Winter Holiday Story Roundup!

And by “roundup” I mean MY winter holiday stories, because there are ten billion wonderful winter holiday stories by other people and only THREE by me, which means I have a lot less work to do!

You are more than welcome to hook me up with other winter holiday books in the comments! I particularly love winter Regency stories, anything by Carla Kelly (link to search page of deliciousness:

Story One:

holiday on ice cover HOLIDAY ON ICE: Book 2 of Tallwood Tall Tales, novella length

Darcy’s got some pretty severe claustrophobia, so how is she going to survive being trapped in an ice storm, in the cab of a truck, on a packed interstate, with the hottest guy she’s ever met? And she really needs to pee, man. Just when you thought Christmas couldn’t get any more stressful.

Find out more or buy it for $2.99 at  AmazonSmashwordsB&NKoboiTunes

Story Two:

  Tallwood Tall Tales PREQUEL (short story)

Winifred Sampson can’t believe Peter Duvall ruined her new cashmere sweater at the honor society banquet and her secret crush, quarterback Chase McKnight, saw the whole thing. When an ice and snow storm hits Tallwood, Tennessee, right before the holidays, it looks like it might be a white Christmas for a change. Will Peter somehow ruin her Christmas too? Or is Mother Nature evil enough without Peter’s help?

Buy it FOR NOTHING everywhere but the Zon (99 cents at the stupid Zon): AmazonB&NiTunesKoboSmashwords



If the King is fated to love thirteen women before he turns fifty, is he still husband material? One cold, snowy Wintertide Eve, Queen Geneva of Foresta tracks her straying spouse in an attempt to discover where it is he goes at night (a motif that may reoccur later in life, when she has twelve dancing princesses on her hands.)

As she labors over the solution to her husband’s curse, King Reginald is attempting to discover a solution for a problem of his own–and for the entire Middle Kingdoms.

GET IT FREE! Even at the Zon – AmazonB&NiTunesKoboSmashwords

If you’re a reviewer, of course, I will hook you up and then will not stalk you or scream cyber imprecations if you don’t like my book(s).

Jody W. & Meankitty

Testing Out Some Science Fiction Romances!

PortalsLargeVol2RedHi gang! I was invited to include a sampler of one of my SFR novels in a series of anthologies called PORTALS where you can download (FOR FREE!) a bunch of first chapters of books to see if you like them. I included a Mari Shu, of course! There are 4 volumes in this series. You can find PORTALS 2 (the one I’m in along with other authors who write red hot) here:






All Romance Ebooks:

Here’s a great article about the origins of the Portals project:

There is one Portals volume besides this one already out there, and two yet to come! Hope you find your next great SFR read somewhere in these pages 🙂

Jody W. & Meankitty
Smart. Snarky. Seductive. And that’s just the books. *

5 Days of Terrible Freedom

For the next five days (today is April 21) my entire Mari Shu series is free on Amazon to celebrate my escape from the Kindle Unlimited program when I forgot to cancel out the automatic renewal! After that it will go wide.

But you’re going to get it now, right, for FREE?


Earthbound Passion: The first volume in the series focuses on what happens if Mari Shu’s choices lead her and her sisters to remain on Olde Olde Olde Olde Olde Earth while she supports them as a sexxorer.

Martian Conquest: Volume two finds Mari Shu and her sweet innocent siblings venturing to Mars to find jobs and a better life, even though it appears some people there have…illegal cybermech appendages.

MariShu3_Far_Galaxies_100Far Galaxies: The third and most insane of the Mari Shu volumes sends Mari Shu, Cassie and Trish into the beyond on a huge sleep-pod ship destined for New Terra, the pilgrims in Olde Earth’s attempt to populate the entire galaxy! What adventures await them at the end of the line–and in between?


The Whole TruthI also made The Whole Truth free. It’s not a spoof, it’s a snarky urban fantasy-lite style book about a twenty-something who can see lies and has mostly used that secret skill to get good deals…until the men in black find her.

I think it’s actually a pretty darn good yarn. The Mari Shu books, on the other hand, really need some highly offended reviews on Amazon, people saying these are the nastiest, weirdest, most offensive things they’ve ever read. I feel like that’s a great way to spur sales! I’ll even send you a fill in the blank Mad Libs style review form if you want to post a review but don’t really want to write one :).

No, seriously, Meankitty does Bad Libs and now you can, too.

Jody Wallace
Smart. Snarky. Seductive. And that’s just the books. *

Newsletter, Survey, Unrelated Photo

Hi, everyone!

I need your help. I want to write one of those serial thingies in my newsletter, free for subscribers, but I thought it would be more fun (for me) if you participate! To that effect, I’m thinking of publishing the first segment and then asking for ideas/contributions for what should happen next. This would mean you can join in with writing a segment itself or just by tossing ideas at me that I put into words. Or at least telling me “I read it, please continue” so I know it’s not disappearing into the void 🙂

Here’s a short 4 question survey about it:

Newsletter update. Released a new one:

Unrelated photo:

IMG_5772Found on the door the other morning.

Jody W. & Meankitty

I Wrote Holiday Stories

tempchristmasDo you like winter-themed holidays? So far, I’ve written four winter holiday tales. All but one are FREE, too. Can’t beat that price with a stick. I mean, you could, metaphorically, I suppose, if you put my book on your reader and it was so bad you took a stick to the device. If that happens, send me a photo of the broken device and I will autograph it for you, also free!

So, here’s the free goodies:

“New Year’s Magic” in the bounteous TINY TREATS anthology. A witch, a cat, and New Year’s Eve:

“Wintertide Spell” is a prequel to A SPELL FOR SUSANNAH, takes place in the fantasy land of the Middle Kingdoms, but stands alone.

