***CONTEST: Mae is giving away an e-book copy of Weathering Rock (mobi or epub format) to one lucky commenter. Read on to see how you may add this wonderful tale to your goodie bag. You don't want to miss this one guys and gals. CONTEST ENDS on Oct. 29th at midnight.
For your add treat today enjoy Mae Clair's ghoulish post and a sneak peek at Weathering Rock.
Ghoulish Reads and Conflict by Mae Clair
October is a great time to curl up with a spooky read. Not only is the air crisp and cold, inviting the warmth of a crackling fire, but ghosts, ghouls and night-creatures are on everyone’s mind. I was thrilled when Karen invited me to be part of her Haunt-o-ween and thought it would be fun to talk about spine-tingling books that have left a marked impression on me.
As a kid, my first exposure to haunted houses and shivery goose bumps was courtesy of THE WICKED PIGEON LADIES IN THE GARDEN by Mary Chase. Anyone remember that? A bratty kid, haunted house, and seven wicked sisters in flowing Victorian gowns.
By the time I was a teen, I was devouring Stephen King novels. SALEM’S LOT still ranks as one of my all-time favorite books, but the one that scared the daylights out of me was THE SHINING. Even now, I can’t look at a topiary bush without being reminded of that novel. '
Which brings me to romance.
I love a good paranormal story, especially when it’s woven with mythical elements like folklore. Otherworldly creatures make for wonderfully addictive reading. I love vampires who struggle with their thirst for blood, ghosts who haunt graveyards and rambling homes, unable to rest, night-creatures that shy from the sun, and fey folk who walk between worlds. But my a favorite?
I’ve been in love with that legend since I was a kid. Vampires remember their mortal lives but, once turned, there is no going back. The werewolf is different, constantly straddling both sides of a curse--mostly human but doomed to the anguish of a carnal, bestial existence every full moon. Imagine someone who is by nature ethical and strong, even heroic, but unable to stop the bloodlust that overtakes him when controlled by lycanthropy. Yeah, my kind of hero - - tortured, conflicted, cursed.
WEATHERING ROCK Blurb:
Drawn together across centuries, will their love be strong enough to defeat an ancient curse?
Colonel Caleb DeCardian was fighting America’s Civil War on the side of the Union when a freak shower of ball lightning transported him to the present, along with rival and former friend, Seth Reilly. Adapting to the 21st century is hard enough for the colonel, but he also has to find Seth, who cursed him to life as a werewolf. The last thing on Caleb’s mind is romance. Then fetching Arianna Hart nearly runs him down with her car. He can’t deny his attraction to the outspoken schoolteacher, but knows he should forget her.
Arianna finds Caleb bewildering, yet intriguing: courtly manners, smoldering sensuality and eyes that glow silver at night? When she sees Civil War photographs featuring a Union officer who looks exactly like Caleb, she begins to understand the man she is falling in love with harbors multiple secrets--some of which threaten the possibility of their happiness.
Finding a decent guy who'll commit is hard enough. How can she expect Caleb to forsake his own century to be with her?
WEATHERING ROCK EXCERPT:
“You’re where?” Lauren said into the phone, flabbergasted.
“Weathering Rock,” Arianna repeated.
“You mean that big old house off Blackberry Lane? The weird one that’s supposed to attract ball lightning?”
“That’s the one.”
Too keyed up to sit, Arianna paced the guestroom. “I had a small accident on the way home.” And met an incredibly sexy man with silver eyes and an old-fashioned personality. That part would keep until tomorrow.
Lauren drew a sharp breath. “Ari, you’re scaring me. Are you all right? Are you hurt?”
“I’m fine.” Walking to the window, she pushed the drapes aside and stared into the darkness. Her reflection leaped back like a disembodied ghost--raven hair, dark green eyes, her skin pale as milk in the night-blackened glass. The rain had arrived, pushed by a fury of wind and thunder. It pelted the windows, making her feel safe indoors.
I won’t hurt you, Caleb had promised. Why was it so important to him she stay?
She told her friend what happened, skipping her conflicting emotions about her blond-haired host.
“And you’re actually staying?” Lauren gave a cluck of disbelief. “I don’t care if it is raining, I’ll come get you. For all we know, one of them could have punctured your tire so you’d be stuck there.”
“You’ve seen too many slasher movies, Lauren. I’ll be fine.” She couldn’t explain why, but felt secure in the house, as if something sinister lurked outside. As long as she remained within the walls of Weathering Rock, she was protected from that unnamed threat.
The thought shocked her. She eased to a seat on the bed, absently fingering the white eyelet cover. The furnishings looked plucked from a storybook, the bed dressed in a pale blue canopy and flirty skirted ruffle. The matching bureau was squat and old-fashioned with a standing mirror and gold-veined marble top. A walnut washstand with a pitcher and bowl was tucked into the corner.
“I’ll call you in the morning when I get home.”
“You’re sure about this?”
“Positive.” Arianna smiled, appreciating her friend’s concern. Lauren had been through a divorce eight months ago, the experience leaving her jaded when it came to trusting men.
“All right.” Lauren exhaled into the phone. “But I expect a call in the morning, followed by details in the afternoon. How about dropping by my shop after you finish your errands?”
“Deal.” Running Saturday errands was a regular routine for Arianna and she most always ended at Lauren’s boutique for a visit afterward. “I’ll talk to you soon.”
She said goodbye and set the cell within reach on the nightstand. Rain continued to batter the windows in fierce bursts, backlit by strobes of lightning. The intermittent flash made her think of the ball lightning she’d seen earlier, an occurrence Caleb had been reluctant to acknowledge. Yet another oddity from a man who excelled at them.
Yawning, she glanced at her watch. It was after one in the morning and the events of the night had finally caught up with her. She switched off the light and opened the drapes, inviting the frenzied dance of the storm indoors. She shimmied from her jeans and top and crawled into bed, the cotton sheets blessedly cool against her bare skin. Moments later, as she was drifting toward sleep, a rattling crack of thunder drew her upright.
Outside, lightning transformed the night into surreal-whitened day, silhouetting the bulk of a large animal against the window. Arianna recoiled from the touch of its eyes, yellow in the flash-fire burst of the storm. The image lasted only a pulse-beat before it was swallowed by darkness.
She shoved from the bed, hastily pulling on her blouse to cover herself, and threw open the window. The night had bled into a cauldron of shadow and patchy fog, making it impossible to see more than a few feet. The air was redolent with wet grass and worm-rich soil, an odor that made her think of swollen riverbeds and bogs. Rain pelted her face and left her shivering in her skimpy bra and panties. The animal--if animal it had been--had been swallowed by the storm.
She closed the window, careful to secure the lock.
It’s not safe tonight, Caleb had said.
She shook away a chill, convinced she’d been dreaming. The animal must have been a figment of her sleep-hazed mind. The events of the night, Caleb’s mysterious warning, and the legends surrounding Weathering Rock had taken a toll of her nerves.
Yet as she crawled into bed, she couldn’t help thinking the animal had looked very much like a wolf.
***CONTEST: To be entered to win an e-book copy of Weathering Rock (mobi or epub format) Answer this question: Do you have a favorite werewolf legend? If yes, please do share. CONTEST ENDS on Oct. 29th at midnight.
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