The Siren’s Touch is about a particular kind of siren, a rusalka. I hope you’re excited to know exactly what that is! Perhaps you’ve heard of the opera by Dvořák? No? I hadn’t either—I’m no opera buff. But I learned of it when I began researching this fascinating kind of ghost from Slavic mythology. I stumbled upon the existence of rusalki when I fell in love with the traditional Eastern European folk music sung by a San Francisco Bay Area women’s choral group called Kitka. They have an album called the Rusalka Cycle, and its mournful, chilling music inspired me to investigate. What I learned really got my creative juices going.
Do you believe in ghosts? I admit I don’t, except in a psychological way. I believe the events from our past, and in the history of our family, can haunt us. Things that happened long ago can have so much power over us it feels supernatural. And I respect that some the sanest, most reasonable people I know are convinced ghosts are real.
Even though I don’t personally believe in ghosts, or vampires, I love to read and write paranormal because making these creatures real in the world of the book is a great way to explore the nooks and crannies of the human psyche. And so The Siren’s Touch was born: a story about a ghost and a hitman, each confronting their past. It’s about vengeance, redemption, forgiveness, and having the courage to be someone new.
I don’t want to tell you too much more about what a rusalka is, because I want you to find out in the book! But I will say I loved writing this story! From the moment siren Sonya emerged from her teapot, I had so much fun imagining what she looked like and what it felt like to be a ghost that I almost wish I did believe in ghosts, just so I could be sure I got the details right. If you’ve ever seen one, you can tell me I’m silly not to believe, and then let me know how my descriptions measure up to reality!
Excerpt from The Siren’s Touch:Once again, the teapot jostled like there was a frog inside.
He had to be hallucinating. Holy hell, he’d never been this hungover. Then again, he’d never been on a thirty-day bender either. Quitting cold turkey after a vodka-soaked month was bound to be rough on the system. The teapot was definitely not jittering, only his sanity. Caffeine might help.
He lifted the little round thing by the handle. A gust of steam poured out as deep-brown liquid trickled from its spout into his mug—an antique glass cup wrapped in silver filigree. In his hand, the teapot shook, jostling his arm.
Damn it. That was no hallucination.
A sudden puff of steam collided with his face. He set the teapot down and wiped his moist eyes. When he opened them again, he was certain he’d lost his mind.
Hovering over Elena’s postcard-perfect traditional Ukrainian table setting was a shimmering tea-colored woman. No, not a woman.
He reached for his weapon, knocking his chair to the floor. Scrambling across the room, he got as far as he could get from that…thing.
Back pressed to the wall, his heart drummed against his sternum. What the hell was she?
She dripped brown droplets of smoky Russian Caravan onto the table and gasped for air with her gossamer hands clasped at her neck. Her brown eyes stretched wide in her heart-shaped face.
Had he completely lost his mind? “Fuck.”
The thing yelped, flying away and leaving a sprinkling of tea droplets in her wake. As they fell to the ground, she grew whiter, becoming the soft, shiny color of a perfect pearl.
A ghost. Holy hell.
All his skin rose up in goose bumps. Could you shoot a ghost? Or a hallucination? He was damn sure going to try. He took aim.
She coughed and coughed and coughed some more, making a horrible wet retching sound. Then she darted to a spot near the window, bending her spectral shape over to hack, as if she could clear her throat. Only it didn’t seem to be working.
Without thinking, he lowered his weapon. “Breathe, girl. Be calm.”
Slowly, she straightened, and her chest rose and fell in the rhythm of breath. The sun shone through her translucent form, highlighting a smoking hot set of curves under a long, wet nightgown. Large brown nipples poked through the ghostly, damp fabric, and a dark vee between her legs drew his gaze.
This wet dream of a sexy, drowned ghost was proof he’d jumped into the deep end. Whether she was real or imagined, he should be scared to death. But instead, his hands jerked with the urge to pound on her back until she could draw a breath.
About Amber Belldene
Even as a kid, romance writer Amber Belldene could never pull herself away from a book. She hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin to read during sermons – an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days. Amber is an Episcopal priest who believes sexuality is vital to spirituality, love is beautifully messy, and stories are the best way to explore human truths. Evidence of these convictions can be found in Amber’s steamy paranormals and quirky, hot contemporaries, which have been published by Omnific, Entangled, and Lyrical/Kensington. She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco.Connect with Amber| Website | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Books by Amber Belldene| Reviews of Amber’s Books |CONTEST INFO: Open to readers worldwide.
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