It’s release day for In The Flesh, and I couldn’t be happier! I just got my gorgeous author’s copies yesterday, and the good reviews are already coming in. I’m all ready to celebrate!
When I began In the Flesh as a serial on my blog, I never imagined it would grow from the short story it started its life as ten years ago to a novel. It started out as just sexy horror, but it never felt quite complete, so I thought I’d let the story tell itself. WOW! What a story it turned out to be! It evolved into a full-length novel and became a strange mix of demons, vampires, angels and Medusa – that’s right, even Medusa shows up for the fun. And why not? It is the first book of Medusa’s Consortium, after all. I didn’t see that coming either, since I’d already written the third book of The Medusa’s Consortium series, thinking it was the first.
What I discovered as I wrote it is that the characters who joined the cast throughout the novel may have come to the party uninvited, but they were always a welcome addition that made the story better and stronger and juicier as it unfolded. Those new characters and the chemistry and complications they created opened the doors to whole new possibilities and made the novel shine and sizzle in ways I could have never achieved without a little party-crashing mash-up of characters from my short novella, Landscapes, and from the third novel Buried Pleasures — and yes, it became the third novel because In The Flesh’s mash-up of party-crashers added a big fat juicy twist to the novel that absolutely guaranteed Michael, Susan and the Guardian were gonna need a sequel. That will be Blind-Sided, which I’ve already started on.
If you like sexy, chilling, thrilling urban fantasy/paranormal romance, then In the Flesh is right up your ally. Here’s a sneak peek, along with a little bit about the Medusa Consortium Series.
In The Flesh Blurb:
When Susan Innes comes to visit her friend, Annie Rivers, in Chapel House, the deconsecrated church that Annie is renovating into a home, she discovers her outgoing friend changed, reclusive, secretive, and completely enthralled by a mysterious lover, whose presence is always felt, but never seen, a lover whom she claims is god. As her holiday turns into a nightmare, Susan must come to grips with the fact that her friend’s lover is neither imaginary nor is he human, and even worse, he’s turned his wandering eye on Susan, and he won’t be denied his prize. If Susan is to fight an inhuman stalker intent on having her as his own, she’ll need a little inhuman help.
EXCERPT from In The Flesh: Susan’s Secret Writings:
I wasn’t alone in the dark. I knew that the first time I entered the crypt at Chapel House. I could feel a presence there, almost as though someone stood just behind me, about to reach out and touch me. The shiver over my skin was not so much from fear, though certainly there was an element of fear, as it was from longing, bone-deep longing. I could barely breathe for it, I could barely stand under the weight of it, and I couldn’t imagine how such an ache, such a hunger could exist inside my flesh and not tear me apart. I was astonished that Annie seemed completely unaware of anything out of the ordinary, and to be quite honest, I wasn’t anxious to share it with her.
She continued to chatter on about her plans to make Chapel House over with a state of the art kitchen—she who didn’t cook, and a master suite that would rival the finest hotels in London. Strange that I could listen with one part of my brain and comment on her ideas for an open plan living space, for a library in the choir loft, for a wet room in the sacristy, while with another part of my brain I felt like every cell of my body was responding to whatever it was, whoever it was that I was certain waited there in the darkness, just beyond the beam of Annie’s Maglite.
The departmentalizing of Annie’s plans and the feel of the presence in the darkness became much more difficult when I felt the closeness of a warm, hard body against my back and the humid nip of a kiss on the nape of my neck. I explained away my little gasp of surprise to Annie by saying I’d almost lost my footing. I should have been frightened. I should have been terrified, and believe me, I was. But by the time I felt a large hand splayed low against my belly, by the time I was certain of the maleness pressed hard and low just above my butt, I was far more intrigued than I was frightened. Even if terror had won out, I don’t think I could have forced myself to move as the hand in the darkness migrated to cup my breasts and thumb my nipples, first one, then the other, and the slow grind and undulation from behind became more demanding.
“The roses, they smell lovely.” I managed a breathless response to Annie’s ramblings about plans for the overgrown mess of a garden. “You might want to consider a scent garden.”
She laughed. “I can’t smell anything, but then you were always the one with the sensitive nose. Of course I’ll make sure
there are lots of roses.” She knew they were my favorite, but I couldn’t imagine her not smelling them; the scent was nearly overwhelming in the tight space of the crypt. To my surprise, as she rambled on about a patio with a Jacuzzi, the smell of roses was subsumed in my own scent and the humid, piquant scent of a man well aroused. The hand on my breast began a slow, torturous descent, and I wanted nothing more than for Annie to keep talking, keep planning, anything to keep her from dragging me away from this place, at least for a few more minutes.