“The Worst Christmas” is another prequel to WHAT SHE DESERVES and is a YA-set tale of high school, snow storms and unexpected gifts:

Claustrophobic ChristmasThe one you’d have to pay for, unless you email me some really nice compliments and I check to see if I have more author copies (hehe), is CLAUSTROPHOBIC CHRISTMAS, a steamy Tallwood novella involving an ice storm, a traffic jam caused by said ice storm, and two weary, I mean, SEXY travelers forced to make their own heat:

I had the wonderful opportunity to beta for a friend of mine, Sierra Donovan, for her recently released holiday tale with a hero named FRED, whom I adore: It’s a sweet, funny read with a holiday theme.

Also I love anything Christmasy Carla Kelly has written, such as and and Mary Balogh

My whole family approves of Bad Kitty’s Xmas tale, including the cats, , which is surprisingly tear-jerky for a picture book.

Now — add to my holiday reading list, if you please! What are your favorites in the comments?

Jody W & Meankitty

Free Short Story: “Free Pie Day”


–For Talia

“Free Pie Day” was originally posted on a group blog. Participants on the blog took diner-themed writing prompts and turned them into short scenes and vignettes. My prompt was, “The Otherworld Diner is having a “Free Piece of Pie” day to celebrate some event. What craziness ensues?” This is the closest I’ve ever come to writing fanfic, but fear not, it’s not fanfic, not really. Most of the individuals mentioned in the story are other bloggers.


“Hey, lady, I want another piece of pie!”

I glared at the smurf-lipped kid seated in booth 17 and said, in my meanest voice, “No.”

The kid’s face scrunched up like a shar pei. He opened his pie-hole, literally, and let out a wail that would have put James Brown to shame.

“Junior, honey, don’t cry.” The mother, a pointy, thin woman wearing an expensive twin-set and pearls, shoved her piece of free pie to the screaming child. “You can have mine. It’s not on my diet.”

The kid dove in, bits of fruit and crust exploding to either side of him and littering the already disgusting table. Behind me, Brenda, our bus person, muttered imprecations under her breath about “pigs in pokes” and “no home training”.

Ah. Free Pie Day at the Otherworld Diner. Normally we balanced our staff across several shifts, but on this particular Saturday night every one of us bustled around the restaurant, doing whatever job needed doing even if it wasn’t ours. We had to. On FPD, the customers lined up on the sidewalk like we were an exclusive New York nightclub from the moment we opened until the moment we closed, at which point we shooed the unfortunate souls who hadn’t made it inside by our cut-off time.

I was usually happy to be the person who did the shooing, anxious for FPD to come to an end. At our owner Debralee’s insistence, we closed the day after FPD, so everyone could recover from their exhaustion and their hatred of the pie-eating portion of the human race.

When Elvis began to sing “Hound Dog” on the jukebox, I knew there was only one more hour until closing. We’d programmed the juke to spin up a tune on the half-hour if it wasn’t already in use. As if summoned by the King, Jeannie burst through the front door from the sidewalk where she’d been handing out free slices in hopes of thinning down the line. She shoved several empty pie boxes that looked like wolf-dogs had torn them to shreds into the oversized recycling bin by the juke.

Okay, I could do this. We could do this. Normally the staff prefers I don’t wait tables, as surly as I am, but on FPD, we needed even my help. And really, all I had to do was hand out pie. I didn’t refill drinks, take orders or get people ketchup. I just handed out pie. Pie, pie and more pie. I handed out eight slices to a bunch of slavering mongrels who couldn’t possibly appreciate the subtle flavors and delicate crust of Talia’s peach delight at the speed they inhaled it. My tray bare, I sidestepped ChinaMeli and Cheryl, wait staff extraordinaire, and darted behind the counter, where Maggie was stuffing packets of decaf coffee into a canister with an irritated gleam in her eyes.

Aaaaaaand, speaking of pie, which pretty much everyone in our filled-to-capacity restaurant was doing, our pie case was empty.


“Maggie, are there any pies up?”

Maggie shook her head. “Just a couple hot beefs and a chef salad.”

Maggie had been slicing the pies Talia and her helpers baked and then placing them in our pie case for me and the other ladies to distribute. Our cook, Francesca, also had assistants tonight, some strapping dudes who kept kissing her. I peeked through the order window and saw the typical FPD kitchen madhouse but no explanation for the lack of pie.

“I’m going in,” I said to whichever staff members could hear me. Employees who braved the kitchen area on FPD were sometimes not seen for hours if Talia or Francesca roped them into service. They no longer used ropes, though, after the incident.

I pushed the swinging door cautiously and entered the back of the restaurant. Francesca and hunks were frying and chopping and stirring, and Lori was running the industrial dishwasher, her hair frazzled.

“How’s it going out there?” Lori asked.

So that’s where Lori had gotten off to. I checked her ankle to make sure there was no rope and gestured rudely towards the front. “Full of pie cretins. Hey, we’re out of pie.”

Lori’s eyes widened in horror, because running out of pie on FPD was detrimental to everyone’s wellbeing. “Scary. Talia’s out back. Actually I haven’t seen her for a while. Should we nuke the frozen pies?” We kept a pie stockpile in one of our deepfreezes — recently sterilized of a green, glowing mold that wasn’t a health hazard but did have interesting properties — for just such emergencies.

“I’m going to check on Talia first.” We probably had enough to get through the final hour of FPD, but I hated to clean out the stash. “Maybe thaw ten.”

“Gotcha.” Lori finished loading the dishwasher and disappeared into the deepfreeze.

The rear door led to a small patio where we kept our specialized brick oven. Beyond the patio was the gate to the back alley and dumpsters.

The scene that met my eyes on the patio was not what I expected. I don’t know why things that happen at the Diner continue to surprise me, but even so, this was a shocker.

Talia was standing beside the brick oven brandishing her giant spatula like a sword as two young men menaced her. The tall, dark haired one was flipping through pages of an old book in a very menacing way while the shorter blond was crumpling an empty bag of pickling salt with menacing twists.

Our pickling salt, might I add. I recognized the brand.

Surely these weren’t her helpers?

“If you take one stop closer, you’re going to feel my wrath.” Talia threatened. “There’s nothing here for you.”

