Dark Faerie Tales is proud to post today’s exclusive deleted scene from Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan! Winterblaze is the third novel in the amazing Darkest London series and it was just released on Tuesday, February 26. Want to know our thoughts on this series? Read my reviews for Ember (prequel short story), Firelight and Moonglow. The review for Winterblaze will be posted soon.
Read below for an exclusive deleted scene from Poppy’s point of view.
Half Norwegian and half Irish American, Kristen Callihan is a child of the 80’s, which means she’s worn neon skirts, black-lace gloves, and combat boots (although never all at once) and can quote John Hughes movies with the best of them. A life-long daydreamer, she finally realized that the characters in her head needed a proper home and thus hit the keyboard. She believes that falling in love is one of the headiest experiences a person can have, so naturally she writes romance. Her love of superheroes, action movies, and history led her to write historical paranormals. She lives in the Washington D.C. area with her husband and their two children.
You can visit Kristen around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Want to read more from Kristen Callihan?
Poppy cried herself to sleep. And she never cried. Not when her mother had died, nor when she faced her heartbroken sisters and told them one lie after another. She had wanted to cry during those times, but her training had kicked in and she pushed her personal feeling back into the darkest corner of her soul where they could not touch her.
When Win had left her, his eyes filled with hurt and pain, she had tried to do the same. It did not work. Denying him had been the worst decision of her life, and she knew with bone-deep conviction that, in doing so, she had broken something vital within herself.
The years without him at her side stretched before her and she could see herself growing colder and colder, until she was as icy as her power. And then the tears came. She hadn’t been ready for the pain, for feeling as though she’d rather die then spend another moment in this hell of her own creation. It was for the best, she told herself. Win’s father would make their life hell, worse, if he investigated her any more, he might expose her role in the SOS. And then there was Win. How could she continue to lie to him about what she was? Keep him safe from this life?
Nights later, when she huddled beneath her blankets, too spent to cry any longer, her mother’s long ago words came to her.
“Do not love, child. It will do you no good.” This was just one in a long line of lessons Poppy’s mother had begun to teach her upon reaching the ripe old age of seven. Seven, a magic number, filled with power, said her mother. Now, at the age of ten, Poppy knew so many things.
“This life we lead has no room for tender sentiment. Loving a man will tear your
heart apart and make you weak-willed,” her mother continued.
“Don’t you love father?” As young as she was, Poppy knew she wouldn’t like the answer.
Her mother’s cool palm smoothed down her cheek, and her dark eyes, so like Poppy’s own, grew shadowed. “No. He was merely a means to get me away from your grandfather and to London.” Margaret Ellis never shied away from brutal honesty when speaking with her eldest daughter. “Hector views women as simple creatures, which makes him manageable.”
“But, mum, your father is an earl. Why did you not marry a lord?” Poppy had heard many charming stories of princes and dukes. To marry one sounded quite nice to her.
Her mother smiled faintly. “Aristocracy lives in the public eye. One reason your grandfather did not want me to have anything to do with the SOS.” Her mouth grew tight. “That, and he was not blessed with power. You’ll find, daughter, that men do not appreciate a women who is stronger than they are.”
Poppy knew that was one reason her mother hid her powers, and Poppy’s, from Hector Ellis. It made her sad to think of her mother living without love. A frightening thought filled her then and she looked at her mother with new eyes. “Mum…do you not love us?”
Horribly, her mother did not answer for a long moment. When she spoke, her usually smooth voice was rough. “I love my daughters too well.” Her fingers glided along Poppy’s hair. “It would have been better not to have any more than you. A first daughter is necessary. Others…” She shook her head and looked away, her lovely profile gilded in
candlelight. “Your sisters are carefree, happy girls. We will not inflict them with this life of danger and coldness.”
Poppy accepted the words, because her mother entrusted her, and only her, to these secrets, and yet in that moment she resented her mother for forcing on her a life of loneliness.
