I seem to be running a day behind. Sigh…
The Red Demon is FREE on Amazon. See here!
There is a reason Tem is called the Red Demon. She does what she wants when she wants. No one controls her. Time and space do not hinder her. Worshipped on ancient Earth as a goddess among many people in many different lands, nobody opposes her, except her creations, Issa Bokinan and Kane Tirol.
Having left her own daughters behind on Earth as seed stock for future generations, Tem had hoped to make a life with Kane. That is not to be. Rejected, alone and broken, she seeks comfort in the past with the Empress Ya, on Persephone, promising to behave and keep her identity a secret. Tem is hard pressed to control her worst impulses when she’s caught riding the Empress’ prize stallion.
Horse Master, Aytan Kirrae, cannot believe his eyes. A small Red Woman has just ridden off on the stallion named for him, a horse bred for the Empress Ya. He waits for her return, flipping her over his knee, meting out what he thinks will be a kinder punishment than she would receive from the Magistrate. He has no idea the small Red Woman can kill him with a single drop of her blood.
Pulled along to the future against his will, Aytan thinks he’s dreaming, until he must share the Blood Bond with Tem to save her life. Once he does, his own life will never be the same.
She’d been wise to return to Persephone. The Empress spoke the truth. Tem did need to find a place for herself, and perhaps once she did a life would follow.
“I need to settle upon one man and one time, the same as Aja and Ennat, and even Issa,” she murmured.
The anger she’d felt at Issa’s abandonment had dissipated. She no longer pined after Kane. Again, the Empress had been correct. Tem had always admired the older woman’s wisdom, now more than ever.
Kane Tirol was Issa’s true mate, Blood of her Blood. There was no sense in pretending otherwise.
Tem tossed her hair back and laughed out loud at the irony, the sound of her laughter echoing back from a nearby grove of trees. She’d been obsessed with men and women who didn’t even exist yet. Tem always thought of them as alive and well, and inhabiting the same moment in time she did.
“Well, when you can walk through time as you walk down a lane, it makes no difference.”
Tem threaded her hands through the grass, running her fingers along the stems, stripping them of their rough ripe seeds. She gazed down at the blond nuggets. The grass seeds reminded her of the rich gold-yellow hair of the people of Calen, descendants of the men and women who would settle that planet in another hundred years or so.
Lifting her palm to catch the wind, Tem watched the seeds drift away.
I am like the seed heads. I have nowhere to go, nowhere to be, no bloodline to manipulate, no human race to save.
She unbuckled her belt and tossed both the belt and her knife in its leather sheath onto a nearby rock. The horses always shied at the faint scent of blood on her knife so she had to discard it.
She stepped into the middle of the meadow and waited.
Tem felt vibrations through the soles of her bare feet and her smile widened. This was what she’d hoped for. Blood pounded in her ears.
She knew the stallion and his mares would remember her. She’d decided she would learn to ride on her own and she’d found her way to the Empress’s grand herd shortly after her arrival on the planet, but she hadn’t found the time to ride in ages.
The vibrations beneath Tem’s feet became thunder; the thunder gave way to a great roar. The ground shook beneath the force of their hooves. A thick cloud of dust moved in her direction and within seconds, she spied the mass of sleek, smooth, muscular bodies bearing down on her.
“Yes,” Tem whispered. She stood still, entranced by the sight of so much power.
Tem stepped in front of the great herd and closed her eyes. Relying upon her inner sight, she spread her arms. As the herd drew close, Tem stretched out her hands and the animals parted. The horses wove their way around her like water flowing around a boulder in the middle of a riverbed.
Tem dug her toes into the grass and forced herself to remain upright. The strength of the herd transported her, lifting her out of her body, sending her soul soaring up to her own private Nirvana.
She sensed the herd had passed her by, but now they began to circle back, cautious. Humans rarely approached them, let alone called them.
Hearing the stomp of his heavy hoofed foot, Tem smiled and opened her eyes. He nosed her outstretched hand.
The magnificent dappled gray stallion remembered her.
“What in the seven hells are you doing, woman? You’ll get yourself trampled to death.”
Tem turned around to look at the man striding towards her from the riverbank. She garnered his name in a single glance, Aytan Kirrae. Still smiling, Tem returned her attention to the horse. “I think not. He’s gentle as a kitten.”
To prove her point, she ran a hand along the stallion’s velvet nose. “Birat,” she said. “He’s called Birat.”
The man snorted. “The stallion has no name and you have trespassed into the Royal Grasslands. I’ll escort you back to the palace grounds. I’m sure you’ve left much work behind in the kitchens or the laundry. This is no place for the likes of you. Come.” He thrust an impatient hand in her direction.
Tem swallowed the obscenity on her tongue. It wouldn’t do to let the idiot know he’d managed to rile her. Instead she concentrated on the feel of the stallion’s breath, hot against her hair. The horse pawed the ground. Perhaps she should encourage him to kick the man.
“I’ll return to the palace later,” Tem said. She twisted her hands in the horse’s thick, white mane and vaulted onto his back. Squeezing her legs into the stallion’s flanks, horse and rider dashed off through the waving grass. Without hesitation, the mares followed.
“Godsdamn it, woman,” Kirrae shouted after her.
Tem dared a glance back. If looks could kill, she would be very dead. Kirrae appeared furious, but at least he had the good sense to stay put. He’d bred this stallion and he knew as well as she did he’d never catch her.
Tem made sure he caught sight of her grin before she turned away. She had all afternoon and she could play hide and seek with the best of them.