I was planning on posting an excerpt from the only WIP I've got going at this time, but Lori called and we starting 'what if-ing'. It appears our WIP (for which we both have different titles, lol, mine is Here be Dragons) is fixing to undergo a significant change, just as Greece did several times during its incarnation.
Now, that's exciting, I find that very exciting, because if it worked for Greece, it'll work for Dragons. Anyway, here's a pre-change excerpt. :-)
I, or rather Ezekiel, discovered Wyn’s secret hideaway.
I could hardly catch my breath after I’d clawed my way up to it. I stood on a small plateau, trying not to pant too hard, and stared at the huge double doors towering above my head. They fit snugly into the sheer cliff that surrounded them. At first I thought they were made from wood, but when I inched forward and touched them, I discovered they were metallic and covered in etchings. They’d been forged in dragon fire and embossed with pictographs, the history of a race. In the middle of the left door was the story of the Wind Maiden, at the top of the right, the Massacre at Caer Din. The space under my hand was empty but above it was an image of Rivon Landerth, as he fought his last battle.
Wyn’s history was almost finished, and then so would be Wyn.
The doors were not locked or barred and for all their size moved smoothly when I tugged them open. Weak sunlight spilled into the cavern they protected, igniting the bier within with sparkling pinpoints of light.
The rock walls were covered with images and portraits of people Wyn had known in his long life. Dragons, witches—even humans; I recognized Sol Muller, who had worked with Wyn all his life, until old age had taken him.
Painted on the wall at the foot of the bier was a woman who looked suspiciously familiar. Stylized, idealized--I’d never been that beautiful. Ever. I’d never been that serene or looked so confident. In one hand I held a bouquet of lavender. A small dragon perched in the palm of the other. It would be the last thing someone lying on that bier would see.
I was looking at Wyn’s tomb.
It was like being punched hard in the belly. My lungs wouldn’t work and I felt so helpless. He was determined to do this horrible thing and paid no attention to anything I said. It made me feel weak with terror. I’m a selfish woman and I just couldn’t imagine my world without Wyn somewhere in it.
Then I got mad. I can’t remember ever being so angry. How dare he go off and leave me behind? How dare he!
“I wondered how long it’d take you to find it. You’re a natural snoop, Andy.”
I whirled around and squinted at Wyn. The sun behind him spun a halo around his body and shadowed his features, but I knew him. I would always know him. That didn’t mean, however, that I’d cut him any slack.
“Who the hell do you think you are? Some medieval knight sighing over his lady love? Dying for love, Wyn? Why don’t you try living for it!”
“Don’t you talk to me! There’s no way you can explain this to my satisfaction.”
“Then I won’t.”
“Why? Why? I think if you do this, I’ll die too.”
“It shouldn’t matter to you, Andy, you walked out on me long ago.”
I leaned back against the cold stone of the bier and folded my arms. “I’m surprised you noticed I was gone. I figured if I meant anything to you, you’d come after me—for an explanation, if nothing else. But as always your painting came first. I heard nothing from you or about you. I told myself it didn’t matter. If you didn’t love me then I didn’t love you. When I finally gave in, you’d gone, moved on. That’s just fine, I told myself. If that’s the way he wants it, that’s how it’ll be. So all I did was pin point your general location and let you get on with your life by yourself.” I looked him up and down. “Appears I made a bad decision.”
“You left me,” he repeated, as if I’d said nothing at all.
“You left me first,” I snapped. What was the matter with him? Had he forgotten his English?
His throat worked as if forming words was difficult but his determined expression announced he meant to have his say. “I didn’t leave you. Why is it you don’t understand? I’m a dragon and dragons are obsessed with their hoards. My paintings are my hoard. When I’m deep in thrall to them you’re supposed to distract me somehow, change my focus, get me interested in something else. Surely your teachers told you this?”
“Not that I can recall. The covens were thinning out even in my day. So, I was supposed to hit you over the head with a two by four?”
“That would probably have caught my attention.”
