Friday, February 26, 2010

Morgan Chronicles

My shoulder twinged again, and I was worried that Kurlog was looking for me.  "But not here."

He nodded.  "All right.  My lair then."  I held tight as he teleported us through Between to his home.

It was a spacious cave of obsidian.  The mouth overlooked a pool of lava.  The mineral-laden breeze was hot, and sweat beaded on my brow.  Other than the lava pool, the cave and sky were dark.

The facets of the ceiling caught the magma glow, and sparkled like stars.  I was distracted by the strange beauty, ignoring my shoulder for the moment.

"I don't have humanoid comforts," Rhaelgyr said, guiding me to the depression that must have served as his bed.  Most of the floor was jagged, littered with broken shards of volcanic glass.  He kept me from slipping as he sat on the edge of the oblong bowl.  The obsidian here was duller, worn smooth, the rim cracked and gauged.

"I think I'll manage."  I sat with my feet dangling.  His bed was six feet at its deepest, the slopes steep before reaching the mostly flat bottom.  I'd never seen a dragon bed, but it seemed appropriate.

Rhaelgyr sat behind me, his legs outside mine, his chest against my spine as he breathed.  "Tell me more about the wound."  His hands were warm as he pulled my hair aside.

"It was in the first realm I was in.  I found Steven, and we left, and this vampire hit me right as we left.  He healed me, but said there was a wound in my soul itself.

"I met Kurlog, he warned me about weird parasites he'd created, then I met you.  Right after that, it stopped."  Rhaelgyr reached around me for the ties of my shirt.  I helped him, and continued speaking.  "After Steven and I left, it hurt a little, then started driving me nuts.  Kurlog showed up, and he said I had one of his parasites so he could track me.  He and Steven started fighting, and I came back."

"You came back to me," he whispered, pausing.  His breath was warm on my skin, and I glanced over my shoulder.  Rhaelgyr's eyes were bright in the shadows, but I couldn't see his face.  "Why me?"

His awestruck question caused me to blush.  I'd never guessed my appearance would mean so much to him.  Shrugging out of my shirt so I was only in a silk chemise, I smiled.  "You're the only one who hasn't had an ulterior motive.  You're the closest thing to a friend since I lost my memories."

"You've learned more about them?"  He began massaging my shoulder, which caused the pain to increase.  I tried to remain still, but I wanted to squirm away.

"I made Steven Immortal."

Rhaelgyr stopped.  The pause drug out, and I wondered what he was thinking.  Was he judging me?  Did he disdain humans enough to disdain me for this?

"That explains why he loves you."  The dragon went back to probing my shoulder, digging into soft flesh.

"I can't remember everything."  I closed my eyes as the pain intensified.  "I don't care about it either.  I'll make a new life, and forget the past."

Rhaelgyr ran his hands down my back, and my spine arched.  "So why come to me?"

My head fell back as he dug nails into my hips.  Nerves raced as he kissed the side of my neck, pouring ki into me.  Dragon energy was wild, fierce, painful.  I moaned, biting my lip, thoughts scattering.  "What are you doing?" I managed.

"Turning you on.  Trying to make it hurt less when I rip this out of you."  He licked my neck, breath hot in my ear.  "Answer me."

I could resist him, couldn't fault his logic.  My blood ran hot, and the dragon was doing so little to me.  "You've made your own life, and I thought you could help."

The forks of his tongue traced the edge of my ear.  "Morgan, I'm an exile."  Then he dug claws into my shoulder.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

***  Permission to Forward Granted and Encouraged *****

"Here's the RSVP link to invite your readers to your event on Friday. This is NOT the actual event link. I will provide that to you once the event post goes live the day of your event.

Please share this with your mailing lists, groups etc. EARLY the day before the event is the best. Everybody who comes and RSVP's before the event will get an additional 25 entries into your contest. It is a great marketing tool for generating interest and more attendance."

There it is.....Bitten By Books event.  Do it!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bitten By Books

So, yeah, Bitten By Books is a huge paranormal site.  They have lots of nifty events.  Crescent Moon Press is having an all day event this Friday (2/26), and they're having a spiffy contest.  So, definitely check that out.

