• authorlvlane


Winter

From their vantage of the ancient rosewood table, the Chosen’s expressions range from disinterest to disdain. I feel the weight of their gaze upon me—very little pleases them, and certainly not me. Above, crystal chandeliers hang from the high vaulted ceiling, going to war with the foreboding blackness. The result is more shadow than light, while the pale, stone walls of the vast, windowless room complete an ambience that is as welcoming as a tomb.

The mental chill does not penetrate through my steely cloak of control. I am a pawn in this, as in all things. My blood may old, but that counts for little to the six Chosen who stand outside of rank and time… almost as gods.

“I have not left the Sanctum in many years.” I speak with due reverence, burying my seething rage. It would not do to show emotion of any kind. The Chosen are beings sentient far beyond my capability. They cross the sacred boundary and are able to generate and wield power when all others can do only one.

“We understand your reluctance.” I don’t know the name of the Chosen who speaks, for none have names. Over the years I have given them nicknames—thank the true gods the Chosen cannot read minds. The speaker, Maggot, doesn’t particularly look like a maggot, although his face appears alabaster in the flickering light and holds an otherworldly youth. “You must make this journey for us, Winter. It has been decided,” he says.

My lips clamp together, lest I say something I later live to regret. There was a time when my uncanny ability to sense keystones was a source of mild interest for many Old Blood had the skill. As our numbers dwindle, and the endless war scours our hope away one battle at a time, my time of abstinence from the conflict has drawn to a close. It has been decided. Discussion is pointless.

“As you will.” I bow gracefully in obedience before quitting their frigid home.


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The second Predictive book has been a long time coming!

On preorder, live 6th June 🥳

While there are some romantic relationships in the book, I wouldn't describe it as a romance. More action, adventure and intrigue with a light touch of romance.

Here is a little snippet...

EVA

Although subject to bouts of tiredness, I’d gained sufficient information—both the direct data kind, and the indirect, people opinion kind—for conclusions to be made.

I’d been sitting on those conclusions for an hour, hoping they might be a mistake or that some new piece of information might change them in some way.

Never had I sat on a prediction before. So it came as a relief when Landon messaged to say he wished to discuss a matter with me in private. I didn’t believe in fate, and yet his request, nevertheless, felt fateful, as if the universe was taking my desire to hide the prediction out of my hands.

I didn’t believe in divine intervention either, although I was beginning to wish I could. I believed in predictions; I believed in myself and the truth of my own revelations. It was narcissistic, I admitted as much freely.

Predictives did not come along very often—less than one in a million, billion. There were subtle differences in our manifestation depending upon early childhood exposure. Mine happened to be people. It was one of the more useful ones, or so I had been told. Having never met another predictive, I had no point of reference.

Today, and not for the first time, I wished I could turn the ability off.

Such a burden did have its benefits, and I was sitting within one of those benefits now. No one expected me to get my hands dirty preparing a habitable base on the new colony. Not that this planet required breathable accommodation or even the most basic terraforming for crops and drinking water preparation. It had already been terraformed and boasted air quality not witnessed in many a millennium.

Still, all was not well in paradise, or at least it wouldn’t be for much longer.

I was confident I’d received all information pertinent to understanding. Together with Riley’s insights, those of the other technical experts, and interviews with a sample of the colonists that included all the major skill sets, I had reached several disturbing conclusions. Only some of which related to the unexpected activities on Coulter-416.

My door communicator bleeped signaling Landon’s arrival, and he entered at my behest.

I enjoyed looking at Landon. He was an attractive man in a refined sort of way, and he wasn’t bulky as so many military types, including my brother, were. I often wondered how Eric didn’t break things while going about everyday life.

The tattoo, the symbiotic organism Landon had picked up from the red dust on Ila had finally stopped expanding. The branching violet pattern that covered half his face and a good portion of his body was both beautiful and vivid in the artificial lighting of my room.

I found myself studying the tattoo with more interest than I should have. Landon had refused further study of it prior to the launch, stating that he was too busy. I’d read the paper written by the doctor who had briefly studied it on Ila before everything fell apart.

Variant. It was there in bold in the analysis paper. The organism that manifested the tattoo had formed this relationship with Landon because of his Variant biology. Victor, one of our key sponsors, had sent me a copy of said paper after having it liberated. No one else would get to read it. As far as I knew, even Landon had not read it.

The doctor in question had been granted a place on one of the later colonisation ships despite her being ancient because she was one of the few with knowledge in the field.

I understood that Victor was a collector of both people and things. Landon and I represented human variation Victor wanted very much to perpetuate in his colony.

“You’re staring at my tattoo,” Landon said, meeting my steady gaze. He had yet to take a seat.

“Do you know it picked you because you’re a Variant?”

He grimaced. “No, I didn’t. Is that a prediction?”

He didn’t dispute his Variant status. Then again, he hadn’t denied it back on Ila when I had first made the determination.

My lips tugged up. “No, the doctor who first examined you wrote a paper on it, which Victor subsequently had removed from general circulation. He promised the doctor an opportunity to study you if she kept quiet about it. She is on one of the later ships.”

“Well, that’s something for me to look forward to,” he said dryly, sinking into the plush seating opposite.

Excerpt Variant, © L.V. Lane

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  • authorlvlane

Ever since he rescued me, I can’t stop thinking about Brandon.

Today when I exit my cottage, sibling brats clinging to my skirts, I see Brandon outside his parent’s house chopping wood.

There is a gaggle of lasses pretending to be doing things. They are not doing anything other than staring at his rippling muscles.

Goddess help me. Now I am also staring at his rippling muscles.

“Jessa! Take this over to Mary,” my mother says, bustling out of our cottage. There is a giant cherry pie in her hands that she baked early this morning.

Mary is Brandon’s mother. Ordinarily, I would not mind popping over to take a pie, for I know Mary has not been so well. But it means walking past Brandon.

“I’m busy, mother,” I say, mind scrambling for a reason why I might be too busy to carry a pie a small distance and coming up short. I am a dutiful child who is always willing and helpful.

My mother does a double-take as she looks past me to where Brandon works up a sweat.

“My,” she says. “What a strapping lad!” Then she winks at me before handing over the cherry pie. “At least you have a good excuse, unlike the shameless hussies gawking.”

Excerpt, Claimed For Their Pleasure © L.V. Lane 2021

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