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Thursday, April 30, 2009
Thursday Spotlight: Whiskey Creek Press Torrid
Mystic Stones by Kiki Howell
Editor: Gail Simmons
Cover Artist: Jinger Heaston
I have always loved to read, spending hours lost in a book. Getting caught up in the characters lives, I am easily transported into another place in time where I get to be someone else, someplace else, and experience something new. I am the same way when I write. Creating magical lives with just words has become an amazing and a humbling obsession.
Haunting libraries and bookstores is one of my favorite ways to pass time. My ideas for stories often spring from non-fiction and are spun into fantasy. Being bewitched by books on Wicca, Mystic Stones was woven from a spell that utilized the mystical properties of a gemstone. My research began in the legend and lore surrounding my own personal gemstone, the aquamarine. Centering my romance in “Aquamarine Love,” on the emotional expressions attributed to the stone, I allowed my hero and heroine to be called together by its powers.
Once I wrote one story, I had to write another. I took the black onyx, believed for protection by making oneself invisible to the negativity of others, and used it to let a real witch escape unnoticed from the Witch Hunters. As I wrote “A Witch’s Protection,” it felt like I was able to settle a score with such a horrific moment in history.
“Sexual Healing” was a story I had previously written, but set aside. I realized how the story would profit from the healing magic of the stones. Undecided as to the right stone, I gave my hero a whole bag!
The last story I wrote was “The Stone Hex.” With further reading, I had found out about how the beautiful designs on the sides of barns were called Hex Signs thought to ward off evil by the Pennsylvania Dutch. The setting of this story became an old abandoned home my friends and I used to dangerously explore in the hills of Southern Ohio where I grew up.
Before I knew it, I had an anthology. I was very excited to find it a home at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid, and to have the very talented Jinger Heaston adorn the book with such a fantastic cover.
Throughout history, many have believed in the magical powers and healing properties of gemstones. In Mystic Stones, the skeptical are forced into believing by their own needs and desires.
Because of the gemstones they possess…
In Aquamarine Love, Nadia’s desperation could lead her to her destiny;
In The Stone Hex, an old witch’s curse could ignite the first sparks of attraction between Rachael and Gabe;
In A Witch’s Protection, attraction could save Emaline from torture at the hands of the witch-finders;
And in Sexual Healing, love may save David and Catherine from themselves.
In these stories of sex and redemption, witches and ghosts — the characters will tug at your heart and arouse your passions. Become enchanted with the mystical powers of the gemstones while being swept away by the romances of those in their mists…
Excerpt From Aquamarine Love in Mystic Stones
The aquamarine stone that hung around her neck lay cold and hard, pushed between her naked breasts by the breeze of the Cretan Gulf. Her toes dug into the sand in avoidance of the slightly chilled water. Wanting no barriers, Naida had stripped herself of clothing. In a moment of clarity, however, she hoped she was hidden enough by the crag of rocks jutting out from the land on her left, and the boats on her right. It was midnight of the August full moon. She slowly entered the water. After three quick steps, a wave washed up over her naked waist. She stopped in a wide legged stance allowing the moving water to rush back and forth between her thighs. That long ignored area clenched up causing an undeniable ache through her stomach and heart. After three more slow steps, a wave washed up over her chest. She searched the water for any signs not even sure what she was looking for. The movement of the water tracked the moments passing her by. She felt overwhelmed by the unknown.
Naida grabbed the blue stone hanging over her chest hoping for the calm it was supposed to provide. There was no telling how old the stone actually was. It had been passed down generation after generation through the first-born females in her family. She searched her mind for the ancestral tale of the aquamarine. It told of a mermaid, a lonely woman, and the sea. As she remembered it, the woman had sat crying one night at the edge of the same waters Naida entered tonight. A mermaid had emerged from the water with the stone as an offering, a gift for the sad and lonely woman. The song of the mermaid could not exactly be remembered all these years later, but the powers of the stone she sang of were still told. Naida could hear her mother telling her to wear the aquamarine always over her heart. It would bring her the peace needed to make full use of her inner powers, enhancing her connection to her higher self, so that, when the stone brought to her the man she was destined to love, her eyes would be open to him. Once she married, the stone would bring her and her lover the mutuality needed for a lasting relationship. Then, when a daughter was born to her and became of childbearing age, she was to pass on the stone with the story of its powers.
