Sometimes the future is a path set in the hardest of stone
and can only be altered by love.
Oneyroi D'Naktmerié is a product of the Northern Installation, designed to be the stuff of nightmares. At fourteen his abilities proved deadly, and he shuts them away terrified of how uncontrollable his power is. He refuses to bond as that could unleash the dangerous abilities constantly roiling inside of him. Taking refuge in the village of Ketewah, Naktmerié's only pleasure now is spending the night with whatever willing woman catches his eye. Never spending more than one night with each.
Until he meets Shae, the Speyressa of Uanty.
Shae sees the future. All the paths in a person's life. But there is one vision that has haunted her since she was a child. One that she's done everything in her power to prevent. Choices make up the paths, and she's forced to choose between allowing Naktmerié to be kidnapped or the destruction and enslavement of the human race. She chooses to protect the human race and seals her fate as well as his.
Betrayed by the first woman he's ever opened up to, Naktmerié returns to Ketewah after freeing himself from the Flesh Traders. Months later he discovers the path Shae began all those years ago didn't end with his kidnapping; instead, it ends with her death and Naktmerié is the only one who can save her. Can he trust her enough to form the mental bond that will save her? Or will a forced bond drive her to madness?
Exhaustion tugged at every particle of Shae's being. The slow rolling movement of the rhinohorse she adored, lulled her as if she were on a boat coasting over gentle water. The clomp of a horse drawing near, then slowing beside her own made Shae turn.
"I want to thank you again for asking your guard to give up his slider for Slade's use," Chase said.
"It isn't a problem, Chase. Shalon is versatile in his mounts." She didn't add that he preferred the slider so he could continuously circle her and their caravan. However, as Kamolien and Slade agreed to swap with him every few hours, Shalon was content to use a horse. "I'm just glad we calmed the situation."
"I tried to explain to Slade before we left, that Z'er tech would give away their origins on this side of the Chasm. Making them a target," Nakt stated from her other side. "It's why I suggested bringing more sliders from Ketewah, but that idea was shot down."
The few sliders that had passed inspection were all beaten to Hellam and back with more rust than paint, Shae had no clue how the machines still functioned. But they purred like a joniper when each had been started.
Nerves kicked into her. She never expected Nakt to approach her. At least not willingly since he'd done everything he could short of leaving Uanty to avoid her as if she would bond him against his will.
"It wouldn't have been a problem if Michael had stayed in prison," Chase grumbled. "We should have expected him to have more resources given his rank in the Brotherhood."
She kept quiet. It would probably surprise the Z'ers to know how vast the Brotherhood of Uriel's resources were on this side of the Chasm. Especially, as the sycophants' home base was in Hellam. In Hellam and Uanty, the cult found a fertile ground to practice their bigotry, taking anyone not pure human and torturing them for names of their family and friends on both sides of the Chasm. Then burning their victims to purify their souls and allow them to pass into the afterlife.
"I see your guard motioning for me," Chase stated, the hooves of his horse racing ahead.
"I still can't figure out how you didn't know Michael would escape." Nakt's accusatory tone flowed over her.
And there it was. Chase might be more flexible in the blame area and see things from more than one viewpoint, but not the rest of the Z'ers. Most would be bothered being accused of not doing their job, but as she regularly endured this kind of accusation it rolled off her. It was a double-bladed knife she had long ago learned to juggle.
"I'm not the Creator, Nakt. I can't see everything, I'm given pieces. Sometimes so fractured I can barely make out the pivotal moment until it's slamming into me—" In this case, he was justified in his suspicion. She had known, but there wasn't any way she could warn them of what was coming. If Nakt had bonded her right away, he'd have known and could warn the others. He could've been her voice.
"So the blind leading the blind then."
"Vack you—" No one was allowed to disparage her blindness.
"Sorry, that was uncalled for." His voice held a sheepish tone as if he hadn't meant to phrase it like that. "I meant do you think that woman—"
"Shimera." She pushed the name through gritted teeth.
"Right, do you think she really saw him come this way?"
"Yes. I saw the vision the second I was in her presence."
The silence grew between them, but wasn't uncomfortable, more thoughtful if she had to put a name to it. There was something she wanted to suggest but needed to gather her courage, and her thoughts first. Settling on an avenue of reasoning she felt sure would sway this man, the tension eased from her shoulders.
"Nakt, you and I have danced around a subject I would like to address," she began.
"I'm not taking a bonded," his growl was guttural.
She held her hand up in his general vicinity. "I'm not asking you to; however, I'd like to propose something." Her heart pounded. Sweat slicked her palms where they gripped the pommel of her mount. Taking a fortifying breath, she threw caution to the wind and plunged into the deep end. "I've no intention of forming a bond with you, but you are the first potential bonded to cross my path. And I've heard sex with a potential bonded is hotter than the fires of some of Esperér's famous lava pools. As I've no idea when I'll meet my next potential, I thought you would be willing to allow me to explore a bit. You're no stranger to sex based on what Shimera stated..." she trailed off as she tried to think of more to convince him.
Hope stirred within her of having a taste before she died. "None."
He fell silent as if weighing her. Testing to see if she were telling the truth. Shae kept quiet with a force of will she didn't know she possessed.
"Only on this journey. When we return to your village, we're done," he stated. No emotion in his voice giving her a hint to his thoughts. And as she could not infiltrate his formidable defenses without a fight, she would never see those thoughts.
She had no trust in him as he had never given her the same, but she so wanted a taste. To at least feel that burn of desire she'd heard about. His barriers would prevent her from being constantly bombarded by his thoughts, unlike the few other men she'd been with, whose thoughts broke through her frail barriers. "Deal."