I'm supposed to be stopping by at 4 pm EST, so 1 pm my time.  I'm going to do my best to come by, but errands might get in the way.  Normally, I'd be at work, but I took Friday off.  No promises, but maybe you can come see me.

So, my excerpt is up on CMP's site.  Most definitely go check it out.  It's one of my fave scenes.  Made my fiance laugh, because I used an inside joke of ours in the scene.  When he read it, he burst out, and said, "Do you realize what you did here?"  And I had to admit I did it all on purpose, just because it makes me laugh.

But I'm not saying what yet.

Still don't have a release date.  *long dramatic gargle noise*  It's like trying to shop for car insurance when you don't know what car you're getting.  I'm dying to really get going, and start getting people to review and stuff......but I don't want to start knocking on doors when I don't have solid information.

So I'll just have to keep waiting.  *champs on the bit*

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Morgan Chronicles

My blood turned to ice, and my heart stalled.  The dragon was huge compared to me; his head alone was fifteen feet long.  I could have curled up in one nostril.  There was no escaping Rhaelgyr unless i stepped through dimensions.

His growl changed as he shifted.  I took a step back, entranced as he shrank, wings disappeared, and he once more took his elven shape.  Dark eyes held me in place as Rhaelgyr kept growling.

Then he reached for me, pulling me into a rough kiss.  One hand pressed my hips against his, the other knotted in my hair.  He continued growling as he forced my mouth open, forked tongue pressing against mine.

I struggled at first, shocked, but quickly melted to Rhaelgyr's insistence.  He tasted like spice and heat.  His body was rock hard, but his skin like suede as my hands came to his face.  I even liked his strange tongue, and the sharp teeth against my lower lip.

There were no drugs involved, nothing taking control from me, and I liked his kiss.  I liked the stiff dryness of his tongue, the way the tips caressed opposite sides of mine, the way he tasted of fire.  I sighed, pressing myself tighter, kissing him deeper.

Rhaelgyr broke the kiss, pulling my head back, lowering his mouth to my shoulder.  He licked my collarbone, and I shivered as goosebumps raced up my spine.

"You're no longer marked," he whispered, kissing and nuzzling my shoulder.

I ran hands through his hair, licking the tip of his ear.  The conflagration still raged, people still rioted and died, yet I would let him have me if he pressed his point.  "Steven healed me."

The parasite in my spirit writhed, and I stiffened.  Rhaelgyr hissed, head jerking back.  "What is that?"

Pain made my voice catch, and I clung to the dragon through a wave of vertigo.  "Kurlog said he put something in my wound."  A spasm hit, and I wondered if the parasite were reacting to the former Chaos Lord in some way.

"We need to take this out of you."  His concern comforted me, and he began probing my shoulder.  The thing moved beneath his fingers, and I bit back a cry.

"We have to stop the fires," I whispered.

Rhaelgyr paused in the act of pulling me to the rooftop.  "There is no stopping them."

"Then we need to save the people."  I clung to his shoulders, meeting his gaze.

"Why?"  He genuinely didn't care.  They could live or die, and it made no impact on his life.  Part of me was envious.

That wasn't the part that spoke.  "None of them deserve this.  Don't let them die for your anger."

Rhaelgyr stared, continuing to hold me.  With a sigh, he turned away.  He said nothing, just closed his eyes.  Chaos moved, and dimensional walls shifted.

Wind ripped through the streets, icy cold.  The fires were suddenly gone, sucked into whatever glacial realm he'd reached out to.  Embers were replaced by snowflakes, smoke by cold mist.  Screams came still, but already began to die down.

"Thank you," I whispered, cupping Rhaelgyr's cheek.

He turned back with a smile, dark blue eyes mysterious.  "You will have so much appreciation to show me later."  We laughed.

The dragon grew serious, moving fingers to my shoulder.  "But first the pain."  I nodded as the pit of my stomach dropped.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

First sightings

So, Pretty-Scary did a little write up of my publisher, Crescent Moon Press.  It's mostly about my book.


