Friday, July 11, 2014

Lily by Xavier Axelson ♥ "Did You Know?", Book Tour & GIVEAWAY ♥ (M/M Paranormal Romance)

Lily
What does one say when they realize their child is gone? Better yet, what does one say when that child returns, but is different?  This is the question Pryor must ask himself after his daughter, Lily, is dragged into the woods by a wolf and her body is never found. It isn't until he sees a wolf in the woods with eyes that resemble Lily's that he feels hope. And then something is whispered from deep within the woods, a promise for him to see Lily again.

One day...

But which day and for how long?

And then Pryor meets Ned, a silversmith who brings out desires that Pryor hasn't felt in years and helps him hatch a plan to keep Lily with him.
Now the question isn't about how much time Pryor will have with Lily, it's about how far he'll go to keep her with him.
Lily is special. In the shadow world of the forest, she prowls and survives but is different. Her father, Pryor lives and mourns the loss of his child. Inspired by true events, Lily, at its core, is about the lengths a parent will go to protect their child. I read a story about a young girl being dragged off her swing set by a coyote. Luckily, the girl was rescued unharmed, but this event inspired me to write Lily. I couldn’t think of anything scarier than having your child snatched from your own backyard…by an animal.

What started as a Father’s Day story, turned into something else. Lily is also about lost innocence and the belief in love. Sometimes the only thing to reach for is love and in reaching for it, ultimately you let go. Light and dark, shadow and clarity, grief and joy are all part of the story but what happens between the shadow and the light, the time between loss and gain, is where the action takes place. We don’t know what Lily does in the woods, and probably don’t want to know, she is untamed. Pryor cannot guess he only hopes she will return.

I did not expect to return to Lily’s world, but when the initial publisher shut down and the opportunity to have Lily reissued surfaced, I went back into the forest to find her. She found me. Lily had more to say. I hadn’t read Lily since its 2012 publication, and was surprised to find myself transported back into the story with frightening ease. Pryor’s grief, Lily’s wildness and Ned’s steadfast love sparkled and I enjoyed delving into the darkness of Lily’s character and gave her room to sink her teeth into the nerves of the story. A fresh edit, a new cover and the expansion of a couple key scenes give Lily newness, but the initial bones are left intact, and the story remains unchanged. The final climax between Pryor and Lily is chilling, and as I’ve said in other interviews, I worry Pryor and Ned may not survive their next run in with her. Fingers crossed.

Lily is also a romance. Ned and Pryor are from different worlds, brought together by chance and grief. Their connection is solidified by Lily’s disappearance and tested by her return. Reading the story now, I applaud Ned’s resilience and ability to endure the nightmare before him. He doesn’t walk away; he walks into the darkness with the promise to love. The clash of worlds, the powers of enduring love, these are the bones of Lily, and I hope you enjoy the visit.

Who knows…I may find my way back into the woods, Lily is still there.
I smelled her. I knew that sweet smell, the smell of her hair, wild and white—blonde. I would never see it turn darker, she would always be golden to me. I flung myself from my bed and dressed quickly. “I'm here, I'm coming, baby!”
I remember tripping over my damn sneakers and cursing violently as I stumbled over something else on the stairs. I've learned that in instances like these, one remembers horrible little details like the sneakers, like the stairs, and a wild, beautiful smell I knew but couldn't place.
On instinct, I opened the blinds and threw open the sliding doors, then made my way out into the backyard. Lily wouldn't be anywhere else.
We have a large weeping cherry tree in the backyard and in June, it is at its most magnificent. The smell coming off the tree was lurid and the flowers rained down in a pink shower when an errant breeze moved through the branches. The moon was stark and white, sending shivering silver light onto everything it touched. The night was alive with so much excitement that it was almost too much to bear. The woods appeared to be moving, a great looming mass of shadow and scent. The insects chorused, calling out in honor of what I hoped was my daughter.
“Lily?” I ran down the deck stairs. She had to be there! My eyes darted from one end of the yard to the other. The silver light of the moon cast everything in a strange glow that begged a ghostly encounter.
“Lily?” I said again, and this time looked to the trees where I thought I had heard ragged breathing; human, and yet not. There was movement, quick and furtive, a padded whisper of something pacing, searching, and then I saw eyes staring up at me from the darkness of the woods. Eyes that burned like a thousand fires, they were as blue as I remember, but now translucent and lit from behind.
It was then that I heard the call, chilling and ancient, that brought clouds to the sky as if they ached to protect the moon from such a hellish shriek.
“Lily,” I whispered, “baby, it's your daddy, your father.” I held a hand out, wanted to go toward whatever it was that had my daughter's eyes. Before I could move, I heard a voice, odd and quick; a fast whisper that sounded like the undertone of the trees, as if the forest was speaking to me. But those eyes, I knew those eyes.
“I will return for one day. One day.” The voice stopped. There was the sound of movement nearby. The ragged breathing stopped and the eyes vanished.
“When?! When, Lily? I know it's you, please tell me when you will come back. Why not now?” I was trying not to yell. I could feel her presence—the smell was still there—she was close. I ran forward, but stopped when I heard her voice again.
“The day that I was taken will be the day I return.”
I was alone. Where there had been eyes, there was darkness; where there had been movement, there was nothing; and where there had been clouds, there was only silver light.
I felt a helpless rage swell within me until it erupted into the still night air in a primal scream that, once expelled, forced me to the ground, muscles shaking as I clawed at the earth.
As I struggled to my feet, I could still hear the voice echoing in my ears, fighting against my furious pulse.
The day I was taken will be the day I return.

     
Xavier Axelson is a writer living in Los Angeles. Xavier’s work has been featured in various erotic and horror anthologies. Longer written works include “The Incident”, “Velvet,” and “Lily.” 
      
Author Xavier Axelson is giving away five e-book copies of Lily! Open internationally, must be 18 or over to enter

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