Gosh, if they weren’t her helpers, I hoped they weren’t customers. I’d spoken with Tali about her occasional possessiveness of her culinary creations before, and FPD wasn’t a great day to revisit that argument. But instead of jumping in, I decided to see how she’d handle it. Maybe our practice sessions about letting the pie go would kick in.

“Don’t try to protect your fellow demon.” The taller one spread the book wide and held it in front of him, his finger on the page. “We’re sending you both back to Hell where you belong.” Then he began chanting something in a language that sounded vaguely like Latin.

I knew Talia had a tendency to adopt strays of all species, but this was the first I’d heard about her aiding and abetting a demon, not to mention being one. Anyone who thought Talia belonged in Hell had obviously never tasted her brownie cheesecake.

“Demons being protective is kinda weird,” the shorter one said. “Maybe it’s her spawn. I mean, they don’t look alike, but she could have taken human form.”

Talia shot them both a disgusted look. “It’s not a demon, it’s a dragon.”

“There’s no such things as dragons,” the blond scoffed. Then he glanced at the tall one. “Right, Sammy?”

Sammy, frowning in a way that looked habitual, continued to read the non-English mantra, his deep voice rolling out the long vowels like he really meant it.

“This has gone far enough. I’ve got work to do and you two are interfering.” Talia kicked at the circle of salt around the brick oven, and tiny pellets sprayed the two men.

The blond’s jaw dropped, and Sammy quit chanting to stare at Talia in amazement. “You’re not supposed to be able to… How’d you do that?!”

“With my Converse, you idiot.” Talia kicked more salt, and they flinched, holding up their arms to protect their faces from the crystals.

When the salt stopped flying, the blond grabbed an old, long-barreled pistol from the back of his pants, where it had been hidden under his scruffy leather jacket. “I don’t know how you were able to cross the ring of salt, but you can’t escape a bullet from the Colt. Stay back.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me. A gun?” Talia exclaimed, echoing my thoughts. I girded my loins to linebacker the blond and disrupt his aim. The Diner being what it was, I didn’t want to involve the police unless I absolutely had to.

At the shock in Talia’s tone, Grim the dragon popped his head out of the back of the oven where he was supposed to remain hidden, the secret to Talia’s perfectly baked goods.

A secret we at the Diner were loathe for anyone to discover.

Blast and double blast. That explained a few things.

“Uh, Dean,” Sammy said. “I think you’re worried about the wrong demon.”

Dean shifted the gun from Talia to the small dragon, who hissed. “Badmen chasing meez through the park. I’s spit at youse!” He inhaled deeply, preparing to hack a fireball that wouldn’t help convince these guys he didn’t belong in Hell. Grim might have limpid pools for eyes, but he also had some serious brimstone and halitosis issues.

Talia clanged the side of the brick oven with her giant spatula, startling the creature. “We don’t have time for that. It’s Free Pie Day. Quick slacking and get back in there. You still owe me after you-know-what.”

With an “Ack!”, Grim popped back into the oven, and I heard the faint but distinctive rumble of dragonfire.

The blond blinked a couple times and lowered the gun. “You’re baking pies? Free pies?”

“That’s what free…pie…day generally entails.” Talia enunciated each syllable as if speaking to someone new to the language. “You two hounding Grim on his smoke break have seriously interfered with the pastry supply. Unless I miss my guess, any minute now, my manager is going to… Oh, hi, Jody.”

I suppose that was my cue it was safe to chime in without getting shot. Or salted. Or fireballed.

Sam and Dean–what were they, surf rockers?–both jumped at the sight of me lurking in the doorway.

I waved. “I came to check on the pie progress. We’re digging into the reserves and we’ve still got an hour to go.”

“Grim and I have a batch almost toasty and another ready to go in. Or we would, if somebody would quit threatening to banish us to Hell.” Talia opened the brick oven door and peered into the red, glowing interior.

“You’re not demons?” Dean asked. “Pie-baking demons?”

Sammy’s lips tightened. “Don’t be stupid, Dean. They aren’t going to admit they’re demons.”

“Nobody here is a demon,” I said in my best soothing-the-irate-customer voice. “We’re employees of The Otherworld Diner. Maybe you’ve heard of us? No? Well, we’re famous in these parts. And Talia here is part of the reason. Talia and her pies.”

Dean studied Talia, her cheeks pink from the heat of the oven, then me. He put his gun away. “She did touch the salt.”

A nod from me, and Talia slipped her giant spatula beneath the first golden brown, perfectly dragon-baked pie and floated it out of the oven. The men’s eyes followed Talia’s actions as if drawn by magnets. Pie magnets.

The sweet, enticing scent of crust and contents filled the air, and even my mouth watered. There was nobody in the world, except maybe Talia, more sick of pie than I was right now.

“Fellas,” I said, when I had at least part of their attention, “can I interest you in some free pie in return for your silence on the manner in which our brick oven gets heated? Demons, from what I understand, are evil, supernatural beings bent on taking over the world, and Grim couldn’t be further from that.”

“I could eat,” Dean said.

Sammy punched him, but he was watching the pie with puppy dog eyes as helplessly as Dean.

“Let’s get you a booth.” I took each man by an arm and urged them into the Diner. Over my shoulder, I called back to Talia. “Bake them the special pie. The caramel nepenthe delight.”

Sam’s pointy nose twitched and his lips thinned. Again. He tried to tug his arm away, but I held on tight. In a poncy voice, he said, “The word “nepenthe” first appeared in the Odyssey of Homer. Literally, it means “the one that chases away sorrow”. It’s thought to be an opium derivative. I don’t think we’ll be eating–”

“Really?” I interrupted, my eyes wide. “We’d heard the part about nepenthe chasing away sorrow. That’s why we call it that. It’s so good, you’ll forget why you’re sad.”

I led the bemused men through the kitchen, where Francesca’s assistants gave them evil glances and refused to let her so much as look at them. Out front, Brenda cleaned a corner booth. Cheryel served them ice tea and ChinaMeli distracted any other customers who might have noticed Sam and Dean got to cut line.

