Free reads

I post short stories here so that readers can see what my writing style is like in a range of genres and styles. (Check the labels if the level of sensuality is important to you.) It's also occasionally a way for me to revisit characters in my books. Enjoy.

cover art by Julie Dillon

Court Bindings

The only guard against an assassin is another assassin.

When I come across you, there are forsythia blossoms scattered unnoticed in your hair, as though the shrub leaning above you wooed you in such secret that you remained unaware. You're unmindful too of how a daughter of a bloodline such as yours shouldn't be lying on the dirt on your stomach, staring at a spiderweb. It's so unthinkable that it has taken me a full hour to discover where you are; enough time for shadows to shift direction, or an assassin's blade to find you. Besides that, it's still early spring, and it is chilly outside. I chide you for being so careless, and you say indignantly, “But I was careful! I even drew the strokes in order—” and you show me your name as you have recently learned to write it, the characters spelled out perfectly within strands of spider-silk. Trembling along the last line, still spinning thread, is a spider.

cover for UNSILENCED
cover art by Jonas De Ro


Even an empress must steal her power.

Veillen moved through the marble and alabaster halls of the palace as softly as any spirit: as though it was she who had died, she thought resentfully, instead of her father. But the One-Eyed Emperor's body had been placed within its tomb with all the proper rituals a full moon ago, and his daughter, in turn, was trapped in the palace.


You are a dragon-mage, but there are no more dragons.

You live in the desert inside a petrified dragon's bones: the gaping jaws your front door, the arches of the ribcage your living room, the empty left eye socket your window.

cover for ON THE EVE OF WAR

On the Eve of War

She is the Warlord's shadow, dark with her own secrets.

Kaya was born on the eve of the Nine-Star War, which ended fifteen years later in triumph for the Imperium. She enrolled in the academy when she became eligible the next year, determined not to miss the next war.

cover for SHADOW HUNT

Shadow Hunt

She is fox and spy, torn from both.

Rianon heard the horns of the hunt calling as she rode through Eyrim Forest. She checked her mare, then dismounted and began disrobing. The only thing she left was a red cord tied around her wrist.

cover for LILITH


A succubus. An archangel. The making of a beast.

Lilith often found herself drawn to gardens. No need for perfume amidst fragrant bark and flowers; no need for sheets against the soft earth. The dappled shade of a leafy canopy. Wind against bare skin.


Fall, Falling, Fallen

The prince seeks a bride. Melea seeks her dog.

On the day the prince was to arrive, all the women were aflutter because it was said he sought a bride. Melea was too busy to care — she was looking for a dog that had strayed.

cover for STOLEN AWAY

Stolen Away

She thought he was the thief.

From the number of stools left, Elizabeta knew that the herald was nearing the end of the list of names he was reading.

"Barone Rosolen, for arson."


Beneath Their Masks

The discovery of a secret on a night when everyone hides behind another face. And not all guises are masks...

Emaris woke cradled in Tedraun's arms, a row of faces staring down at her. Masks lined the walls of every chamber in his home, every imaginable beast depicted in a cacophony of shapes and colors.


From a Garden Evening

A quiet encounter born of ambition, and only the murmur of the fountain to interrupt.

They had always told her that subtlety was best, but in their excitement they gave her a gold-embroidered robe to wear, and set jewels in her hair, and sprayed too much perfume upon her wrists, behind her ears, between her breasts.

cover for MAYFLY NIGHT

Mayfly Night

A fate she rebels against, then comes to desire.

Kinari had yet to choose which face to wear on Mayfly Night. Her cousin Dayamies mocked her, "You're wingèd so much that your human face is a mask anyway."

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