Okay, technically, the first site my book appeared on is CMP, or my own...but right now, those don't really count.  I mean, they HAVE to be there.

This is separate.  This is different.  This is MY BOOK ON SOMEONE ELSE'S SITE.   *double squee*

God, I can't wait for the release.  I'm going to become a bloody excited wreck.

And yes, I mean become.  Because this is nothing.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Morgan Chronicles

Coming from nothingness and calm to fire and panic took me by surprise. 

I stood on a rooftop, a bridge overhead, a market spread out around me.  Flames roared and danced, people of all races screamed, animals lowed in terror, and the air was thick with smoke.

For a moment, I wasn't sure if I was back at the troll market or not.  Summoning magic, I was prepared to leave until I heard Rhaelgyr roar.  Smiling, I began searching the sky for the dragon.

He dove in a strafing run, unleashing fire onto buildings.  Heat lashed at me, and I felt sorry for anyone trapped on the ground.

Like Tessa.  I swore, smile gone, as I thought about the young human I'd promised to rescue.  I hadn't even thought about her since I'd left her at the little street bar.  Moving to the edge of the roof, I wondered if she still waited for me.

The riot below made that seem unlikely.  It was a sea of flesh, maddened by the dragon attack.  Some escaped through the dimensions, causing sudden gaps that instantly collapsed as people shoved and fell.  The screams were more cacophonous than before, adding to the horror of the scene.

Death energy disrupted the magic of the area, making it impossible for some to leave.  The mortals were completely helpless, and they fell first.  Animals broke from their pens, and began rampaging through the streets.

Rhaelgyr roared again, and I wondered if I cared.  Did Morgan the Setian want to help these strangers?  Morgan the Gray was neutral, and had no reason to be involved.  Which one was me?

Had I been taught to care for others, and lost that capacity when everything was stripped away?  Had I ever cared?  The impression of my father's arrogant voice came to me, and I wasn't sure I had.

The past no longer mattered, I reminded myself.  I didn't have to care about these people, but neither did I have to let them suffer.  I could do a little something for them.

~Rhaelgyr!~ I shouted, reaching for the dragon.  Telepathy opened me to the tumult of minds below, and I gritted my teeth as I waited for him to make the connection.

~Morgan?~  The dragon latched on, strong enough to send a wave of vertigo through me.  His surprise caused my heart to skip a beat, but the other voices fell away as our minds joined.

~Yes, it's me.~  It hurt to speak.  ~I guess you missed me~  Somehow I laughed.

Wind stirred as Rhaelgyr approached.  I narrowed my eyes, looking up at the midnight blue dragon as he hovered.  Fire drooled from his lips, hissing as it landed on the rooftop.  ~What gave you that impression?~  His mental smile filled my skull.

Several other impressions came, but I don't know if Rhaelgyr intended me to get them.  Him and the dryad.  her trying to drug him.  He overreacting and attacking the market.

~We need to stop this,~ I said, turning toward burning buildings.

~Why?~  Rhaelgyr hissed, landing heavily on the roof.  Hot breath washed around me as he extended his head.  Jewel eyes stared at me, and I found my reflection in their inky surface.

He was still half-crazed by the dryad's drugs.  Only partially sated lust had become anger, which had become a destructive urge.  Rhaelgyr wasn't like to stop anytime soon.

I craddled his muzzle in both hands.  "Because I asked you to."  I leaned forward, placing a kiss on the tip of his scaly nose.

Rhaelgyr's response was a bone-rumbling growl.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Morgan Chronicles

I drifted through Between. Proper Between; blank, empty. No colors,
no texture, purely nothing. It was relaxing. After everything I'd
just been through, nothingness was good.

What should I do? Go back and confront Steven, and eventually my
father? Find Rhaelgyr and see if he would help? Make my own way and
be damned to everyone?

Each was appealing, and each had its own advantages.

