Saturday, May 4, 2013

What Scares You; a Haunted Castle, dark spirits, or elemental creatures?

I just love a good ghost story, don't you? I love stories set in an old castle, with creepy goings on, with a brave hero, a little romance, and a lot of paranormal activity.

My newest release has all those elements. Here is a taste for those brave enough to encounter the paranormal, at least in their reading choices. Bright Scoundrel is a Historical Romance, a Gothic Romance, a romance with strong paranormal elements. And better yet, the romantic hero is a sorceror! Anyone for trip to old Ireland this weekend?

Excerpt from Bright Scoundrel by Lily Silver, Book Two in the Reluctant Heroes Series:  Kieran O’Flaherty has just arrived at his ancestral home in Ireland after living in exile for over twenty years. He is troubled by the unseen residents that have accumulated there during its long vacancy.

       Kieran walked slowly down the long hall toward his old room at the end, the room where the ghostly boys had emerged just moments ago. The echo of solitary footsteps followed, reminding him of his lonely state. The castle wasn’t barren. There were spirits here and elementals. Some good and many that were not. It was a lonely place, devoid of human inhabitants, and yet it was full to the brim with unwanted guests that needed to be sent packing.
       He spent over an hour perusing the opened rooms on the second floor, taking slow inventory of the place and getting a feeling for what needed to be accomplished to revive the old fortress. When at last Kieran reached the tower room, the master bedchamber, a sick feeling of revulsion came over him. He entered the room, and just as quickly backed out, holding his nose. The smell of sulfur was overpowering. He thought he might retch. As he backed away his eyes stung and watered.
      “Lord Grey?” A young maid called from down the hall, near the stairs. “Are you ill, sir?”
      “No.” Kieran answered with difficulty, as he tried to not breathe through his nose. “No, I’m just a little tired.”
     “Where would you like your trunks set up? In the turret room, sir?”
     “No.” He said quickly, a moment of panic seizing him, and he was not one to panic. “No, I want this room closed up. Tell Aine to lock it and to give me the key.”
      The maid, a young woman of not more than eighteen years, gave him a curious look. She started down the hall toward him at a quick pace, a frown marring her brow. “Why, who is that with you, Lord Grey? Did you bring a child with you from England, sir?”
      “No . . .” Kieran said sternly. He held up his hand, signaling for the woman to not advance further. “Go downstairs, now. Find Aine. Tell her to bring me the key to this room. Go--now!”  He pushed her back with all of his willpower. He held out his hand and pushed mentally against her determination to come near, lest she, too, be put in danger.
      The girl paused for a moment, as if sensing she’d reached an invisible barrier and could go no further. She tilted her head, still looking at him with concern. Her face suddenly changed from wonder to outright panic. She turned and ran down the long corridor to the stairs in the center of the castle. She hurried down them without giving him or the creature beside him a second glance.
      The panic was real. He felt it, too, when he first encountered the elemental. Panic was the human’s primal reaction to something so inherently evil.
      “What do you want here?” He demanded now well past any panic as anger consumed him. This was his home. The being had no right to be here, but someone summoned it, or invited it in. And once an ancient fetch was allowed inside a place, it was not easy to get them to leave.
Image credit: lario76 / 123RF Stock Photo
The thing had no eyes. There were dark holes where the eyes should be. The face of the creature was like rotting flesh, hence the awful stench. It was about three feet tall and covered with rangy, oily, putrid smelling hair. It merely stood there, looking up at him, silently brooding.
It may have been surprised that he could see it. Most people only noticed a dark shadow when they encountered a fetch, along with the horrid smell and the strong sense of panic the being evoked.
      “I said who brought you here? Answer me? What is your purpose? I’ll have none of your games. This is my house now, you must leave.”
       The creature attacked. Kieran was not surprised, yet he wasn’t prepared for it either. Before he knew what was happening, he was on the floor, on his back, as a searing pain slammed him in the chest. It had jumped up and pushed him backwards. He heard the shuffling noise it made as it hurried back into its cavern, the master chamber, and the door slammed hard.
      He lay gasping, holding his shoulder when the maid returned with Aine at her heels.
     “My lord . . . what happened, sir?”
     “I tripped.” Kieran groaned as he sat up holding his left shoulder. It ached and burned, just as if he’d been shot again in the same place as he had years ago. “I tripped and fell, that’s all.”
     “O’Neill, here, says you were acting peculiar, like ye was ill, sir. She said you asked for me.”
     “I’m fine.” Kieran rubbed his collarbone. He could swear there was a bullet lodged there. It felt just as real as when Captain Fletcher shot him. He looked at the young woman who Aine had called O’Neill.      “Surely, lass, you have a name besides O’Neill? A pretty girl should not go on being called by such a name?”
     “Mary Grace, sir.” The young woman blushed. She looked down at her apron, as if embarrassed to have caught the attention of the master. “O’Neill is my family name.”
     “A very pretty name, for a very pretty girl.” Kieran forced a smile as he focused his attention on charming her. “I’m more relaxed than my English peers, Mary Grace. I don’t hold with strict formality, nor do I refer to my household servants by their surnames. Call it a flaw of mine. I prefer your first name, if it does not offend you.”
     “Oh, no sir, not at all.” The pink cheeks bloomed into a deeper rose hue, yet still, the girl did not look at him.
     “Now then, Mary-Grace, I thank you for bringing Aine to me. Would you please leave us and attend to your duties. I must speak with our stalwart housekeeper alone.”
     The girl rose and hurried down the stone corridor again.
    “Ach, and weren’t you born with the gift of glamoury, my lord.” Aine said, giving him a canny look.
    “A little flirtation goes a long way to make a lass smile and forget ugliness.”
     Aine helped Kieran to his feet. He was still stinging from the crushing blow the thing had given him.
    “And what was so ugly here that you fear O’Neill must forget seeing, Lord Grey?”
    Kieran straightened. He was loath to confess the truth to her and yet, if she was half the woman he sensed she was when he hired her she would not run away shrieking. “Remember what I said when I hired you? I specified that someone with uncommon courage was needed at Roisin Dubh Castle to help me reclaim my ancestral home.”
     “Aye, sir. You implied t’was from ghosts and spirits when you said it. I remember it clearly. And I told you, I’m not one to be chased off by shadows and slamming doors. I hold to that, sir.”  Aine’s honest face and those somber, deep set brown eyes looked up at him without flinching.
Kieran wasn’t one to touch people if he could help it. Touching people made him see things he didn’t like. This time he couldn’t refrain from grasping Aine’s arm. “We have more than ghosts here, Aine. Mark me, there are ghosts infesting the castle, but there’s also something much more dangerous.”
 Excerpt of Bright Scoundrel, Copyright Lily Silver, 2013

To find out more about how Kieran will vanquish this evil being, download a copy of Bright Scoundrel to your e-reader. It is available on all platforms and is a 100k plus historical romance novel, that's 400 pages of romance, adventure, ghosts, spirits, mystery and magic.

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Leave a comment here regarding what scares you the most in fiction stories. As a reward, you'll find that  Bright Scoundrel is discounted 50% off on Amazon for Tuesday May 7th only. If you need a copy from other distributors, please contact me for a coupon code.
Thanks for sharing.

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