November 20, 212
So to keep me from going crazy waiting, I'm posting never-before-posted excerpts right here. I'm also GIVING AWAY a free print copy of HELLSBANE (includes BONUS chapter!) and a cool Angel Tarot card deck.
Read on after the excerpt for details on how to enter and win!
I've always thought sword fighting was such a noble form of battle. The idea of blades clashing and men in shining armor fight for honor, king, and country was kind of romantic.
Okay, in HELLSBANE it's not quite as noble...not really romantic either...but still really COOL!
Today's excerpt shows the heroine, Emma Jane during her first training session, learning how to sword fight.
I checked my watch. “Only a half hour.”
Tommy opened his arms, his sword loose in his hand. “Yeah?”
My brain shifted. Oh, crap. The Hellsbane family time issue strikes again. I’d become my mother. “Right. Sorry. I overslept.”
“You were sleeping?” Tommy said, crestfallen. “It’s three am, and I’ve been standing on this overlook for almost an hour. You think I don’t need sleep?”
“I said sorry.”
“Sure. Whatever.” He sliced the air with his sword, obviously still angry.
“Hey, this was your idea.
Washington isn’t my neighborhood,” I said.
“Yeah, I know. You’re right.” He looked dutifully pitiful. “I’m so whipped. Just got off work. I wanted to get some training in with you before I hit the sack. My apartment’s like two blocks away, but I don’t have a backyard. This was the first place I thought of. After this, I’m hitting the sack.”
I shrugged. “It’s okay. I love it here. This place is kind of visually epic, you know?”
With the Appalachian foothills as an observation stage to the city, the view from the
overlook was fantastic. On a clear day you can see for miles, beyond the city
and off into the nearby suburbs.
But at night, the scenery is even better. It’s like a postcard, buildings twinkling like Christmas trees, stoplights blinking color, neon signs adding a rainbow of hues and the lights tracing over the bridges shimmering along the dark rivers. Epic.
I kicked off my flip-flops, the cement cool against my feet, and drew the hilt of my sword from its sheath, willing the blade to gather and form. Knees bent, feet wide, I assumed a fighting stance, hands double-fisting the hilt.
“I’d like the place better after a few hours sleep,” he said.
I straightened. “Me too. I had five live readings today and four phone readings. Plus, I had lunch with my mother and sister. Tired is an understatement.”
“You should keep your distance from them,” Tommy said. “From anyone you care about. Never know when a demon’s gonna show up.”
“I didn’t think about that,” I said, trying to keep the guilt from showing on my face. “I mean, I’m used to talking to them all the time. Damn, this sucks.”
“Tell me about it.” He sighed. “Okay, enough complaining from both of us. You need the training, and if this is the only time we can get together, so be it.”
“Yeah, except when we’re done, you’ll be home in bed two minutes later. I’ll still be on the road.”
“Ah, grasshopper, the road to true wisdom is long and full of potholes,” he said in his best Master Po voice.
“Ah, Master Tommy, you spew much bullshit.” My Master Po wasn’t so hot. But he got the point.
“Right.” He raised his sword and I mirrored him. “Remember, you have an instinct for using your sword. Just relax and trust your gut.”
“Absolutely. Wait—no. We’re not actually going to hit each other with these things, are we? I mean, ’cause...that’d hurt.” My side gave a quick little twitch of phantom pain from where I’d been stabbed by the demon.
He shook his head. “Don’t worry. You won’t get through my blocks and I’m just going to push you hard enough for you to feel your power take over. It’s just practice. No going for the kill. Besides, we heal fast, right?”
“Riiight.” I’d worn sparring clothes just for the occasion: khaki shorts, loose on my hips, and two ribbed tank tops—pink over white. I’d even scooped my too-short hair into a spastic ponytail...mostly. A lot of the pieces had already slipped free from the elastic ring. Not sure why I bothered.
We circled each other. Tommy swung and I blocked. I swung and he blocked. He swung again, faster, and I blocked. I sliced down fast enough that the blade was a blur, spinning as I advanced. Tommy blocked and then sliced straight out toward my gut. I jumped back and he lunged, stabbing forward. I blocked. Somewhere between the first couple attacks and parries, I stopped thinking about any of it and just did it.
The clanks and metal hisses of our swords hitting and sliding against each other echoed off the nearby townhouses and over the cliffside.
The upside to innate ability is that it doesn’t take much mental concentration. I realized conversation was surprisingly easy.
“I met a guy today.”
“Should we celebrate?” Tommy said, driving me back three steps with a volley of blows. After the third strike, I found an opening and drove him back.
“Har-har, cute and funny. I’m all a-twitter. I didn’t mean I met a guy guy. I meant I met a person who happened to be a guy,” I said. “He was an illorum.”
I hope you enjoyed today's EXCLUSIVE excerpt from HELLSBANE (book 1) and check back tomorrow for another never-before-posted slice of the book.
Now, wouldn't you love to have your own crisp new copy? Or be the runner up and win a cool Angel Tarot Card deck? Take the time to enter below. You can either fill out the form or leave your info and answer in the comments. Good luck!