May 24, 2015
Book Promo ~ Burning Blood by Daniel De Lorne
No one gets to choose who they spend eternity with.
Aurelia d’Arjou has vampires for brothers, but it is as a witch that she comes into her own power, keeping balance and control, using her strength to mitigate the death and pain that her brothers bring. When she is forced to take on the centuries long task of keeping the world safe from the brutal demon that wore her father’s skin, duty dominates her life. But rare happiness comes in the form of a beguiling, flame-haired oracle who makes the perfect companion…but for one thing.
Hame doesn’t want to be an oracle, but when a demon destroys the closest thing to a father he has, he has little choice but to aid Aurelia with his visions. Unable to love her as she would wish, their centuries-old friendship comes under attack when a handsome Welsh witch enters his life – and his heart.
As treachery and betrayal push Hame to choose between his closest friend and his lover, it becomes clear that when it comes to war, love doesn’t always conquer all, and happy endings are never guaranteed.
Aurelia jerked with the cart as the wheels rumbled over each bump in the road. Her muscles tensed as she tried to stay upright, but it was difficult with her hands shackled in front of her and chained to the floor through metal loops. She studied them. If she didn’t, she’d be forced to look up and see the faces of the screaming townsfolk of Carcassonne, people who’d once been her kin, as they shrieked for her to burn. If she looked up, they’d be the ones to dance in the flames, and right now she just wanted to get this over with.
An onion punched her in the left breast, as strong as a fist. Almost as strong as Henri’s. It stole the breath from her and she doubled over. More vegetables pelted her, some as hard as stones. Maybe they were. She couldn’t stand straight any longer. She’d have to take the remaining distance hunched over, protecting herself as much as possible and holding onto her will.
She could have done away with this in an instant. She could have scorched the earth around her, making a pyre of her own that would blaze through the vile villagers gathered here today to watch her go up in smoke.
Keep calm. This will all be over soon.
She focused on the floor of the cart, then on one plank of wood, then tighter on one small section of its worn grain. The sounds and cries around her muffled. She kept her concentration locked on one tiny, curled knot and poured her whole world into it. The vegetables, the rocks, the missiles continued, but they were as gnats on a summer’s night.
The cart lurched to a halt but she saved herself from tumbling. Calmer than she’d felt in a week, she raised herself upright. With all the majesty she could muster, she regarded the peasants she’d been forced to live amongst. She fixed her eye on Benoit, a tanner, poised ready to throw a turnip, but it slipped from his hand. The corner of her mouth curled.
She looked at the stake rising out of a pile of dried sticks. They would ignite with the barest of sparks and set her white smock aflame. She swallowed hard. For the first time since her sentencing, she felt uneasy about what was to happen next.
Out of the corner of her eye she spied the two priests in their vestments, moving towards the cart — and her. Their lips mumbled prayers to the Lord, old white-haired Père Laurens with the younger Guillaume beside him, both with their eyes bright and hungry for the spectacle of seeing God’s will be done. It had been weeks since their last burning.
One of the guards who’d led her cart untied her from the floor. He grunted, and pulled roughly on her rope, pitching her forward. Hating him for the loss of grace, she wished she were a more vengeful person. The things she could do to him…
Maybe I will when all this is done.
The pelting began again as she was brought to the pyre, and led up the steps to the stake. From this higher point she could see the crowd and how it swelled. The square heaved with people. Children on fathers’ shoulders. Women with their faces twisted. More of those who had once been her people roared for her execution.
Her stomach ached, not from lack of food, for she’d been provided for, as disgusting as it was, but from the hate surrounding her. She had once been among them and now was cast out forever. She found Simone, Violette and Marie, but she no longer knew them. Just as they no longer knew her.
The Aurelia they had known was gone; the girl with the raven hair and the brightness in her eyes that seemed a blessing from God, considering she lived with those men, her family, and with no mother. Well, maybe that explained it. She’d made a deal with the Devil because her mother had run away and left them behind.