When the pie came out of the dragon-powered oven oozing fragrant steam like a hotsprings, I dolloped vanilla ice cream on top and set the entire pie tin between the two men, who were, quite frankly, both on the thin side.

They stared at the pie, then me. Sammy in particular looked like he figured the pie contained poison.

I grabbed a fork, elbowed them aside, and shoved a luscious bite into my mouth. One bite wouldn’t affect me, and if it did, it would only mean I’d forget how stressful FPD was and we’d have it again next year. When I didn’t turn green, choke or keel over, Dean wielded his own fork and dug into the caramel and melted ice cream.

“Wow,” he said, his mouth full. “Sammy, you gotta try this.”

More fastidiously, Sammy sampled a pea-sized crumb, but when it melted in his mouth (that’s what Talia’s crust does), he scooped a larger bite. And then another.

“So we have a deal?” I asked Dean. “Pie for silence? Anytime you’re in town, more of the same.”

“Ish good pie,” he said, his cheeks bulging like a chipmunk. He grinned at me with good-natured enjoyment and added another forkful to the mass.

“Deal,” Sammy said, licking the tines of his fork.

After they finished the entire plate of caramel nepenthe delight, we kindly led them to their vehicle, a black muscle car, and whispered in Dean’s ear that he had an appointment in Wisconsin. We haven’t seen or heard from them since, although we’ve started keeping an caramel nepenthe delight on hand, just in case.


© 2008 Jody Wallace

Scary Writing Samples: The Dark Wizard

A Writing Workshop Writing Sample (Right!?!)

(NOTE: Scary Writing Samples is a series of excerpts created by me and others for use in writing workshops. I needed excerpts that weren’t by “real people” so participants would feel free to say what they really thought. If you wish to use any of these as a sample in a writing workshop or other creative endeavor, please contact me first! This one in particular was for training contest judges.)

Princess Morgaine Brianna stomped her dainty foot on the flagstones of the king’s audience chamber and tossed her ebon locks streaked with diamond white. “Uncle!” she demanded. “I will be heard in this chamber, though I am but woman, and a magicless woman at that! I will not marry that cretin Daemon Von Aragonne the Dark Wizard!”

In the kingdom of Dragonne, only females who possessed magical powers of healing and plant speaking were considered worthy of any status but that of wife, mother or serving wench. Morgaine Brianna, though the niece of Good King Theolas, was not regarded as worthy since her only value was that of her exceptional beauty and her relationship to the king–value, yes, but not the value the she desired. She longed more than anything else to be the equal of men and to that end spent most of her time taking sword or horseback riding lessons.

Her uncle normally indulged her but not this time. He had grown tired of her spoiled fits and starts and had decided ‘twas time for her to be married off.

“You shall, too,” he said to his rebellious niece in portentous tones that be spoke no argument. “The contract has already been drawn up and the Dark Wizard arrives at midnight via portal to claim his bride. You should be flattered. The Dark Wizard has never actually taken a bride.”

“I don’t want to marry him. He is rumored to have unnatural appetites.” Brianna shivered in her flowing hunter green woolen gown that complimented her eyes and emphasized the discrete swell of her breasts, which she kept bound as their large size embarrassed her. Women in this age were supposed to be delicate and sylphlike like her mother had been, in Brianna’s mind and most of the Court’s, the epitome of womanly beauty. She had met the Dark Wizard briefly at her come-out ball last year and had been unable to get his dark piercing regard out of her mind, but never did she suspect that behind that hooded gaze dwelled unholy lust for her! No such brooding fiend would bed her, she vowed, for she kept herself sacred for her true love the old gypsy woman at the market promised would come to her.

As she oft did in times of stress, Brianna allowed herself to recall that fateful day. She had crossed the old woman’s palm with silver and in her palm the woman had read of a long life and many children, all with a man who would be her true love. She also read a dark and divided destiny to come and troubles, but Brianna had figured that would be the case for any in the beleaguered Dragonne, beset on one side by the sea and its pirates and on the other by the mountains and their goblins. “Your true love will wear two faces and only you will see the fair one,” intoned the old gypsy woman with her many scarves. “Be not afraid and be not afraid to seek your true destiny, though others will tell you it’s too dangerous.”

And now she was supposed to give up that shining future, that man who would love her despite her magiclessness and her unfashionable body, for her uncle’s politics? Oh if only her parents had lived to be king and queen but alas they had been lost in the first Goblin wars defending the borders. Her uncle was a barely competent substitute who was barely holding the kingdom together and had a son of his own, her horrid cousin Nesbitt, who would inherit now since Brianna had no magic. Any man could inherit but unless a woman had magic, she was but a druge or a possession.

Her uncle was unfair and blinded by greed for power. He thought she didn’t know but Brianna was no fool. “He has made your marriage a condition of our alliance,” the king said. “Who would gainsay the Dark Wizard, the head of the Wizard’s Kirk?”

“Then I shall…run away!” declared the saucy wench. Her uncle’s serving maids who waited to either side with grapes and wine gasped in shock.

Uncle Theolas laughed but he was not amused. He had plans for the kingdom and they didn’t include this young woman, though using her to cement an alliance with Aragonne was an admirable way to be rid of her. He’d have an alliance and doubtless with the Dark Wizard as her husband she would not last long enough to discover her true destiny. “You will not make a fool of me! We need to ally with the Kingdom of Aragonne to hold off the dreaded Goblin Hordes when they attack. You know they mass upon our borders and only the failing might of the weak border lords hold them back with incongruous magics.”

“Then perhaps I could try again to be tested and…”

“But no!” the King cried out, afraid for his plans. “You know that if a female has not evidenced her power by the time she reaches her sixteenth birthday, then it is dangerous to undergo the testing again to see if any latent powers could be made to surface with a Bonding.” Brianna, at nineteen, was long past the time for such rituals to be considered safe or fruitful though sometimes they were attempted on peasant girls whose parents had both been magical, through the Wizard’s Kirk. But Brianna was no peasant girl and had be better used as a marriage prize. “I cannot lose you to that. I love you too much,” he continued and tried to let a gentle love show in his rheumy gaze.

