It is the time of Yule, and Dominus, god of the sabbat, should never have had to spend half the year nurturing the latest light bearer himself. Now, months of visiting Lorayna, present only as a whisper, has sparked a yearning inside of him that he cannot shake.
Lorayna has felt herself drawn to the pagan path by a presence she has been unable to resist. When she discovers her “holiday spirit” is in fact a mouthwateringly gorgeous god, she’s ready for whatever sabbat ritual he chooses. To her disappointment, his intentions are strictly hands-off.
Giving up her light is not as easy as surrendering to his will, however. Dominus is forced to break the rules and give into his urges before the Yule power consumes her from within. The ripples of their passion will alter many sabbat unions to come—and Dominus must defy his father, Herne, to follow his desires and prove to Lorayna that she was not merely another light bearer.
Excerpt (modified slightly to PG-13):
“There you are again,” Lorayna said in a faint whisper. “I feel you.”
Dominus blinked and stepped back, his heart racing most unnaturally for a god. She could not see him, of that he was certain. She felt him, though, and that was both possible and necessary for the light bearer, for she would be cognizant enough to give consent. Really, any human who was enough in tune with their surroundings could sense the energy of an immortal’s presence. For her to speak aloud of it, though, to speak to him—that was most unusual.
True, he had been around Lorayna quite a bit—more than was perhaps necessary. But what could he do? Her light burned so bright, and greater light needed greater nurturing. He’d come to her weekly, as was traditional, and then twice weekly. Then three times. Perhaps she would have managed well enough without him at her side almost daily by the end. Dominus, on the other hand, hadn’t fared as well when they were apart. She would linger in his thoughts, distracting him from the mundane tasks of the day.
His back was pressed to the bathroom wall now, and yet she kept staring over her shoulder. She set the brush down on her gleaming white counter and turned.
“What is that I feel?” she asked. “What are you?”
He glanced over at the bath, which was at risk of overfilling now, the steaming water rising higher along the sleek sides of the tub. Lorayna was sniffing the air, her delicate nose uplifted to try and catch his scent. He swallowed when she took a step closer.
“Maybe it’s just the holiday spirit,” she whispered.
Lorayna turned away, and he let out a breath. A holiday spirit indeed.
When she left the room, he didn’t follow, but just stood there watching the water continue to rise toward the edge. Had he disrupted her focus to the point where she would forget the bath until the water spilled out over the floor? Would he dare risk moving to intervene before it did? He moved closer, weighing the decision. She might become frightened, disturbing her inner light and the mood necessary to bring it forth, if she thought some “holiday spirit” had shut off her bathwater.
The light switch snapped off, and the room fell into darkness. Not complete darkness, however. Loryana stood in the doorway, bearing a single white candle. She set the candle on the counter and twisted her hair up into a bun on her head, revealing the slender grace of her long neck. Unable to help himself, he moved closer, inhaling her scent, basking in the light within her and the heat of her creamy skin. He wanted her to feel his touch, a most unsavory thought for the sabbat keeper to entertain in the middle of his ritual.
Still standing there in the glowing candlelight, bright enough for him to see her dark eyes focused on a spot very near his own, Lorayna frowned. “I can’t do this,” she said, wrapping the towel tighter around herself. “Something’s not right.”
Dominus gaped at her. Never before had a consenting female refused to give up her light. No human could contain the light of the universe within her indefinitely. A weight hit his stomach as he contemplated what it would mean for his beauty to deny herself that release. He had to prevent it.
“There’s something here,” she went on in a slow whisper. “What is it? Who is it?”
His pulse fluttered. That was one thing he should not do, not even to save her from herself. While some of his brothers appeared human enough to move freely in this realm, mating however they chose, he was not one of them.
“Please,” she whispered, and the request speared through him. “I need to know I’m not crazy. I need to know I’m not just imagining that this holiday season is different.”
Guilt clutched at his stomach at the angst in her voice.
“I never even celebrated the Solstice before,” she went on, “but here I am, talking to thin air while burning a Yule log and leaving out offerings of food and wine. It is you that I sense, isn’t it? The one I left that offering for. You’ve been watching over me.”
He resisted the urge to clear his throat, for while she might not be able to see him, she would hear any sound he made.
“But then it can’t be you,” she went on. “I was silly enough to go out there just now and check the mantle I grabbed the candle from. My offering is still sitting there untouched.” A tiny laugh escaped her. “What did I expect? There isn’t really a holiday spirit. Or maybe the offering wasn’t good enough?” She let out a breath and stared down at the bathwater, which was glistening in candlelight. “Or I’m not good enough.”
She reached for the towel, but before she could pull it free, he stepped forward. “Wait. Don’t.”
About the Sons of Herne series:
The god Herne has appointed eight of his most virile, headstrong sons as keepers of the pagan holidays. To honor their sabbat, each must join with a mortal female in a ritual to maintain the balance between worlds. The Fates have secretly conspired to grant the gods one thing they lack–a true union of male and female that will last beyond the passion of a sabbat joining. Herne’s sons will wrestle with the conflict between sacred duty and their own yearnings, a struggle that will not only challenge their beliefs, but may threaten the success of rituals that must be observed lest the mortal and immortal worlds collide in chaos.
*-previously released as an Amazon Exclusive with titleSeason of Light
About the Author:
J. Rose Allister has penned over twenty-five novels and numerous short stories from her home in Southern California, including ten publisher bestsellers. She is a TV and movie buff, enjoys the bittersweet discord between obsessing over chocolate while striving for the benefits of a fresh, organically-influenced diet, and is a firm believer that daydreaming, people watching, and yes, chocolate are the greatest fuel for the writing imagination. That and coffee. Or coffee with chocolate stirred into it. She has more books in her to-be-read pile than she can ever hope to find time to sit and enjoy, but this never stops her from adding more.
I’m spending my birthday month giving away gifts during my blog tour! I have some fun magnets, an ebook giveaway from my Sons of Herne series, and one grand prize of a $25 Bath&Body Works gift card! Chances to win every day of the tour, July 11-31. Get the full details and sign up here! Tiny.cc/ChillinTour.