If I went back to confront Steven and my father, I might get my
memories hack. I'd definitely find out why I dreaded my father so
much. I really wanted to now what had hapened, and why Steven was
now a Chaos Lord.

But my memories had been taken for a reason.  Who's to say my father
wouldn't punish me the same way?  I could go back for answers, and end
up losing everything I'd gained so far.

I could always go back to Rhaelgyr. The dragon had been nice enough,
and had wanted to help me find Steven. He'd protected me, and tried
to show me a good time, and help me get free.

Although, he'd been cruel to me just before I left. That cruelty had
been to get me angry enough to awaken powers, but what if it wasn't?
Maybe now that I'd rescued Steven, Rhaelgyr wanted nothing to do with

There was always the option of making my own way. I could find a nice
realm to settle in, or set up rule in some Between pocket. I could
just travel around, looking for more adventures, or search for lore
and knowledge. I could even find a sect of humans to worship me as a

It could be good to be a goddess. Make myself a cozy little place,
teach a bunch of humans, and do nothing but laze around all day.
Every now and then show off, maybe smite someone, maybe bless someone.

Floating through gray void, that thought appealed to me. Between
stirred, respondimg to my whims. I could go wherever I wanted,
because there were no ties. No one had claim over me.

That seemed to be the most important part right now; doing my owm
thing. Losing my memories seemed to be a fresh start. I had no ties,
no history. My future was my own.

My heart lifted, and I saw my goal in sight. Smiling, I shifted
through dimensional walls.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Book update

So, my cover and name are finally up on CMP's site.  YAY!  Still no release date.  Boo!  8P  If you want to check it out, I'm on the front page.  Things are progressing really fast.  Like, take me by surprise fast.

So, I've got a bunch of things to get ready for, with no date in sight.

In other news, my sister-in-law found a model who could easily be my Varick, and I never knew it.  Look up Heiko Wittek.  Especially his really intense, looking-off-in-the-distance pictures.  *drool*  Lovely lovely man, and with waist length hair would be my vampire.  Gotta love the surprises that sneak up on you.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Poor little raven

Went up to the corner store today, intending to leave some wet cat food for the broken guy.  Forgot the cat food, and decided to buy him a burger.  Yum yum meat.

As we're approaching the McDonald's, we see a pair of ravens circling low over the building and empty fields.  Now, while the grackles and starlings won't bully the big guy (we've seen them sitting, patiently, waiting for him to finish eating something), there's a worry about a mated couple.  They would easily fuck him up if they ever chose.

So we start looking for him, wondering if they've already beaten him up.  The pair keep circling lower, and we find him, staring up and begging like a baby.  I lost it.  He's looked happy and adjusted, and he's just dying to be free and with his own kind.  He isn't happy, he's just been surviving.

By the time we finish buying him his burger, he's moved from the back of the building to a different part of the field, and one of the pair is down on the ground.  My guy is crying and begging, and puffed out and following the one on the ground, and I knew then that these weren't just a pair in the area; these were his parents.  Daddy (that's who I decided was down with him) was loving with him, and walking around.

And then started trying to teach him how to fly.

Daddy would jump, and flap his wings, and look expectant at his son.  The broken child flapped a couple of times, then just walked along the rode.  He knows he can't fly, and isn't trying.

And he's still shy, and won't let anyone approach.  He saw us throwing food, and waited until we'd moved on.  Then he waddled over to eat while his dad watched.

It was amazing to me, that they recognized each other nearly a year later.  And that they still loved each other.  Such beautiful, intelligent creatures.  I don't know if having their bad reputation that's caused everyone to overlook them is a good thing or a bad thing.

Though, I do know it would be a dangerous thing if they ever decided to take over the world.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Morgan Chronicles

Kurlog batted Steven aside, laughing at the younger Chaos Lord. "You still react like a human. You should be past all this."

I had brought Steven to immortality with every intention of showing him the ways of Order. All Setians followed Order, like all dragons followed Chaos. I would never have made him a Chaos Lord.

I'd have never made him a Lord, of Order or Chaos. That origin memory stayed hidden.