“But you can lose me to the Dark Wizard?” Brianna retorted, stamping her foot with anger. Her uncle’s love for her would have touched her heart had her heart not already been hard to all men. Especially after knowing the truth about what happened to her cousin Fey, her uncle’s daughter by his second wife who died long ago. Nay, she would not marry any member of the Wizard’s Kirk with that knowledge! Nesbitt was the son of her uncle’s first wife who had died even longer ago. Her uncle did not have a third wife though Brianna would have loved to have more women in the house, especially a magically empowered woman who could have spoken for her step-niece in this matter. Her uncle wouldn’t bother with a woman who wasn’t magically endowed.

“We need his strength and the Kirk’s cooperation to link our failing border stones,” the King raged. “It is your duty. Even if you were to have latent magics this late in your life, they would not serve in war except for healing and no gently bred girl needs to be healing soldiers. ‘Tis not womanly.”

“Oooh!” Brianna said angrily. “You are so sexist! I hate you.” And with that she rushed off to her room in the tower of the grand castle but her uncle, in fear of her rash actions, had his guards lock her door to await the Dark Wizard’s pleasure.

Now that the princess was gone the king cackled with glee and called for his son. “Nesbitt, my lad,” he said to the young man with a hungry look in his eyes and a scrawny frame, “the girl is as good as out of here. Nobody will suspect me since I merely want to cement the borders. It was a wonderful plan I had!” King Theolas gazed upon his son and for a moment could see the features of his first wife, a strong witch who had been his only true love. She had perished giving birth to Nesbitt and Theolas had pined all his hopes and dreams upon the boy.

“Yes of course father.” Nesbitt’s beady eyes lingered on the throne but soon switched to the serving maid. She was a comely wench with flowing black hair not unlike his tempestuous, beautiful cousin. Though he agreed that the girl could not be allowed to discover her true destiny it was a shame the Dark Wizard would destroy her. Nesbit admired the wench and would bed her anon for she was naught but a magicless female but he lusted after his cousin in his heart. He always chose dark haired woman and pretended they were Morgaine Brianna, even made them wear clothes of hers he stole. Though she too was magicless, he would have married her if his father had allowed it but his father had become too insecure in his old age. The girl’s destiny could never be discovered as long as she continued to wear the pendant they told her was her mother’s that had been left to her when her mother perished. And if he knew Brianna–and he did know her, thanks to all the priest holes in the castle he used to spy on her–she would never take off the reminder of her beloved parents.

Well, his father was old. He was the only child though sometimes he missed his sister, who had been a sweet girl not unlike his Stepmother. She had almost brought goodness and light into this dark house but had wasted away after the death of Fey in the testing by the Wizard’s Kirk that had been…too vigorous, King Theolas too desperate to find great power in one of his offspring, as Nesbitt’s power was weak. The Wizard’s Kirk had even then been led by Daemon of Aragonne, and surely it was no coincidence he wanted another Dragonne female.

Weak power had not weakened Nesbitt’s brain. Perhaps something could be arranged so Nesbitt could still have the girl for himself, perhaps after the Dark Wizard was done with her. He didn’t require the girl’s soul after all, just her body… He hastened off to alter the contract with the Dark Wizard and add a clause about if his uncle died then the girl would have to be released to Dragonne to be with her family as the only surviving female in the Dragonne line.

* * *

Daemon tossed and turned upon his soft, goose down mattress as the dream beset him. Wolves slavered at his heels as he ran through the woods, briars slashing his naked limbs and some desperate sense of transformation in his heart. He just knew he had to hurry, he had to get there before…before…he wasn’t sure but every time in his dream, he was too late. He reached the deep, still pool in the heart of the Endlesse Forest just in time to gaze upon his own pain wracked visage as it warped in the light of the moon, becoming….

Daemon cried out and his hand struck warm, yielding flesh. A feminine shriek and Daemon bolted awake and grappled with the stranger in his bed. He clasped strong fingers about the vulnerable neck of his attacker, squeezing squeezing….

“Please milord,” his victim cried. “You’re only dreaming.”

It was Betsy, the downstairs maid whom he sometimes took to his bed when the need was upon him. Betsy or Jill or Janetta or — when the need was upon him, he cared little, so long as she was warm and mostly willing. He could persuade her with his skillful lovemaking.

He let her go. She sat up in bed and rubbed her throat. A fearful look in her eye as she took in his naked form. “Perhaps I should go, ’tis nearly the cock’s cry,” she said.

His manhood rose as he gazed upon her large, pert breasts and frightened eyes. “Some cock is arising but ‘tis not the one you think,” he said, surprised at the growl of his voice. It reminded him of something…. Something that escaped him, like a lingering touch of his dream.

The maid’s gaze dropped to his monstrous appliance stirring to life at his thighs. “Yikes,” she said.

“Love me one more time, Betsy,” he said. “For tonight I wed my bride, and I doubt she’ll be such a good lay.”

The maid tittered. “Surely you could continue to…”

“No, Aragonne men are faithful to their mates. I need a son, Betsy, a son that I can’t get on a girl like you. No offense, but your parents weren’t wizards. The Wizard’s Kirk prophet says it has to be Morgaine Brianna for me, though they won’t say why.”

“I would not have wizards for parents,” shuddered the maid.

Daemon moved atop the woman and pressed her back into the pillows to dispel the last remnants of his bad dream. “Do you forget that your lover is a wizard?” he asked with a glint in his eye.

“No…no my lord,” whispered Betsy, suddenly afraid, and it was that fear that drove Daemon into her willing body with the sharp edge of desire.

Nay, the little Dragonne wench would never be this good a lay, but she would be afraid…and that was something.

All women feared the Dark Wizard. He struck fear into their hearts, not love, and it was safer that way–safer that he could never be awoken to love himself. For in his dreams, fear for the safety of his true love drove him, and it was her, his love, whom he failed in the end.

