Cover & Excerpt Reveal
Earth Reclaimed Book One
Resilient, kickass, and determined, Aislinn's walled herself off from anything that might make her feel again. Until a wolf picks her for a bond mate and a Celtic god rises out of legend to claim her for his own.
Aislinn Lenear lost her anthropologist father high in the Bolivian Andes. Her mother, crazy with grief that muted her magic, was marched into a radioactive vortex by alien creatures and killed. Three years later, stripped of every illusion that ever comforted her, twenty-two year old Aislinn is one resilient, kickass woman with a take no prisoners attitude. In a world turned upside down, where virtually nothing familiar is left, she’s conscripted to fight the dark gods responsible for her father’s death. Battling the dark on her own terms, Aislinn walls herself off from anything that might make her feel again.
Fionn MacCumhaill, Celtic god of wisdom, protection, and divination has been laying low since the dark gods stormed Earth. He and his fellow Celts decided to wait them out. After all, three years is nothing compared to their long lives. On a clear autumn day, Aislinn walks into his life and suddenly all bets are off. Awed by her courage, he stakes his claim to her and to an Earth he's willing to fight for.
Aislinn’s not so easily convinced. Fionn’s one gorgeous man, but she has a world to save. Emotional entanglements will only get in her way. Letting a wolf into her life was hard. Letting love in may well prove impossible.
Genre: Fantasy/Urban FantasyPurchase links: Musa Amazon ARe B&N
Content/Theme(s): Post-Apocalyptic, Dragons, Magic, Celtic gods, Demons, Aliens
Release Date: October 14, 2013
Publisher: Musa Publishing
A high-pitched screech reverberated in her head. It sounded like something had pissed off the civet. Travis shouted her name again. He left the mind speech channel open after that. Locked it open so she couldn’t close it off. Edgy, she wondered if he was setting some sort of trap. Aislinn thought she could trust him, but when it came right down to it, she didn’t trust anyone. Especially not the Old Ones. The only thing that made working with them tolerable was that she understood their motives. Or imagined she did. She still hadn’t forgiven them for killing her mother. Poor, sick, muddled Tara.
“Aislinn.” A different voice this time. Metae, her Lemurian magelord. The one who’d made it clear two years before that, magic or no, they’d kill her if she didn’t come to terms with her power and fight for them. “Save your comrade. I do not know if I will arrive in time.”
All righty, then. Aislinn wondered if it would be possible. The civet yowled, hissed, and then yowled again. Travis made heavy, slurping sounds, as if at least one lung had been punctured. Dragging a leather vest over totally inadequate clothing, Aislinn slipped her feet into cracked, plastic Crocs and took off at a dead run down a passageway leading upward. The Crocs gave her feet some protections from rocks, but not from cold. She veered off, trying to pick an exit point that would put her behind the fighting. When she came to one of the many illusory rocks that blocked every tunnel leading to her home, she peeked around it. No point in being a sacrifice if she could help it. Travis wasn’t that close of an acquaintance. No one was.
A hand flew to her mouth to stifle sound. Christ! It couldn’t be. But it was. Though she’d only seen him once, that horrible night in Bolivia when her father had died, the thing standing in broad daylight had to be Perrikus—one of six dark gods holding what was left of Earth captive. Bright auburn hair flowing to his waist fluttered in the morning breeze. Eyes clear as fine emeralds one moment, shifting to another alluring shade the next, were set in a classically handsome face with sharp cheekbones and a chiseled jawline. His broad shoulders and chest tapered to narrow hips under a gossamer robe that left almost nothing to the imagination. The dark gods were sex incarnate, which was interesting, since the Old Ones were anything but. Promises of bottomless passion had been one of the ways the dark ones seduced Druids and witches and all those other New Age practitioners into weakening the gates between the worlds.
Heat flooded Aislinn’s nether regions. She wished she’d paid better attention when humans who’d actually run up against the dark gods had told her about it. Something about requiring human warmth to feed themselves, or remain on Earth, or…shit, her usually sharp mind just wasn’t there. She couldn’t focus on anything except getting laid.
Her groin ached for release. One of her hands sneaked under her clothing before she realized what she was doing. No! The silent shriek told her body to stand down, damn it. Now was not the time…and Perrikus definitely not the partner. Her body wasn’t listening. The next parts to betray her were her nipples, as they pebbled into hard points and pressed against the rough wool fabric of her hastily donned shift.
Wrenching her gaze to Travis—and her mind away from sex—she was unutterably grateful he was still on his feet. Wavering, but standing. The civet, every hair on end, stood next to him, a paw, with claws extended, raised menacingly.
