As one of the #CMCon16 featured bloggers, I get to have a little fun with a few of the fabulous authors who will be hitting the beach for Coastal Magic 2016 by showcasing their many stories. Last year I interviewed four of the the CMC15 authors, but this year I’m changing it up. I came up with this really fun idea to have the authors introduce us to their worlds by sending their characters to the beach.
Quite a few of the authors took me up on it and today Jocelynn Drake is taking us to the beach with Mira, from her Dark Days series, and Gage, from her Asylum Tales series – am I the only one who is super giddy to see this?
When Worlds Collide…
“I can’t believe you made me watch that,” Danaus grumbled, walking along the beach beside me. His heavy footsteps sink into the sand still warm despite the fact that the sun set more than two hours earlier. A light breeze rushes in with the ocean, blowing tendrils of hair across my cheeks, helping to push aside some of the lingering Florida heat.
“It wasn’t that bad,” I snicker, fully aware that he glared at me the entire time we watched the movie.
“When did you get to be so cruel?”
“I do think Disney got it all wrong,” I continue, ignoring his question. As we walk along the shoreline, I conjure up little teardrops of fire on the tip of my index finger before flicking them into the surf as it washes across my ankles. There’s a soft hiss as the water extinguishes the flame. “They should have gone with fire instead of ice.”
The hunter snorts, giving my shoulder a playful shove as a fresh wave surges to the shore. The warm watch splashes up to my knees, drenching the black skirt I’m wearing. “Oh, that would have made a great children’s movie. A castle of flames, torched villagers screaming as they die and what… a lava monster?”
With a wicked grin, I wag my eyebrows at him. “Exactly.”
Danaus stops and points at me. “You’re not allowed to go back to Venice. Spending too much time around other nightwalkers is making you cruel.”
Grabbing his finger, I use it to pull myself closer. My chest bumps against his and some of the lines disappear from his brow. His lips relax from the stern line he pressed them into, tempting me to kiss him. But I’m still drawn to his fathomless blue eyes. Even after all this time — the anger, hatred, fights, death, and misunderstandings — I can still get lost in those perfect eyes.
“Don’t look at me like that,” he says but his voice is more whisper than warning.
“Like what?” I rise up on the tips of my toes so that I can brush my lips across his chin already rough with black whiskers.
“Like you’re about to magic us off to the hotel room.”
“Mmm… that sounds like a brilliant idea.”
“Mira.” This time, there’s only warning.
I drop back flat footed and glare at the hunter even if he’s not the one I’m pissed at. “Why? Just tell me that. Why did we agree to this? We’ve not talked in almost three years and then I find out she dropped me for this … this … warlock. What do we owe her?” The angry words tumble forth before I can stop them, leaving me embarrassed and edgy.
Danaus smiles as he leans forward, his lips brushing against my ear. “We owe her everything.”
“Yeah, I guess there’s that,” I mutter, closing my eyes. Breathing him in, I bask in his scent — the smell of another distant sea and a sun I haven’t seen centuries.
“Besides, I think that’s him over there. She said he’d probably be with an elf or a troll.”
Glancing over my right shoulder, I spot a guy in jeans and T-shirt sitting in the sand several yards away with a much larger creature with spiky blond hair. He’s the first troll I’ve ever seen, other than the more mundane human variety. But even as interesting as the troll might be, it’s the human that makes my stomach twist.
Trying not to roll my eyes or pout, I turn and walk toward the man. As we get closer, the troll gets to his feet and offers up a tentative smile. When it doesn’t look like his companion is going to rise, he gives the man a little kick and a stern look. The warlock huffs but gets to his feet, brushing sand off of his pants. He’s not more than an inch or two taller than me with brown hair that sticks out in all directions, but I can’t tell if it’s actually a hair style or if he’s just insane. His dark brown eyes sweep over me and his expression matches my own. He’s weighing me and wondering why….
“Nightwalker,” I sharply correct him before I can bit back the word. Is there a difference? No. My term just sounds a little less cliché.
“Tattoo artist,” he bites back.
“Yeah, I guess I’ll buy that, because there’s isn’t a single thing about you that screams warlock. Are you sure you’re not more of a fortune teller like Miss Cleo?”
“Mira—” Danaus says in that same warning tone as if he rein in my temper. Not. Gonna. Happen.
“That’s okay,” the tattoo artist starts and the troll gives a weary sigh as if he knows it’s not going to be good. “You’re not much of a vampire. More like a sad little emo in search of a coffee house.”
“Gage—” the troll barks.
“Do you prefer your blood with a shot of hazelnut or just his nuts?” Gage continues, jerking his chin toward Danaus.
“You worthless little snot.” The words escape me in a snarl as I take step toward, both my hands engulfed in dancing flames, brightening our little patch of the beach. I undoubtedly stand out like a beacon, which is definitely not what we were going for, but I’m so ready to light this punk on fire, regardless of who he is.
Gage smirks at me, holding his hands apart in front of his chest. In a blink, a ball of water forms between his open hands. If I wasn’t so pissed, I might have been impressed but I’m beyond clear thought. I’m ready to burn things … starting with this tattoo artist.