He had vowed to never penetrate or even be long around a woman who didn’t fear him, so he would never be put in that position. Now the fear had become an aphrodisiac stronger than powdered unicorn’s horn.

* * *

Brianna tightened the last knot on her rope of sheets and started trailing them off the balcony to the ground. They could almost reach and she could jump into a tree for the rest of the way. Her time spent doing boyish things would finally pay off when she escaped down the wall! She just wished there was a way to untie the sheet rope so her uncle would think she had found her latent powers on her own and turned herself into a bird or convinced a vine of ivy to serve as her rope.

Brianna had packed what she’d need for her flight and before leaving clasped her mother’s amulet in her small hand to utter a prayer for luck. The metal amulet was shaped like a dragon with a round, odd red stone as its belly, that was where the fire of the legendary beast was made. There were no longer dragons in Dragonne or anywhere else she knew of, having been hunted out hundreds of years ago, but still it was the symbol of her kingdom. She had thought it strange that her mother would pick such a red, manly amulet as her soulstone but she had grown used to the little beast and never felt dressed without it.

Then she put both her legs over the balcony and began the long downward climb, shimmying from knot to knot like a monkey from the far-off land of Affrikana. Her pack with her provisions and clothes slapped against her back. She climbed down and down, trembling with trepidation, until she reached the end of her rope. She swung to the branches of a huge oaken tree.

Unfortunately the oaken tree had a bole as big around as her tower, nearly and no branches close to the ground. Brianna hadn’t counted on this! She rubbed her scraped hands against her skirts which she had kirtled up around her waist for safer climbing. There were no soldiers as she had planned her downward climb during the change in guards. She had ten more minutes before they would come around here again, see the sheet, and find her, and she planned to be well hid by that time.

She heard a cheerful whistling from the gardens below her and looked to see a tall man in brown peasant’s garb striding along the path headed towards the palace. Who could that be? He was not from around here but he was very attractive in a large man type of way. The sun shone upon his dark brown hair which was long enough to go down past his collar, not the style of the times but attractive on him, with his manly, strong face that you would never mistake as effeminate.

Brianna summoned up her courage and decided if he wasn’t from around here he wouldn’t know who she was.

“Psst,” she said. “You there. I need assistance.”

The man glanced up, and she was swallowed into his dark black eyes for a moment, as a chill of strange desire rattled through her. Then his eyes were naught but a soft brown like her favorite boots.

“Hello there,” he said. “What have we here, a pretty little bird in a tree?”

“I’m not a bird, and you know it,” she said, not liking the tone of the rascally knave. “I merely require some help getting down. There was a kitten I meant to assist, and it has scampered off and left me. I would not be surprised to find the kitten was but a mischievous sprite that managed to find its way into the palace gardens. Little wretch.”

He stood under her and looked up admiring her legs bared so she could climb. If she kept his eyes on her he wouldn’t notice her sheet rope down the tower wall. She would have to suffer his gaze on her legs and smiled her prettiest.

“Please, sir,” she begged. “My mistress is the Princess Brianna Morgaine and she would not like for me to be late.”

“Well, if it’s for her royal highness I suppose I should help.” The man held up his arms. “Drop into my arms and I shall catch you.”

“It is too far!” she protested. She didn’t want to be in his arms! That was closer than she ever was to men, except her cousin and uncle. He didn’t look like a detested Wizard but most men couldn’t be trusted. You had to have a certain degree of power before you could join the Wizard’s Kirk although never were females allowed to join, no matter their power. Some minor wizards had been said to suck the power from witches to achieve the Wizard’s Kirk. She bit back a tear at the thought of her cousin Fey.

“Surely if you weren’t afraid to climb up the tree it isn’t too far to come down?” the man taunted.

“If you drop me,” she threatened, overcoming her momentary sadness, “I shall beat you about the head and shoulders.”

“I’m not afraid,” he laughed.

There was nothing else for it. First she threw down her pack, which he caught with a grunt. At his expression, she raised an eyebrow and explained, “I have been doing my mistress’s laundry.”

Then she carefully got on her belly on the branch and let herself slide slowly off, conscious of the fact that her legs were exposed to her short knickers and the knave below was having a great view! As she’d hoped, he didn’t notice the sheet because he was too busy ascertaining that she wore knickers and did not go with her parts abroad as was the habit of some forward wenches beneath their skirts.

Just in case he grew bored with the view when he discovered she was fully clothed beneath, she gave a little wriggle to her behind that she’d heard her maids discuss that a man much loved to see. It made her feel a bit cheap, yet also a bit excited, to know a man was inspecting her as a female instead of having the boundary of royal princess to protect her. Her uncle and cousin would have thrown any man in the dungeons who dared to eye her as the man below. She could still see him over her shoulder, having not let go of the branch, and his eyes were indeed trained on her thighs and perhaps more. He winked at her in a knowing fashion.

“Come on, just a bit further,” he encouraged, and she didn’t know if he meant for her to drop or to raise her skirts!

There was only so far a princess was willing to go to be rescued. She dropped, her heart pattering in her chest, and he caught her hard in a pair of very muscular arms.

“I think you owe me after that,” he said when she caught her breath and gazed up at him. He barely even staggered with the impact of her weight. Her green eyes widened at the suggestion in his. “I think…a kiss.”

“Nay!” she gasped, but he silenced her missish complaint with his lips.

Instantly desire surged through her just as when his eyes had seemed as black as midnight. But that had been just her imagination, perhaps her excitement at the escape, this was real, very real. She clung to him and sighed into his mouth as his hot, questing tongue awakened parts of her she had no idea were connected to her mouth and lips. She had only ever been kissed by her horrid cousin Nesbitt who had several times attempted to force himself on her, only to be convinced otherwise by a swift knee to the ballocks. It had been awful and slimy and not like this blissful erotic sensation that turned her limbs quickly to quivering jelly.

She heard the tower bells that told the hour ring and realized the guards would soon be here. She could not allow them to find her! Not only would her uncle and cousin have this man jailed but her perilous climb down the tower wall would have been for naught.

