Tag Archive | #TeaserTuesday

Teaser Tuesday – Three Wishes (A Southern Elemental Guardians Novella)

Three Wishes_ A Southern Elemental Guardians Novella - D.B. SiedersHey there, peeps!

 

 

Teaser Tuesday sneak peek at a novella in progress featuring the heroes from the Southern Elemental Guardians series!

 

 

SPOILER ALERT – If you haven’t read Lorelei’s Lyric or (especially) Crosscurrents – be warned!

 

Here’s the premise:

A Sylph, a Merman, and a Rock Star get into a car…

It was the Sylph’s idea—a guy’s trip to Las Vegas before Paul Pulaski and Vance Idol say goodbye to bachelorhood forever. Bruce has big plans to show his buddies a great time while having a little fun of his own in Sin City.

Mischief and mayhem ensue when the trio hit the tables, the strip, and get roped into a surprise performance at the Bellagio that gives Cirque Du Soleil a run for its money. But when Bruce gets them an audience with a bona fide Genie, will their wishes come true, or will demons past derail their happily ever afters permanently?

***

If you like what you read, grab a copy of Lorelei’s Lyric and Crosscurrents! Better yet, if you’re willing to leave honest reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, I’m giving away review eBooks for FREE until the end of the month. No strings. You agree to read, review honestly—no pressure from me for a specific star rating or review content—and you get free books. Fair, honest, and I get a boost in my review numbers for better visibility on Amazon and iBooks.

Teaser:

Get in the car.”

Vance Idol had seen some weirdness in his day. Oddly enough, the weirdest had been while he was sober.

But standing in his driveway with his soon-to-be brother-in-law, a guy who’d recently discovered he was a merman, and staring at Bruce the winged freak as he beckoned Vance and Paul to hop in a 1969 red Mustang?

This rock and roll life just got a whole lot weirder.

“Birdboy, do you even have a license?” Paul Pulaski, merman/future bro-in-law, appeared to be taking it all in stride. Maybe Paul hadn’t yet experienced one of Bruce’s “thrill rides.”

Bruce put a hand to his bare chest in mock indignation. Must’ve forgotten his shirt. Again. Either that or he just wanted to show off. Exhibitionism was his middle name. “You wound me, Flipper boy! I’ve been driving since cars were invented. Mustangs are my fave!”

Vance sighed. “Can I assume there’s enough space in there for our bags and my guitar? Looks a little crowded with the wings and ego.”

Bruce popped the trunk, hopped out, and started grabbing bags and tossing them in back. Vance held onto his guitar. Not that he didn’t trust the Sylph…mostly—after all, Bruce was an elemental guardian of air and wind. No matter how hard he threw the bags, enchanted air would soften the blow and protect their breakables. But his custom-made acoustic embodied his livelihood and his second greatest love: music. It had been gifted to him by his greatest love. Lorelei, Siren of the Rhine, had saved him from his demons and brought him back to sobriety and life. For reasons he still didn’t fathom, she loved him and had vowed to spend eternity with him.

Which meant he had eternal life so long as he honored her love and returned it.

Well, that wasn’t so tough, the love and fidelity part. Keeping his demons and bay, the ones that told him he didn’t deserve her? Yeah. Tall order.

“What are you waiting for, Idol? A gold-embossed invitation? No, wait, you’d want platinum, like your albums.” Bruce grinned like a freakin’ giddy schoolgirl. A six-foot-something schoolgirl sporting brown-feathered wings, yellow eyes, and those damned buckskin pants that blended in exactly nowhere.

“You’re going like that?” Vance asked, pointing at the pants. “If so, can I assume we’re hitting pride week out west or Comic Con? You’ll make the other cosplayers green with envy even if they don’t know what the hell you are.”

“Give it a few centuries, former mortals, and you’ll become as fashion savvy as yours truly.”

Yeah, Bruce could put the “fairy” in Fae. The guy always seemed comfortable in his own skin—shirtless and leather clad. And he’d lived long enough to try anything and anyone. Forget pansexual. The giant eagle dude was fucking omni.

Not that it mattered. They were all practically brothers. Besides, he’d never make a pass at Vance or Paul even if they weren’t. Between Lorelei and Ilsa, Paul’s fiancée and Lorelei’s sister, the Sylph wouldn’t live long enough to regret it. Plus Bruce was cool. Not that Vance would ever admit that out loud. The guy already had an ego the size of Montana.

Bruce chuckled. “Oh I’ll blend where we’re going. But don’t worry, I’ll be sure and make myself look like a respectable mortal man before we arrive. Now, put the guitar in the trunk, put your ass in the seat, and let’s get going.”

After Bruce jumped back in the driver’s seat, Paul turned to Vance and asked, “Do you have any idea where this crazy fucker’s taking us?”

