The last day of school for my students finally arrived today. Every year it seems that the students just don’t believe that we teachers are just as happy, if not more so, as they are to have the last days arrive. I love my kids. I really do. But by this time of the year we are all sick of each other. I know parents have to have their kids a lot longer than we as teachers do, but there are a couple of key differences I’d like to point out. First of all, I didn’t birth them, adopt them or take on the care and raising of them. (My editor would point out that I should say rearing and not raising, but this is my blog and I don’t have to follow publisher’s style here.) Since they are not my children I don’t have that deep rooted love of them that you have as a parent. I like your kids, I love your kids. But I don’t have that parental chip that makes me LOVE your kids. Secondly, your children do not have to sit in one place for seven hours and be quiet at home. Imagine a road trip with your child that lasted for 7 hours each day over 180 days. That might be a more appropriate analogy.
The last day of school went rather well this year. With a few notable exceptions, the students did a great job keeping it together until they loaded on the buses. The first of the notable exceptions occurred sometime last night. When I drove up to school this morning I was greeted by yards upon yards of waving toilet paper handing from trees, bushes, the building, and pretty much anything that stood still. Slogans from one of the rival middle schools were scrawled on the sidewalk and backside of the building. (A clever ruse to fool us into thinking the vandals were not our students.)
Now rolling (as spreading toilet paper all over the place is called) is vandalism and it’s wrong, boys and girls. But I have to admit to laughing as I drove into the parking lot. There was something so quaint and innocent about the act that surprised me considering how worldly-wise so many of our kids are. So several of us early birds grabbed garbage bags and went out to start cleanup. Many hands made light work and we chatted and laughed a bit as we cleaned up. It was wrong, but something about the act reminded me that we were dealing with children, with babies in many ways.
I received a group personal apology from the culprits later that day that I kept a stern and imposing face for. But as I looked at their faces, most very sincere, I was grateful to them for reminding me that there are still seeds of the innocence of childhood trapped inside their pubescent bodies. I think it put me in much more of a mood to deal with end of school silliness today than I might otherwise have been.
But I can’t quite start singing school’s out yet. I have a few more teacher days to go.
I’ve had a reviewer and a couple of readers comment recently about the hero in Seeing Me. You see he doesn’t have a name. At no point in the story do I give the actor in question a name. My decision seems vindicated by the response I’ve gotten which all came from people who got why I didn’t name him. I wanted the reader to be able to see whoever, whatever “type” they found most appealing into the role. Are you a Harrison Ford lover? See him in the part. George Clooney? Yep, could be him. Johnny Depp? Orlando Bloom? Or even my friend Llew’s favorite Sean Bean? Yep, could be him.
Who did I see in the role? That I’ll never tell.
Today’s excerpt comes from the July release Lovers’ Stone. Luke Ursine is the brother of Mark Ursine whose story was told in Mating Stone. Luke is your typical bad boy, a full on alpha male who loves to play the Dom. While standing watch for a family member who was searching for his mating stone in the clan’s sacred caves, Luke falls asleep only to be awakened by the sound of someone calling his name.
EXCERPT: Caution. Some adult language and content.
Luke rose and walked slowly to the archway and stopped. Each of the other twelve corridors led to rooms that held stones. A male picked the path whose stones corresponded to the birth stone of the female he hoped to mate with. Only one stone in the tens of thousands that filled this mountain would support the mating of a particular couple. Supposedly if the mating was not meant to be, he would not find the stone. Wade had searched through hundreds of gems to find the right one. He’d told Luke it had sung to him the minute he touched it. Wade said it had glowed and the face of his future mate had appeared in its depths. More, it had vibrated in such a way that he’d become instantly aroused and his need to join with his mate had burned like a fire in his body.
