Monday, April 30, 2007

"Second Sight" Excerpt

Excerpt from Second Sight
Copyright Debbie Mumford 2007
Publisher Freya's Bower

Jenny glanced up when Zach strode through the door. His tall form filled the doorway and her world sparkled with possibility. At the same time, the book he carried called her tiger from bondage. The tiny hairs along the nape of her neck leapt to attention. She marshaled all her strength to push both terror and elation from her mind and rose to greet Zach.

“Good morning, Zach,” she said, managing a polite smile. “Shall we start your translation now?”
Zach studied her with a soul-piercing gaze. Her ego squirmed under his scrutiny, but her expression remained impassive—a practiced skill. Finally, he relented and shrugged his broad shoulders.

“It’s up to you, Miss Murdoch. You had a bad reaction to the book yesterday.” He held up his hand to ward off objection. “I’m a psychic and a trained observer. The book upset you. If you’d prefer, I’ll take it elsewhere.”

Jenny closed her eyes briefly, unable to bear the compassion written on his face. There had been little enough compassion in her life. Pity, yes, in abundance, but not compassion. She didn’t know how to deal with it. The tiger paced in the back of her mind, awaiting his opportunity. Ignoring impatient growls, she opened her eyes.

“I discussed the situation with my uncle last night.” She mirrored Zach’s hand gesture to forestall interruption. “Don’t worry. He gave me permission to decline the project. However, I believe I can translate your document and I’d like to try.”

“Where do you want to work? Here, or in the conference room?”

“Let’s go to the conference room. The enclosed space minimizes distractions.” She nodded toward the wide front window and the pedestrians wending their way along the busy downtown street.

They moved quietly down the hall and into the conference room. When they reached the massive mahogany table, he repeated his actions of the previous day, withdrawing and unwrapping the volume with an economy of effort.

Jenny expected him to sit once the book had been exposed, but he didn’t. She had the uncomfortable feeling he wanted to be ready for any unexpected action on her part. He exuded a strange mixture of empathy and reserve. His presence disturbed her balance and she had to work to banish him from her mind and concentrate on the leather-bound book.

Taking a moment to ground herself firmly in the here and now, Jenny drew on her white gloves, widened her stance and planted her navy pumps on the plush forest green carpeting. She gripped the back of the black leather client chair and basked in the room’s familiar psychic aura. Her surroundings oozed comfort, and the man beside her, though potentially distracting, radiated warmth and compassion. She accepted his support and added it to her defenses. Armor fully in place, she reached for the book.

White clad fingers caressed the fine leather of the cover. She acknowledged the tiger’s agitated pacing but kept her attention focused on the runes. She’d never seen this type before, not in any text she’d studied, or in any of the obscure fragments her uncle’s friends had brought for scrutiny. She turned pages at random, stopping here and there to trace a rune with her index finger.

Her finger hadn’t quite finished the journey across one particularly complex rune when she glanced up at Zach. She intended to tell him she couldn’t help, couldn’t find meaning in these symbols, but her finger completed the design and the tiger leapt free of his confined corner, bounded to the center of her mind and roared triumphantly.


Second Sight is available from Freya's Bower!

"Sorcha's Heart" Excerpt

Excerpt from Sorcha's Heart
Copyright Debbie Mumford 2006
Publisher Freya's Bower

Pain accompanied Sorcha’s return to consciousness. Muscles she didn’t know she possessed screamed their displeasure. Sand grated against the soft skin of cheek and neck, urging her to rise, but lethargy kept her grounded. The slightest movement caused a cascade of agony throughout her system. She’d never been beaten, but she couldn’t imagine that a victim of mob violence would ache more than she did. She should open her eyes and orient herself in time and space, but the task felt too strenuous to attempt. She’d find a less active way to gather information.

Allowing her eyes to remain safely closed, Sorcha turned her attention from her body’s tortured protests to the world surrounding her. She heard the roar of distant breakers and the soft susurrus of the breeze on the lagoon’s sheltered beach. Yes, the lagoon, the beach. That explained the sand under her cheek. Above those soothing natural sounds, she heard an insistent thrumming, the deepened and magnified purring of a thousand cats. The dragon maintained his vigil.

