Hey again 🙂 I’m so excited to be part of this anthology. The Beneath The Cape—The Superhero Anthology was created to benefit The Wounded Warrior Project. Awesome, right! Anyone out there wanting an ARC to help spread the word, sign up here ——> Beneath The Cape—The Superhero Anthology <—— Below is the blurb for mine and Lynn Vroman’s story:
Angela McPherson & Lynn Vroman
For two hundred years, Adrian vowed to seek revenge against the Gypsy woman who bound his spirit for eternity.
The one man Mia wants only exists in dreams.
Until he doesn’t.
The curse may be broken, but not without a price.
One love must end for another to begin.
A GYPSY LOVE EXCERPT
We roamed free, our spirits unencumbered by greed.
But freedom always came with a price.
Place after place held the same individuals. They were stationary, planting their fields or building their shops, destroying in the guise of improving. Townspeople never lived, too consumed with finding happiness in arbitrary things.
The Romani knew true nirvana, for it lived in our hearts, not our coffers. When the time came for my camp to move on to another town, not once had I wanted to stay and succumb to the prison that bound so many.
Our happiness was also our curse. We latched onto love until it melded with our soul, in this life and the after. I would watch with sorrow those of my clan who found their person, the other half of their heart. No, I did not crave gold or jewelry, as townspeople did. I desired to be complete—a desire that consumed me. But I was not one of the lucky few to find love within the Romani. My heart did not travel with us.
My love existed beyond our tiny caravan, and I had to trust that a gem lived in the decay most considered civilized society. I had begged Mama, and even Papa, to allow me to venture. But denial fell from their lips every time. My father would never allow his only child to marry a gorger: You marry Romani, or you do not marry.
This time, when our wagons stopped to stake our makeshift homes into the earth, my heart leapt with excitement. Papa’s warnings about outsiders always rang with paranoia. But if my love were a gorger, I would not hesitate to act.
Maybe I would find the rest of my heart in the city by the sea.
“Your time will come, Miryah.” Mama’s words had become a mantra, words of hope. She did not believe as Papa, her soul romantic like mine.
“You always say the same thing.” I slid a trunk from the wagon, and excitement shot currents under my skin. Maybe her prediction would finally turn to reality.
“These people will bring new challenges,” she said with a hint of weariness. Her dark eyes searched the smoky black night, as if able to see through the barest hints of daylight.
“Perhaps, but we will stay,” Papa said, leader of our clan. No one challenged him—except for me. “Make a place for the others, Miryah. They will arrive in a fortnight.”
“Yes, sir.” I glanced at the full moon while I pulled more supplies from our old wagons. Wind blew strands of hair in my face, but it did not hinder my vision. A ring of light traced the moon’s edge. The perfect time of night for enchantment. For spells. For change. I squeezed the medallion hanging from my neck as a chant escaped my lips: Love is divine, so as is mine. Wise of head, send my love to my bed. This medallion holds powers that bind, and the desire of the mind. His face will see mine, and love will bind.
Warmth rushed over my skin.
This time, my heart would find me.
The next morning, in the brightest hour, Mama and I walked near the harbor amongst the townspeople, the dreaded gorgers Papa warned me against. Staring eyes and hushed words were common during supply runs. Men leered at our low-cut gowns and women scowled, waving at their bosom with delicate fans as if the very sight of us caused illness.
Civilized. No, these people were animals trapped in a fetid corral.
If unwashed bodies and toothless smiles were the criteria for acceptance, I would proudly remain an outlier.
“You’ll do well to ignore them,” Mama whispered, always knowing where my thoughts were. She pinched the inside of my arm to sell her point.
“Ouch.” I rubbed the sting. “Mama, please.”
“A reminder.” She laughed, heading straight for the fishmongers lining the docks.
“My wares are not for sale to you,” said a man with dull eyes. The day’s catch stained his apron and saturated his skin.
Mama raised her chin. “We can pay as well as everyone else.”
“I care not for your money, Gypsy.” His dirty paw snatched a fish from her hand. “Your kind’s not welcome.”
