April 25, 2012

It's Kayelle Allen's Birthday, Nab Alitus


Alitus.
It's my birthday, but I don't want to cry. I'd rather give away a book! All day, on this blog and two others, I'll be sharing an excerpt or deleted scene. Leave a comment and you'll qualify for a drawing of Alitus in any ebook format.

If you leave your email, I'll send you a puzzle book in pdf just for hanging out. You're welcome to drop in at the other two spots and do the same thing, for two other books.
Romance Writers Behaving Badly 

In this scene from Alitus, Tales of the Chosen, Alitus is meeting Wulf Gabriel at the art gallery of Ms. Anne Cain, a friend of his growing up. On my website, there is a reproduction of items mentioned in this excerpt in the Yutai Art Gallery. The real life artist, Anne Cain, allowed me to use her name and work for the fictional character. You can visit the exclusive gallery by clicking the name below. Ironically, when I wrote for Loose Id, Anne Cain was my cover artist. The artist for the Tales of the Chosen trilogy (of which Alitus is book 2) is Laura Givens.

Tarth City, Top Tier District, Yutai Art Gallery
Sumertsag 73
Alitus strolled slowly through the gallery, pausing to absorb the color and hues of the pieces that appealed most. One he puzzled over for a long time.
It displayed a woman unlike any human he'd ever seen. She had pure white skin on her face and neck yet her arms were a pinkish gold. Her black and white dress had elaborate ties and bindings and showed a bit of red here and there. She strummed a stringed instrument with an exceedingly long neck. The alien aspect of the picture brought to mind a Tyran, though the physical differences were strikingly divergent.
"Like it?"
He turned, holding the bottom of the veil against his chest. If it swung when he turned, it hampered his vision. "Anne!" He held out his hands to his friend.
Anne Cain, the owner of Yutai Art, took his hands and leaned in to press her cheek against his through the veil. "How are you Alitus?"
"Good, good." He held her hands and leaned back to see her better. "How did you know it was me? There are other Betters in here."
"You're the only one with the Conqueror's goons following him."
He laughed. He'd forgotten his Praetorian escort. Luckily, they'd stayed outside once they'd ensured the building was secure. "Sorry. I hope they don't scare off paying customers."
"Don't be silly. Women love them, you know."
Anne Cain's art from the
Yutai Gallery
"Praetorian? I can't imagine why."
"Are you kidding? All that muscle and macho male attitude." She shivered. "Gives me goosebumps thinking about it."
It really does take all kinds. Alitus squeezed her hands and released them. "Whatever pleases you pleases me."
Anne grinned. "I'll bet you got to the top by saying that to the Conqueror."
"Anne!"
She only laughed. "I don't care if you wear that veil thing, you know. You can take it off if you want. I hate the whole idea of Betters veiling."
Alitus smiled, even though his friend couldn't see it. "Thank you, but I'm not allowed."
"By who?"
"Whom," he corrected, just to push Anne's buttons. It worked; she popped him on the shoulder. Laughing, Alitus took her hand and walked at her side into one of the outer rooms of the gallery. "Her Majesty disallows me to appear in public without it."
"Yeah, well she's depriving women everywhere of a real treat." She linked her arm through his. "Thank you for coming today, Al."
"Alitus. You know how I hate that nickname."
Anne stuck out her tongue at him and laughed. "I'm so glad you came. Seriously. It means a lot to me."
He patted her hand on his arm. "We've known each other since we were three years old. I wouldn't miss this."
Anne's eyes flared wide; she licked her lips. "Ooh, not that you'll care, Alitus, but look what just strolled in." She nodded toward the door.
"There are a dozen people over there. Which person?"
"There, by the door. The guy picking up a program." She pressed her breast against his arm, no doubt not meaning to. Still, it made Alitus' heart stutter. He felt himself release pheromones; a natural occurrence when happy. "The guy with the dark hair. He-- Oh my God, Alitus. I think that's Wulf Gabriel behind him."
Feigning nonchalance when every fiber of his being rejoiced, Alitus cleared his throat. "Who?"
Anne gave his arm a small tug. "Don't you mean 'whom'?" With a chuckle, she put her mouth closer to his veil. "Wulf Gabriel. He was a supermodel years ago. He married that Kelthian warlord."
"Luc Saint-Cyr?" Alitus shook his head, remembered she couldn't see it. "He's not a warlord, Anne. He's an entrepreneur."
"Whatever you call it, he's filthy rich."
"And they're not married." Alitus followed Wulf with his gaze as the man moved to stand before a sculpture of an eagle. Wulf stood with arms folded, legs spread wide in a masculine stance. "They're life-partners."
"Oh, really?" She stuck her hand on a hip. "And you know this because..."
"Didn't you hear?" Holding back his veil, he leaned toward her. "I'm the new Minister of Imperial Intelligence. I'm supposed to know these things."
Anne giggled. "Is there such a thing as 'Imperial Intelligence'?"
Before he could respond, Wulf joined them. "You're Ms. Anne Cain, aren't you?" He bowed politely toward her. "Wulf Gabriel. You have a beautiful gallery."
"Thank you so much!" She held out her hand and Wulf bowed over it rather than shook it. "I know who you are, Mr. Gabriel. You had a rather celebrated career as a model. I can't imagine why you'd leave it."
"That's best left for another time." Wulf inclined his head to Alitus. "How are you, sir?"
"Now, Mr. Gabriel," Anne put in. "Don't be presumptuous. Better females dress exactly the same way, you know."
Great. Alitus rolled his eyes. Now I don't even have a gender?
Wulf narrowed his eyes, raking his discriminating gaze up and down Alitus' length. "While true, Ms. Cain, I do believe this Better is all male."