Gods and goddesses, the dragon!

She focused her attention on her enemy’s terrifying presence and discovered a strand of unknown power brushing the edge of her mind. Cat-like, it twisted and slipped away when she tried to grab it, but came willingly when she quieted her mind and ignored it. The connection it formed expanded her mind, altering its landscape forever.

Dragons whispered through this tunnel. She heard them—and understood. What’s more, she felt their pain and embarrassment as her thoughts exploded into the conversational stream.

“Softly, little one,” Caedyrn whispered. “Restrain yourself.”

Sorcha pulled back, away from the vile, alien presence. She huddled on the sand, feeling violated beyond her ability to endure. Her body ached in a thousand places, and her mind… The sanctity of her mind had been breached. Her thoughts were no longer her own. An alien species, hostile and unknown, prowled in the depths. She couldn’t live this way.

She wouldn’t live this way!

With grim determination, Sorcha put aside her fear and confusion and searched her memory for an appropriate spell. An incantation bubbled to the surface of her mind and she tested its suitability for ousting the alien presence. She’d never attempted a working of this magnitude on herself before. Yes, she’d healed minor cuts and abrasions, but this problem required an application of magic she’d never studied. No matter; she had no choice.

“Perhaps you were right, Mother,” she thought, examining each element of the spell one more time. “The price may have been too high, especially if I don’t live to use the Heart of Fire.” She sought her well of magic, always so comforting in its accessibility.

“No!” Caedyrn cried, distress tingeing his thoughts. “You must not use human magic against the flight.” His thoughts echoed through every recess of her mind. “You’ll destroy yourself and the Heart of Fire with you!”

She struggled to shield her thoughts from this unwelcome intruder, but a new terror sapped her remaining strength and caused her to ignore the dragon’s presence—she couldn’t touch her reserve of power! She could feel it, resting languidly just below the surface of her mind, but she couldn’t reach it. Never before had her magic failed her, not since its awakening in early childhood. She retreated to a corner of her mind to search for nonexistent options.

The dragon called to her, quietly, soothingly. “You’ve nothing to fear,” he crooned, directing her attention to the bright, pulsing strand that warmed the edges of her mind. “You’re linked to the flight now. Push right there to broadcast to our species as a whole. Pull back here and touch an individual, or blank out all intrusions like this, for privacy and peaceful meditation.”

When he finished, he nudged her toward the strand. “Try, little one,” he cajoled. “I’ll withdraw. Call me back.”

Sorcha, bereft of her gift and unable to think of another option, gingerly checked the limits of her mind. The connection pulsed with eager vibration, but it awaited her touch. She exhaled a long groaning sigh, savored the privacy she’d always assumed inviolate, and remembered the overtone of concern she’d detected in Caedyrn’s thoughts.

Could the dragon be worried about her? Ridiculous. If she’d detected concern, it had been for the Heart of Fire, not for her. Still, he offered assistance that she sorely needed.


The link responded to her tentative touch. His presence bloomed in her mind; calm, reassuring, protective.

“I am here, little one.”

“How do I know your name?” Her mind-voice felt brittle, fragile as the sea-mist bubble that had surrounded the Heart of Fire.

“I sang it into the link as you slept. Your courage demanded my respect.”

“Courage? I don’t understand.”

His mind-voice rang through her very soul. “Open your eyes, little one. Raise your head and accept your destiny.”

Caedyrn’s words bewildered and annoyed Sorcha. What did this dragon know about her, or her destiny? She tried to push her annoyance away; clear thinking was required. Everything had changed. Her adversary seemed to admire her and now offered support. She needed to throw off her lassitude, face the physical pain and discover what had transformed her enemy into a would-be guardian.

Consciously holding her pain in check, Sorcha opened her eyes. The world looked wrong. Details too distant for human sight snapped into focus, while items close by dissolved in red haze. She lifted her head and swung it around, searching for Caedyrn. Her first glimpse of him wavered in that bloody fog, then her head came into alignment and his features snapped into precise focus. She wanted to shake her head. Instead, she blinked several times in rapid succession. Halfway through pushing herself up—hands planted in the sand, head oriented on Caedyrn—she froze. Information assailed her: focused sight required her snout be pointed forward; her lower lid flew up when she blinked; claws flexed in the sand at the end of her arms…

She opened her maw and screamed at Caedyrn, “What am I?”