Vance shrugged. “Not a clue. Just go with it. He’ll never shut up if we don’t.”

Paul’s eye twitched and his jaw clenched. So much for taking things in stride. Interesting. Yeah, maybe Pulaski hadn’t quite forgiven Bruce yet. Could still be harboring some jealousy over the fling Bruce had with Ilsa—before she met Paul. Some guys had trouble letting go of the past.

Vance should know.

And Pulaski had his own demons. Different flavor than Vance’s, but maybe as tough to wrestle.

Shit. If they survived this guy’s road trip, it would be a damned miracle.

But you know it’s going to be one helluva ride.

Pulaski called shotgun. Just as well. Vance slid his guitar case in the back and then planted himself on the smooth, black leather seat. Bruce had great taste in cars. He’d give the birdman that.

“Seatbelts, ladies,” Bruce said, fiddling with the console until AC/DC blared from the speakers. Apparently birdman had great tastes in music, too. This road trip might just turn out all right.

Paul groaned. “Why do we need seatbelts? We’re all immortal.”

“Because I said so. Because it’s my car. And because even immortals get big boo boos when they fall out of the sky.”

Fall out of the sky?

Bruce gunned the engine and the car took off. Literally. Vance yanked his seatbelt over his shoulder and buckled the damned thing just as the car went airborne.

“That’s right!” Bruce yelled over the music. “Buckle up, bros! Vegas, here we come!”

Teaser Tuesday – Crosscurrents!

SEG2_Comp_FinalRGB_125dpi_ThumbRelease day for Crosscurrents (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 2) is coming soon from Amazon and iBooks! Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store when Rhinemaiden Ilsa meets Paul Pulaski, her hot geek rescuer, ally, and soon-to-be hero.

 

They don’t hit it off right away, and their first (but not last) sparring session is highly entertaining. Enjoy! Also, click here for information about my launch day celebration giveaway. Plenty of mermaid-themed jewelry and other prizes up for grabs!

 

Lorelei’s Lyric (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 1) is also available from Amazon and iBooks!

 

Excerpt:

 

Returning her focus to the screen, Ilsa caught the blurry image of a boat coming toward the camera in spite of the desperate cries of warning she’d heard from its operator. She sat down in the desk chair and scooted close to get a better view. Horrified but unable to look away, she heard a sickening crack that must have come from her skull hitting the hull of the boat, followed by more shouts. At least two men were yelling. One denied culpability while the other seemed focused on…rescuing someone.

 

Her.

 

One of the two men rescued her?

 

Well, perhaps it had started as a rescue mission, but once the men spotted her fins it had no doubt turned into an entirely different scenario. After all, mortals were greedy, selfish beings who couldn’t be trusted. Oh the males had their uses, ones she’d particularly enjoyed during the course of her long life, but it didn’t change their nature. Ilsa’s human father had betrayed her mother because of her nixie nature, so what else could be expected of mortal men?

 

And yet, the jumbled audio feed suggested her rescuer’s outrage at the boat driver, especially as he fled the scene. The remaining man had apparently pulled her from the water and transported her here, wherever “here” might be. Confused and still a bit achy, she struggled to reconcile the evidence in front of her with history and experience.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

She yelped when the deep, familiar male voice came from behind her.

 

Ilsa jumped up from the computer chair, nearly knocking it over. She whirled around and held her arms out in front of her. Channeling her remaining power, she prepared to hit him with a blast of nixie energy that would make an electric eel jolt seem like a tickle. And if that didn’t work, she’d put him into a stupor with her Siren call.

 

Instead of attacking or running away, however, he simply stood and stared at her.

 

She’d been right in calling him a giant. The man stood at least six-three. With disheveled auburn hair and an even more outrageous goatee flanked by shorter stubble, he reminded Ilsa of the homeless vagabonds she’d encountered throughout her tour of the Americas. His worn T-shirt and ragged jeans solidified the look, though his sharp gaze and firm stance made Ilsa think twice about dismissing him as a fool.

 

The man slowly raised his hands, palms facing her. Though he regarded her with apparent caution, his actions didn’t seem threatening. Instead, he looked concerned.

 

“I don’t know if you can understand me, but I want you to know that I won’t hurt you. You were injured and I brought you here to help you…”

 

He stopped speaking when he looked down the length of her body. Her naked body. Well, what with one thing and another she hadn’t had time to conjure clothing to cover her—

 

Oh dear. Now there was another complication she didn’t need.

 

“My God,” he whispered, eyes wide with shock and apparent disbelief. “What happened to your fins?”