Anne laughed at his comment. Alitus held his head higher. He held out a gloved hand to Wulf. "Alitus Vivaldi. We've met."
"Ah!" Wulf shook his hand. "Of course. At the grand opening of Gabriel Stadium. I remember."
"You were there?" Anne folded her arms. "You never told me about that."
Alitus shrugged. He remembered to translate the gesture to words. "The Conqueror is invited to everything, Anne. I attend where she does."
"Must be nice. You always get to--" She broke off as a gorgeous woman nearly Alitus' height approached.
"Wulf! There you are." The woman looped one arm through Wulf's. "I've been all over this gallery looking for you."
Maybe if you took off your dark glasses you could see something. Alitus chided himself for such a catty remark; where had that come from? Still, it must be hard to see indoors in those things.
Wulf pulled free and put his arm around her back. "Fee, may I introduce Anne Cain, the owner of Yutai Art. And this is Alitus Vivaldi. This is Feeyona Joie. She was my modeling partner for several years in untold number of photo shoots."
Her skin shade nearly matched a creamy milk chocolate. She snugged herself up next to Wulf. "Wulf and I have been best friends for like ever." Her whimsical expression almost made Alitus like her -- quite against his will. "I quit modeling this year, though, to help Wulf and Mr. Saint-Cyr start a new division of Lucsondis Entertainment."
"So you work for Saint-Cyr?" Alitus clasped his hands behind him. How close is she to Wulf? Does she know what Saint-Cyr is? Wulf's expression gave nothing away.
"Yes and no. I'm an independent contractor, but he considers me part of his staff."
"I see."
Wulf hugged her closer. "Don't tell Alitus anything personal, Fee." He smiled at Alitus to show he jested. "He's the new Minister of Imperial Intelligence. You never know how or what you divulge could be used against you."
Alitus started to respond, but Fee cut him off. "Is there such a thing as 'Imperial Intelligence' Mr. Vivaldi?"
He clamped his jaws shut. Just as well no one could see him. He didn't have to hide his irritation with this veil in place. That joke was going to get old very fast. "If there is," he responded, "I'm it."
"It must make you terribly uncomfortable to be stuck inside that veil," she told him. "Although you work for the Conqueror and I doubt you have much say in the matter, I want you to know that I, personally, think veiling Betters is a disgrace."
Alitus bounced on the balls of his feet. Maybe she's not so bad after all. Holding back his veil, he bowed far deeper than required. "My thanks, Ms. Joie."
"Please, call me Fee."
"Alitus." He held out his hand.
When she shook it, she removed her dark glasses with her other hand. "I know what it's like to be singled out." Her eyes were the same solid black as Luc Saint-Cyr's. She blinked once, slowly, and they turned to the mottled grey and silver of a camera-droid's lenses. "I'm enhanced as well."
Anne came to attention. "Oh! Oh, my. I--" She glanced from Alitus to Wulf to Fee. "I'm so sorry, Ms. Joie, but I have to ask you to leave."
Alitus bit into his lip, head down. Wulf started to argue, but Fee put her glasses back on and squeezed his arm. "It's all right, Wulf. I understand. Really I do. She's worried that I might record her art and reproduce it."
"Ms. Cain," Wulf went on, "I assure you Fee is an ethical person. She handles all the photos and holos for artist resumes and portfolios at Lucsondis. There's no way she'd--"
"Wulf." Fee tugged his hand. "It's all right. I'll go. I'm sorry, Ms Cain. I promise you I didn't download any of your art. If you like, I'll be glad to imprint everything I've seen on a chip and give it to you as proof."
"No, that's quite all right. I--" Anne covered her mouth, then reached out to Fee. "It's nothing personal. I--"
Wulf Gabriel
"It's all right." Fee stood on tiptoe to kiss Wulf on the cheek. "Stay. Talk to your friends. I'll wait outside."
Alitus reached under his veil and pressed the tight place between his brows. All the joy felt washed out of him. Don't leave, Wulf. No-- perhaps he should. Just as quickly, he decided, If he goes, I'm going with him. He waited to see what Wulf would say or do.
Wulf watched Feeyona to the door, turned back and frowned toward Alitus. "I--"
"You know what?" Anne interrupted. "I'm going to tell her to come back." She held up both hands. "Here I was saying how it's wrong to discriminate against Betters. When you get down to it, cyborgs, and enhanced people are no different, no matter what their enhancement. Excuse me, gentlemen."
She moved quickly through the crowd of people toward the door.
Wulf turned to face the nearest painting. "Lovely art."
Alitus faced it as well, his heart lifting now that he knew Wulf would stay. "Yes, it is. They say the true measure of art is how it affects you. What does this one make you feel?"
The painting was by Eliot Taral, whom Alitus had learned only the day before was a resident neutral Sempervian. A lone tree with its branches shaped by wind stretched out over a cliff overhanging a stormy sea. A lonely, isolated scene of desolation -- yet determination.
Wulf rubbed his jaw. "It makes me want to suck cock."
Alitus burst into laughter, drawing the attention of the room. He made a fist and pressed it against his mouth underneath the veil.
Wulf grinned. "I wasn't kidding."
"You wouldn't."
"Suck cock?" Wulf slanted him a sidelong glance. "You know I would."
Choking back laughter, Alitus covered his mouth. "Stop that. I meant I know you weren't kidding."
"Damn straight. Come on. Let's go back to the front of the gallery and start this charade at the beginning."
With Wulf beside him, Alitus sauntered toward Anne and a radiantly smiling Feeyona Joie.
Alitus, Tales of the Chosen
Passion. Addiction. Loyalty. Can true love bare its heart forever?
Liquid Silver Books: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/books/alitus.htm

