Today I'm pleased to offer an excerpt from the new book Enlightened - A Tale of Love and Light. Enjoy!!
Loti Dupree fears that when her husband died, she lost her soul. Harboring a painful secret, she flees her life in a small Appalachian town for the ashram, the spiritual retreat where she trained to be a yogini. But she is running from more than grief. An ominous nightmare the night before she leaves sets her on a dangerous path of self-discovery that challenges everything she believes – and threatens her life.
While dodging psychic attacks from an unknown assailant, she struggles with her growing attraction to a broody, handsome and completely frustrating vampire. Loti races to understand who and what she is before her anonymous enemy catches up with her.
“Friends. Welcome!” Calisto’s voice boomed.
He stood on top of a large, flat boulder that jutted out from the mountain side. People whistled and clapped.
“We have the honor of some special guests tonight. The Travelers have agreed to lead us in song.” The crowd howled their approval as Calisto turned and held out his arms. “Guided, my friend.”
A beefy guy with a bushy beard and long hair stepped up, gripping Calisto in a warm embrace and kissing his face as they slapped each other on the back. So this was Guided—the leader of the Travelers, the ashram healer tribe. Most healers still lived in small tribes on the trail system that crisscrossed North and South America. Guided lifted his hands to the cheering mob, and they rewarded him with an outburst of rapid drums and hoots. A flute lilted over the noise, somehow penetrating it, and all went wild. Another man in bulky hiking boots, and a wooden flute to his lips, joined Guided as Calisto melted into the darkness. He lifted the flute over his head while the crowd chanted, “Peacemaker. Peacemaker. Peacemaker.”
“Om Namah Shivaya,” Guided shouted.
The crowd shouted it right back, while the drummers fumbled around. The people called kirtan until the drummers organized themselves into something a little funkier. Finger cymbals jingled and rattles rustled; their fearless leader, Guided, bobbed and dipped. He looked over his shoulder and nodded at Peacemaker, who brought the flute back to his lips. When Guided swung around to the crowd, his face crinkled into a pirate’s smile as he rapped:“I dedicate this rhyme to the Goddess of Power,
The Daughter of the Mountains, she’s the source of all life.
The Destroyer of Fear, Shiva’s devoted wife.
She’s the bringer of Shakti and breath by the hour,
Parvati’s love makes all the demons cower.”
The crowd went ballistic, and Loti howled right along with them. Wolf’s chuckle in her ear was like warm honey in her belly and it burbled into her weary chest. A grateful smile lifted her cheeks. It felt so good and natural she touched her face to make sure it was real. When she moved her arms, Wolf’s hands slid to her hips. The fire roared to life as several bare-chested men tossed logs into its heart, and Loti turned away into Wolf’s arms. He felt like shelter, and she sucked in air, light headed and over-heated.
Wolf held the base of her skull with one hand while his other arm circled her back. With her hands on his chest, it was so easy to surrender. Resting his cheek on the crown of her head, he closed his eyes, and they were one warm, drowsy body, high on the rhythm. The beat slowed and so did they. Loti’s awareness floated from the smell of wood smoke and peppermint on Wolf’s shirt to the cold, metal zipper on her cheek. His thigh tucked between hers while her soft belly pressed to his hard muscle, and their chests crushed together. His cheek slipped down her face, and his parted lips skimmed over hers with no direction or purpose other than to feel.
The sensations blurred—moist breath, skin-on-skin, no aggression, a moan. Something thick slid up from the base of her spine and weaved itself through all the small spaces, to the exact place where Wolf’s hand held her head. The music changed again and again, but she barely noticed as the drumbeat and his body cocooned her in warm half-consciousness. The music rattled to an end, and there was a long shuffling pause, wood crackling and the fire whistled. As if waking from a trance, she blinked sticky eyes and swallowed. Wolf loosened his grip, and she slid numb hands around him. Blood rushed back into her hands in biting tingles as soft, pulsing waves rose in her tailbone, crested in her chest, and crashed in her head.
“What is this?” she whispered.
“I don’t know,” Wolf murmured.
She lifted her head at the roughness of his voice, and he pressed a kiss to her eyelid, then stepped away, one hand sliding down her arm. He never lost contact as he slipped his hand into hers.
“It’s time,” a female voice said.
Wolf’s eyes shifted to look over Loti’s shoulder and they hardened. She spun around to Fiamette, whose face was lost in the contrast of black hair outlined in orange flame. Fiamette turned to look at the fire with anxious lines framing her mouth – suddenly, she looked vulnerable. Uncertain, Loti looked to Wolf who seemed to be at a loss with the woman, as well.
“Calisto’s waiting by the stage,” Fiamette said to the fire, then hurried off, morphing into a black shadow against the flames.
About the Author
Melissa Lummis considers herself a truth seeker, a peaceful warrior, a paranormal and fantasy writer, an avid reader, a thru-hiker GAàME ’98, a wife, a mother, and a free thinker. She believes the universe conspires to help an adventurer. And if we live our lives as if it is a daring adventure (and it is!), then everything we need will find its way to us. The author lives in rural Virginia with her husband, two children, an Alaskan Malamute and a myriad of forest creatures. The nature of her mind dictates that she write to stay sane. Otherwise, her fertile imagination takes off on tangents of its own accord, creating scenarios and worlds that confuse the space-time continuum. Namaste, dear friends.
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