Hello my little reapers! A million apologies for posting the winners of the Halloween contest so late. I'm scrambling desperately to finish Angelfire book 3, which is no longer titled HYMN TO THE FALLEN. The new title is official and EVEN BETTER but my publisher would like me to keep it quiet for now. Soon it will be revealed, I promise!
For taking so long to complete this contest for you lovelies, I am adding a special prize in with the original packs. Not only will the winners get a signed copy of WINGS OF THE WICKED, a full set of character bookmarks, and an awesome little glowy walking skeleton thing, but a CD featuring the four songs on the WINGS OF THE WICKED soundtrack that I created myself. One of the songs is performed by Justin Reed, a very talented guitarist who allowed me to adopt a beautiful and sorrowful track as the song Will wrote for Ellie in WINGS OF THE WICKED. Please go listen to the rest of his gorgeous tracks: http://soundcloud.com/justin_reed
Before I announce the winners, I would be proud to reveal the complete WINGS OF THE WICKED soundtrack for you. I hope you like it!
"The Mortal Archangel" by Courtney Allison Moulton ft. Justin Reed
"The Hammer of Gabriel" by Courtney Allison Moulton
"You Look Like A Cupcake" by Courtney Allison Moulton
"Will's Song" by Justin Reed
And now for the winners of the Mini Story contest! You guys. YOU GUYS. These were amazing. It was nearly impossible to choose just three, but I managed it! Thank you to everyone who entered the contest and took the time to think up your own inventive reaper character. I had so much fun reading these!
This story was my favorite! Not only was it well-written and grabbed my attention, but I feel like this scene actually could have happened in one of the Angelfire books. Awesome work!
"Ah, Miss Bellard! How pleasant to see you after such a long time!" The receptionist stood up behind his counter when I entered the large, empty hall.
Three days? Such a long time? Yeah, right… I stopped myself from looking at him like at an imbecile. I bet he was practicing these lines since he had learnt I was coming.
I was looking straight ahead, pacing toward the elevator past the man whose name I didn’t even know. It started with an ’L’, I think. Larry. Maybe Leroy. Like it mattered...
I pulled the two long pins out of my hair that kept my tight bun in place. That damn bun which made me feel like my scalp had been torn off my skull. I dropped the pins with a nonchalant move and allowed myself a moment to enjoy the sensation of my hair falling down my back, cascading about my shoulders.
Then Mr. L appeared by my side, apparently trying to gain my attention. "You are ravishing as always." How sweet! And pathetic.I took off my blazer and thrust it aside, right in the waiting arms of the man. At least he was compliant. Good boy.
"You’re awaited, Miss Bellard, in the conference room." Like I didn’t know. What the hell would I be doing here otherwise? I rolled my eyes, but remained silent, eyes locked on the target. Just a few more steps. "Have a nice staying." Obviously it didn’t bother him that he could have been talking to a statue as well, he would have got the same result. Nothing.
I reached the elevator, this oversized jewel-box. Marble floor, shiny golden buttons and mirrors on each wall. I turned on my heels as I stepped inside, pushed a button, and finally looked at Mr. L. A mischievous smile formed on my lips as I reached back and started to pull down the zip of my dress. I spun when my hand was at the small of my back, and I let the dress slip off my shoulders. It fell on the floor just after the doors had closed with a ding.
For a moment though I saw L’s face, his eyes wide, mouth agape. It was the expression that I used to see on people’s faces when they were in terrible pain. Poor man, he didn’t even know what was going on here. If he’s lucky enough, I will kill him myself before he figures anything out. For his sake. And mine if I’m hungry. Only if he didn’t get a heart-attack now.
In the moving elevator I had too short time alone. I made some clothes appear I was more familiar with, like a bodice, tight pants and boots. Hopefully I wouldn’t need any weapons. If it came to that though, I’d rather not be unarmed, but that could be solved in a split moment.
The elevator had already stopped a while ago, but I was just gazing at my reflection in the mirror. Originally, I had wanted to brace myself against the next minutes, but my thoughts drifted away. I had to get hold of myself. And so I did. With a deep inhale I left for the conference room where he was waiting for me, sitting on the far side of a long table.
"Cadan!" I gave him my most brilliant smile, like I was so glad to see him. Well, I might be glad if… "Have you brought me what I asked?" I took a seat at the head of the table in front of him. That 25 feet distance between us was somehow reassuring.
"Do you have anything to offer in return?" He finally spoke, though for some seconds I seriously doubted he would say anything.
"This little task of yours turned out to be a bit more complicated than expected." I leaned back in the chair putting my feet on the table.
"Should I take this as a no, Astrid?"
