The day is finally here. My first book for Ellora's Cave is now available. Mating Stone is part of the Jewels of the Nile series and as a February release should, focuses around an amethyst.
Sarah has found the perfect man and best of all, he loves her deeply. Before introducing her to his family he proposes and presents her with an amethyst pendant, a stone she doesn't realize is more than symbolic. When his brother reveals Mark's secret, Sarah must decide if she loves him enough to accept him even if he's not exactly human. And Mark must decide how far he'll go, how much he'll give up to claim Sarah as his mate. Is he willing to abandon his birthright? Is he willing to kill his own brother to keep it and Sarah?
This story is the first in a series of stories that follow the men introduced within its pages. Mark Ursine, eldest and the heir apparent. Luke Ursine, younger brother and twin to Mark. Past tragedies have turned sibling rivalry into hate but standing between the two Weres is Tarris. An orphaned incubus, he was taken in by their father and raised among the shape shifters. Only he seems to be able to bridge the gap between them, or at least prevent all out war.
Profession: That's a long story.
Age: 154 (looks about 28-29)
Story: Mating Stone by Elyssa Edwards from Ellora's Cave.
Mark is part of a race of shape shifters that found their way to our world before humans had mastered the use of fire. Respectful of the sentient creatures they believed had great potential, the shifters kept to themselves so as not to intefere with their evolution. When disaster collapsed the energy source that allowed them to remain in phase with our world, they tied their spirits to those of animals so that they could survive and remain. Mark is decended from a group that chose to unite with the bear. They do not choose which species of bear they become, that is determined by birth and largely influenced by family bloodlines.
Mark becomes the great brown bear, also known as the Kodiak. When tragedy, his guilt and his brother's blame drove him to distance himself from his family, he didn't realize his time in the human world would introduce him to the one person above all that he could love with his heart and soul. As the oldest it is he who must replace his grandfather as Amar, the leader of their clan. But will his brother Luke allow him to succeed without a challenge? Will his people accept his choice of mate? And once Sarah finds out what he is, will she still want him?
God she’d missed him.
Mark rose from between her thighs licking his lips wickedly and smiling in a very smug, self-satisfied way. And with damn good reason. He kissed her and helped her slip down off the sideboard before holding her against his chest. “So passionate, my love.”
Passionate was not a word anyone had used to describe Sarah in the past. But with Mark it was true and even she knew it. She moved her hand down to stroke him. He was hard and ready for her and she was shocked when he grabbed her hand and stilled her movements.
“My family will be waiting,” he said softly. This was the second reason for splurging on the green dress. Tonight she’d meet Mark’s family. She had to admit this was moving very fast yet it seemed right. So exactly right. He kissed her again and smiled into her face. “After tonight, we will have all the time in the world.”
She readjusted the bodice of her dress as he lifted her panties from the floor and knelt. He held them out for her as she stepped back into them. He kissed her again as he slid the fabric almost reluctantly back up over her hips. She tried to smooth down the skirt of her dress, just certain it was wrinkled beyond help.
He caught her chin and tilted her head up. “You look beautiful. But before we go, there is something I want to give you,” Mark smoothed his hands over her hair and tucked the wayward strand behind an ear. Sarah couldn’t help but smile. He stepped back slightly and closed the last buttons on his shirt and quickly tied his tie. He brushed at his jacket and drew in a deep breath. Looking even more incredible than before, he reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out a large, flat, dark blue box. Sarah’s eyes widened. Mark was always giving her little things, whether they’d been apart minutes, hours or not at all but that was a jeweler’s box and it looked more than a bit expensive.
