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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tip of the Spear by Marie Harte (Guest Post/Excerpt)

Please give a warm welcome to romance author, Marie Harte!

I start out the year with a list of projects to tackle. And then I try to fit in one big idea. A story unlike the others. And that’s exactly what I did with Tip of the Spear. I like to think of the book as my “green” romance, because the story centers around the Nature Laws, laws enacted to protect an environment people nearly destroyed hundreds of years prior to the beginning of the story.

I’m not a tree hugger, exactly. J But I recycle, I reseed, and I try my best to leave as small a footprint around me as possible. I wanted to write a book about people tuned in to protecting the earth. We’ve fought wars for religion, for freedom, and for personal rights, and I thought it might be interesting to write a story with a background where people are passionate about the state of their environment. The Amazons embody nature, living at one with the jungle. And in the New West, you screw with Mother Nature, you might lose your life.

That said, Tip of theSpear is a romance at heart, a story about vengeance, forgiveness, and justice, and how to balance the three. An Amazon meets a bounty hunter, and she has to forego certain prejudices to accept certain truths. Black and white don’t make sense in a world of gray. And when it comes to sex, the woman warrior who knows her way will have to acknowledge that the hero knows what he’s about. Whoa, does he.

Enjoy the excerpt from Tip of the Spear, where Amazons and cowboys collide.