11 comments:

  1. I almost feel as if I should start out by saying, hello? it's me again margaret. i hope you got the joke. if not, look up ray stevens.

    happy birthday number 3! may this one be the best yet!

    freckles82012 AT gmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy Birthday, Kayelle and again...thx for sharing it with us! GREAT post..Loved this excerpt and Anne Cain's art too.

    barbbattaglia @ yahoo.com

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  3. Happy birthday!

    What a spot to stop after grabbing my attention like that! lol

    jlshadden @ knology.net

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  4. Happy Birthday Kayelle!!! Big hugs for a wonderful day. I would love to be included in your drawing. Kaydeeroyal at msn dot com

    Take time to celebrate, my friend!!

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  5. Happy Birthday, Kayelle! It was wonderful following your blogs. Have a happy day!

    tamsyn5(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  6. LOL Freckles. Yeah, I get it. Ray is a favorite, and I've used that line myself a few times. ^_^

    Barbara, isn't Anne's stuff amazing? I love it!

    Jodi, thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Kay Dee, thank you my friend. :)

    Tamsyn, thank you for taking the birthday tour today. ^_^
    I've sent off puzzle books and goodies to all of you.

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  7. Happy birthday Kayelle! May all your books be best sellers!

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  8. Candy, thank you. I'll claim that wish for sure. :)

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  9. Happy B-day dear friend AND you're giving gifts. Wanna puzzle. karensromance (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Smooches.

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  10. Do I puzzle you, Karen? ^_^ LOL On its way.

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  11. the winner for Alitus is Freckles - I'm sending it in a just a few minutes. Thank you to each of you who dropped by and commented. Made my entire day. ^_^

    ReplyDelete

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