 

* * * * *

 

When the mermaid jumped up from Paul’s computer chair, whirled around, and held up her arms as if prepared to attack, he was first struck by her strength and apparent lack of fear. She seemed pretty nimble for someone sporting a major head injury. Or maybe she was simply running on adrenaline, given that she’d woken up in a strange place with a big guy crashed out beside her on the bathroom floor.

 

Nice going, Pulaski. Real smooth, scaring the poor thing.

 

As he tried to reassure her, wondering if she could speak at all or understand English, his gaze fell on her lower body. Her fins were gone. Instead, she sported a pair of legs. What the hell? Between struggling to find a rational explanation for the sudden change in anatomy, and the fact that a bare-assed naked female of perfect proportions now stood in his apartment, Paul figured both of his heads might explode.

 

“Perhaps you should sit down before you fall,” she suggested.

 

She spoke.

 

Not only that, she spoke flawless English with a beautiful accent he couldn’t quite place. Then again, the traffic jam tying up his neural pathways left little room for linguistic analysis. How was this possible? He’d examined her. Those fins hadn’t been fakes, they absolutely could not have been fakes, nor could those gill slits. And yet, the creature now stood before him on human legs that couldn’t be fakes either could they?

 

“Um, yeah, sitting might be good,” he said, shaking his head. “But you sit, too.”

 

She arched a slender brow, but then lowered herself back into the computer chair and waved her hand at his beater of a sofa in an elegant gesture of invitation. Her deep sigh made him curious about her lung capacity relative to gill function. It also made him itch to find out if that delicate skin around her pert nipples was as soft as it looked.

 

Not that he was looking.

 

Oh shit, he was really trying not to look.

 

“You have many questions, no doubt,” she began. “And I wish to know how I came to be here in your home. So let’s—”

 

“Here,” he said, trying not to groan as he grabbed the blanket draped over the back of his sofa and tossed it to her. “You must be cold.”

 

“Not particularly.”

 

“Just put it on. Please.”

 

He closed his eyes and tried to think of something, anything, other than those gorgeous breasts. Baseball stats, the Krebs cycle, his aunt Ethel…nope, the image of those high, firm peaks had been burned in his brain and his body seemed hell bent on responding. Man, of all times to throw wood, why now? She wasn’t even human.

 

Was she?

 

“What are you?” Paul blurted out, opening his eyes as much as he dared. Relief flooded his addled brain when he saw she’d wrapped herself up in the blanket. Her golden curls spilled over bare shoulders, and sharp blue eyes filled with intelligence and power gazed into his.

 

“Wait, let me rephrase that. Who are you?”

 

She appeared momentarily surprised, but recovered quickly. “I’m called Ilsa. And you are?”

 

“Paul, Paul Pulaski. Listen, are you feeling okay? You were hit pretty hard on the head. I can’t believe you’re up and about, especially—”

 

“I heal quickly. It is the nature of my kind, as is coming and going between the water and land,” she interrupted, gesturing to her lower body.

 

“But how? The bone structure of fin versus leg is so different, and it isn’t possible to shed scales and magically sprout skin.”

 

“Of course it’s possible,” she replied, flicking her wrist in dismissal and looking annoyed.

 

He crossed his arms over his chest, her tone hitting him like a slap in the ass. “I don’t believe it.”

 

“The evidence in front of you should be proof enough.”

 

“Doesn’t explain the mechanism.”

 

“Then I’ll have to show you sometime,” Ilsa said, rolling her eyes. “That was a joke, by the way. We may walk among mortals still, but we take great pains to remain concealed. By rights, you shouldn’t have seen me in the water at all. My injuries must have caused my concealment charm to fail. Strange, since it takes so little energy to fool you mortals.”

 

He probably should’ve said something, but if he opened his mouth, ugly was likely to fall out. Probably more than a few four letter words, too. His mama did raise him to have good manners where ladies were concerned, but her brusqueness and flippant attitude pissed him off.

 

As if sensing his irritation, she dialed down the attitude and said, “I’m guessing you’re a bit overwhelmed at the moment, so let’s move on. What happened to me? How did I get here?”

 

She was probably right. Assuming she could manage to sprout fins again right in front of him, he’d probably pussy out and faint right in front of her. In fact, he was more than a little light-headed already. Best to file that holy shit discussion under to-be-continued-later.

 

“Like I said, you were hit by a boat, so I pulled you out of the water. Got the surprise of my life when I saw the fins, but you were unconscious and we couldn’t just leave you there at the river. Kinda figured the hospital was out of the question, too, so I brought you back home.”

 

Ilsa gave him another eye roll, which coupled with the blond and buxom really chapped his ass. This new source of irritation bothered him more than the sore arms and aching back he suffered thanks to hauling her around, not to mention his assortment of scrapes and bruises. Yeah, she was little too much like those high school cheerleaders who used to give him the cold shoulder for being a working class geek.

