By Cathryn Cade (Guest Blogger)
Happy Halloween, readers!
I love Halloween. I love fall – the changing colors, the crispy air, the absence of annoying bitey bugs, the scent of wood smoke, the piles of pumpkins … yes, sorry. I could go on and on.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because it’s just for fun, for being silly and a little spooky around the edges. I’m not really in to the super scary or gross-out décor. Just give me some cool fabrics and some old fashioned decorations to scatter around my house, a witch’s broom and some pumpkins on my porch and I’m happy.
And when I read a Halloween story, I like the same things. I love the hero to be a kind of scary guy, definitely an alpha male, but with a tender heart. A big, gooey soft center for the heroine. He’ll use his powers, be they paranormal or just physical and mental strength, to save her from a desperate fate. And ultimately ask her to share his world, his life.
Sigh… that’s not too much to ask, is it? Hmm, I think not. Just check out the Samhain website for Halloween Free Reads in the coming weeks, and … (consulting my crystal ball here)
Why yes! I see plenty of heroes served up with a slightly scary twist. Be on the lookout for my Halloween Free Read, ‘Heart of Steel’. You can read the first half on the Samhain website, and visit my website for the oh, so satisfying conclusion.
Heart of Steel by Cathryn Cade
She was going to die.
Daria LoveJoy caught one terrifying glimpse of her attacker before he dropped the enveloping blanket over her. He looked nothing like her two previous assailants. Both had been just dysfunctional fans: a teenager who broke into her apartment to talk about his problems and a lonely techie who hid in her hovvie so she’d teach him how to meet women.
This was a huge, virile male. He could’ve been the space pirate in the romance on her holo-reader. Except for the hair color – she’d caught one glimpse of wild blond curls against the health club lights. Fictional space pirates always seemed to have dark hair.
Wriggling wildly, Daria fought the blanket and the powerful arms that imprisoned her. Fear threatened to swamp her. She could hear herself whimpering, but she couldn’t seem to stop.
“Whoa, stop thrashing around,” rumbled a deep voice over her head. “You’ll hurt yourself.”
Hurt herself? He was crazy! He’d kidnapped her, was planning to rape or murder her - or both, and he was trying to reassure her?
She stopped fighting, though, trying desperately to control her breathing. She had to conserve energy – save it for her escape. Her heart threatened to bound from her breast and she was trembling all over. Adrenaline – fight or flight. She had to stay calm. Okay, first she had to get calm. She had to think.
“That’s better,” soothed the deep voice. “Just let me get you in the slider and we’ll talk. I just want to talk.”
Into his slider? No! Never let them transport you. Every woman knew that was the first rule of being kidnapped. If a captor took his victim somewhere remote, chances of rescue grew faint. He could do whatever he wanted and no one would hear her scream.
The woman in his arms, instead of being reassured by his words, began to struggle even more wildly. The little squeaks coming through the blanket escalated into screeches. Jark Steele winced at the high-pitched caterwauling, holding on tighter as he strode toward his slider, parked in the shadows of the fire-oak hedges. Damn, she was a handful, lithe and strong.
He grinned to himself – she might appear to be all soft womanly curves, but his pretty doctor was a scrapper. And even through the enveloping folds of his cashmere blanket, he could smell her, perfume and clean, sexy woman. It was turning him on, big time.
Seven hells of an evening this was turning out to be.
Daria kicked and thrashed as hard as she could, but it was like fighting a leviathan. And when she finally landed one solid kick, she received a sharp smack on her bottom. Since despite her regular exercise, it was a round bottom and she was hanging over a hard shoulder, it was an easy target.
“Stop that now, you little spitfire. I’m not gonna hurt you,” rumbled the deep voice.
The world swung crazily. She landed on her stinging bottom in an enveloping seat. An ominous whoosh surrounded her, then a decisive snick of metal – a door latching.
The seat rocked, as if a heavy weight had been dropped on it. She heard the whoosh and latch again and then the seat under her surged with power. Oh no, oh no, oh no, they were moving. Fear choked her, sending the demeaning whimpers up the back of her throat again.
Summoning every reserve of will, Daria gritted her teeth and forced herself to be quiet. Under the clinging blanket, she scowled fiercely, her hands curling into fists. She was not going to be a compliant victim. No, sirree. This big – very well, huge – galactic scumball was going to have his work cut out for him.
Carefully, she felt around. The surface to her right was hard, and extended up. Therefore it must be the side hatch. From the sound, they were in a slider – a fast, newer one. If she could find the latch, she could bolt out the nano-second they stopped.
She began to search with small stealthy movements for the bottom edge of the blanket as the slider rocked beneath them, gliding into turns first one way and then the other. The coverlet was fine cashmere, she was startled to notice – soft as a whisper. It was also much too warm wrapped over her head and shoulders on this balmy autumn evening. She’d taken a shower dry before leaving the club, but she was perspiring again as if she were still working out.
Finding the blanket’s edge, she slipped her fingers up over the sleek door toward the latch.
“Huh-uh,” rumbled the deep voice over her head. “Don’t even try it, doc. Locked down tight. Can’t have you hurting yourself, falling out before we land.”
He sounded amused. She bit back a scream of sheer frustration. She was terrified, she was hot and she was so angry she was shaking. How dare he be amused! She yanked furiously at the blanket, pulling wads of it toward her head, wriggling to pull the ends out from under her.
An arm like a tree trunk descended on her, pinning her so that she could wriggle no further.
“Real sorry, doc, but you gotta stay hidden. We’re not there yet. Can’t have one of the locals spotting you.”
With a growl of rage, Daria kicked her legs as hard as she could in his direction. The toe of her soft workout shoes connected with something hard, and her growl became a yelp as pain shot from her toes.
“Aw, now, doc.” Unbelievably, the deep rumble sounded remorseful. “Simmer down, can’t you? I know you want out of there. Just a few more minutes, I swear. I’m landing now.”
Thanks for tuning in to my guest spot on Lisabet’s blog!
Visit me at http://www.cathryncade.com
Trick or Treat!