Poppy had tried to live by her mother’s words, but she had failed. And now she suffered. She woke in pain, her mind spinning with thoughts of Win and emptiness crushing down on her. She missed his voice, his touch, the way he looked at her like he knew her heart and soul. Coldness swirled around the room until it grew frosty and ice laces formed patterns over the windows and hung like crystals along the lamps.
Down below, her father complained loudly over the prevailing cold. Poppy could only be thankful that the weather had turned for the worse, and he wouldn’t suspect her. Another shout came from her father for little Miranda to come along and create a hot fire in the kitchen hearth, and then Daisy chiding him to leave Miranda alone.
Poppy bit her lip and tried to pull her power back. It was no use. Ice invaded her heart, crusted her skin. She would freeze herself solid. Without Win, she did not want to live anyway.
“You are maudlin and ridiculous,” she said to the ceiling. “His father would…” Her words trailed off. His father would what? She couldn’t remember. Her thoughts were fuzzy. For a moment, she had thought that Win’s father would have protested their union, and thus threatened to expose her true identity. But that wasn’t right. Win had been cut off from his family because he wanted to be a policeman.
Poppy bolted upright. Why had she thought differently? She pulled her knees
close to her chest. It was still dangerous to have him. He could be hurt. She would have to hide her true life from him.
“I don’t care!” Her voice echoed in the cold room, and she squeezed legs. She wanted Win. She needed him. He was her warmth, the one thing that would keep her human. With Win, she was balanced, almost normal. Without him, she was empty. Like her mother. “No, I won’t be her.”
Poppy whipped off of the bed and threw on her clothes. Her boots clattered on the stairs as she raced down them.
“Where the bleeding devil are you going?” shouted her father.
“Out.” She didn’t look back.
Outside was warm compared to the Arctic chill within. She pulled in a drought of air and ran on, not knowing where he would be, only that she had to find him. Her skirts snapped around her legs as she raced down the drive. A figure was at the gate, and she skidded to a halt.
He looked up at the sound of her harsh whisper. His fingers curled around the black bars of the gate. “I had to come back.”
Slowly she walked toward him as her heart slammed against her ribs. He looked so wonderfully awful, purple smudges beneath his eyes, a sandy beard covering his jaw, and his hair sticking up wildly.
She stopped before him, close enough to feel his warmth. “Why?”
His knuckles went white. “Because you belong to me.” His jaw bunched. “And I will not let you go, Poppy Ann.”
Her breath hitched. “That is fortuitous.” She took a step closer. Only the bars of the gate separated them. But she did not want to wait to open them. She’d waited too long already. “Because the only thing I’ve ever wanted in this life…” through the bars, she touched his cheek, and he swallowed convulsively, “is you.”
His eyes grew bright as ice. “Poppy.” He reached for her, drawing her near as he could. Cold bars pressed against her chest, along the side of her cheek, but his mouth was hot. So wonderfully hot, his kiss melting her from outside to in.
“I love you,” he said against her lips. “Until my dying day.”
She clung to him, holding his head through the iron bars, as she kissed him back almost desperately. “Then we shall have to die together,” she said when they broke apart, “for I cannot live without you.”
Available February 26, 2013 from Grand Central Publishing/Hachette
About this Book:
Once blissfully in love . . .
Poppy Lane is keeping secrets. Her powerful gift has earned her membership in the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals, but she must keep both her ability and her alliance with the Society from her husband, Winston. Yet when Winston is brutally attacked by a werewolf, Poppy’s secrets are revealed, leaving Winston’s trust in her as broken as his body. Now Poppy will do anything to win back his affections . . .
Their relationship is now put to the ultimate test.
Winston Lane soon regains his physical strength but his face and heart still bear the scars of the vicious attack. Drawn into the darkest depths of London, Winston must fight an evil demon that wants to take away the last hope of reconciliation with his wife. As a former police inspector, Winston has intelligence and logic on his side. But it will take the strength of Poppy’s love for him to defeat the forces that threaten to tear them apart.
Click HERE to read an excerpt