Her words rumbled in an avalanche whose overtones assaulted her sensitive ears. Worst of all, the act of speaking agitated a strange little lump on the roof of her mouth and flame scorched the air as her scream hiccupped into silence. Cautiously, she explored the bump with her tongue, amazed that the flame hadn’t burned her mouth. A slightly acrid taste remained, but seemed to be the only after-effect. She sniffed delicately, and detected a faint sulfur odor. Her human intellect catalogued the smell, but her dragon senses found it comforting rather than frightening.

A thought intruded on her inner confusion. “Speak to me here, little one. Human speech, as we produce it, pains our ears, and as you’ve seen, it can trigger fire if not carefully controlled.” Caedyrn’s words poured across her fear in soothing waves. “But to answer your question, you are a dragon. The Heart of Fire transformed you.”

His words snapped her attention back to the larger issue. “That’s impossible,” she cried, forcing herself to use the link instead of her voice. “I can’t be a dragon!”

“Rise, little one. Unfurl your wings. Feel the power at your command.”


Sorcha's Heart is available from Freya's Bower.

"Glass Magic" Excerpt

Excerpt from Glass Magic
Copyright Debbie Mumford 2006
Publisher: Freya's Bower

Sean backed away, stumbled over his forgotten toolbox and landed hard on his butt on the floor’s plywood subsurface.

Maureen McBride loomed above him, green eyes flashing, red hair pulling free of its tightly bound knot. “I’ll report this,” she said, the words barely escaping through clenched jaws. “Sexual harassment is a crime in this state.”

Sean jumped to his feet and closed the distance between them. “I didn’t do anything except keep you from falling.” He noted with pleasure that she had to look up to meet his eyes. “It’s not my fault you’re so starved for physical attention that you intentionally stumble into men’s arms.”

Her face flushed scarlet, and she opened luscious red lips to scorch him with a rebuttal.

The floor heaved again. They fell into each other’s arms, and Sean’s tongue dove into her open mouth.

He wanted to struggle, wanted to get the hell away from this aggravating female, but the molten silk of her mouth tasted of honey… and her tongue! It twisted coyly away from his and then pushed daringly past his teeth into his mouth. Oh, the soft, sensual pleasure of that dance of tongues.

Soft. Sensual. His hands finally reported their location to his brain, and he groaned into her mouth. His senses rapidly overloading, he moved his hands down her back and filled them with the ripe, firm, fullness of her buttocks. His erection leapt and demanded a closer inspection of the cleft pressed so tantalizingly near.

And then it ended, as quickly as it had begun.

She pulled away from his clutching fingers and backed up until she hit the far wall. Cold air shocked his senses, and he longed for her velvet warmth; all of it. No impeding cloth. Just skin caressing skin, and more. Oh, so much more!


Glass Magic is available from Freya's Bower

Saturday, April 28, 2007

My Next Release -- Coming May 1st

Second Sight

by Debbie Mumford

ISBN: 1-934069-51-5

A mysterious grimoire of Celtic origins has been linked to two murders. To break the case, psychic investigator Zach Douglass seeks the assistance of a gifted translator, beautiful Jenny Murdoch. But Jenny has a dark secret. She's spent years repressing a potent psychic talent: her 'tiger', which she believes killed her parents. Jenny will crack the grimoire and learn to trust her tiger, but she'll fall under suspicion for the murders. And one of the victim's was Zach's fiancée.

Available May 1st from Freya's Bower!

New From Shonna Brannon

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The Spirit Within

by Shonna Brannon

ISBN: 978-1-60088-130-5

Alyssa Carrington's spirit must search out the man who tried to kill her before her body’s taken off life support and she moves on to the other side.

Sam Carson’s a detective whose sister was murdered the night Alyssa was attacked. When he hears a voice claiming to be the spirit of Alyssa, he thinks he’s going crazy. Can he go against the rules and track down his sister’s killer and get Alyssa back in her body or will his feelings for her spirit get in the way and send her to the other side, making him lose his chance with her forever.

To buy visit Cobblestone Press!

A new release from a fellow Diva!