Welcome Erika Gardner for her blog tour for her novel The Dragon in the Garden. And yes, the dragon factor was the reason I asked your book to be here – we really should do lunch. 😉
There aren’t even words for how much I love Jacqueline’s byline at the top of this blog, “Writings on Love, Blood, Sex, and Dragons.” A couple of my favorite things are sandwiched in that simple statement. It also happens to work well with my new book, The Dragon in The Garden which contains all four ingredients. Jacqueline and I need to do lunch.
I get tired of the same old expectations being placed on women and their desires, life choices, and aspirations, even in books. Don’t get me wrong, I like a traditional happy ending as much as the next person, the blissful couple riding into the sunset, yadda, yadda, yadda. I just wonder, why does it always have to come back to marriage? Why is that the magical panacea? Does society truly believe that is the one thing that completes every woman? Because clearly it does not. There are plenty of examples of women who are married and miserable and lots of women who are single and loving it.
Women are sexual beings. In many ways we are even more sexual than men, though we are rarely portrayed that way unless it is in a negative way. Too often women and girls are made to feel ashamed of our sexuality, when we should embrace it. (Maybe someone’s jealous of the whole multiple orgasm thing? I mean, it is pretty awesome.)
One of the themes running through Dragon is choice. Who makes the choice, the choices that we make, and the reasons for these decisions. Choice is power and freedom. My main character, Siobhan, is an independent soul caught between destiny and free will. She’s like most of us, except battling the forces of evil and saving mankind.
Here’s an excerpt from the book. Hope you enjoy!
“You okay, Siobhan?”
Tim’s hushed tones pierced the darkness behind me. I leaned against the fence in the warm night air as he joined me. Like the previous evening, the moon illuminated the sky. I could not count the stars. Daisy’s house rested far away from the interfering glow of a city. Tim stood close enough for our shoulders to touch, his handsome face lit by the moon. His familiar presence soothed, a welcome relief after the stresses of the day.
“I’m fine,” I answered, my voice also hushed.
“Humph,” he said. “If I recall, fine does not equal good, as in a code for something completely not good like, ‘you ate my last meatball’ or ‘I totally saw you check her out.’ Fine is bad. It’s a four lettered word starting with f.”
A smile tugged at the corners of my mouth in spite of myself. “You have a good memory.”
In the companionable silence, I put my head on my folded arms and exhaled deeply, trying to clear the chaos in my mind the prophecy had unleashed there. Tim’s strong hands gently kneaded my tight shoulders. “That feels heavenly,” I said.
“I’ll bet. You’re knotted up.”
A weary chuckle escaped my lips. “Yeah, well, it’s been one of those days.”
“Tell me about it. Looks like the next couple are going to be doozies, too.”
“I know, I know.”
Doubts, questions, and worries weighed me down, but I had to set them aside. I needed my sleep tonight so I could function at my best in the coming days. “I told you, I’m fine.” I pulled away from him.
Tim, knowing me better than almost anyone, persisted. “And I told you, fine sucks. Come here, you dork.”
“Doofus,” I shot back without missing a beat, but I let him gather me into his embrace. My arms wrapped around his waist of their own volition. One of his hands stroked my hair, and I sighed, relaxing further into his arms.
“We’ll figure it out. You’ll see, it will be okay, and then we’ll go home.”
For a moment, I let my mind go blank, and I took comfort in holding another person, feeling someone else’s heartbeat, and the reassuring weight of him against me. Something subtle changed, and I became very aware of Tim, every line of his body, every breath he drew, and my pulse quickened. His arm around me tightened, and the hand that caressed my hair moved, pressing the back of my neck. I felt, more than heard, the barest of whispers, “Sh’belle” before his mouth covered mine.
Tim and I stand at about the same height, a wonderful thing when we were lovers. Our forms fit together, by instinct finding the best angles. There may have been years apart, but our bodies remembered every nuance, every touch. My lips opened under his. At that moment, it did not seem possible to be close enough to him. Our kiss deepened, and I ran my hands under his shirt and over his back, reveling in the smooth skin and hard muscle I touched.
His hand slid down the curve of my spine and over my hip, pressing me more firmly against him. I gasped in pleasure. My breath exhaled in a kind of ragged sensual shudder. No thought mattered now. Worry fled, leaving just him, only him.
Tim trailed kisses across my jaw and down the most sensitive part of my neck using the slightest tip of his tongue to send shivers of delight through me. As he worked his way to soft skin above my breasts he whispered, “I always knew you’d come home to me.”
“To you? What?” I disentangled myself from his arms.
“It’s true, isn’t it? Admit it, you and I belong together.”
“Not this again,” I muttered. “Tim, I can’t do this same conversation again. Not now, not with so much at stake.”
“You love me, Siobhan, I know you do,” Tim protested, taking a step toward me. “And Alex said you’d gotten engaged once, so I know you got over your whole never getting married thing.”
“That was different.”
“How?” Tim’s eyes widened.
I lowered my voice and took a deep breath. “I guess, I don’t know, maybe I said yes because
deep down I knew it would never happen.”
With a sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach, I realized the truth. I’d said yes to Chuck’s proposal because on some level the relationship was doomed. I’d been safe. I’d been safe and heartbroken all at once. What a neat trick. Bitterness rose inside me.
“Wait, you didn’t come home for me?”
“No, I didn’t have a job, but I inherited a house. Where else would I live?”
“But, then Alex called and I thought…” Tim broke off as he studied my face.
“Timothy Macauley Collins, did you think I wanted to beg you back?”
He shrugged, still examining the ground by our feet. I put each of my hands on his cheeks, cupping his face so he would look at me. “I care about you, Tim. I always have and always will, but I’m not going to settle down and raise your fat babies.”
“You love me, Siobhan.” The set of his jaw hardened.
“Yes, I do,” I admitted. “Why can’t that be enough? Why can’t we love each other and simply be? Why does it always need to come back to marriage?”
He grasped my two hands, his heart in his eyes. “It just does, Siobhan. Can’t you see? I am a marrying kind of guy.”
An old, familiar resentment boiled in my chest. The blood pounded in my temples. I exhaled. “But, I am not a marrying kind of girl. Never have been. I can’t see that changing now.”
“I don’t believe you.” Tim’s voice rang with sincerity.
“That’s the problem, Tim. That’s always been the problem,” I said, as all the worries and cares of the day settled back on my shoulders. “But right now, I’m going to bed.” I broke away from him and didn’t turn back. I ignored the sense of déjà vu that came over me.
This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.