“Mira! Gage!” There’s no mistaking that voice. Both our heads pop up in and instantly see her striding across the beach, scowling at us like a pair of errant children. And maybe we are.
The flames extinguish and I soak in the sight of her. She’s different. Small things that do funny things, putting a fluttery, uneasy feeling in my stomach. Her hair is a little shorter and a lot curlier. The red isn’t quite as red as it used to be and her features are a little rounder and more lined. There’s more confidence in her gait and I hate the tattoo artist a little bit more. As she reaches us, she breaks eye contact at last to be swallowed up in a hug by the troll.
“It’s good to see you, Bronx,” she murmurs and I feel a small relief that her voice really hasn’t changed. Too many long hours of conversations has left me unwilling to have that change.
As she turns, Danaus grabs her next, kissing her cheek before pausing to press his forehead to hers. They both seem to shiver, as if something inside them settled back into place. There’s no jealousy though. She understood Danaus before I did, though their road wasn’t much less difficult than mine and Danaus’s.
When she finally turns back, she’s watching both Gage and me with a wariness that makes it hard to meet her gaze. It’s been almost three years since we spoke last and I never thought we’d reach the point where we didn’t know what to say.
“You got old,” I blurt out just to break the silence. I wince, feeling my cheeks burn. “Well, older.”
Everyone stares at me for a second, but Jocelynn finally breaks the tension as her loud laughter rings across the empty beach.
Gage steps up and wraps his arm around her shaking shoulders, glaring at me. “She has not!” he snaps, all too ready to defend our creator.
Leaning against Gage, Jocelynn puts her hand on his chest. “Mira and I met roughly 10 years ago. I have gotten older,” she admits, smiling up at him for a second before looking over at me. “I don’t have the luxury of being ageless like you or even Gage now.”
I just can’t stop staring. My chest is a tangled knot of emotions and if I move I’ll either shatter or maybe just set things on fire. And I don’t think I’m mad enough to actually want to set her on fire … at least not yet.
Jocelynn’s smile fades and she pulls away from Gage a bit, even though she’s still holding his hand. “I never wanted to say good-bye. It was never about choosing him over you. It was just that you and Danaus were where you needed to be.”
As she releases Gage and starts to reach for me, I find myself falling into her arms and it’s like coming home. How could I have forgotten that we’re the same height or that my head fits just perfectly on her shoulder? I feel the same little shudder that she gave when she hugged Danaus and it’s like little bits of her soul that had gone missing are finally sliding back into place.
When we part again, we both giggle as we wipe away tears — a mix of happy and sad. Holding her is like coming home, but it’s your childhood home. The memory is sweet and good, but in your gut you know there’s no going back.
“So why are we here?” I ask, trying to ignore the roughness in my voice.
She smiles and looks over her shoulder at the massive Hilton hotel just past edge of the beach. “I’ve got some people I’d like you to meet.”
“Are you sure they’re ready for us?” Gage asks with a little smirk, but there’s an uneasiness in eyes that reminds me too much of someone I loved and lost too many years ago.
“Well, that’s why I asked Danaus and Bronx to come along.” Reaching over she threads her fingers through Gage’s before wrapping an arm around my waist, allowing her to comfortably usher us closer to the looming hotel. “Danaus can help keep Mira from setting people on fire.” I roll my eyes and Danaus gives a soft snort. Yeah, I’m skeptical too. “And Bronx will keep you from turning anyone into a Chihuahua,” she continues, smiling at Bronx.
Gage’s arms flop through the air dramatically but he doesn’t release her hand as they walk. “Oh my god! You turn one guy into a Chihuahua and they won’t let you live it down!”
Jocelynn chuckles. “Not if I have a say in the matter.” Leaning over, she kisses Gage on the cheek and whispers something I can’t quite catch before smiling again. “Come on, kids. There’s a whole new world I want you to meet.”
Meet Jocelynn Drake!
Love comes in many varied forms. There is the love of family, love of country, and love of chocolate.
But for Jocelynn Drake, one truly treasured love is the love of a good story. This former Midwestern native now left to sweat in the South Florida sun spends the majority of her time lost in the strong embrace of a good book. When she’s not hammering away at her keyboard, frowning at her monitor, or curled up with a book, she can usually be found cuddling with her cat Demona, walking her dog Max, or flinging curses at the TV while playing a video game.
Outside of books, pets, and video games, she is completely enamored of Bruce Wayne, Ezio Auditore, travel, tattoos, explosions, fast cars, and Anthony Bourdain (but only when he’s feeling really cranky).
- Bound to Me
- The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten
- Pray for Dawn
- Wait for Dusk
- Burn the Night
Hidden London (writing as Joy Douglass)
Don’t miss your chance to meet over 50 fabulous urban fantasy, paranormal, and romance authors at Coastal Magic next February! This super casual book-lover weekend happens on Daytona Beach, and gives everyone the chance to hang out with fellow readers and amazing storytellers.
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