“Their coin will buy pints just as quickly, Gus.” A man with a baritone voice dropped his fishhook and came to stand by the smelly man. Guts and gore smeared his apron, too, yet repulsion did not color my stomach when I looked at him.
On the contrary, once my eyes found his, I knew. The thumping against my chest picked up as it had the night before. His lips curved into a smile that made my heart ache. Strong shoulders, a sharp jawline, and raven hair would haunt my dreams every night from that moment on. But his eyes drew me in, undoing me. Those eyes, flecked with green and gold, did not leer at me with lust.
No, in his eyes, I found…me.
Gus threw up his hands and backed away. “Their thievery is on your head.” He stomped away, muttering, “Bleeding heart bastard.”
The man ignored him. “I apologize for his ignorance.” He bowed before Mama. “Adrian Mathews at your service, madam.”
My inner voice rejoiced. I was his, even before he spoke a word to me.
Mama blushed with a relieved smile. “I am Gitana, and this is my daughter, Miryah.”
“It is a pleasure.” Adrian gestured to his wares. “Whatever you’d like, I will wrap.”
Mama chose the largest fish on the table. “How much for this one?”
“For you and your lovely daughter, a gift.” Adrian’s smile shined like a star, even under the grime and dirt of his profession.
Taken aback, Mama shook her head. “I will only accept your generous offering if you join us for dinner.” Adrian opened his mouth, but Mama held up her hand. “I insist. Miryah will cook. You will enjoy.”
He laughed, the sound sweeter than a taste of fruit. “It would be my honor. Thank you.”
Adrian’s company did not cease with one dinner. Even Papa grew to enjoy his company. And for the first time with an outsider, he extended Adrian’s welcome for as long as we were camped. Every evening Adrian would join us to eat by the fire and listen to music. His presence was my heaven. But one morning, he became my world.
“I know you’re awake, Miryah. I’ve a blanket and a basket full of fresh strawberries and bread. Come, I want to take you somewhere.”
“No, I’m not ready to face the day,” I lied, hoping he’d charm me.
Adrian did not disappoint. “My day will not start until your face appears.” His sigh echoed through the canvas and whispered in my ear. “I’ve missed your smile, your enchanting eyes. Please, woman, do not make me beg.”
I giggled. “You saw me just last evening.” I brushed my hair, my gown already laced.
“Hours are centuries when I’m without you.”
My heart exploded as the brush landed on the ground in my haste to leave my tent. When I faced him, my skin flamed, the need to touch him causing my fingers to tremble. “Do you always know what to say, Adrian?”
His eyes traveled the length of my body as passion flickered in his stare. “No, but I always know what I want.”
My breath hitched. “Care to reveal what that is?”
“Yes, but not here.” He snatched my hand, taking us from camp to a remote spot near the riverbank.
Flowers swayed with the cool breeze. The sun had not reached its peak in the sky, and I shivered, gooseflesh covering my skin.
“Are you cold?”
I nodded. Adrian pulled me close, wrapping his strong arms around my shoulders. I leaned into his warmth and looked up, meeting those ever-changing hazel eyes. My medallion heated around my neck as his mouth descended on mine. The delicate kiss ignited a fire in my abdomen the moment his tongue separated my lips, and I moaned.
“You taste better than I imagined.”
“What else have you imagined?”
He cupped my face. “When I sleep, your face fills my dreams. And when I wake, you’re my first thought.”
The medallion flared with heat again. A sign. “I’ve waited so long. Traveled far to find you.”
And I had waited long enough.
I pulled away from his arms only to fan the blanket he’d brought on the grass.
A smile tugged at Adrian’s lips when I faced him again. My pulse galloped with each step he took toward me. The sound from nearby animals faded as he pressed his lips to mine.
When the last of my clothes fell to the ground, the gallops turned into a sprint.
“Beautiful,” he whispered.
The rest of the day was spent kissing, making love…talking about our future. I hoped we had a future, but our lives traveled in different worlds. As much as Papa accepted him, Adrian was still an outsider. My chest ached at the thought of leaving him.
Adrian placed a kiss against my bare shoulder. “Your silence troubles me.”
“I am afraid you are a dream.”
Adrian smiled. “If I am a dream, I am only yours.”
Mine. He made me a vow.