Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Excerpt of Stone of Wrath by Shawn Lane

About Stone of Wrath: Wrote this one in four days when a friend mentioned the birthstone book series at Ellora's Cave for 2008. I had a vague idea and went with it. Four days later, Stone of Wrath was born. I submitted it and it was accepted. It was published in November 2008 from Ellora's Cave. Next week it comes out in the print anthology, Torrid Topaz from Jasmine-Jade.
...Jed flung the covers off and got out of bed. He walked into the bathroom and flicked on the light. He licked his bottom lip and scooped up the stone. It really was ugly and scorched. Dirty, too. Maybe if he cleaned it up it would look better. Turning the faucet on, Jed rubbed at a clump of soot and stuck it under the water to wash it off.

A bright light flashed and glowed. The stone turned flaming hot. Jed gasped and tossed it in the air. It landed with a loud crash on the tile floor at his feet.

“Shit.” He stared at his hands. They were red and throbbing.

The stone burst into a blinding yellow light. Jed backed up so fast he crashed into the glass door of the shower. The light shimmered and grew larger.

The glow took shape…human shape. It dimmed, brightened, then dimmed again.

Standing, dripping wet on his bathroom floor was a naked, muscular, sculpted African-American man. Droplets of water stood out on his hairless chest, one hanging from his left nipple. His black hair was close-cropped and his eyes were a strange dark brown mixed with flecks of…topaz.

He stared Jed up and down, his gaze assessing and appraising.

“How? Who the fuck are you?” Jed demanded, finding his voice at last.

The man smiled. It was as sexy as hell. “How? You rubbed the stone. And I am Topaz.”

Topaz nearly dropped to his knees and thanked Eros, the god of love. For surely Eros was behind this gift.
The man trying to scramble into the tall, narrow glass box was beautiful. Breathtaking. He had to have him. Now.
“Do not fear me.” He reached out to touch the man but he had scooted so far away Topaz had to step forward. He stumbled slightly. How long had it been since he’d formed a body? Too long.
“Look, I’m-I’m calling the cops.”
Topaz thought that meant the police but the words did not matter. He loved this man’s voice. It was deep and sultry. It reminded him a bit of his old lover, Diam’s voice. He would not think of Diam now. Those memories were too painful.
It didn’t take Topaz long to realize his man could not get very far. The box he backed into was enclosed. No doors. He thought it was probably a modern day shower. It gave him the perfect opportunity to stare at his would-be lover.
The man was very tall. Taller than Topaz himself by about four inches, he would guess. Dark curly hair, deep green eyes. His pale skin had a hint of being kissed by the sun. His arms were muscular, nicely defined but not as thickly muscled as Topaz’s own. This man was young. Unfortunately he was not naked on the bottom but rather wore a peculiar pair of checkered pants.
“What is your name?” Topaz asked.
The man blinked uncertainly. “Jed. Jedidiah, actually.”

“Jedidiah. An ancient name. But you are young. You have not seen thirty summers.”
“Um, no. I-I’m twenty-four.”
Topaz smiled. “You are quite young. You do not need to fear me, Jedidiah. I have not come here to harm you.”
Jedidiah shook his head. “I don’t understand. You were that stone?”
Topaz’s heart twisted. “Yes, I was cursed. Punished. A jealous man called down the wrath of the gods.”
“The…the what?”
Topaz sighed. “I know this is difficult for you, Jedidiah. In truth, there is much I do not understand. It has been years since anyone found me. What year is this?”
“Two thousand eight.”
He blew out a heavy breath. His chest hurt. Yes, the wrath of the gods was extreme...

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