Why didn't I?
Well, two reasons, really...
1) I didn't want to short-change Ri and Sean's romance. And yes, I hope I made it very clear that there would be a romance between them. :) But theirs will be a very deep connection, and I didn't feel like I could adequately convey that with what I had already written. It would take a lot more time to do it properly, and the book was already really long. (I have since discovered that most folks would not have had a problem with this, but I digress!)
2) I just had a feeling that I shouldn't.
I think I've posted before that I don't write in a linear fashion. I get ideas for scenes, or they just come to me and must be written down. When I have enough scenes, I then spend time trying to mesh them all together. Or I wait for the characters to tell me the missing parts of the story.
That is what is happening with the sequel to Hearts, which I will no longer try to name, because it keeps adding to itself and the 'feel' of it is changing, evolving, and turning into something else, entirely different from my original intentions.
For the record, Hearts did that to me, too, and what started out as a fun little naughty menage novella turned into the birth of a whole new world, a new universe, and an epic tale of love, war, persecution, and a mix of sci-fi, fantasy, and the paranormal. The stories and interactions that are coming to me take time to develop, to refine, to deepen.
I know that I originally tried to get the sequel out by Christmas 2012. That obviously didn't happen. :) Sorry about that! I also mentioned that I was going to try to get it out by my first book signing in April.
That, also, is unlikely to happen, unless I get a major bolt of inspiration and things go perfectly between now and then, including my beta readers having no lives (they do!), and my editor being able to drop her life and do nothing but my stuff (ain't gonna happen!).
So I hereby declare that I will no longer try to anticipate when the sequel to Hearts of Ishira will come out. I won't try to anticipate what the name of the book will be, since that might change between now and then, as well.
What I will do is assure you that, so far, it is looking to be just as much fun, love, steam, and adventure as the first book, if not more of all of the above, and the stories that are unfolding will hopefully leave you wanting the third book (oh yes, there will be a third!), as much as some of you want the second!
As a side note, I now have a lot more respect for authors who are able to crank out an epic sequel in a year or less! I am in awe!
Keep checking back... I'll update with my progress and hopefully with non-spoiler snippets, though that part will be harder as I get into the book.
argh! There's so much I want to share with you already, but I can't! LOL
I'm going back to Ishira now... don't wanna leave them alone for too long... they'll come up with yet another sub-plot, and I need to save SOME of those for future books!
But rest assured, my friends... You will be seeing a lot more of Ri, Hunter, Jace, Sean... and others.
In the meantime, here's a snippet that I hope won't give too much away, since you already know that Sean will be part of the bigger picture... (There is one tiny spoiler, but hopefully it'll just make you wanna read this more!) Note: This has not been through a final edit, so please ignore stuff that will most likely be fixed in the final! :D
She crept out of the suite, pushing aside the heavy tapestry that covered the balcony’s doorway now that the nights were growing chilly. Once outside, she pulled her shawl closer around her shoulders and hugged herself as she leaned on the balcony railing.
The stars were so very different on this planet. There were no constellations that she recognized. With the help of her extensive collection of Hubble telescope images and the books on astronomy she had collected, Ri and the astronomers of Hunter’s crew had figured out that she was in a completely different quadrant of space than the Milky Way galaxy. They even brought her home galaxy up on their screens, so that she could see it as they did. Tears had filled her eyes at the beauty of her former home, but her heart was firmly in the Ishira Star System now. Or wherever Hunter and Jace were.
She smiled now, thinking about her men and the cascade of events that had led to her being with them. They were so perfect for her, and to hear them tell it, she was everything they had ever wanted in a life-mate.
Her smile faded and a frown puckered her brow, though she still watched the skies.
The coincidences bothered her. Not really coincidences, when she thought about it a bit harder. The women who were on that ship with her had been specially chosen for this trip. She had been chosen. What was so special about them? Why were they, of all the beings in the known universe, brought to this sector of space?
And most importantly, who had brought them here and why weren’t those people looking for their lost ‘experiments’?
As though in answer, an image, hazy and dark, rose in her mind at the thought of being someone’s experiment. She concentrated, trying to focus on that image, see what was going on. She sensed pain, terror, horror, and shame/ It was coming from herself as well as others, but she couldn’t figure out what was being done, or to whom. There was something blocking her memory, but as soon as she tried to press further, a spike of pain thrust through her brain. She immediately backed off, determined to ask Jace about it.
“What are you doing out here in the cold?” Sean yawned from the doorway. She whirled, lost her balance, and gripped the railing behind her with a rueful, soft chuckle.
“You startled me!”
“I felt you walk by,” he said, stretching as best he could without tugging on his wound. “You are thinking awfully hard for the middle of the night, kimi.”
She sighed, fighting to hide her thoughts from him.
In the starlight and the glow of the three moons of Ishira, he was breathtaking. Dressed only in his sleeping pants, a kimi-wool blanket over his shoulders, and with his hair down, loose, and disheveled from sleep, he was beautiful. She tried to remember the name of the actor back on Earth that he most resembled. The guy who played Thor. He looked like that guy, only with sable hair, green eyes, and more handsome, if that was possible.
Sean blinked at her.
“Who is this ‘Thor’, and why do you make such a sweet sound of desire when you think of him?” he demanded, his brows coming together over his nose. Ri couldn’t help the startled giggle at his indignation. He arched a brow at her.
“Thor is the god of thunder, in old Norse mythology,” she told him, dragging in a deep breath. “There was a movie made recently that portrayed him as a superhero. The guy who played him was… beautiful.”
“You think such men are beautiful?” he asked, his grin fighting for freedom as he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned a hip against the railing, looking down at her. His sleep pants hung loosely on his narrow hips, showing just a hint of that marvelous V that made Ri go weak in the brain functions. The utterly masculine pose contrasted with the lacy crochet of the blanket made her catch her breath. His grin was slow and knowing and entirely too smug. She felt her heart begin to thud more heavily.
“The right men are,” she murmured, holding his gaze long enough to let him know that he was in that company. Sean’s smile broke free and he uncrossed one arm long enough to touch her cheek.
“You honor me, sweet Arianna,” he whispered. “I am not beautiful. I’m just a man.”
“And the fact that you think that is part of what makes you beautiful,” she told him, smiling and leaning into his touch for just a moment. He leaned closer, but more to share his warmth and to shield her from the sudden night breeze than anything else. When the wind subsided, he moved to her side, their upper arms touching as he leaned on the railing with her. He followed her gaze up to the stars, his cheek next to hers as he tried to gain her perspective. He loved the tiny indrawn breath she took at his nearness, but kept his triumph to himself.
“What do you see?” he asked, his voice soft and low.
“Everything,” she whispered, smiling, the stars reflected in her eyes. “There’s a word I heard once that has stayed with me ever since. It’s Japanese, from a country back on Earth. It’s yugen. It’s an awareness of the universe that is so deeply powerful and emotional that there are no words. I’m a bit of a writer, and I can never seem to express what I feel when I look up into the night sky.
“I grew up watching the stars, learning about them, dreaming of one day being among them. But I always thought it was only a dream. Back home, we’ve barely left our atmosphere. We’ve only sent a manned mission to our moon, no further. My family and I loved watching all the science-fiction shows and movies. We were acknowledged geeks.” She laughed a bit at the memory, then sighed. “I read all the books I could find, over and over again, because they took me to places that were different. Places where things made sense, where good usually won and ordinary women could become extraordinary heroes.”
“You have done that, though,” he reminded her gently. She made a soft little scoffing sound at that. Sean nudged her shoulder with his arm where they both rested on the balcony railing. “You and Bev saved the women who now live with us. You encouraged them to embrace their new life, and our men. When others arrived, you worked tirelessly to help integrate our people into one society. You lead, the whole time denying that you are a leader. You even found me, brought our ship here, and reunited my family. And tonight…”
His voice trailed off and she heard him swallow a few times before he went on, his voice hoarse with emotion. She could feel his profound gratitude, the depth of emotion he could not verbalize, and it brought tears to her eyes. She had been performing an experiment. She had not counted on the incredible relationships of the Thorsani, had not thought what finding their lost sister would mean to them.
“Tonight you brought us continued hope, not only that one of our sisters is alive, but that, because of you, she is now bringing herself and more of our people here”
“I still can’t believe I did that,” she murmured sheepishly, shaking her head. “But I could not have done it without the rest of you supporting me and adding your energy.”
“I’m not so sure about that,” Sean said thoughtfully. She looked up at him in question. He watched her speculatively for a moment. “I think that your mind is much more powerful than you imagine, kimi. I think that whatever that box is that has been placed inside your brain, it is only to help produce energy more efficiently. I believe that you already had the ability to Read, or ‘psychic powers’, if you wish to call it that..”
“What makes you say that?” she asked, shuddering as a cold wind whipped down over the cliff, catching them by surprise and rattling the newly opened autumn night flowers around them. Sean cursed under his breath and tugged her to him, holding her close and turning his back to the wind until it died down again. When the dust settled and all was still once more, she slowly raised her face to his gaze. He pulled back only enough to look down at her, but did not release her from his embrace.
“Ri,” he breathed.
She moistened her dusty lips, her heart thudding against his chest, her hands trapped between them still clutching her shawl to her breast. As though unable to help himself, he caught her lips with his for a tiny nibble. When she did nothing more than sigh and tremble at the touch, he pulled her even closer and deepened the kiss. His big hands splayed on her back, warming her even more through the shawl. Ri shivered for another reason entirely as his tongue swept along her lower lip, sweetly requesting entrance.
The stars, the silence of the night, and the man were too much for her. She couldn’t keep him at arm’s length in this moment. Did not want to.
With a murmur of his name, she leaned into him, letting him kiss her, allowing him to angle his body so that he was all dominant, big, warrior male taking his lady’s breath away. She let her head rest against his shoulder as he explored her mouth with his tongue, his lips, even his teeth scraping across her lower lip in a sensual little bite that made her shiver and sigh. Her legs were weakening, her head spinning.
And spinning, and spinning still…
She couldn’t breathe…