"She's my woman, and you hurt her." Steven's voice reverberated, shaking the walls, raining dust from the ceiling. "You must pay." Chaos magic sung in the air, Steven lashing wildly at Kurlog.

The warrior held out his hand, absorbing the power. My breath was stolen as he absorbed the air itself. The cottage started to bow, wanting to collapse around Kurlog. "Have you even asked her about it?" Nice that someone was thinking of me, but I was certain he was only doing it to irk Steven.

"She said she missed me. She wants me." He sounded smug, smirking, power gathering around his hands.

Kurlog laughed, closing his fist. All the magic died, including what Steven had been holding. My shoulder throbbed, and I crawled away from the Chaos Lords. I concentrated on being unseen, on making my way out of their realm. I didn't want to be here while these two duked it out.

The red-head grinned, stalking forward. The ceiling warped around his head, remaining distorted behind him. My heart thundered; I couldn't believe I'd let this man have sex with me. What twisted things could he have done to me if he chose?

"She hates Chaos. Morgan the Gray is too much her father's child. She even let him know where you are." Kurlog glanced in my direction. "He's on his way here right now."

I froze, my guts turned to ice. There was no way I wanted to see my father right now. I knew he was in part responsible for my current state of mind. He could only make this worse, and I wasn't ready for him.

Honestly, I wasn't ready for any of this.

Steven glared, fists clenching. "Is he lying?"

"I have no idea," I snapped back. "I don't even know who I am right now, so back off."

The pair of them were stunned. I was stunned. This anger wasn't like me.

But I didn't know that for sure. The memories I got were of a headstrong girl, determined to do whatever she put her mind to. Nowhere did it show that anger was or wasn't part of my personality.

"Watch your tongue," Steven snapped. Here was the domineering side again.

"Don't tell her what to do," Kurlog growled, his entire body tensing. His aura filled the room, and Steven took a step back. "You don't rule her."

I was surprised by how good I felt to be defended. By a practical stranger. A stranger more than capable of defeating Steven if it came down to it. I wasn't quite able to do that.

I was able to draw in a sense of stability. Solid, steady, this was the power of Order. Neither of them could really touch it, like I couldn't really touch Chaos. The magic filled me, pushing away anxiety and stress, leaving me with only a sensation of warmth and light.

"I'll do whatever I want. And you can leave." Steven's voice dropped an octave.

"That won't be happening. The air hummed, and Kurlog summoned his axe. "But you can try and make me."

I unleashed the power, and slipped from the realm.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Morgan Chronicles

I groaned again, clutching my shoulder. Something writhed in my flesh, something icky and gross. I could feel it moving and pulsing, pushing muscle aside, wrapping around bone and blood vessel, pinching at nerves. My gorge wanted to rise, and I attempted to think of anything but a parasite inside me.

"What did you do to her?" Steven growled. He held his ground, keeping Kurlog from coming in, but his eyes were on me. More than anything, Steven wanted to comfort me.

And I didn't want anything from him.

The writhing sensation increased, and I was sure my skin was moving. But there was nothing beneath my hand as I clasped my shoulder. There was nothing to indicate that something was living within me.

"I had to find the little Grayling again. So while I was having my way with her, I put something in her." Kurlog laughed. "Well, put something else in her."

"You let him touch you?" Steven's attention was fully on me. He even turned away from the big warrior in the other room. "Him? A failed Lord?"

I laughed at the absurdity of the situation. "I had no idea who he was at the time. Kind of like I didn't know who you were."

His face turned red, his jaw clenching. "So that makes it okay to fuck him?"

Kurlog interrupted, stooping through the door to shove Steven aside. He was still as enormous, but somehow he fit in the cottage. My vision blurred when I looked at him, and I couldn't figure it out. Damn Chaos and its disregard for Order and reality.

"Get off your high horse, kid. She's too good for you."

Steven whirled, staring up at the red-haired Chaos Lord. "And you think you deserve her?"

I tried to move, but nearly threw up. I didn't want to be here, but I couldn't get up and leave.

Maybe I could wish myself away like I got here.

