WIP – Galloping On!

LoveForSale_w9468_medI have now finished my rewrite of the sequel to Love For Sale, called Love For a Song.  It is the story of one of the other androids in the book.  Daniel is the dark-haired, handsome opera singer who was the prototype and sent around the world testing if the androids would be accepted as human.

Now, I’ve started on my book about centaurs.  I began Stealing Paradise a long time ago when I lived in Miami in the 90s.  Ancient history! The problem, since it is a romance, is going to be walking the fine line of the taboo bestiality.  The hero and heroine have no contact other than a kiss once before the big moment when … well I can’t tell that or it would be a plot spoiler.  Here is an excerpt for your comment. I’d like to know your opinion on whether it is acceptable.

Buy Link for Love For Sale

Prologue

We might have worshipped the invaders as gods.  The One God, when he was amongst us, had walked upright on two legs.  Our scriptures foretold their coming, but not the cruelty and brutality with which they greeted us. Their weapons belched fire and thunder, and my people fell.  On a crimson tide, Man flooded our quiet valleys.

We were defenseless.  For centuries, the Andalos had been a peaceful herd.  The One God had persuaded my ancestors to put away our arms. The Days of the Sword now belonged to legend. I had reached six-and-twenty years and had never even seen the weapons we’d used in wars with other Breeds.  Long ago, the battle movements—piaffe, passage, capriole, and courbette—had evolved into ceremonial dances.

For many years, the war between Man and the Centaur has raged.  Locusts, wave after wave, they came, two-legged beings pointing their sticks, leaving behind the stench of death and destruction.  I began this account when I was free and a warrior, but the story and my life changed completely when I became a captive.

If this narrative has a bitter taste, it is only a remembered flavor, merely an after-taste of blood and ashes.

Love is mightier than the sword.

Chapter 1

Pandemonium.

Mares and foals shrieking, shouts and cries.

Hooves scrambling over bloodied stones.

The rapid blasts of the invaders’ weapons, and above it all the roar of the fire.

The village was a sea of flame, sparks soaring from one roof to another, fingers of fire grasping for the stars. The crop fields were ablaze, an acrid sacrifice that would leave us with empty bellies.

A mare clutched her breast and fell, knocking her foal down to be trampled by Man’s advancing army.  I couldn’t hear her scream, but horror gripped me, coiling like a serpent in my stomach.  Even from this distance, the pungent black smoke billowing above the orange glow burned my eyes. My people were being slaughtered, without much resistance, because they were afraid to lift a hand against gods.

“Galanteo.”  Musica’s nails dug into my arm.  “What’s happening?  They’re—the Man is killing us. Why are they attacking His People?”

A bard in training, musician and historian, I had no answer why our God had betrayed us.  My fingers gripped the smooth neck of the lute I’d been playing, singing love songs, while our home was destroyed.  Shame ran hot fingers down my back.

The other stallions, young and old, had recovered from the shock of the sudden attack to retaliate, but their pitiful weapons were useless when Man had only to point his metal stick.  Surprise was on the side of the Man. There’d been no time to open the old arsenal.  Rusty swords would be better than their hoes, rakes, pitchforks, and even fire pokers.

“Stay here. You should be safe.”  I brushed a kiss to her lips.  Everyone, except me, believed we’d wed in the spring.

“What can you do?”  She grabbed both my hands.  “If you go down there, you’ll die.”

“That happens in battle.” A drumbeat of excitement pounded in my ears, but I couldn’t bear the look on her face.  “Don’t worry, Musica.  I know how to fight.”

I alone besides Maluso.

Maluso and I were born the same day in December.  As colts, we’d been inseparable friends. We’d always been partners in the petty crimes that irritated his father.  As young stallions, we were considered rakes by some, yet adored by the herd matrons.

Before the One God appeared, the Andalos were a war-like breed, the leaps and kicks killing maneuvers. From the day the Chieftain had shown two yearling colts the arsenal, Maluso and I had dreamed of war.  We’d stolen two old weapons from the locked storeroom to learn swordplay.  He, as Chieftain’s son, and I, as apprentice to the herd’s Bard, had been taught the ancient battle maneuvers, now merely an elaborate show for feast days.

I wheeled on my haunches and launched into a headlong gallop down the gentle slope of the hill.  Musica called my name, and I remembered she was afraid of the dark. At sunset, the sweet gray mare and I had slipped away into the mountains without telling anyone.  She was in season and, more than usual, welcomed my kisses and caresses.  I’d played romantic ballads on the lute then we’d played at love until my blood boiled and she clung to me, her lips parted, gasping for another kiss. She’d let me mount but when I’d tried to enter, she jumped from under me.  The luscious hot desire, the cool mossy glade now seemed like a dream—and a sin.  Guilt pursued me on that short flight from hilltop to valley, the longest journey of my life.

The sky was red, even the clouds and the shadows in every crack and crevice.  The mountains reflected the fire. The reek of smoke was overpowering.  Breathing burned my lungs.  Ashes drifted down like dirty snowflakes.  I flinched as sparks scorched my skin, singed my mane and my coat.  Pops and shrieks floated, disembodied on the murky soup.  When my eyes adjusted, I recognized the gnarled apple tree that shaded my window and realized I had unconsciously raced toward home.

The dwelling where I’d been foaled was gone.

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