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Sascha Illyvich talks latest plans, frolicon, books!

More fun with Bound After Midnight

1boundaftermidnight1600x2400If you haven’t picked up this awesome powerhouse anthology you’re missing out on some of the hottest kinky paranormal romance to date!   I’m taking time to talk about the book today,  from the perspective of an editor.

Honestly, when you push authors to write something that’s pretty much a guaranteed sale, what does that mean to them?  From my perspective as an author I need only a few guidelines.  Genre, flavor (m/m, m/f, etc) and word count.

The character of Solan was more like a lost soul/warrior but the archetype (remember those of you who took my classes) that really stood out in the end was his need to conquer.  Himself, his land, his situation, his destiny.  Without a clear vision, our wandering samurai (ask about that!) had no direction other than to fight until he died.

There was a part of me who realized he needed something deeper and when I figured out what that was, who his match was based on people I know, I found a heroine easily.  Katherine, vampire, lover, submissive to only the one who could own her, would be a perfect match for our wandering warrior.

In the story she does give off clues of awareness of her part in his destiny but he’s so blinded by what he can see that he misses the obvious until Katherine’s life is at stake, literally.

Yes, if you’re reading this and we went to high school together, you know EXACTLY who I based Katherine off of.

I’m rather proud of the story and happy to be sharing space next to two of my authors at Sizzler Editions.

Pick up Bound After Midnight at

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Sizzler Editions

First Chapter from Finding Eternity – from Bound After Midnight

1boundaftermidnight1600x2400The ties that bind are not always visible, the universal concept of love, not always seen clearly through the eyes of the wandering traveler.  This is no truer than in the case of Solan, a warrior with an unknown destiny in “Finding Eternity.” Wounded on the battlefield, his rescue by a vampire who yearns to be his proves to be too much for a man with no concept of ownership.

CHAPTER ONE

 

Light from an explosion blinded him. Another detonation rocked the ground beneath him, forcing him to his knees.  Solan gripped the hilt of his sword, pulled it from its sheath and stabbed the ground.  Using the sword for leverage, he forced himself to his feet in time to free the sword and counter the attack coming at him.

His blade connected with the other man’s and rang out, sparks flying.

“You die now, warrior.” Grunting, behemoth swung his blade at Solan.

Solan parried and jumped back.  Eyes narrowed, he focused on the weak spot in his opponent’s armor.  Dressed in leather boots, gauntlets, and clean rust colored armor, the man known simply as an Outsider heaved his sword back.  With one hand, he swung the giant blade at Solan.

Solan jumped away and charged in, swinging his sword across the Outsider’s midsection. He cut into the leather but barely scraped the skin.

The Outsider laughed and struck back, lunging at Solan, fist cocked back.

Solan took the blow to his lungs, wind whooshing out of him.  He swore bone cracked. That wasn’t good.  No hospitals in the area for at least two days journey meant he’d probably have to repair the injury himself, along with other cuts and scrapes he’d acquired in battle.

In rapid fire succession, the Outsider jumped again at Solan, thrusting sword and fist at him.

Solan leapt back and away.  Each time, the Outsider swung, wind from his attacks bit into bite into Solan’s skin.

His strength would only hold up another few minutes at best before the Outsider’s blade cut into him and tore him to pieces.

“I could keep this up,” the Outsider swung again, “for hours.  My strength is legendary.  If you’d left well alone after I brutally killed that petty human, you wouldn’t be in this position.”

Solan said nothing as he blocked the sword coming at his head.  Straining, he parried the blade away and countered with an attack of his own.

The Outsider stopped his advance, held up his free hand. Thick fingers curled and uncurled, a white ball of light formed and hovered above his palm.  Soundless energy swept up into a point, making the air crackle. Solan saw his chance.

The Outsider cocked his fist back and started to throw the light.

Solan ducked, barely missing the strike before he thrust his sword up, catching the Outsider below his ribs.  “Victory will be mine.”

Surprise slowly spread across the Outsider’s face.  He coughed blood and looked down at the new wound in his chest with wide eyes.

“You cannot heal that wound.  This blade is made from special iron and has been blessed by the Goddess Herself.  This battle,” Solan withdrew his blade, “is over.”

