As most of you know, I work with Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction (SHU WPF) program. I'm tickled pink that three alumni from the program and myself all have new book releases within a month of one another. Stay tuned because they''ll all be blogging here, and when my turn rolls around, I'll be visiting their blogs as well. And of course, Prizes.
First up is Evey Brett, a former student of mine, and her horse, Carrma, here to talk about Evey's new book, Levade. It's a sequel to her earlier release, Capriole. Both are available from Loose Id and other fine booksellers. Evey's giving away a copy of each to one lucky commenter so please be sure to comment with your email addy spelled out like this: jessicafreely at gmail dot com. The winner will be announced on Nov. 6.
Take it away, gals!
Evey: Hey. Wait a minute. How did you--
Carrma: Hush, Human. I’m being cute to promote your book. Levade is the sequel to Capriole. Both of the titles refer to the “Airs Above the Ground,” special movements we Lipizzans are known for. You can see examples on the covers. In the books, Lipizzans save the day.
Evey: You sure do. Both books feature a human named Lukas with a psychic connection to Lipizzans, and Felipe, the man he loves. In Levade, Felipe is heartbroken by Lukas’s refusal to face the past and afraid that unless Lukas can come to terms with the devastating truth of who and what he is their love will be lost forever.
Carrma: Human says that she’ll give away not one, but two e-books to the person who sends me the biggest bag of horse cookies.
Evey: Um. Carrma dear, all they have to do is leave a comment along with their e-mail.
Carrma: Like I said, Human will use this computer thing to send a copy of Capriole and Levade to someone who leaves a comment. And anyone who sends me a bag of Sweet Apple Delights will get copies as well.
Carrma: Human sent along an excerpt. There are humans in here but the highlight is the Lippizan using her powers of persuasion to get what she wants. That’s me in disguise.
Felipe headed outside and held his breath at the sight of Lukas longeing Graciela. They made a handsome pair with Lukas standing in the center holding a long line attached to a cavesson—a sort of leather halter with metal in the noseband—while Graciela circled around him. The other horses watched at a respectful distance. Graciela’s powerful muscles rippled as Lukas urged her into a canter with only a voice command and a slight flick of the whip. Whatever Lukas had lost, it wasn’t his horsemanship.
Lukas wore tightly fitted riding pants and a white T-shirt. Felipe ached at seeing how painfully thin he’d grown. “Trot,” Lukas called, and Graciela obediently dropped into the correct gait.
Felipe stayed where he was, content to watch Lukas work. Eventually he ordered Graciela to walk and they took a slow turn around the arena. Now that he wasn’t busy, the other horses trailed after him. Grady, the gelding, and Caprona, her youth evidenced by her splotchy gray coat, nosed Lukas’s shirt but he batted them away. Aria, one of the older mares, approached Felipe. She stared at him and waited.
“I don’t have any treats,” he told her. It didn’t matter. Aria kept gazing at him until Felipe had the uncontrollable urge to grab a handful of sugar cubes from the coffee can. Sighing at his gullibility, Felipe handed a sugar cube to Aria who trotted away as four other horses fought for seniority at the fence.
Only when Lukas had turned Graciela loose, hung the cavesson over his arm, and coiled the longe line did he acknowledge his visitor. His brow creased. The blue eyes held no recognition. “Were you hiding from me? I haven’t seen you in a few days.”
That wasn’t the welcome he’d hoped for. “Not you. Your doctor doesn’t care for me.”
“He thinks I’m a pest and I interfere with his work.”
“He’s not a patient man. What’s your name?”
The question crushed him. How could he have forgotten me? “It’s me. Felipe.”
“Felipe.” The word held none of its usual love. Lukas reached out to stroke Felipe’s cheek. “I have the feeling I’m supposed to know you, but I don’t. I’m sorry. I had an accident.”
It wasn’t an accident. Anger raced through Felipe at seeing Lukas so broken. If his attacker wasn’t dead already I’d hunt him down and tear him apart like I did the incubus. I swear.
Lukas cocked his head and looked at him strangely. “You’re like me. A Sensitive.”
Felipe took Lukas’s outstretched hand and pressed the palm to his cheek. “You taught me how to use it.”
“Did I? My father said I used to be a teacher.”
“You were. A good one.” Felipe fought to keep his voice even. Please, Lukas. Remember me.
A shrill, operatic whinny came from the far side of the arena. Five of Lukas’s horses placidly watched the humans reunite. The sixth—young Caprona—stood a ways down, whickering at Max. The stallion raced along the fence, brilliantly white, strong, supple muscles rippling as he snorted and squealed at the mare he could see and scent but not touch.
“Have you seen my new stallion? His name is Maestoso Allegra, or Max for short.” Lukas eagerly headed toward the pen where he leaned against the fence, staring dreamily at his Lipizzan.
Felipe swallowed the hurt that Lukas would remember a horse but not him. “Where did he come from?”
Again, he’d asked the wrong question. Lukas drove the heels of his hands against his temples. “I don’t know. I don’t know.”
Lukas’s distress diverted Max from his prize. With a snort, he trotted over to lip Lukas’s shirt. Lukas patted him affectionately, calming after a few moments. He gestured at Felipe. “Go on. He’s friendly.”
He was also very…potent. Felipe could defend himself against a cambion’s overwhelming lust, but a horse ready to rut was a different matter. The stallion possessed a different, earthy energy that seeped into Felipe through the soles of his feet and traveled slowly upward, stopping to tease his cock while heat spread throughout the rest of his body. He let out a curse in Spanish and stepped away from the fence, hoping to find a place to catch a few breaths and regain his control.
“What’s wrong?” Lukas caught his arm. The grin he’d worn earlier returned—this time even more wicked. “Ah. The first time I felt a horse rut I—” He pressed his lips tightly together.
The frustration disappeared, replaced by Lukas’s disarming smile. “It doesn’t matter.”
It did matter, but Felipe didn’t press the point. Lukas was a Sensitive. He knew how the slightest touch affected Felipe and he could use his knowledge mercilessly—but he didn’t. When Felipe reached out in an attempt to sense what Lukas was feeling, it was like walking through thick fog. Try as he might to find Lukas, he couldn’t.
AND THEN THE SMART AND BEAUTIFUL ARIA TOLD BOTH HUMANS HOW SILLY THEY WERE AND EVERYONE LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER ESPECIALLY ARIA BECAUSE THE HUMANS GAVE HER ALL THE SUGAR CUBES.
Evey: Hey! That’s not how it ends.
Carrma: It should be.
Evey: How did you type that, anyway?
Evey: Um. Right. So whoever leaves a comment by November 5th—
Carrma: And sends me horse cookies.
Evey: --is entered to win a copy of Capriole and Levade. Fulfilling requests made by the bossy brood mare is at your discretion.
Carrma: Excuse me, Human. I’m done raising babies and am now yoga pony, trail pony, teacher pony—
Evey: And for more fun, three of my fellow Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction folks also have releases from Loose Id over the next three weeks so be sure to stop back here and check my blog (http://www.eveybrett.wordpress.com) and theirs for more chances to win books. Hey Carrma, what do you say to Jessica for hosting our blog?
Carrma: Thanks. You should give me a cookie. Or a carrot. Or—
Evey: Oh look! It’s lunchtime!
Carrma: Gotta go. Bye-bye, humans.
Ha ha! Bye Evey, bye Carrma! Thank you for visiting.
For a glimpse of what's in store in our month long SHU WPF Blog Blitz, here's a list of the other participants:
Hey... where did all my sugar cubes go?