Jun 24, 2012

Sunday Smooch with Kylie Griffin . . .

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Alliance Forged by Kylie Griffin, but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is Efthaliapegios!

Congratulations, Effie! Can you please contact Rachael Johns at

Racheljohns077@gmail.com and she'll send you a eCopy of Jilted.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Alliance Forged by Kylie Griffin ...

Book #2 of the Light Blade series
There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a blind priestess lays claim to a half-breed warrior, body and soul…
Hunted and marked for death by Na’Reish demons for their half-blood heritage, the Na’Chi are searching for a new home—something an alliance offered by the human leader could provide. With both races divided by prejudice, when Light Blade rebels brutally attack the Na’Chi, the alliance seems doomed to fail.

Varian, leader of the Na’Chi, a hybrid race of gifted warriors, is cursed with the darker impulses of his demon heritage. Controlling the part of himself that craves the high of the battle is a struggle he’s afraid he’ll lose—until he meets Kymora Tayn, a priestess driven to serve her deity. While he’s unwilling to trust anyone outside his people, he finds himself drawn to Kymora’s strength and passionate nature, and discovers she has the power to calm the darkness inside him.

When the Na’Reish raid human territory for blood-slaves and kickstart a war, the key to the survival of both races—Na’Chi and human— is an alliance. However, when Kymora is kidnapped, pitting human against human, Varian realizes he must embrace his darker half, not only to save the alliance…but also the woman he loves.

Set Up - [In ALLIANCE FORGED, the humans and Na’Chi have entered a tentative alliance, in order to fight the Na’Reish demons. Prior to this smooch scene, Varian fought off a leadership challenge that resulted in the death of the challenger, a close friend, and he’s retreated to the forest to escape the guilt and grief.

As a friend rather than high priestess, Kymora follows him to offer comfort. Varian yearns for her comfort but doesn’t believe he deserves it. She’s taken the initiative and kissed him – her first kiss – a momentous occasion for both of them. Kymora learns more about Varian’s past and he begins to realise she sees him in a different light than everyone else]

        “Kymora--” Varian’s breathing was harsh and uneven like he was trying to control himself. “I don’t know…” He swallowed hard, the sound loud in the quiet between them.

Common sense warned her to back off and give him some space. Her heart urged her to try and reach him, to show him it was all right to care, to trust someone. To trust her.

“Where’s the harm in sharing pleasure, Varian?” she asked, softly. “Especially as we both want it?”

A long moment passed then, “I don’t know how.”

“You don’t know how?”

“To kiss.” His admission was low-pitched, hoarse. “To give you pleasure.”

Kymora stopped breathing. He’d just experienced his first kiss, too? What were the chances of that?

“Now who’s the disbeliever?” Varian’s dry sarcasm made her flush. “You’re blind so you don’t have a visual reminder of my imperfection.”

“It’s just one scar!”

“One scar too many.”

She blinked. “The Na’Chi women told you that?”

“They talk...I see it in their faces.”

He bit off his words, as if he realized what he’d just said. Kymora’s temper sparked. Since living with the Na’Chi she’d heard them speak in whispers about her disability. During the first few weeks everyone except Varian had smothered her with assistance, treating her like a child.

Sure she’d needed their help to orient herself to a new environment but there was a lot of difference between being dependent on someone as opposed to getting used to a change in circumstances. Their assumption she belonged in the former category grated. Some, like Lisella and Zaune, had since learned otherwise but most still viewed her as helpless, so she could relate to what Varian was feeling.

“There are qualities much uglier than a scar.” Needing to touch him, to reassure him, Kymora slid her hand up along his arm, aware that the flesh under her hand felt like steel, all striated, hard-cut muscle and tendons. “Perhaps they should take a look inside themselves before condemning someone for how they look!”

With a decade of overhearing conversations about your less than desirable qualities, reinforced by a lifestyle you had no choice in living, it was no wonder Varian saw himself the way he did. No one deserved that sort of life.

The injustice of it ate at Kymora’s soul. “Do you think your scar matters to me?” she asked, cupping her hand against his jaw. The muscles there flexed but he didn’t pull away from her. Her fingers found the hard ridge of flesh bisecting his cheek. She went on tiptoe to press a kiss over it then laid her cheek against his so her lips brushed his earlobe. “You could have a dozen and I wouldn’t care. Don’t use it as an excuse to push me away, Varian. I’m not them.”

Her heart pounded beneath her ribs. His aura was still closed down tight. He wasn’t reacting in any way. She was truly blind and disliked it. A lot.

Then he turned his head, just a fraction, and his lips brushed hers. Slow, feather-light but Kymora felt it all the way to her core. She gasped, unable to stop the breathy sound.