The ball of light dissipated into glimmers of light, disappearing and the Outsider fell to his knees, blood dripping down his chin.  Solan had cracked ribs and his blade punched through the attacker’s body completely.  Solid metal pierced the lung, silencing the wounded man.

The Outsider swung one last time.

Too close to deflect the blow with his weapon, Solan spun away in attempt to catch the blade in his weak arm.

The tip of the blade caught him, tearing deep in his flesh.

He grit his teeth, wiped sweat from his brow and looked around, scanning the barren land.  Several hundred yards from where he stood, an army made its way through what used to be lush forest and crystal clear streams.

Now, only soot and gunpowder filled the air.  The blue skies had turned gray, the ground empty, devoid of life.

Another explosion landed near him, sending him flying several feet back.  Mortar and shells fired off in rapid succession as the invaders sieged the lands and pushed back the humans attempting to defeat what Solan knew as otherworldly beings.

He had to get away.  The wound on his arm was one of many he’d acquired.

He’d lost a lot of blood.  Only dedicated skill had saved his life.  The Outsider had him outweighed by at least a good hundred pounds of solid muscle.  His skill, speed and strength combined had him in Solan’s face so using his whip remained impossible.

Two attackers forced him to leave behind his short sword.  He’d pinned them to a tree.  If he pulled the blade, they’d heal. If he left it in, they’d die in hours.

By a miracle, he still breathed.

His lungs burned inhaling smoke and death, his eyes stung, sweat ran down his forehead.  He reached into one of his kilt pockets, pulled out a rag and tore it into strips.  With difficulty concentrating, he tied the makeshift bandage around his arm.

His stomach grumbled.  He hadn’t eaten in two days.  The last village he passed through had been terribly impoverished. His warrior’s code wouldn’t let him take from those with less.

Silence echoed loudly around him, indicating the army had long moved on from this front, Solan found himself left alone with only his thoughts.

“No cut too deep,” he took a step forward.  Then another.  Dirt and gravel crunched beneath his boots.  “No road too long.  No wind too hard…”  The words came out by rote, a chant he’d heard ever since coming to consciousness one day. Strain in his voice became apparent.

Nothing around the desolate battlefield could sustain him.  With darkness setting soon, his only respite would be sleep, if he could find shelter.

The war between humans and the Other raged endlessly.

When he awoke to find the palace he called home ablaze, he knew only one thing.  Find safety, then regroup.  He’d been on the road so long that safety was no longer a priority.  He’d soon discovered the world was in a chaotic state.  The Others tried to conquer the humans, and the balance of power shifted often.

He supposed in the end, he was his own side.

Solan had to survive; he had a destiny to fulfill.

His vision blurred.  Something dug into his uncovered knees and cut his skin.

Someone yelled.

Solan realized it was his scream permeating the air.

Tears streaked down his cheeks. Failure was not an option as long as blood flowed through his veins and his heart beat.  What he wouldn’t give to end his loneliness.

Someone, something, in the air flew toward him.  A figure.  He could only make out slender features in the fog and mist before the ground came at him too quickly and he saw black.

* * * *

Something wet and warm slid across his forehead, bringing him back from unconsciousness.  Solan didn’t move, but he opened his senses.  The softness of pillows and blankets cradled his body.

“No night too dark.”

Dripping water pulled his attention to his left, before warmth of a washcloth brushed over his forehead again.

“No road too long.”

Those words.

The voice was feminine, soft, with a foreign lilt that sounded sweet to his ears.

“No wind too strong.”

A washcloth.  Reality intruded the dull haze he’d been in as muscles ached and he let out a groan.

Carefully, he opened his eyes.

“You’re awake.”

Blurred vision gave way to reveal the face of an angel.

Or a demon.

Midnight blue hair hung straight, framing an oval face. Ruby red lips meant for easing the suffering of man caused him to harden.

Her eyes seemed lifeless at first glance.

Solan stared harder into the pools of her irises, found himself sinking slowly into the depths of Krylon blue before shaking himself out of a trance.

Pain sliced through his limbs.

“Be careful.  I’ve given you something for the pain, but,” she ran a hand through her hair and he imagined what it would feel like to tangle his fingers in her long locks.

She smiled, showed tiny fangs.

He gasped, “You’re a,” he tried to move, agonizing pain cut through him. He clenched his teeth, the warrior in him refusing to scream.

Her brows furrowed together.  “Yes, warrior.  I am the undead.”