"I'm certainly more entitled to her than you are, Ascended. At least I was born to immortality." Kurlog braced his legs, shoulders thrown back, hands wrapped around his belt. "You're just a pathetic human."

He spat the word, and I flinched. Memories swarmed up from my subconscious, pushing aside my illness and this fight.

I knew this cottage. This entire hamlet had belonged to my father. I'd spent time here, teaching the children, helping the wives, showing the artisans new techniques. I liked the humans, liked their simple and short lives. Part of me had wanted to elevate them through teaching.

The village head's son was a bright young man; good to look at, and intelligent. We'd spent time together, and he became my favorite human. He was eager to please, eager to learn, and he gave me hope for their entire race.

I loved him, and wanted him to live forever. I didn't want to be without him. Swearing to find a way to bring him out of mortality, I studied and researched and dug and dug.

Father had warned me against my course, but didn't stop me. Eventually I found a path of ascendence, and worked to educate Steven. I would give him immortality.

Memories faded as Steven attacked Kurlog. Where had I gone so wrong?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Raven vending machine

My roommate showed me on awesome video over on This guy is making a vending machine for crows. is the site to read up on it.

I think it's an awesome idea. If we had more than grackle's here, I would want to build one. But I don't think grackle's are quite clever enough for it.

What I loved most about watching his video is Betty the New Caledonian crow. I already knew New Caledonian's were tool users, but I was blown away when Betty made a hook out of a bit of wire to get a treat out of a container. It was freakily awesome.

But I'm a zoo nerd like that.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Sketch

Here we have something that was inspired by a dream.

The dream took place during the zombie apocalypse, and while my old man was coming up with some kind of antidote, I was out hunting zombies. I ended up losing him and had to start fighting my way through hordes of undead.

In the dream, I was fighting with a sword. Of contended for a while that guns are eventually useless. You're going to run out of ammo. But a sword will keep going and going.

So, a sketch of me in that dream, perched up on a railing while I tried to find my next place to go.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Morgan Chronicles

The pain ebbed briefly, allowing me to see Steven's concerned face. "What's wrong, darling?"

Gritting my teeth against a new lance of pain, I sagged in his arms. "I don't know," I choked out during another lull. Sweat beaded my forehead, and my heart raced.

Steven's fingers probed my shoulder, wringing a cry from me. "Did that lizard poison you?" He laid me on the bed as I continued to groan, blood oozing again from Rhaelgyr's bite.

"I don't know. Maybe. I doubt it." My fists clenched of their own accord, and I bit back a cry.

The dragon wouldn't have hurt me. He'd been trying to protect me. But I might be having an allergic reaction. Who knew how dragons and Setians reacted?

And why didn't dragons capitalize their name?"

My mind was slipping, wandering away from the pain. Steven was talking to me, but I didn't hear it. I tried to wake up, tried to not be taken under, but my efforts were in vain.

~Morgan the Gray. How do you do?~

The pain fled, and I gasped at the touch of Kurlog's mind. Hanging in Steven's arms, I could still hear him, but I was in a different place. I didn't care about him, and had no reason to go back to him.

But I didn't want to go to Kurlog either. ~What do you want?~

~To see if you'd found your boyfriend yet.~ His mental voice was echoey, like he was far away. Perhaps still in his Between kingdom.

~None of your business.~

~Oh, you're feisty. Why won't you talk to me now?~

Steven was shaking me, calling my name as he exposed my shoulder. His hands were like ice, but they felt good. ~I'm a little busy. Check back later.~

~I want to talk to you now.~
Kurlog sounded closer now, and I stiffened.

~Where are you?~ I whispered, sitting up, bringing my mind back to the present. Steven touched me, asking if I was all right, but I was still ignoring him.

"Where you least expect," the red-headed Chaos Lord said. He chuckled heartily from the other room, his mirth reverberating through the cottage.

Steven lunged off the bed, racing for the doorway. "Interloper! Why are you here?" His voice had changed, grown deeper. One more changeable part of his aspect.