And yet, Naida, now in her late twenties, was often anxious despite the stone and very much alone. Her grandmother blamed Naida’s choice of a new modern, hectic life at the University of Crete in Rethymnon, where she worked. Naida’s love of learning had led her to become a professor. Wrapped up in research, many full moons had passed her by as she ignored the calling of the water. Her grandmother and her mother still called to remind her every full moon to go to the sea to immerse the stone in the water to recharge its powers. Yet, more often than not, she didn’t even answer the phone as she worked through the night.
Although calmer now, it was in a numbing state of despair that she walked back out of the water only to crumple onto the shoreline as her tears began to fall and join the sea. So out of touch was she that she did not hear the wary footsteps of a man approaching her.
A hand on her back made Naida sit up knocking into this man’s bare chest. Instinct had her trying to elbow her unknown attacker, but he caught her arms, wrapping himself around her like a straight jacket to protect himself. The glow of the stone on her chest stopped them both. Her labored breathing caused it to rise and fall shedding blue light over her jutting nipples. His knees dropped to the sand so that he was now straddling her. Naida could feel the heat of his hands on her arms, the tickle of his chest hair on her back and the strength of his thighs around her legs. The feeling of his cold skin burned through her as the backs of his fingers pushed between her breasts to grab the stone. At that moment, Naida felt nothing but peace in her heart and arousal in her soul. The tiny chill of the midnight water lapped at them. And, she curled back against him resting her weight upon his chest leaving her legs spread open wide beneath her.
“My name is Naida,” she said, her voice coming out small against the sound of the waves and the wind.
“The stone?” he questioned, as his hand came to rest on the full of her breasts still gripping the stone.
“It is an Aquamarine. It brought me you.”
In another time and another place that statement would have sounded too bizarre to say out loud. She hoped somehow he had felt the call.
“Naida.” He said her name in a way that left her unsure if he was trying to clarify her correct name or to just grasp onto some sort of reality with the sound of his own voice.
“Yes,” she answered.
She closed her eyes a second to force other senses to reassure her of his presence. She felt his hand gently put the stone back against her skin. Sensation lingered as he let his hand brush over her one breast and come to rest over her nipple. She breathed in deeply, serenity pushing her erect nipples harder into his fingers. She had not even asked his name, and yet she felt no fear of him, only a yearning deep within her. She laid her head back onto his shoulder to look into his eyes. He kissed her softly while he slid a hand to her stomach. Inch by inch she felt his hands lower till they met with hair.
“Naida,” he breathed out her name as his hands slid to her thighs.
“Touch me. I have waited so long for you.”
She felt him breath deeply in and out. She felt his cock bump against her as his hands remained on her thighs torturing her. He tightened his grip on the fullness of the flesh there.
“You can touch me,” she said as she straightened her back a little to kiss his neck. She opened more so that his hands fell into her moistness. She felt the pressure of his hands tensing. Her clit throbbed wanting to escape the skin separating it from his fingers. As the pressure of his hands became more intense, the roughness of his skin became more apparent. Her hands went instinctively to his. She forced the first two fingers of his right hand onto her aching opening. The muscles clenched at the intrusion. She rocked the first two fingers of his left hand between her folds to her clit. He took over from there working her as she pumped her hips. Then, he took his hands from her.
Crawling around her still on his knees, he ran his hands down her arms as he laid her back onto the sand just where the crest of the wave lapped. Pulling her legs out from under her and placing them around him, he looked at her as if mesmerized. The moonlight shone through the hairs on her mound. The stone continued to glow further illuminating her skin. He pushed down his pants revealing a need for her. A spot of liquid glistened blue on the tip of his engorged cock.
“Naida,” he sighed her name as the tip of his penis pressed against her moist opening.
“I’m Damian,” he stated as he plunged his dick into the tightness of her pussy.
Their breath caught simultaneously. He pushed in and out of her along with the rhythm of the waves. She pulled his chest down onto her own, so that the stone was against his heart also. They climaxed together with muscles clenching and limbs shaking for what seemed like a glorious eternity, then his full weight collapsed onto her.