One of the best parts of my writing career so far has been the year and a half I’ve spent writing the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy. It both pleases me and leaves me slightly bereft to announce that the final novel of the trilogy, Elemental Fire, is now abailable in eBook formats and will be out 13 March in paperback. Demons and witches and ghosts! Oh My!
The characters have constantly surprised me by leading me on twists and turns in the plot that I would have never expected. They’ve made me love them and hate them and empathise with them and submit to them as they took me on the wild journey from Marie Warren’s voyeuristic encounter on the high fells to Tara Stone’s final and surprising battle with the demon, Deacon in the Dream World. I’ve loved every minute of the journey, and each time I sat down to spend a little time in the world of the Elemental Coven, I was transported magically back to the Lake District and the fells I love so much. The beautiful Cumbrian landscape has made its mark in my heart, as have the people who live there. There’s truly something wonderful about spending eighteen months magically transported to my favourite place to be with the Elemental Coven at Elemental Cottage while they live and laugh and love and battle their way to triumph over Deacon.
What can you expect from Elemental Fire? More demon encounters — some of them hotter than hot. But then demons are drawn to fire. You can expect to learn a great deal more about the Elemental Coven’s fearless leader and high priestess, Tara Stone. And you’ll meet Kennet Lucian, the stranger who enters her life through a dream and joins her in the Waking World with a very big secret. You can expect to find out what happens to Anderson, and you can expect to find out more about the mysterious succubus Cassandra. You can expect sizzling sex and chilling encouters in dark places. You can expect possession and deception and lies. You can expect love and laughter and commeraderie and preparation for a final battle that is more frightening than any the Elemental Coven has ever experienced. And, if I’ve done my job, you can expect a helluva good read.
Obsessed with revenge, KENNET LUCIAN makes a deal with a demon, a deal he comes to regret when he meets TARA STONE, head of the Elemental Coven, and a powerful witch with a desire for revenge at least as great as his. Even though the attraction between the two is magnetic and the lust combustive, Kennet must betray her to accomplish his goal, which is ultimately her goal as well; to put a final end to the demon, Deacon’s, reign of terror. But can Tara trust the man who has wormed his way into her heart and the heart of the Elemental Coven? Can she trust LUCIA, the demon with whom Kennet is allied, a demon with her own agenda. The path to Deacon’s destruction is far from clear, and the price that must be paid to be free of him forever may be too high, even for Tara Stone.
The demon, Lucia, studied Kennet for what might have been ages, and he felt as though the pressure of her scrutiny would crush him.
‘I have never worn man flesh.’ She nodded down to his penis.
He blushed and surged and blushed again. His heart raced. ‘Does it make a difference?’
She shrugged, still studying his cock as though she’d never seen one before. ‘Not really. Flesh is flesh.’ On a whim, she reached out and stroked his erection, and he gasped as the touch of her shivered up his spine and blossomed bright inside his head.
She continued to touch him, but her eyes were now locked on his face, and he tried desperately not to thrust against her. ‘I am only touching your cock, Kennet Birch, and it is all you can do to keep from spilling your seed at my feet.’
‘That is the most sensitive part,’ he breathed. ‘Of a man, I mean.’
She moved closer and ran a splayed hand up over his ribs. And he did spill his seed with a desperate gasp as though he could never get enough oxygen again. And he was embarrassed and terrified and angry, and it was as though the whole range of emotions exploded in his head in an instant. Then she leaned in and brushed her lips against his, and for a split second the world flashed before his eyes more vivid, more perfect, more complete than he had ever seen it before. He knew things, he saw things, he felt things, things beyond him. And he would have dropped again to his knees, but he couldn’t, not held in her gaze as he was.
‘I have barely touched you and you are overwhelmed, Kennet Birch. Do you really think you can survive my possession of you?’
He forced himself to hold her gaze, trembling suddenly as though he were in the grips of some powerful illness. All of him ached, and he knew the real world was bleeding through. There was very little time. ‘I won’t survive if you don’t possess me. My coming to you has guaranteed that.’ He wrapped his arms around himself as the shakes became more violent. ‘You said it yourself, I have nothing to lose.’
‘And why would I want a sick and broken male body?’ She asked. Her eyes blazed in the dance of firelight that always seemed so close to her.
‘If you possess me, you can heal me,’ he said. ‘And anyway, if you possess me and I die, well it really doesn’t matter at this point.’
For an eternal moment she studied him. She studied him until he looked away. His head was fuzzy, his body ached even in the dream world. He couldn’t hold much longer.
She lifted his chin once again so that he met her gaze, and the shakes stopped. The pain went away. He felt his head clear.
‘If I do what you ask of me, even though you live, your life is forfeit. You know this?’
‘I know,’ he breathed. ‘It doesn’t matter.