 

“Hey, I could have left you there for the snapping turtles, or maybe Lance Ross, assuming he had the balls to come back after hitting you.”

 

“And what were you planning to do with me?” she asked, squaring her shoulders and giving him a look of pure defiance.

 

Fair question, but still—would it kill her to show a little gratitude? Given her commanding aura and haughty attitude, he had the feeling that “thank you” was not a phrase often uttered by Ilsa.

 

Damned supernatural ingrate.

 

“I was planning to get your back on your feet, um, fins, or…hell, I was going to try and get you well.”

 

“And after that?” she challenged.

 

“Take you back to where you came from. In fact,” Paul said as he stood up and ran a hand over his face and goatee, towering over her at his full height and challenging her right back with his stance and glare, “I’d be happy to drive you right back to the river now if you’re ready to go.”

 

 

Excerpt From: D.B. Sieders. “Crosscurrents: Southern Elemental Guardians 2.” iBooks.

 

New Teaser Tuesday!

December, December, December! Happy Holidays and Almost 2016! Here’s a Teaser Tuesday to tug at your heartstrings. Vance Idol (a.k.a. Jersey Boy Vincent Violetti) and Lorelei make some deep emotional confessions in the calm before the storm.

 

Want to know what happens next? Grab a copy of Lorelei’s Lyric today!

 

***Excerpt***

 

“You okay, sugar?”
“Sure. I’m great. Why do you ask?”
“You should cut the bullshit, Lorelei. It’s not your style. Tell me what’s on your mind.” He hated to kill the mood, since they were having a really nice, really normal, low-key evening out. He’d asked her if she wanted to walk down to the bar at the local marina for some food and music. Sometime during their third tango between the sheets last night, he’d gotten the itch to see those long legs move across a dance floor with him.

 

The marina bar and restaurant was bigger than some of the hole-in-the-wall joints he’d played in the past, but not by much. It looked as though someone had stacked a few ramshackle kid clubhouses side by side over some wooden dock planks and called it an eatery. For what it lacked in size and amenities, it more than compensated for with some out- of-this-world steaks and a killer view of the lake at sunset. Most of the boat owners had docked their expensive toys and abandoned the marina for other watering holes, so he and Lorelei pretty much had the run of the place.

 

They’d enjoyed dinner and drinks, though naturally he’d opted for soda instead of alcohol and earned a smile full of pride and affection from his lady. Still, between her fidgeting and lowered gaze, he knew something was up. Whatever it was, it made his heart race and the hairs on the back of neck stand on end.

 

Maybe now that she’d had time to think about what he’d told her the day before, about Maggie, maybe she was having second thoughts. Not that he blamed her. His baggage wasn’t pretty, and even he knew it would be a hell of a lot for anyone to take on. But she had seemed so sincere in her acceptance and desire. He hoped she’d be willing to give him a chance. Though he tried to stay calm and wait for her to open up, he couldn’t help but worry that she was preparing herself to tell him goodbye.

 

It would kill him if she did.

 

She looked up at him, her blue eyes blazing, and said, “We need to talk.”

 

Ah, hell. Here it comes.

 

Vance Idol had never begged for anything in his life, not even when he’d just been Vincent Violetti. Now he was prepared to say absolutely anything to keep Lorelei from walking out on him.

 

“Look, I know what you’re going to say, but before you do, let me tell you this. I know I’ve got a ways to go, but I’m committed to seeing this thing through. I can be a better man. I want to be a better man, Lorelei. For you.”

 

He hated the desperation in his voice, but he couldn’t help it. He was a man in love. He hated the glassiness in her eyes and the way her shoulders slumped even more. He didn’t want to guilt her into staying, but he couldn’t stand to let her go, either. Not without a fight.

 

“I, look, I know we haven’t known each other that long, and maybe you’re worried about that whole counselor- patient line we crossed, but if you could just trust me enough to give this thing we’ve got between us a chance, to give me a chance—”

 

“Vincent, I’m not really a counselor,” she blurted out.

 

“Lorelei, please—”

 

“Wait a minute,” she said, looking like a light bulb suddenly went off in her head. “You think I’m…you think I’m leaving you? You think I don’t want you?”

 

He cleared his throat and said, “Well, the thought had crossed my mind.”

 

“Oh, Vincent! It’s not that at all. I just….”

 

He breathed a huge sigh of relief, but decided to press on. Her confession gave him pause, though it wasn’t all that surprising in retrospect. Still, whatever she was, therapist or healer or even some New Age guru, she’d managed to reach into the very core of his heart and soul to find something of the man he used to be—the man he wanted to be again, because of her. And he wanted her to tell him all of her troubles and let him share the load, to show that he could give as well as take.

 

“Just what, Lorelei?”

