungry and hot, she was homesick and lonesome. Earth sucked! From what she now knew, people should be dying to get into Hell. Okay, so they did have to die. And there was a lot of pain and no upward mobility. Still… Anything was better than this.

She’d thought being removed from her sister’s torment would be the silver lining in this black cloud of punishment, but she even missed Cassandra, the whore-bitch. It occurred to Mariah that never once, in her two thousand four hundred ninety-nine years, had she been alone. Even with people milling around her, jostling, bumping and glaring, alone is exactly how she felt. She wanted to cry. She wanted to scream. She wanted her mother.

Would this horror never end? She’d been here two whole hours. To add immeasurably to her troubles, she’d found almost immediately that reaching her goal was going to be near impossible. She couldn’t tell a good man from a bad man. Not by looking at him, at least. How on Earth was she supposed to locate a saint? She’d tried hard to remember the childhood stories her mother told Cassandra and her at bedtime, about the horrible saintly men who killed little demons, and how she should run if she ever saw one. All she recalled was that they all seemed to be poor and humble. Who would choose to live like that?

“Some stupid Earth person, ” she muttered.

Within minutes of her arrival, she’d approached a likely looking candidate. He wore ragged clothes and sat on a street corner begging for coins.

“Hello, are you a saint?”

He took his eyes off the passing throng and focused on her. “Baby, I’m anything you want me to be.” His dirty hand touched her leg, edging up under her cowhide tube and she’d felt his soul through his fingertips. The filth on his body didn’t begin to match the ugliness inside. This man already belonged to her father.

“Never mind,” she sing-songed, and click-clacked away down the sidewalk. Since then, she’d made some contact with hundreds of men, and none had pure, shining souls. Different men exuded distinct smells, though. The darker the soul, the more Hell- like the odor. She’d actually found herself gravitating toward men with dark spirits because the rich scent of burning flesh and the acrid sting of sulfur in her nostrils reminded her of home.

She gave a grunt in protest of the pain shooting from her cramped toes to her hips. If she wanted to get home, there was nothing for it but to locate a good man and turn him bad as soon as possible. To that end, she watched from the shadows, sniffing and examining people as they entered and exited to determine if anyone warranted further investigation. She was wishing for the millionth time that she had never given that ingrate a sip of water no matter how his naked form had made her feel, when she sensed him. Or rather, she didn’t sense him, and that was the key.

A large group of people were entering the building and she couldn’t pick out her target from a distance. There was nothing to do but follow the leader, a rather handsome, dark-haired man in form- fitting blue leggings. She attached herself to the crowd and entered the lobby of the building.

The closer she got to the dark- haired man, the more she felt a tingly stirring deep inside. Not just excitement that he might be her quarry, but something else, too. Something she came close to feeling with the Water Guy. From the back, his leggings hugged a tight butt. His narrow hips topped firm thighs. He was tall with broad shoulders that looked as though they could carry the world. She didn’t understand why, but she hung back observing him.

Stopping before a table, he engaged in conversation with a woman seated there. Mariah wanted to scratch out her eyes for no reason other than she spoke with the man and Mariah didn’t. He exchanged some papers he pulled from his leggings for a paper with a number on it, and strolled into a larger area.

Bypassing the table, she hurried after him, passing through open doors and past a man who smelled vaguely of overripe turnips. Not a bad man, but with possibilities for daddy, she thought.

“Miss?”

Mariah slowed her charge, trying to find her target in the chaos around her.

“Ma’am!” the voice shouted now. People all around her stopped and turned. Including her guy, who had been just a few feet ahead.

Holy Satan! He made the jerk in the Second Circle look like a sissy-girl. Under his thin, stretchy shirt, biceps bulged, but nothing else on his torso did. No. His chest looked wide and strong and his stomach flat and hard as one of Hell’s anvils. But his eyes captured her attention the most. The darkest blue stared back at her—in fact, his gaze had lighted on her immediately instead of what everyone else focused on behind her. For the life of her, she could have remained forever and a day, just like this, if he hadn’t smiled. A simple upturn of the lips caused her heart to race and her breath to catch. Such joy, such promise showed in that gesture. And it was all for her. Instinctively she knew that.

“I believe he’s calling you, ” the man said, striding back to her and removing his head covering. A lock of midnight hair cascaded onto his forehead.

She reached out and brushed the errant strand back in line with its mates, and the world around them stood still.

Blinding light coursed from her fingertips, up the length of her arm and down through her legs and feet, discharging like a bolt of lightning. The light had been white and pure as nothing she had ever imagined. He had no odor other than a clean scent of crisp air. She returned his smile.

This was her challenge, her test.

And when she prevailed, he would be her prize.

9 Comments:

Blogger Sherrill Quinn said...

Dee. Wow. That sounds... wow. :)

12:26 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Y. said...

Sounds good!!

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Cherie said...

Sounds really good.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Meljprincess said...

Dee, I cannot even begin to tell you how much I loved this excerpt! I've got to read this story.

2 days in Vegas I had blisters on my feet and was ready to go home. Then things got interesting..*weg*

1:06 PM  
Blogger snowflake said...

The story sounds wonderful except for a slight typo at the end! It should be MY prize. Hee hee!

3:15 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Thanks, y'all for your wonderful comments!! I do hope you enjoy the story. It has an interesting twist at the end. Jenny, gosh darn it! If the book wasn't already released I could make that change for you, lol.

meljprincess, I have only a few words for you: Coffee, long session, as soon as we meet!

Thanks again, guys!

3:34 PM  
Blogger Rhiannon said...

Hey Dee,
When you have coffee with meljprincess, can I come too? I gotta know just everything about her Vegas trip. and I mean everything. Details...LOL
Rhiannon

6:15 PM  
Anonymous annalisa said...

Hot excerpt! Loved it! I need to read more!! :)

6:44 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Thanks, Annalisa! I hope you like the rest of the novella and I know you'll love Rhi's book! I have to say, I think this book is fabulous--that's an unbiased opinion, of course, lol.

Rhi, of course! We'll both set her down and ferret out the gory details. :)

Dee

9:03 PM  

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