“Where did you learn those words?”

“I don’t know,” she set a washcloth back in the basin.  “They have been in my head for many years now.  I cannot remember a time when I didn’t think of them. Why do you ask?”

Solan closed his eyes.  “No reason.”

Her arm brushed against his, sending a jolt of arousal coursing through him.  Again, he grunted, more in frustration at not being able to move or react, than anything else.

“This will sting a bit, but it’s necessary to change the dressings on your shoulder.  The cuts are very deep and we had to replace a lot of what you lost.”

His eyes widened.

“No,” she shook her head, “Not with our blood.  There are willing humans who donate to us as we require in return for our protection.  The damage to your body was so great that our herbs would not cure you.”

The first time in ages he’d talked to someone who wasn’t trying to kill him and she had to be a vampire.  What did that say of his life?  “I see.”  He inhaled slowly, careful not to send another shock of pain through his system.  Exhaling was slightly more comfortable.

“When I found you, I tried to heal you with magic but the wounds wouldn’t close.  Something bad…”

“An Outsider.”  He turned his head to look at the basin and remove her pretty face from his sight.

“Yes.”  She picked up something metal, he caught the gleam of candlelight reflecting off it.  “You’re not-“

Two fingers pressed against his mouth.  “The razor is sharp.  You have bomb shrapnel in you.  I’m simply going to remove it.”

The contact of her fingers against his lips made his throat dry.  He had to have her despite her being…

“Look away, it will hurt less.”

“You don’t have medicine to numb me?”

She swiped the knife through a flame, studied the blade at eye level and blinked.  “I do not.”

Eyes wide, Solan jerked against her, sending pain lacing through his body.  His heart skipped a beat.  “You can’t bespell me?”

She shook her head from side to side.  “Sadly, no.”

His eyes met hers and he found himself getting lost in her gaze, yet it wasn’t the intentional power of persuasion screaming in his head that stole his focus.  It was just…her.

With careful attention, she brought the knife to his flesh and cut along the injured area.

Solan stared down the line of her body, jerked from the knife cutting and pain, but found he liked the way the purple dress fit her.  Large breasts spilled from the lace top. If he had to guess, the dress reached floor length and tapered at the waist.  He couldn’t move past her breasts.

Her eyes met his and her lips curled up in an appreciative smile.  Then she frowned.

“Ouch,” the sting bit into him, and his arm suddenly felt lighter.

She pulled out the metal and dropped it into a container beside her.  “Just as I suspected.   The Outsider’s blade had magic woven into the folding of steel.”

Solan arched a brow.  “You can detect magic?”

She nodded.  “There are many things not understood about our race, but the humans won’t ask. And the Outsiders seek to control us.”

“What do you want?”

Her face lit up, then a mask concealed her former joyous expression.  “We want the same thing every being wants.  Peaceful days.”

“Can you overpower the Outsiders?”

“We can.  But they outnumber us since our race is dying.”

He’d heard.  The Outsiders sought to rule and blanket the world with chaos.  Humans fought bravely but lost out due to the sheer size and strength of the typical Outsider.  Vampires didn’t appear to be a factor.  “Rumors and legends abound about your kind.”

Again, she nodded, and the light reflected off her pale skin.  Shadows danced over her flesh.  Solan swore he saw demons running over her skin but then again, he could be hallucinating.

“The spell works to slow down the opponent upon drawing blood.  It’s as though weight is added to compound the severity of your injuries.  The mind cannot process the additional weight so fast, so you end up spent before your much larger opponent.”

Slowly, Solan let out a deep breath.  “No wonder he seemed so much faster.”

“I am Katherine, by the way.”  She threaded a needle and began stitching the wound in his arm.  “Most of your other wounds I can heal with magic if you will allow.  For now, you should rest.”

Solan started to protest but the pinch of her needle stopped him.  His stomach grumbled.

“I have no doubt a fierce warrior like you needs provisions.  I shall see to it that you are fed.  Right now, we’re hoping the blood we gave you remains in your system.”

He cocked a brow.  “My body could reject your blood?”

“While our magic is strong, our knowledge of medicines and the human body is…lacking.”  Her voice dropped.  Katherine looked away.

Though it pained him, Solan lifted his left arm, grit his teeth and touched her cheek.