I looked up and met his glowing gaze. "No. Of course not. I’m just concerned that the payment doesn’t equalize the risk and time I’m taking to accomplish this project. I’m afraid you can’t afford me. Now, do you have what I’ve asked?" Honestly, I was content with myself, I sounded determined enough.
A faint smile fell about his lips and my blood ran cold. "Dear Astrid, if my memory doesn’t forsake me, we have a deal. You bring me information about the Preliator and you get what you asked when the contract was made. No backing out." He laced his fingers together and cocked his head to the side watching me so intently, I suddenly felt the urge to flee. "So, do you have anything to tell me or you will blabber about being underrated until I get bored of you and find myself repainting this lovely room with your blood?"
Very well, it’s time to change strategy then. I stood up on the table and walked to Cadan looking as calm as ever. I sat down in front of him, hooked my feet under his chair and pulled him closer. As I lowered myself onto his lap, I wrapped my arms around his neck. I even managed a smile when I conjured up my dagger and skimmed its point over the back of his neck drawing idle patterns as I spoke. "Always so business-like, why don’t you rest sometime? Let me soothe these tensed muscles, you know you are in good hands." My voice was barely over a whisper and I leaned so close to him I felt his warm breath on my skin.
At first he didn’t move, he was just regarding me curiously, his eyes wondering like he couldn’t decide whether I was sane. I was asking the same question from myself. Then suddenly, with no previous sign, he grabbed me by my hips, pushed me off him and the next thing I knew was that I was lying on the ground, Cadan’s fierce grip on my neck pinning me to the floor. A sharp pain shot through my body with the impact and a dull throb began in me head. It was too long ago I’d last eaten, I figured. I knew the pupils of my eyes had turned into thin slits as they usually did when I was in any kind of danger. My free hand curled into fist by my side, the other held the dagger tighter, ready to use it, but other than that I made no move, not wanting to make my situation worse.
"Let’s stick to the subject, shall we? Do you have any information or not?" He asked me, his face like and avenging angel’s; cold, beautiful, yet deadly.
It was quite hard to talk while being choked. "I told you, it’s more difficult than we thought. They aren’t fools, I need more time." So much of my long price.
"Then maybe if you are more goaded you will work harder. You wanted better remuneration? We will see how much you appreciate your life." And with that he was gone.
I love everything about the way this character is presented! Not to mention, the bit of sexy at the end totally won me over!
I don’t care all that much for vir reaper’s anymore-they're all the same-but out of all I’ve met so far, the one poised in front of me holds my attention. He’s dressed in a white button-up shirt, torn and bloody from my advances with my angelfire, as well as soot-stained jeans and bare feet. He may have been beautiful once, looking at the right side of his face lit by the shadows of the licking flames, with buzzed blonde hair and angular cheeks. But when he turns to me and grins hungrily, half of his face is nothing but scarred meat. I grit my teeth to not show my astonishment, but he must have seen my reaction in my eyes because his grin widens.
“Gruesome huh?” The reaper flexes his fingers around his swords. “We’ve met before, Preliator.”
I tilt my head at his words. I should be used to reapers telling me that they know me, but it’s exhausting trying to remember them all. A small glimpse of a memory shoves itself into my head.
My grip tightens on my own swords. “Aiden,” I whisper.
The vir reaper sneers. “Very good, Preliator. I see your memory is returning. Too bad.” He takes a step towards me. “It’ll make it that much harder for you to die at my hands, knowing that it’s already happened.”
Aiden strikes at me then, but I’m ready. I block his advance, and spin to avoid his other sword. Where are you, Will? He was only a few minutes behind me, but taking a second to glance around the dark, fiery woodland, I see he’s nowhere near me. My momentary distraction gives Aiden just enough leverage to block my attacks and push me to the needled ground. I scramble backwards on my hands until I feel a stabbing pain and my back makes solid contact with a tree trunk.
In a blink, the reaper’s there, standing over me, swords raised.
“I must say, Preliator,” Aiden sneers. “It’s a pleasure killing you twice.” His voice grows tight.
“Let this be the last.”
His swords swing towards me—and mine thrust up, crisscrossed to meet his. I catch him off balance and push upward; he’s flung back, landing on a pile and embers. He hurls himself back up instantly, leathery wings erect and nearly blending into the black night above. He growls inhumanly. Then, he cocks his head to the side, like he’s listening for something. Aiden sheaths his swords reluctantly, but I’m too dumbstruck to take advantage.
His sadistic smile is gone when he speaks again. “This. Isn’t. Over.” And with that he takes off into the night.
