Today we’ve got Shona Husk sharing an exclusive excerpt of her newest book with us! And she’s giving away a copy too! Whee!
In a world of cold and Darkness, Lysanna is a Trickster, a demi-god charged with making people believe in Light and hope. She travels the world creating magic and wonder, taking human assistants to help on stage and warm her bed. Somehow they always betray her, and they always leave.
Zander is a fallen Celestial warrior. Cast out of heaven, he’s been given one month to earn his way back. When he meets Lysanna, he knows what she is. What he doesn’t expect to discover are the pleasures of being human, and the burning lust he finds in the Trickster’s bed. Returning to heaven begins to lose its appeal, but he’s sworn to fight the Darkness, to stop it from consuming the world—which means possibly choosing between duty and Lysanna.
She smiled. “Tell me about life as a Celestial Warrior. It’s got to be better than freezing your butt off in the foothills on the way to a Dark-infested town.”
Zander studied her face for a moment. Her cheeks were pink from the cold and strands of blonde hair poked out from her fur-lined hood. She didn’t look immortal, she looked human in a fragile human body. But he’d felt the strength in those little hands last night. A power he couldn’t hope to match.
“No one had a body. That’s the biggest difference.”
“How do you know who is who?” Her body swayed with the movement of the caravan, perfectly balanced as if she’d been doing it for years.
Which she had. He didn’t even know how old she was. Or how old he was.
“Different vibrations. Different colors.” He tried to find the right words and failed. How could he describe a world of light and no substance but where sensations rippled through every part of his body? Where joy was radiant and people’s light dimmed when tired or injured? Or faded altogether if they gave up and became Beasts? “We just did. We were light, not restrained by flesh. But it is possible to be stretched too far and then the Darkness could tear through.” He closed his eyes, remembering feeling the rupture as the warrior next to him was destroyed. Another had rushed to fill the gap, but all had felt the pain. He opened his eyes to find Lysanna watching him. “It was different.”
She nodded. “And when you weren’t fighting?”
When their light began to fade, they’d fall back to recharge. Staying too long at the front only guaranteed the Dark a win. So they were encouraged to rotate frequently and be at full strength. He knew the Darkness pushed harder, driving the Beasts on until they broke and scattered into nothingness. “I was resting and recovering.”
He drew in a breath, ready to defend himself, but she was grinning.
“Would you do it again?”
Looking at her, he knew he would just to experience having a body and all the joy that brought. Then he was engulfed by guilt. He should be up there with his brothers, fighting, not enjoying the pleasures of being earthbound. He doubted they thought he’d find a reason to enjoy his sentence—or another source of ambrosia.
It was sweeter off her lips.
Maybe it was her lips he liked tasting.
He leaned over and kissed her. Her lips were cool, but her tongue was hot as it swept over his, tempting him to do more. He cupped her cheek and resented the leather between their skin. He had a body and he wanted to feel. He wanted skin on skin. He wanted to feel her touch. His cock hardened, craving her heat. Yet it was too cold to be pulling off coats and exposing bare skin to the breeze still laden with snow.
He drew back and let her concentrate on driving.
A little moan escaped her lips, as if she resented the distance, but her brown eyes were thoughtful and he knew she wasn’t finished asking him about his life before he fell.
She was silent for a few moments and he knew what she wanted to know. “Just ask me.” He wanted to tell her, so she understood.
Lysanna nodded and glanced at him. “How did you steal it?”
“The ambrosia wasn’t hidden. It was…” How did he describe a world with no substance and no boundaries? If he’d fought at the edges, then the ambrosia was in the middle, spreading light to all the warriors. “It was in the center, I passed it every day. People were there to help those who were injured or drained. One day I’d pushed too far, I was drained and weak and I was given some to help heal me. What you taste here, feel here, is a fraction of the taste in heaven. I didn’t go back right away, but after feeling a brother get destroyed, I wanted to recharge and get straight back out there and burn the Darkness. So I took some. It was amazing. I became brilliant again instantly and brighter than ever. I fought and I repeated, again and again. The last time I took some, the Dragon Lord was waiting and I was thrown out while the burn was still in my body and I woke with the taste lingering on my tongue.”
Zander smiled at her. “It’s not forbidden. But it’s only supposed to be used if you are wounded, not to load up and fight. We aren’t supposed to fight all the time.” He paused. He’d forgotten to take time out to enjoy living, to celebrate the wins and merge and revel in joy. Was that what sending him earthbound was about? An enforced rest? A chance to get back to being himself instead of an ambrosia-charged, single-minded warrior?
She bit her lip as she thought. “Do you ever think this battle is pointless and that we will fail eventually?”
“No. I have seen the Celestial fight. Up there we are winning. We own the day and hold our own against the night.”
“You want to go back.” It wasn’t a question.
Yet he wasn’t sure he knew the answer. It was nice not to be fighting. And he was enjoying Lysanna’s company. If more Celestials knew what being earthbound entailed, they’d all be dropping out of the sky.
“I belong there.” But there was no enthusiasm in his voice, just resignation. His time down here would end and he would go back.
She grunted. And they fell back into silence.
He might belong there, but he wanted to be here. For the first time in his life, he didn’t know what the right thing to do was. Where was the Light to guide him?
So what’d you think? Would you like to win a copy of Saved by the Trickster? I’m tempted to say there’s no giveaway and just keep it for myself. Have you read anything by Shona Husk before?