He had no idea her skin would be so soft.

Running the pad of his thumb along her jaw line, he turned her face toward him.  “I can only thank you for your kindness. If I can do…”

Katherine smiled.  “Your kindness is all I ask, warrior.  Do you…” she set a hand on his chest lightly, “have a name?”

Heat warmed him, hardened him.  Despite his wounds, intense desire coursed through him for Katherine.  A warrior’s name was something to share exclusively with trusted company.  Right now, Solan felt like he could trust her, even if she was one of the walking dead.  He closed his eyes, evened his breathing and enjoyed the warmth settling around him.

“Solan.”

“Very well, Solan.  I shall love you back to full health.”

The last thing he heard was the sound of her breathing before sleep overtook him.

To read more AND find out what worlds authors Bonni Sansom and Margie Church delved into,

Purchase BOUND AFTER MIDNIGHT from Sizzler Editions

Bound After Midnight Cover – Erotic Paranormal BDSM Romancae

1boundaftermidnight1600x2400Finally, we wait no more!  The long awaited anthology from Sizzler Editions authors Margie Church, Bonni Sansom and me, “Bound After Midnight” has a a cover AND a release date!

Three tales of paranormal romance and bondage:

In my story Finding Eternity -

In search of his destiny, Solan is wounded by his opponent and left for dead.  Rescue in the form of a sensual vampire who drags him back to her castle and heals him.  Instant sexual attraction complicates things as Solan’s destiny unfolds before his eyes and he is faced with either learning true mastery, including owning the woman he’s growing to love, or watching her die before his eyes.

Katherine’s life has been unfulfilling until she feels the pull of her life mate slipping away.  Upon rescue, she realizes what sustains her is his love, not blood.  Except his uncertainties prevent him from fulfilling the role of Master to her slave.

Will Solan realize his true destiny is with Katherine or will she die of a broken heart?

Bonni Sansom brings us Hunter’s Bounty –

Being a Vampire bounty hunter had its perks. Lana Drake knew this all too well. But meeting her new client, Devon Brody awakens a bloodlust that brought out the submissive in her.

After Devon’s sister Zara is kidnapped, Devon hires Lana Drake, vampire bounty hunter to find her, only to negotiate payment with his blood.  After the first feeding, he quickly realizes her submissive nature pairs well with his Dominant side.

What starts off as passing time in a no holds barred sexual D/s relationship quickly progresses to something Lana can’t handle, until Devon reveals his true nature when he saves her from the vampire clan that kidnapped his sister.  Can Devon and Lana resolve their feelings for each other?

Margie Church leaves us with a taste of Cream On The Crop -

After growing up in politics, Neha Thompson craves privacy. Her new farm seems the perfect place to create a new life, until peculiar events bring the sheriff to her door.

Jamaal Cooper’s feelings about black rights angered some of the locals during the 1948 Freedom Train movement. His body was found on Neha’s farm, and his murder remains unsolved. For 65 years, his restless spirit has harassed the property owners, driving them away one by one. Neha is next.

When Jamaal uncovers Neha’s most secret desires, she’s faced with a choice to submit to this ghostly Master or be driven away like the others.

Now, for the release date:  February 21st!  Look out for this awesome anthology!

Excerpt from Finding Eternity – Bound after Midnight Sneak Peak

tumblr_m9fhc7i3eX1r1dcylo1_1280~~~Soon to be out from Sizzler Editions.  Bound After Midnight features hot paranormal romances by Sascha Illyvich, Bonni Sansom and Margie Church

Solan, the warrior, has battled for  most of his life, fighting for Goddess only knows what on a planet devoid of beauty, letting a string of words guide him until he’s wounded gravely wounded in battle.  A woman, perhaps an angel, or demon, comes to his aid with one goal in mind.Fulfill her destiny and his:

EXCERPT:

Solan woke, his body thrumming with sexual need.  Gone were the aches and pains he’d experienced from battle, but memories would remind him of his fights.  He survived off those thoughts, images.  The sights and smells of battle surrounded him, hardened his resolve.

Shifting his weight, Solan recalled the previous events and found himself in soft place, a warm bed.  He balled his fists carefully, then unclenched them.  Toes wiggled, legs moved, he had full use of his limbs.

The limb he hadn’t used in months remained painfully erect.