But this center corridor, this thirteenth passage was one that was never used. It could not be entered except by those who were called. And to Luke’s knowledge no one had been called down this path in so long what lay at its end had become legend. An oasis of lovers’ stones the lore said. A collection of stones from each of the caves but they were more than just simple mating stones. These stones were for those Weres who were tied to another by destiny. The two bound by a lovers’ stone were destined for more than mating bliss. Theirs was to be a great life-long love. To Luke it sounded like more than legend. It sounded like bullshit.
The mist swirled around him and Luke’s legs carried him of their own volition through the arch and down the narrow tunnel. There were no torches here, only the glow of the golden fog lit his way. He heard the voice call again. “Where are you? I can’t see you.” It was a woman’s voice.
He heard nothing but the voice. Not even his inexplicably bare feet made a sound on the stone floor. He took turn after turn following the light that pulled him along. Abruptly the fog rose to the ceiling just in front of him taking the shape of a doorway through which he could not see. He heard her calling again. She was looking for someone. She was looking for him. The realization lifted something inside him. He stepped through a large bank of the golden mist and found himself in a vaulted chamber. In the center of the room was a shimmering pool surrounded by large low pallets filled with cushions and pillows. Directly across from him an identical doorway had formed. Before it, watching him with large frightened eyes was a woman. Her long black hair was loose and flowed down her back. The blue eyes glowed so brightly for a moment he considered that she might be a succubus but dismissed the thought. No creature could have gained entrance here except those who were like him. Only another Were could have entered the cave, let alone this most sacred place. Or that was what they’d always been told.
The woman was dressed in a long, red satin nightgown with thin straps that barely contained the full breasts that threatened to overflow the bodice. Her hips curved in a way that made a man long to run his hands over them, to hold tightly to them as he thrust inside her. The pull she seemed to be exerting over him was stronger than any desire he’d ever felt. Screw mating stones, just looking at this woman was making him hard.
He opened his eyes slowly and they focused on a large vaulted ceiling painted with gold and silver celestial patterns. He was instantly awake. He wasn’t in the outer room. He wasn’t sleeping on the bench. He remembered in a flash of panic. He was in the inner chamber lying on a soft pallet of cushions. The forbidden inner chamber. He lay there listening to Rand’s voice but not hearing it. Because beyond the inconvenience of being in a chamber that was supposed to be off limits, beyond the fact that he was lying there naked was the fact that he could feel something cool and hard clenched in his left hand.
Luke sat up slowly and lifted his hand. He opened his palm. In the center lay a rough cut, bright red stone. It glowed and vibrated in his hand. The pulse that moved through him made his body stir. He heard a voice in the back of his mind whisper his name. Lifting the roughly heart-shaped gem he looked into it and saw a raven-haired siren with bright blue eyes gazing back at him.
“Oh shit,” Luke closed his eyes. This was not happening. This could not happen. That stone. He’d not come here seeking it but there was no mistaking it. He felt her somewhere in the back of his mind, he felt her body against him though she wasn’t there. He smelled her on his skin. The woman had been real and in his hand lay the proof of it. In his hand lay his mating stone.
Him? The man his own brother referred to as Lucas “screw the whole world and everyone in it” Ursine? And that was when he wasn’t pissed at him. But how? To whom? He had to see the Oracle. The Oracle would know. He looked at the stone again. A ruby? He searched his mind for an explanation. Why was he holding a July stone? Bears didn’t give birth in July. As Weres—shapeshifters whose bodies were tied to the animal whose spirit they shared, in their case the bear—they too had “seasons”. Late fall and winter were the birthing months. Spring and early summer the months of conception.
This meant only one thing. She wasn’t one of his people. There were few species in this world with whom a Were could mate. They could mate with the angelus, winged creatures humans often mistook for divine beings. Though rare, they could also join to the fey, a varied group of little creatures that humans called faeries or gnomes. And humans. And since the woman who had just given him the most intense orgasm of his life didn’t have wings and she had full, lush, mouthwatering curves it could mean only one thing. His destined mate was a human.
Luke glared angrily at the red stone. “Just my fucking luck.”