“You’re saying it was all my fault.” My temper spurted, because he was right, it was my fault. Ignorance was no excuse. Witches are supposed to know dragons. “For Goddess’s sake, would you get away from that damn opening? I’m getting a headache.”
Obligingly he moved into the tomb, angling toward the wall opposite the portrait. I blinked away tears. “My eyes thank you. Wyn, does it make a difference to know I left because of a defect in my education?”
Manlike, he shrugged. “What’s done is done. There’s no undoing it.”
“Was my leaving one of the reasons for this?” I waved a hand around the tomb.
His eyes narrowed. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”
“I don’t know that ‘enjoy’ is the right word. It’s a serious thing when a man—or a dragon—plans to end his existence. But you see, Wyn, it’s a one way street. There’s no coming back from death if you find out you were wrong. You’d best be certain you know your facts before you take any action.”
“You might have been part of it,” he said, looking uncomfortable.
I moved slowly toward him. “I didn’t leave because I’d fallen out of love with you. I left because my heart was broken. It hurt too much, to be so close to you and not allowed to touch, to not be able to sink into you and you into me. It broke me, Wyn.”
I reached him and moved slowly behind him. My breasts brushed his back. As usual, he wore a thin, flannel shirt that did nothing to hide his heat. My nipples perked right up and got themselves ready for action. His long back muscles tightened under my hand.
“I couldn’t touch you like this.” I leaned against him and laid my cheek against his spine. My hands stroked his sides. He stood rigidly, his head high. I drew back and circled around so I could face him.
“You wouldn’t touch me.” I picked up his unresisting hands and brought them to my breasts. “See how I’m ready for you? But you didn’t want me. Not then. How about now, Wyn? Do you want me now?”
He lowered his gaze to mine. “I’ve always wanted you.” His voice was raspy with emotion. “What I couldn’t stand was being your ‘project’, something it was your duty to guard and protect. Your job. I used to wonder where you’d be, what you’d be doing, if you weren’t chained to me. I’ve always wanted you,” he repeated almost viciously, his hands tightening on my breasts. “There was never anyone before you. There’ll never be anyone again.”
“Not if you have your way, certainly.” I tried to sound blasé but my goddess, I was shaken! He had the look of a fierce raptor, and it was obvious every word he said hurt him, but he said them anyway because that’s just the way Wyn was. Honest to a fault and no matter what it cost him, he freely admitted his mistakes.
I moved closer, forcing his hands to slide down to my waist. “You smell so good, how do you always smell so good? You smell like new copper, all bright and clean.” I rose on my tiptoes and nuzzled his neck. “Hmm—spicy. Spicy, coppery, I love the scent of you. Eau d’Wyn. I love you, I always will.” He tasted of salt and skin and Wyn. “You were never just a job to me. How could you not know?” I cupped his face between my palms. “Don’t leave me,” I whispered. “We can run away, to someplace no one will find us. We can live our lives without dragon masters and all the hatred they spew. Please. Please don’t do this thing.”
The tension left his body as his lips curved up in a smile. “I don’t know how you can say that with a straight face. You’d never leave your sisters, or turn your back on your duty.”
“I would for you. I would,” I insisted as he raised an eyebrow. “A person needs priorities,” I said primly. “And you are mine. It would be a colorless life without you.”
“You’ve lived without me for years.”
“Yes, but you existed, you were alive and well. I could find you if I needed to. You could come to me, if you only would. There was hope, Wyn, and a chance of future happiness if we could only settle our differences, and I thought I had all the time in the world. We were playing a game of chicken. I reckon we’re too damn old to be acting like that. We should have known better.”
I nuzzled him again, opening my mouth against the warm skin of his neck, indulging my tongue with delicate licks. He clenched his hands around my waist. Slowly he raised me up until my face was level with his.
“Think what you’re doing,” he whispered. “It won’t be gentle or prettified.”
“No,” I agreed and fastened my lips to his in a searing, open mouthed kiss.