Solan looked around the room, saw how empty it was.  A chest of drawers sat against a stone wall. To his left, a fire crackled in the pit.  The moon cast beams of light on the ground through the one large window.  Funny, he thought vampires would want closed walls to protect against sunlight.

He laughed at the concept of the sun’s rays reaching the ground.  Where he’d been, thick black smoke and soot blanketed the skies.  If the vampire kept him in a different part of the world, where was he?

He’d fought long and hard against those who would destroy the earth.  He’d struggled to remain free.

Solan served no man.

But Katherine’s last words…

He stiffened when he remembered her singing to him earlier.  He drew the sheet across his skin, became aware of his partial nudity.

The door beside him creaked open.   Katherine came through the threshold floating gracefully, rather than moving.  She stopped at the bed and smiled.  Her dress was similar to the one she wore last time he saw her, only the darker purple color brought out the exquisite hue of her eyes. The dress hugged her breasts, leaving nothing to the imagination.  Tapering at the waist, the hem dragged on the floor and swished with each step she took.  Her hair had been pulled back but strands hung down over her shoulders.

He wanted to move her hair so he could again see her ruby lips, her enchanting eyes and her wondrous smile.

Katherine’s mouth curled up in a grin.  Krylon blue eyes softened.  “You’re awake.”

He nodded.

“Are you in pain?”

The lilt in her voice made his cock throb.  “Only one ache I need to resolve…”  He let the sentence hang, hoping he wouldn’t offend her if she did catch his meaning.

She smiled, ruby red lips curving up, exposing fangs.

He should be afraid.  She could bite and kill him.

What purpose would that serve?  Heal him, then kill him?

Maybe she needed him at full strength in order to feed.

She tilted her head.  “Your mind races, but you do not act on your body’s instincts, Solan. Why not?”

Solan cocked a brow.  “Whatever do you mean?”

“Just as women have a scent for lust, so do men.  Yours is subtler because of your injuries.”  She sat beside him.  Gently, she slid her hand against his naked arm.

Her skin was soft and smooth, cool to the touch. He wanted to take her.  Staring into her eyes, he felt the pull, but not a vampire’s magic.  This power ran deeper, stronger.

She leaned in closer, hovering over him.

He went rigid, though he forced himself to speak.  “You could overpower and drain me dry, vampire.”

She blinked, her long eyelashes fluttering caresses over his cheek, “I suppose so.  But…”  Katherine nuzzled his cheek with hers, breasts crushed against his chest.  The soft fabric of her dress reminded him of his lack of a shirt.

His groin hardened even more.

Carefully, she moved up the length of his body until their eyes met.  Hunger in Katherine’s eyes reflected the mood he found himself in.

Her lips pressed to his in a light caress before she pressed harder against him.

Solan smelled iron, blood, flesh, life.  Her feminine scent washed over him.

Her hand found the back of his head, lifted it to her and pressed harder into him, deepening the kiss.

Thrusting his tongue into her mouth intensified her taste.   Soft curves surrounded him.  Her fingernails trailed down the length of his arm, stopping at his wrist.

He broke from the kiss and stared at her.  Reaching for her face, he cupped her cheek, ran the pad of his thumb along her jaw line.  “What…are you doing?”

Like he didn’t know.

Katherine blinked again, offered him a weak smile.  Her mouth moved, no sound came out.

“Do you want to sate me?”  His words rang out in the empty room. “Do you want me, Katherine?”

Need flashed in her eyes.  Flames of desire appear to lick her skin as more shadows danced over her flesh.  “I do.”

He moved out from under her and rolled her onto her back, “We do this my way.”

In seconds, she lay flat on her back, pinned to the mattress.  He straddled her, the hem of his kilt lifted slight, exposing his thighs.

She hesitated to touch him, even as her surprised expression changed to lust.  Her eyes remained half open, mouth parted.  “Take me if you have the desire.  Sate your needs with my body.”

Solan didn’t remember when last he’d spilled his seed in a woman’s womb.  “Yes, I will.”  He almost growled.

Katherine shifted beneath him so his erection would settle between her thighs.

He ran his hands up and down the length of her sides before drawing her arms above her head.

Her submissive nature surprised him.  Despite her strength, she moved with him, let him position her where he wanted her. She remained soft and tender as any human woman.