‘You say that now in your hour of need. But when that passes, when you are whole and stronger and healthier than you have ever dreamed possible, when your heart heals and you learn to love again, you won’t be so anxious to let go of what is rightfully mine when the time comes.’
He suddenly felt more pain than he knew existed in the whole world, and none of it was physical. He inhaled breath that felt like shards of stone. ‘I’ll never know love again. I’ll never know life again, so there’s really nothing you can take from me that isn’t already long gone.’
Her gaze softened, and somehow he found that infinitely comforting. Then she moved closer and kissed him, slowly, languidly, as though they had all the time in the world, and his cock was hard again. She stepped back from him. One shrug and the robe of fire fell away, and the glow of her body flashed bright, then dimmed and steadied until he could see details, erect nipples atop high breasts, rounded hips, a golden splash of curls at the juncture of her thighs. ‘I am not like him,’ she said softly. ‘It gives me no pleasure to make those who dwell in the flesh my puppets. You will be, how is it you put it these days, you will be in the driver’s seat.’ She took him into her arms and kissed him hard, and when he feared he would disgrace himself again with his cock pressed up tight against the top of her belly, she pulled away. ‘However,’ she said. ‘If I grant your request, then I will possess you. All of you. You will belong to me, your life will mine.’ She gaze was painfully bright. ‘And if you earnestly wish to be rid of Deacon, then you will do as I say for as long as it takes us to accomplish our task, and it will take time. I know him. You don’t. I’m his equal. You’re not. And one more very important thing, Kennet Birch.’ She stroked his hair gently and whispered against his lips. ‘Never, never forget how badly I can hurt you if you defy me.’ Then she guided his hand down over her pubic curls. ‘If my terms are not acceptable to you, then you must return to your body and face your fate.’
Boldly, brazenly, he slid a finger down low and circled her clit, and her eyes fluttered. ‘If it weren’t acceptable to me, I wouldn’t be here,’ he answered.
She took his hand and guided him back to a chair that appeared from out of nowhere. It looked like a golden throne with no arms. What? Was he to petition her? He didn’t understand. But it was no throne at all. She pushed him down on it and stood before him caressing her breasts until her nipples were stiff and swollen. Then she raised one perfect leg and set her elegant Botticelli foot on his thigh, affording him a view of her wet and fiery depths. ‘I do not enter through your breath, Kennet Birch,’ she said. ‘As sex is your magic, so is it mine. You will go in through me, inside out. And your hunger for me will pull me into you when your libido surges brightest.’
And he was so hungry for her. She filled his head and his body with an aching want that even if he were not a practitioner of sex magic, he would understand was not mundane. And in his case, the fear that he would die if he didn’t have her here and now was a very real one. That he might die even if he did, that her possession might be too much for him, well that was a risk he was more than willing to take.
‘Are you certain this is what you want, Kennet Birch?’ she asked him as she moved onto his lap, positioning herself, opening her sex with her fingers.
‘I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.’ Even as he said it, he realized how silly that sounded, since either way his life as he’d known it was over.
‘Very well then.’ She settled to the point of contact, to the point at which he could just feel the head of his penis against the resistance of her opening. He reached for her breasts, and with the hand not busy between her legs, she cradled his head and drew him near so he could nurse. The electrical shock through his body caused him to jump and jerk, and at that very instant she settled onto him, sheathing him tightly, deeply, and he knew he was dying. This was the point of no return. It was as though the tight wet pull of her swallowed him whole. Then she cupped his chin and held his face again so he couldn’t look away from her shining eyes. Her voice was like warm honey, thick and sweet, and he felt the sound of it in his very marrow, in his very soul. ‘You are mine, Kennet Birch. No longer are you your own. I possess you, body, soul and life force. Even in name you are now mine, Kennet Lucian. You are mine until I have no further use for you, until I have used you up.’ She gripped him hard and he exploded inside her and the world blew a part into tiny particles and disappeared like flecks of dust in the darkness.
‘Bloody Hell! Dr Allen! Doctor Allen! Get over here. Now!’
Kennet inhaled delicious, abundant air as though he’d just remembered how to breathe. Then he fought his way up from under an unruly sheet to sit up on the bed. A woman and a man in hospital scrubs stood either side of him, holding him, and there was chaos and someone was yelling. It took him a second to register that it was him yelling over and over again, ‘Where the hell am I? Where the hell am I?’ And then the bright lights, the gurney with a body shrouded in a sheet next to him all came into focus. ‘Jesus! What the fuck am I doing in the morgue?’
The woman in scrubs standing next to him looked pale and her hands were unsteady. ‘Mr. Birch,’ she said, doing her best to stay calm. ‘You were pronounced dead almost fifteen minutes ago.’