When he’s out of sight, my arms grow weak and my swords drop to the ground, disappearing. Seconds later, Will appears in their place. His eyes widen as he takes in the blazing scene of the barn and woodland, and then me, with my torn clothes and wild hair.
“What the hell happened?” he asks.
“You wouldn’t know, would you?” I say, plopping gratefully on a fallen tree trunk. “This is what happens when you’re not punctual, Will.”
His jaw tightens. “Who did this?”
I push my ruined hair aside. “Does the name Aiden ring a bell?” His eyes harden. “I take that as a yes.”
Suddenly his hands are on my face, and he kneels before me. He hasn’t touched me like this in so long and my breath catches. “If he comes around again—and I have no doubt he will—you must wait for me to fight him.”
“How?” I ask breathlessly.
His eyes flit to my lips and his brow draws downward. “Any way you can.” And with that he drops my face and turns from me.
This scene really captured Ellie's and Will's characters to perfection. I freaked me out a little how familiar they felt here! My favorite thing about this scene is that the reaper appeared as a brand new species, showing some awesome creativity. Also? SCARY!!!! Totally in love!!
I took a deep breath as I sprang to the water’s surfice. My whole body shivered from the cold water, but I got over it, as long as I kept moving.
“Come on in the water’s great!” I half-lied.
Will’s green eyes looked back at me like I’d lost my mind. “Ellie, I really don’t think that now’s the time to be swimming when we should be looking Pegatha. This is her domain and she could be anywhere.”
“Will, listen, sometimes you need to take a break and just enjoy your surroundings.” I playfully splash water his way.
After a pregnant pause, Will finally gives his head a little shake as starts to undo the buttons on his shirt.
I continue to splash water his way, while I nonchalantly watch the striptease playing out in front of me. Will shakes off the last of his pants and gives me a smug and satisfied grin, clearly he caught me watching.
Standing there on the sandbank, he continues to smile, his green eyes full of life and mischief. He takes slow steps down the bank until the water has reached his hips. He stands there shivering as his flesh begins to fill with tiny goosebumps.
Unable to control myself, I dive down into the water and grab at his ankles. He body immediately begins to wiggle at my efforts. Haha I think triumphantly as I have just found a week spot on this man.
Using my currently occupied state of mind, to his advantage, Will grabs me around the waist and attempts to dump me deep into the water. But before he can get that far I wrapped my legs around his waist and squeeze tight.
“Listen buddy, if I’m going in, than I’m taking you with me.” I say with my sweetest smile.
“Is that right? Well we’ll just have to see about that won’t we?” Will responds with mischevious eyes.
I can’t help smiling back, I wrap my arms tighter around his neck, “Well I guess we w-“ I was cut off by a sudden clawing at my ankles.
“What happened?” Will asks worriedly.
I just shake my head as I attempt to see through the dark murky water, “I don’t kn-“
I’m cut-off again as the claw grabs on tight and pulls me deep into the water before I have time to catch my breath.
“Ellie!” I hear Will’s panicked shout.
I try not to panic as I’m pulled further. Getting my bearings, I lash a tight jab with my left foot and make contact with something boney and slimy. The kick disorients my attacker enough to give me the chance to rip free from it’s grasp and reach the surface.
I gasp and cough.
“Ellie watch out!” Will has grabbed his khopesh sword from his pants. His eyes are trained behind me.
I turn and gasp again at the sight emerging from the water before me. This reaper is unlike any other I’ve ever seen. It rises up to at least eight feet high, each of it’s sides has at least ten gills, that spring open with every breath it takes. The weirdest thing is, that it’s entire body seemed to be made completely of fluids, giving it the ability to go transparent.
I was left staring at the spot where I last saw the reaper when suddenly I felt a twisting constraint on my throat. My hands try to claw at the constraining vice, when suddenly the reaper appears, it’s soulless black eyes staring into mine. It smiles, showing off to rows of the most jaggedly sharp teeth.
Continuing to smile it responds, “Preliator, I believe you were expecting me.”
Everything around me grows quiet, I can no longer hear Will battling his way toward me, all I see is the grotesque face of the reaper before me. Just before I black out from lack of oxygen I say the one word I know this reaper will want to hear, Pegatha…
I will do my best to get in contact with the winners, get their addresses, and ship out their prizes!
The last thing I have to say today is stay tuned on my blog and twitter tomorrow because FEAR THE REAPER kicks off once again! I am holding ten giveaways to count down to the release of WINGS OF THE WICKED. The release date for Wings moved up to February 1st, so the last couple weeks of Fear the reaper will take place after Wings is already on shelved.
SO MUCH EXCITEMENT!!!!!!!