  
EXCERPT
Thais studied the painted woman before her with unease. Kitty wore her sexuality like a moth-eaten cloak. Such age and pain could not be covered by the cloying paints these whores used. In the four years she and her sisters had spent acclimating to the Territories, Thais had come across some strange things. But this driving need men, and apparently women, had for sex baffled her.
“So you want to know if I’ve seen who?” Kitty paused to take a puff of a smoke that smelled of clove and another substance Thais couldn’t identify.
Yara would know what it is. Thais missed her friends dearly. They’d parted two months ago, and in the time since, Thais felt more alone than she’d ever been. Or at least she had, before she’d run into that male, a warrior with light blue eyes.
When Kitty raised her hand in front of Thais’s face, Thais coughed through the smoke and apologized. “I’m sorry, Kitty. I’m not used to such libation,” she said haltingly, not sure if she used the right word. It had taken her two years to conquer the Territory language, and she still misused words when she took the time to speak them.
“My clove cigarettes?” Kitty laughed. “Honey, that’s not libation. That’s good clean medicine. The clove helps me to swallow. Numbs my throat.”  She winked, as if sharing a joke. Thais had no idea what she was talking about. “The filler is homegrown leaf. The damned UTO outlawed tobacco ages ago. One of our last great vices.” She sighed. “It was organic, but toxic. Well, shee-it. Who the hell wants to live forever, anyway?”
Not sure what to say, Thais tried to regroup. “I am looking for a man.”
“Ain’t we all,” Kitty muttered and took a long drag.
“This one goes by the name Aaron Bartel. He’s very rich. His chest is broad, and he stands this high.” She held a hand slightly above her own head. “He also has dirty yellow hair and dead eyes. He’s a leader of men like him.” Murderers and rapists and thieves.
“Hmm, Bartel, you say?” Kitty puffed away on her cigarette. “Why are you looking for him?”
The sharp look on the woman’s face urged caution.
“I think he may be traveling with a few women I know. The warrior—ah, women would be like me. Tall and strong, maybe with darker skin than many of you here, from time spent in the sun.”
“I’d bet they talk funny, too, eh? Like you. One of ‘em have a purple flower with a yellow dot inked on her cheek, just under her eye?”
Pilar. Thais’s heart pounded. The traitorous Amazon would lead her to Bartel. She knew it.
Kitty smashed her cigarette on a ceramic plate. She blew out a residual puff of clover scented smoke, and Thais fought the urge to gag. “What’s it worth to you?”
“What do you need?”
Her quick answer took Kitty by surprise. “Hmm, what do I need?” She eyed Thais up and down. “Take off that hat and lose the bandana.”
Thais grudgingly did so.
“Holy shit, honey, you’re a beauty. Now take off that vest and open a few buttons.”
Thais had a bad feeling Kitty would demand of her something she refused to give. She slowly took off her vest and unfastened a few buttons.
“You binding ‘em?” Kitty nodded at her chest.
“Yes.”
“Thought so. You have a build that screams sex, you know.”
“No, I do not.” Not sex. Never that.
Not sure if it was her tone or her stillness, Thais watched as compassion replaced the speculation on Kitty’s face. “Oh, okay, hon. You can’t gimme another girl to use. I get it. What about currency?”
Thais buttoned up her shirt and donned the vest again. The thin barrier of clothing made her feel safe. As if cotton and leather would protect her from the evils of men.
“I have some gold, but I think it will not be enough. Is there some service I might perform instead?” Realizing how Kitty might interpret that, she hastily amended, “Some man who has wronged you? Someone you wish dead?”
Kitty stared in surprise. “You a merc?”
“A merc,” she tested the word. Chow Yen had taught them much when they’d reached the Territories, but apparently the little man hadn’t taught them enough. She learned something new every day.
“A mercenary. You a killer for hire?”
“No, but to learn of Bartel, I would right a wrong done you.” To balance the scales of justice. The Goddess encouraged right. Death was a natural part of balance, an accepted occurrence in Thais’s scattered world.
“Right a wrong, hmm? You know, honey, I think you and me just might have a deal.”
Not only did they have a deal, but Kitty added in a room and a meal for Thais’s promised service. Considering what Kitty wanted done, Thais would have done the job for free. But she needed information about Bartel.
As Thais settled in for a night’s sleep, she tried to tune out the moans and groans around her. The rooms in this building had thin walls. Conversations droned like the buzzing of bees, low and insistent despite her closed door. The constant banging of something against her wall and the accompanying moaning of both a man and a woman made her think, surprisingly, of the tall stranger she’d encountered twice today.
He’d led her here to Kitty House with the expectation that she’d service him the way the women here pleasured their customers. Despite what had happened to her village four years ago, Thais didn’t hate men. Chow Yen had seen to that. She didn’t necessarily like them, nor did she anticipate ever mating with one of them. Though from what she’d heard, sexual intercourse wasn’t always painful, and most men seemed to derive pleasure from it.
To hear Kitty tell it, nothing satisfied like a good ride from the right man, whatever that meant. Though well-intentioned, Kitty’s offer to help Thais get over her discomfort with sex—and she still didn’t know how she’d been so transparent—bothered the hell out of her. Thais couldn’t imagine spreading her legs for a man, surrendering to his control. Still, today when the warrior had asked her to thank him, she’d felt a stirring of… something. Unfamiliar yet exciting.  Her heart raced, her breath grew shorter, and her face heated. Nerves, not anxiety. A kind of interest, she supposed.
And why not? Even Mother consented to lying with a male once. Besides, he’s the first decent looking warrior you’ve seen out here in the land the Goddess forgot.
Taller than Thais and strong of form, he’d impressed her at first with his stillness and steady reserve. As he’d drawn closer on his vore, she’d sworn she sensed an answering wildness in not just the beast he rode, but in the man as well. Shoulder length black hair so dark it shone blue under the sunlight had captivated her, but his eyes had held her attention like nothing could. An exact match to the crystalline blue waters in the Goddess Cave, those orbs possessed unfathomable depths. 
His voice, when he spoke, sounded rich. Like the rumble of a jaguar, yet clear of intent and strong. Unlike most of the filthy men in the Territories, he smelled of sweat and power. The burning energy in his gaze discomfited her, the way the guardians at home could unnerve the enemy with just a look.
He handled a rifle with ease and sat atop a vore as if he’d been born in the saddle, as she’d heard many a man comment about natural-born riders. Thais herself didn’t care for horseback. Riding a vore, on the other hand, appealed to her, maybe because vores were rumored to be nearly as intelligent as people, or because they could never be fully tamed. Oddly enough, the vore and the man reminded her of home. And she began to dream…



Enjoy Tip of theSpear, by Marie Harte

Marie Harte
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1 comment:

seelk said...

Love Marie Harte's books, read most of them and it looks like the new one will be an awesome read. Can't wait!