He held her wrists with one hand, noticed how small they were.  Delicate bone structure, he decided.  Her breasts jutted up at him, pale sculptures with nipples the color of dusty roses.  With his free hand, he traced a finger over her exposed flesh, enjoying how she shuddered beneath the slightest touch.

“I’m sorry,” he groaned, and ripped the top of her dress, exposing round, creamy breasts.

Before she responded, he lowered his mouth to her breast, took a nipple in between his teeth and scraped his tongue over the tight nub.

She sucked in a hard breath, arched beneath him and cried out.

He pulled the puckered nipple deeper into his mouth while grinding his hips into hers in a rhythmic, rocking motion.

Hands caught the hem of his kilt, lifted the thick material up.

Solan moved from one breast to the other, dragging his tongue over heated flesh.

He popped her other nipple out of his mouth, the sound echoing loudly.  “I thought vampires were cold to the touch.”

Katherine blinked.

Her hair spilled over the pillow in a glorious blanket.  Solan ran his fingers through the silky soft strands, amazed at how his arousal throbbed from such a simple act.

Her mouth curled up in a bow, “You have stirred something in me, szeretőm.  My flesh is heated by your…affection.”

 

Here I come I’m droppipn (book) plates on your ass

Photo copyright belongs to the original owner.

 

A little something for your eyehole…from the upcoming paranormal bdsm collection featuring Bonni Sansom, Margie Church, Marianne LaCroix and me.

Finding Eternity

The story is: Solan is a man fighting, searching for his destiny when he’s struck down in battle. Katherine comes to his aid only to cryptically hint at her interest in him and need for him to own her. Can Solan realize his life belongs to the vampiress or will his selfishness cost him the one thing he needs to be complete?

Unedited First Chapter:

Light from an explosion blinded him. Another detonation rocked the ground beneath him, forcing him to his knees.  Solan gripped the hilt of his sword, pulled it from its sheath and stabbed the ground.  Using the sword for leverage, he forced himself to his feet just in time to free the sword and counter the attack coming at him.

His blade connected with the other man’s and rang out, sparks flying.

“You die now, warrior.” With a grunt, the behemoth of a man swung his blade at Solan.

Solan parried and jumped back.  Eyes narrowed, he focused on the weak spot in his opponent’s armor.  Dressed in leather boots, gauntlets, and clean rust colored armor, the man known simply as an Outsider heaved his sword back.  With one hand, he swung the giant blade at Solan.

Solan jumped away and charged in, swinging his sword across the Outsider’s midsection. He cut into the leather but barely scraped the skin.

The Outsider laughed and struck back, lunging at Solan, fist cocked back.

Solan took the blow to his lungs, wind whooshing out of him.  He swore bone cracked. That wasn’t good.  No hospitals in the area for at least two days journey meant he’d probably have to repair the injury himself, along with his other numerous cuts and scrapes.

In rapid fire succession, the Outsider jumped again at Solan, thrusting sword and fist at him.

Solan could only leap back and out of the way, each time feeling the wind from the Outsider’s attacks bite into his skin.

Instinct told him he could only keep this up another few minutes at best before the Outsider’s blade cut into him and tore him to pieces.

“I could keep this up,” the Outsider swung again, “for hours.  My strength is legendary.”

Solan said nothing as he blocked the sword coming at his head.  Straining, he parried the blade away and countered with an attack of his own.

The Outsider stopped his advance, held up his free hand. Thick fingers curled and uncurled, a white ball of light formed and hovered just above his palm.  Soundless energy swept up into a point, making the air crackle. Solan saw his chance.

The Outsider cocked his fist back and started to throw the light.

Ducking just in time, Solan thrust his sword up, catching the Outsider just below his ribs.  “Victory will be mine.”

Surprise slowly spread across the Outsider’s face.  He coughed blood and looked down at the new wound in his chest with wide eyes.

“You cannot heal that wound.  This blade is made from special iron and has been blessed by the Goddess Herself.  This battle,” Solan withdrew his blade, “is over.”

The ball of light dissipated into glimmers of light, disappearing and the Outsider fell to his knees, blood dripping down his chin.  Solan had cracked ribs and his blade punched through the attacker’s body completely.  Solid metal pierced the lung, silencing the wounded man.

With sword still in hand, he swung one last time at Solan.