He was so tentative, tracing his way across her mouth, tasting of salt and male spice. Though hesitant and unsure, the gentle caress of his lips made her ache. When he shifted away from her she felt the tiniest crack in his aura. Desire, thick and heavy, licked at her senses.

“I don’t know what I’m doing.” Varian’s voice shook and his fingers flexed where he grasped her arms.

Kymora couldn’t help the nervous laugh that spilled from her. “And you think I do?”

To be in the draw to win a signed copy of Alliance Forged,

release date: July 3rd 2012, USA/Canada - leave a comment to this question -

In ALLIANCED FORGED, Kymora’s faced discrimination and the unfair perceptions of others, all because she’s blind. In the Na’Reish demon culture, physical imperfections condemn a person to death, while amongst the Na’Chi those afflicted are viewed as undesirable mates. This attitude affects how Varian’s people perceive him, and impacted his self-worth. Has there ever been a time when you’ve been treated unfairly or felt discriminated against? Or perhaps you’ve seen someone else experience this?

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from Daughter Of The Dark by Louise Cusack will be posted!


  1. I've experienced this and heard about others who have also experienced discrimination.

  2. GORGEOUS smooch, Kylie! So much tension and repressed passion and vulnerability. Happy sigh!

    Discrimination is so ugly and harmful. Sending you much kudos for tackling such a difficult subject.

  3. Hi, bn100, isn't it unfortunate that we all seem to go through some sort of discrimination in our lives?

    Having been a volunteer in the SES/RFS for 15 years so far, in the early days I came across a rare few of the male gender who've made denigrating comments about women in the service - not pleasant but thankfully, that sort of attitude is no longer tolerated within these organisations.

    What sort of discrimination have you or those other people you saw experienced?

  4. Brilliant excerpt and premise! Can't wait to read it =))
    I know a wonderful, smart, hardworking woman who is being promoted soon. She's getting more money and responsibility but if she were a man, she'd get the big office. A car. I have the biggest feeling she'll still be expected to make coffee for the "guys" before any meetings start.

  5. If you ever pick up a copy ALLIANCE FORGED, Michelle, and read about Varian you'll understand just how difficult admitting those things to Kymora was for him.

    It was a fun scene to write - I was squirming for him when I wrote it! LOL

  6. Arrgghh, the attitudes and inequalities in the workplace (business world) sets my teeth on edge, Robyn. I hope your friend is able to tell them to make their own coffee!!!

  7. Hi Kylie - fabulous scene - can't wait to read AF, it's on the kindle TBR pile when it arrives.
    I worked for many years as a manager in the corporate world before becoming a full time writer - the glass ceiling was very evident for women who were mostly in middle management for a lot of those years. I think it's changing now, but it took a couple of decades. Great question. :)

  8. Helen, I'd love to see the glass ceiling lifted on sport too. The prize money discrepancies between men and women sports-persons are atrocious!

  9. Love it Kylie!

    So much feeling packed into that scene =)

    And hi Lovecats! *waves*

  10. I guess if we look at discrimination being people's attitudes towards something, then being a romance writer brings a lot of discrimination - we've all seen the look, you know the one..."Oh, so I don't have to take you seriously/you don't have a real job then..." yes, that look. But, we shall prevail! Mwahahahaha...alright, getting a little creepy now.

  11. OH yes for sure! I've been overweight for a portion of my adult life and people totally treat you differently. I've lost the majority of my weight and it's very interesting to observe my co-workers perception of me. They speak and treat me differently now. Looks like I have an opinion since the weights come off. This has been difficult for me to accept about people, but I'm not surprised by it.

  12. I have a son with an intellectual disability and I work in an organisation that is all about supporting people with disability. Nuff said.

  13. Love a tortured hero and what a great smooch! Very, very nice, Kylie. Can't wait for release day. Discrimination is a nasty thing, be it based on your looks, sex or other. I don't think there's any woman who hasn't experienced it in some form.

  14. honestly we (chinese) have been discrimated from long ago here in my country from all aspect especially in politic/parlement :-l

  15. C.T., you're so right about romance writers facing discrimination! Great example.

    And you can get as creepy as you like! LOL

  16. Simone, that's an incredible experience! Thank you for sharing.

    It's a bit scary just how tuned our society is to "the perfect image" - the perfect look, the perfect height, the perfect weight and so on.

  17. PrincessFiona01 - yep, nuff said. I see it with children with any sort of disability being integrated into a mainstream school. It takes a lot of work to "acclimatise" students that we're all different, in so many ways, and that we should accept each other for who we are.