 

“I have to tell you some things that you might not like. Some things about me.”

 

He didn’t know what shocked him more, the notion that he could not like anything about her, or the quiver in her voice. He wondered if he should let her know that he and Jack had talked a little about her family, assuming that’s what was bothering her. A man-hating mother he could handle. Hell, he could just turn on the rock star charm.

 

Of course, Mama might not find the details of his past problems all that charming, especially considering how he was still struggling with them, but he’d own up to it and work to earn her family’s trust.

 

He reached across the table and took her hand, rubbing his thumb over her knuckles. “Nothing you say will change how I feel about you.”

 

“How can you be so sure? You don’t even know what it is yet.”

 

He frowned, but didn’t let go of her hand. “Well, why don’t you just tell me now and we’ll start dealing with it.”

 

She looked back at him and her expression stabbed him through the heart. Sorrow, longing, and something akin to pleading painted her lovely features. He wanted to pull her into his arms, kiss and hold her and erase the uncertainty he read in her gaze.

 

“I’m done running, Lorelei, and I won’t run from you, no matter what you tell me. You’ve seen the worst of me, and you’re still here. You’ve brought out the best in me, too. I’m asking you to trust me enough to do the same for you.”

 

She drew in a gasping breath and exhaled with a shudder. Nodding, she said, “I’ll tell you everything tonight when we get back the lake house, I promise. But right now, I want to spend time just being with you. Please.”

 

“I have an idea,” Vance said. “Hold that thought.”

 

Strolling over to the classic jukebox in the corner, he fiddled with the machine until it allowed him to select a song. He made it back to the table by the time the first haunting notes of “Sleep Walk” floated out around them. The steel guitar chords thundered almost as loud as his heart.

 

He held out a hand to Lorelei and asked, “May I have this dance?”

 

Her blue eyes widened and she smiled. When she gave him her hand, some of the tension bled out of him and he was glad for it. He led her to the small dance floor next to the open windows that faced the water. Someone had turned on the string of white Christmas lights adorning the rail of the dock.

 

They were almost as bright as the light in her eyes.

 

He pulled her close as they slowly swayed to the bittersweet tune. Feeling her warmth, the slow cadence of her heart beating in time with his, surrounded by the cool air and lapping waves in the background, he experienced something he hadn’t in a long, long time.

 

He was at peace.

 

Pressing soft kisses along her temple, over her forehead, in her hair, he took a leap of faith and whispered, “I love you.”

 

A minute stretched out into eternity as his heart started racing. God, he didn’t want to push her, didn’t want to force a confession of love out of her by pressuring her, or worse. He couldn’t abide her pity. He came close to pulling away.

 

No, I promised I wouldn’t run. I’m not that man anymore.

 

Instead, he forced his breathing to slow and bid his body relax. When she leaned into him and rested her head on his shoulder, he sighed and let a wave of relief wash over him. At least he hadn’t scared her off. She moved her hands to his shoulders as she pulled back, her head lowered, not meeting his eyes.

 

Jesus, here it comes.

 

She looked up into his eyes. Hers were full of tears. Slowly, she slid her hands up to cup his face and said, “I love you, too, Vincent Violetti.”

 

*****

 

As she leaned in to kiss him, Lorelei wondered if this was how the sky people felt when they spoke of soaring.

 

No, it couldn’t be. Nothing compares to this.

 

This man loved her, and she loved him back. That was a miracle. He’d heard her song and survived. That was a miracle. No other obstacles they faced would prove insurmountable.

 

When she pulled away from the kiss, she smiled at him and then steeled herself to face their next obstacle. “I’m ready to talk now, to tell you those things about me that you might not like.”

 

“I’m listening.”

 

She glanced around the restaurant to make sure they had enough privacy for the conversation they needed to have, and for Vincent’s likely reaction. Just as she turned back to face him, she sensed a change in the atmosphere around them, an energy surge that could only come from an elemental. Worse, it was an emotionally charged elemental, too, if the drop in air pressure, temperature, and choppy waves breaking in the roiling lake around them were any indication.

 

Oh no!

 

She pulled away from Vincent and rushed to the window so she could look out over the expanse of water. Seized by panic, her first thought was getting her mortal out of there. They had no car, so she’d have to convince him to take off on foot.

 

Spinning around, she took three quick steps and grabbed Vincent’s hand, pulling him with her toward the door.

 

“Lorelei, what the—”
“We have to go. Right now!”

 

“But I haven’t paid—”

 

She conjured some money and plopped it on the hostess stand on the way out. She registered his hesitation. He stiffened when she conjured the money, though she continued to pull him. She imagined his eyebrows were probably stuck somewhere in the vicinity of his hairline, but explanations would have to wait.