Too close to deflect the blow with his weapon, Solan spun away in attempt to catch the blade in his weak arm.

The tip of the blade caught him, tearing deep in his flesh.

He grit his teeth, wiped sweat from his brow and looked around, scanning the barren land.  Several hundred yards from where he stood, an army made its way through what used to be lush forest and crystal clear streams.

Now, only soot and gunpowder filled the air.  The blue skies had turned gray, the ground empty, devoid of life.

Another explosion landed near him, sending him flying several feet back.  Mortar and shells fired off in rapid succession as the invaders sieged the lands and pushed back the humans attempting to defeat what Solan could only label as otherworldly beings.

He had to get away.  The cut on his arm was only one of many he’d endured before meeting the Outsider.

He’d lost a lot of blood.  Only dedicated skill had saved his life.  The Outsider had him outweighed by at least a good, solid hundred pounds.  His skill, speed and strength combined had him in Solan’s face so using his whip remained impossible.

He’d lost the short sword earlier in the day, had to pin two attackers to a tree.  If he pulled out the blade, they’d heal.  If he left it in, they’d die in hours.

By only a miracle, he still breathed.

His lungs burned inhaling smoke and death, his eyes stung, sweat ran down his forehead.  He reached into one of his kilt pockets, pulled out a rag and tore it into strips.  With difficulty concentrating, he tied the makeshift bandage around his arm.

His stomach grumbled.  He hadn’t eaten in two days.  The last village he passed through had been so impoverished, and his warrior’s code wouldn’t let him take from those lesser of him.

Silence echoed loudly around him, leaving him alone with his thoughts.

“No cut too deep,” he took a step forward.  Then another.  Dirt and gravel crunched beneath his boots.  “No road too long.  No wind too hard…”  The strain in his voice became apparent.  Even speaking felt like work.

Nothing around this desolate battlefield would sustain him.  With darkness setting soon, he could only hope for respite from his journey in the form of sleep.  Healing sleep and nourishment were the cornerstones of sustenance yet he’d lacked both.  The war between humans and the Other raged and he still didn’t know which side he belonged on.

He supposed in the end, he was his own side.

One last shell screamed through the air, whistling high enough that the sound carried and hurt Solan’s ears.

He had to make it through this battle.  Had to live.  Had to fulfill his destiny, whatever that was.

Yet, he saw only spots now, his vision blurring.  Something dug into his uncovered knees and cut into his skin.

Someone yelled.

Then Solan realized it was his scream permeating the air.

Tears streaked down his cheeks. He could not fail.  He had yet to figure out what that witch meant by finding his destiny.

Someone, something, in the air flew towards him.  A figure.  But, what?  He could only make out slender features in the fog and mist before the ground came at him too quickly and he saw black.

* * * *

Something wet and warm slid across his forehead, bringing him back from unconsciousness.  Solan didn’t move, but he opened his senses more.  Beneath him, softness.

“No night too dark.”

The sound of something dripping pulled his attention to his left, before the warmth dabbed at his forehead again.

“No road too long.”

Those words.

The voice was feminine, soft, with a foreign lilt that sounded sweet to his ears.

“No wind too strong.”

A washcloth.  Reality intruded the dull haze he’d been in as muscles ached and he let out a groan.

Carefully, he opened his eyes.

“You’re awake.”

Blurred vision gave way to reveal the face of an angel.

Or a demon.

Midnight blue hair hung straight, framing an oval face. Ruby red lips meant for easing the suffering of man only caused him to harden.

Her eyes seemed lifeless at first, but Solan stared harder into the pools of her irises, found himself sinking slowly into the depths of Krylon blue before he shook himself out of it.

Pain sliced through his limbs.

“Be careful.  I’ve given you something for the pain, but,” she ran a hand through her hair and he imagined what it would feel like to tangle his fingers in it.

She smiled, showed tiny fangs.

He gasped, “You’re a,” he tried to move, agonizing pain cut through him. He grit his teeth, the warrior in him refusing to scream.

“Yes, warrior.  I am the undead.”

“Where did you learn those words?”

“I don’t know,” she set a washcloth back in the basin.  “They have been in my head for many years now.  I cannot remember a time when I didn’t think of them. Why do you ask?”

Solan closed his eyes.  “No reason.”