  18. Hey, Kylie! (great name BTW) :-)

    I wonder what it is that humans have to discriminate - all I can say is that in the realms of fiction we can have a lot of conflict happening because of it!

  19. Eli, I'm assuming you mean Chinese discriminating against Chinese? I must confess I know little about Chinese politics. Is it a class issue?

    The Na'Reish demons in the Light Blade world have a caste system - there's upper, middle and lower classes of demons, and right at the bottom are the human slaves.

    Drawing on real life to world-build - there's plenty of inspiration from our combined world histories! :-)

  20. Hi Kylie! Lovely smooch- so much vulnerability and passion.

    The oddest discriminatory comment I ever had was from my careers teacher...When I told her I wanted to be a nurse, she replied- 'you won't get to be one. Don't bother. Short women never get anywhere in life.'

    So- 20 years' worth of nursing and 2 published books later I hope I proved her wrong.

  21. oooooooh! I love these two! I can't wait to read the whole book. I wanted their story at the end of the last one and am really glad it's the one you wrote next. Lovely teaser!

  22. Great smooch with lovely tension building. Look forward to reading it, Kylie. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Kylie, that kiss was so, so beautiful. You have a way with characters and emotion. Happy sigh. :)

  24. Kylie, I love the fact this is a tentative, thoughtful kiss. Terrific! As Imelda says - a lovely teaser.

  25. OOOoooo!! You mean I have to WAIT!!! Love this excerpt Kylie. I think Kymora and Varian will be my favourite couple yet. Sigh.... :)

  26. What a perfect first kiss....so sweet. Thanks for sharing it Kylie!!

    Personally I haven't but I have a cousin who was born with one of his leg bones short, he has had surgery after surgery but will always have a skinny slightly shorter leg. Sad to see people judge when they don't know a person.

  27. Oh, Louisa! Discriminated against because you were short - man, I know that feeling (being only 5ft 1inch tall)! LOL

    MY careers teacher very kindly informed me that I was too short when I stated I wanted to be an astronaut or police woman.

    And I loved playing basketball through my high school and university years - made it onto the team no worries but come regional selection time, not a chance. I can remember a friend who was close to 5ft10in., all arms and legs and totally uncoordinated, being chosen every time regardless of her ball handling skills because of her height. Got my goat every time!

  28. Imelda, you got your wish! LOL Being a pantster when I wrote Vengeance Born I didn't know Kymora & Varian were going to feature in a secondary story line in the book until they appeared. But by the end of it I knew they were going to demand theirs come next!

  29. Sue, I hope you enjoy the read! :-)

  30. Thanks Rachel & Annie. That first kiss scene was a hoot to write - nothing like pushing the hero out of his comfort zone (evil woman that I am). :->

  31. LaVerne, let me know if Varian and Kymora live up to your expectations! I hope they do! :-)

  32. Hey, Lexi! Great to see you at the blog stops! Thanks for following me around. :-) I hope you're learning lots about ALLIANCE FORGED and Kymora & Varian!

    Thanks for sharing your cousin's story. It's amazing just how judgmental people can be with just a glance, isn't it?

  33. OMG Kylie...that scene made my tummy all clenchy and full of butterflies!!
    GREAT KISS, cant wait to

  34. Cath, that's great to hear! Here's hoping TBD is on time for you this book around!

  35. One - I was told by the RAAF recruitment officer at age 20 that I couldn't enter the female fighter pilot training program as I was 1cm too short. ONE CM. Ok. Fine. Decided to join the Navy instead as a mine warfare specialist. He didn't like that, LOL, was all, "But you'd be great as an engineer." Pffft! Didn't want to be an engineer!

    Two - Told by an older man when I was 16 I could never be a secretary (dabbled with the idea of being a paralegal PA for about 5 minutes, then decided being a barrister was much more fun!) because I didn't have long enough legs. Say what?! I didn't realize I'd have to type with my toes.*glances at said appendages* I'm *sure* I could reach the keyboard if I stretched far enough... :)

  36. Oh, and LOVE Varian.

    But you already know that... :)

    That scene is just gorgeous! 5 days to go!!!!

  37. Oh, Michelle, your experiences are just jaw dropping, particularly the paralegal secretary one! :-0

    And yep, not long to wait now! :-)

  38. :( Blogger ate the comment I posted!

    Kylie, I just wanted to say that this kiss is such a lovely tender moment between Varian and Kymora! Just gorgeous!


  39. Thanks, Sharon, I'm glad you enjoyed the read! :-)

  40. Gulp, awesome kiss, Kylie. The emotions are so strong. Love the cover too.
    Sue MacKay