Her soul already belonged to the devil. It didn't matter if she grew too attached, in seven days he'd be taken from her never to return. At this moment though, she wanted what so many others had had, the feel of his skin under her hands, the taste of his lips on hers and the sounds he made when he reached satisfaction.
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MLMMC4J
Sage: What comes first, the plot or characters?
CeeRee: This made me think of the chicken and the egg riddle. Okay, so plot or the characters...
It differs. For Nakt and Shae's story the characters came first then the plot. I knew I wanted Shae to see the future and I wanted her to be Zroya's, my main female character from D'Reaper's Destiny, long lost twin sister. But I wasn't sure the plot I wanted to take.
It finally came to me as I finished Sara's Kaos that I wanted one of my scavenger brothers to be a bit of a jerk. And with Naktmerié's scavenger power being that he gives those who he attacks with his ability nightmares I thought he would be one who would lock his powers down and refuse to form long term relationships outside of his brothers. It felt right and worked out great for the story since Shae is a seer who helps keep humanity safe by nudging certain events into place. Unfortunately, one of those events will lead to her death if she can't get Nakt to willingly bond with her.
S: How do you come up with the titles to your books?
C: With my Woven Destinies, Scavenger's Bonded, and my upcoming series Assassins of Hellam all the titles are a play on the main character's names. Naktmerié's Monster takes a piece from Naktmerié's name while Monster is a derogatory term the Z'ers and villagers call Shae's people.
The reason Shae's people are called Monsters are most of them are 7-10 foot mutants that battled the Z'ers and villagers decades ago.
S: How much 'world building' takes place before you start writing?
C: A lot. For my New Adult Fantasy Romances I have them all set in future America where there are no more borders except literally to keep the mutants and undesirables away from the cities of the Mutant Free Zone. This is where the Chasm in Naktmerié's Monster and also referred in Birch's Faith comes into play as where the Chasm is located there are pieces of a natural river what could be widened and deepened.
I have hints throughout the stories of where the cities of the MFZ are based on degraded landmarks. Like the broken statue of the Lone Sailor in Norfolk, Virginia which that port is now called Icaria in my books. I also named the cities of the MFZ after demilitarized zones kind of as a nod to keeping the civilians safe even though one of the cities is the hub for the military who go on the frontlines of battles to protect the cities and are dubbed 'Liners or Frontliners.
Here's me designing the map I use for my world ~ https://youtu.be/T_0L2mEcqCg
S: When you are writing an emotionally draining scene, how do you get in the mood?
C: Mostly with music. If I need to write something sad and music isn't helping me get in the mood, I'll find a movie or a book that is heart-wrenching and read, or watch, it until I'm in the right headspace.
It's funny this question coming up as in Naktmerié's Monster there's a very emotional scene when Naktmerié rages at Shae because she set him up to be kidnapped, though in her defense she also planned his rescue, and he is angry that she's basically played with his life as if he were just a pawn on a chessboard.
It took a good bit of time to tweak that argument because most people when they are that angry they're going to go for the soft spots and do as much verbal damage as possible. So I can't hold back when I write those types of scenes but I also have to read them several times to make sure I'm hitting the spots that need to be hit but that can still be healed later in the book when the two MCs finally make up and get back together.
It's a very challenging balance for me.
S: How many books have you written?
C: I've written a total of six that are published. Five are in my New Adult Fantasy Romance series and one is a Romantic Suspense that's through Soul Mate Publishing.
S: Which is your favorite book?
C: Sara's Kaos, hands down. I LOVED writing that story. Kaos is that controlled, quiet man you want to keep poking until you get some sort of reaction from. He's just so locked down all the time. Whereas Sara's his polar opposite. She never meets a stranger she doesn't try to befriend and there's just so much joy in her. Of course, I had to rough her up a bit so she could understand the darkness that lurks in Kaos's soul.
Naktmerié's Monster would come in a close second because throughout the story you have two characters who really want a happily ever after but one doesn't feel he deserves it and the other doesn't know how to trust it when it happens.
S: In your current book, what was the process for coming up with the cover?
C: The red that seems to flow around Shae on the cover is the color of her scavenger abilities. I added the window overlooking the village as in the book that window is commented on quite a bit. She feels distanced but also connected as she can use her abilities to 'see' that her villagers are safe and secure since she's blind she uses her abilities to 'see' through her people's eyes.
S: Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers?
C: I'm finishing up Twin Contract. It's my first foray into the Contemporary Romance genre so there have been A LOT of re-writes. It's also the first of a trilogy with two others waiting in the wings.
I also have plans for a character that shows up in Shae's book and breaks her window. His name is Styx and he's an assassin who is a bit insane. But in a fun way.
About the Author:
I'm a geek, a gamer, a music lover, and a voracious reader. I love Star Trek and B-grade movies like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Sharknado. I enjoy figuring out software and learning new things and applying them to whatever book I'm currently working on.
I write romantic adventures. Mostly, I live vicariously through my characters. I can be a knife-wielding forager who saves her family from deadly kidnappers or a slinky thief who must outmaneuver her sadistic cousin. My male characters aren't cookie cutter either. There's so much diversity in the world that one size does not fit all. It's the same for love. My male characters are diverse. I have several he-men, alpha types, but I also have nerds in glasses who can kickass when needed, whether in a board room or in a parking garage. I have characters who are blind and some who have lost a limb putting their lives on the line to save others.
The one thing they all have in common is they are people who learn to move past their hurdles and find love.
I can be found at: