Excerpt Monday October 2009

 
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Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You=2 0don’t have to be published to participate–just an writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the Excerpt Monday site! or click on the banner above.

Release day for Bound By Deception and Excerpt Monday all posted together!

In case you haven’t seen the excerpt for my new paranormal story out today at Liquid Silver Books, click http://www.christapaige.com/blog/?page_id=8

Now, to celebrate the release of Bound By Deception, the following is a recap of my time at the Bonding Shower for Anna the heroine of this story. I learned quite a lot of interesting things about the culture of the Kan Asma. I hope you enjoy reading what happened. Leave me a comment about the shower, anything from what gift you would give a vampire bride to your impressions or even a blessing for Anna and I will enter you into the gift-basket drawing taking place on the 15th of October.

***

I had the distinct honor of attending Anna Komar’s Bonding Shower. Like all women who anxiously count down the days to their long-awaited wedding ceremony, Anna celebrated her eminent mating with a party much like a typical bridal shower. Except, I was in for quite a shock at some of the deviations. Here is a recounting of my time with an aristocratic group of the extraordinary Kan Asma females, followed by a short interview that Anna granted me.

 The party started in the late afternoon. The time did not surprise me; these people are predisposed to the night life due to some vampire-like characteristics. Since the sun had yet to set on this beautiful Southern California day, I instantly wondered how the party would be held. I figured it would be indoors most likely a darkened room with heavy, sun-blocking drapes pulled shut to keep out the deadly rays. So, when I first entered the sprawling foyer at Anna’s parents’ Westwood home, seeing the cheery room washed in daylight, it surprised me greatly.

 Therese, Anna’s mother, greeted me. I had to hide my awe at her youthful veneer. Mrs. Komar was a picture of elegance, tall and slender with flawless skin. I don’t know how old Anna’s mother is but she certainly doesn’t look a day over thirty.  I queried her about the daylight and she happily explained that the females were not affected by the sun.  Living in California, that was certainly a good thing.

 We walked into the living room and she graciously introduced me to the others in attendance. Instantly, I noticed the decorations transforming the room into a festive atmosphere. First off, my interest was drawn to a buffet, where miniature golden wine goblets were filled to the brim with red Jelly Beans. I would have preferred actual wine in them, perhaps, something a little bracing to help with my nerves.

 “Do you abstain from liquor?” I asked, genuinely curious.

 Therese shook her head. Her long, wavy hair fluttered like spun gold with the movement. “Oh, no, we indulge plenty,” she said before adding, “You ask because of the goblets?”

I nodded and she continued, “It is the central part of the ceremony, so for this shower, we honor the tradition with a bit of fun. Candy is much sweeter than blood.”

 Okay, interesting, I thought. When we walked past a small table draped in a scarlet cloth, my curiosity piqued. On top of it was a large cake. Instead of wedding bells and white doves, the complex design had piping in the shape of a berry vine. Strange, I mused. But as I looked around, I realized the vine motif was not exclusive to the cake decorations. Actually, some of the stucco bore the same elaborate stenciling. The little I knew about these people gave me the information I required to understand its presence. This berry vine was the reason behind who they were and they honored it.

 On an easel sat a large, white, cardstock matte-frame. Though, no engagement picture sat in the midst of it. Come to think of it, Anna’s invitation never mentioned who her mate would be. A lot of weird little oddities occur in this culture for sure!

 Therese handed me a glittery gold pen and made a little fluttering move with her fingers, “Go ahead and write a blessing wherever you find a spot.”

 I chewed on my lip, trying not to appear gauche. Whatever I wrote would look out of place for sure, because all the other wishes or whatever they were, had been written in something other than English. I found a small, vacant spot at the very bottom right corner and scribbled a quick, patent ‘good luck’.

 Afterward, I sat down on a heavenly, comfortable, high-backed chair. Glancing around the circle of stunningly beautiful females made me feel a bit shabby. Something about them bespoke of refinement and elegance. Maybe, it was my simple knock-off wardrobe or the fact that I am short and stocky, but being seated there beside them gave me a complex. Stasya, Anna’s cousin engaged me in a conversation almost immediately.  The lilt to her words reminded me of her Russian heritage, yet she had a fluent grasp of the English language.

 She held out her hand and turned it. On her palm sat neon-green plastic fangs, a black string was tied to one end. “Hang it around your neck. The game is similar to the one humans play with clothes pins. Except, if you get caught saying, ‘blood’ or ‘bite,’ whoever catches you, gets your fangs. The one with the most at the end of the party wins a gift basket.”