 

After they’d made it out of the restaurant and stood dockside, Vincent tugged hard on her hand and brought them to a stop.

 

“We have to go,” she urged. The hairs on her arm were standing straight up. Something major was about to happen.

 

He crossed his arms in front of his chest, nostrils flaring. “Not until you tell me what’s going on. You’re freaking my shit out right now, you know that right?”

 

“I’m sorry, I—”

 

“Gal, we’re in trouble,” said a familiar disembodied voice.

 

Lorelei spun around as Jack appeared. Vincent was about to get even more freaked out. Then again, she was having a hard time holding it together herself.

 

Vincent paled and his eyes widened when Ondine materialized beside Jack in a shimmering series of waves that coalesced into her human form. Well, almost human—her eyes flashed silver and her skin rippled with scales that hovered just beneath the surface. She was either agitated or influenced by the water energy surging around them. Lorelei’s own flesh itched to morph into her true form.

 

“Where the hell did you two come from?” Vincent asked, taking a step back and nearly tumbling over the side of the dock.

 

“Son, I ain’t got time to explain,” Jack said in a lazy drawl that belied the urgency of his request, “but y’all need to either high-tail it outta here or get ready to face the wrath of Lorelei’s Ma.”

 

Mother? Here?

 

“I didn’t tell her, my darling,” Ondine said. Her face was tight and she seemed almost… apologetic.

 

“Where do we go?” Lorelei asked.

 

Jack looked back and forth between her and Vincent. “It’d be faster if y’all hit the water. We can stall her for a little while.” He shrugged. “Maybe even talk her down.”

 

Fresh panic coursed through Lorelei. “But I haven’t told him yet. How’s this going to work?” she asked, nodding toward Vincent.

 

Jack took Vincent by the shoulders and gave him a serious stare down. “Vincent, you’re just gonna have to trust our gal here to see you safely home.”

 

Vincent’s eyes went wide with panic. “Can you just please tell me what’s going on? What are we running from?”

 

“You ain’t running, son. You’re swimming.”

 

Lorelei took Jack’s cue, grabbed hold of Vincent and said, “I love you. And I’m sorry.”

 

“Sorry for—”
She leapt and pulled him with her. Once airborne, she willed her fins to replace legs and summoned a protective bubble of air around Vincent’s body.

 

Then together they plunged into the depths of the lake’s dark water.

Teaser Tuesday – Angsty Rocker with a Dark Past

Happy December!

Today’s Teaser Tuesday is all about Vance Idol, an up-and-coming rock star battling demons on the eve of his band’s big break. When we first meet him in Lorelei’s Lyric, we find a troubled man in a very, very bad place. No wonder his heartache calls to the healer and nurturer in Lorelei.

This one’s for all of the angst junkies out there!

If you like what you’ve read, grab a copy of Lorelei’s Lyric to read more! You can also sign up for my Author Newsletter to get bonus content, as well as updates on new releases and fun giveaways!

Excerpt

 

 

 

“Hey Vance, we’re on in ten, okay?”

 

Vance Idol nearly jumped out of his skin. The sound of his bassist’s knocking ricocheted through his pounding skull. Mark Rogen’s voice, on the other hand, sounded muffled and distant though he stood right outside the bathroom door. Vance cradled his aching head in his hands, brow slicked with sweat underneath trembling fingertips, and let out a low groan.

 

“You okay in there, bro?”

 

“I’m fine,” Vance managed to croak. He hoped he sounded more convincing than he felt.

 

“Look, I know it’s been tough…but we can’t blow this gig. Mags would’ve wanted us to go on.”

 

“I know,” Vance snapped. “Just give me a sec to get it together, okay?”

 

“Okay, but if you aren’t out in five I’m grabbing Josh.”

 

Heavy footfalls echoed down the corridor, and Vance’s nanosecond of relief faded with them. He needed to get a grip. He couldn’t afford to screw this up. The band had been working their asses off in every dive bar, shit hole, and roadhouse from New York to Cali and back again for the past five years. Nashville was one of their last stops on the long and winding road to discovery and a shot at the big time.

 

After all those years of paying dues, they’d wrangled a tour/production manager, a couple of regular crew, and plum gig at Marathon Music Works. Along with a loyal fanbase, Internet buzz, and a lot of self-promotion, The Rivermen, with Vance Idol billed as the frontman, managed to attract a sizeable crowd. The frontman bit happened on account of the small sliver of “fame” Vance garnered on a television talent show. He didn’t make it to the finals but got far enough to be remembered. Yeah, that fame was about fourteen minutes, thirty seconds and counting, but it apparently still helped. Their lead guitarist, Joshua Rollins, had even spotted a couple of producers in the audience just before Vance excused himself.

 

I need a drink.

