I wrote "'Til Darkness Falls" in two parts. The prologue back story of the ancient Egyptian lovers was my entry for the Yaoi Con fiction anthology back in 2004. I chose ancient Egypt as the setting because I wanted the tension inherent in having a master and slave be in love and because I wanted to have a god involved. Greek and Roman gods have been done, so I thought, why not Egypt? Fortunately, a friend who beta read for me at the time had a solid background in classical literature and mythology. She ended up being very helpful in making sure I kept all the details straight. I had always planned to complete the story someday, and in 2009 I finally got down to business! The characters grew pretty organically. The lovers, although joined by fate, were under a curse that kept them apart. I wanted the agent of their tragedy to be not only the woman who cast the curse upon them, but also their personal circumstances. So I thought to myself, what would really put the lovers at odds in their incarnation in the present time? Why, putting them on different sides of the law! Perfect!
Thus, Alrick and Brian were born. Brian was pretty easy to write. He's shy and surly in matters of romance, just like me. I swear that I didn't use him for therapeutic purposes. Really! Brian's life was a constant drudge of work and dealing with his bitchy superior officer. Plus, although his bi-racial status was not an issue, he was acutely aware that he was a gay man working in a very homophobic profession. Enter, Alrick, the sexy assassin determined to sweep the surly cop off of his feet. Of course, neither of them knows who the other really is, thereby continuing the pattern of the drama that follows them in each of their reincarnations. I wanted Alrick to embody my perfect guy, so I made him sweet yet manly. A man’s man who isn’t afraid to recite sappy poetry. Who wouldn’t love that?! A fortuitous suggestion by some friends to give him a hobby led to him becoming the wunderkind cello player. I have a musical background, so being able to have Alrick pour out his soul through music or talking about his favorite composers was a lot of fun. After I had that aspect of his character down, he just flowed onto the page! The fact that he ended up being a gorgeous, platinum blond German was a consequence of the fact that I wanted my guys to be an interracial couple. I haven't settled on this yet, but I really think I want that to be my signature in my future books whenever it fits the story. As a woman of color, I want to read about diversity, and I want to share that passion with my readers.
I have to say, however, that even more than Alrick and Brian, the character who stole my heart was Brian’s partner, Angela. She’s the veteran detective who takes Brian under her wing and forces him to become a part of her family despite his hermit tendencies. She was an amalgam of my mom, my aunt, and what I imagine the perfect older sister would be like. Everything I wrote about her, I ended up with a huge smile on my face.
“’Til Darkness Falls” is my first published work, and it truly is my baby. I’m a huge fan of the concept of soul mates who are destined to be together despite any adversity that is placed in their path. I hope that anyone who reads my story will fall in love and root for Brian and Alrick as I put them through the ringer. After all, you can’t laugh until you’ve shed a few tears. I sincerely thank Dreamspinner Press for releasing my book as the first under their new Bittersweet Dreams imprint.
A malicious deception... An ancient curse... A timeless love...
Brian Macon is a worn-out homicide detective whose job and life hold no meaning until he meets a gorgeous German man who turns his world upside down. Alrick Ritter has a poet's soul, a master cellist's skill, and a sniper's deadly accuracy, and though constrained by sinister forces to be a killer-for-hire, Alrick wants nothing more than to be with Brian. Helpless to resist the call of their hearts, Brian and Alrick begin a cautious affair, keeping secret the reality that places them on opposite sides of the law. But an ancient danger threatens to destroy their love.
Three thousand years ago in the burning sands of ancient Egypt, Prince Rahotep and his devoted slave, Tiye, were robbed of their lives, betrayed by a powerful woman’s mad hatred and the cruel humor of an evil god. Now, destiny has reunited the lovers, joining them in an unquenchable passion even as a twist of fate casts them as potential enemies. Will Brian and Alrick be able to overcome the centuries-old curse to secure the love that should have always been theirs?
“Forgive me for bothering you, but please tell me exactly who has put such a disagreeable expression on your face so that I may kill them.”
The unexpected words, spoken in a mild yet outrageously sexy accent, made Brian lift his head sharply. He blinked in astonishment at the man who had presumptuously taken the stool next to him. Resentment at having his solitude disturbed by some guy on the make bubbled up but died a swift death as he got a good look at the other man. The stranger’s features were finely sculpted, his close-cropped hair a shade so blond as to be almost white. Ice-blue eyes were somehow warm as they gazed at him, instantly tempering Brian’s glare into a helpless stare. The man was undeniably gorgeous, but it was the shock of recognition that shot through Brian that caused him to clutch desperately at the empty glass in his hand.
I know him. It was as though, somehow, he’d known this man his entire life. Brian blinked at the empty glass, his discomfiture rapidly turning to self-disgust before mellowing into amusement at a seduction well played. Lifting his glass in acknowledgment, Brian smirked and glanced at the other man from the corner of his eye. “That’s a creative line. Are you always so inventive?” His stomach fluttered when the stranger chuckled.
“Well, not to dash your expectations, but let me follow with this: may I buy you another drink?”
Brian laughed in spite of himself as he turned to look at the blond full on. “Sure, why not?” he answered, ignoring the voice in the back of his mind telling him this was a bad idea. Brian had a feeling this wouldn’t end with just drinks, but after the day he’d had, he deserved a little selfishness.
“This is a beautiful song, ja? Beethoven’s Appasionata,” the man elaborated. “The third movement. Do you hear the strings as they strive through the arpeggios, almost as though they’re fighting gravity?” His hand moved in graceful counterpoint as he spoke expressively about a clearly beloved topic. Brian understood only one word in ten, but the blond’s deep voice, supremely suited for the gutturalness of his accent, only added to his fascination. Brian quickly realized he would have been just as entranced if the stranger were reading from an actuarial table.
“Would you come to my hotel room with me?”
The question was so straightforward and without preliminaries that it took Brian a moment to decipher it. But when he did, his body was quick to answer before his mind could interfere. The man watched him closely, his brilliant blue gaze taking note of the uncertainty that flitted over Brian’s features.
This is ridiculous. Rolling his eyes, Brian shook his head as his shoulders moved in a silent, humorless chuckle. He was a grown man, far beyond the stage of trolling for pick-ups in bars, and all he could think about was following some stranger to his hotel? No way. He didn’t have time for this, and he especially had no interest in hooking up with some guy from out-of-town who was just looking for some local color to enliven his evening. Bracing his hands against the edge of the counter, Brian lowered his feet to the floor so he could push his stool away from the bar. He turned to make some excuse that was hopefully not overly lame when a warm hand fell atop his own.
“Please say yes. You don’t have to be afraid of me.”
Brian glared at the blond and cursed him silently, wondering how in the hell he’d guessed the real reason Brian was planning to flee as fast as he could. A challenge darkened his gaze, daring the other man to force the issue and give him an excuse to walk away. But the stranger merely stared at him with an emotion that Brian did not dare to try and identify but which caused his stomach to knot with something akin to anticipation. The weight of the hand against his was disturbingly familiar, and a jolt of electric heat threatened to scorch him where they touched.
The invitation wasn’t repeated, but the blue eyes examining his face for the tiniest reaction spoke loudly.
Pearl Love has been writing since she was a kid, but it was the pretty boys who frolic around in her head who finally convinced her to pursue it seriously. She’s a mid-west transplant who current thrives in the hustle and bustle of the nation’s capital. A jack of many genres, she enjoys just about any type of story, so long as in the end, the boy gets the boy.