 I nodded, that shouldn’t be too difficult, I couldn’t fathom any reasons whatsoever to say either word. Maybe, I would go home with the winning prize.

 As the time went on, I found myself relaxing and truly enjoying myself. We played many games copied from typical bridal showers. I had to sit out during the “unscramble the Turkish endearment” game which Katiya, Anna’s sister in law won, but looked none too pleased about it. A few times, I could have sworn the words she uttered were down right scathing. I wondered what her problem was.

 Finally, the time came for Anna to open her gifts. She did not have a registry and looking around at all the high priced, fancy things in her mother’s home, I imagined Anna wanted for nothing. I was still rather curious as to what kind of gifts one received at a vampire bridal shower. Didn’t all brides want china and a silver setting? What about linens? Finger towels, ice cream makers and crock pots? Had Anna escaped the gift-return nightmare? Lucky woman!

 She gingerly pulled away the shiny velum of tissue paper surrounding a gift from Nathalia, one of her close friends. Anna slid her hand into the box and pulled out a black pair of lacy panties. It was really just a scrap. It could barely cover a thing. A moment later, Anna lifted a matching bra. “Thanks, Thalia, now I can look scandalous underneath my jeans.”

 Therese made a pained sound, “Anna, please tell me you will reconsider?”

 Anna fingered the cups of the lingerie. “Oh look, peek-a-boo slits. How naughty.”

 Thalia giggled, “I couldn’t resist, Anna. Can you imagine what he will do when he sees you wearing them?”

 Oh, finally the lead I needed. “Who is he exactly?  I don’t think anyone has told me yet,” I asked with an eager smile.

 Anna shrugged, “Don’t know.”

 What in heaven’s name? I managed not to gape but blinked a few times at her honest answer. “Wait, you don’t know who it is you are going to be married to?”

 Katiya butt into the conversation, “We don’t marry like you humans do. It’s a contractual thing, an exchange of sorts. Locked in for life,” she bit out tersely.

 Anna nodded, “Yeah, like Kat said, but a bit more romantic.”

 It sounded more archaic, with a side of crazy added to the mix, but I kept my mouth shut. I was a guest and did not want to cause waves.

 Anna dutifully applied herself to opening the gifts and showing excitement for each. Only a few remained when she got to mine. So, I admit, I caved and simply got her a wedding themed, picture frame and a gift-card for Bed, Bath and Beyond. Her smile reassured me, that she didn’t find my present lacking. Good, because I had no clue what to get her.

 “Open mine next,” Karina, another of Anna’s friends, said cheerily.

 When she reached over to bring a small, box into her lap, her friend tried and failed to hide her giggles. “Hurry, hurry, read the card first” she demanded.

 Opening the card, Anna scanned the message and read it out loud, “For those hard to conceal bites…”

 “Give me your fangs,” Stasya shouted, interrupting Anna.

 “That shouldn’t count,” Anna countered.

 “It does though, so give them to me. You are going to have your very own male, who comes with his real pair, soon. These are the only fangs I am likely to have, ever.” Anna’s friend held out her hand impatiently. Stasya now had four dangling about her neck. She and Katiya were tied for the prize.

 “Very well, then.” Depositing the neon gag-gift into her friend’s grasp, Anna went back to the present in her lap. Karina had given Anna a bottle of dark concealer. I hid my laugh, but thought that was one creative shower gift.

 Finally, her mother handed her a long, garment box. It had been wrapped in a white cloth with berries adorning the edges.

 “It is beautiful,” Anna said, her hand running over the embroidery.

 “It will go on the altar, darling,” Therese replied.

 Anna gingerly untied the crimson ribbon holding the material together. Lifting the box lid, she pushed the paper aside and drew out a gossamer thin, creamy white veil.

 “Please wear it, Anna,” Therese’s voice lowered, passion laced each word. “It was mine.”

 Anna tipped her head down, her fingertip tracing the intricate beading at the hemline. “Okay, I will.” Anna conceded, “But, I am still wearing my jeans and silk blouse.”

 Therese nodded, “You do realize how hard it is to get blood stains out of silk?”

 A round of hoops and hollers interrupted their conversation as all the guests scrambled to take Therese’s fangs for saying one of the prohibited B-words.

 The rest of the party went smoothly. I enjoyed the light, airy taste of the red-silk cake, while we washed it down with an excellent, albeit, expensive champagne. When everything had been finished, Anna gestured for me to follow her, and anxious for our interview, I hurriedly moved from the couch and went with her into another room.

 ***

Come back on October 15th and see the interview I had with Anna about her upcoming rites. Also, join in with the vampire-themed halloween drawing, taking place that day as well.
Christa
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