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Friday, 6 July 2012

Excerpt: Prologue from The Demon Bride, by Dianna Hardy (released 31st Aug)

(Cross-posted from The Witching Pen Novellas website)

The prologue sets the scene for Gwain and Mary's story. (However, just like in the other two books, other characters' stories, and the plot, will also continue to unravel). Released in eBook format on 31st August, and in paperback on 31st October. I've also included a little bit of Chapter One for you ;)


Her fingernails dug into his wrist, as her scream pierced the air.
God damn it!” he cursed. “Don't you let go of me – don't let go!”
But this was a battle they were both losing. The pulsing abyss beneath her was relentless, swallowing everything too close to it, like some ominous, living black hole, and she was more than too close to it – she was dangling above it, her feet touching the hungry darkness.
Terror gripped her – an unforgiving fear she'd never known, and she'd known a lot of fear.
For a second, exhaustion took her over, and her fingers slipped a little.
No!” he shouted, and squeezed his hand in a tighter vice around her wrist. His other hand – the left one – was buried in the earth. He had pegged himself into it in an attempt to stop their forward movement. He had his legs entwined around a tree trunk, but the tree was now coming up at the roots, bowing to the force of the suction. Every muscle in his body was straining, bulging unnaturally – she wondered if he'd ripped any yet. Hell, he was strong – but not strong enough.
She looked up, forcing her head to move against the pull of the abyss, and met his eyes. Steely grey, and usually so steady, they were now marred with panic and anger. But still he held her gaze, and still – despite the horror of what was about to happen – she found a semblance of peace within his presence.
Let me go,” she whispered.
Her answer was a tenacious growl.
It'll pull you in if you don't. It doesn't want you, it wants me. Let me go.”
He tightened his hold on her.
Damn it! She won't risk him. Not now, not ever.
She spoke to him in the Old Tongue. “I’m not supposed to be here – it was always going to be this way.”
Determination hardened his features.
My God, he's stubborn.
I love you,” she whispered, and let the truth of her words touch him, seep into him, through the all-consuming connection they shared – one which she suspected was about to be ripped to shreds.
He was momentarily stunned at the weight behind her words. She had him off-guard, and in that split second, with a strength she didn't know she possessed, she brought her left hand up, fighting against the vacuum with all she had, and tore into his cheek with her nails.
Startled, his grip loosened, and it was enough.
She yanked her right hand out of his.
His look of shock quickly turned to one of both rage and desperation when he finally realised what she'd done.
Blood seeped through the cuts on his cheeks. Her own face stung in response.
Forgive me,” she pleaded. “You mean too much to me.”
Tears welled in his eyes.
Tears? Oh, no, m’angeal, don't cry. I'm not worth your tears.
I'll find you, I swear it,” he choked out.
As the abyss closed up around her, she uttered a prayer, and she had no idea whether she was praying that he would, or that he wouldn't.

Chapter One

Mary jolted awake, then moaned as the pounding in her head dominated all her senses. A nightmare? No. This pounding felt like normal pain – the kind you had when you hit your head, not the type of pain that seared her during her nightmares.
What had woken her up? A dream? But she didn't have dreams – not normal dreams, anyway...
She tried to grasp at it and failed, the throbbing in her skull preventing her from going in too deep.
And she was hot – too hot – baking hot.
Where the fuck am I?
And far too quickly, she remembered her encounter with the monster in the prison, and being dropped into the hole in the ground. A portal of some kind? The memories rushed at her – they came so quickly, she thought she might puke. Ugh. She remembered being thrown down and cracking her head on the cement.
Shit. She hoped she didn't have concussion.
Gingerly, she tried to move and realised that something was crusted onto the left side of her face, which smarted big time – she guessed it was her blood. Her face felt mangled. She must have done it when she'd cracked her head. A glance down at herself told her she was naked. That meant she'd been undressed.
She mentally assessed her body, trying to figure out if she'd been messed with in any way. It felt the same as usual, apart from her arms. Looking up with effort, she could see that her hands were tightly secured above her head in metal cuffs, each attached to a stone wall by short, linked chains.
She gave her hands a little wriggle. Pins and needles shot down to her elbows, which ached. She winced. Could this be any worse?
“She awakes,” came a voice, low and soft, to her right.
It just got worse.

Excerpt copyright © Dianna Hardy, 2012. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Talk about a huge hook. Damn. I feel so sorry for them both. *lip wobbles*

    I'm totally buying your omnibus, hun. 'Cos I know I'm just going to want to read this entire series in one go. Fab prologue. :-D