The market for paranormal young adult romance novels has skyrocketed in recent years. From vampires to werewolves to zombies to wizards, the 14-to-35 demographic is starved for more and more content all the time. Everyone is searching for the next hot paranormal angle to mine for that next smash hit. Well, fear not, because we've got you covered.
The next hot trend in paranormal young adult romance? One word: centaurs.
We proudly present an excerpt from Maude Chalet's upcoming novel Etaurnity, the first installment in a bold new trilogy.
Louvre stepped uneasily into the barn. She had a sneaking suspicion why Colt had asked her to meet here, but she daren't even think of it. Her stomach fluttered uneasily as she strode slowly and softly through the criss-crossed beams of light that shone through the wooden slats that comprised the barn roof.
"C-Colt?" she called out, her voice hoarse with fear and anticipation, barely more than a whisper. She tried again. "Colt, are you in here?"
Colt stepped out from behind a row of stalls. A slightly mangy orange tabby cat with notched ears laid curled up in a ball on Colt's long back, eerily parallel to the ground. The cat stirred slightly and opened one of its eyes a bit, but seemed wholly uninterested in Louvre.
"Hi Louvre," he said in a soft, yet strong voice. "Thanks for meeting me here."
She could feel the blush climbing up her neck and tinging her corpse-like alabaster skin with the redness of life. She never dreamed someone like Colt would be saying her name, as though she were an actual person worth anything. She cast her eyes to the ground so that he wouldn't catch her feeling emotions.
"You're not like the other girls at school," he said, a smile playing around the edges of her voice.
Her eyes darted up to meet his. He was indeed grinning slyly at her. Now her blush of shyness turned into a flush of anger. "Why do you say that?" she demanded.
He strolled over to a feedbag hanging on one of the stalls. "You look at me funny. Like I'm suspicious or something." He dipped his face into the feedbag and absently chewed on a mouthful of oats.
"W-well, maybe you are suspicious."
He turned back to face her. "Everyone else at school looks the other way because they think me and my brothers are up to no good or something. But you ... " He took a step towards her. " ... You can't seem to take your eyes off of me. Off of my hoo-- my feet. What are you looking for?"
She was speechless for a moment. She began to feel the blush creep back into her face. "Maybe ... " she began. "Maybe I see something no one else does."
He advanced on her suddenly, snorting. She could feel his hot breath on her face, smelling of fragrant alfalfa. It stirred something deep within her. "And what might that be?" His question was forceful, but not angry or threatening. She thought that if he touched her, she might die.
She stammered, struggling hard to get the words out. "Y-y-you live in a barn. You can't resist when someone holds out a sugar cube. You sometimes poop on the grass when you're walking across the quad. You have hooves. And a tail. And four legs." She could feel his eyes burn into her. "I know what you are."
She looked up, suddenly defiant, locking eyes with him.
There was a sudden rumble of thunder and crack of lightning. Colt reared back on his hind legs and whinnied a fearsome whinny, his forelegs pawing at the air. The orange cat jumped off his back and ambled away into the barn.
He planted his front feet on the ground again and stared into her eyes. She stared back. She knew that she should be scared, but she suddenly felt at ease. They both knew his secret now. He gripped her by the shoulders.
"Come with me," he said. "I want to show you something."
Without another word, he placed her upon his sturdy back. Before she knew it, they were out of the barn and sprinting towards the surrounding hillsides. It took her a moment to realize she was riding him. Riding him like the wind.
TO BE CONTINUED
(Story by Bill Hanstock and Kristen Ray)