Kurlog laughed again, coming closer to the door. Surely he was stooping beneath the plaster ceiling. "I've come for your girl."

I stiffened, staring through the wall at the giant warrior's voice. I'd hoped he'd forgotten me, that I'd been just a fling to him. Who would have expected he'd hunt me down to fight an old lover for me?

"You can't have her," Steven declared, crossing arms over his chest. Kurlog's shadow fell upon him, and I wondered if there's be an actual altercation.

Again, Kurlog's deep laugh. "I already had her."

Steven trembled. Though he kept his glare directed at teh warrior, I knew he was mad at me. "That doesn't give you claim over her."

"Are you sure?"

My shoulder throbbed again, and I wanted to vomit. I touched the wound, and frowned when there was no bite mark. I glanced down to find smooth skin, the faintest of blood stains along my collarbone.

"You. Can't. Have. Her." Steven's clipped tone bordered on a bark. His fists were clenched, though he kept his arms crossed.

Kurlog snorted. "What kind of man let's his woman wander around with a parasite in her soul?"

Steven finally turned to me, eyes wide. I stared back, shoulder pulsing with foreign life.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Morgan Chronicles

Steven broke the kiss, but kept me in his arms. "You have no idea how happy I am to have you again."

I batted wet eyelashes at him, and spoke with a whisper. "I wish I could remember."

He traced my chin, staring at me, eyes dancing with inner lights. "Come sit down. Let me heal you, and I'll try to jog your memory." I nodded, and he led me to the bed, pulling me to the middle of it. I sat, looking up with what I hoped was an adoring look, and waited for him to speak.

Steven knelt beside me. He looked wholly like a man, wearing a half-open tunic and doeskin pants. Sandy blond hair hung around his shoulders, framing high cheekbones and a square face. He was good looking, at ease with himself, and easy-going with his shifting powers.

And that might be why he seemed so fake to me right now. He'd worn many faces, and had no concern that he always looked a little different. Were any of these what he really looked like? I couldn't tell if he cared.

The moment lasted only a heartbeat, and then he was smiling again, moving toward my back. His hands were gentle as he reached for the topknot. "It's hard to pick where to begin."

"You could try the beginning," I said with a soft laugh. Humor seemed required to keep myself from getting creeped out.

Taking my hair in his hands, he laughed in return. "Ever logical, poppet." He pulled the leather band out of it, releasing my hair. "We were in love, and we wanted only each other. Your father hated me, and he punished us."

There was more to this, and it irked me that Steven wasn't just spitting it all out. His fingers traced the nape of my neck, and my gorge rose. "He took our memory away?"

"He took yours away, and shipped you off to the Gray Lords." Steven's hands ran down my spin, and the leather of my corset began shifting. "He and I fought, and that's when I lost mine."

"I was sure my memories of working for the Gray Lords was false."

"I'm pretty sure they are." My corset became a silk blouse and camisole, powder blue in color, scented like vanilla. "You weren't gone long enough to have actually done anything." Steven wrapped arms around me, holding me close as leather pants became silk skirts.

"Do you know what happened to me with the Gray Lords?" My shoulder throbbed as Steven kissed it. Stomach rising, I concentrated on anything but his touch. The need to flee flared, and I fought that back as well.

"I wish I did, babylove. I'd make them pay for messing you up." He squeezed me tighter, and I feared he'd never let me go.

My blood ran cold. Why should I fear Steven? A moment of rage and some vague memories shouldn't have me on edge like this. This obfuscation made me ill.

But I'd only found out about it in the last two days.

The pit of my stomach dropped. I hadn't gotten much sleep, and I'd gone from adventure to adventure non-stop. Kurlog had demonstrated how time could shift, so who knew how long since my father had punished me.

If he'd punished me. If anything Steven had told me was true. His words were mostly hollow, dredging up no reminisces. Steven could have told me my name was Breeble, and that I ate kittens, and I wouldn't have a way to prove him wrong.

Steven sighed, nuzzling my neck. "What ya thinking 'bout?"

I tried to answer, but pain surged in my shoulder, blingding my mind.