I asked about the Jacuzzi, hoping that would give me another minute. By the time she got started about the sites she’d looked up online and the builders she’d talked to, I was rocking back against the hardness, craning my neck to yield as much bare skin as possible to teeth and tongue and lips all soft and warm and wet and sharp and hard and demanding. Oh,
I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, but looking back, I wonder how the hell Annie couldn’t see? How could she have missed it? But she rattled on and on about some builder just up the road near Keswick who was supposed to be really good, some guy named Michael. Like I gave a fuck.
The study suddenly felt stuffy and overheated, and Michael’s grip on my hand convulsed. His jaw tightened, but he didn’t look at me.
Magda paid little attention to either my discomfort or Michael’s. She just kept on reading.
He was cute, Annie said. That led to observations about this Michael’s broad shoulders and nice arse and speculation as to whether or not he would be any good in bed, and was it wise to seduce him before he put in her Jacuzzi or wait till after and seduce him in it. All the while I nodded and pretended to be interested.
I was thankful for the extra time, but Christ, how could she not notice me standing there, legs apart, rocking back and forth and shifting from foot to foot like I had ants in my knickers? In truth, what I wanted in my knickers surely couldn’t actually be there, and yet I felt it, fucking hell, how I felt it! I swear, I could feel muscle and sinew. Hell, I could feel the actual shape of an erection as though we were both naked, as though all he need do, this dark being who surely was just my imagination, was bend me over and open me, me struggling to keep my breathing quiet, me struggling to focus enough attention on my friend that she wouldn’t suspect I was about to come. Oh yes, I was terrified. I would have, should have, run, if I hadn’t been so intrigued, so turned on. I just wanted one more second, and then another and another.
In desperation that shocks me even now as I write this in the dark silence of Annie’s flat, I grabbed onto a wrist that I swear was as solid and warm as my own and guided the caress, the tease, the fondling of fingers and palm down my belly toward where I really needed it to be.
Annie yammered on about this Michael, all the things she’d heard about him, all the things she wanted to do to him—at least I think she did. My God, my whole body felt alive, every cell, every molecule. I could damn near feel the coursing of my own blood through my veins. You have no idea what an exhilarating combination fear and arousal make. I lost track of what Annie was saying, and the air was filled with the scent of sex. I could smell him, actually smell this phantom man, who was as near release as I was, and I was sure, as my knees gave beneath me, I felt the warm wet of his orgasm against my lower back. And then for an instant everything around me was silk and darkness, so perfect, so ecstatic. But just beyond that warm tight space, I knew. I knew as well as I know my own breath, I was terrified, and what I felt was like no terror I’d ever known before and, holy God in heaven, I want to feel it again.
And then I was shivering on my knees against the stone floor in the crypt at Chapel House.
“Susan? Susan, you’re scaring me.” Annie’s worried face invaded my field of vision before she half-blinded me with her Maglite. “Are you all right? What the hell happened?”
“Sorry, I got a little lightheaded there. Probably just blood sugar. I missed lunch,” I lied, stumbling quickly to my feet, making a quick swipe at the back of my skirt, surprised to find it was dry. Glancing over my shoulder into the narrow beam of the Maglite, I saw only the empty darkness of the crypt and the tunnel that led back to the rusted barred door. But I was certain someone was there, someone I hungered for way more than I hungered for food. And I was equally certain that I would have Him.
About the Medusa’s Consortium Series:
Contrary to popular belief, Medusa is alive and well and living a quiet life in the English Lake District. But don’t let that fool you, ever since she escaped Greece and the Olympians, Medusa/AKA Magda Gardener, has been secretly kicking ass and taking names.
Medusa may be public enemy number one with the Olympians, but in the modern world, Magda Gardener never turns away someone in need. For those she helps, those who are drawn to her, those she seeks out, life will never be the same. Like the Godfather, those who owe Magda Gardener never know when she’ll call in the debt, or what will be required of them when she does. Magda is a rescuer of monsters and demons and a thief of all things dear to the Olympians. She is irreverent, powerful, rich and has her own agenda, in which the lines between right and wrong are not always clearly drawn. Even more importantly, she and her consortium are all that stand between the modern world and a new age of Olympian tyranny. Magda Gardener is a female Nick Fury in dark glasses commanding her monsters, gods and demons version of the Avengers.
But what’s at the heart of the gorgon? Can she ever really heal from the rape of a god or overcome the curse of a goddess? As her consortium of powerful misfits grows into a cohesive, if rather troubled, family, it becomes more and more difficult to keep her distance from the lives of those who belong to her. Scheming to keep one step ahead of the Olympians and wreak as much havoc upon them as possible, can Medusa find redemption and possibly even love among the monsters? The Medusa’s Consortium Series is Magda Gardener’s story and the stories of those drawn to her.