He put the box in her hands and gestured for her to open it. When she did, her jaw dropped. Lying on a bed of black velvet was a large amethyst. The stone was simply set and hung from a delicate box chain. She looked up at Mark. “Mark, this is…”
He cut her off. “A gift, Sarah.” Something about his voice was thick and odd. “It is something I want you to have, something I hope you will accept,” his eyes gazed deep into hers. “Darling, my family…our traditions are different from most. A lot about us is different from what you’re used to. We don’t give rings, my love. When a man in my family asks a woman to join her life to his, he gives her a stone like this, her birthstone. And this stone,” he drew in a deep breath, “this is my promise to you. My pledge, Sarah-mine.”
“Mark, are you saying… Are you asking…” she couldn’t finish the sentence. Was he asking her to marry him?
“It can’t be a surprise to you that I love you, Sarah. I know that you feel strongly for me. I can see it in your eyes when you look at me, feel it in your touch. I want you to be mine, to be my wife, my partner, my mate. I want you by my side, my love. This is what I had to go away to do, I had to find the stone and have it set for you.” He caressed her cheek softly.
“This is so fast,” she murmured. She wanted to scream yes with all that was in her but it was so fast. And Sarah never did anything fast. Her whole life had been about slow and easy. The word impulsive just wasn’t in her vocabulary. Not until she’d met Mark.
“Sarah, I know this is fast for you. I know that you… Sarah for me this is much simpler. I know exactly what I want and I know it will never change. But I want you to be sure. I don’t want you to answer me yet. It’s not fair to ask you to make up your mind when you haven’t even met my family. I only want you to think about it and I wanted to give you this so there is no question in your mind or anyone else’s where we stand. I want you and my family to know I am yours and you are mine. No gray areas.”
She looked up at him. She loved him. She really did love him and for some stupid reason, not a part of her believed he didn’t love her. She wanted to marry him. She wanted to raise a family with him, grow old with him. She wanted every silly romantic cliché and she wanted it with Mark. She swallowed hard before speaking. “But doesn’t my not answering you leave a lot of gray area?”
“You’ve answered.” He kissed her softly on the lips and then on the forehead. “With your eyes, Sarah-mine you’ve answered.” He smiled down at her. “But I want to give you the option to change your mind once you’ve seen the true level of insanity that spawned me.”
“Everyone thinks their family is weird, Mark,” she reassured him.
“Mine isn’t weird, Sarah. They’re… well, you’ll see.”
(Christian Bale is being used for Mark in honor of my friend and constant supporter Llew. He's not exactly my Mark, but pretty damned close.)
It's contest time!
Eternally Yours Contest
What could you spend an eternity doing? What is your passion? Your hunger? Your deepest desire?
Each day beginning February 5 and running through February 14 one of the ten authors will complete the line, "My darling I could spend eternity…" on either their blog or website. Collect all ten answers and e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org with Eternally Yours in the subject line to win some hot, romantic books. There will be three lucky Valentine winners.
The prizes –
1st prize--5 books
2nd prize--3 books
3rd prize--2 books
Entries must be in by February 16 at midnight EST. All books and prize winners will be drawn randomly.
So, who has it today? Sorry, not me. Keep looking.
Sandra Cox Silverhills
Mona Risk To Love a Hero
Brynn Paulin Tribute For the Goddess
Bronwyn Green Mystic Circle
Cindy Spencer Pape Stone and Earth
N.J. Walters Seduction of Shamus O’Rourke
Elyssa Edwards Mating Stone
Amarinda Jones Shades of Gray
Kelly Kirch Time for Love
Anny Cook Honeysuckle
And finally, I have to take a moment to do a little girl squeeee. I'm attending a writing workshop this weekend. This post is being made by courtesy of in room Wi-Fi.
See I grew up without money. We had a lot of times we went without food, running water, electricity, heat and clothes. It sucked. Today when I checked into my hotel room it was the most amazing thing. This is a moderate scale hotel. It's a Hilton. All I can say is when I saw the clean room, big bed, cool furnishings, etc. I felt like I was a little girl. All I could do for several minutes was walk around grinning and saying, "Cool."
Nerd moment over...or at least the part I'm sharing is.