“Oh, oh, I must go!” she said, breaking off the kiss. Shame blossomed through her at her wanton actions. Yet still she did not want him to come to harm by the king’s wrath. “You cannot kiss me.” She could not tell him the real reason why as a common maid without magic would have been free to kiss as she pleased. “I…I…have not granted you permission!”

“Don’t worry, I won’t kiss you again…Princess,” he said. “At least not until tonight.”

Her lips moist from his kiss she gasped. “How did you know who I was?”

Those brown, cheerful eyes turned suddenly black again and she felt a sputter of fear like when she had climbed over the balcony and her death awaited below if her hands but slipped. “Why, don’t you recognize me, my love? I am your betrothed, the Dark Wizard, or so I’m called.” He shrugged and let her down out of his arms but still held her tightly. “King Theolas called and asked me to come early for the ceremony since he was afraid you’d run away. Looks like I was just in time.”

“You tricked me! You shan’t kiss me again!” Her scraped fists beat his chest. How could this be?

“I shall,” he said, and touched one of her white streaks, the only thing she had of her mother besides the dragon, “and you shall like it, my wee frightened virgin.” Her limbs turned to water and she felt the thrust of him against her belly, as his desire surged convulsively in response to her panic.

What manner of man was he? As evil as they said and willing to drink of human souls to increase his power…or was he the merry rascal who’d stolen her first real kiss?

He let her go but his eyes were still black as night, black and deep as the pool of truth in the heart of the Endlesse Forest, or so it was rumored. “But you’ll have to wait for that kiss until tonight. At which juncture you’ll belong to me and have no say in the matter. Too bad, so sad.”


© 2005 Jody Wallace

Scary Writing Samples: Nowhere to Hide

A Writing Workshop Writing Sample (Right!?!)

(NOTE: Scary Writing Samples is a series of excerpts created by me and others for use in writing workshops. I needed excerpts that weren’t by “real people” so participants would feel free to say what they really thought. If you wish to use any of these as a sample in a writing workshop or other creative endeavor, please contact me first! This one in particular was for training contest judges.)

Detective Wolf Rivers stared at the naked, slashed body of the dead woman on the tarmac and wondered where he’d put his smokes.  Gross blood pooled in a scarlett puddle on the ground and there were no tire tracks.  It was nearly midnight.  The CSI team has found no fingerprints or identifying information on the woman to say who killed her.  But she couldn’t have been dead long because steam still rose from her body in the cold rain.

A crowd from the airport gathered around the yellow police tape.  His partner, Detective O’Malley, from a long time family of Irish cops wrote down notes in his notebook.  They had been partners for years and had learned to trust each others instincts.  Even though O’Malley didn’t know everything there was to know about Wolf’s secrets. If he had just been a beautiful woman, Wolf would have had it made, only he had little use for women, except when they had information he needed.  Or maybe a cigarrete.  He always needed a cigarrette when he was upset by a terrible crime like this one.  Where were his smokes?

Other uniformed policemen and some airport security stood around and kept the onlookers from violating the crime scene.  Like this poor woman had been violated.

“Let me go!” a hysterical female voice cried out.  “That’s my sister!”

“Let her through,” he said, instantly suspicious she should just happen to show.  It wouldn’t be the first time sister had murdered sister.  The vertical slashes in the dead woman’s throat spoke of great force.  He wasn’t sure the slight, waiflike, distraught female being led up to him by a uniform was capable of such force.  Her long, blonde curls hung in tangled waves over full breasts.  Her body was lush yet too delicate for this kind of violence.  She had beestinged lips and blue eyes big enough to drown in.  Only he wasn’t in the mood to go skinnydipping.

“You say this is your sister?” he ground out harshly.  “It is funny you would just show up.  Did you do this to her?”  She was a little thing, barely 5’2” except in those ridiculous heels women insisted on wearing.  He didn’t understand women.  Not even after all his years of experience with life.

“Oh god no, my twin sister!” she cried out.  She tried to fall to her knees but it would have gotten blood on her cream colored Anne Taylor trousers and the cop holding her made her stay on her feat.  How could this man, this tall brooding man with the piercing, mysterious eyes just ask if she done this without so much as a by your leave?  She had loved her sister even though her sister had been the black shep of the family.

“No, I don’t know” Cara said.  “I last saw her two hours ago when she was headed for the little girls room.  We were here to pick up a package that her fiance in Venezuela mailed through air post.  The plane was late.  And then she disappeared!”  Cara tried to end a big sob and failed.  They waited for her to get a grip.  A cop patted her shoulder, but she got no sympathy from the arrogant, sexy detective.  He had a Native American appearance, wide cheekbones, his hair cropped short.  His nose looked like it might of been broken.  He wouldn’t of looked out of place in a biker bar in different clothes than his rumpled suit.  In short he looked dangerous.

She couldn’t believe this was happening.  Her poor sister, though they had been estranged for years, was dead on the tarmac bleeding her life away and the detective thought she might have done it.  Yet she couldn’t help herself, she felt a stir of something deep within when he pierced her with his brooding gaze, like he thought she knew more than she was telling.  She bet he looked at all the girls like that, it was his job after all.

“Did you get your package?” he asked.  “What is in it?”  He knew it could be drugs, coming in from Venezuela.  Which would make this some kind of gang hit.  He got on his walkie talkie and had them bring in the drug dogs for flight 564 out of Atlanta.

Turning away, Cara said “I…I didn’t get it.” She wondered what had happened to the package. At the counter, they told her it had been picked up.  They didn’t know who. The person who gave it out had gone home for the night.  She thought Sara had gotten it but how could she have, when she lay here dead on the tarmac like a broken child’s doll?

The detective turned to the man with the glasses in the white coat, she guessed it was the coronor.  “What did you say her name was?”

“Sara Lytton” Cara said.  “She was 25 years old this June.  We both were, we are twins.  Our parents are dead from a car wreck when we were only eight.  We only had each other in the world, except her boyfriend Marcus.  She thought he was sending her an engagement ring!  Now we’ll never know if she was to be married and turn her life around!”  Her voice broke on a sob.