 

Okay, technically, he couldn’t chalk his misery up to withdrawal anymore. That nightmare passed shortly after he’d quit drinking cold turkey. No, the oh-so-clinical term for this special brand of hell, according to the docs and counselors, was post-acute withdrawal syndrome. PAWS, they called it. Yeah, real cute and clever. Only there was nothing cute or funny about chronic insomnia, soul-sucking depression, or cravings that never went away. Then there was the joy of panic attacks and mood swings, though the latter fit with the surly rocker image. Good thing he’d picked a profession that allowed him to channel his inner black-hearted bastard.

 

He’d been warned, to be sure. His stint in rehab had been short, if if not sweet, and the staff thought he’d left too soon. But hell, the band needed him and he didn’t want to let them down by bailing for a few months, not when he was convinced he could deal with his problems all on his own. Now, faced with performance pressure and the ghosts of his past, he was on the verge of blowing it.

 

He stood and paced around the small room. Sweat seeped from every pore as anxiety pierced his gut like a thousand knives. His innards protested at the sudden change in equilibrium, forcing his left hand to grip the cool porcelain in front of him as his right strummed along the surface of the sink.

 

Perched on that sink was the key to oblivion, the bottle filled with amber liquid that would ease his pain and steal his soul. Again.

 

“Aw, hell!”

 

Everything had been fine. Scratch that, it had been shit, but the manageable kind of shit that still allowed him to drag his sorry ass out of bed, sleepwalk through his day, and pull himself together long enough for a gig. But then he’d walked into the dressing room and found a fifth of Jack sitting front and center on a small table, gift-wrapped with a damned purple ribbon. Someone must have sneaked it in while the crew was busy. Those guys knew alcohol was a no go on account of their lead’s little problem. But hell, he should’ve been prepared for the possibility. For staff, groupies, sleazy execs—anyone on the scene who wanted to get in good with the band and grease some wheels with social lubrication—booze was the go-to. Just like the pills some skank out on the floor shoved into his palm, some kind of free sample as she breezed by, chilling him to the bone in her wake. He hadn’t been on the wagon that long, and dealers knew how to sniff out desperation.

 

Not that he was into pills.

 

Yet.

 

Jesus, this was bad. Really bad. He should’ve turned around and bolted out the door as soon as he spotted the bottle. But no, he’d stuck around long enough to let his old mistress start whispering her pretty lies, tempting him to sneak off to the bathroom and take a swig. He was such an idiot for jeopardizing his recovery and his band’s last shot at the big time, but a combination of nerves and  grief had him clinging to his old crutch. He could have poured it down the sink, but then that sweet scent hit him, almost eased him. At first, he thought knowing it was there would be enough, buying into the delusion that he could always get rid of it as soon as they wrapped up their show.

 

Instead, he now stood at the precipice of disaster, overlooking a downward spiral from which he might never emerge.

 

He slammed his fist against the sink as anguish, frustration, and shame forced the strangled cry from his throat. The pain of the blow might have made him throw up, but he hadn’t eaten more than a bag of chips the entire day. He couldn’t risk it. Three bottles of Pepto and a Dramamine over the past twenty-four hours served as insurance against the messier symptoms he could ill afford on stage.

 

Just one more time, and I swear I’m done with this. I gotta get through tonight and then I’m done.

 

Hating himself, Vance picked up the bottle and pressed it to his lips. He’d had the lid unscrewed by the time Mark started banging on door. His eyes were already bloodshot, and he could chase the hooch with a couple of uppers and still make it to the stage. He’d have to scarf down some breath mints if he didn’t want Josh to find out he was drinking again.

 

No, damn it, this is the last time!

 

Staring in the mirror, he wished he could punch the guy glaring back at him. He still had his looks, but weight loss and insomnia had taken their toll. His already prominent cheekbones jutted out from a gaunt face he barely recognized, and the hard set of his jaw told of a life lived too hard and too fast. Though bloodshot, his green eyes blazed with all the rage and pain he carried inside. He looked dangerous.

 

Yeah, you’re real fucking glamorous, asshole.

 

He took a swig, letting the sweet taste and slow burn assault his senses as the liquid filled his mouth, but stopped short of swallowing. He closed his eyes, and waited, savoring the sensation before shame could drown it. The sweet oblivion he craved wouldn’t come, not without a lot more. But maybe he could get through the next few hours. The ache in his back and legs would ease, and his hands might stop trembling. All he had to do was let it roll down his throat.

 

A vision of Maggie flashed in his mind, smiling, healthy, and whole—so very different from the strung-out junkie he’d last seen at the morgue after losing her to her demons and a poison not unlike the one he was about to swallow. Different from the ruined man he saw every time he looked in the mirror.

 

He couldn’t do it. He wouldn’t do it.”