“You know where the woman is,” Perrikus said, voice like liquid silver.
Aislinn heard compulsion behind the words. Hopefully, so did Travis.
“I followed you here,” the dark mage went on. “I heard you call out to her. So, where is she? Tell me, and I’ll let you go.”
The civet growled low. Travis spoke a command to silence it.
“I’m right here.” Aislinn stepped into view, glad her voice hadn’t trembled, because her guts sure were.
“Aislinn,” Travis gasped. He lurched in a rough half circle to face her. “I’m so sorry…”
“Can it,” she snapped.
The civet hissed at her, probably since she’d had the temerity to raise her voice to its bonded one.
“Okay.” She leveled her gaze at Perrikus. “You said he could go. Release him—and his animal, too.”
That lyrical voice laughed. “Oh, did I say that? I’d forgotten.”
“Let him go, and I’ll, ah, give you what you want.” Should buy me a couple minutes here. “Just turn off the damned libido fountain. I can’t think.”
His hypnotic gaze latched onto hers. “Why would I do that, human? You like how it feels. I smell the heat from between your legs.”
“Bastard. I liked it a whole lot better when I thought you were just a comic book character.” Aislinn wondered how much juice she had. This was one of the gods. Even if she was at her best, she didn’t think she’d be able to prevail in anything that looked like direct combat. “What do you want with me?” she asked, still trying to buy time to strategize. It wasn’t easy with what felt like a second heart pounding between her legs. She wanted to lay herself at his feet and just get it over with.
“What do you think?” He smiled. Fine, white teeth gleamed in that perfect jaw. “Children. You have power, human. Real power. And you’ve only now come to our attention.” He walked toward her, nice and slow. Sauntered. His hips swung with his stride. She saw he was ready under those sheer robes. Unfortunately, so was she, but she clamped down on her craving.
Aislinn ignored the moisture gushing down her thighs and reached for her magic. Travis limped over, joining hands with her. The civet wedged itself between them, warm against her lower leg. She felt the boost immediately. Even the sexual hunger receded a tiny bit. Enough to clear her mind. “On my count of three,” she sent. “One, two…”
“No. Do just the opposite. He won’t be expecting it. Pull from air and water. I’ll blend fire. Aim for his dick. It’s a pretty big target just now.”
Power erupted from them. Even the civet seemed to be helping. Since she’d never worked with an animal before, she wasn’t certain just how the Hunter magic worked. Aislinn concentrated hard to keep the spell’s aim true. Travis was injured, so she took more of the burden.
Perrikus chanted almost lazily. Maybe he was drunk on his own ability, so egotistical he wouldn’t guard himself. Her spirits soared as soon as she realized Travis’s gambit had worked. Perrikus was using the counter spell for air and water. He hadn’t counted on the tenacity fire would give their working. Moments later, a muffled shriek burst from him, and he grappled for his crotch.
“Bitch.” No honey or compulsion in that epithet. He lunged for her.
Aislinn sidestepped him neatly, letting go of Travis. In a half crouch, she trained all her attention on their adversary. Hands raised, she began a weaving she hoped would unbalance him. Air shimmered at the edges of her vision.
“I am here, child. Take your comrade to safety. He carries an important message from me.”
“Do not speak my name aloud. Go.”
The shimmery place in the air sidled in front of Perrikus. Fiery edges lapped hungrily at his nearly transparent robes. Not waiting to be told a third time, Aislinn shooed the civet into Travis’s arms, draped an arm around him, and pulled invisibility about the three of them. The last thing she heard as she guided them toward the warren of passageways leading to her home was Metae baiting Perrikus.
“I was old before you were hatched. How dare you spread your filth?”
“Wh-Where are we?” Travis’s voice gurgled. It had taken time to help him cover the half mile back to her cave. The civet made little mewling noises as they walked, sounding worried about its human partner.
“About two hundred feet below whatever’s happening up there.” Aislinn flung a hand upward. “Do you have Healing magic?” She pushed him through the thick tapestry that served as a door to her home and caught the civet’s tail between fabric and rock. It hissed at her and then ran to Travis, light on its feet.
“Use it on yourself. It’s not one of my strengths.” Aislinn knew she sounded surly, but couldn’t help herself. She’d never wanted anyone anywhere near her home. And her body, ignited by Perrikus’s execrable magic, screamed for release. Nothing she could do about that so long as she had company. Not much privacy in the one room she called home.
Purchase links: Musa Amazon ARe B&N
Other titles by Ann Gimpel:
Be on the lookout for Ann Gimpel's upcoming releases: Noreen's Choice coming November 2013 and Earth’s Blood coming late 2013 or early 2014
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