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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

GetToKnowTheBook: More Than Prophecy by Shannon Leigh

I had a story dancing around in my head for some time. Well, to say story would be an overstatement; it was more like a scene, upon which the rest of the book would grow. I didn't know where to begin, or where it would lead, only that these two characters, Cheyenne and Darian wouldn't leave me be. They invaded my sleep and constantly crept into my mind. Avoiding their story wasn't working, for they pursued me with merciless relent. With an audible sigh, I throw up my hands and concede. "All right! I give. You win."

My greatest ideas come when I daydream, when I shut out all outside destractions and allow the characters to take the lead. On this particular day, outside seems the place to be. I place the blown up float into the small pool—an old metal feeding trough now used as a swimming pool for my kids. The raft stretches near wall to wall, but no matter, the water is cool and refreshing. I climb onto the raft, careful not to tip over, and stretch out. The sun beats down upon my body, caressing my bare skin with its warmth, like the touch of a lover’s palm. I close my eyes and my mind begins to wander, replaying the scene I've come to know so well...

A young native American girl, perhaps in her early twenties, with long, sleek, black hair; delicate features; and a brown complexion is immersed in a small metal bathtub, while an older woman with jovial eyes and a plump figure meticulously scrubs her skin. The water laps at girls breasts, kissing her dusty rose nipples with greedy smacks. There’s no mistaking the fear and unease in the younger woman’s violet-blue eyes.

Loud music and joyous laughter floats through the air, the sounds muffled by the four walls. I study the interior, the aged, wooden, planked floor; the gaudy d├ęcor. It reminds me of a brothel. My concern for the girl begins to grow. Where is she? And what has her so scared?

“Calm yerself, “Cheyenne. Ye’ve nothin’ to fear. Lord Darian is an honorable man. He’ll nae lay a finger on ya,” the older woman says, her tone soft and reassuring.

The sound of a slamming door gives them both a start. My own heart begins to race, my unease matching Cheyenne’s. Who just left the room?

“I best see what that girl’s up to,” the woman says, rising to leave.

Girl? I wonder. I don't recall anyone else. I’m tempted to yell, “No! Don’t leave Cheyenne alone!” But my words have no sound in their world. As you recall, this is just a dream.

Alone, Cheyenne sinks down into the steaming water, submerging herself from head to foot. I can almost feel the relaxing heat as it encompasses her now gleaming skin. “Ahhh…” we chime in unison.

But our relief is short lived, for in the next instant, the bedroom door flies open, slamming into the wall beside it. An intimidating sight hulks in the threshold, a murderous scowl hardening his features. He storms toward the tub. There's no mistaking the purpose in his stride or the determined glint in his jade-green eyes. "Show me the markin'," he demands with a husky growl as he yanks her from the tub. "I must see it fer m'self."

As Darian says those words, my eyes fly open, greeted by the blazing sun above. Suddenly, I know. I know where to begin and where it will lead. Their story has just been born.

Here’s a short excerpt from this scene:

Cheyenne swiped the water from her eyes with her palms and turned to see who’d come in. She let out a shocked yelp when she saw Darian’s massive form hulking in the doorway. With long, purposeful strides, he advanced toward her, Brigette hot on his heels.

“Darian, please. Yer scarin’ ’er!” Brigette pleaded with him to stop, but he wasn’t listening.

Darian’s searching gaze was intent on her, his mind obviously set on one course of action. He stormed to the tub, grabbed her by one arm, and yanked her to her feet. Then he spun her away from him.

Cheyenne was so shocked she didn’t protest. She just stood there, shaking like a leaf in a raging windstorm.

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