***

Will he or won’t he? To find out, grab your copy of Lorelei’s Lyric (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 1) today!

Teaser Tuesday!

I’m sharing a new excerpt of Lorelei’s Lyric! This one features Lorelei’s first encounter with Vance Idol during his performance in Nashville. She’s captivated with his voice, his stage presence, and the soul-deep yearning she feels in his music. She also envies his ability to share the gift of song – something her Siren calls prevents her from doing.

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Teaser Tuesday Excerpt:

 

Her thoughts stopped cold as soon as a tall man dressed in black strode across the stage.

 
Ignoring his bandmate, the man, presumably Vance, slung his guitar strap over a broad shoulder, nodded to the drummer, and then played a series of powerful chords that kick started the band into what promised to be a fast-paced rock-and-roll ride straight to ecstasy. Lorelei grabbed Ilsa’s hand and squeezed it in gratitude. They’d sampled jazz, blues, and a fair bit of rockabilly country on their travels, but the music filling her ears and quickening her pulse—this was pure rock.

 
Then the man in black started to sing.

 
His powerful voice reached out through the microphone and wrapped her body in a commanding grip she felt all the way to her toes. His rugged, masculine features alive with passion, he sang with a tightly leashed fury that held the audience in a state of awe. And the way he played? His guitar strokes seemed to trail over her skin.

 
“Wow!” Ilsa shouted over the music.

 
Lorelei, still captivated by the man and his music, could only manage a small nod in response.

 
“Hello? Lorelei? Better close your mouth before you start drooling.”

 
“He’s amazing! He could be part Nix!”

 
“Well he sure seems to have cast a siren spell on you! You can thank me later when you’re done gawking.”

 
That may take a while, ‘cause I think I could stare at him all night.

 
The band transitioned seamlessly from fast and furious to a slower, more sensual ballad that showcased the lead singer’s sexy voice and sexier stage presence.

 
There’s this place I go
When I’m feeling low
And the world’s closing in around me
The place where we first met,
Oh, just one sweet sunset
And I can breathe so free and easy

 

When she managed to tear her gaze away from him and glance around the room, she realized she wasn’t the only one affected. Almost every woman looked on with admiration, hunger, or outright lust. The men in the audience didn’t seem to mind, since the music also made their ladies sway, shimmy, and gyrate to the seductive beat while they got to enjoy the view. Plus, they were all enraptured by the music.

 
It was pure magic.

 
She turned her focus back to Vance. He’d slowed his movements to match the pace of the music, which allowed her to get a really good look at him. Like the lead guitarist, his arms were well-muscled. His strong left hand held the guitar’s neck in a powerful grip while the long fingers of his right stroked and caressed the strings. The tight black shirt he wore, now damp with sweat, accentuated a muscular chest and torso that tapered down to a trim waist. In truth, he looked a bit too thin, but that only added to the hungry and impassioned look that made his performance all the more compelling. A mop of jet-black hair framed his handsome face. Looks, charisma, and that amazing voice—the man had it all. And his words resonated with the deep longing within her.

 
The road’s been long and lonely
I yearn to rest my weary head
The only peace I’ll find,
Outside a box of pine
Is where we once shared a bed

 

The bittersweet twinge of envy she always felt in the presence of human musicians tugged at her just then. Mortal man Vance, you don’t know how lucky you are. Your songs are a gift of pure pleasure and joy. Like all her Nixie kin, Lorelei possessed a stunning voice. She loved singing more than anything else in the world. She knew and could sing thousands upon thousands of songs in at least two-dozen languages.

 
And if she sang any of them long enough, someone would die.

 

“Wanna stay for the rest of the show? I’ll just bet we could wrangle an invitation backstage if we work our way up front and center.”

 
“Huh?”

 
Ilsa laughed. “I asked if you want to hang around and see about hooking up with Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Musical.”

 
Probably not a good idea. This guy could definitely get me in trouble.

 

“Nah, that’s okay. How about we hit the Wildhorse next and see if we can snag a couple of cute dance partners?”

 
“You sure? He’s checking you out.”

 
She looked back toward the stage and locked her gaze with Vance’s. For all the joy and passion he poured into his performance, the look in his eyes was…haunted. That soul-deep longing she’d heard in his first song shone through his blazing green eyes, calling to her and begging her to make it right.

 
Oh, this is home to me,
And you’re the only thing I see
You may be long gone
But I still feel you there
Ever young and strong
And I’ll find a way to go on and on
In the love we used to share

 

This is home.

 

While she still had the will to walk away, Lorelei tore her eyes away from him and turned back to Ilsa. “I’m sure. It’s definitely time to go.”

Excerpt From: D.B. Sieders. “Lorelei’s Lyric.”