The detective and his partner took her away from the body of her sister on the tarmac.  “Miss Lytton– it is Miss, right?” said the red-headed partner. She wondered why he was trying to flirt with her at a time like this?  He stepped her to close and she stepped away.

“Yes” she answered in a shaky voice.

“You must come down to the station house and answer questions.  I would like to take you there myself and then maybe out for some coffee.”  He looked so hopeful.  Cara didn’t understand why guys always hit on her, an innocent who had been raised by their old fashioned grandparents and sent to boarding school. She had no idea of the appeal of her lush body and naturally blonde hair.  And how men loved to tarnish that innocence with their lusts.  “Do you know if your sister had enemies?”

“No, she was nice!  I mean, she could get wild but everyone liked her.  Nobody would do this to her, she was everyone’s friend, not like me” she cried out bitterly. “I don’t understand!”

Wolf tilted Cara Lytton’s chin up so she had to meet his eyes.  He had to make her understand this was no game.  He insisted, “We’ll find the guy who did this.” Not sure why he felt the need to comfort this woman.  Vampires like him had no feelings and yet, he was feeling for her. It could not be so he ignored it. What he knew for sure was it had to be a guy who did this or a very mad woman with great upper body strength.  Nobody deserved this way to die.

Just then a woman in the crowd screamed “He’s got a gun!” and a shot rang out, taking his partner O’Malley by surprise in the shoulder.

“Down Everybody!”  Wolf shoved Cara to the ground behind him to make the smallest target and chased the shooter.  But the shadowy figure in a plain brown coat was too fast even for his inhuman speed and disappeared behind some airplanes into the mechanical hanger.

Wolf rallied the uniformed policemen to search the hanger by fisting his hand and pointing three fingers down.  He walkie talkied for reinforcements.  The shooter could have been the same one who brutally murdered Sara Lytton on the tarmac.  With that kind of speed he would be dagerous, maybe even inhuman.  Maybe the killer thought they were getting too close to some clues. Or maybe the shooter was after something else entirely.

When he got back his partner O’Malley, was being carried off by the paramedics, flashing lights making his Irish face look even redder than the pain made it look.  He was going to be okay but it was never any fun to take a 9 mm to the shoulder.  Wolf had it happen once, a woman had been the one who did it.

He guessed this took Cara Lytton out of the running for suspect.  He couldn’t shake the fact that the two girls were twins and that this might be some kind of mix-up.  “We’re going to have to take you to a safe house” the detective growled out.  He had forgotten his need for a smoke as an unexpected protectiveness rose up in him.  He spend his life protecting the weaker humans but never got personal.  It was just his job to make sure the humans didn’t find out about the vampire crimes by sweeping them under the rug.

“I’ll be fine” she argued.  She didn’t want to be locked in a safe house with his man!  His dark looks and chiseled jaw turned her insides to molten lava and her knees to water.  Not a good combination because if the two substances met they made black, ugly rocks.

“Don’t fight me on this.”  Again he took her by the chin and stared into her eyes.  His smoky breath washed over her.  He smelled her sweet pulse like nectar of flowers in the summer sun he never got to see, his incisors lengthened with the urge to taste her.  He tried to hide them.  He only dined on criminals and cold blood bags not, innocent humans.  “I know what I’m doing.  You’ll be thafe with me.”  He would protect her with his unlife.

Yet the way his black gaze devored her Cara wondered, would her heart be safe.


© 2005 Jody Wallace

Scary Writing Samples: The Detective and the Forger

A Writing Workshop Writing Sample (Right!?!)

(NOTE: Scary Writing Samples is a series of excerpts created by me and others for use in writing workshops. I needed excerpts that weren’t by “real people” so participants would feel free to say what they really thought. If you wish to use any of these as a sample in a writing workshop or other creative endeavor, please contact me first! This one in particular was for training contest judges.)

Detective Sean Hagger was really pissed off. He’d been put on stake-out duty again spinning his wheels watching some bimbo to see if she was connected to a 5 state check forgery scam. Like any woman who looked like the woman he was spying on would be smart enough for that.

She was truly any man’s dream–hell, she was his dream. Long, long tan legs, breasts like two perfect melons, a flat stomach, kissable lips, and a beautiful cascade of golden blonde curls that had never been touched by Miss Clairol. Sean was no beautician, but he knew all about nude women. And right now his high test binoculars were squarely zeroed in on her through her bedroom window, butt naked right out of the bath. Unless Miss Clairol was making a new kind of dye, Ariel Cynthia Collinsworth was quite blonde all over.

Okay there were some benefits to stake-outs. He lazily grabbed one of his bran muffins–no doughnuts for him, thanks–to munch as he watched the show. If his partner Barney’d been here, they’d have fought over the binocs, but Barney was combing through files at the office.

The woman could be a Playboy Playmate, but a forger who’d been illegally spending other people’s money across 5 states? He didn’t think so. And her house and stuff wasn’t even that nice. She wrapped a towel around her and it was so old and shrank up it hardly covered her heiney. Surely she’d of bought herself some new towels if she had all that money.

A dark shadow blocked out his vision momentarily before the binoculars were ripped quickly out of his hands. “What the hell are you doing, you dang peeping pervert?” His expensive high power surveillance binocs hit the pavement with a crash, thrown there by a strange, angry woman, fire blazing from her snapping green eyes.

This one was obviously nondescript enough to be a forger, but she wasn’t Ariel Collinsworth. So who was she and how had she snuck up on him? He knew the neighborhood routines pretty well after a couple nights, he knew the neighbors too and he didn’t recognize this one.

“I’m calling the police,” she seethed. “I got your tag already, smart guy.” She pulled a cellular phone out of her fannie pack. She was dressed in a jogging outfit and her brown hair was in a ponytail. Nondescript, yeah, but there was something sexy about her….

As she glared at him, he casually grabbed his badge from the dash and flashed it. “How can I be of service, Ma’am?”


© 2005 Jody Wallace