This week’s work-in-progress comes from Pathway of the Moon, mainly because that’s what I’ve been working on most lately. I’m getting so close to done, and I’m definitely feeling end-of-book jitters. More than usual, in fact, but I guess that’s to be expected since the book is way longer than anything I’ve ever done before. But, hey, I’m still excited to write the sequel, so that’s probably a good sign, I think.
THE CEREMONY WAS finally here, and it didn’t quite seem real. She stood at the front of the small chapel with her hands in Leo’s, and for the first time, it slowly started to sink in. She would be his Bond when this finished. Really, truly, his. A small tremor zipped down her spine. Before today, she’d dreamed of this moment and spent hours fantasizing about it. It wasn’t everything she’d dreamed of. But it was everything she really needed.
Anyone who mattered even a little sat in the rustic pews and watched the two of them as they placed their interlocked hands over the bowl of clear, fresh water on the altar. In the old days, this would have been done in a large pool of water for larger chapels or at a stream for chapels without the ability to furnish the pool. Now, they kept the symbol without the actual ancient tradition. She stared into the clear water. A symbol not only of the purity of their intentions today but also a sign of the clarity and transparency that was to characterize their lives as Bonds.
The presiding minister stepped forward and wrapped a leafy length of vine around their hands to show the way their lives would be bound to each other’s, and she smiled. The words of the ceremony barely registered. Didn’t matter anyway. She knew that she could pledge herself to the man standing across from her with no doubts or reservations.
He squeezed her hands with a smile of his own, and she knew he wasn’t paying close attention to the droning of the minister either. She blushed and lowered her head. Her mind drifted toward the other ways they’d become Bonded after the ceremony. They’d been holding back on it for long enough, and finally, the waiting would end. No more interruptions or people keeping them apart. If anyone tried to get in the way of her Bonding night, she couldn’t be held responsible for what she’d do. Her entire body was ready to combust with a single touch from him, and the gentle pressure he was putting on her hands felt like a silent promise.
And then the minister was asking her for her vows, and she resurfaced just in time to recite them. If she was being honest, she doubted she’d remember much about this part of the ceremony. It already felt like a blur, and she hadn’t even finished going through it yet. Years from now, her Bond’s expression and the love shining in his eyes would probably be all she remembered. That thought didn’t bother her nearly as much as she’d expected it to, though. Really, Leo and her new family was all that mattered. The ceremony was a formality to allow the Bonding magic to unite their ashtras. Nothing more.
The priest kept droning on for a few more minutes, and Leo rolled his eyes. She glanced out across the crowd and caught a smirk on Brennan’s face. At least one person had caught onto their impatience. A bubble of laughter welled up inside her, but she squashed it. Laughing now would be highly inappropriate. Leo looked like he couldn’t decide if he wanted to rush the priest or laugh about how stuffy the man sounded. Well, they were in this together then. Just like they would be in everything else from now on.
Finally, the priest said the only words Leo had been waiting for this entire ceremony. The moment he had permission from the priest, he dipped her back and covered her mouth with his. No chaste, polite peck for him. He had to devour her lips like a man dying of thirst. She clutched his broad shoulders for balance, knowing this was only a small taste of what she’d get later. Her cheeks heated, but she liked that he wasn’t shy about declaring his affections even if Nadar did cough when the kiss went on a little too long. He finally let her come up for air, but his dark gaze whispered promises for the minute he got her back to his room. She shivered and didn’t let go of his shoulders as his gaze swallowed her whole.
Well, that’s all for this week, everyone! What are you guys working on? Anything you’re finding fun and exciting? For those of you who don’t write, what are you reading? Feel free to share in the comments!