Her arm brushed against his, sending a jolt of arousal coursing through him.  Again, he grunted, more in frustration at not being able to move or react, than anything else.

“This will sting a bit, but it’s necessary to change the wounds on your shoulder.  The cut is very deep and we had to replace a lot of what you lost.”

His eyes widened.

“No,” she shook her head, ‘Not with our blood.  There are willing humans who donate to us as we require in return for our protection.  Our herbs would not cure you, the state your body was in.”

The first time in ages he’d talked to someone who wasn’t trying to kill him and it had to be a vampire.  What did that say of his life?  “I see.”  He inhaled slowly, careful not to send another shock of pain through his system.  Exhaling was slightly more comfortable.

“When I found you, I tried to heal you with magic but the wounds wouldn’t close.  Something bad…”

“An Outsider.”  He turned his head to look at the basin and remove her pretty face from his sight.

“Yes.”  She picked up something metal, he caught the gleam of candlelight reflecting off it.  “You’re not-“

Two fingers pressed against his mouth.  “You have bomb shrapnel in you.  I’m simply going to remove it.”

The contact of her fingers against his lips made his throat dry.  He had to have her despite her being…

“Look away, it will hurt less.”

“You don’t have medicine to numb me?”

She swiped the knife through a flame, held it at eye level and blinked.  “I do not.”

Eyes wide, Solan jerked against her, sending pain lacing through his body.  His heart skipped a beat.  “You can’t bespell me?”

She shook her head slowly.  “Sadly, no.”

His eyes met hers and he found himself getting lost in her gaze, yet it wasn’t the intentional power of persuasion screaming in his head that stole his focus.  It was just…her.

With careful attention, she brought the knife to his flesh and cut along the injured area.

Solan stared down the line of her body, jerked from the knife cutting and pain, but found he liked the way the purple dress fit her.  Large breasts spilled from the lace top. If he had to guess, the dress reached floor length and tapered at the waist.  He couldn’t move past her breasts.

Her eyes met his and her lips curled upward in an appreciative smile.  Then she frowned.

“Ouch,” the sting bit into him, and his arm suddenly felt lighter.

“Just as I suspected.   The Outsider’s blade had magic woven into the folding of steel.”

“You can detect magic?”

She nodded.  “There are many things not understood about our race, but the humans won’t ask. And the Outsiders seek to control us.”

He’d heard.  The Outsiders sought to rule the world and blanket it with chaos.  Humans fought bravely but lost out due to the sheer size and strength of the typical Outsider.  Vampires hadn’t been a factor.  “Rumors and legends abound about your kind.”

Again, she nodded, and the light reflected off her pale skin.  Shadows danced over her flesh.  Solan swore he saw demons running over her skin but then again, he could be hallucinating.

“The spell works to slow down the opponent upon drawing blood.  It’s as though weight is added to compound the severity of your injuries.  The mind cannot process the additional weight so fast, so you end up spent before your much larger opponent.”

“No wonder he seemed so much faster.”

“I am Katherine, by the way.”  She threaded a needle and began stitching the wound in his arm.  “Most of your other wounds I can heal with magic if you will allow.  For now, you should rest.”

Solan started to protest but the pinch of her needle stopped him.  Then his stomach grumbled.

“I have no doubt a fierce warrior like you needs provisions.  I shall see to it that you are fed.  Right now, we’re hoping the blood we gave you remains in your system.”

He cocked a brow.  “My body could reject it?”

“While our magic is strong, our knowledge of medicines and the human body is…lacking.”  Her voice dropped.  Katherine looked away.

Though it pained him, Solan lifted his left arm, grit his teeth and touched her cheek.

He had no idea her skin would be so soft.

Running the pad of his thumb along her jawline, he turned her face toward him.  “I can only thank you for your kindness. If I can do…”

Katherine smiled.  “Your money would be no good here, warrior.  Do you…” she set a hand on his chest lightly, “have a name?”

Heat warmed him, hardened him.  Somehow through his wounds he could still feel intense desire for this woman.  Yet, a warrior’s name was something to share only with those whom the warrior trusted.  At that moment, Solan felt like he could trust her, even if she was one of the walking dead.  Yet, his eyes closed, breathing evened and warmth settled around him.

“Solan.”

“Very well, Solan.  I shall love you back to full health.”

The last thing he heard was the sound of her breathing before sleep overtook him.

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