When the Villain Comes Home

OK, pardon me for just a moment but: Isn’t It Beautiful???

 

I’m sorry, but I’m completely in love with that cover. I’ve been wanting to show it off since I first got a sneak peek months ago. And now it’s HERE! Following last year’s incredible, When the Hero Comes Home, coming August 10, 2012, is When the Villain Comes Home!

Heroes can save the world, but villains can CHANGE it. Dragon Moon Press and the editors of the award-nominated When the Hero Comes Home invite you to come along with us while we explore villains of all stripes — sons and daughters, lovers and fighters, minions and masterminds. Introducing thirty great science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction stories by bestsellers and award winners, rising stars, and bold new voices.

Stories by:

Camille AlexaPinktastic and the End of the World
Erik Scott de BieHunger of the Blood Reaver
Chaz BrenchleyVillainelle
Eugie FosterOranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me
David SakmysterPrometheus Found
Marie BilodeauHappily Ever After
Richard Lee ByersLittle Things
K.D. McEntireHeels
Peadar Ó GuilínThe Sunshine Baron
Jim C. HinesDaddy’s Little Girl
Ari Marmell Than to Serve in Heaven
Karin LowacheeThe Bleach
Jay LakeThe Woman Who Shattered the Moon
Julie CzernedaCharity
J.M. FreyMaddening Science
Clint TalbertBirthright
Rachel SwirskyBroken Clouds
Tony PiThe Miscible Imp
Leah PetersenManmade
J.P. MooreLord of the Southern Sky
Ryan McFaddenBack in the Day
Todd McCaffreyRobin Redbreast
Erik BuchananCycle of Revenge
Gregory A. WilsonThe Presuil’s Call
Rosemary JonesThe Man With Looking-Glass Eyes
Gabrielle HarbowyStarkeep
Ed GreenwoodA Lot of Sly Work Ahead
Mercedes Lackey / Larry DixonHeir Apparent
Chris A. JacksonHome Again, Home Again
Steve BornsteinThe Best Laid Plans

In celebration, Dragon Moon Press is hosting a giveaway of When the Hero Comes Home!

So, want a sneak peak of Villain? Here’s a bit from my story, Manmade:

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The castle called to him. Lord Andrew Rorin rode on through the creeping grey mist of dusk. He was determined to spend the night within the castle walls. In a sack tied to his saddle, the head of a king bumped a pleasant tattoo against the horse’s flank. Rorin smiled and urged the horse faster toward home.

The siren song of the keep danced together with visions of meats roasting over the fire, fat sizzling and popping on the coals below, of spiced mulled wine to warm his bones, and a wench or two to warm everything else.

The gates came into view and Rorin’s pulse quickened. He was eager to show off his latest trophy. He loved the expressions on their pretty little faces as they looked at, while trying not to see, the grisly proof of his latest conquests. That this was the head of a man only sweetened the victory.

For Lord Rorin’s intolerance for other men was legendary. He allowed no man in his presence save the heads of those he had killed, carefully bound with spells so that their last expression of fear or pain or the sweetness of surprise was forever preserved.

The lights in the windows were a cheery glow and the bustle of activity in the courtyard was proof that the castle had rallied its inhabitants to welcome their lord home. Rorin galloped through the gates and reined his horse to a stop in front of the great doors where, turned out to serve their lord and master…were a dozen men. Tall, hairy things like a grove of blight oaks planted in his yard.

Rorin flew off his horse, trembling with rage.

He stumbled to a stop in front of a thick, furry one. The words rushed to his lips, power gathering in his cupped hand.

Something massive darted in his peripheral vision, slamming into his side. Rorin fell. A moment before he hit the cobblestones he was snatched up by the very blur that had knocked him down.

“Don’t, my lord.”

The deep, resonant voice sent red fury racing through Rorin’s veins. He rounded on the speaker. The man was tall and beefy, with hands that looked capable of snapping small trees in half.

“What is the meaning of this? Get out of my sight! Where are my servants? Charlotte!”

“Here, my lord,” the same man answered.

Rorin stared at him.

“They call me Charles, now,” he amended after a long pause.

It was so absurd Rorin sputtered, a spray of astonishment and rage.

Charlotte, his current favorite, was thin at waist and wrist, plump where it mattered—breast, hips, lips. Her hair was the color of new wheat, eyes the strange, enigmatic dusky color of moss in the dry season. She was the loveliest of the ladies he had acquired in the forty years since he’d claimed the keep.

This thing, this man, couldn’t have been more different. Although the hair that brushed his powerful shoulders and shadowed a strong jaw was the color of new wheat. And under thick, knitted brows his eyes were the enigmatic, dusky color of dry moss.

“Don’t you ever, ever touch me,” Rorin hissed, clenching his teeth against the involuntary shiver the man’s touch had excited.

He wouldn’t have time to craft a spell with the man’s eyes on him. “Don’t even speak to me you lying, disgusting, monstrous—”

Snatching his belt knife, he thrust it two-handed at the man’s neck. The man’s hands flashed up and snatched at his wrists, a painful, crushing grip. Rorin gasped in a breath but before he could do anything with it, a beefy fist slammed into his temple. As darkness descended he heard a faraway, “Forgive me, my lord.”

You can read the rest of it on August 10, in When the Villain Comes Home!

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